Designer Marriage

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Designer Marriage

A Study Guide and a Seminar of Fun and Enlightenment

by Heather Carlile

Six Modules for Designing Your Relationship:

  1. Knowing Our Unique Needs
  2. Deep Friendship
  3. Emotional Intimacy
  4. Romantic Partnership
  5. Mature Love
  6. Relationship Styles

Dear Friends,

Heather and JackOver the years of working as a Marriage Counselor, I created many materials to help couples learn quickly for practical application immediately. I finally assembled these gems into my Designer Marriage Study Guide. When you work with me privately, on the telephone, online or in classes. I provide these to help you improve your relationship into a Designer Marriage – a relationship and mutual lifestyle which is designed by you, for  you!

My husband Jack and I invite you to join us for our next Designer Marriage seminar or for our next Relationship Cruise!

We’ll be scheduling another one soon. Just give me a call or send me an email!

16 Components Create a Designer Marriage –

YOUR Design!

View the 16 components which make up my Designer Marriage Model below. How many do  you have? How many have you found yourselves neglecting?

Knowing Our Needs examines your original relationship script from your family traditions and helps you clarify the basis of your personality style with its core needs and values in an intimate relationship. Using the Carlile Marriage Model, you’ll assess what you need in order to fill all areas of your marriage inside and outside of the relationship.

Deep Friendship is built on communication and familiarity. In this section, we discuss the importance of valuing each others’ hopes and dreams and the paramount skill of listening. We learn how the Bunny and Rabbit Ya’But Game sabotages communication and what to do instead. We provide agendas for marriage meetings and teach how to replace defense patterns with safe complaints.

Emotional Intimacy requires a passionate and respectful attitude. Emotional intelligence and self-regulation are necessary for the trust and vulnerability possible in a mature relationship. Unregulated emotions, conflict avoidance and toxic negativity can destroy intimacy. This class gives guidelines and descriptions to avoid the five eschelons of frustration, how to fight nice and how to use anger as a constructive force.

Romantic Partners are masters of admiration, affection and adoration. They are skilled with the art of romance by having skills such as soothing each other, knowing their partners love languages and creating special dates. We teach the chemistry of sex and how to avoid accumulating the detriments to a lasting and expanding love life.

Love and Happiness, at its mature level of intensity, requires vulnerability which comes only with adulthood and authenticity.  Romantic love expressed with spiritual reverence and complete honesty is for adults only because of the requisite deep self-knowledge, good-will and unconditional acceptance. This class teaches the seven practices of love for grown-ups.

Relationship Style is a direct expression of how you choose to design your marriage. Here we learn how romantic best friends date, have a mutually-satisfying division of labor and are in accord as parents. One of the chief art forms in a Designer Marriage is in creating your special roles and rituals. We will help you cultivate your traditions and develop your social style.

“Every year we learn more about how to help couples become romantic best friends.
Best friends communicate freely and completely; they’re a team in solving problems.
Romantic partners enjoy affection, intimacy and flirting.”
-Heather Carlile

The Seven Symbols of Marriage Wedding Gifts

One of my hobbies is gift-giving.

SEVEN SMALL SYMBOLS: And, since I am a devoted Marriage Counselor, weddings are very special to me. I wanted to acknowledge the wedding of one of my girlfriends with a special gift. And, I came up with the idea of creating a present with symbolic meaning. It turned into seven small gifts which represented the seven elements of a great marriage. If I can, I will continue the colors used in the wedding events. Here are a couple of examples to inspire you for designing a special way to honor couples close to you.

MESSAGE AND PHOTO: When you wish to give a special gift for a wedding, a renewal of vows or an anniversary, you can print the short messages below and wrap them along with each of the symbolic gifts. I usually photograph the individual gifts but, if I have limited time, I just take a photo of the objects before I wrap them. Then, I use the photo on the gift card and gift tags.

WRAPPING: I like to start with a large crystal bowl and insert the smaller gifts in its large box. Or, sometimes, it’s a stack of individually-wrapped boxes tied together with a sturdy satin ribbon. I hope this makes a delightful surprise for your loved ones.

Abundance – The Vase, Bowl or Chalice
Your marriage commitment represents the sacred abundance which is naturally refilled to overflowing with the infinite supply of life, opportunities, wealth, health and love. “Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level.” ~Eileen Caddy. With such confidence you share endless enthusiasm for life…freedom and aliveness.

Time – The Clock
The minutes and hours you spend together grow your friendship and your romance. Marriage requires the most precious, irreplaceable part of life…time. With the power of time we grow and change. We attain the capacity for self-knowledge, strengthened character, passionate feelings and a new magnitude of intelligence and wisdom. “Memory is the mother of all wisdom.” ~ Aeschylus. With time, we love even more deeply.

Love – The Heart, Heart Wine Glasses, Heart Candleholders
This crystal heart and the rings you have exchanged represent the unending fount of love a man and a woman become for each other. “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ~Robert A. Heinlein. Love binds you in reverent trust, faithful commitment, affectionate friendship and tender adoration in your relationship, your home and your community. Love lies in your souls and lives in your marriage.

Pleasure – The Chocolate, Massage Oil or Bubble Bath Salts
This chocolate and your loving kisses are a symbol of the ever consumed and consumable sensual pleasures of La Dolce Vita when lovers relish the scent, savor, sex and sound for the delicious fun of romance which evaporates in the present moment. The novel, the new, the exciting, the arousing inspire intimacy and romance. “We turned on one another deep, drowned gazes, and exchanged a kiss that reduced my bones to rubber and my brain to gruel.” ~Peter De Vries. The Sweet Life comes with relishing pleasures.

Passion – The Wine, Champagne, Sparkling Cider
This champagne and the food and drink you share represents the desire for one another which bonds two hearts for a lifetime through intensity, feeling, gratitude, festivity and blessings. “Wine gives courage and makes men apt for passion.” ~Ovid. We toast the caring heart with its ability for sadness, joy, laughter and awe. We drink to each other, we nourish each other and passion is fed for a lifetime.

Creativity – The Music
The music you play is a symbol of the food of love which sparkles in each soul as the art of living. You design your marriage with your taste for the senses, the shared times, private talks and personal space. “… Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You create your relationship with the art of playful endearments, happy surprises, intimate gifts, aesthetic poetry, beautiful moments and private getaways.

Spirit – The Candles
Lighting these candles is a symbol of the fire between twin souls which is everlasting and which makes them, united, a light unto the world. The spirit of gratitude, forgiveness, devotion, courage and joy drive the power of your desire for each other and your marriage. “Neither sex, without some fertilization of the complimentary characters of the other, is capable of the highest reaches of human endeavour.” ~Jean Paul Sartre. Together, you provide spiritual gifts for the earth such as the children of your minds and bodies and the service of your combined spirits. The spirit of your marriage shines wherever you travel in life’s journeys.

The Seven Symbols of Marriage by Heather Carlile


  1. Where do you address and teach the financial aspect of a relationship since finances is the number one cause of divorce

    • Thanks for your question, Teddye.
      Yes, money, spending, saving and finances are foundational to all of us and, of course, to a marriage and a family.
      I haven’t spoken to this on my website yet. But, since you ask, I will make that my topic on the Red Room next Wednesday, January 12th.
      And, research now shows that the number one cause for divorce is avoidance of conflict…not finances. However, solving conflicts about how you behave with money can be so challenging that people avoid getting to how it works best for them. As we’ve all heard, something brushed under the carpet isn’t really gone, it’s just waiting.

    • And, yes, Teddye, “Financial Stability” is one of the components of a Designer Marriage – in No. 2 of 16 components. So that’s part of the first elements necessary for a couple to find happiness together!

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