First 30 Days Blog

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Is Your Relationship Normal?


Here’s an inspiring story you won’t want to miss!

I was at the 2008 Women’s Conference in Long Beach listening to Ariane de Bonvoisin talk about her book, The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier, which focuses on change and taking risks. She talked about what keeps people from making changes in their lives. I had the biggest “AH HA” moment while listening to her. I related to everything she was saying! Ariane said, “Do you wake up and look at the man or woman next to you and think is this really who I am to spend the rest of my life with? Do you think I’m not happy in my relationship and this is not how I pictured it? Month after month, year after year, you stay just stay content without changing your life or marriage to a healthier/happier place. Do you have a dream that you think about and never do anything about?” There were thousands of people in the room and I felt like it was just me and her.

After listening to Ariane and buying her book, I made changes in my life. The most difficult and biggest changes imaginable- I told my husband and kids I was not happy in our relationship. I explained I wasn’t happy for quite some time and I couldn’t let it go on another day. The normal we created was not want I wanted for me, us, or the kids. I told my family that either my husband or myself needed to move out and we needed counseling. It got real ugly and it didn’t go well at first. It wasn’t like we had the money to afford two places to live, but I didn’t care, I knew it was what I had to do. I stayed strong listening to Ariane’s voice in my head and stuck to what I believed was best for me and my family. I moved out and we split the time between the kids. I opened up with all the issues I had and my unhappiness in the relationship. Turns out my husband wasn’t happy either! After over a year of living a part, I would reread The First 30 Days and rerun Ariane’s talk in my head, then turned a very difficult change into a VERY positive one.

I figured other women and men around the world stay in relationships questioning what is normal and maybe what they have is normal or as good as it gets, therefore they stick it out. But, what if it could be better with the person you are with or with somebody else? I wanted to cross compare singles and couples around the world to see how we all compare in relationships by demographics, ethnics, ages, religions, values, and so on. Where are we the same? Where are we different? What is normal in today’s society and more importantly how to we all get to a healthier normal? How does the media effect what our perception of normal is? Do my single friends miss out on a relationships because what they think is normal doesn’t even exist?

Then it clicked for me. Change is not only good but it’s a natural part of life. The normal that my husband and I were living was not good enough any longer. With this in mind I told my husband our normal was changing for both of us and we needed to renegotiate our normal. Thankfully he listened and wanted to give this change a try. I created a life changing exercise that brought us back together. This exercise made us stronger and we are more in love than ever! More importantly, we are both extremely happy, which means for happier kids too!

I decided to take this concept global — a dream of mine. As Ariane talks about, life has no barriers! I pitched one of Oprah’s relationship experts via email, Dr. Pepper Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz quickly signed onto my concept and joined me in my journey to gather data. People love to compare their relationship against their peers, why not give it to them! I’m setting out to raise the bar and in a fun way change the world to a healthier normal.

Dr. Schwartz and I partnered with two Universities to assist in the data gathering and Reader’s Digest. My interactive survey is on the Reader’s Digest home page and in the May issue of Reader’s Digest (80 million readers globally). is also sponsoring my efforts!

Not only did Ariane’s book and talk at the 2008 Women’s Conference get me to take one of the biggest risks of my life. She saved my marriage, my family, and inspired me to put myself out there and make a difference to other people around the world! Thank you Ariane de Bonvoisin!

Please check out (the Normal Meter) or It’s a fun and entertaining short interactive survey. You will instantly find out how you compare to people around the world. For singles and people in relationships!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Chrisanna Northrup on April 30th, 2010 in Family, Personal Stories, Relationships | 1 comments Read related posts in

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  • Just waking up them, checking out their necessities, having an eye on their diet, or introducing them to good habit will make them realize that you care for them.
    Simple things make life beautiful and happier. Watch the sunset together or walk together in moonlight- these inexpensive gifts will give your partner priceless happiness. Love your partner unconditionally and you won’t need any relationship problem advice.

    — Added by Kristain77 on June 3rd, 2010

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