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.

What Husbands Wish Their Wives Knew

What Husbands Wish Their Wives Knew

Husbands often get a bad wrap in the communication department, but what if it’s actually not all on them? How about the many times in marriage when husbands actually do share how they feel, but as soon as they do, they get dismissed or perhaps told they’re wrong. Yikes, I know.

 

As marriage counselors, a common theme we see in our practice is that when men get shut down, dismissed or rejected, they are quick to just give up. In other words, when they try and compliment their wife and she refuses to receive it, they stop complimenting them. They don’t want their words to fall on deaf ears. Same goes when they share a reason why they do something and their wife refuses to believe them and instead says, “That is not why you do that, I know why you really do it.” Whelp, they likely won’t be sharing that answer again.

 

Before I get ahead of myself with this, I do want to say that a lot of husbands actually do need to get better at communicating. They do have some ownership in this too, but to give them a bit of a voice today, here are 4 things many husbands wish their wives knew:

When he tells you you’re beautiful, he’s not just saying it. He means it.
Many women struggle to receive compliments, but as a wife, you need to learn how to receive them from your husband. No one wants to share an encouraging, heartfelt word only to have it met with rejection. Just simply say thank you and choose to believe it. You will be better for it.

He loves your naked body and enjoys seeing it. Really.
You may be keenly aware of every flaw and imperfection your body has, but your husband really doesn’t care about those. He is looking past all the imperfections and finding fulfillment in just your willingness to be vulnerably exposed in front of him. He just wants to enjoy you.

Sex with you is much more than a physical release. It is a way he feels more connected and closer to you.

He doesn’t just want you for sex. Being emotionally connected with your husband creates a desire in you to physically be with him. But, being physically intimate with you, helps him feel emotionally connected to you. It truly is a blending of the best of both worlds when you can grasp this.

Things stress him out more often than he lets on. He doesn’t always tell you because he doesn’t want to stress you out too. Here’s where it’s on the husbands, however they want you to know that they do want you to support them under stress but they often hold back as a way to protect you. Your husband’s intentions aren’t to withhold from you, they are to keep you safe.

 

All in all, there’s room for growth on both wives and husbands alike. That’s why it’s always good to leave assumptions aside and allow room for grace and good intentions. Wives truly do want to believe in compliments and husbands really do want to share their struggles. So the next time your husband says “You’re beautiful”, simply smile and say, “Thank you,” and the next time your wife asks how your day was, be honest and just tell her.

If you want to take your communication a little deeper, check out Episode 7 on the Expedition Marriage podcast where we chat about The Masks We Wear in Marriage.

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 

How NOT To Solve Problems

How NOT To Solve Problems

We’re not guaranteed a lot in life, but one thing we know for sure is that we will have problems. (John 16:33)

Therefore, it’s important to know that when those problems show up, there are right ways and there are wrong ways to handle them. The approach we choose will get us closer to a resolution, or it will get us farther from one, while also getting us farther apart from one another. 

None of us want that! So….

Here are a few things you want to try to avoid when those pesky problems come up. 

Don’t ignore them! Much to your dismay, problems don’t miraculously go away if you deny them. In fact, they can multiply. Denying problems forces you to continuously stay on alert by being ready to run again and again, because you know that they’re always right behind you. That is exhausting work. Besides, let’s be real, you’re just not that naive. You may try, but you can’t convince yourself there’s not a problem when you know full well that there is. You can run, but the truth is, you really can’t hide. Your problems will find you.

Don’t minimize them! If you find yourself justifying or excusing away a problem, or a behavior of your spouse, and often say or think things like, “He’s just tired and had a bad day”, “She only drinks to relax”, or “They didn’t really mean that”, then you are likely in the trap of minimizing. You’re trying to tell yourself that the problem really isn’t as big of a deal as you’re making it out to be. In essence, you’re believing that the problem really is you. You especially need to deal with it if your spouse has convinced you of that (that is an entirely different blog post). Nonetheless, minimization needs to be kicked out of your marriage. 

Don’t accept them! There is no need to accept problems in your marriage. We’re all going to have them and there’s no reason for just accepting them as the status quo. Tolerating problems and believing that change is impossible won’t do anything other than postpone more pain. Giving up and settling for misery will never be a win for either of you. Eventually you will run out of tolerance and end up extremely bitter or extremely hopeless. 

We don’t want any of these things for your marriage, and you shouldn’t either. There are healthy ways to deal with problems, and even if you don’t know all of them yet, even an attempt to deal with them is better than any of the above. 

Lastly, no matter what, when problems come your way, don’t be riddled with fear. You can take heart and know that even when you aren’t sure how to find the answers or solutions, God is. And, if you get lost along the way, we’re here for you too! 

Enjoy the Journey!
Chris & Jamie

3 Marital Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

3 Marital Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

Marriage is a journey. A journey that can be a beautiful ride, and a journey that can also get a little bumpy. You don’t even need to do anything different than you normally do, and all of a sudden you’re off roading and tightening up your seat belts. Why is that? 

Well, because…LIFE.

Life just happens sometimes, and you have no control over that. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the times when you do have some control. No matter what life decides to do, you will always have choices in your marriage, and we want to help you choose the smooth road over the bumpy, pot hole filled one, whenever possible. 

Here are 3 cautionary signs to look out for as you travel this journey together. These are your signals that it’s time to be on guard and prepared to make good choices, instead of mistakes.

Demanding problems. Problems are loud, and they are always seeking center stage. It’s necessary that they get the attention they need, but they also don’t need as much attention as they demand. When they come up, you must intentionally choose to identify the problem and then be sure to give more of your time to finding a solution instead of fixating on the problem. 

Be willing to identify the problem without getting stuck on the symptoms, and then take the next step of formulating a solution. Take the time to agree now that you will be a solutions focused couple, instead of a problem catastrophizing one. Work together as a team. Don’t make the mistake of allowing it to be you two amidst a problem and against each other, but instead, let it be you two against the problem..

If only. There’s a big appeal to comparison nowadays. We’re all aware of social media and the good and bad that it brings with it. Be cautious over feelings of “if only”. If only we were like, “the Jones””, “if only” we had a vacation home, or “if only” my spouse planned a vacation for us. Falling prey to the “if only’s” is like getting stuck in a roundabout. You will never arrive as long as the target is not your destination, and as long as it’s constantly moving. Stay in your lane and on your path as a couple. Let everyone else do their own thing. Their journey is different than yours, and that’s exactly how it should be.

Hurrying. When you feel like things are taking too long to get better, keep in mind that change takes time. Your marriage will always be a work in progress. Don’t get caught up in thinking that 2 steps forward, one step backwards is a bad thing. Give each other grace and time to make adjustments, to meet goals or to learn new things. Give your problems time to be repaired. Most things in your marriage won’t be immediate. That’s ok. Don’t rush change and don’t give up because it’s not happening fast enough. 

All things said and done, if you want to keep moving forward in your marriage, especially during the hard times, be prepared and solution focused for the hard times, keep jealousy and envy at bay, and add lots of patience and grace for one another. Don’t let discouragement take over. 

Marriage is a wonderful journey and it’s meant to be filled with all the things; love, patience, frustration, refining, redemption, joy, goodness, all of it. Take your time in it. Savor the ride and keep growing it and building it. Make good choices for your marriage.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9

Enjoy the Journey!

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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