Mar 2013

Are you destined for divorce?

I recently got back from Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within.  I walked on fire, danced my ass off, had breakthrough after breakthrough and spent time with some wonderful people including Nisha Moodley, Mastin & Jenna from the Daily Love, Zain Meghji of How to Look Good Naked Canada and Melanie Woodrow of The Doctors.

If you haven’t gone to this event, GO! It really will change your life.

The other night Jonathan and I were having dinner with some friends and the topic of divorce came up.  The general consensus was:

“I mean, 50% of marriages end up in divorce, anything could happen.”

Jonathan and I gave each other a squeeze, as we talk about this topic a lot.

“I actually believe divorce is a choice” I said. “And not when things have gotten so bad that you’re staring at a perfect stranger ready to pack your bags, but starting the day you get married, and every day for the rest of your life.”

In my opinion, this idea of “anything could happen” is why the divorce rate is so high.  There’s this idea that once you get married you can kick back and relax.  And if you naturally feel attracted to each other, have a lot of sex and get along, then awesome – it’s just because of who you are.

And if there’s no passion, you fight a lot and you’re constantly pissed that your partner isn’t driven enough, it means maybe you weren’t the right match after all, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I see so many couples just let things happen.  And if you have to put in any effort it means that something is inherently wrong. Those couples are not very happy.

When it comes to my relationship, I don’t believe that anything could happen, I believe that I will be in a passionate, loving and exciting relationship with Jonathan until the day we die.  Not just because he’s awesome, but because we put in the work everyday to make sure that’s gonna happen.

And it starts with choice.

First, you gotta choose the right guy.  How do you know?  You just do, get honest with yourself.  I see a lot of women choose a guy who’s like a Ranch style house, when they really want a Victorian.  They think that they can make their Ranch into a Victorian but it just starts to look like a fun house.  You can turn a Ranch into a really great Ranch with a new roof and refurbished cabinets, but no matter what you do, you’re not gonna get a Victorian.  Make sure the foundation and the bones are right for you and what kind of life you want.  And if you’re committed to working on the house, make sure they are too.  All I’m gonna say is, it matters A LOT who you marry.

Then you gotta choose what kind of relationship you’re gonna have.  One of my VIP clients was telling me this week that she was missing her boyfriend because they haven’t been seeing each other much recently, and things were starting to feel a little flat. I asked her, “how are you going to get the spark back?”

As soon as I said it, I corrected myself, “F**k the spark, how are you going to create a f**king bonfire. How can you make the next two weeks the most epically romantic two weeks of your life?”

Tweet it? “When it comes to relationships, f**k the spark. How’re you gonna make a bonfire?” @sarahejenks

We had a blast brainstorming ideas like making him breakfast in bed, taking off on a roadtrip for the weekend, making sure candles, sexy lingerie and perfume make a regular appearance.  We talked about listening more, kissing more and holding hands.  We talked about buying gifts and going on dates.

Does this take effort?  Sure.  But so does fighting all the time and paying for lawyers fees.

And of course creating a bonfire isn’t always easy, especially when we have obstacles like work, kids and other responsibilities.

But let me tell you a story…

When I was in high school I did this program called ‘Junior Maine Guide’ which was a wilderness survival training course that lasted all summer.  The test for this course was a 5-day camping trip in upstate Maine during which I took about 30 written and practical tests to make sure I had the chops to keep a group of people alive in the wilderness.

The hardest and most dreaded test was the “wet day fire”.  In order to pass the test we had to take a wet cedar log (yes, soaked for 15 minutes), chop it up with an axe, shave off pieces for kindling, set up a can filled with water hanging over the fire pit, build and light the fire (we only had 5 matches) and get the water in the can to bowl over – all in under 20 minutes. No newspaper, no lighter fluid, no help.  Just a wet log, my axe (which I had named Angel) and my knife.

Credit: Kristen Kaiser

So I started this test already setup to fail because my log was wet, but I knew that if I could just chop away the outside layer, the core of my log was high quality dry wood, perfect for a fire (you see where I’m going with this?).  Once I had chopped up the log, I took some of the dry wood – turned it into kindling, and built a fire around my little can of water.  I lit the small shavings of wood and things started to catch. I was pumped, the larger pieces started to flame. It was working.

Then it started to rain.  I realized in that moment that I could either give up, I mean anything could happen, I can’t control the rain.  Or I could give it my all and create a f**king bonfire.

So I started blowing as hard as I could.  I gave that fire so much oxygen that even the rain that was starting to come down hard couldn’t put it out.  After a few minutes the pieces that were the outer layers of my wet log started to dry out because I was keeping them near the fire, and I was able to use them for more fuel.

But then I started to feel like I was going to pass out from blowing so hard, and that’s when the young women who were there taking the test with me gathered around and started chanting “boil. boil. boil. boil.”

With the added energy of my sisters at my back, I found a second wind and kept going.

At 19 minutes and 27 seconds my can boiled over.  It was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.  Not because getting water to boil is anything special, but because I proved to myself that even when I’m at a disadvantage, and unforeseen obstacles pop up, as long as you have some good material, power and a group of awesome women to cheer you on, I can make anything happen.

It’s easy to assume that the fire in our relationship will just stay alive on it’s own, and when obstacles come along (like a demanding time at work, or a sick child) we should just give up, or take a break. But that’s when it’s the most critical time to give it all you got.  Our romantic relationship is the most important part of our lives.  It is the foundation of our families, our career, our health and our happiness.  Without the heat, everything loses energy.

If your career is falling apart, look at where your relationship is falling apart.  If your body is lethargic and you’re pounding sugar to stay awake, look at where your relationship is slowing down.  If your kids feel uneasy, look at where your relationship can be more solid.

My invitation to you is to choose to create not just a spark in your relationship, but a bonfire.  All you need is some good wood (haha), a match and a whole lot of blowing.

And make sure you share with us in the comments on the blog how you’re gonna feed the flames so we can all cheer you on.

And if you’re single ask yourself: if a man was walking down the beach at night, and there were 99 women sitting in the sand holding a lighted match, and 1 women’s making a bonfire, who do you think he’s gonna go hang out with?

You deserve an epically romantic relationship.  I can’t wait to hear how you’re gonna make it happen.  Let us know in the comments below.



P.S. If you’re feeling completely lost in this area and don’t even know where to start, I’m going to be sharing with you an awesome free training in a few weeks that’s going to give you even more advice and support around this topic, so keep an eye out.

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  • Sarah, love how you upped the ante because, for pete’s sake, who doesn’t want a bonfire???!

    I kept thinking that the all-out passion that’s on vacation from my relationship right now is because of my husband. Oh how wrong I am.

    I’m reading Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin and just got done the chapter on Marriage. You are SO on the money with starting with yourself (myself). I’m the keeper of the match, the kindling, and the oxygen in my relationship. It’s time to light it up.

    I’m starting with the S-factor DVD that I got courtesy of Nisha + the Freedom Mastermind two weeks ago. And moving into candlelit dinners, praise like crazy, dusting off the lingerie, a wild date night, and lots and lots of PDAs!

    Also adding in regular lipstick, sexy outfits that I FEEL amazing in, and shaving my legs. Because when I FEEL sexy, the bonfire catches that much easier.

    Also, UTPW just moved to my abso-effing-lutely list this year.


    • Sarah Jenks

      HELL FUCKING YES! This is awesome Sara. It absolutely starts with you and your hubs won’t know what hit him. When we can dive in head first, the men (the good men) always follow. Keep it cookin. xox

  • Great advice, I loved the idea that if our business, relationship with kids and weight isn’t the way we want it, we should look at our relationship with our husbands. And I tend to neglect mine… thanks for the tips, I need to make some changes that I always think about but never implement, like “date night” once a week, and showing more love every day 🙂

    • Sarah Jenks

      Amazing Lena, so glad you’re on board. Definitely plan something in the next 48 hours. I want you to really take action. xoxo

  • Christelle

    I already planned a little bike trip through golden gate park and ocean beach this weekend with my partner. But this article inspired me to be a bit more romantic, and i think i am gonna get candles and some kind of small flowers that i can lay on the beach… It will be an amazing sunset!

    • Sarah Jenks

      I love that Christelle! Let us know how it goes. xox

  • Hi Sarah! Awesome post and story. For us single ladies, do you have any good tips for creating that “bonfire” without being in a relationship? What would this look like? Thanks!!

    • Sarah Jenks

      Great question. Have as much fun as possible! Concentrate on doing things that light you up, and get out of the house. If you’re having fun, and are totally in love with yourself, you’re gonna be a frickin magnet. To me, it’s really that simple.

  • Great post, Sarah! loved the story 🙂

    I’m not married, but this part definitely got my attention “All I’m gonna say is, it matters A LOT who you marry.” Yikes!

    • Sarah Jenks

      It’s true Sarah. Build that bonfire and he will come:)

      • Michelle S.

        Sarah, this is brilliant- “if a man was walking down the beach at night, and there were 99 women sitting in the sand holding a lighted match, and 1 women’s making a bonfire, who do you think he’s gonna go hang out with?” It’s so true. I think another good point, is how building the bon fire empowers and uplifts the woman in the relationship. If I could stand holding a match or stand next to a giant, blazing bon fire, I’d definitely want to be standing next to the bon fire. I’d be proud & empowered to know that I was able to create something so amazing. Great post, thanks!

  • Thank you for this today.

  • YES!!!! YES!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t think I can say YES enough. I just celebrated my 6th year of partnership with my hubs!!! We have this conversation all the time (since most of our friends are married and NOW divorced). The conversation started out something like how can we ensure this wont happen to us and now it has moved to FUCK no, we create this partnership everyday…. Not society, not what if”s, not “anything can happen”… We intentionally create it moment by moment! Thank you for posting this!!!! People need to read more blogs like this on marriage, partnerships, friendships, family…any place you are in relation with others! Just like you choose to create your life and who you are…. Your marriage and relationships are NO different!!!! So much love!!! Xoxoxoxo


    • Sarah Jenks

      YES!!! Woo woo! Thanks Kimberly, psyched to know youre making this a hot priority. Love to you!

  • your right girl thank you for that advise

  • Sarah I love this! Divorce is one of the things I am MOST passionate about! I love your line “But that’s when it’s the most critical time to give it all you got” I LOVE that!! And honestly, it’s something I kinda needed to hear right now. And mad props on being a junior Maine guide! I’ve lived in northern Maine my entire life and I’d probably never make it through that! Haha! I can’t wait to get to a Tony Robbins event in the near future! 🙂

  • DogMomOf4

    Being a young(ish) person in a 20 year relationship (YIKES!), I can only affirm this is something that you must work at all the time. It takes effort, but not necessarily “work”. There are good times and bad times. And yes, divorce is definitely a choice….one that I will NEVER make.

  • Man, this is such a fantastic post.
    I love you how you have such a BIG spirit and so much FIRE in you!
    And how you consciously create that!
    What a powerhouse!
    An inspiration that we can always strive and create our very own bonfire 🙂 YES!

  • alina

    what do you mean, specifically, when you think that women pick a ‘ranch’ when they want a ‘victorian’? what do you think most women’s ‘ranch’ is? is it picking a cute guy when they really want a kind one, or do you think it’s being okay with a kind guy being not that cute when they really want a cute one?

  • Niamh

    Thank you sooo much for this! I just LOVE it! I wholeheartedly agree. It’s such a refreshing change to hear this. You’ve inspired me all over again. You’ve given me my second wind!

    Thanks Sarah!


  • OMG. I love your blogs Sarah… Only you can make me cry sitting in the subway by telling the story how you boiled water… Oh my…
    Thank you so much. Always waiting for your newsletters 🙂

  • Barb

    Sarah, I am soooo excited to do this! I actually took a self defense class yesterday and signed up to do more! Just for me! 🙂
    Thank you for starting this!

  • Michelle

    When I came across this blog, my first thought was “Oh thank God! This is exactly what I was looking for.” Now as a person who is struggling to get in the right frame of mind/energy, I REALLY appreciate the tips and ideas.

  • Lynn

    I have been wrestling with the decision to get a divorce since I got married. See, I married a man that would help me get by until I could get my degree. As the years went by, I had to help him get by. He is a good man but we have nothing in common. I feel like I have grown as a person, both spiritually and mentally, but he chooses not to engage in anything. He hasn’t even read a book since he graduated high school! I have four children,my baby is entering his last year of high school. My children know that things are not good. What do I do to help my children get through this. I don’t think there’s hope if you have Never been in love to begin with. My friends call it an arranged marriage. Help!

    • Hi, Lynn- this is such a brave share- thank you so much for reaching out. I would invite you to look within and get in touch with your inner feelings and truest desires. If you can just take a moment while you’re reading this to close your eyes and connect with what you would want to get out of this or any relationship- what you really want for your life. Think of all the things- happiness, joy, connection, adventure or whatever it is. Now from that place, what actions are you willing to take in service of that? Listen to what your intuition is saying- sit with your desires today and give yourself time to be with the feelings. Then, I believe you should reach out to those girlfriends you have for additional support as you navigate this. Sending you so much love, xo

Sarah Jenks

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