TIME relationships

Utah Woman Seeks World Record for Most Wedding Bouquet Catches

The irony, of course, is that Jamie Jackson is still single

If wedding bouquet-catching were an Olympic sport, a special spot would be reserved for Jamie Jackson at the top of the podium.

The 37-year-old Salt Lake City, Utah, woman has been to more than 80 weddings, catching the bridal bouquet a record 46 times, edging out other single women in the room like a defensive back intercepting a touchdown pass.

The irony, of course, is that Jackson is still single.

“I’ve pretty much crushed that ‘next-to-be-married’ myth,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ve had boyfriends, sure. But I’m liking the single life. Besides, if I were married, I’d have to give up my favorite sport.”

Read the rest of the article at People.com


See Photos of Love and Courtship in 1950s Japan

As Western influence took hold in Japan, dating and mating were no exception—and LIFE captured the country during a moment of change

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl get married, buy a house and have (on average) 2.2 children. This may have been a common story for heterosexual couples in America in the 1950s, but when LIFE dispatched John Dominis to capture love and marriage in post-war Japan, he found a landscape undergoing a significant transformation.

Before the war, most marriages in Japan were arranged by the bride’s and groom’s parents. Men and women rarely spent much time together prior to the wedding, let alone took part in anything that might qualify as “dating.” But during the Allied occupation of Japan—from the end of World War II until 1952—the ubiquity of the American soldier’s courtship rituals jump-started the Westernization of love and marriage in Japan.

Whether accompanied by their visiting wives, Japanese girlfriends or prostitutes known as “pan pan girls,” American soldiers modeled the behavior they knew from home: public displays of affection and leisure time spent with women at cafés, parks or the movies. And inside those movie theaters, American movies offered even more examples of Western mating rituals to a Japanese public at once hesitant and intrigued by the bold behaviors of their American counterparts.

In his photographs—which never ran in LIFE—Dominis captured a moment when the new had caught on, but the old had not yet been forgotten. The young couples he photographed in 1959 were living on the edge of modernity, but still holding onto many of the the traditions long followed by their culture.

Notes written by Dominis and someone who appears to be an assistant that accompanied the dozens of rolls of film he shot provide insight into the song and dance (sometimes literal) in which the young lovers engaged. Some met by chance, others in settings tailor-made for matchmaking.

One of these settings was the “Shibui” dance, run by a man of the same name. For $2.50, young men and women could attend a night of dinner and dancing with the express purpose of introducing eligible bachelors to single young women. Upon arrival, new members bowed to one another and offered the greeting “yoroshiku,” described as “a very loose greeting which is used to fit any situation and in this case meaning ‘I hope I can find a mate among you.’” During dinner, partygoers were expected to “learn proper manner of eating western food.” If a young man found a young woman intriguing, he was not allowed to leave with her. Instead, he would tell Mr. Shibui, who would then arrange a date if the feelings were mutual.

One young couple, Akiksuke Tsutsui and Chiyoko Inami, met when Chiyoko, who worked at a bank in the same building as Akiksuke’s father’s clothing shop, began frequenting the shop during breaks. When Akiksuke brought Chiyoko to meet his family—after several outings to the beach, cafés, beer halls and department stores—his siblings welcomed her in ways that reflected the changing times. His younger brother showed off his Western knowledge by demonstrating how to swing a baseball bat and singing a rockabilly song. His sisters, meanwhile, sang Chiyoko Japanese folk songs.

Before meeting Akiksuke, Chiyoko had had five meetings with potential husbands, all arranged by her family. During these meetings, the young man and woman walked past each other in a Japanese garden, catching a quick glimpse of their potential mate, and delivering a decision to a go-between. Chiyoko had declined them all.

Dominis also photographed Takahide Inayama and Mitsuyo Ogama, two university students in their early 20s. The pair met six months prior, at Takahide’s house, when a friend of his brother’s brought her to a party there. Takahide and Mitsuyo, in a better financial position than some of the others, led Dominis to make an observation about class and marriage. “Most couples in Tokyo just can’t afford to get married until the guy is around 30 unless they both work or he has an exceptional job, or there is money in the family,” he wrote. “These kids go out with other couples and act more or less like you would expect western young lovers to act.”

While the photographs capture the increasing normalization of modern Western customs in Japan, they also exhibit the excitement and tenderness of being allowed to choose—a privilege which, of course, includes the right to opt out. “Two of the couples have since broken up,” reads a note from the files, “and are being shy about letting us know whether they have taken up with new friends.”

AnRong Xu, who edited this gallery, is a contributor to LightBox. Follow him on Instagram @Anrizzy.

TIME relationships

This Man Has Written a Love Letter to His Wife Every Day for the Last 40 Years

Fellas, the bar has now been set ridiculously high

This Saturday, like every Valentine’s Day, lovers young and old will try to find the perfect gift, word or gesture that will show their significant other the extent of their adoration. But one man in New Jersey has been doing that for his wife every day for the last 40 years — with more than 10,000 love letters.

Bill Bresnan, 74, describes the letters to his wife Kirsten, which are stored in 25 boxes in their attic, as a “love diary,” chronicling their journey together since they first met. “For example, I could pick out a day in 1982, and it’ll begin with the restaurant we ate in or a movie we saw and then a reaction to that,” he told ABC News.

The couple have been through a lot together, including when both of them were diagnosed with cancer within the space of a few years, but Bresnan has never missed an opportunity to write of his love for his wife.

And when every day is Valentine’s Day, it’s no surprise that the couple doesn’t have any big plans on Feb. 14.

“We’ll probably have a nice dinner, a special bottle of wine and a piece of chocolate,” Bresnan said. “We’re past the craving for jewelry and expensive nonsense. We just enjoy simply being together.”

[ABC News]

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Gay Marriages Go Ahead in Alabama

Despite a judge's order in defiance of federal ruling to allow gay marriage in the state.

Marriages between same-sex couples in Alabama began on Monday, despite an order by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore not to issue marriage licenses, in defiance of a federal judge’s ruling.

TIME relationships

14 Signs You’re in a Healthy Relationship

Getty Images

No, you don't necessarily need to have everything in common

Nick Hornby once said, “It’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn’t even speak to each other if they met at a party.”

I’m not a therapist or relationship expert, but after nearly a decade of marriage, I’m not convinced that your taste in movies or music determines if you and your significant other are destined for happily-ever-after or a bad break-up. My marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s satisfying and happy and it’s taught me a few things about what keeps long-term partnerships working. Thankfully, those things have nothing to do with musical preferences or I would have taken my country albums and left my Beatles-loving husband long ago. Instead, we’ve figured out how to compromise on music, and other things, and settle in for the long haul.

Here are a few of those things that I’ve learned do seem to say something about the strength of your union:

You Speak Your Mind
Relationships thrive when couples can express themselves freely and honestly. That means no topic is off-limits, and you both feel heard. Consistent communication is vital to building a lasting life together.

You Have Your Own Space
Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you have to spend every moment together. Taking time to pursue your own interests and friendships keeps your relationship fresh and gives you both the opportunity to grow as individuals—even while you’re growing as a couple.

You Fight
Disagreements are normal, so if you aren’t fighting, chances are you’re holding back. But when people in healthy relationships fight, they fight productively and fairly. That means avoiding name-calling or put-downs. It also means striving to understand your partner instead of trying to score points. And when you’re wrong? You apologize.

You Like Yourself And Your Partner

Chances are your relationship won’t suddenly get better if you win the lottery, have a baby, or move into your dream house. So don’t base your partnership on the hope that it will change. You recognize that neither of you is perfect, and you accept and value each other for who you are right now—not who you might become.

You Make Decisions Jointly
You don’t call all the shots. Neither does your partner. From what movie to see to how many children to have, you make decisions together and listen to each other’s concerns and desires. Sure, this may mean you see Transformers on Saturday night. But on Sunday night, it’s your turn.

You Find Joy
Healthy relationships are full of laughter and fun. This doesn’t mean you’re giddy every hour of the day—or that she doesn’t drive you up the wall sometimes—but it does mean that your life together is mostly happy in sometimes simple ways. (Making dinner, laughing at the same things, finishing each others’ sentences…)

You Find Balance
Sometimes your partner needs to work longer hours while you play chauffeur and chief cook. Or you must devote time to an elderly parent while your spouse tackles the chores. That’s life. What matters is that, in the long run, your trade-offs seem fair.

You Treat Each Other With Kindness
Nothing is more important than treating the person you love with care, consideration, empathy, and appreciation. If you find yourself showing more respect to people you hardly know than you show your partner, take a step back and revisit your priorities.

You Trust Each Other
Healthy relationships are built on trust and a commitment to communication without reservations or secrets. Want to know how much you trust each other now? Take this quiz from the University of California, Berkeley

You Let Things Go
Your partner will annoy you. You will annoy him or her, too. You will say things you don’t mean. You will behave inconsiderately. The important thing is how you deal with all this. So he forgot to pick up milk for the second time? Tell him you’re disappointed, of course—then let it go.

You Are Intimate
Sex is an important part of healthy relationships, but it’s only one part, and it’s different than intimacy, which is less about physical satisfaction than about bonding, friendship, and familiarity. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you’ll feel connected—in and out of bed.

Your Relationship Is Your Safe Place
Your relationship should be a safety net—a stable place to come home to at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean you don’t fight—it just means that when things are hard, you’d rather see your partner than commiserate with coworkers at Happy Hour.

You Talk To Your Partner, Not To Other People
When you have issues and concerns, you share them with your partner, not your Facebook friends. You can use pals as a sounding board, of course, but not as a crutch to avoid hard conversations with your significant other.

You Say The Magic Words
“I love you”, “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry.”

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

More from Real Simple:

Read next: The 4 Most Common Relationship Problems — and How to Fix Them

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME India

Indian Extremists Say Anyone Using the L-Word on Valentine’s Day Must Marry

Scotty Robson Photography—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Online teams will be monitoring social media for flirty messages

You should always be careful what you post on Facebook, especially if it’s “I love you” and you’re a Hindu in India around Valentine’s Day — you just might end up getting hitched. At least that’s what will happen if a conservative organization called the Hindu Mahasabha has its way.

The organization’s leaders say they will monitor social-networking sites on the day of love and forcibly marry any couples expressing the emotion publicly, the Times of India reports.

“Display of love in the entire Valentine’s week is equivalent to not following Indian traditions. Anyone found displaying love on Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp will be caught hold of,” said the group’s national president Chandra Prakash Kaushik, adding that eight social-media teams are already in place in the capital New Delhi.

The group had announced earlier this week that it would also have people on the ground making sure couples exchanging flowers, gifts or public displays of affection tie the knot immediately. That’s only for Hindus, however — interfaith couples will reportedly be made to undergo a “purification” ceremony.

Online, Kaushik said, Mahasabha volunteers would message offending couples and ask for their phone numbers and addresses so they can start planning the nuptials.

“If they refuse to share their numbers, we will contact their parents — especially those who are active online — and ask them to get them married if they really love each other,” he said.

The New Delhi police have plans to tackle the moral police, however, and inspector general Alok Sharma told the Times that any attempts to force couples to marry would be met with legal action.

Twitter, of course, had a field day.

Indian satire website Faking News took it one step further with an article entitled “Gay couples excited after Hindu Mahasabha announces weddings on Valentine’s Day,” pointing out that homosexuality remains illegal in the country.

TIME celebrities

Johnny Depp Just Got Married to Amber Heard, Say Reports

Cast member Amber Heard and her fiance, actor Johnny Depp pose at the premiere of "3 Days to Kill" in Los Angeles
Mario Anzuoni—Reuters Actress Amber Heard and actor Johnny Depp at the premiere of 3 Days to Kill in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2014

The nuptials come ahead of a party to be held on Depp's private island in the Bahamas

Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp tied the knot this week with Friday Night Lights actress Amber Heard in a surprise ceremony in Depp’s Los Angeles home, PEOPLE and E! Online report, just days ahead of a planned celebration on Depp’s 45-acre private island in the Bahamas.

The couple met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2010 and began dating in 2012 after Depp broke off a 14-year partnership with French singer Vanessa Paradis, the mother of the 51-year-old’s two children, Lily-Rose Melody Depp and John Christopher “Jack” Depp III.

Heard and Depp got engaged last January. This is Depp’s second marriage. He divorced his first wife, Lori Anne Allison, in the 1980s.

Last year, Depp described his 28-year-old wife on NBC’s Today show as “a Southern belle and sweet as can be, and very good for me.”

MONEY Love + Money

5 Smart Financial Moves for Umarried Couples Who Live Together

couples living together before marriage
Catherine Lane—Getty Images

If your relationship is serious but you don't have any plans to walk down the aisle, you'll want to take some extra steps to protect yourselves financially.

A growing number of couples are choosing to merge their lives in every way that married couples do, but without actually getting married.

The most recent Census survey say the percentage of cohabitating unmarried couples has jumped from just 1% in the 1960s to 12% in 2011. Besides moving in together, these pairs are joining bank accounts and having children sans matrimony.

While marriage offers some legal and financial protections that shacking up together together doesn’t, proactive planning can help unmarried couples mitigate some possible challenges. A few moves to consider if you and your partner aren’t looking to put a ring on it:

Craft a Relationship Agreement…

In a new survey by UGallery, 83% of women polled said they find living with a significant other riddled with challenges. Dividing chores and sharing expenses were the top concerns, ahead of sharing a bathroom and splitting TV time.

Take that as a lesson, and get some things in writing to make sure you’re both on the same page in terms of your expectations—financial and otherwise—in the relationship. For example: How you will manage and pay for certain expenses such as housing, food, childcare and utilities? Who owns what? Are you each responsible for your own credit cards?

You can make one of these agreements inexpensively at one of the DIY legal sites like Rocket Lawyer or LegalZoom.

…And a No-Nup

Folded into that relationship agreement—or created separately—should be some agreed-upon terms in the event of a breakup so that you can split amicably and avoid court.

Married couples to-be can get prenuptial agreements. Experts advise unmarried people to execute a similar legal document that explains how assets will be divided if things go south. “For those who eschew the wedding industrial complex altogether, I advise a no-nup,” says Sarah Wright, board chair at Unmarried Equality, an advocacy group for unmarried people. “The no-nup…usually addresses property distribution, financial support, and debt planning if the relationship ends.”

Decide Who Owns the House

Buying a home together? Unmarried couples want to pay very close attention to how they set up a joint property.

Putting it in one person’s name means that the owner can sell the home at anytime without consideration for the other’s desires and without sharing the proceeds—even if the silent partner helped with the downpayment and mortgage payments. Also, if the titleholder passes away, the house won’t automatically pass to the partner without it being willed that way.

On the other hand, “If one partner funds the purchase, but both partners are on the title, the proceeds [of any sale down the road] will be given to the record owners of the property,” says Jon Robertson, a certified financial planner with Abacus Planning Group in Columbia, SC. So if you know you’re the only one paying the mortgage, will you be okay with having your partner on the deed as an equal owner?

Another thing few couples remember to hash out: Who will pay for and claim certain tax-deductible expenses like mortgage interest and property taxes? Since you can’t file taxes jointly, only one of you can. Because it will result in more savings, “it might make sense for the partner in the higher tax bracket to pay expenses that are deductible,” says Robertson.

Make a Co-Parenting Plan

If you plan to raise a family together, have an agreement in place that “supports the rights and responsibilities inherent to parental roles and relationships,” says Wright.

Married couples are automatically the lawful parents of their kids. With children born to unmarried couples (about 22% of the baby population), “there’s no presumption of paternity.”

In other words, a dad needs to take legal steps to be recognized as the rightful father. Having a court-approved parenting agreement establishes legal guardianship of your children and provides your kids with similar beneficiary entitlements as children born “in wedlock,” such as Social Security survivorship benefits.

“This type of agreement should also detail each parent’s specific involvement and commitment to the child or children,” says Wright. You can check out more books and resources related to this on Unmarried Equality’s web site.

Establish an Estate Plan

Unmarried couples have a greater need for estate planning documents, says Robertson.

If a couple is married and one spouse dies without a will, the surviving spouse will most likely have some protection from their state’s intestacy laws. “If you aren’t married, the rules of intestacy will not apply and you will inherit no money unless your partner has a will directing assets to you,” he says.

Not only that, without a health care power of attorney stated in your estate plan it’s not likely that your partner can make medical decisions on your behalf should the need arise.

There are several free templates online that can help you construct a simple will and overall estate plan, but if your situation is complex—e.g. you own a business, have significant assets or need to financially protect children from a previous relationship—it’s worth it to speak with an estate-planning attorney.

Farnoosh Torabi is a contributing editor at Money Magazine and the author of the best selling new book When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. Her new podcast So Money features intimate interviews with leading entrepreneurs, authors and influencers. Visit SoMoneyPodcast.com to listen to the show’s inaugural interviews with Tony Robbins, James Altucher and Jean Chatzky.

More by Farnoosh Torabi:

TIME Careers & Workplace

Here’s the Only Secret to Being Truly Successful

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Your significant other has a huge impact on your success. Science says so

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Your customers are hugely important. And your key employees. As well as the industry you’ve chosen, politics, macroeconomics, and education.

And luck.

While all those are important factors in the success of your business (or career) and your earning power, here’s one factor you probably haven’t considered:

Your spouse.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that people with relatively prudent and reliable partners tend to perform better at work, earning more promotions, making more money, and feeling more satisfied with their jobs.

That’s true for men and women: “Partner conscientiousness” predicted future job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of promotion (even after factoring in the participants’ level of conscientiousness.)

According to the researchers, “conscientious” partners perform more household tasks, exhibit more pragmatic behaviors that their spouses are likely to emulate, and promote a more satisfying home life, all of which enables their spouse to focus more on work.

As one researcher said, “These results demonstrate that the dispositional characteristics of the person one marries influence important aspects of one’s professional life.” (In nonresearch terms, a good partner both sets a good example and makes it possible for you to be a better you.)

I know that’s true for me. My wife is the most organized person I know. She juggles family, multiple jobs, multiple interests—she’s a goal-achieving machine. Her “conscientiousness” used to get on my nerves, until I realized the only reason it bugged me was because her level of focus implicitly challenged my inherent laziness.

I finally realized the best way to get more done was to actually get more done, and she definitely helps me do that.

And I try to do the same for her. Since my daily commute is two flights of stairs, I take care of most of the house stuff: laundry, groceries, cleaning (I don’t do all the cleaning, but I make sure it gets done), etc., so when she comes home she can just behome.

So, while she’s still much more conscientious and organized than I am, she’s definitely rubbed off on me in a very positive way.

Which of course makes sense: As Jim Rohn says, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with—and that’s particularly true where our significant others are concerned.

Bad habits rub off. Poor tendencies rub off. We all know that. But good habits and good tendencies rub off too.

Plus, if one person is extremely organized and keeps your household train running on time, that frees the other up to focus more on work. (Of course, in a perfect world, both people would more or less equally share train-engineer duties so that both can better focus on their careers, whether those careers are in the home or outside.)

Keep in mind, I’m not recommending you choose your significant other solely on the basis of criteria like conscientiousness and prudence. As the researchers say, “Marrying a conscientious partner could at first sound like a recipe for a rigid and lackluster lifestyle.”

Nor am I suggesting you end a relationship if you feel your partner is lacking in those areas.

But it does appear that having a conscientious and prudent partner is part of the recipe for a better and more rewarding career.

So instead of expecting your partner to change, think about what you can do to be more supportive of your significant other. Maybe you can take on managing your finances, or take care of more household chores, or repairs, maintenance, or schedules.

After all, the best way to lead is by example, and in time you may find that you and your significant other make an outstanding—and mutually supportive—team.

How awesome does that sound?

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