Ep. 21: Part 4 – How to L.O.V.E. your Way Through Conflict

Ep. 21: Part 4 – How to L.O.V.E. your Way Through Conflict

Expedition Marriage with Chris & Jamie Bailey
Ep. 21: Part 4 – How to L.O.V.E. your Way Through Conflict
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This episode was the final episode in the 4 part series on How to L.O.V.E. Your Way through Conflict. On today’s episode we talked about evaluating the interests of both you and your spouse so you can achieve a win/win in your marriage.

Having a win/win marriage is being able to ask your spouse what their win is in addition to just seeking your own. You may or may not realize that when you fight to win, you’re also fighting to make your spouse lose.

There are three ways you can achieve a win/win marriage:

  • Common solution where you both win
  • Compromise where you both give a little for the win
  • Sacrifice where one of you willingly gives so your marriage can win

Getting to a win for your marriage requires working the problem backwards. Determine what the win is first and then figure out how to get there through communicating by using the other L.O.V.E. components like listening, observing the effects of your spouse, and valuing and validating them. Ask them their win, share with them yours, and then determine your marriage win.

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.

3 Things to do When your Marriage is Struggling

3 Things to do When your Marriage is Struggling

When my husband and I first got married we sure did have a lot to learn. I was a tad bit controlling and a bit of a yeller. He on the other hand was the opposite—a pleaser to the max! This was not a great combination to have in a disagreement. I would rant and yell and he would quietly withhold until he just couldn’t anymore, and then before you knew it, we were two explosive nuts!

Our fights got painful fast—I didn’t have self-control and would say all kinds of harsh things and he would eventually just go for the jugular with one big hurtful comment in an effort to just stop the fight.

Sounds delightful, right?

Well it wasn’t.

After many years of marriage and after becoming new believers in Jesus, we decided it was time for a change. Our marriage wasn’t fulfilling to either one of us and we certainly weren’t helping one another grow.

That’s when we decided to do apply these three principles to our marriage.

Three things to do when your marriage is struggling.

1. Remember that you’re on the same team. The Enemy is so quick to jump in and make you believe that your spouse is your enemy—that they are against you and not for you. He is also quick to try and get you to think the same thing about them. This simply isn’t true. When you’re struggling as a couple it’s usually because you’re each dealing with some form of hurt, fear or frustration and NOT because you are against one another and intentionally trying to inflict pain.

Develop a mindset that it is the two of you against the problem, not the two of you against each other. Remember, your enemy cannot be your spouse because it is not flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12).

2. Get a PhD in your spouse’s upbringing. There is no doubt that the way both of you respond under pressure is a result of what you were taught and what your normal is. If your spouse came from a home with lots of yelling, yelling will be a trigger. If they came from a home where all problems get swept under the rug, then it’s likely they won’t have the best conflict resolution skills.

When it comes to your spouse’s history, know it well. Seek to understand all the ways your spouse was shaped and molded—because it matters. It’s almost a guarantee that your spouse’s negative reactions come from a place of self-protection. Understanding that helps, and so does letting them know that they don’t need to protect themselves from you because you’re on their side.

3. Keep the memories of how you won each other’s heart alive. When you’re in the middle of the struggle it’s really hard to look for the good. The hard and the heavy yell at

you much louder demanding all the attention, when really what’s most helpful is to keep your focus on all that’s good while working out the hard.

When your marriage is in a tough place, take a look back. Remember those traits your spouse has that you once adored, remember the person you fell in love with. Although life is hard and people change, that person you once completely adored is still in there.

Marriage can be a challenge at times and hard things happen, but when they do be sure to remind your spouse that you’re in this with them, that you’re for them, and that you love them.

And lastly, pray. Never stop praying.

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.