Like most couples, when Harold and I started dating and moved into our engagement, we hung on each other’s words. We genuinely desired to hear what the other said and the thoughts of the one we were growing to love. Fast-forward a few years into our marriage and you will find the communication in marriage already breaking up.
As a Christian couple living this natural decline in communication in marriage, we decide to work together to reach the communication that reflects our love for each other, while attempting to demonstrate the Biblical descriptions of a marriage. To do so, as a couple, we decided to answer the following questions in our own words.
This is a great exercise to do for your own marriage, so you can stay connected and keep communication in marriage your focus and goal.
Communication in Marriage – The Key to Staying Connected
Why is communication important to you?
- Harold – “Without communication there is no way to know what is wrong, what needs to be fixed, and what it is that is working. It also allows a couple to know each other better, by understanding what makes them the person that they are, thus allowing the spouse to know how to best support or compliment him or her.”
- Dollie – “Communication is the foundation of a relationship, one on which true understanding and shared beliefs can grow. When communication is properly working, there is a natural connection that allows two people to feel exposed on one side and completely safe on the other.”
What makes you feel listened to?
- Harold – “When one listens to you, they do what it is that was said. (I’m still working on conquering this)”
- Dollie – “I feel listened to the most when there is eye contact and responding to the conversation with more than a ‘sound’ of acknowledgement.”
How can you do better in communicating with your spouse?
- Harold – “I need to sit down with my wife, undistracted by anything else around me with paper and pen in hand, to write down things that need to be addressed. Otherwise, I have a track record to forget most everything that was talked about.”
- Dollie – “I have a lot of things that I desire to discuss with my husband, as the head of our home. Our busy schedule and desire to keep our evenings about our family, as well as needing ‘down time’ from the stress of the day, has proved that long conversations need to happen on weekends or on dates. Journaling those things that aren’t time pressing, has helped keep the necessary communication opened.”
When is the best time to communicate?
- Harold – “It depends, but I find once I can step away from work for a half hour or so I can eliminate work from my mind and focus better on what is being said and thus communicate better.”
- Dollie – ”Being a woman, I can communicate most anytime of the day. Realizing this, I need to consider the optimal time for my husband to give me his full attention. Unless it is a pressing matter, I can wait until his attention is there.”
What changes are you willing to do to protect and grow the communication within your marriage?
- Harold – “Make sure, even if it is for a half hour, to set aside time each day, most likely early evening, to talk about our day, our future plans and goals.”
- Dollie – “Not giving my husband ‘information overload’ and prioritize the subjects that needs his timely input within the functions of our family and home. When we have time while driving or at the table, I can chose the items that are less pressing but good things for him to know about the daily parts of our lives.”
In the end, communication is crucial to a relationship and to start rebuilding what may have been lost or protecting what still works.
I cringe to think of the early years of our marriage and how I stood in the way of my husband being the head of our home. My strong personality, coupled with his easy-go personality, were the starting point of what our marriage had to endure from the beginning.
Although I grew up in the church, and attended a private school, the concept of the man being the head of the home wasn't anything that I really thought about, until I heard about it in a small group setting of women in a Bible study. I remember when I honestly asked myself, “Is your husband the head of your home?” I knew the answer was… ‘no‘. If you are like me, you may be looking for ways to learn how to empower your husband to be the head of your home.
How to Empower Your Husband to Be the Head of Your Home
Once I found out about the Biblical structure of the home, and how God appointed man to be the head of his home, I wanted it with all of my heart. I prayed for my husband to begin to walk in this position, and take over the leading of our family.
I put all the responsibility of this desire on my husband and expected him to change, step up and take control, even without him understanding the concept and what it may look like to him.
I have to admit that this revelation was so important to me that I overlooked how important my husband was to me and treated him so poorly anytime I didn't feel that he measured up to the picture of what it meant in my mind. I became a silly woman that was tearing down her own home!
Here is what I did when I realized what I was doing, and how I changed my attention to empower my husband to be the head of our home:
Ask his opinion before sharing mine – I find that when I have respected his opinion before mine that it is close to my own. When our opinions differ, which does happen from time to time, he is more willing to hear my suggestions because I respected his role as the head of our home, allowing him to respect my role as ‘his help meet'.
Listen longer and speak less – I can't believe how much I have dominated our discussions in the past. I found that once I let my husband speak more in our relationship, the more we grew as a couple and our desires became more of the same.
Allow him to make mistakes – I'm giving my husband the privilege of being human, which means knowing he is going to make a mistake, as I do, from time to time. I realized that it is through the mistakes that we both grow.
Love him when he makes mistakes – When he does makes mistakes, I need to love him through it, as he does with me in my errors. I'm not sure why people think that others are the only ones that make mistakes.
Allow him to speak for your family when in a couple setting – Years ago, I heard an older woman say ‘when she realized that her speaking for the family was going against her prayers for her husband to be the head of the home', I started using invisible duck tape when we were around couples that were asking us questions about our family. In holding my voice, my husband found his and that was a huge step in building his confidence as the head of our home. (This was truly one of the hardest things that I had to discipline myself to do)
If you found this post helpful, you may also like this post, How to Rebuild Trust Once It Is Broken…
At one point or another, every household struggles with balancing a budget when finances are scarce. Pinching corners may seem impossible, since you have already done this so many times and still struggle to make ends meet. I hope to share some tips and encouragement that will empower you to shine during this hard time.
When Finances are Scarce
Most homes have felt the strains that finances can bring, especially to a marriage. Pinching pennies, going without and even cutoff notices are depressing and overwhelming when you are doing all you can do to make your resources be enough for your needs.
We have been there several times in our own home and I have learned a lot during those difficult times. A few of these learning moments, were more about my own spending habits, beliefs that my ‘needs' were actually want's and that convenience wasn't necessary.
Learning these habits were not something that I wanted at the time and really took time for me to see, but looking back, I'm happy that our journey included some rough patches financially because it really taught us how to prioritize and work together as a couple on budgeting (although at times, we still don't see eye to eye… that is the real that I promised!) and our financial goals for our family.
I want to share some tips that I have implemented to help during the times when finances are scarce or when we are working toward a goal of paying down debt or saving for a high ticketed item, so you are empowered with the resources you have available to you.
Women need a break in the kitchen.
Let's face it, going out to eat is all about getting mom out of the kitchen or for the convenience of not having to go home and wait for a meal to be ready. However, when our family goes out to eat, it is easy to spend $75 for our family of 6 (and we only drink water!).
Of course, we live in the country, so having a delivery isn't possible. This makes the idea of pizza not so attractive because it requires someone to go get it and these days, it is still $25 or more to feed our family the pizza we prefer from a restaurant.
Our budget friendly solution to this real need is to buy frozen pizza and have the kids make cook it. Our taste are so different with frozen pizza, so my husband and I get one that we like and our children choose two they like. Now, I can have a break and we can eat for about $18 or less for a convenient meal.
A few other convenient meals that we take advantage of to replace eating out are:
- bagel and eggs for breakfast
- toasted cheese with canned soup
- hot dogs and mac & cheese
Family dates are important and necessary but hard on the budget.
We love to go to local parks that are free and play ball, walk, ride bikes or play at the park.
We also love renting a movie from a Redbox and calling it family movie night. We splurge on a dessert and hunker down in the family room, which beats the price at the theaters and the comfort as well. Oh, and don't get me started on being able to control the remote for scenes that we prefer not to watch or for bathroom breaks.
We love to do memberships to some of the places the children love because for the most part, they pay for themselves after two visits. Talk about a budget saving idea! We do this for birthday gifts, Mother or Father Day gifts, since gifts are already expected and they can be enjoyed for the whole year.
Save money on the wants that feel like ‘needs'.
Today electronics are everywhere and they really take a toll on our finances. If you go without them, you can really feel like you are missing out and depending on your family, you could be.
If everyone in your house has a cell phone, shut off the house phone can save you a lot of money each month.
If you have unlimited data, you may want to watch your favorite shows on the internet or through your Prime membership from Amazon (they even have movies included) or another provider and cancel your television service.
Save money on groceries can seem daunting.
This is where many people feel overwhelmed because you need to feed your family. In times when we were having financial problems, I would use beans and rice as fillers in our foods, like soups, salads or tacos. They were cheap and healthy, plus the perfect addition to making many of my recipes stretch further.
I saved a lot on meats doing the beans and rice as fillers and by adding the right seasonings, my family didn't mind it.
Coupons are obvious to everyone, right? Of course, some stores have great sales without the coupons. I always shopped the sales and then made my meals around the sales items, instead of going with a menu plan and buying what I needed. This has always been a great way to save money in the necessities of life.
Make home an amazing place to be so your family will be happy to spend time there.
The meaningful part of the times when finances were scarce was finding things that made us happy at home. Board games are the perfect way to fill an evening at home and save money on fuel and things that aren't necessary for your life at this time.
Making sure our children has things to fill their days with fun was important to us because we wanted them to feel happy even when spending most of their week at our home. We never put them in sports, but made sure they had sports equipment to do at home or at a nearby park with us. The memories we made doing this was priceless. The reward is that as our older children are in their early adult years, they love spending their free time with us.
All marriage couples will tell you, if they are being honest, that there are times when marriage becomes difficult and requires more work than other times. Others would say that it becomes so difficult that it was easier to give up on the marriage and call it quits. I desire to share with you why I feel it is important to keep working through the challenges that your marriage has and find the solutions to making it work.
When Marriage Becomes Difficult
A disagreement here and there is normal in a relationship where two people live together and share space. However, I want to be real about what to do when you find your marriage becoming difficult and struggling with the thoughts of ‘Is it worth the work to stay together‘.
Absolutely, your marriage is worth the work to stay together!
My marriage has had a few times when it was a real struggle for us and finding a solution to fix the problems seemed impossible. That fact about why marriage is so difficult can easily be summed up with the sacredness of the vows that were exchanged with the man or woman of our dreams, to only find out that they have real flaws after you return from the honeymoon.
How dare the person you just vowed your life to, until death do you part, bring pet-peeves, habits and sin into your marriage?
The fairytale seems shattered when reality of who you just gave this ‘once in a life-time' position, as your spouse. Next thing that takes place is that the more you think about these flaws, the more you start doubting your choice and their love for you. The negative thoughts replace the once blissful thoughts that brought the two of you together.
Realizing that you married a ‘broken person‘, you set out on a mission to fix, change and better them.
Before long, your spouse will begin to wonder why you are finding so many things wrong, while overlooking the things that they clearly see in you that needs fixing and starts adding this to their agenda for the sole purpose of their defense.
A little spark of negativity begins to replace the sparks of love. Ammunition has been securely fastened to each spouse's mind and an invisible line have been drawn, with spouse facing off against spouse. Determined to be the last one standing, marriage vows are replaced with survival instincts fills both
soldiers, I mean lovers.
And thus is the start of when marriages become difficult!
It is time to learn how to fight for your marriage!
Marriages are not battle grounds. Spouses are not our enemies. No one is without pet-peeves, habits or sins.
Empower your marriage by changing the mindsets that cause the root issues in your marriage.
You BOTH are Fallible People
Identify the things you are finding faults with and then realize where your spouse could be finding fault with you.
I'm going to just come out and say this to women (myself included)…
“Do you really think you have it all together and your husband is the only one that needs to improve in your marriage?”
At one time in our marriage, I believed this whole-heartedly. I saw how hard I was working to make our house a home, have dinner on the table, keep a spotless house, be the only one to tend to the needs of our children, always be available when my husband needed me and so on.
I overlooked my tone in my voice, my rolling of my eyes, my temperament and even my words, because I justified them all by believing that ‘if he wasn't doing what he was doing, I wouldn't be doing what I was doing'.
This is the biggest lie that married couples believe, making their marriage difficult.
Stop Nagging and Get to the Root
For most of us women, it really isn't about the socks on the floor. It may be that your husband isn't respecting your work around the house. All along, you are arguing about the socks on the floor and he scratches his head trying to see how that is different than you leaving a cup in the car.
Men have no problem getting to the root of the problem.
Men tend to be straight shooters, so they will just come out and say what the problem is and often times, it comes off rough and hurtful. Considering how your spoken words can sound to a sensitive person can help to get your point across and eliminate the strain that speaking your mind can do.
Discuss the Sins, Work on the Habits and Overlook the Pet-peeves
Marriages have it all backwards when it comes to working on a marriage and often times it takes being married for years before you realize how backwards you look at your spouse.
Most marriages struggle with the pet-peeves of the other person, and then graduate to ripping apart their habits, while never really seeing the sin of the other in a marriage.
When a spouse feels like they are being attacked for the little things, like pet-peeves or how they have done things for the last 20+ years, it is easy for them to entertain sinful thoughts that lead to sinful behavior.
What we have found when our marriage is difficult is that one of us has a sin that needs to be confessed, discussed and eliminated. Overlooking the sins, when we feel like the Grand Canyon is separating us, can be the very thing that will end a marriage in turmoil.
Focusing on unhealthy habits together often times will be things to bring us together.
While the pet-peeves end up being the thing that brings laughter to our relationship, because they are the things that make us… US.
When we are feeling like we can't do anything more to fix our marriage, we couldn't be any more right. We can't. After all, we are the very reason our marriage was ending up in the difficult spot we found ourselves in.
This is when we lean on God, who we believe made us for each other and brought us together.
Praying together is one of the strongest things a marriage has to staying together, through the difficult times. Praying out loud, sharing your hurts through prayer, asking God to help, and heal will be one of the easiest ways to soften a heart, open a heart and fill a heart with love.
We all desire great marriages, right? If we are honest with each other, we know that marriage is work and at times can be absolutely difficult. However, after 23 year of marriage, I can tell you that somethings have been proven ways to improve your marriage and they work with little effort, but with great rewards.
10 Proven Ways to Improve Your Marriage
These ways are so easy to implement and really bring great results, quickly and they are fun doing them.
Ask Each Other About Your Day… AND then Listen to Each Other
The mundane of everyday can easily find a couple just walking through the routines without really talking about them. The dangers of this in a marriage can easily be understood when you realize that how we spend the majority of our day often times is how we relate or see ourselves. If we don't include the love of our life in the good, bad and ugly of our days, it is so easy to drift apart and believe that the other one doesn't have an interest in what you do for the largest part of your day.
Touch Base During the Day Just to Say I Love You
We all get busy with our to-do list and before you know it dinner time arrives and you realize that you haven't heard anything from your spouse. There is nothing like getting a call just to hear those special words “I love you” or “I'm thinking about you”. Even if it is a routine and not a spare of the moment kind of call, it is really important to know that your love one took a moment and was thinking of you, enough to drop what they were doing to just tell you something sweet.
Implement a Touch Rule
With four children, homeschooling, blogging, homemaking and everything else in our lives, including my husband's own crazy schedule that includes him working from home, it is so easy to be so distracted that we don't touch each other until late at night. Knowing that my love language is physical touch, it can easily become hurtful if my husband walks by me several times a day and never reaches for me. That is when I implemented a 3 feet rule at home. This rule is simple… ‘if you are in 3 feet of me, touch me'. It sounds silly but oh my goodness, it means the world to me to have my husband just reach out to acknowledge his love for me. His isn't 100% faithful in it and I wouldn't expect him to be, but it helps him to remember that I need his touches and treasure each one. It also helps to keep the romance alive outside of the bedroom!
Flirt With Each Other… OFTEN!
There are so many opportunities in a marriage to act like you did when you were falling in love. A wink across the table, sending a sweet text or a photo of you smiling, touching each other, whispering something sweet in their ear or leaving a love note where they will find it. The more you keep that alive in your marriage, the easier it is to overcome the obstacles that always arise.
Think on the Positive Things About Your Spouse
What makes your spouse AMAZING? Is he great at fixing things around the house, or helping in the kitchen? Does he keep the car clean, fueled and maintained so you don't have to worry about it? Does he play with the kids? Does he invest in your marriage? Is he a good friend? Whatever it is that makes you proud about your husband… THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS! Then don't miss this important step… TELL HIM! Praise him often and keep telling him. Make him (or her, men need to do this, too) secure in knowing that you see all the good things and that you love him for them.
(Print this graphic and frame it for a great way to focus on improving your marriage:
Improve Your Marriage Printable Image)
Bury the Past and Keep it There
This is the hardest thing to do for most people but is it one of these best ways to improve your marriage quickly, but leaving the past where it belongs… behind you. Trust me when I tell you that I have struggled with this in our own marriage, especially when trust was broken in our marriage, but our marriage is always improving when I have learned how to do this and fought the urge when dealing with a hurt feeling with my husband. When you do find that your marriage is struggling, you can help keep the past in the past by learning how to implement steps to fighting nicely.
Don't Talk Negatively About Each Other to Friends
There is a place in friendships where you can share about your marriage experience, but it should only be done when you have a positive result to share that you learned in the process to help encourage a friend that is struggling in their marriage. If you are the one struggling, you can share the truth of the situation but do it with only a person that desires to help you get through it and work to improve your marriage. Friends that let each other talk about their spouse and join in on the negative talk are not the kinds of friends that you really want to discuss important aspects of your marriage if you want to keep your vows, because they will only keep you from finding the positive.
Date Each Other Often
Dates are not only done out of the house, but can easily be done at home and at the spare of the moment. If you are able to sneak away from the home and get some alone time, you can easily find free or cheap things to do in your area, including a packed picnic and talking at a local park. Grab a Redbox movie and cuddle together after the kids go to bed. It can easily be done if you make it a priority.
Play with Each Other
Laughter is the best way to improve your marriage. Pillow fights, board games, chases around the house, hide and seek, food fights, hiding on each other to scare them, or just laughing together over a comedy (all some of our favorite ways to play with each other). There is just something about laughter and how it brings people together.
Memorize Scripture Together
As a Christian, scripture is so important to our home and there is nothing like memorized scripture to help you through a rough patch in your marriage. You may not have any idea of what are some good scriptures to memorize together, so you may find these post helpful: verses for wives and verses for families.
Marriage becomes a place where love often times feels taken for granted, and comfortable. However it is the most important place to demonstrate love on a continual basis. If you aren’t one to plan things out well, these last minutes ways to say I love you will help you make a focus of demonstrating your love in your marriage.
10 Last Minute Ways to Say I Love You
Love is something to celebrate everyday, however there are some days that seem to get more attention for reasons to celebrate those you love. Some people are planners and romantics, having no issues with showing their love all day long any day. However, some people seem to be procrastinators in the game of love and need some help in some last minute ways to say ‘I love you'.
Make a Nice Dinner with Candles on the Table
Dinner is always a part of a couples day, but you can make a regular dinner into a reflection of your love by dressing up the table to be a more romantic dinner with just a few candles, a table cloth and maybe a few extra touches. If nothing else, just lower the lights and light the candles.
Pick Up a Bouquet of Flowers
Bouquets of flowers are everywhere! There is no excuse to coming home empty handed. Flowers will make a perfect addition to a candle light dinner and setting the mood of a night of demonstrating love for one another.
Create a Homemade Card
Grab some scissors and colored card stock to create you on card with your own words will be a great way to say “I love you” with only a few minutes to making the card. Okay, you may not be a crafty person but there are stores for ‘your kind‘.
Send a Text with a Something Sweet that You Love About This Person
Texting should be all about details and grocery list. Take your love ones breathe away with a sweet text about something you love about them and why you love having them in your life. Just be sure you don't text the wrong person, because that could get awkward really fast.
Write a Hand-written Letter
A hand-written letter is almost extinct so it would be cherished by the person receiving it and a perfect balance between making your own card or buying one.
Play Soft Music and Just Talk
Another lost art is a face to face talk, without distractions of other electronics pulling your attention away. Sitting on the couch, with soft music in the background while conversing in a conversation can be as romantic as anything else you can come up with. Just don't do all the talking, but a two way conversation says “I love you”, but a one way conversations says, “I love me”.
Start a Fire and Look at Old Photos
Everything about a fire screams romance, right? Add a trip down memory lane with photos of times that are important highlights and sharing memories about those times will have love all around you.
Go for a Ride or Walk While Holding Hands
If you or your spouse is a nature lover, taking a country ride or walking in a beautiful area while holding hands. This one is a timeless romantic scene that all couples can relate, too.
Watch a Movie with Popcorn Together
Some people go to the movie theatre but some of my favorite home dates with my hubby is when we rent a movie, cuddle on the couch and share a bowl of popcorn. This is something I love to do anytime I can.
Put a Getaway on the Calendar
So let's just say that you show up empty handed on a day that your spouse expects something that says you love them. What do you do then? My best suggestion is pick a date on the calendar, really quick and mark it off on your calendar. Next, hug and kiss your spouse, and while still in their arms, whisper this in their ear – “Where can I take you …. (the date you reserved on your calendar)? It has to have …. (list a few of their favorite things).” Then, if you want extra points for the idea only, then say, “I will arrange the child and pet care, so it is just our little getaway.”
If this is your last minute way to say “I love you”, be sure to make it all happen on the date you stated and if you went further to say you will arrange for the kids and pets, you will reap the benefits!
If you like this, you may like this Love Scavenger Hunt…
Our culture seems to be lacking in good marriage advice or knowledge on how to keep a marriage happy and move past the obstacles that arise when you commit yourself to another person for life. Scripture has so many passages that gives insight on what a marriage looks like and the roles of the husband and the wife. Today's marriages need to grab ahold of these truths and find the advice and knowledge to keeping the vows they made to each other and God on the day they got married.
Seeing this need in our culture, I wanted to share some books by Christian authors for encouragement, advise and wisdom on keeping committed, even when it hurts, knowing that God is faithful in all things. I know He has giving our marriage wisdom to rebuild trust after it was broken and find ways to stay intimate in our busy lives.
Here are top 10 books for a Christian marriage:
At one time or another, a marriage will have to face the issue of broken trust. Keeping secrets within a marriage, even as little as a purchase at a store, can be the beginning steps to bigger things crumbling within the trust of the most important relationship you will ever have with another person.
Knowing this, there is still hope in rebuilding trust, even if the issues that broke the trust could be marriage breaking. Trust should never be something you stop working to grow within your marriage, because it is the adhesive that keeps two fallible people committed to loving each other despite their faults.
Here are five ways to rebuild trust once it is broken:
- Sincere Repentance – The spouse that is in the wrong, must experience a sincere repentance (a turning away) of the issue that broke the trust in the beginning. Without this turning away, the issue will still exist and will continue to chip away at the relationship and trust will never be able to be rebuilt.
- Open Communication – Communicating well builds a tight mutual bond that leads to the growth of trust and into a true open relationship. If you are having a hard time communicating without fighting, consider implementing these steps to improve how you communicate through hurt.
- Accountability – When one becomes accountable to themselves, their spouse, and to God, a built in “check” system is allowed to grow. This builds one's character and establish a safe boundary that they and their spouse can be fulfilled and flourish in.
- Honesty – Admitting that there is a trust issue within your relationship is the first step to rebuilding the broken trust. Both spouses need to be fully honesty in their feelings and their actions. As difficult as this is, it can truly be the most rewarding step to quickly building the trust in your relationship.
- Genuine Forgiveness – Trust can never be built in a relationship without the hurt spouse accepting the sincere repentance of the offending spouse. Rehashing and bringing up things only sabotages the attempt to build trust within the relationship. If a relationship has an apologizing spouse that isn’t working to change the issue that is breaking trust, rebuilding trust will be a difficult thing to do. This is where ‘love that covers a multitude of sins’ comes into a marriage and can be the changing aspect of a marriage and the apologizing spouse.
Each marriage is worth the effort of rebuilding trust, regardless of where you are in your marriage, even if on the verge of divorce. It all depends how much one is willing to do for the love of the other.
We are so happy that we never gave up and held onto the strings that were left hanging when trust was broken in our marriage, to allow our love to be the reason we worked to rebuild and continue to build trust in our marriage.
Want more marriage advice? Read 7 Things Your Husband Needs to Hear You Say…
Most couples are so distracted with their jobs, their children, and the responsibilities that are required of them, that they leave the intimacy their marriage needs to thrive, only for the bedroom. We would like to share with you 7 things that we do within our marriage to bring the intimacy into our lives, not just the bedroom.
7 ways to bring intimacy outside the bedroom:
- Unexpected Touches – My husband often comes up behind me and just touches me. Although his touch is magical to me, it is the unexpected attention that makes my heart skip a beat and my mind go directly to him. The intimacy that comes with just an unexpected touch is more about our hearts during this moment, but it is very necessary in the chaos of a busy home.
- Kisses on the Neck – All ladies would agree that kisses on the neck are a sure road to intimacy. Harold believes that feeding him is part of bringing intimacy into our lives outside of the bedroom and he proves it daily after his meals by kissing my neck. What a way to say thank you!
- Being Playful with Each Other – Most younger couples find this to be what leads to the bedroom until the kids and responsibilities kept us from running to the bedroom each time. It is really important to keep those playful moments in busy lives, because it is what connects the loving side of our beings together.
- Cuddling – Getting close together and creating the intimacy of connecting with each other is such a wonderful way to enjoy the evening hours with the children. I have always told Harold that my favorite place in the whole world is in his arms. He knows it is true because like all favorite places, it is often visited, cherished, and missed when separated. His embrace is the closest thing to getting to my heart and making my world always better.
- Massages or Playing with Each Other’s Hair – Intimacy is easy to demonstrate when caresses and massages are given. This has been a part of our marriage from the beginning and one that is cherished greatly. I love to have my neck and back massaged and Harold loves to have his hair played with or his feet rubbed.
- Surprises – The element of surprise is something that can really connect two people! When my husband surprises me with flowers or one of my favorite sweets, my heart swells with the intimacy that he shared with me, by truly thinking of me and demonstrating the thought through an act. Like I mentioned earlier, my husband’s stomach is his key to intimacy, and there is nothing like being surprised by his favorite breakfast or dinner, or finding his favorite warm cookies meeting him after a hard day at work.
- Love Notes – The written word is one of the oldest ways of showing intimacy within a relationship. Song of Solomon is the earliest love letter I have ever read. We love to send emails and texts of love notes to each other. We actually have folders within our emails where we save our love notes. We also love to write our own words in cards, to be able to share the intimacy we feel within our hearts.
Each relationship owes itself the pleasure of bringing intimacy outside the bedroom for more connections, and satisfaction because of the investments given leading up to that moment when nothing else matters but each other.
Let's face it, all relationships have times of disagreements, but you can learn how to fight nice while disagreeing, for your marriage sake. I would like to share the ways of how you can learn to fight nice, while keeping a strong relationship.
Here are tips to how to fit nice:
Enter the disagreement with the goal for restoration
Once you enter a disagreement, you need to remind yourself that it takes two to discuss, work on a relationship and to fix a problem within a relationship. If you don't enter the relationship with a goal of restoration, you have already come to your conclusion and the discussion is pointless and only a source of strife. Having a heart to fix what is broken (even being willing to admit you could be contributing) and finding a solution will allow you to ‘fight nice'.
Acknowledge ‘your perspective‘
By sharing ‘your perspective‘ it is allowing you to be open about what is hurting you, without pointing the finger to the one that is causing it. When sharing your perspective, be sure to do it with the goal of restoration, not casting fault.
Acknowledge ‘their perspective‘
There is always two sides to every story. Hearing the perspective of the other person is always a good thing when you are working for restoration and necessary for proper growth within the relationship. If their perspective isn't being shared, always ask for it before moving on from your perspective.
Agree that each person can share freely
Many times, people hold back what they really feel because they are afraid of what may result from such honesty. This doesn't mean that you become vicious in your sharing but rather sharing your perspective and how these situations have brought you to such a perspective. We always lead with our hearts, so if you are being hurt by the sharing then going on to the next step may prove necessary many times.
Take breaks, if tempers grow
We live in an instant society and often are not willing to take the time to work on what isn't working within our relationships. If feelings are being hurt and tempers are growing, taking a break is always a good thing when the goal is restoration. Agree that breaks are temporary and that you will reconvene again in a given time period, so that attention can be given in due time.
Start fresh when calm has returned
After the emotions have had time to calm, take another stab at gaining restoration, but starting at number one again. You will be amazed just how beneficial this step can be to a relationship that goal is for making things better.
Keep the past in the past and only discuss the issue at hand
It doesn't benefit anyone in a relationship to bring up the past. For the person hurt, it only breeds resentment and bitterness. For the person in the wrong, it doesn't allow the ability to find peace and gain esteem in the relationship and will often times be the reason that things get worse in the relationship.
I pray that these steps find a way into your attempt to fight nicely and that they will reap rewards in your relationships.
If you are married you have in-laws and many times these relationships can be a strain on your marriage if the relationship is strained as well.
7 Things that Your In-laws Need to Hear You Say:
- Your Son is Amazing – Parents never stop being parents, even when their adult children get married. They want to know they are having the best in life and being treated the best. Many times, that parental desire can cloud the judgement of their children's spouses, making it difficult to have a good relationship with them. I would encourage you to speak great things about her spouse to them, as often as you can. Let's not forget, your spouse has in-laws also and you would want the best for your parents and your spouse to have peace with each other.
- I love him – You can't tell the parents of your spouse that you love him, enough. Seriously! I would highly recommend you laughing off the pet-peeves you have about the little things you husband does and let them know you love him. It goes a long way to hear you repeating your love of him in their presence.
- I'm trying my best to be everything he needs – Admitting your weaknesses or short comings to them and letting them know that you are trying your best, while acknowledging these will give them a sense that you are really working on you, your relationship and giving it all that you have to be successful in your marriage.
- Thank you – I think your husband's parents would love to hear you say ‘thank you' to them for the gift you have received in their son. I know that my in-laws have enjoyed me telling this to them. Having gratitude for the kind of man he is and their work as his parents really allows them to open their hearts to you as well.
- It hurts me when… – Don't harbor hard feelings toward them. If they have hurt you in a situation, be open with them and with love tell them ‘It hurt me when…' and I don't it to affect our relationship, so I wanted to let you know before resentment or bitterness began to grow. Remind them that you desire to have a great relationship with them because your husband's happiness matters greatly to you.
- Will you forgive me for… – If you know that you haven't done something right or expect that their is a problem in the relationship, be open to ask for forgiveness and be the solution to the problem. If you can make things better with a simple apology, I would recommend trying it, especially if it is something that your husband would appreciate you doing.
- I forgive you for… – Always accept their apology, if it is offered.
Not all in-law relationships may be easy to work on, but I do believe that it is something worth attempting for the blessing of your husband and the peace it can bring in your own marriage.
I have shared with you things that your husband and children need to hear you say.
My poor husband has heard so much from me, especially in the first five years of our marriage, that should have never came out of my mouth. Thank the Lord for a forgiving husband! It has been through years of marriage that I realized my husband needs to hear me say certain things and often, so our marriage thrives.
Over the years, since those first five painful growing years, I have learned a lot about the needs of my husband and how my words can affect him negatively or positively. I would like to share seven things that I have learned my husband loves to hear me say to him.
Here are seven things your husband needs to hear you say:
“Forgive me“ – In our family, we try to avoid the ‘I'm sorry‘ because it doesn't always seem sincere enough when true damage has occurred within a relationship. We leave the ‘sorry' for time when we bump into each other or make a mindless mistake, not something that was done on purpose or with intent.
“I was wrong“ – Asking for forgiveness is a great place to start, but I have found that my husband loves when I admit even more to him with the ‘I was wrong‘ statement. I can still see his face the first time this unheard phrase slipped from my lips. He was really shocked that I could admit being wrong and he instantly softened toward me.
“I appreciate how you provide for our family“ – Men work hard to provide for their family and in most cases, they do not get any respect for the work that they faithfully do for the company they work for and it shouldn't be the same case with the family that he works hard to provide for.
“Thank you“ – I started thanking my husband for the little things he does, like playing with the kids, helping get our youngest ready for bed, helping with the discipline of our children and just listening to me. Sharing your gratitude with him should be second nature, but it really took a focus for me to make it that way and I'm sad I didn't start earlier.
“You look so gorgeous“ – I'm a strong believer in ‘if you think it, you need to say it‘ because people need to hear positive thoughts more than negative ones. Telling your husband that you are still attracted to him, even if he has gained weight or looks different than when you first were married (trust me, you probably look different, too). Having confidence in how you view him can help him feel more confident in your relationship with him.
“What can I make you for dinner“ – Asking my husband if there is anything special that he would like for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or even dessert) really let's him know that I desire to please him and make him happy. Many times he doesn't have anything special because I usually stay with the meals that I know he enjoys, but on occasions, he has been quick to say that he was hungry for something.
“What do you think we should do“ – I have always been quick to share my opinion with my husband, however over the last several years, I have been learning to ask his opinion before giving mine. It has surprised me to find that many times we were both thinking the same thing, but allowing him to go first allowed him to feel more of the leader I have desired him to be in our home. That has been so empowering to him and an answer to my prayers! And to think, I was the one standing in the way of getting my heart's desire.
The more I spoke these things to my husband, the more I realized that I was providing him with the things he needed, and it gave me a perspective that I was created for him.
For years, I wanted my husband to be… more.
I wanted him to be the picture that I feel the Bible was stating about what a Christian husband should be and do. It took me a while to realize that I was standing in the way of the very thing that I desired the most of his place in our home. I share that journey in my post, How to Empower Your Husband to Be the Head of Your Home.
My heart is open to sharing with other women about the journey our marriage has taken, because it hasn’t been an easy journey.
Our marriage has been a journey with many hills and valleys, but I wouldn’t want to do it without him. We have learned a lot in our 25 years of marriage, and I share it on my marriage resource page. I hope you find it full of inspiration to keep on keeping on, and growing together.