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.

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

Ep. 20: Part 3 – How to L.O.V.E. your Way Through Conflict

Expedition Marriage with Chris & Jamie Bailey
Ep. 20: Part 3 - How to L.O.V.E. your Way Through Conflict
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Today’s episode is part 3 in our the 4 part series on How to L.O.V.E. your Way Through Conflict. We’re talking about how devaluing your spouse can be one of the quickest ways to derail a conversation and turn it into conflict. When you learn how to value your spouse it’s much easier to stay engaged and come to a resolution.

When you value your spouse you’re letting them know how much they’re worth. It’s never a good idea to make your spouse compete with a cell phone, a laptop or a tv screen.

Devaluing your spouse can involves things like: 

  • Being dismissive
  • Minimizing their feelings
  • Disregarding them
  • Using sarcasm
  • Constant interruption

 To head towards resolution it’s important to stay engaged, make eye contact, put down your device, and hear them out.

We hope you leave this episode and forward it on to your spouse or perhaps a friend or two. So many couples suffer in silence before they file for divorce. Be the friend that cares about their marriage and share this episode or any of our other ones. Pass along the encouragement!

 

Quotes from the episode:

“The quickest way to go from a conversation to conflict is to devalue your spouse”

“If you don’t have time to go to counseling or to talk with one another, you definitely don’t have time to argue.” 

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

Ep. 19: How to L.O.V.E. your way through Conflict – Part 2

Expedition Marriage with Chris & Jamie Bailey
Ep. 19: How to L.O.V.E. your way through Conflict - Part 2







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This episode is part 2 of the “How to L.O.V.E. your Way through Conflict” 4 part series. Today we’re talking about really honing in on what’s going on with your spouse by the way they react or respond to you or what you’ve said or done. We’re digging a little deeper as we follow up part 1 with some practical tips on how to really observe what the real issue is with one another. Tune in to find out what might really be going on when you’re upset.

 

Find our show notes at https://expeditionmarriage.org/post/podcast/ep-19-how-to-l-o-v-e-your-way-through-conflict-part-2/

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

Ep. 18: How to L.O.V.E. your way through Conflict

Expedition Marriage with Chris & Jamie Bailey
Ep. 18: How to L.O.V.E. your way through Conflict







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This episode is the first of our L.O.V.E. series where we break down love in an acronym to help you be able to LOVE your way through conflict. On this episode we’ll be sharing the value and the impact of what it means to truly listen to one another in your marriage.

Feeling alone, un-heard, dismissed or disconnected is not okay in a marriage—for EITHER of you. Come on and join us for some biblical wisdom, practical application and the way out of a marriage where listening is hard to come by.

Find our show notes at https://www.expeditionmarriage.org/post/podcast-ep-18-how-to-l-o-v-e-your-way-through-conflict

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.

Honey, Let Me Tell You Why I Want a Date Night

Honey, Let Me Tell You Why I Want a Date Night

Honey, I know it’s been a while since we’ve had a date night. I’m tired, you’re tired, it’s too expensive, and we don’t have any time. I know all of these things are true, but yet I desperately want a date night anyway. Let me tell you why…

When we go out it gives me an opportunity to remember who you are and appreciate who you’re becoming. Who we are becoming together. These are things we can only know by communicating, actually having uninterrupted time talking together. We’re both always evolving and I don’t want to miss that. I want to know what’s going on in your life. How you think and feel matters to me. 

I also love us after we’ve experienced a date night. It increases the quality of our relationship. I feel loved and valued, and my love and value for you increases too. We’re a better us when we take time away together. Besides, sometimes I just really miss you and I don’t like that. I wan’t another date night with you. 

Spending time, just the two of us, reminds me that I am a priority to you and it helps me keep you a priority to me. I don’t want to just wish we had time together. I want to make that time of investment in you because you matter to me. When we go on dates I am reminded of our commitment and dedication to each other. I am reminded that you will always have my back and I yours. I really want a date night with you.

Honey, I want a date night with you because you make me come alive. Time alone with you makes me desire you in all the ways, physically, emotionally and mentally. It keeps the element of surprise in our marriage. It brings to the surface the fun and playful side of us that I love so much. 

Lastly, dating you makes me remember all the many things I love about you and why I married you in the first place. So, how about it, you up for a date?

Love,

Me 

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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Married Couples Need Friends

Married Couples Need Friends

There’s a lot to be said about the need for married couples to have other married couples as friends in their lives. It’s so important for couples to acknowledge that they  need them, and that they aren’t just fine on their own. We must remember that the very heart of the gospel itself is relational. Relationships are so important to God that He sent His Son to die so we could be in relationship with Him. Beyond that, Jesus Himself chose His 12 friends, and then also chose his inner 3 from that group. Relationships mattered to Jesus, and anything that was important to Jesus should be important to us too.

The two most basic needs and desires of every human is to be loved and to be accepted. Genuine friendship provides both of these. Our innate desire for these very things is enough to give us fair warning that the enemy will come after them. He will do his best to attack not only our marital relationship, but also our friendships. His best work is done in isolation. Therefore, we can be assured that he will use disengagement with friends as a tool for his benefit. 

Just like any predator in the wild, he seeks to isolate so he can attack. Rarely will a lion go after a tribe. He always looks for the lone straggler. This is why, as silly as it seems,  it would be wise to do as good ol’ Buzz Lightyear says, and always stick together.

We need friends in our lives. They lift us up and encourage us (Ecc. 4:9-10), they help us grow in wisdom (Prov 13:20), they speak truth even when we don’t want it (Prov 27:5-6) and they help carry our burdens (Gal 6:2). So, by all means, yes, we need friends, but we also need discernment over the friends we choose. Not all of our “friends” will truly be friends. They don’t always encourage us, or lead us in wisdom, and sometimes they just tell us what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear. 

Friends are so much more than the party throwers down the street or the people you follow on social media. Friends are the ones who know you, truly know you. The good, the bad and the ugly you. They know your marriage, your struggles and your strengths as a couple.

If you are reading this and thinking that you’re not so sure you want that. Perhaps, you don’t want people to know the real you or your real marriage. If that’s you, then can I just tell you that you especially need it. 

We come alive most when we’re fully known. Vulnerability is scary but also life giving, and it’s also very contagious. It does seem scary knowing that another couple might know your relational flaws or struggles, BUT, how great would it be to know theirs too? Not in a cruel judgmental way, but in a “us too” kind of way. Wouldn’t you be more encouraged in your struggles if you knew you weren’t alone in them?  This is the beauty of community. It spurs us on!

If you and your spouse are lacking in friendships, it’s time to change that. Invite another couple you admire out, have them over for dinner, join a life group of some form. Do something to get around other couples, but just be sure to choose them wisely. You’re likely not going to find your people in superficial atmospheres, so this will involve some bravery on your part. The real you will need to show up, but If that scares you, just go back to where we began and recognize that ALL OF US need love and acceptance. 

They’re in need of the very thing you’re searching for too. You’re just the one willing to go first!

It’s time to start enjoying the journey…..TOGETHER!

Back to the Basics

Back to the Basics

Back is not the direction we usually want to head in, but sometimes it is only in moving backwards that we can begin to move forward.

It’s that age old adage that we have to learn to crawl before we can walk, and walk before we can run. It’s the crawling that builds the muscles and gives us necessary strength for the next step, literally. 

There’s a proper order to things, and if we skip over something as foundational as building muscle strength before we start off on a journey, we might find ourselves in some trouble, and perhaps falling a bit more than we normally would. The same is true if we were to run a race without practicing or training. We might survive it, but it will likely not be a new personal record, and we will also more than likely pull a hamstring. This is true in our physical world as much as it is in our emotional and relational worlds too.

In our marriages, we always want to keep practicing, and we don’t ever want to feel as if we have arrived at mastery. Mastery is one of those things that we will never achieve this side of heaven. Especially over something that is constantly changing, like a marital relationship. Let’s face it, we’re all vulnerable to failure and to making mistakes. Mistakingly believing that we have reached mastery can breed not only arrogance, but also complacency.  Achieving mastery, fools us into thinking we need not do any more work because we have arrived. It is in that moment that we let our guards down and become vulnerable. 

If you want to revamp your marriage, or if you need to get back on course, take the time today to go back to the basics. Go back to the fundamental place in your marriage where it all once began, the sharing of your vows. Whether you wrote your own or used traditional ones, pull them out, re-read them. You now have experience in your marriage  that gives you a new lens to view your vows from. When you originally promised them to one another I’m sure you believed they would come with ease, but I’m betting your “experience” now tells you otherwise. There may even be some that you haven’t been putting into practice for a while.

Take the time to read those words that you declared and promised to your spouse in the sight of God, your family and your friends. (You can even google some vows for a reference.) As you do, ask yourselves and one another these questions…

What exactly was it that we promised to each other?

What did we each say that we, as individuals would do and how am I, and how are we, living up to it?

What kind of spouse did I say I was going to be, and to what ends?

Do I still mean and take action on these things today, or does our marriage need help? Honestly.

Are we willing to return to the basics of loving one another as we once declared?

In light of our vows, what is at least one practical thing we can begin to change?

It’s probably been a while since most of you said those vows. I’m sure you’ve realized that time, circumstances and aging, changes people. Some of that change is good and some, perhaps not so good, but regardless, change doesn’t release us from our covenants. 

Take an honest look back, reboot those fundamental promises in your marriage. Make a realistic plan for getting back to the basics with your spouse. Even if you choose one thing to change, that’s a great start in the right direction. Honor that covenant you made to your spouse and to God. You won’t regret it!

Every once in a while it’s good to restart your journey!