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  • Mar 10 / 2016
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Essential marriage tips for husbands and wives

Our marriage to our spouse is the most important relationship we will ever enter into, despite its importance though, most of us are extremely unprepared for marriage and have no idea what it takes to make it last. As a result, divorce in our society is at an all-time high, and an increasing number of couples are choosing not to get married. Below are tips for both husbands and wives that I follow in my own marriage and also find myself giving to couples over and over.

Tips for him:

  1. Your wife desires an emotional connection with you through meaningful conversation, the same way you desire physical a connection with her. If you make love to her mind, her body will follow.
  2. Your wife needs to feel emotionally connected to you in order to desire sexual intimacy with you and truly enjoy it. (see tip #1 again)
  3. It’s not the 1950s anymore. Your wife works a full time job just like you do. Get off the couch and help with the children and chores around the house. Doing so will not only make her happy, she will have more time to spend with you.
  4. Instead of getting upset because your wife is not in the mood for sex. Try stepping up to the plate and working to get her in the mood. 
  5. Your wife and children are MORE important than your career and should never take a back seat to it.
  6. Listen to what your wife says and DON’T try to fix her problems unless she specifically asks you to. While a man talks to friends about problems hoping for tips on how to deal with it, women usually only share their problems to get emotional support, not a fix for the problem.
  7. Most wives are not impressed by the big things we do to show our love for them once a month or so when that’s all we ever do, instead, it’s the little things we as husbands do on a daily basis that better demonstrates our love for them.
  8. Want to spend quality time with your wife? Arrange it yourself. Call a babysitter and make plans for an evening out with her on your own. No reason why she has to be the one to arrange childcare.
  9. Find ways to say “I love you” that don’t involve sex.

Tips for her:

  1. For men, sex is more than a physical act, it’s a core need and how they connect emotionally, and experience deeper levels of intimacy.
  2. Your husband thinks about sex up to 30 times a day, to your 1-2 times a day. So yes, it is on his mind a lot. This is normal.
  3. God, Husband, Children…..always in that order. Your kids come after your husband, not before. Your marriage needs to be number one. Your spouse was there before the kids and will be there after the kids move out. Work on that relationship first.
  4. Your husband’s greatest need in this world is to be respected, and the person he desires that respect from the most is his wife. Ignoring this and constantly controlling or criticizing him will cause him to feel dis-respected and shut down. A respected husband is a happy husband.
  5. A good man is driven to provide a good life for his family even if it kills him. It’s the reason they work ungodly hours and often seem to put career ahead of family.
  6. Never say the “D Word”.  If you’re gonna say it, you better mean it. Plain and simple, threatening divorce is not fighting fair and it looses its meaning when you say it every time you get in a fight.
  7. Don’t talk bad about your husband or vent about your marital problems to your family or girlfriends. If you’re having marital issues that need resolved, enlist the help of a pastor, counselor, or relationship coach who is knowledgeable and will be impartial.

 

Tips for him & her:

  1. Learn his love language. Everyone has a love language. The way you perceive love is often different from the way your spouse perceives love. Learn more about the Five Love Languages HERE.
  2. Give without expecting anything in return. If you desire a happy marriage you must be willing to give without keeping tabs on who gave what or whose turn it is to go the extra mile. When you give without expectation you supercharge your marriage and you will get back much more than you gave.
  3. FORGIVE over and over again. Let’s face it, we all make some pretty stupid mistakes that have us seeking forgiveness from our spouse on a near daily basis. Learn from the past and LET IT GO. Your spouse deserves to be free from the past and so do you. It’s God’s job to judge them, not yours. The faster you forgive the more fully love will flow.
  4. Never criticize. Build your spouse up for the things they do right rather than tearing them down for the things that they do wrong.
  5. Ask for what you want. Your spouse is NOT a mind-reader. No matter how long you’ve lived together, they still won’t always know what you want.
  6. Every night, no matter how tough it is, pray together. Prayer is one of the most powerful things you can do for your marriage.
  7. Remember that marriage is less about marrying the right person and more about becoming the right person. Be the spouse you’d want to be married to yourself.

 

 

  • Mar 01 / 2016
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Is Your Marriage Fake?

It has happened to nearly all of us. When hearing of friends that are filing for divorce, we often respond something like, “I thought they had a great marriage, what happened” or “They seemed so happy together.” This happened not because we are bad at reading relationships, but rather because the couple in question, and most married couples, went to great lengths to project a picture of their marriage that was false. While they would appear to have a solid relationship and be kind and loving toward each other, this was not the case and their actions in private were anything but.

How Does this Happen?

Let’s face it. To have a good marriage takes daily work on the part of both spouses. Many couples, after years of marriage, end up faking a good marriage because they get lazy and no longer want to put the work into their marriage that it requires. Unfortunately, they find it easier to fake it than to put in the effort required. Sadly, the state of their marriages reflects this decision and lack of effort.

Up till several years ago, this was in fact the case in my own marriage. Though my wife and I were pleasant, and even somewhat loving toward each other in public or when out with our friends. Our treatment of each other in private was night and day different. Over time, the way we were treating each other was slowly killing our marriage, and would have eventually driven us to divorce. It was not until we made the decision to restore our marriage, and started sharing the transformation that had happened within it with others, that the false front we had projected for so many years was stripped away, and friends and family learned how bad our marriage had really been.

Is Your Marriage Fake?

Are you and your spouse living a fake marriage? If asked, would friends and family most likely say that your marriage is stronger than you know it actually is? Do you and your spouse treat each other significantly different in public than you do in private? Do you go to great lengths to keep people from knowing the truth about your relationship with your spouse? If any of these are true in your marriage, it might be time to evaluate your marriage, enlist the help of a counselor or relationship coach, and work to get your marriage back on track.

My challenge to you

If you are lying to yourself and others about the state of your marriage? If the marriage that you allow others to see different from the one that you and your spouse are living out? If you no longer want to continue living that way, and want to initiate change in your marriage to return to the love that the two of you once shared for each other, early in your marriage? Now is the time to act to turn your marriage around. I can tell you from personal experience that the energy my wife and I put into keeping our marriage fresh and vibrant is less than the effort we expended constantly fighting and working to hide the true state of our marriage from the world. We are also much happier.

If you desire change, but don’t know where to start. As a first step, I would recommend reading the two posts I’ve provided links to below.

Five tips to a better marriage

Building an intentional marriage

  • Feb 16 / 2016
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Resolve conflict using “I” instead of “you”

Recently I spoke to some couples on the topic of conflict resolution in their marriages. As they all shared stories from their marriages, two things became clear. One, effective conflict resolution is difficult to achieve in a marriage. Two, many couples reported that they never learned effective conflict resolution methods, and therefore their marriages seemed to be one fight after another.

What are we doing wrong?

Conflict in marriage typically starts when one spouse upsets or hurts the other, and they attempt to bring it to their attention. In such an instance they might say something like, “You make me angry when you are late to come home and then go gallivanting off to have fun with your friends, leaving me to do all the house work. I want you to come home on time and do your share of the chores.”

The above statement is probably typical of something we might say to our spouse in such a situation. Sure it’s a little inflammatory in language, but our spouse is slacking off and needs to be told so. True, but there are better ways to do it. The above statement starts off with the words “angry” and “you,” immediately putting our spouse on the defensive and starting the building of a wall between the two of you. Instead, use “I” statements, which are a powerful tool for de-escalating conflicts and creating a respectful atmosphere in which to solve them. An “I” statement consists of the following parts.

I Feel ________”

The first two words are perhaps the most powerful of the statement. By saying “I feel”, you are taking responsibility for your own feelings, and not assessing blame or pointing fingers. Feelings are not right or wrong, they just are, and as such are hard to challenge. Be as honest and specific as you can when identifying the feeling you are having. Avoid using vague words such as “bad” or “upset”.

“When you __________”

Filling in this blank correctly is vital to the process. Do not insert opinion in place of fact, or use words which could create additional conflict. Stating exactly what happened cannot be argued.

“Because __________”

Tell your spouse exactly how their actions affected you. Often people only see things from their own point of view, and fail to see how their actions affect others.

“I would like __________”

People are usually looking for what they can do to help rectify a situation. If you don’t tell them, they can only guess. Tell your spouse what you need them to do to help resolve the conflict. It is important that your request is reasonable, asking for the world will only set you up for disappointment and hinder the chance for resolution.

Here is the original statement we started with, that has been changed into an “I” statement. “I feel angry when you come home late and then go off with your friends, leaving the chores for me to do, because it makes me feel like you don’t respect me. I would like it if you could come home on time and help me with the chores, so we would both be free to go out and enjoy time with our friends.”

Last step “What I heard you say was_______”

After the offended spouse presents their “I” statement, it’s important that it be repeated back to them, so they can be assured that they were understood and that the message was received. Saying it out loud also helps their spouse remember it, increasing the chances they will comply with the request.

That seems easy, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. While the process is easy, it’s contrary to how most of us typically resolve conflict, and therefore requires practice to get it right. But since most couples have daily disagreements and conflicts, you should have plenty of chances to practice.

“I” statements by themselves will not be the answer to all situations. For them to work, both parties must share a desire to resolve the conflict and be willing to except responsibility for their individual role in it. This unfortunately, is not always the case, as some people would rather fight than work to reach an agreement. However, for those that desire to reach a peaceful resolution, “I” statements can create an opportunity to build an honest and positive relationship.

So……What are you waiting for? Get out there and start using this to defuse conflicts, and keep other situations in your relationship from escalating into a conflict.

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