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.

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.

2 Simple Things For A Strong Marriage

2 Simple Things For A Strong Marriage

There aren’t really any big secrets about having a strong and satisfying marriage.  It’s not a matter of luck, and it’s most certainly not a matter of being married to the right person. There are however, a couple of things that might help. 

It turns out that the couples who report the greatest satisfaction in their marriage share certain things in common, specifically these two “simple” things. 

1. They spend time together.  Shocking, I know, but you’d be surprised (unless your marriage is one of these) how many couples don’t spend much time together. The successful couples are intentional about making time together, and they protect that time. 

It’s important to know that when we say spending time, we mean quality time, and quite honestly, quality time often comes from quantity time. You can’t just make quality time happen in the 5 minutes you have to spare for each other. Sure, you can be intentional in those few minutes, but overall, it just needs to be more than that. Leftover time to collapse at the end of the day doesn’t really count! 

2. They touch each other… a lot… and often. We’re not talking about big public displays of affection, or even having to hold hands everywhere they go.  We’re talking sweet, affectionate, reassuring touch. The kind of touch that is comforting and connecting. The kind of touching that reminds us that we are safe and connected, even on bad days. This may be the quick squeezing of the shoulders after a long day at work, a hand on the small of her back while out in public or at home, or the running of your fingers briefly through each others hair as you pass by. Those brief tender touches can go a long way.

Now, we realize that these may seem to be two simple things, but they may not be as simple to execute. After all, you’re busy and you’re often disconnected as a couple, trying  to get from one point to the next all day long. At the end of the day, you’re just two tired people who have been running around all day pouring yourselves out. It is for that very reason why these two simple things need to become a priority. 

Left unattended, life will begin to steal from you as a couple. It will keep rushing forward unless you pull back the reins and slow it down. No one intentionally sets out to be too busy, it just happens, unless you don’t allow it to.

Going forward, as you move about your day, take the time to pause and evaluate. If these two things seem impossible, can we suggest that might be a clue that you need to pull back the reins somewhere. It might be time for a schedule change, a child’s activity to be dropped, or hours at the office to be pulled back, if possible. 

Life is hard, busy and often draining, but what makes it even harder, is going through it alone. Take the time and invest the time and the touch in your marriage. Marriage is a journey meant to be enjoyed together!

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The Most Common Divorce Months. Do You Know Them?

The Most Common Divorce Months. Do You Know Them?

I’m guessing you’re reading this because the title peaked your curiosity to simply find out what the most common divorce months are? 

Or, perhaps you’re struggling a bit or on the brink of divorce and you wanted to see if maybe knowing these two months would give you some sort of a sign or even normalize some of your feelings.

On the other hand, maybe you’re reading because you want all the info you can get on avoiding divorce because you want your marriage to thrive. Regardless of why you’re reading, I’m glad that you are.

We won’t make you wait anymore, those months are March and August. But now that you’ve got the info you came for, please keep reading…. 

March and August seem like odd months for divorce rates to be high, but there is a reason they are. In fact, I’m writing this in June on purpose. Both March and August are on the heels of some catalyst times and events that can sometimes lead to divorce, so of course it is our hope to derail some of them.

In the months before March are some big holiday seasons. Lots of family get togethers and lots of Christmas debt collected. Let’s not forget Valentines Day, the all about love holiday. 

All of these occasions can create a perfect storm for some intense bickering and highlighting of marital emptiness. We’ll be back to fill you in on more of the March contributors when that season rolls around again, but for now, let’s focus on the one at hand, Summer.

Summer time can create a great platform for last ditch efforts for couples who have already been struggling. The kids are home and they easily become the focus. No one wants to ruin the kids summer with a divorce, so why not go all in for the next few months and then separate once school starts again? This genuinely is the school of thought for a lot of couples.

It’s also vacation time, and we all know how well a good ol’ happy family vacation will fix a marriage! No, really. Couples all over are being deceived into thinking that a nice vacation will fix their marital woes. It won’t. 

Vacations can provide us a lot of things, but fixing a marriage, is not one of them. In fact, the opposite tends to happen. So much weight is put into the perfect vacation bonding you again as a couple, that when it just slightly goes awry, it sends the couple plummeting down into the “this is never going to work” pit. I mean after all, if we can’t get along on the beach during a vacation, then we’re never going to be able to get along. The last ditch proves to be fruitless.

The problem with the vacation method is not the vacation itself. In fact, vacations can be AMAZING for reconnecting couples, just not when they include so much denial. 

The bottom line is this, if you’re struggling in your marriage, there is no magical cure. Make a decision today to stop looking for one. The truth is, you have to work to change it! 

Don’t depend on vacations, holidays or wishes of new beginnings to fix your marriage. Also, don’t let those times stress you out so much that they increase division.

The reality is, the only thing that will fix your marriage is trusting God for redemption and making a decision to actively begin working on it…Did you hear that? Read it again, out loud, the only thing that will fix your marriage is trusting God for redemption and making a decision to actively begin working on it.

Let that sink in because it could change your life and your marriage! 

Your vacation time and money will be much better served investing in your marriage and the the work that needs to be done to change it. So, get off Trip Advisor and call a counselor, a marriage coach, or a couple you trust. Keep reading some blogs, heck, talk to each another about solutions! You CAN turn this around. That way you can actually vacation for the FUN instead of the fix! 

Oh, and for the record, it’s not easier for your kids to go through a divorce just because they’re back at school. What’s easiest for them is for mom and dad to heal their marriage. 

Worth it, all day long. 

Let us know how we can help you….Enjoy the Journey!

Spring Clean Your Marriage

Spring Clean Your Marriage

Nothing inspires us to simplify, clean and start afresh quite like Spring does. Why not make use of all that motivation and get some cleaning done in your marriage too? Let’s be honest, it probably got a little dusty over the winter. Holidays, the bitter cold, flu season, all demanding your relationship be placed on the back shelf, or shoved into a closet somewhere.

Spring is here now, and it’s time to take it down, dust it off and give it a good ol’ spit shine (well, maybe not that, but you get the point!). Seriously though, when is the last time you’ve evaluated what’s in your marriage like you do what’s in your garage every year? What is lying around not being put to good use, what have you forgotten you even had, and what can you get rid of? 

Let’s go ahead and find out…

First step is to evaluate. Have a good look around. Is there anything you’ve swept under the rug? If so, now is the time to clear it out. If you’re holding any resentments because issues weren’t dealt with, take the time to sweep those out and talk about them too. Do you have any problems that you are currently sweeping under the rug? Well, guess what? It’s time for them to also be seen and known. 

Lumps under the rug just get bigger over time. Decide together to be a couple that shares with one another. Talk about the hard things and work together to keep those marital lumps from under all the rugs. Avoiding communication is not communication at all. 

Next…Do you have anything broken that needs to be repaired? Ask one another what isn’t working in your marriage? Check in and see if there’s anything you could be working on to make your marriage better. How is communication between the two of you going? Conflict resolution? Do you both feel emotionally safe with each other? If you identify something that needs repair, fix it! Your marriage isn’t just like an old broken rake in the garage that can be trashed, it’s a one of a kind treasure. Fix it! 

Lastly, while you’re looking around, is there anything you misplaced or forgot you had? What’s that back in the corner underneath all the things? A date night? Go get it! Dust off the cobwebs and start enjoying that time together again! 

How about some lofty dreams you shared together? Have you been taking action going after those? 

When’s the last time you’ve sat and chatted about memories? I’m sure there are some great times you’ve shared that could be once again put on display. Spend some time together planning new dreams, new memories and reliving old ones. Your time together through the years are those rare hidden gems. They are the diamonds in the rough. Polish them off and enjoy their hidden beauty. Let them serve as reminders of your love.

Spring is always a time of new growth, new life and new beginnings. It’s a time to be inspired! And while you are, don’t just reorganize your linen closet and your garage. Refresh your marriage. Declutter, clean and repair. Trust us, you’ll really love the before and after!

Now, go on and Enjoy the Journey!