Here’s how to overcome holiday anxiety and stress

“You get gas and I’ll run in for the fruit chews.” Costco on a Sunday afternoon can be dicey. We only needed one thing – fruit chews, since a kid has apparently been trading them at lunch for a piece of pizza. Why not get gas at the same time? I could Costco-quick-grab and be … Continue reading “Here’s how to overcome holiday anxiety and stress”

“You get gas and I’ll run in for the fruit chews.”

Costco on a Sunday afternoon can be dicey. We only needed one thing – fruit chews, since a kid has apparently been trading them at lunch for a piece of pizza. Why not get gas at the same time? I could Costco-quick-grab and be done by the time they were.

At least that’s what I thought until I raced in and turned the corner. Christmas lights, trees, wreathes and section upon section of well-placed toys filled the up-front aisles normally and formerly filled with snacky items.

(Wait a minute. Why is Christmas up front? What happened to Fall? Have we forgotten Thanksgiving? Did November get lost in the mix? Moved to the back of the store with the fruit chews?)

Retail-ambush ushers in an assortment of holiday have-to’s that easily overwhelm. The purchases, the décor, the pictures and parties that bring along other issues – like money for must-have’s. And other issues tend to bubble up around the holidays like relationships or circumstances that don’t quite match Norman Rockwell or a well-crafted and captioned Instagram pic.

But of all the year's holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas are two that at their core center on abundance and life, not overload. There’s no better time than now to get our eyes focused on Truth and grab a little soul-hydration for the Holidays. Because the key to hydration is hitting it before you’re thirsty.

Here are a few soul-hydration tips to practice today, so that when holiday intensity flairs our tanks are already filled. Then we can be free to do what the season celebrates: care for and love others.

Practice Kindness: In every situation, especially those laced with unnecessary rudeness – exemplified as if on cue when a driver laid on their horn at me walking in the parking lot – remember that there’s a person on the other side, a person who is likely dealing with tough situations. So, regardless of what someone dishes out, return a gentle response.

Forget FOMO: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) invites anxious thoughts to worry us into a race to keep up. Just say no. Kick comparison to the curb. And remember the person walking alongside could use a boost of loved-in since they likely feel left out.

Practice thankfulness TODAY: There’s probably a reason Thanksgiving is before Christmas – to help us focus (with gratitude) on all we already have rather than on what we could, would or should have. Then, when we’re tempted by all the holiday stuff, maybe we will be quick to reach for Truth rather than be duped by do-all, be-all and have-all pressures.

Get Perspective: In the midst of holiday (every day!) mad-dash, recognize that there is sacred in the ordinary. Relish regular so we don’t forget to live today’s day. We might miss something wonderful in the rush for tomorrow.

Practice Joy: Practicing joy that is established in provision (un-ending, exceedingly abundant, ultimate provision – the actual reason for the Christmas season) and that is anchored by faith, experienced through trust, can help us to see above the world’s chaos and quite possibly spot pockets of hope and peace.

Why not grab hold of some soul-hydration today – in the midst of information overload, unfettered discourse, expectations, heartache – so we can sing along tomorrow with honest hearts and true goodwill toward those traveling alongside, and maybe even ourselves.

Kay Wyma is a mom of five, blogger, vodcaster and author. Her latest book Not the Boss of Us: Putting Overwhelmed in its Place (Revell Books, 2018) contemplates being overwhelmed by Truth with all its hope and peace and joy rather than life’s pressures, stress & circumstances. Join the conversation at kaywyma.com.

Jon Gosselin gets temporary sole custody of son Collin after Kate Gosselin misses court

Jon Gosselin has been granted temporary sole custody of his 14-year-old son, Collin, a source tells ET.

A Pennsylvania judge made this decision without a hearing, the source says, adding that the reality star's ex-wife, Kate Gosselin, did not show up in court on Tuesday. According to the source, Kate can’t appeal temporary full custody, and no other issues were addressed today.

JON GOSSELIN GOES CHRISTMAS TREE SHOPPING WITH COLLIN IN ANOTHER RARE VISIT

The source says that all Jon cares about right now is Collin and enjoying the holiday with his family

A Pennsylvania judge made the decision on Tuesday after the reality star's ex-wife, Kate Gosselin, and her lawyer did not show up for the scheduled court appearance.

JON GOSSELIN HANGS WITH SON COLLIN IN FIRST VISIT IN THREE YEARS

Earlier this week, Kate had asked for the hearing to be postponed, but her request was denied, according to UsWeekly, who was first to report the news. ET has reached out to Jon and his lawyer for comment.

Jon saw Collin for the first time in three years last month when the teen, who has reportedly been enrolled in a schooling program for children with special needs, paid a visit home.

A source close to Jon told ET at the time that Collin was "doing great."

KATE AND JON GOSSELIN WISH TWINS MADY AND CARA A HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY

"It took a while to get here, but things are all coming together," the source added. "Jon just wants to have his family back, and live his life."

In addition to Collin, Jon and Kate also share 14-year-old sextuplets Hannah, Leah, Alexis, Joel and Aaden, and 18-year-old twins Cara and Mady.

How Angelina Jolie speaks to her kids about sexual violence

Angelina Jolie is an advocate for survivors of sexual violence, especially in war-torn areas — but the Oscar winner recognizes that a lot of progress has to begin at home.

Jolie, 43, founded the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict global initiative with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague in 2012.

The organization seeks to not just prevent sexual violence but to also erase the stigma that survivors face after rape and assault.

ANGELINA JOLIE DESCRIBES 'SOUL-DESTROYING' VISIT TO SYRIAN REFUGEE CAMP

"Sexual violence in conflict is still a taboo subject," Jolie told Marie Claire. "Female and male survivors, and children born of this rape, are often treated as if they are the ones who have done something wrong. They are rejected and stigmatized, while their attackers go unpunished. That’s what has to change, and breaking the taboo is part of that."

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The actress, who shares six children — three daughters and three sons — with ex-husband Brad Pitt, encourages open communication with her kids to educate them on sexual violence and how to prevent it.

ANGELINA JOLIE CONDEMNS MYANMAR VIOLENCE

"I don't just speak to my daughters," she advised. "I speak to them with their brothers. That is maybe the first most important distinction. This is not just a problem for women, and the solution is working with women and men. And girls and boys."

She explained, "Not only are men and boys also victims of these crimes, but those who are perpetrating these crimes need to have other men remind them what it really is to be a man. A man with a healthy relationship to women. And all societies need to be clear about not tolerating this behavior."

Jennifer Aniston says she wasn’t the ‘model child’ her mother wanted

Jennifer Aniston says her role as a pageant mom in her new Netflix movie "Dumplin'" is reminiscent of her own relationship with her late mother, Nancy Dow.

"One of the reasons I really loved the mother-daughter aspect of it was because it was very similar in a way to what my mother, and our relationship, was," Aniston, 49, told The Sunday Telegraph (via People).

JENNIFER ANISTON SLAMS RUMORS SHE CAN'T KEEP A MAN, MEDIA MISCONCEPTIONS AND HOLLYWOOD SEXISM

"She was a model and she was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like. I did not come out the model child she'd hoped for and it was something that really resonated with me, this little girl just wanting to be seen and wanting to be loved by a mom who was too occupied with things that didn't quite matter."

Dow passed away in 2016 at age 79.

Aniston and Dow had been estranged for years but reconciled shortly before Dow's passing.

The "Friends" star told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015, "She was critical. She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn't. I never was. I honestly still don't think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine."

She admitted that they'd gone years without speaking and also claimed that Dow "had a temper" and was "very unforgiving … she would hold grudges that I just found so petty."

JENNIFER ANISTON SAYS SHE COULDN'T STYLE 'THE RACHEL' HAIRCUT HER FRIENDS CHARACTER WORE

Still, Aniston is focusing on the positive message behind "Dumplin'."

"This movie is so special because it is about stripping away those preconceived notions of beauty, trying to become individuals and not feeling that we have to live up to some unrealistic ideal that society is feeding up to us," the preternaturally ageless star explained.

"My idea of beauty is, is what makes you feel beautiful and what makes me feel beautiful is the people around me, the life that I have. And maybe a good hair day."

‘Devotedly, Dad’: Special letters from my father, President George H.W. Bush

Editor's note: The following article was first published on FoxNews.com on June 14, 2014.

This week I nervously watched my 90-year-old father parachute from a plane in Kennebunkport, Maine. I guess I should not have been surprised.  He was the youngest pilot in World War II and now he is probably one of the oldest skydivers.

He has always been a risk-taker, brave and courageous in my eyes. Throughout his life, he never shied away from taking bold steps. Whether it was serving in the military or as president of the United States, my father wanted to greatly contribute to our nation and to lead effectively.

For my father, it was never so much about soaring rhetoric as it was about practicing what you preach. His truth was conservative values always started with family and friends.

Behind the strong and bold leader, lives a gentle giant — the most loving father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband. As my parents have entered their golden years, I have seen their love only deepen. He still views my mother as the most beautiful (and smartest) woman in the room.

Even as he worked tirelessly all these years, we always felt so loved by him. My parents’ love for us is the strong foundation of our family and has given each of us the courage to pursue our dreams.

While he can’t physically walk anymore, he continues to show me how to walk in ways that fully treasure each moment God gives us. He is also teaching me the beauty of aging gracefully and the importance of family.

I will never forget when he wrote: “I love you more than tongue can tell.”

His joyous and optimistic personality is contagious. My friends would tell me that “I was the luckiest person in the world,” because they all adored my dad. Whether it was going on picnics or leading games outside, my dad knew how to create quality time. He was never too busy for us.

Growing up, I always felt the love and support of my dad, even when he was not around. Although, as a public servant, my father spent a lot of time on the road, he always had time to write letters to each of his five children, his wife and his friends. He best expressed himself through the written word. To this day, I have kept his special letters, which he always signed “Devotedly, Dad.” I will never forget when he wrote: “I love you more than tongue can tell.”

His determined, kind and adventurous spirit is part of who I am today.  I am proud to continue the great work of my parents. My father has been an avid supporter of my mother’s and my efforts at expanding the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.  He is so proud of my mom and her work in promoting early learning and adult education, which includes teaching children and their parents how to read and write.

As the foundation’s co-chair, I have had the great fortunate of meeting families who share a passion for learning and want a better future for themselves and their children. Our programs help young children participate in early learning while their parents are able to go back to school and finish their education. It is a win-win formula for our families in need and our nation as a whole.

Our helpthemread.org campaign brings awareness to the 30 million Americans who cannot read or write at a basic level, and their inability to help their children learn to read.  The foundation is helping parents and their children learn to read and write. How wonderful when a parent with low-literacy skills succeeds in our program and is able to write a letter to their own child.

I hope every child can experience the joy of receiving a written letter from a mom, dad, grandparent or other family members. It is a special way to express one’s love for our children. I know that receiving a written letter from my dad was incredibly comforting and made me feel greatly loved.

For this Father’s Day, I encourage all dads to write a letter or read a favorite book to their child. Reading and writing are rewarding gifts that we can pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Doro Bush Koch, daughter of former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, is honorary co-chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Follow Doro on Twitter at @BarbaraBushFdn.

Leslie Marshall: Adoption found me, and my childhood dream came true

I always knew I would adopt. As a kid I watched “The Josephine Baker Story” on television and the fact that she adopted 12 children made a big impression on me. It was then, as just a child myself, that I decided I would someday adopt a child.

But somewhere along the way I forgot about that decision.

Years after my husband and I got married, since we had put our careers first, I finally asked him, “Are we ever going to have children?!” The very next day we started trying.

I got pregnant right away and miscarried soon after. Although I was devastated, I knew the odds of a woman having a miscarriage – 15 percent if you’re under 35, higher if you’re older.

I wasn’t discouraged. After all, I had gotten pregnant very quickly, and I come from women who had children when they were older. My grandmother had my uncle at 43 and my great-grandmother had my aunt at 51!

Getting pregnant a second time happened fast too, just a few months later. My doctor recommended I get bloodwork done because my father is Jewish and there are a number of genetic Jewish diseases that are carried among Ashkenazi Jews.

When the bloodwork came back, it was confirmed that I was a carrier of Canavan – a neurological disease very similar to Tay-Sachs disease. The doctor also informed me that my baby most likely would not have this horrific disease because my husband is not of Ashkenazi ancestry. He is of Indian-Muslim ancestry.

Months later during my ultrasound, the doctor saw something he didn’t like. He recommended that I have amniocentesis to either rule out or confirm what he suspected. I was hesitant. I was more than eight months pregnant at the time, and I knew this procedure could increase the chance of a miscarriage. But the doctor insisted.

Sadly, his suspicion was right. The baby did have Canavan. After much genetic testing and various labs working with our DNA, it was found that I carried the Ashkenazi Jewish mutation and my husband carried the Turkish mutation.

The baby died four days before I delivered it.

What followed was years of failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Eleven embryos were created – 100 percent of them had Canavan.

It was my brother who reminded me of my childhood dream. He said, “Leslie, don’t you remember, you always wanted to adopt one child and have one child?” Yes, I remembered.

I told my husband of my childhood dream to adopt and he was in agreement. But he had two requests: that the child look like him and that we adopt a little boy, a son. Now that might not sound like a tall order, but my husband is Indian, and the adoption agency quickly told me that I most likely would have to adopt from India because they had never experienced an Indian child being put up for adoption in the United States!

So we started our journey. We did all the paperwork, met with the social workers, had our fingerprints taken, background checks, physical exams, personal recommendations, etc., all to make our dream come true.

We went to India and visited orphanages in Andhra Pradesh, only to be told after traveling thousands of miles that there was a moratorium on adoption in that section of India. So then we traveled to Delhi, where we hired an adoption lawyer who ran off with our money and without helping us.

In Pune, we went to a Catholic orphanage. There was a room with over 20 babies – all male with the exception of one little girl. I looked at each of them and I told the nun, I don’t feel anything, how do I decide? She told me something I will never forget: “When you adopt a baby, you don’t find them, they find you.”

There were other obstacles to adopting from India as well. My husband was not born there, nor was I, and neither one of us is Hindu. That put us at the very bottom of the list. We were told it could take years to be able to adopt a baby; maybe it would never happen at all.

My husband and I went home empty handed and broken hearted.

Then one day, as we were thinking about where else babies might resemble my husband, I thought of Pakistan. My husband had volunteered with a humanitarian medical group a few years prior when Pakistan experienced an earthquake.

So I sat down at the computer and Googled “Americans adopting from Pakistan.” The word IMPOSSIBLE literally popped up on my screen. And I thought, nothing’s impossible!

After living in Pakistan for four months, we finally were able to bring our little boy home. That was 11 years ago and I can honestly say, he found us, and I am so, so glad he did.

After finding couples that had adopted from Pakistan through Yahoo groups, we embarked on yet another journey to become parents.

There is an organization called the Edhi Foundation. The Edhis are a very philanthropic family who are much like the Red Cross in Pakistan. Back then they had 19 orphanages (now there are more) where they encourage people not to throw away or kill their babies. Even now in 2018, hundreds of babies are found in the trash and dumpsters throughout Pakistan each year.

We filled out the paperwork and waited, and waited, and waited.

Then, while in London, we found out that Mrs. Edhi had an office there and was in town at the same time that we were. My husband and I stood in the rain outside of her office, yelling her name. Finally, she agreed to meet with us.

We pleaded our case to her and told her why we would make good parents. We asked her to consider us and to hopefully move our names from the bottom of the pile to the top. We also told her of my husband’s desire for a little boy, a son. She laughed. “Don’t you know this is a patriarchal society here? No one ever gives up little boys!”

I left feeling more discouraged.

Exactly three weeks after we met with Mrs. Edhi, on our 11th wedding anniversary, we received a phone call and were told: Your son was just born.

The things we had to go through in order to get our baby boy and bring him home could rival a Jason Bourne novel. But in brief: we got emergency Visas from the Pakistani consulate; flew 8,347 miles from Los Angeles to Karachi, Pakistan; met with military generals; emailed the president; waited outside a courthouse where terrorists were shooting judges; and couldn’t leave the country because politician Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated.

After living in Pakistan for four months, we finally were able to bring our little boy home. That was 11 years ago and I can honestly say, he found us, and I am so, so glad he did.

One last thing. We had one very fragile embryo still on ice. After a probe, we learned that it did not have the disease we carry. We went through IVF round number 13. And our little girl was born.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Leslie Marshall joined Fox News Channel as a contributor in 2009; providing analysis on both political and social issues from a liberal point of view. A nationally syndicated talk host, whose program, “The Leslie Marshall Show” can be heard on radio, stream, “Tune In,” “The Progressive Voices Radio Network,” and “The Armed Forces Radio Network.”

Will Smith opens up about difficult relationship with son Trey

Will Smith has a reputation as a family man, but his blended brood wasn't always close-knit.

The Oscar winner revealed in a heartfelt Instagram video on Tuesday that he and his oldest son Trey "struggled for years" after the "Men in Black" star divorced Trey's mother, Sheree Zampino, in 1995.

"So I'm in Abu Dhabi at the F1. I brought my son Trey. We been hanging and usually I take my kids separately on stuff just so they have their individual daddy time," a teary Smith, 50, said in the video. "So we've been doing this, me and him hanging out at the F1. And he just hit me with, 'You know what dad? I just realized you're not just my dad.' He paused and he said, 'I'm pretty sure you’re my best friend.'"

Smith sniffled and quipped, "I was like, ‘Whoo. Yeah, man. Probably. Probably."

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The "Aladdin" actor admitted in his caption, "We STRUGGLED FOR YEARS after my Divorce from his Mother. He felt betrayed & abandoned. It is a Wild Blessing to recover & restore a Loving Relationship with My Beautiful Son! @treysmith0011."

Smith began dating his current wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, while he and Zampino were separated, but not divorced, which Pinkett Smith later admitted she regretted.

Pinkett Smith, 46, and Will tied the knot in 1997, and the "Gotham" actress insists the couple will "never" divorce, despite oversharing about their previous marital discord.

"We are family," she said. "Take out all that whole marriage, relationship crap, at the end of the day, Will and I are family. I am going to hold him down, doesn't matter. All that relationship and what people think ideas of a husband, partner and all that, man, whatever. At the end of the day, that is a man that can rely on me for the rest of his life, period."

My daughter was horrified – and she was going to teach me a big lesson

“What is wrong with you?” my wife asked.

I was cranky, snippy, and easily annoyed – by her, by my daughters, by the universe. I knew why, but I didn’t want to talk about it.

“I’m fine,” I snapped back.

I wasn’t fine. I was panicking inside.

At the time, my wife and I had some big decisions to make and that afternoon, I started imagining everything that could go wrong.

The more I let my imagination run wild, the more my life felt out of control. So I found myself trying to get control over everything in the room — my toddlers, my wife, the counter space, the air conditioning – you name it.

In the midst of all this, it began thundering and lightning outside. This provoked my 3-year-old daughter to begin screaming in horror.

I tried to reason with her and my wife tried to comfort her, but it wasn’t working. Every time it thundered, my daughter cried out. At one point, she got so scared that she started aimlessly running through the house bawling.

Finally, we gave her a bath to calm her down, and it worked – for her. I was still anxious about the decisions we had to make in the coming year.

During my daughter’s goodnight prayers, I brought up her thunderstorm meltdown.

“Father,” I prayed, “please help Giselle trust me when it’s storming. Help her understand that I’m always close by and that she doesn’t have to be afraid of anything. Please help her believe me next time it thunders and I tell her it’s going to be okay.”

Suddenly, I paused and realized something: that was God’s prayer for me.

My daughter was a picture of my faithlessness, a picture of my inability to trust my Heavenly Dad, who was saying, “Calm down, son. You’re safe with Me. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I took a deep breath and sitting there in the dark next to my little girl’s bed, I prayed, “Father, would You please help me believe next time I hear the thunder?”

A few days later, we had another thunderstorm. This time, Giselle was nervous when it thundered, but overall she did okay – as long as I was close enough that she could run to me when she heard the rumble.

Five years later, Giselle doesn’t even notice the thunder anymore. At some point, she started believing me when I told her that it can’t hurt her. Everything always turned out all right. There was no need to worry.

There’s been a lot of thunder in my life since the prayer I prayed next to Giselle’s bed. Sometimes I run and look for a place to hide. Other times, I don’t even flinch. And every time – no matter what – Father God is there and I am safe.

Joshua Rogers is a writer and attorney who lives in Washington, D.C. You can follow Joshua on Twitter @MrJoshuaRogers and Facebook, and read more of his writing at JoshuaRogers.com. You can also subscribe to emails with updates about his writing.

Kate Upton, Justin Verlander announce birth of baby

It’s official: Supermodel Kate Upton and Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander are parents.

The couple announced Saturday via Instagram that Upton had given birth to a baby daughter, whose name is Genevieve Upton Verlander.

“Welcome to the world Genevieve Upton Verlander. You stole my (heart) the first second I met you!!!” the proud father wrote, adding Wednesday’s date to the message – suggesting that the child was born three days before the announcement.

The accompanying photo shows the hands of the new parents holding the tiny left hand of their new family member.

The new mom also posted to Instagram, with a photo of part of the baby’s face and her left hand.

Upton, 26, and Verlander, 35, announced in July that they were expecting a child. Verlander wrote on Instagram at the time: “You’re going to be the most amazing Mom!! I can’t wait to start this new journey with you! You’re the most thoughtful, loving, caring, and strong woman I’ve ever met! I’m so proud that our little one is going to be raised in this world by a woman like you! I love you so much.”

The couple, who began dating in 2014, were married in Tuscany, Italy, last November.

Upton is best known for several appearances in Sports Illustrated magazine’s annual swimsuit issue, and for movie and television roles.

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She drew attention from baseball fans during this year’s American League Championship Series between the Astros and Boston Red Sox when she commented online about a fan-interference play. The Red Sox went on to defeat her husband’s team and deny it of a World Series repeat.

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Right-handed starting pitcher Verlander is best known for leading the Astros to the team’s first World Series title in 2017, and for winning the American League’s MVP and Cy Young Awards in 2011, while a member of the Detroit Tigers.

The couple live in Florida during baseball’s off-season, but it was unclear Saturday exactly where their new daughter was born.

My daughter wants to get married – here’s the advice she never asked for

Most people dispensing marital advice either have great credentials or great marriages. After 19 years, my wife and I have a good enough relationship but I don’t think we’ll end up in the Marriage Hall of Fame. Also, I’m not a marriage counselor; nor do I play one on TV.

So who am I to say a word about marriage? Well, we’ve kept it together all this time and given our children a stable home. That must count for something. My oldest daughter is contemplating marriage, and since the last person she would turn to for advice is dear old Dad, I thought maybe some other folks could benefit from what I’ve learned along the way (and what I’d love to tell her).

The first rule of marriage, of course, is that there are no rules – every couple figures out what works for them. But if my daughter asks, there are a few commonalities to successful relationships that I would share.

Number one: in most cases, couples that divorce had pretty much the same problems as couples that stay together. It’s just that the latter group decided to stick around and try to work things out. After all, any problems you don’t resolve in your first marriage you’re likely to recreate in the next, and the next, and the one after that.

Second guidepost: if it’s important to you, it’s Important to me.

If your spouse likes fly fishing, or skydiving, or Beethoven, it doesn’t mean you have to put on waders or a parachute or the Ode to Joy.

It does mean that if your spouse wants to talk about what he or she is passionate about, listen passionately, not passively.  Don’t judge, don’t criticize, don’t be a downer, and above all, don’t point out that it’s a waste of time and money.

If it doesn’t violate your values or put your life at risk, then maybe learning to fly fish or appreciate the Appassionata isn’t the worst idea.

Parachuting? You’re on your own.

Third, get help before you realize you need it. Tiger Woods has a swing coach, and all he does is hit golf balls. Marriage is infinitely harder than winning the Masters (just ask him), and yet most people think they can just figure it out on their own. 

If you aren’t seeking to improve your relationship skills, you’re probably just diminishing them. There are plenty of great books, therapists, weekend seminars and other tools for tightening your game. Marriage vows, like babies, do not come with an instruction manual.

Fourth, the first three to five minutes when you walk in the door belongs to your spouse – not to your kids, not to technology, not to the fridge and certainly not to your parents. It’s the two of you against the world. Having that face-to-face check-in time is invaluable, especially when children arrive with their unique ability to turn their parents from lovers into roommates.

Fifth, don’t argue – just discuss. Never, ever call your partner names. And if there’s physical violence, get out immediately and take the kids with you. Remember also that when you’re arguing, you are simply standing up for your unconscious, unwritten rules about how people should behave, while your partner is doing the same for his or her rules. So remember you’re not really arguing with your partner – you're just debating rules. 

Next time, before you start defending one of your rules to the death, stop and ask just how important it is to you. Here’s why arguing doesn’t work – if you win, you lose. If you tie, you lose. And if you lose, you absolutely lose.

Above all, remember that people aren’t forever, that you, your spouse, and ultimately your children will never be this young again. Treasure the moments, because you never know what’s coming down the pike.

And If my daughter happens to read this, I hope she doesn’t judge her dad too harshly. He was always doing the best he could to help keep things on the right track, and in marriage, that counts for a lot.

Michael Levin is an author who runs michaellevinwrites.com, a national book ghostwriting firm. His video podcast, The Manifesto, can be seen on the new PikMobile App.