As a marriage life coach who is more than aware of the fact that the current divorce rate for first-time marriages continues to hover around the 50 percent mark (with second marriages being 60 percent and third 73 percent), I'll be the first one to say that I don't care if you've been married for one year or 50, every time your anniversary rolls around, it's a BIG TIME MILESTONE — one that needs to be celebrated to its absolute fullest.
For this very reason, I thought it would be a good idea to share some ways that you and yours can honor, bless and rejoice in the fact that you chose to make your marriage work for another 365 days. Whether you decide to implement all 12 of these or just a few, I hope each one will remind you that monogamous love is nothing to casually shrug about. Sis, it's a really, REALLY big deal and for making yours last, I personally salute you. Now let's get to these ideas.
1. Rent a Dream Vacation House
Whether you live in a house, apartment, condo or townhome, most of us have an idea of a dream house that we wish we could at least spend a couple of nights in. Thanks to websites like Vrbo and home to go, you can find beach homes, cabins or even huge houses that are either close to your own house or in another city; ones that can make you feel like a millionaire — even if it's only for a few days or so.
2. Redo a Wedding Day Photo
There's a wife I know who has a really cute anniversary tradition. Every year, she and her husband put on their original wedding attire and take a professional photo shoot in a different location. Aside from the fact that it's dope as hell that she's able to still fit into her dress after over 15 years and a few kids, what I really like about this idea is it shows how time transitions people while the commitment remains intact.
Let me tell it, not enough people take formal pictures anymore. So, whether you decide to replicate your wedding day or just take some couple shots in general, consider getting a photographer to take a picture that you can blow up, frame and post up in your home. Listen, I totally believe that couples who remain committed are their own "work of art".
3. “Update” Your Wedding Vows
When it comes to a really beautiful sentiment, I know a few married folks who have their original wedding vows framed, matted and hung somewhere in their house. Along these same lines, whenever I'm dealing with a couple who feels like they are taking each other for granted, I will oftentimes encourage them to each write a list of things that they adore about each other and then put the lists someplace where they can both see them (like their bedroom mirror or refrigerator) on a consistent basis. In the spirit of both of these points, a sweet — and in many ways, purposeful — thing that you and your spouse can do is update your marriage vows.
What I mean by that is, I'm pretty sure that on your wedding day, you saw love, marriage and the keys to commitment quite differently than the way you do now that you're living life out on a daily basis. By revisiting your vows and then adding on your thoughts, insights and declarations, it can remind both you and yours of where you started and also how far the both of you have come.
4. Have a Chef Make Your Wedding Reception Meal
If there's one thing that the majority of married couples who I've talked to over the years have told me was a total blur about their wedding day, it was their wedding reception. Between the excitement of it all, trying to spend at least a little bit of time with everyone and hopefully getting at least a couple of dances in, even if their reception went well into the night, it ended up feeling like merely a few minutes. On top of that, because sitting down didn't get to happen a lot, many didn't get to enjoy their reception meal either.
One way to "correct that mistake" is to hire a chef to come and make the food that was on your reception menu all over again. Or, if the food that you did taste happened to suck or you both low-key wish that you had served something entirely different, a chef can do that for you too. Hire A Chef is one website that can point you into the right direction as far as personal chefs go.
5. Get a Bakery to Replicate a Mini Wedding Cake
I'm pretty sure you've heard of the anniversary tradition that consists of freezing your wedding cake and then having a slice of it on your anniversary. While I dig it, it's important to put on record that you really shouldn't do this for more than your newlywed (the first two) years; even then, the second year probably won't taste all that hot because of the potential for freezer burn.
Hopefully, your marriage is going to last (or already has lasted) for longer than a couple of years. So, if you want to continue having a slice of wedding-themed cake for years to come, hit up a local bakery (one that specializes in wedding cakes), send them a picture of your wedding cake along with its flavor and have them make you a smaller version. That way, it will always be fresh, and you can keep the tradition going.
6. Mark Your Marriage Milestones
Again, if marriage is nothing else, it's a long list of milestones.
If you're someone who likes to go the DIY route when it comes to anniversary presents, why not make something that consists of your marriage milestones? You know, things like when you met, your first date, your first kiss, your first trip together, the first time you both said, "I love you", the day you got engaged, etc. It can be a collage of pictures, hearts that have the dates underneath — anything that you can frame put up in your living room or bedroom.
Something that I really like about this particular idea is it's super affordable, can be fun to make and, it's a great way for couples to remember all of the good times through the years (bonus: it'll be hard for your husband to forget dates when they're posted up somewhere!).
7. Buy Each Other a “to the Nines” Outfit
While I know that things like jewelry is pretty common when it comes to the higher end of anniversary-related gift giving, something that I think couples should do more often instead is to get each other a full outfit (head to toe), so that they can dress up and out — all out. I think I've shared before that there's a married couple that I know who haven't been on a formal date in almost 10 years of their almost 40-year marriage (what in the world?!). Shopping for your boo is not only a lot of fun, it can also get you excited about planning the kind of date that you probably went on when you were first going out. First, find the attire and then plan the kind of place that is fitting for it. It's a great way to up the ante as far as romance in your relationship goes.
8. Watch a Movie from the Year You Were Married
What if you and yours are the kind of people who like to approach anniversaries from more of a low-key and casual standpoint? Understood. If that's the case, how about ordering in and watching a couple of movies from the year that the two of you got married? The cool thing about this particular idea is it can cultivate a kind of nostalgia that could get the two of you talking about all kinds of stuff from what the music and fashion was like at that time to the types of movie dates you went on back in the day. Shoot, every time I see an episode of Martin or listen to Brian McKnight's debut LP, my freshman year of college immediately comes to mind. Amazing how pop culture will do that to you.
9. Slow Drag to Your Wedding Reception Playlist
Outside from the y'all's first dance and maybe the dance that each of you had with your parents, do you even remember what the DJ played at your wedding reception? Hopefully, you've still got a copy of the playlist, a CD or something that will help to jog your memory. If you do, play it and do a little slow dancing together. If you don't, create a playlist of love songs from the years that you dated thru the day you got married. The only thing that will make it better is if you do the dancing…naked.
10. Take a Sex Workshop Online
Speaking of nudity, I've shared many times before on this platform that an underrated reason for why couples go through troubling times in their marriage is because they are bored — including sexually bored (check out "7 Signs You're In A 'Sex Rut' & How To Get Out Of It"). Something that could prevent this from happening in your own relationship is to attend a sex workshop online. As far as finding one, one approach is to you to your favorite search engine and put "online sex workshops" in the search field. Another angle is to skim the article "12+ Black Sex Educators Who Are Blazing Sex-Positive Trails" and ask some of those professionals if they know any Black-community-specific workshops that you can sign up for. After all, knowledge is power…right?
11. Upcycle Your Wedding Night
A word that I personally like a lot is "upcycle". It basically means that you are improving upon the original. Well, considering that reportedly 52 percent of couples don't even have sex on their wedding night and the word "consummate" literally means to complete something, I also think wedding anniversaries can also be about literally upcycling your wedding night.
Maybe wear the lingerie that you wore that night (if you still have it) yet bring in some sex condiments (check out "12 'Sex Condiments' That Can Make Coitus Even More...Delicious"), experiment with some new sex positions ("These Intimate Sex Positions Will Up The Ante On Your Orgasms"), give your man a sexy massage ("Blow Your Man's Mind By Giving Him This Tantalizing Massage"), take oral sex up a few notches ("12 Things You Should Do During Oral Sex (That You Probably Aren't)" and/or knock some things off of your sex bucket list ("This Is How To Create The Best Kind Of 'Sex Bucket List'"). There are lots of studies to support that married sex continues to be the best kind of sex. Remind your boo and yourself of how far the both of you have come since your wedding night went down.
12. Have a “Sex Brunch” the Following Day
After a night of amazing sex (because sex on your wedding anniversary should be about celebrating each other on a whole 'nother level), make it a priority to sleep in and then to have, what I call, a sex brunch — foods that fall into the aphrodisiac cuisine list. Some of those include chocolate (chocolate chip pancakes); strawberries (strawberry breakfast cake); figs (honey and fig breakfast bowls); cinnamon (cinnamon rolls); sweet potato (sweet potato hash); apples (pan-seared sausage and apples); avocados (blueberry and avocado muffins); bananas (peanut butter and banana French toast); salmon (salmon breakfast tacos), and champagne (mimosas). At the very least, it'll be a delicious way to culminate your anniversary. Or, it could give you the fuel that you need to do a little bit of more, umm, upcycling. Either way, congrats!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
With two Eclipses happening this month, this is one of the powerhouse months of 2023 and one that will be unforgettable for many. The month begins in Libra Season, and with Mercury also entering Libra on October 4th. When Mercury is in Libra, the focus is on keeping the peace, creating harmony, and finding the beauty in life. Relationships, finances, pleasure, and creation are all the focus during Libra Season, and this month overall will be creating a lot of positive change in these areas of life.
What October 2023 Has In Store For Your Zodiac Sign
On October 8th, Venus moves into earth sign Virgo, and love takes on a more serious and grounded tone here. Venus in Virgo has high standards and wants the best of the best. There is a possibility of becoming overly critical in love or relationships with this energy, however overall, Venus in Virgo will be focused on letting go of unhealthy behaviors in love and creating more positive ways of relating, giving, and receiving in relationships. A few days later, Pluto goes direct in Capricorn after going retrograde in Aquarius back in May, and fewer power struggles and obstacles are more likely.
With Pluto direct in Capricorn, it is easier to reach your goals, build success, and see your own self-empowerment in it all.
On October 12th, Mars enters Scorpio, and Mars loves being in this water sign as it’s the ruler of Scorpio. Mars in Scorpio is passionate and direct and heats things up when it comes to your relationships. Mars will be in Scorpio until November 24th, and a spark is definitely being lit. A few days later, we have a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra.
This Solar Eclipse is creating a fresh start in love, but may also be bringing things to the forefront that are uncomfortable to see. A Solar Eclipse in Libra is relationship-oriented, and this is where you will be seeing the most impact now.
Before the month ends, Mercury enters Scorpio on October 22nd, Scorpio Season begins on the 23rd, and there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th. The end of October is when a lot of big moves are being made, and transformations are occurring, and it’s about letting go of baggage before moving forward again. The Lunar Eclipse in Taurus is another eclipse that has an impact on relationships, as both Libra and Taurus are ruled by Venus, the planet of love.
Through what is changing and transforming in some of your close relationships, this energy suggests there is greater love on the other side of it. Find gratitude in where you are, and stand in hope and self-belief for where you want to be.
Your October 2023 Monthly Horoscopes
ARIESAriesKyra Jay for xoNecole
Your strength is needed this month, Aries. During October, the Sun is in Libra, meaning the Sun is in your 7th house. The 7th house is the house of love and relationships, but it’s also the house of open enemies and opposition. This month, you will be finding your balance between the opening you are seeing in your life right now and what still needs to be built.
On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse in this area of your chart, the 7th house, and this is an impactful time for you emotionally. The intentions you have been setting in your love life and financially are creating a new scene for you. This is a good month to do more of the things that make you happy, to get creative, and to notice the beauty in your life. Before the month ends, your ruling planet, Mars, moves into your 8th house, and things get deep and even more emotional for you moving into November.
TAURUSTaurusKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of reflection for you, Taurus. There is a lot happening this month and a lot happening for you personally, yet you are taking the time to tend to your inner world and recreate your safe spaces. With Venus in a fellow earth sign and in your 5th house of romance for most of this month, you will be sure to have plenty of love in your life to help you through some of the downtime you are getting in October.
Mars moves into your house of love on October 12th, and this is heating things up for you in your relationships and sex life. Fuel your passions and notice what is lighting you up inside right now. Before the month ends, on October 28th, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in your sign, and you are going through some major life changes. You are closing one chapter of your life of self-discovery and moving forward with a new view of yourself and the world around you.
GEMINIGeminiKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about letting go, Gemini. You are moving through a time of releasing what has been filling your world with more chaos and confusion than clarity and are paving a new path for yourself. Your ruling planet, Mercury, is in your house of happiness for most of this month, and you are really thinking of the things that your heart wants and expressing yourself through this space of openness as well. Communication channels are exciting for you this month.
On October 14th, the New Moon Eclipse will be highlighting all of the energy of love you have been feeling this month and will be helping you hone in on your creative passions and hobbies as well. This month is surprising you on how well things turn out when you let go of what isn’t working. The second eclipse of the month is on the 28th, and this one for you is about laying the past to rest once and for all and giving yourself time to heal and process.
CANCERCancerKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is an activating month for you, Cancer. There are some eye-opening moments happening, and a lot of things are coming to a head. The energy of the month is about letting things find their place and allowing yourself to be okay in the process. Venus is in your 3rd house of communication for most of this month, and you will be able to communicate more freely how you are feeling and what you need in your relationships right now.
With the Sun in Libra and in your 4th house for most of October, home is really where the heart is right now. Spending time in comfortable environments where you feel the most at ease is nourishing. Before the month ends, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in your 11th house of community, and things are coming full circle for you. Lean on your support systems and community for an extra hand, and know that you deserve to take up space.
LEOLeoKyra Jay for xoNecole
This is a month of things moving forward for you, Leo. Patience is still needed, as things may not be moving as quickly as expected, however, they are moving nonetheless, and you are leaving the space of stagnation you have been feeling the past couple of months. Openings are coming into your life, and with Venus now in your 2nd house, you are able to capitalize on what you have been investing in and claim your abundance.
The Solar Eclipse happening mid-month will be awakening something within you when it comes to expressing yourself. You are breaking free from fears, limitations, and self-judgments and seeing yourself as someone who deserves to be heard. The Sun is also in this area of your chart until the end of the month, and you have all the support from the universe right now to speak up and speak your truths.
VIRGOVirgoKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of blessings for you, Virgo. This year has been a year of a lot of ups and downs for you, and in the second half of this year, you really get to settle into more stability and positive fruition. You are being guided to use your instincts wisely this month, however, so as to keep blessings rolling. Your ruling planet, Mercury, will be in your 2nd house of income for most of the month, as well as the Sun, and financially, this is a really good month for you.
On October 8th, Venus moves into your sign, and you are receiving and feeling the love right now. Venus will be in your sign until November 8th, and over the next month, this is a good time for your relationships and business, receiving positive feedback, and putting yourself out there. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse happening in your 9th house of adventure, and you could be seeing some travel or education plans coming to fruition now. You are really ready to enjoy how far you have come this month.
LIBRALibraKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about creating your dreams, Libra. This is an exciting month for you and one where you are healing your inner child, gaining a new perspective, and manifesting your life. Libra Season is fully underway, and this is an impactful Libra Season for you, as there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening in your sign on the 14th. This Solar Eclipse is your time to shine, to bring your dreams to the forefront, and to let go of the past that doesn’t resonate with you anymore. It’s all about the vision this month; focus on the best one for yourself.
With the Sun and Mercury in your 1st house of self for most of the month and Venus in your 12th house of closures, you are finding your balance between the new and the old. You know there is a lot to release emotionally in your life still, but you are also giving yourself the space and freedom to soak in the good that has already arrived and making you happy right now. On October 23rd, Libra Season ends, and you are ready to focus more on your plans for the future.
SCORPIOScorpioKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of rebirth for you, Scorpio. This is one of the most powerful months for you and one where you are starting fresh in many ways. Mercury is in your house of endings for most of the month, and your mind is focused on your spirituality, finding solutions, and letting go of perspectives and habits that don’t serve you or your health. Through the transformations that are occurring right now, new life is coming to fruition.
Mars and Mercury both enter your sign before Scorpio Season begins on the 23rd, and by the end of October, the energy moves from release to receive. You have more energy at your disposal when Mars is in your sign, and you are moving through a time of passion, action, and making things happen for yourself. This Scorpio Season for you is one where you are creating a new life for yourself and following the dreams you left to the wayside.
SAGITTARIUSSagittariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
Sagittarius, October is all about the heart and about showing up. This month for you is a time of support, friendship, and community, and a time where you are really discovering who your people are. You are awakening to what your inner child needs to heal and are seeking forgiveness this month. This is a time for you to move toward a new path in your life, one that feels more fulfilling for you and your well-being.
Venus is in Virgo and in your 10th house of career this month, and you are seeing some positive changes within your professional world. You are being received especially favorably right now, and this is a good month to ask for a promotion, network, or redefine your career goals. On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening in your 11th house, and your hopes and dreams are coming true for you. The clarity you gain this month is life-changing.
CAPRICORNCapricornKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about patience, finding your peace, and exploring the world, Capricorn. You are focusing a lot on your belief systems, your intentions, and what goals you have set for yourself and your life. Venus is in your 9th house of adventure for most of the month, and you are really thinking about the big picture right now. You are doing more things differently this time of the year, thinking outside of the box and allowing your intentions to come to fruition.
On October 10th, Pluto goes direct in your sign. Pluto retrograde entered your sign in June, and you finally get to settle into the transformations that have been occurring since then. You’ve had a lot of moments of self-clarity and change, but now you are ready to live in this space and experience fewer changes to your environment. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Eclipse happening, and this Lunar Eclipse is a time of love coming full circle for you. Relationships are developing at the end of October, and you are letting go of the past in love.
AQUARIUSAquariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is all about allowing life to unfold effortlessly, Aquarius. The path of least resistance is the most rewarding one, and this month, you are tapping into your inner faith. You have truly been trusting the process, and with the Sun in your 9th house for most of the month, the divine guidance is there for you right now. This month is about trusting that things are coming together for you and enjoying your life how you can right now.
On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening, and this eclipse is helping you build new foundations in your life. You have goals you want to set, places you want to see, and people you want to meet, and this eclipse is highlighting all of that for you. The second eclipse of the month is happening on the 28th, and this Lunar Eclipse is about letting things settle in, finding your ground, and nourishing your inner world. You are going within a lot this month, and through the new insight you have found, you are ready to make some concrete decisions that have been needed.
PISCESPiscesKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a time of compassion, nurture, and love, Pisces. You are putting the love into your life and feeling this energy come back to you as well. Venus is in Virgo, your opposite sign, for most of the month, and this is good energy when it comes to your relationships and your love life. Your focus is on the people in your life and where you want things to grow in love, and you are putting in the effort to make your dreams come true for you here.
With the Sun also in your 8th house of commitments for most of the month, another love area of your chart, you can expect this to be a more emotional month for you. You are getting vulnerable, expressing where you stand, and creating a new slate for yourself in love. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Eclipse happening in your 3rd house of communication, and the messages and insights you have been looking for are coming in.
The end of the month is a busier time for you, and you will be suddenly seeing everything you want to do and plan right now.
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Featured image by Kyra Jay for xoNecole