They say life is short but marriage is long… not sure who said it but they must have spoken from personal experience. Whatever your views on marriage are… whether you believe it's a beautiful idyllic journey of love or merely a union just to be tolerated… the truth is… somewhere in between those two extreme outlooks lie people who want to be realistic… who realize the hard work but also fully embrace the joy to be had… that can see the blessings marriage brings along with the occasional pitfalls. They want tips, they want ideas, they want something they can learn from (or be reminded of) and then want to apply the information to their marital relationship. So today I have compiled a list of marriage do's and don'ts for easy reference.
1. Do State What You Need:
This may be harder for women. He's not a mind reader. This is essential to learn. If you find yourself having difficulty stating your needs ask yourself "What's holding me back? Am I scared? What am I afraid of?" Being assertive is a much needed life long skill combined with manners like saying "Thank you."
2. Do Compliment Your Spouse:
Remember why you married him (or her) in the first place. Think back to your dating days. Or recall a recent accomplishment he (or she) made. Verbalize it. Your spouse will really appreciate you noticing.
3. Do Be Specific:
"I like it when you…" or "I always appreciate it when you… " etc. These positive statements help encourage your spouse to do more of what you love.
4. Do Show Affection:
Wives and husbands modeling healthy affection in a marriage benefit their kids. When Daddy dances with Mommy in the kitchen or on the deck the kids notice. When Mommy gives Daddy a hug when he walks in the door from working all day they notice. Likewise they notice crass-like interactions between you... which is not something for them to adopt later in life.
5. Do Pray Together:
Praying together anytime of day is essential to connecting together in your faith and strengthening it.
6. Do The Extra Mile:
Going the extra mile to look nice is simply being respectful of your spouse. Letting yourself go says "I don't care" about me or what you think. Both men and women appreciate and value compliments.
7. Do Be A Safe Space:
Listen, listen and listen some more. When our spouse is talking and were angry we may go one of two routes: 'I'm going to talk LOUDER so you will hear me' mode… or the other… walking off and refusing to discuss the subject i.e.; stonewalling, giving the silent treatment. Neither is obviously effective. We are often so ready to open our mouth to reply were not really listening. One trick is to simply repeat what your spouse said back to them. Say "This is what I'm hearing is the issue… " and then state the issue… following with "Is that correct?" Get confirmation and then proceed.
8. Do Keep It Fresh:
Marriage can sometimes become monotonous, no doubt… when we begin going through the daily grind-like motions and all those responsibilities like kids, managing a home, work, car maintenance, bills, a mortgage, etc, it can all build up and like a vacummn suck any fun to be had out of the relationship. But keeping our marriage fresh although sometimes definitely difficult, will be worth it in the end. Book a hotel (whatever your budget is) for a weekend, try something new as a couple but also (this is so important) individually. When we stop changing and growing and are no longer experiencing that fear of "What if?" we become stagnant and it not only affects us but our partner too.
9. Do Give Space:
It's important for each of you to have some time to yourselves occasionally. Carve out time for your own interests and relaxation… and it's good to go jogging, take a girls weekend trip, and spend the day with your mom… each of you, whether it's you doing your thing or him golfing with his friends, taking in a movie alone, or going to dinner with his dad… it's good for both of you to have individual experiences and then come together to share them afterward… some space is a good thing.. and brings you closer.
10. Do Spend Time Together:
If your schedule is hectic it's vital to block in time for dates, for nights at home to relax together. Is taking a day off work occasionally doable? It's the little things that keep your connection close and fun so the monotony of work, caring for children and household chores don't take over.
1. Don't Nag:
When we nag, critique, criticize, etc we drive our spouse away... the opposite of what we likely want to happen.
2. Don't Talk Bad About Your In-Laws:
Don't talk negatively about them to your spouse. Maybe your mother in-law is a total pain… I get it… "and my sister in-law too", you mutter… okay, I get it. But it does zero good to ahem, "gripe" about them to him. State calmly your issues regarding them to him briefly. Choose your battles wisely here. Then move on. You don't have to be best buddies with these people. You do have to be respectful, civil, etc. You don't have to be joined at the hip at every get together. Get some space… make alternative plans every so often… aren't you busy with a lunch date that day with your sister? Or your friend? Maybe your distant cousin? You get the idea. Strike a balance.
3. Don't Gossip:
Bad mouthing your spouse to your friends, your mother or your siblings is not good. What ends up happening is your friends, your mom and your siblings will not forgetthe jerky thing he just did as of late (because they just may have an ongoing log of all the jerky things he's ever done thanks to you) and will not be pleased when they see him next. It will be awkward. And you will find yourself trying to break the ice between them. Then there is the other extreme… acting like things are better than they really are. Because (and this is personal experience) then when you announce to your mother you're divorcing him and she later (during the divorce process) finds out how really bad it was because you had edited or downsized "horrific" behavior to just "jerky" she will be standing there shell shocked. There needs to be a medium here. If the marriage has escalated to abusive, you need help and should tell everything to someone you trust that will be supportive. If it's just a tough season, editing is expected so if someone voices concern for you as a couple you might say "Every couple has their seasons of struggle but we are working through it." Done. Move on.
4. Don't Keep Score:
When we keep a mental checklist of "You didn't do this or that…" it creates a recipe for disaster and resentment to build. Some days it's your turn, some days it's your spouse's. If it begins to feel like everyday is your spouse's day and he (or she) always "gets to choose" or "gets his way", then that goes back to communication issues or perhaps there is a power play going on. It might be time to seek some therapy.
5. No Deals In The Bedroom:
Lose the "You owe me because I did this…" mentality. Are we running a business or a marriage? If he watches a chick flick with you, no, you shouldn't be expected to turn tricks in the bedroom later. Either he wants to watch it or he doesn't. Period. This works both ways. It goes back to showing love without expectation. If you have to make any "deals" (this isn't sales) especially related to the bedroom there are some serious issues in the marriage and counseling is needed.
6. Don't Threaten:
If you are contemplating divorce don't say it. Just make your plans. Don't ever ever ever threaten with empty threats either. (Just. Don't. Go. There.) Fight fairly and constructively; meaning don't bring up past grievances, stick to the current topic at hand.
7. Don't Focus On His/Her Flaws:
When we focus on the other person's flaws we are not as aware of what we need to work on. Each of us is has plenty to keep ourselves busy when it comes to growing and becoming all God desires.
8. Don't Cheat:
Seems obvious enough but with sky high adultery statistics today loyalty has become nearly obsolete and yet highly valuable.
9. Don't Subscribe To Idolatry:
When God is first and your spouse is second, third, children... marriages are already on the right track. When we have a strong foundation in our faith and relationship with God we cultivate a strong family unit.
10. Don't View Needing Help As Being Weak:
When we struggle in our marriage we don't have to view needing therapy or couples counseling with our Pastor as being a failure or weak. Instead we can look at it as a brainstorming of ideas to better what we already have… (it's better to be proactive… don't wait until it's so stinky that you're already thinking divorce). No one has a perfect marriage but likely there is always some room for improvement upon what's there. And that's a great plan to strive toward.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
Whether you've never been married, just broken up from a long term relationship or have recently gone through the big "D"… there is something to be said about being fancy free. Any female I encountered during the course of my divorce whether I had just met them or had known them for years... if they were divorced they would tell me: "Oh my gosh… it's scary now… but just wait. You're going to love it! I love my single life." Just as there are positives and negatives to everything in life, if you're struggling in finding the silver lining regarding your newly single self, fret not... as there is something to be said about looking at the bright side.
10 Perks To Being Single:
1. Living An Independent Life.
Maybe you knew you were doing the right thing filing for divorce or breaking off a long term relationship that had gone south or even an engagement that left you feeling less than engaged but more like running the opposite direction. Yet in that… your new found single-dom left you needing a relaxative of some kind becausegasp(!)... (insert panic) you were wondering how you would handle reverting back to single status. This has forced you to now figure out everything on your own and maybe it freaks you out. But take a deep breath… all will be okay… the benefits longterm will far outweigh any discomfort right now. You. Can. Do. This.
2. You Can Do What You Want.
If you want the bedside lamp on till midnight? Done. You want to eat oreos in bed while thumbing through a magazine till ten o'clock? Done. You decide to paint your toes at nine o'clock and watch a chick flick? Done. No one is there on the other side of the bed complaining how it's too bright, you're eating like a pig and knock off the noise and toxic fumes, would you? It's just you and now you can do whatever you please.
3. Comfortable Underwear.
4. There's No Groping.
You might miss sex… but the groping? No thanks. The "hey, come here!" grab technique (as alluring as that is, I know) is no more. You can change your clothes, take a shower, climb in bed and so much more without worrying that any second his approaching arm is about to reach out and reel you in like a fishing line… <cringe>.
5. There's No Sharing.
You don't have to share your fries, the mini Nothing Bundt Cake you picked up on Friday after work, sending you scampering to the car like a delighted six year old (yay!) … nor do you have to share the last of the pizza or anything else you love.
6. Dinner: You're The Boss.
There are no more of these long winded conversations where you say to your husband: "What do you want for dinner?" and then he says: "Oh, I don't know… what do YOU want for dinner?"… one of you suggests: "Let's have such and such."…. and one of you replies: "Ewww! I'm not eating that!" Ugh. Then there is the other scenario… you made a fabulous dinner and slaved over a hot stove all afternoon, even making dessert too. He gets home and you serve the labored meal only to discover he ate a late lunch at three o'clock and isn't hungry. Classic. Now you're angry, citing his inconsideration for not phoning to say: "I won't be hungry. I ate a late lunch." If you hadn't cooked he would have been starving, guaranteed. This is by far one of the most annoying scenarios especially for stay at home moms. Men, take note… call your wives. When we don't have to deal with evenings like that anymore… Hallelujah! Victory dance! When you're single you get to decide what's for dinner and when to eat, ensuring there's no more dinnertime drama.
7. No More Relaying Plans First.
You no longer have to tell people "Well, let me ask my husband first" or "Let me talk to my husband about that." Couples do need to be on the same page and discuss things for sure… but being single that whole discussion is avoided. Your sister asks if you're free to see a movie Saturday night… you check your calendar… you're free, so yes! Being single cuts down on so much "Just a minute…" and "I'll have to get back to you."
8. The Bed.
You get the covers to yourself. The bed to yourself. The pillows to yourself. Sweet dreams.
9. Travel Is Easier
Traveling when married means finding agreement on where you both want to go… maybe he likes the mountains and you like the beach… maybe he enjoys driving and you prefer flying… all these things do affect your relationship, how and where you travel to. But being single, travel is now about fulfilling your bucket list… what's priority for you? Where do you want to go? What cultures and areas do you want to learn about and experience? If skiing in Colorado wasn't your thing when married maybe now you can finally explore Santa Fe, visit Portland or fly overseas to Europe or Asia. It's time to book your desired destination.
10. Improved Social Life.
You have more time for friends and going out. Likely if you've been through a break up or divorce you need your friends more than ever… but you also realize you've really missed them… marriage took up a lot of your extra time and energy, leaving little left over for meeting up with friends. Now you have that extra time and as you sit in the booth with them at Bennigan's sharing in delicious spoonfuls of a brownie fudge sundae between laughs… you are reminded that like the cherry a-top the whipped cream… friends are the extra special topping… they make life even sweeter.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
Do you ever feel like life is just not moving along fast enough?
Do you ever feel like your destination is always just a bit out of reach?
Do you ever want to hurry up and "get there" already?
If you have… you're certainly not alone.
I know something about what you're going through.
And yes, it's a struggle.
My divorce was finalized last summer and since then life has been a combination of two extremes…
Bouts of insanely slow, gratingly boring pockets of time… and on the other end of the spectrum… extremely busy, chaotic and hectic… no time to eat breakfast or lunch type of days; scarfing half a chocolate bar at 3 p.m. running errands, and then crashing on the couch until dinner… <inset snoring here>
Between going back to school… painting and renovating an entire house some of which I did myself… studying… which is not my forte (thank you, ADHD meds!)… to taking exams (double yuck)… and finally passing said exams, yay(!)… to then beginning a new career… it has been a roller coaster ride.
Now having begun new said career and not really having a clue as to what I'm doing and feeling as though I'm just sort of jumping off a cliff into midair, saying a prayer… yet having a
fierce force of determination to forge forward...
with lot's of hard work combined and clinging to faith everything will work out… it's a big life transition. One I wish now I had made back when I was married as perhaps then during the divorce I wouldn't have felt quite so overwhelmed… instead perhaps feeling some sense of control in at least one aspect of my life however knowingly non-existent at the end of the day.
Now that I've jumped off the cliff and I'm trying to find my way I want it to all fall into place NOW.
I want to already know what I'm doing like the back of my hand… I want smooth sailing… I want to go through my day with relative ease… and live normally. I barely even remember what "normal" is it's been so long since my life resembled anything of the sort… a schedule where you get up, get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work… it's become foreign to me because that reality was so long ago and yet nowvery much welcome as I embark on this new journey that I am incredibly excited about.
A journey also where I just want to exhale a huge sigh of relief and say:
"I'm here. I made it. Finally."
In some ways I can say that today… and I do.
I thank God for this blessing as I can exhale a huge sigh of relief
and looking back marvel at the progress.
Maybe you've recently gone through a big life transition and you can say the same.
And yet I'm looking forward to when I will be able to stand before the mirror one morning and say:
"I'm finally here…"
"I made it, thank you God…"
"I actually know (overall) what I'm doing and I. am. okay."
But then I got to thinking about it and maybe I'm missing the point…
and maybe if you're in a similar situation or recalling a past one there's a chance you are too.
Maybe… just maybe the parts we want to skip… namely, the uncertainty, the not sure steps… maybe there's a lot of growth there… growth in our faith…
I don't mind the hard work… the hard phase is comparable to the meat and potatoes of life… later comes the desert… later comes the payoff… later comes the sweet victory…
later comes the icing on the cake.
When we stop learning… when we stop needing to lean on God in our uncertainty… when we stop growing… we become absolutely stagnant. God doesn't want this… He loves us and desires us to grow, change and become all we are meant to be.
If we weren't doing these things life would be easy… predictably boring… and we wouldn't feel any need for God… we would become pridefully self sufficient and stunted because there wouldn't be any need to lean on Him if every season ran perfectly smooth like a speed ramp at the airport and we could clearly see our way up ahead.
So maybe we all need to look for the icing in the uncertainty in life… because in that cake lies blessings no matter how small… in those uncertain moments…
and how awesomely sweet is that.