The Value of Creating (and Working Through) a “Honey-Do” List

This is another post by Joanne Miller. If you're wondering, I'm the guy she's (unintentionally) referencing who doesn't own a tool box and can't do much more than screw in a lightbulb. I'm pretty awesome at demo (cleared 2 kitchens, a closet, and a bathroom vanity in no time…).

But beyond that I'm clueless…. Youtube has helped. But most jobs get outsourced or done by my wife, who is pretty awesome with spackle, paint, sanders, and ladders. She also has way more patience with home repair than me.

Be sure to let us know how this works in your house! I need help.



Small procrastinations lead to major explosions.

How long is your “Honey Do!” list?

How often have you wished your spouse would quit nagging you to fix the rattle in the floor vent, the leaky faucet, the squeaky bathroom door or change the furnace filter?

Does your list get longer and longer and you never seem to remember or get the time to do all the chores?

An even more important question is WHY haven’t you fulfilled those requests?

This morning I mentioned a couple of things that I would like Dan to give attention to when he has time. Now Dan is a busy man. He has people pulling him in a zillion different directions all week long.

It seems reasonable that he should have his evenings and his weekends to sit back, turn on the tube, guzzle a brew and relax a bit.

But that isn’t the way it works in our home.

Aside from the fact that he watches very little TV and he doesn’t “guzzle a brew,” if there is something that needs to be done around the house that requires his attention, he does it without complaint and in quick order.

If it is important to me, it is equally important to him. [tweet this]

So today I mentioned the back storm door latch is loose and the door doesn’t shut properly, allowing all kinds of creepy crawlies into the house and one of the in-house vacuum system plug-in thingys isn’t working. It happens to be the one I would use most if the silly thing worked.

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Making (True) Love: It’s More Than Just Ripping Your Clothes Off!

This is another post by Joanne Miller in which she talks about the difference between making “love” in your marriage and “making love” in your marriage. Be sure to share this wisdom from nearly five decades of marriage with other young couples!

Making (True) Love- It's More Than Just Ripping Your Clothes Off!Over ten years ago my daughter, Ashley, gifted me with a nicely bound book.

It's called Reflections From a Mother’s Heart, Your Life Story in Your Own Words.

And it’s meant to be a family legacy you leave for your children.

Every page has a new question to answer about my life. 

I pick it up every once in a while and fill out a page or two.

A question I just answered was a very interesting and thought-provoking question:

“What do you love best about Dad now?”

I have been married for over 47 years. That is a very long time.  I was single for barely nineteen years prior to becoming a bride.  So it is hard to even consider what life would be like without Dan. 

But what do I love most about him now?  It came to me easily. 

I love his voracious quest for learning and growing. I have always admired his wisdom from the day I met him and that has never waned.  But what hit me about this question that made me hesitate was that my love for Dan is nowhere near what it was when I was a young bride. It is not at all like it was when I was a young mother.  My love for him has changed a lot.

It concerns me that young couples expect to live the rest of their days waiting for their lover to come through the door, rip their clothes off, whisper undying love and devotion and spend every night in passionate love making. 

If you are one of those couples, let me be the first to burst that bubble. 

About the time you have three children throwing up all night and you are bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, making passionate love all night is about the furthest thing from your mind.  In fact, you may, during an episode like this, wish you had never MADE love in the first place! 

The truth is, love changes as you settle into the years together establishing a family, making a career, dealing with financial ups and downs, family disasters, health issues and myriad other life happenings.

As I wrote my answer to the question about what I love most about Dan now, I wrote: 

“I am more comfortable in our love.”

I could see mental eye-rolling by most young people who would think that by “more comfortable” I mean boring.  Let me be perfectly clear on this.  Life has NEVER been boring married to my husband.  In fact, perhaps a little boredom would be a welcome reprieve from the adventures we have had in the last 47 years. 

By the time you are married for as many decades as I have been, love is so much deeper than you can possibly imagine it to be……. if both parties have diligently worked to make it so. 

It takes decades of working together to create that deep commitment.  I added to my answer that another thing I love most about Dan is that he has done whatever he needed to do to keep peace between us. 

He has put me first.  Even before our beautiful daughter who gave me this book. Even before our two incredible sons.  Even before business, friends and extended family. 

I came first. Always and forever.  And the same is true of my dedication to him. 

That’s the only way it works.  Our lives have not been about standing our ground and being right but it has been totally about “How can I love and serve you well?”

Now, don’t read this wrong.  We aren’t too old to enjoy a passionate night!  The point is, love changes.  And that is the way it should be. And when life seems to crowd out the desire to open the door, rip off your clothes, and jump in the sack with your dream lover, don’t get discouraged.  There are so many more dimensions to deep love that are ever-changing…..and infinitely comfortable. 

Joanne Miller has been happily married for over four decades to career coach and author Dan Miller (48 Days To the Work You Love).

In her new book, Be Your Finest Art, you will find more ideas about how to be a better communicator and listener and how playing games creates great memories and family time. This book is full of color and art and is a unique and beautiful gift for that special someone as we approach St. Valentine's Day or just to say “I love you.”

She has also authored four children’s books, which my kids LOVE. She and Dan have three grown children and twelve grandchildren and lots of years living the entrepreneurial roller-coaster life of adventure!

7 Ways to Live And Love After the Kids Move Out

This post by Joanne Miller is really exciting to me for a lot of reasons, but especially because it answers a question from a reader who asked how to prepare for her upcoming “empty nest.” Joanne provides seven ways right here. And if you're in the midst of your empty nest season, she emphasizes that it's never too late!
7 Ways to Live And Love After the Kids Move Out



The years fly by and the anticipation of the inevitable “empty nest” can create uncertainty and anxiety about your relationship. I have witnessed marriages dissolve because there is no longer any feeling of connection or tenderness.

Is it too late? Is the love gone forever? Is empty nest the end of an era or the beginning of a freedom that brings with it a chance for more depth in relationship than ever before?

If there are children in the mix, there is a bond and a history that can’t be erased; a comfort level with one another that is hard to establish in a new relationship. I am going to assume you don’t want to throw out all the years leading up to this point of life-after-kids, have not endured years of abuse, and you value the relationship and the history. You want to enjoy living out the rest of your years together in a way that brings joy and adventure, not just endurance and tolerance. It’s never too late if you value the history you share; the commitment to one another and to your family.

1. Make Time

Having a serious talk about your relationship is never easy. But it is essential to moving forward. If you can’t lay the cards on the table and talk like adults, get a counselor to mediate. This should not be a time to fight. Discussing why you feel a disconnect should not be accusatory or hateful. A good counselor can help tremendously if you have trouble communicating or articulating.

2. Work to Regain the Romance

Schedule some trips together. Quit using work or the kids or your important meetings as an excuse. Your relationship should take precedent. Life-after-kids can be the most amazing season ever. Begin date nights. Watch the movies, Date Night, Hope Springs and The Mirror Has Two Faces. No doubt you will see some similarities in relationships-gone-stale. Take a cruise. Take weekend road trips. You will find excitement in planning together, a rekindled connection in the anticipation.

3. Focus on the Positive

It’s there. You might have to reboot your brain a bit but if you start listing the positives in your marriage, family and spouse, you might begin to look at the overall picture with new eyes. It is easy to fall into the habit of seeing the worst in a person, letting those little irritations undermine your love and respect. I have actually asked myself, “Do I really think Dan would purposely set out to make me angry or to be hateful?” I know the answer is no. Why would he deliberately try to undermine our relationship?

4. Find Common Interests

Take a class together. Don’t settle for “We have nothing in common!” Dan and I are polar opposites in many ways. We have spent years working to find things we can do together. Gardening, dancing, home projects, rides in the country, discussing a book we are both reading. The list is endless when you don’t have to worry about anyone but the two of you.

5. Find New Friends

If you don’t have any good couples you like to hang out with, find marriages you would like to emulate. Organize game nights or a dinner club with couples who have strong, healthy marriages and watch what they do. Do NOT spend all your spare time with your grown children and their families. They need to work on their own issues without your hovering and “hiding out”. You need to make time for the two of you.

6. Reach Out and Touch

It thrills me, even after over four decades of marriage, to have Dan put his arm around me or hold my hand. When we walk, when we are in a group or alone in the car….Dan and I touch a lot. It may sound hokey but that small gesture of “I care” does a lot to create intimacy in a relationship. And the more you touch, the more easily you close the gap that occurs when you have disconnect. You’d be surprised how holding hands can open up a floodgate of conversation.

7. Remember Your History

Take time to look through family photo albums and videos and reminisce about the events you have experienced together. Remember why you fell in love and talk about what you still admire in one another. Any good relationship takes work. It never just happens. But the result is so worth it. Those years after the children are gone should be some of the happiest of your life.

What are you doing now to prepare for the Empty Nest season of your life?

What example are you showing your children about marriage, family and love?

Are you “hiding out” from your marriage by overly immersing your energies into being a parent? Can you own responsibility for rekindling the romance instead of waiting for your spouse to initiate?

Joanne Miller has been happily married for over four decades to career coach and author Dan Miller (48 Days To the Work You Love).

In her new book, Be Your Finest Art, you will find more ideas about how to be a better communicator and listener and how playing games creates great memories and family time. This book is full of color and art and is a unique and beautiful gift for that special someone as we approach St. Valentine's Day or just to say “I love you.”

She has also authored four children’s books, which my kids LOVE. She and Dan have three grown children and twelve grandchildren and lots of years living the entrepreneurial roller-coaster life of adventure!

Are you celebrating all the wrong things?

What have you been celebrating lately? Have you overlooked simple opportunities to make the people around you feel loved? Feel special? Opportunities to engage with them in a way that can create great family memories and not require elaborate planning or big expenses? Joanne Miller joins us again today to talk about how celebrating meaningful events in her house has helped create a haven of peace.

Are you celebrating all the wrong things-Many years ago when our children were young, I had a Come-to Jesus talk with Dan about the importance of remembering holidays and special occasions. It was Mother’s Day and I waited all day for some recognition, and some appreciation, for all I put into raising our three children. I simply couldn’t believe my family, particularly my husband, would forget to celebrate. I didn’t say anything because I kept thinking there was a huge surprise lurking in the wings ready to be revealed at just the right time.

Didn’t happen.

After tucking the children into bed I asked Dan if he remembered what day it was. He did. He simply didn’t think it was a big deal.

Wrong answer. Wrong attitude.

And, in no uncertain terms I let him know how inconsiderate he had been. But the main point I wanted to make was the message he sent to our children.

Children take their cues from the most important people in their lives, their parents. I felt that by placing so little concern for a day intended to celebrate the importance of motherhood was making a statement to the children that I didn’t want conveyed.

It was hurtful to me that Dan had ignored the opportunity to tell me he appreciated all I did to create our haven of peace. But it especially hurt that he didn’t convey to our children the importance of honoring their mother.

Needless to say, Dan went to bed that night feeling properly chastised and ashamed and this neglect was never repeated. In fact, we decided to celebrate as often as possible any little victory, holiday, birthday, anniversary, etc.

Life can be pretty hectic and crazy and special occasions can get lost in the shuffle if careful attention isn’t observed. I remember early in our marriage I was dumbfounded that everyone in our circle of acquaintance and our families didn’t remember our anniversary.

Coming from a family where divorce was rampant and there was rarely ever a wedding anniversary to celebrate, I was ecstatic that I actually had one. I just figured everyone else would be too. I remember Dan telling me that our special day was very special to us and not to be hurt that others didn’t view it in the same regard.

Here’s a little tip that helps with family harmony and happiness.

Never miss an opportunity to celebrate anything.

Just for the sake of honoring one another. Mark the date on your calendar or in your schedule book or iPhone. Take time to make the date a real celebration, if nothing more than cooking that person’s favorite meal or dessert.

Simply sending a physical card can say, “I love you!” or “I care!” or “Congratulations!” in a way that shows you took time to remember.

Our oldest son, Kevin and his wife, Teri, have seven children. That’s a LOT of birthdays, special occasions, school successes, holidays, etc. So they made an agreement with their children they would do a big birthday celebration every other year.

On the off year, they do a small family dinner and gift giving. On the on year, they get a party with friends and family. The exception is special birth years like 10, 13, 16, 18.

Celebrations of life should be taken seriously in a family because it gives the opportunity to show how much you care.

Our son, Jared, has had many years of sobriety but every year, on the date of his commitment to change his life, I send him a card or note to tell him I am proud of him.

It’s important to him so it is important to me.

My birthday is three days before Christmas and as a child I never experienced birthday parties. So for most of our married life, Dan has made my birthday the highlight of my year by taking me to Chicago…my favorite big city….for several days to celebrate.

His taking the time to treat me to this experience each year speaks volumes to me about how much he cares……and it definitely makes up for forgetting Mother’s Day all those Once I worked for a short time as the manager of a big department store.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out it was not a good fit and after about ten months on the job, I quit.

On my last day at work, my family all celebrated in grand style, showing me how happy they were to have me back home.

I felt their love.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking it isn’t important to celebrate even the small successes and events of your life. Those traditions and special remembrance make a huge impression on others and make large deposits in your relational bank account!

No one is ever too poor to give a gift of remembrance. Just a warm embrace and a bouquet of dandelions is sufficient if you give them with love and sincerity.

And regardless of what any woman says, she is always dazzled by a gift from the heart! Never. Forget. That!

What opportunities are you missing that could be turned into fun celebrations?

What “unusual” celebrations do you observe in your family that might spark an idea for others?

Are you overlooking the importance of celebrations that your spouse might wish you put in higher priority?

Greg McKeown, in his book Essentialism, proposes a new way to choose what we celebrate. What have you been celebrating lately?

“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoing time with the most important people in our lives?” Greg McKeown, Essentialism