17 Great Pieces of Marriage Advice

17 Great Pieces of Marriage Advice

When it comes to advice on marriage, there are a whole lot of opinions out there. Some of them are valuable, but some, perhaps not so much. As marriage counselors, especially Christian ones, we definitely have our own thoughts on advice for your marriage, but for this compilation, we looked to our Expedition Marriage family over on Instagram and asked them what the best advice they received for their marriage was. 

And let me tell you—they had some FABULOUS words of wisdom to share.

Best Advice for your Marriage

Now, if you’re interested to know what our best advice for married couples is, it’s this…

Don’t give up! Decide right from the beginning to have an “all in” marriage.

When struggles come up, when disappointments happen, and when you both grow and change, decide to always lean in and work it out.

Never run from your struggles, instead, allow God to use them to shape you, to encourage one another, and to grow you.

You can pick and choose from all of this advice along the journey of marriage, but the thing that will always matter the most is your refusal to quit.

The Best Valentine’s Day Gift for your Marriage

The Best Valentine’s Day Gift for your Marriage

Valentine’s Day, that wonderful day of love. As a married couple, you have either come to love this day or potentially dread it. It’s either a day that allows you to celebrate your love, or it’s a day that has you wondering where it went. 

If you’re still hopelessly in love—good for you! That means you probably already have this incredible gift in your marriage—the gift of emotional intimacy. Couples with emotional intimacy are couples that, well, can be emotionally intimate.

It requires great vulnerability to share your authentic and whole self with someone, but that is one of the greatest gifts of marriage. Having a relationship where you can share your deepest struggles, your greatest desires, your failures, your full emotions and even your corniest jokes or silliest thoughts, is a huge marriage win. 

Best Ways to improve your marriage with the gift of emotional intimacy

Share how you really feel.  If this is a new concept for you, don’t get caught up in the way your spouse responds to or receives your feelings, but do give them the gift of knowing them. Also, give them permission to be uncomfortable with more intimate conversations. Practicing uncomfortable things takes grace.

Ask connecting questions. You may not be married to the best question answerer, but that’s ok, ask anyway. Let this be your attempt at fixing your marriage communication and turning things around. Ask open ended questions like, “How do you feel about…?”, or “What are your thoughts on _______ situation?”

*For more specific help, go grab this free printable marriage worksheet for Simple Steps to a Weekly Check-In or It’s Time to Talk for stressed out couples

Become a great listener. Now that you’re asking questions, it’s most important to learn how to listen. Every person wants to be heard, and when you’re in a marriage where you each have voices and concern for one another’s thoughts and feelings, that emotional intimacy will surely begin to take place.

Take a break from judgement. It’s so easy, especially when you’ve drifted apart, to begin to focus on all that is wrong in your marriage and all that your spouse is doing wrong as well. That kind of focus will only drive a bigger wedge between the two of you. 

So, if your spouse is making a lot of mistakes or not giving back the same effort you are putting forth, pause and give your judgment a rest. Keep doing what is right and give them the space to self-correct. You’d be surprised how much the Holy Spirit jumps in for this if indeed your spouse is not acting or doing as they should.

How about this Valentine’s Day you start moving towards one another in a more connected way? After all, emotional intimacy is the difference between being in a husband and wife relationship or in a roommate one. Don’t be afraid to share your real self with your spouse, even if it means you going first on your own.

Ep. 15 : It’s Not Just WHAT You Say (Part 2 of Communication Killers & Their Kryptonite series)

Words are powerful, but they’re certainly not everything when it comes to communication. On today’s episode, we want to be sure you know how to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to communicating with your spouse.

 

Join us as we discuss the most powerful resources you have when communicating with one another, as well as the biggest pitfalls to avoid.

 

The words you say actually only represent 7% of the power in communicating, while your tone of voice carries a much higher rate of 38%. But it gets better, your body language comes in at a strong 55%. What this means is that you not only need to be kind with your words, but even better with the tone you say them with and the stance you take while saying them.

 

If you liked today’s episode, we’d love for you to snap a screenshot and share it over on IG and tag us at Expedition_Marriage. And if you learned something new, how about you send us a quick DM or email us at email@expeditionmarriage.org.

Ep. 14 : Communication Dead Ends (Part 1 of Communication Killers & Their Kryptonite Series)

Is communication a struggle in your marriage? On today’s episode we will help you overcome those communication dead ends. You know the conversations and arguments you get into that lead to absolutely nowhere?

 

Join us for part one in our 3-part Communication Killers & Their Kryptonite series as we talk about 3 dead ends to communication. But don’t worry, we won’t leave you hanging, we’ve got the kryptonite to help take away their power and get your communication skills up to speed!

 

Learn how to avoid these three communication dead ends:

 

1. Not communicating at all. This doesn’t help your marriage and gets you absolutely not where fast. Instead of sweeping problems under the rug, try facing them head on. You’ll either become aware you have a communication problem that needs to be addressed, or you’ll actually find resolution. Either way it’s a win!

 

2. Stop withholding communication until you erupt. This way only breeds resentment towards your spouse. When an issue arises, find the right timing, have the right attitude and intention and share what’s bothering you.

 

3. Quit asking backwards. In other words, instead of complaining and hoping your spouse gets it, try actually asking for what you need or want. Sure, there’s risk of rejection involved in that, but it doesn’t automatically out your spouse in a defensive position.

 

Communication is key in marriage and you want to learn how to have it well!

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of our Communication Killers & their Kryptonite series!

5 Ways to Boost your Marriage

5 Ways to Boost your Marriage

Many years ago, when I was a stay at home mom raising three little girls, it was safe to say that I was tired, busy and distracted. At the end of the day when my husband came home it was game on! You know the game, it’s called “Tag! You’re it!”

Let’s just say that one of us liked to play more than the other.

The problem was that I was drained, but the bigger problem was that my husband was, too. Truthfully, it’s not uncommon for couples to get into the “let me tell you why my job is harder” battle. But really, you’re both entitled to claim hard work, so that battle is very unnecessary.

Those were hard days during our marriage because we were both pouring out into other areas and people so much that we barely had anything left for one another. We were also silly to think that it would all be miraculously better once the girls got bigger. Ha, jokes on us. In married life, the red carpet of time and energy is never rolled out for you.

BUT—that’s okay, because we all have brief moments and even those brief moments add up. In fact, any investment you make in your marriage pays back in dividends. 

Here are some sure-fire ways to give your marriage the boost that it needs.

5 things you can do to re-connect in your marriage

1. Talk to your spouse. 

Greet them when you see each other again after time apart. Ask open ended questions about their day. Ask them about their highs or lows of the day. Give them a chance to share and vent to you. Let them know you’re interested in hearing from them.

2. Enjoy something pleasurable together

No, not that—but also, yes, that. It’s just not what I’m talking about right now. I’m talking about sitting down and sharing some dessert, playing a quick game, drinking some tea on the porch together, or watching a half hour comedy. Take small pockets of time and find some fun.

3. Set your mind on them.

You may not have an abundance of time, but you have 10 minutes a day. Take a moment and spend those minutes intentionally thinking about your spouse. What is it you love about them, what are thing as you want to do in the future with them? Remember what your dreams and goals are as a couple. Thoughts are powerful, make sure you’re using some of them on your spouse. 

4. Be sacrificial. 

Jesus could have modeled love for us any way he wanted, however, the path God chose was through sacrifice. His sacrifice on the cross is what declared His love for us. The least we can do in our marriage for the one He gave us is to give them our time, our patience, and some extra above and beyond effort by doing something that can make their day, their tasks, their stress a little bit lighter.   

5. Be attentive to their needs.

We know you have needs as a spouse too, but what we also know is that your needs are more likely to get met when you’re willing to meet your spouse’s needs. Now, that’s not the reason to pay attention to their needs, it’s just a good byproduct of doing so. 

Lean in and ask your spouse if they need anything. Ask them how they’re feeling, if they’re ok or if they have any stressors going on. Everyone wants to be checked in on and cared about. 

Ultimately, your marriage will go through hills and valleys seasons, and that’s just the reality of life. If you’re ready to really start boosting your marriage go get our free 10 Day, Just Because I Love You Challenge.

4 Ways to Know if Your Marriage Needs Counseling

4 Ways to Know if Your Marriage Needs Counseling

First things first, can we just go ahead and put to rest all the stigma that comes with counseling? It’s truly just nonsense. We don’t shame our children for needing to go to school to get educated, we don’t shame the person with a broken leg who goes to the orthopedic, nor do we shame the person on the side of the road who calls a mechanic.  As far as we’re concerned, people who seek help for areas where they’re not the expert and they need some help, are people full of wisdom. You’re not failing if you need help, it’s actually the opposite. You choose failure when you need help and DON’T get it. Seeking help is what successful people do!

Ok, can someone slide this soap box out of the way now, I’m done?!

Now that that is cleared up, here are just a few signs that your marriage could benefit from some counseling:

You have a lack of satisfaction. Did you know on average a couple will struggle in their marriage for 6 years before they seek help? Yikes! Don’t be that couple. If you’re living as roommates, rarely have conversations, or have a life focused entirely on the kids, this is NOT a fulfilling marriage and you shouldn’t be settling for it. There’s hope and fulfillment for BOTH of you to be found. 

Another big clue you might need some help is if divorce has been brought up, especially if either of you already come from a broken home. You have an enemy who is after your marriage and would want nothing more than to keep a painful legacy of division going in your family (see John 10:10). Don’t allow any thoughts about divorce to take root.

You also don’t want to let stress, trauma, or difficult situations take you down. Those things that creep into your marriage that are often beyond your control can wreak havoc over time if left unattended. This is a great time to hit pause, get some guidance, and quickly get back on the road to a healthy marriage.

Finally, the more obvious one, if there is any form of addiction. We live in a time where pornography and alcohol have become very popular coping mechanisms. The most common reason they are both turned to, aside from early exposure or something that was already brought into the marriage, is stress. They both provide quick relief and avoidance. Short term fixes with long term loss for your marriage and the spouse who is struggling. If addiction has entered your marriage, even if you have to go alone, get the help. Let a professional help guide you through this season of struggle.

If you want to hear from us a bit more and learn 4 more reasons that might mean you need some help, go check out our video on 8 Ways to Identify if Your Marriage Needs Counseling.

Ep. 13: A Year to Remember

Ep. 13: A Year to Remember

On today’s episode we’re talking about the importance of remembering—remembering the past year as a couple, remembering the struggles, the fun and most importantly remembering God’s faithfulness through it all.

 

Marriage is not always filled with fun and abundant blessings, but it can always be filled with the faithfulness of God. Join us as we talk about why you need those types of Joshua stone memories in your marriage. Then when you’re done, set aside some time together to find the ones that showed up this year!

 

Click the link to get the Newlywed Couple’s Devotional from Amazon.

 

Quotes from the episode:

“Seek to remember the moments that only you understand in your hearts. When you do, look for His faithfulness.”

 

“Leave a legacy that points your children to the faithfulness of God”

 

Verses:

Ephesians 3:20

How to Handle Stress in Marriage

How to Handle Stress in Marriage

There was a season in our lives as a young married couple where we were living off of high stress. We were young, had two kids, mediocre paying jobs, and I was pregnant with our third daughter and suffering greatly from yet another round of hyperemesis—which is basically the only thing I have in common with Kate Middleton. Our funds were pretty much non-existent as I could no longer work, we had no help with childcare as I lie in bed with an IV pole, and my husband was frantic in search for help while he took care of me, the kids, and oh, did I mention we were in the middle of a remodel, too? 

STRESS

Sometimes  there’s just no escaping stressful seasons, but when we they do come, it’s important to minimize your stress as quickly as you can before it starts causing relationship problems—because stress and marriage just aren’t the best of pals. When stress does hit your marriage, here are some things you can do:

Identify the stress. Is the stressful situation beyond your control, like an illness, job loss, or accident? Or, is it from a family or marriage situation that you’re not dealing with? Perhaps it’s from remaining in a career that you despise?  The first step is to identify where the stressors come from and determine if you indeed can do anything about them. 

When it’s unavoidable stress, it’s time to lean on each other. This is the time to come together as a team. Instead of allowing stress to divide you, allow it to shift your mindset into “it’s me and you against the problem.” Talk openly and honestly about how the stress is affecting you. Ask one another how you can help alleviate each other’s stress. If the stressor is just affecting one of you, the same rule applies. Go to battle against the stress for and with your spouse. You are one another’s greatest resource—don’t let stress tell you otherwise.

Along the way you also want to make time for fun. Don’t forget to enjoy one another during difficult times. You need the endorphins and natural stress relievers of laughter. Life gets out of balance really quickly when the scale is always weighed down with just stress. Plan nightly walks, have a family game night, watch a funny movie or just go out for ice cream. Don’t forget to have fun, even if it comes in short bursts. You need the connection that stems from laughing together.

Lastly, don’t forget to pray. God is in the stress battle with you. Stressed out is not the abundant life He has called you to live. It’s not all going to blissful, but you have been equipped to handle those hard times and to not lose hope. Never forget that you are “more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37.

If you want to dive deeper into tackling the stress in your marriage, check out our video resource on 4 Ways to Thrive When Hard Times Hit Your Marriage.

Ep. 12 Boundaries During the Holidays

What do you value? Family? Peace? Your time? Respect? Have you ever thought about a plan on how to protect those things?

 

In order to be able to set up proper boundaries, you first need to know what it is that needs protecting. The truth about boundaries is that they are all about you and protecting whatever it is that you value. Boundaries get difficult when we make them about others. That’s when we feel the guilt of offending or hurting people, so instead of placing a boundary up we self-sacrifice the things we value to make others feel better.

 

The basic rules of boundaries are :

· Your family, YOU deal with boundaries with them. Don’t allow your spouse to handle your family. That is your responsibility.

· Know what you value so you can know what you need to protect.

· Predict and plan for the common problems. Set a boundary in place before you even have to deal with it.

 

To initiate a boundary, you must first ask or state what it is that you want or are willing or not willing to accept. Then you repeat yourself once if needed, and if it is still not respected you initiate an action or consequence.

 

As we mentioned this episode, we are making available our Boundaries video lesson from our Marriage Holiday Survival Guide (*not available for 2020). Please access it for free by filling out the below…