A few weeks ago, I introduced you to Kenny Luck, who had important information for men to consider as they strive to succeed in their role as husbands. Today, it's time to look at the other half of the marriage equation and focus on some tips for wives to consider. My source for these tips is Debbie Taylor Williams, who will be giving a seminar in our area on Saturday. I'll be back with some details about that event, but first let's look at an excerpt from her book, "The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World: What to Do When Life Doesn't Go According to Plan." By the way, Debbie writes from a decidedly Christian point of view, but I believe all will find wisdom and sound information in what she has to share.

Moving beyond Prince Charming

Most women grow up with fairy tales. Cinderella and Snow White captivate our minds and thrill our hearts. We don't focus on the ashes or apples. We focus on the kiss. The Prince Charming kiss that awakens our hearts. I'm not sure why we're mesmerized by Prince Charming. However, I remember my wide-eyed amazement at how the prince made everything right that had been wrong. And he did it with a kiss. Yes, he might have to slay a few dragons, but that was minor compared to the magical moment when his lips touched Sleeping Beauty.

Of course, little girls grow up. Graduating from Cinderella and Snow White, I soon found myself immersed in Barbie dolls. Beautiful, blonde, perfectly shaped Barbie dolls. Needless to say, you'd not find a hint of cellulite on Barbie or one of her girlfriends. Then there was Ken. Delicious, delectable, Ken. Tall, dark, and handsome. Rich. Great clothes. The guy to go to the ball with. That's who I wanted to marry. Of course, you did, too.

Of all the role models and images, I wonder why some toy company couldn't have created a nice, noble, Carrie Doll. She would have been a nurse who cared for the sick and poor. Her shape would have been more realistic. Maybe she could have had a wart on her nose and had plump thighs. A little pouch on her tummy would have been appropriate. Perhaps her Prince Charming could have been a wounded vet in a wheel chair. She would have been such a noble soul we all would have wanted to be like her.

The truth, however, is that we were raised with Cinderella and Barbie. We were raised with certain expectations gleaned from books, movies and our own imaginations.

What was the Plan A for your life? How did you envision it? Were you certain you'd pursue the career of your dreams? Did you feel certain "the first kiss" would tell you if you'd found your true love? Was a certain size home, number of children, pets and car all in your imagined future?

After working with women for more than 35 years, I can assure you that you're not the only one who has felt that "happily ever after" was for others, not for you. Suffice it to say, it's not uncommon for wives to experience disappointment in their lives.

What do we do, then? Do we throw the Barbie doll out with the bath water? Do we raise our daughters and sons to set low standards, to not expect anything good? Hardly!

Rather, we can examine ourselves to see if through the disappointments we have allowed certain "land mines" to become planted in our minds. If so, rather than letting the "land mines" blow, we can defuse them so they don't hurt us, our children, or our marriage. Which of the following might be a "land mine" in your mind that is affecting your marriage?

· Expectations

· Imaginations

· Discouragement

· Fear

· Bitterness

· Shaken Faith

· Fixation on the Past

If any of the above are negatively affecting your marriage, there is hope. Plan B "bad" can become Plan B, "better." And, with God's help, you might even be surprised with Plan B "blessings."

Four Corners Woman2Woman Conference

I find myself in total agreement with Debbie that problems in marriage are often linked to faulty thinking from the head and/or heart. Unfortunately, many are unaware of this so they end one marriage only to get into another — usually with the same predictable negative outcome.

You can get more information about Debbie and her advice for women at her website, www.debbietaylorwilliams.com. I'm pleased to say she will also be my guest on TWOgether as ONE tomorrow at 6 p.m. on KLJH 107.1FM.

And, lastly, Debbie will be presenting at the Four Corners Woman2Woman Conference on Saturday at Cross Roads Community Church. She will be sharing more from her book, "The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World," including how to defuse the land mines she mentioned. Her book is also available at various book-seller outlets.

I know Debbie to be a vibrant woman with a message of encouragement and hope to share. Others who have heard her in person are thrilled that she is coming to our community. More information about the conference is available at 505-325-2600.

Nobody ever said marriage is easy, but I am totally convinced that if men and women were each to learn how to better fulfill their end of the marital bargain — instead of expecting their spouse to carry the load — marriage could be far easier and very happy and fulfilling.

Ron Price is the co-founder and executive director of the Four Corners Coalition for Marriage & Family, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to strengthening and equipping marriages and families in the Four Corners area. He can be reached at 505-327-7870.