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  • Jan 07 / 2016
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Standing in our own way


At one time or another, all of us have been crippled by issues of self-doubt and low self-confidence, and have allowed them to stop us from accomplishing what we wanted to accomplish. 

What is really sad, is that in many cases, overcoming our own self-doubt is more difficult for us than actually accomplishing the goal we have set for ourselves. In the end, we end up not accomplishing our goal, not because we failed at it, but because we never attempted it in the first place. Whether it be in our personal life, or in our marriage, instead of pushing through to accomplish our goals, we listen to the negative voices in our head that tell us “it will never work,” or “I’m not capable of doing this.”

I’ll be the first to admit that this has been my mode of operation for much of my life. For years, I worked hard to make sure I only set realistic (LOW) goals for myself, to keep the risk low and avoid failure. 

In the past year however, a chain of events started that will eventually end with me starting a new career. While I am excited about it, the training and birthing of this new career has caused me to have to face and conquer my self-doubt head on, on a near daily basis. And while I have a long way to go and many more fears to conquer along the way. So far it’s going fine, thanks to the many people I have on my side to hold me accountable, and help me and encourage me. I couldn’t do it without every one of them.

What are you putting off or not even attempting because you’re afraid you might fail? Whether it’s making changes to improve your marriage, asking your boss for a raise, or starting a new career, you will never know what you’re capable of unless you try. Sure, you might not succeed on your first try. If that happens, instead of quitting, learn from your mistake, change your approach, and try again. If necessary, enlist a friend to use a support system and provide accountability. You only fail if you quit.

I leave you with this to think over.

Michael Jordan, Cut from his high school basketball team and was told he didn’t have any talent.

Albert Einstein, Wasn’t able to speak until he was 4 years old and his teachers said he would never amount to anything.

Abraham Lincoln, Fired from a job, failed at a business, and lost 7 elections on his way to becoming president.


 

  • Jan 02 / 2016
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Marriage is a Box

This is a wonderful quote that few married couples are aware of, but all should be, if their marriages are to be everything they dreamed they would be when they got married.

 

I have talked to many couples, and over and over I hear things like, “I thought when we got married it would be easy,” or “I had no idea that marriage took this much work.” As if getting married magically infused their relationship with superpowers that would carry them through anything. And if you’ve been married for any amount of time, it probably didn’t take you long to find out that this is not the case. In fact, the average couple has their first major argument within 24 hours of getting married, and almost 40% of couples end up getting separated within just 18 months of getting married.

Your marriage is a box

The truth is, your marriage is just like a box. And like a box, it contains nothing but what we put into it. The amount of love, romance, grace, and forgiveness that is exists in a marriage is never more than what we put into it. When a couple is intentional about putting their marriage first and feeding it daily, their marriage grows in strength and their marriage box fills up. Giving them a reserve to draw from when things get tough. But when we are lazy, take our marriage for granted, and let things such as our career, friends, hobbies, and even our children, take the place of our spouse and distract us from the important job of feeding our marriage. Our box is empty, and as such, we have no reserve to see us through the hard times.

It’s important to know, that when we get married our marriage box is empty. Any love, romance, grace, or forgiveness that flows into the box does so because our marriage is overflowing in these areas.

My wife and I found this out first hand several years ago when our marriage nearly fell apart. For many years we had both been selfish and put very little, if anything, into our “marriage box,” as a result, when things got tough, our marriage nearly failed. Since then, feeding our marriage has been a high priority for both of us.

My hope is that you and your spouse will read this poem together and talk about it. And that if you are having problems in your marriage, you will make it your mission to find out what you can put into your marriage box that will help you to love one another as you originally vowed to do. It’s what you promised, and what God would have you (us) do as husbands and wives.

  • Dec 15 / 2015
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Bedtime Habits to Improve your Marriage

I remember when my wife and I were first married, and going to bed each evening was exciting and something we both looked forward to.

Many years later, much of that excitement and specialness of going to bed with her, unintentionally gave way to unhealthy bedtime habits such as going to bed separately, surfing the web or social media instead of connecting emotionally or physically, or even sleeping in different rooms on occasion. Over time, these habits were not only unhealthy, but can, and did contribute to the near failure of our marriage.

To avoid this happening again, my wife and I have initiated some bedtime rituals that over time will replace our bad habits with good ones, enabling my wife and I to begin to connect better, both emotionally and physically, creating opportunities for us to spend quality time together in bed, doing something other than just sleeping.

This week, I challenge you to try one or more of these tips that will help you and your spouse create bedtime rituals that will nurture your marriage instead of hurt it.

Make time to talk. Communication is one area where most marriages are greatly lacking. For most of us, after a long day at work and then having to deal with the issues that arise at home, we are physically and emotionally spent. And as a result, communication with our spouse sufferers greatly.

Bedtime offers the perfect time to actually have time to talk, as husband and wife, after the hustle and bustle of a busy day. Husbands, take note, creating a talk ritual will help meet your wife’s emotional needs and make her feel closer to you, making her more likely to
want to express her love to you in physical ways.

Set boundaries for technology in the bedroom. This is a pet peeve of mine and something my wife and I often struggle with. Provided you and your spouse can agree on this, declare technology such as smartphones and computers off limits in the bedroom. Instead, spend your time prior to falling asleep cuddling, talking about your day, reading a book, or even making love to your spouse. I promise any of these are more fulfilling than playing games or searching social media.

Have a set bedtime, or at least go to bed together. While a set bedtime may seem a little weird for an adult, going to bed around the same time each night adds stability to your schedule and greatly increases the chance for connection when you get in bed together.

If you and your spouse cannot do this daily due to greatly differing work schedules, at least make it a priority to retire to bed together on the weekends or whenever possible.

Create time for sexual intimacy. In many marriages, sex often ends up being a casualty of a busy life. If that describes you and your spouse, and sexual intimacy is important to both of you, you might consider actually putting sex on the calendar to ensure it is happening on a regular basis.

Tip: If you and your spouse regularly either cuddle, watch TV, or read in bed, make it a point to make love first thing after getting in bed instead of putting it off till you’re exhausted and want to go to sleep. It’s been my experience that the later it gets in the evening, the less chance there is that my wife and I will have sex.

Pray with and for your spouse. This is something that my wife and I have recently started doing almost every night as we go to sleep. Whether you’re religious or not, doing this at bedtime offers a time to reflect on the day’s events, and pray for or affirm each other.

My wife and I have found that praying out loud, and giving thanks for each other has brought us closer together and strengthened our marriage in ways we hadn’t expected.

Flirt, laugh, and have fun together. This may seem obvious, but often in the hustle and bustle of life, we are far too serious and forget to have fun and enjoy life and our spouse.

Reverse this pattern by making it a point to have fun anytime you’re with your spouse. Time spent with them in bed prior to falling asleep is perfect for laughing and flirting, and offers you a chance for connection and closeness not possible during the day.

One last thing. The looks of the bedroom you share with your spouse should reflect its intended use. If want your bedroom to be a special place where you and your spouse can escape to from the world to connect and draw closer together, it shouldn’t resemble ground zero of a nuclear attack. While it will take work and commitment, keep it clean and make sure it does not become a dumping ground for items you couldn’t find a place for elsewhere in the house.