How to Keep Your Marriage Strong Even When it Looks Healthy!

3 lies to stop believing in your marriage

I’ve always been fascinated by “that couple” who seem genuinely happy in every situation in their marriage. The ones who constantly hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes at every opportunity. I wonder if they really have a healthy marriage. I wonder if they’ve ever had a real fight, or are even wired to fight at all. I know I am.

My husband and I have had more than our fair share of fights over the course of our 17-year marriage. Not major blow ups but a few strong, emotional disagreements.

3 lies to stop believing in your marriage

I’ll probably never be able to go home with that couple to see how things really go down in their home. To see if it’s all an act or if there’s genuine love holding them together. And if they really are that good.

Whatever the truth is, one thing’s for sure about ALL marriages – they require hard work. There’s not one single couple that’s immune to this fact, even “that” couple.

But enough about them. Lol

Two Enemies of a Healthy Marriage

One is much easier to spot and widely known. The other is much more subtle and unexpected. It will invade your marriage like a parasite – sucking the life out of it without you ever knowing until it’s too late.

The widely known enemy to marriage is selfishness. It’s not always easy to fight and overcome, but at least you know it when you see it.

The unexpected enemy – the one with the superb skill of the sneak attack – is complacency.

Just like selfishness, every marriage is vulnerable to the parasite of complacency if you don’t know how to guard yourself against it. But before we can effectively protect ourselves, we need to know what complacency really is.

What is Complacency?

Complacency is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some danger or defect.

When I read this definition it brings to mind someone laying in a hammock with their eyes closed thinking about how their life seems perfectly, perfect. While their enemy quietly makes their approach.

Complacency may seem harmless – a lot less than selfishness. Right?

Let me tell you, it’s a lot more harmful because it works like a Trojan Horse. Once you let it in, it’s already done its damage. When you feel complacent, you have this overwhelming sense that you’ve arrived. You finally did it! You’re no longer “working at it.” You’ve become finally “that” couple.

This is exactly where my husband and I got to in our marriage. We fell in love in our teen years and quickly became inseparable. We got married very young and were never, ever apart. Outside of normal disagreements, we always enjoyed being together. We really considered ourselves best friends.

Then, drumroll, please … we started having kids. Nuf said there, right?!

It’s not to say our children messed up our marriage. But we fell for the trap of complacency and had no clue we were headed for danger.

Looking for great books to help you strengthen your marriage? I highly recommend these books and authors:



Related: 4 Habits to Guard Your Family From a Life of Complacency

Living in Our Quiet Comfort

We had the feeling we were “that good.” We didn’t need to take intentional date nights when our children were still little. After all, I just couldn’t hand over my angels to just ANYONE. So, my babies took precedence over my marriage.

And my rockstar husband said, “no problem”. He’s a good man who’s always trying to relieve my stress and make my life easier, so letting it ride seemed like the right to do.

We continued like this three kids later with less and less #TeamUs time. All the while, we rolled with it, feeling none the wiser about the whole thing.

What we didn’t see happening was the slipping away in our hearts. We went about each day in our quiet comfort totally unaware that we went from wishing we had more time together… to get used to our regular routine… to finally not caring so much about it.

Not in an “I don’t want to be married” kind of way. But in an “I forgot how good it used to be” kind of way.

It became easy to not have to work at anything. To just foolishly believe our healthy marriage was divorce-proof. Even though we took a solemn vow to stay committed to each other till death do us part, doesn’t mean we don’t equally have the responsibility to cultivate and nourish our marriage as well.

Now going back to “that couple.” The truth is, if their marriage is indeed the real deal than I’ve got shocking news for you – they’ve put in real work to get there. And more importantly… to stay there.

Related: 21 Questions to Ask When Conflict Rises in Your Family

3 Lies to Resist in Your Marriage

There are 3 lies that couples tend to believe that set them up for failure down the road. If you can recognize them early, you’ll be armed and ready when complacency tries to show up in your marriage.

Lie #1 Your marriage doesn’t require work

Maybe you want to replace the word work with another like nurture. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same. Every single marriage requires attention to keep it healthy and strong. The moment you think you’ve arrived; your strong marriage is in danger. Maybe not tomorrow, but later down the road.

Related: 4 Strategies to Win the Fight for Your Family in Challenging Seasons

Lie #2 Date Nights Aren’t for Every Marriage

This is a lie that invaded my marriage. We felt the whole date night thing was kind of clique, so we didn’t take them seriously. What we failed to realize was it doesn’t matter what we label them – it only matters that we do them. Having one-on-one alone time on at least a weekly basis is a must for all marriages.

The point is, find something you both enjoy and do it together. It doesn’t have to be a “date” at all. Just be you.

Lie #3 Putting the Kids First is OK While They’re Still Little

God created an order for families – God, Spouse, then children. Outside of the necessary taking care of your children, placing them before your spouse can have devastating consequences.

Your husband was there first and he’ll be there with you after they’re gone. If you’re struggling with this one, think of it like this; placing your marriage first will keep your marriage healthy. That’s something your children will be thankful for later. My parents divorced after I was already married with my own children. Simply put… I was devastated.

Your children would rather you take time apart from them if it means they don’t become yet another family torn apart by divorce.

Pray and ask God to show you any areas in your marriage that may have slipped or are vulnerable to complacency. Watch Him give you the wisdom to come back together and leave any trace of complacency behind.

Share your testimony of how you personally overcame a trial or challenge in your marriage in the comments below!


All marriages, even super healthy marriages need work and attention. Learn how even happy couples can end up in trouble and how to spot that trouble before it starts so your marriage can stand the test of time!Keeping Your Marriage Strong3 lies to stop believing in your marriage

We know we need to work on our marriage when things get rocky, but what about when our marriage looks healthy? Learn the secret to keep your relationship strong and fresh! #marriage #relationshipgoals #marriageadvice

4 Habits to Guard Your Family From a Life of Complacency

How to guard your family from complacency

Let’s face it, our world is a little crazy – too busy, too loud, and too connected. Now more than ever! Most of us are bombarded with stressful “opportunities” every single day whether we like it or not. We’re all going, going, going; and need somewhere safe to just stop.

And our home (our family) is supposed to be that place. Our place to quiet our minds, rest our bodies, re-energize, and connect with those we really care about.

How to guard your family from complacency

But with divorce rates over half, the home isn’t always what it was intended to be. Many spouses are working late as an excuse to avoid the fight waiting at home. And kids are picking up more activities after school to escape all the tension… just a little longer.

For many families, the home has become an all-out war zone. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And the truth is, we’re all just a few bad decisions away from it ourselves.

Why is Complacency is Bad Thing?

Complacency is dangerous for families because of its subtle nature. It seems harmless.

It’s definition even sounds innocent enough: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.

When we’re complacent, we step into a zone of vulnerability. And I don’t mean the good kind of vulnerability where we allow ourselves to be opened up to new experiences and share our inner secrets with the outside world. Not the Daring Greatly kind of vulnerability!

I’m talking about the vulnerability that a war general would see as a weakness or an open spot for the enemy to come trooping in and attack.

Complacency is simply the feeling that it’s all good in my house. Or there’s no problem in my marriage. Or I have a great relationship with my kids.

It’s not that we should run around alarmed or looking for an attack, but we shouldn’t be passive either.

Yes, it might be “all good” but that doesn’t mean we get to just recline in our quiet pleasure with our hands crossed behind our heads and our hat resting over our faces.

Anything worth having is worth working for. And our family is worth working for.

What do I mean by “working for?”

It means to be actively and continuously looking for ways to be intentional about the relationships in your home. It’s just too easy to let them slip into average.

Related: 2 Strong Enemies of a Healthy Marriage

Complacency Leads to Discontentment

I know this from experiencing it myself. My husband and I have been married for 14 years and dated for almost 5 years before that. We started our relationship as young best friends and haven’t been apart from each other for more than 2 weeks collectively over all that time!

We’ve always been extremely close – still are. But as we grew together and after our first two children, I began to become complacent in my marriage. Simply put, I took my marriage for granted. I was lounging in my quiet pleasure and security.

Though my husband wanted to do more together – without the kids – I didn’t think it was that deep. After all, we had a great relationship. It’s not like we were “working” on anything. Know what I mean?

But over the years, the complacency transformed into discontentment. And I wasn’t as excited about #TeamUs anymore. I wasn’t where he was.

After praying about it, God showed me that we both contributed to this point in our lives by not making the happiness and joy in our marriage a priority. Honestly, we didn’t think we had to. We thought we were just “that good.”

But none of us are. Joy comes as a result of consistent and intentional actions. Isn’t your marriage worth it? I know mine is. And I’m so grateful that we saw our fault and were able to fix it are still working on it. We should never stop working. We never get “fixed”.

Having intentional happiness in your family isn’t necessarily hard work. But it is work. And it’s so worth it. After all, you love each other, right?!?

But you as a team, have to decide to go for the big guns and not settle for the average home life… Let’s live a higher quality of life!

Related: How to Reverse the 4 Mindsets that are Stealing Your Enjoyable Life

Here are 4 easy habits for you and your family to implement that’ll help exchange the complacency for happiness, joy, and peace in your marriage and your relationship with your kids. Don’t ever settle for average again:

Habit #1:  Have “eyes only on you” time with each member of your family – every day.

Tricia Goyer shared this from her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. It was so simple yet profound. But it does require endurance on your part. And it’s an investment of your time, depending on how many children you have! Yet, it’s time well spent.

If your spouse and your children each have your undivided “eyes only” attention each day, it sends a powerful message to them – YOU Matter. And there’s no revelation more powerful than that. Start out small with 10 minutes for each person, each day. And then work your way up as you develop discipline in this habit.

Related: 9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do But Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

Habit #2:  Designate “unplugged” time for your family as a whole.

I know my family is guilty of being too plugged-in. But making deliberate time to look up from the screen and actually see each other is precious time spent. I’m not a fan of telling people how to spend their unplugged time because every family is unique and flows differently. But here’s a few suggestions:

  • Take a walk together after dinner – or even in the morning. Great for the lazy summer.
  • Have family reading time. You can all read your own books or read one aloud as a group.
  • Eat dinner together. This is a popular one but doesn’t always work for every family.
  • Play games. And this one, I’ll make an exception on the electronics. Game systems today are a great way to bring everyone together, as long as you’re all playing one game together.
  • Do a daily family devotion time.
  • Put a giant puzzle together.
  • Do a project together. This one is excellent for developing leadership skills in your kids.

Related: 2 Fool-Proof Strategies to Create More Joy in Your Home

Habit #3:  Have an Open Door/No Freak Out policy.

This is so important at every age and stage with your children and even your spouse. They need to know that no matter what they bring to you… you can handle it.

I remember my mom being somewhat of a “Freak Out” mom, whenever I told her shocking things.  Ummm, it’s probably because they were shocking… but moving right along.

I honestly, held back way more than I should have because I was afraid of her response.

We always want our children to come to us first with any and everything they’re dealing with. Don’t open the back door exit for them to go out and get advice from God knows who. You also want the opportunity to give wisdom to your child the way you want them to receive it.

So keep a pillow close by and when the conversation’s over, slam it over your face and go to town with a good scream, cry, or even a laugh! Just don’t let them hear you.

And you may be asking yourself how this applies to getting rid of complacency in your family. It’s simply creating an environment of safe and open communication that gets the conversation going – which is what’s lacking in today’s families. And as a parent, your older child and teenager will bring things to your attention that you’ll be thanking God they did because in the hands of another person, who knows where that conversation can lead if left in the hands of another kid. Plus, all this conversation is sure to keep you on your toes!

If you find yourself in a moment of conflict ask yourself these 21 questions before letting the conflict grow!

Habit #4:  Plan family vacations or stay-cations throughout the year.

We all have to manage a budget, so some of us can realistically afford only one vacation a year – if that. But regular time off throughout the year is vital for our health and our family’s. So if you can’t vacate, just stay-cate!

This is super easy with younger children because it doesn’t take much for them to get excited. My husband and I love the surprise approach. We just choose different activities like going to the beach, pool, park, movies, party, and don’t tell them until they get there.

Well actually, it’s a little hard to surprise them with the beach (bathing suits), but you get the point. They usually see where we pull into and start cheering as we get closer. I think it’s more fun for us than the kids.

Related: 19 Ingenious Ways to Save Money on Family Vacations and Entertainment

But when you have older kids and teenagers, I would suggest collaboration on the planning. They want to feel heard and appreciated. Let them brainstorm for ideas on how to spend your time off. You can even let them go online to research what’s going on in your city. Whatever you and your family choose will be great as long as everyone stays committed and connected throughout.

These are just some ways for you and your family to stay closely connected and avoid the subtle trap of complacency. In what ways have you fallen into the trap of complacency? How did you overcome it? Share your methods for keeping your family connected! Leave a comment below and share this post!

Related: 51 Ways to be a Fun Mom Even When You’re Stressed and Tired

Complacency is more dangerous to families than you may think! These simple habits will help you create more joy and connections in your family relationships today. #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #family #homeComplacency is very subtle and is an enemy to your happy family. Learn how to effectively and easily guard your family from it! #kidsandparenting #familylife #parenting #momlife #kids

50 Love Language Date Ideas for Couples to Stay Connected and Happy

50 date night ideas that speak your spouse's love language

We’ve all heard the phrase – actions speak louder than words. And it’s true, especially in how we communicate love in our marriage. We can say all the right things but actually be doing all the wrong ones.

Not because we do the wrong things intentionally but we often just don’t know how to show our love in the right way. Or we could say in the right language. Yes, love has a specific language. Five languages to be exact!

Every person is born with a unique love language. And it’s through this particular language that we both receive and speak love to others.

50 date night ideas that speak your spouse's love language

The trick in our marriage is to understand both our own love language and our spouse’s love language. The reason we need to know our own love language is that we innately tend to speak love in our own native language. Similarly to our own language in the words we speak.

We don’t just start speaking in a language we don’t know. Unless our spouse speaks that language and in order to effectively communicate with them, we learn their language. This concept is exactly the same with love languages.

Most people don’t know they’ve been speaking a unique love language their entire lives!

And here’s the kicker, we don’t really feel love in a deeply connected way until love is communicated in our own love language. This is why some couples love each other but feel like their always “missing it” in the intimacy department.

Related: 21 Questions to Ask Yourself to Stop a Fight and Start Communicating

They’re just speaking two different languages!

So how do you know your own love language or your spouse’s?

I’m going to help you with that to start us off.

Related: 2 Strong Enemies of a Healthy Marriage

The Five Love Languages

 

Physical Touch

  • Your spouse loves to snuggle or always chooses to sit next to you on the couch.
  • Frequently grabs your hand to hold it, leans on you, or rubs you in an affectionate way.
  • Loves to snuggle, cuddle, and be close especially before, during, and after sex.
  • If you reject this love-fest request, they’ll likely feel rejected themselves.

Words of Affirmation

  • Your spouse is highly motivated by your words of encouragement.
  • They tend to feed off the validation of others.
  • They also will be more affected by harsh verbal criticism or judgment of their behavior.
  • Compliments and praise are like fuel to their soul.

Quality Time

  • Your spouse will frequently ask to spend time with you and loves planning and asking you out on dates.
  • Every time you turn around – they’re checking in on you. My husband lovingly does this all the time.
  • If they aren’t getting the attention they’re seeking out, they’ll often resort to getting attention elsewhere.
  • They generally don’t like being alone and will ask for company from you or the kids anytime they go out.

Gifts

  • Your spouse sees receiving gifts a special moment.
  • On big gift giving days like Christmas and Birthdays, they’ll often remember who gave each and every gift.
  • They will often collect and store seemingly random mementos from places they’ve been or from things they’ve been given by friends.
  • They have a hard time getting rid of old stuff from their childhood.

Acts of Service

  • Your spouse feels accomplished when they’ve completed tasks around the house that are normally your chores. They see this as an act of love.
  • They will naturally look for ways to help others.
  • Doing the same in return goes a long way!

If you didn’t know already, you may have a good idea now what your spouse’s love language is. Not to mention, your own!

Going forward, remember that we all want to receive love in our own native love language but too often our spouse’s love language isn’t our own. And that’s totally fine. Variety is the spice of life, right?

The key to focus on now is learning how to communicate love in our partner’s love language, not our own. And that’s where this post comes in. Here are 50 date night ideas you can try (10 for each love language) that is tailored to showing love in the way they need it most.

I encourage you to show this post to your spouse and let them read it too. This way you can both choose to alternate date ideas that fill you both up in your own special way!

Now it’s time to have fun!

50 Love Language Date Night Ideas

Many of these date night ideas will work for several of the love languages so have fun mixing and matching ideas for a fun year’s worth of weekly date nights!

Related: 15 Resources and Freebies to Reignite the Romance in your Marriage!

date night ideas for love language

Date Ideas for Physical Touch

  • Find a beautiful location for walking in your city and talk a long stroll holding hands and watching the sunset after a nice dinner.
  • Watch a movie but go to a theater that has double seating or the armrests that you can push back so you can snuggle together. Of course, you can have a home date night too and watch Netflix on the couch.
  • Have a romantic spa night at home. Get a babysitter or put the kids to bed and draw an aromatherapy bath to take together and give each other sensual massages. I think all the husbands would enjoy this one!
  • Take dance lessons once a week and go out on the town and dance the night away.
  • Take a couples yoga class and work on poses you go together.
  • Reserve a hotel room for the night and have a romantic makeout session all night.
  • Take an evening swim in the pool or hot tub and be sure to snuggle close.
  • Play a sport together or learn a new one like golfing. Let him show you how to swing.
  • Cook dinner at home and be sure to work together with lots of flirting and fun.
  • Play a fun sexy game.

Date Ideas for Words of Affirmation

  • Set up a scavenger hunt date with notes that say something special about your spouse as they find each clue and location.
  • Ask your spouse on your date by sending a loving video text message.
  • Go to dinner and while enjoying your meal focus on sharing how much your spouse means to you and present them with a hand-written letter sharing your loving words.
  • Have a karaoke night and sing songs that express your feelings to your spouse.
  • Ask them what would be their dream vacation. And surprise them by recreating that vacation in your city. This shows that you hear them and want to make their dreams come true.
  • Create a heartfelt video and present it to them in a big way like at a drive-in movie or on your TV at home during a night in.
  • Create a book of poetry and read it to your spouse at a local poetry reading.
  • Have a day date where you set goals together to accomplish each other’s dreams together.
  • Have a vow renewal. This doesn’t need to be a big shindig like a wedding, but a simple date together where you write out and say your vow to one another as a reminder of your love for each other.
  • Ask each other these 36 Questions.

Date Ideas for Quality Time

  • Have a picnic in the park.
  • Take a fun wine and painting class.
  • Go for a run, hike, bike ride, or long walk together. This can be a day date for exercise and fun.
  • Visit a local museum.
  • Go on a road trip and choose locations your spouse has always wanted to visit.
  • Visit a farmer’s market and go home and prepare a delicious meal together.
  • Recreate your first date.
  • Have a pajama day and stay in bed all day binge watch your favorite shows.
  • Attend a sporting event and go crazy rooting for your team.
  • Take a pottery class and try to recreate the famous scene from Ghost just for kicks.

Date Ideas for Gifts

  • Get matching tattoos.
  • Take your wedding photos and turn them into a gorgeous photo book and present it on a date where the menu is what you served on your wedding night.
  • Go on a mini-shopping spree buying things for each other or stuff for your home together.
  • Create a new tradition together. This could be an activity or giving each other a memento at certain times each year.
  • Go to an art gallery and purchase a piece of art that you both love.
  • Go on a crazy date wearing weird outfits you both from the Goodwill like this couple did.
  • Learn a new skill together like painting or crafting and give each other your finished projects.
  • Plan an epic romantic getaway right in your city.
  • Host a party in their honor inviting close friends.
  • Design a custom matching bracelet or necklace set.

Date Ideas for Acts of Service

  • Do all your spouse’s regular chores and then take them out on one of these date night ideas to celebrate all their new free time.
  • Do a home decor DIY project together. Try these for inspiration.
  • Volunteer to serve in your community together.
  • Go to an Escape Room event and work together to escape.
  • Have a plan to go around and do random acts of kindness for others.
  • Stay in and have a message night starting with an amazing foot rub and on to everything else!
  • Take a cooking class together and cook each other a gourmet meal.
  • Have a tech-free day and be focused only on one another.
  • Go furniture shopping and redecorate your home with a new look.
  • Steal your spouse away from work for a surprise, stress-free lunch date.

For 50 love language ideas for your children, read this hugely popular post!

Do you have any date ideas that you love doing with your spouse? Please share them in the comments below and keep the list going!

Looking for simple, yet uniquely personal date ideas to enjoy with your spouse? Get a years worth of fun date night ideas! #marriage #marriageadvice #relationshipsLooking to spice up your date nights with your spouse? Try these fun and creative date ideas that speak your spouse's love language! #relationshipgoals #relationshiprules #marriage #marriageadvice

21 Questions to Ask Yourself to Stop a Fight and Start Communicating

21 questions to ask to stop fighting and start communicating

Family conflict and fighting can happen as frequently as dishes pile up in my sink. And in my house, that would be every day! The dishes… that is. 

As for the conflict part, my family’s learned a few things to keep the conflict monster at bay and keep our home an enjoyable place to liveon most days.

Let’s face it, several people with totally unique personalities all living under the same roof can be a breeding ground for fighting and bickering. Between the kids and in our marriages.

21 questions to ask to stop fighting and start communicating

And every family is vulnerable to misunderstandings, mistakes, nagging, bickering, and even outright fighting. So how do we avoid living in a toxic family environment where bickering runs rampant and marital discord is an everyday thing?

My simple answer is, it all starts with a thought.

Well, I said “simple” but the truth is our thinking isn’t really that simple at all. I mean, how many thoughts did you just think in the last 5 minutes?!

Crazy right?

We’re constantly thinking and judging everything (and everyone) around us and most of us have little to no discipline in how we think at all.

That’s because it’s hard!

But not impossible! Training your mind to think the right thoughts works like everything else in life. We must train our minds. And training your mind is no different than training your body. You need to stick with it and not stop. Ever.

Related: Reversing the 4 Mindsets that are Stealing Your Enjoyable Life

Family Conflict Starts in the Mind First

What do I mean by “right” thoughts? In action, the right thoughts look for the best in that person and situation, they extend grace, and search out peaceful resolutions.

The “wrong” thoughts are those that instantly pop into your mind to soothe your feelings, maintain your pride, and protect your own agenda. The ones that encourage hurtful words and actions we’ll regret later.

The hard part is learning to reject the flooding, emotionally driven thoughts that destroy relationships, and instead produce those that restore and repair.

When you find yourself in conflict with someone in your home – whether it be your spouse or your children –  I’ve put together this list of thought prompts, or better yet, questions to ask yourself in the moment of conflict.

These are also questions you should ask yourself when you’re tempted to dwell on the negative with the purpose of steering your mind toward positive resolution and peace.

If you want to have strong and healthy relationships with those in your family – you MUST learn to do this. But if you’re one of those moms who always responds in a loving, respectful, understanding way (all with a non-yelling voice) – you probably don’t need this.

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

I give you permission to ditch this post … but if you don’t – you owe it to yourself and your family to learn to work with conflict instead of against it.

That’s because families can’t avoid conflict. There will always be misunderstandings and disagreements that pop up, but we can be ready to think and respond in a way that dowses water on that rising flame!

Refer to this list often and make them a habit, so when a little fire pops up, you can stop and ask yourself these questions. And you’ll see such a major difference!

21 Questions to Stop a Fight

  1. What’s really going on here?

  2. Did he/she really mean it like it sounded?

  3. Is there some information I’m missing here?

  4. Is my response showing grace?

  5. Am I looking at the situation from their viewpoint?

  6. Have I attempted to put the shoe on the other foot?

  7. When was the last time I did or said this very same thing?

  8. Is my tone filled with accusations or compassion?

  9. Am I attempting to isolate myself or press in closer to find a resolution?

  10. Am I fighting for a win or fighting for peace?

  11. Are my feelings and emotions rational or running wild?

  12. If people I respected (outside of my family) were to hear my words, would I be embarrassed?

  13. Am I expecting more from this person than they’re equipped to give?

  14. Have I thought of ways to compromise?

  15. Am I offering them the benefit of the doubt or jumping to conclusions?

  16. Is there any good in this situation that I can focus on – no matter how small?

  17. Is it really that big of a deal?

  18. Am I playing the victim or looking for common ground?

  19. Will I care about, or remember this in five years?

  20. Am I letting love and grace lead my words or anger and disappointment?

  21. Are there any questions I can ask to clarify any possible misunderstandings?

Do you have any more questions to add to the list? Or share in the comments below which question is your favorite.

 

Every married couple has fights but fighting isn't the best way to handle disputes. These 21 questions will help shift your mindset into a positive place so you can communicate without fighting and yelling. #marriage #relationshiprules #marriageadvice

 

15 Resources and Freebies to Reignite the Romance in Your Marriage!

Reignite the spark in your marriage

One of the easiest areas of our lives to get stale and old is our relationship with our spouse. We can get complacent with how we normally do things and when things get busy we stop trying to keep the romance fresh.

I’ve been married for almost 18 years so I know a thing or two about letting the raging fire die down to a smoking pile of wood. But all you need is a spark to reignite that flame and get the flirting and romance going strong again.

Reignite the spark in your marriage

15 Ways to Reignite the Spark in Your Marriage

I’ve compiled a roundup of those relationship experts to give us some creative ways for us to get reconnected and Spring Clean our tired date night routine. It’s time to make room for things outside of our “usual” routine and make it exciting!


Dating Your Spouse on a Budget – 20 Ideas

This first post shares some simple yet fun ways to connect with your partner without necessarily spending any money. These are really great ideas because all of the ideas on this list allow you both to really connect.

Let’s be honest for a moment and think about how often you and your man really connect on your dates. Going dancing or to the movies are fun ideas, but they don’t often make room for you to talk and just connect.

I’d also like to add that doing free or cheap date nights doesn’t mean that you’re broke! Many couples are working on some fierce financial goals together and having cheap date ideas is a great way to stay on track with their goals.

You can check out the list from The Balance here!


Dating Your Spouse at Home

This next post is also a fun one and shares how to connect with your husband without leaving the house. Having home dates is a great idea for new parents or when having an outside date just isn’t possible.

So put the kiddos to bed and turn on your favorite playlist and have fun. But maybe not stay in your jammies, though? You’re still on a date remember?

You can read the full post from Chef Sous Chef here!


How to Make Date Night a Priority

Melissa at Simple Lionheart Life shares an interesting statistic that’s shocking and not surprising at the same time:

A Redbook survey of the magazine’s readers found that 45% of couples said they rarely have date nights. And only 18% said they go out around once a month. Another of Redbook’s surveys found that 50% of its readers say the number one reason date night gets canceled is that they are too tired to go out.”

How many times have you and your hubby opted to just stay home because you were too tired? Or dropped the kids off at Grandma’s for the evening and fell asleep on the couch so fast you could have won a trophy. I know I have!

In this post, she provides the remedy for what ails us tired moms and dads with 50+ simple date nights that don’t require too much energy. 😉

Get the full post here!


How to Plan for Your Date Night

When you have kids, preparing for your date night isn’t always easy. Marissa @ We Have Kids shares tips on how to plan your date night, find a babysitter, and even how to make a list for your sitter. This way you can concentrate on your date and not be preoccupied with the kids!

You can read the full post here!


A Viral Date Night

We’ve all seen this couple who went to Goodwill and kicked off a viral silly date night movement across the country. I just wanted to through this post in as a reminder to keep your dates fun!

In case you missed it, read the post here!


Why Dancing with your Spouse is Good for Your Marriage

This is a great post for couples who love to dance and even for those who don’t. The Spruce gives 10 reasons why you should dance with your spouse and tips for how to do it right. Not dancing tips, though.

But they do tell you how to find a dance studio to get lessons, and that can be a great date night on its own!

And for you timid couples… you can still dance without ever leaving your house!

Grab the tips here!


How to Get the Conversation Going!

This post from Marriage 365 is so fun. They give you a list of 25 questions to ask your spouse to get the conversation started. Sometimes as married people, we forget to ask new questions and stop trying to “get to know” our spouse.

All it really takes is asking some fun and interesting questions. You’ll be amazing at what you learn!

Get this fun list here!


What About When My Spouse is Away?

I get it, you or your spouse travels a lot or maybe is serving our country in the military. What do you do to stay connected when you can’t physically be together?

This post from Light Workers gives some fantastic tips to feel more connected with your bae while you’re away! That was their line! Lol

Read the full post here!


7 Ways to Connect When You’ve Got Kids

As parents, you’re home pretty much gets overtaken by the kids and their wants, needs, and don’t forget the messes! That means couple time usually flies out the window. But this post from Brit and Co gives some stupid-simple ways to stay connected with your spouse, even when it feels like you’re running a kid circus.

Get the tips here!


How to Engage Deeper with an Introverted Spouse

We’re talking about all this connecting, but what about if you’re married to a spouse that isn’t much of a talker. This can feel troubling to both the talker and non-talker in the relationship.

In this post, Focus on the Family shares some really practical tips to help manage this challenging situation and help keep the conversation flowing!

Read the full post here!


Old-fashioned Ways to Make Your Marriage Last

I just love this post from Bustle! I believe the points on this list are essential to making a marriage strong and lasting. Yes, these are old-fashioned, but that isn’t a bad thing! The first on the list mentions not going to bed angry. This is wisdom straight from scripture and will most definitely help you keep your marriage strong.

You can read the the full post here!


How to Show Your Spouse You Love Them in Small Gestures

We’ve talked a lot about date nights and conversations, but let’s not forget about how impactful the little things are. This list from one of my favorite relationship experts Jennifer @ Unveiled Wife, is a great one. She gives ideas on how to show your love through small gestures that take no time at all!

Get the list here!


How to Turn the Sexy Up!

I just love The Dating Divas and they didn’t disappoint with this post about how to tease your husband with their adorable printables and a few sexy pics of yourself. They give you all the instructions and FREE printables in the link below.

Most husbands don’t need any encouragement to eagerly jump into the bedroom, but this is totally fun to do anyway!

Get the printables here!


The Recipe for Sexy Ideas

Yes, I just had to include one more goody from The Dating Divas. They’ve created an actual recipe book for sexy ideas in the bedroom. If you need to turn up the heat… or your husband is begging you to turn up the heat, check out this post. Again, the recipe cards are totally FREE!

Get the recipe cards Here!


How Asking One Question can Save Your Marriage

This story is amazing and such a paradigm-shifting gem! This husband’s story told in this post is a must read for every married person. Asking this one question is a game changer for your relationship.

Read the full post here!


Do you have any date night ideas that work great for your marriage? Please, don’t keep it to yourself and share in the comments below!

 

Lacking the spark and intimacy in your marriage? No worries... try these tips with FREE resources to help you get reconnected in your marriage. #marriage #relationshipgoals #marriageadvice

4 Strategies to Win the Fight for Your Family in Challenging Seasons

Win the Fight for your Family

Challenging times are fair game for EVERY marriage and family. And whether you give up or stay and fight for your family makes all the difference in your outcome. Get 4 strategies to stay in the fight to develop healthy relationships with your spouse and children. #Marriage #FamilyLifeWe’ve all been there – tension is high and patience is slow. When the temptation to give up and is greater than the desire to stay and fight for your marriage. Challenging times are fair game for EVERY family. And what you do in the face of these tough times makes all the difference.

To fight means to strive or contend for victory, in battle or in single combat; to attempt to defeat, subdue, or destroy an enemy, either by blows or weapons.

When a boxer gets in the ring, he’s not there to lose. He’s going for blood to win the fight!

I personally didn’t get into too many fights when I was a younger, but I was in enough to learn a few tricks. And the first thing girls did, is take out our earrings and pull our hair back. No one wants to get an earring ripped out or loose a chunk of hair!

Why am I talking about all this fighting? Because we have a very real opponent in this ring called LIFE, who’s already throwing punches. And we need to be ready to hit back and not get sucker punched.

Right now families are under a sneak attack.  Meanwhile we’re so busy with life that we don’t see the enemy’s strike coming right at us.

We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly antagonistic toward families. One that’s dulling what it means to be committed to someone else for a lifetime. I remember 20 years ago being the odd one in any group because my parents were still married. Now, it’s much worse.

Stay in the Ring & Fight for Your Family!

The world around us is yelling at us to give up. It says when our teenager starts acting out, “It’s just a phase… She’ll grow out of it… It’s what all teenagers go through.”

It says when our spouse becomes physically and emotionally detached, “he’s not worthy to have you anymore… There’s someone else out there who will really love you… She can’t expect you to wait forever for her to change.”

And chances are some of these comments might even come from people in your own inner circle trying to offer “well-meaning” advice.

There’s nothing keeping us in the ring anymore. But let me urge you not to throw in the towel. Whether your marriage and family life is strong or weak and barely hanging on; we need to know we’re standing in a real ring.

Related: How to Complacency Proof Your Marriage and Family.

We’re fighting a real opponent who’s swinging whether we fight back or not.

My husband and I have seen so many couples that we looked up to in the “marriage department” end up divorced. You know those couples you admired when you first got married? It shows how vulnerable all are.

But I’ve realized we’re only weak in the areas we neglect. Just like a boxer must continuously train for his fight, we must do the same. And it’s never too late.

In fact, we’ve also seen couples who were divorced for years, only to be reunited in marriage once again. It wasn’t easy, but it can be done through the grace and the love of God.

Remember Your Original Vision

What do you want for your marriage? A spouse who’s your best friend? A spouse who works to make your life better, easier, and happier? One who understands you, or at least tries to?

What kind of relationship do you want with your children? Children who respect you? Children who ask your advice and guidance before their friends or their i-pad? Children who are kind and have a positive vision for their future beyond the school years in front of them?

If we search our hearts we’ll find those visions we once had for our family. The ones we had when we said, “I do,” and when we held our newborns for the first time.

We naively think we get to experience those visions and desires simply because we want them. Maybe that was true in times passed, but not now.

Today, we have to get dirty and take out our earrings and fight for our marriage and for our kids.

Good things don’t “just happen.” And neither do bad things. We’re either fighting or throwing in the towel.

Related: 2 strong Enemies of a Healthy Marraige

4 strategies for winning the fight for your family.

Strategy #1: Hit’em with the jab of sacrifice.

As with any fight, you don’t win with the knockout punch at the end. You win with the many well placed jabs at the start of the fight – wearing down your opponent. And this jab is the most damaging. In order to win the fight for your family, you first must be willing to sacrifice yourself.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I started my crazy teenage years. I was skipping school, getting into trouble when I was at school, and was no longer respecting my mom’s authority in the house. I’m not proud of that fact, but it was true.

All my life, I was a military brat and moved all over the world. My dad was a high ranking officer in the Navy and served most of his days out to sea on the aircraft carriers he was in charge of leading. He had a great career and an even more promising one ahead of him, but when he heard of the trouble I was in he decided he need to make a change.

He transferred to a position that allowed him to work on the base full-time. He wanted to be home to take an active role in raising us. And watching over me. And this is a sacrifice you don’t often see dads making in our society.

My mom also chose to remain a stay-at-home mom so she could be home when my sister and brother got home from school. She tried her best to be present and involved in our lives. I thank God for my unselfish parents who worked hard to give us the best life.

Related:How to Complacency Proof Your Marriage and Family

Strategy #2: Become Slippery to the Haters

Taking off your earrings isn’t the only thing girls did before a fight; they also got their Vaseline! Slathering it on your face keeps fingernails from scratching your face.

When you step out to do anything out of the ordinary there will be haters and online trolls lining up to say something. We’ve got to be willing to do anything and everything to keep our families thriving and strong. And people (even your extended family, friends, co-workers …) won’t always get it. And may even try to talk you out of your plan.

That’s because people don’t like different. People don’t like radical. But let me say, radical change is necessary in the times we live in.

Maybe radical for you is choosing to forgo your quiet comfort in order to be the fun house where your kids’ friends can come hang out instead of your kids going out all the time. Or maybe it’s deciding to homeschool your children as you’re led by God.

What ever you do, let those criticisms, comments, and opinions slip off like nails on a slippery face.

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

Strategy #3: Pray

Prayer is like oxygen blowing on a flame. It fuels the fire on the inside to do whatever it takes and not take on a passive stance like so many today.

Prayer heals the hurt, exchanges hope for disappointment, and lessens the blow of offense. It’s the daily power that keeps you in the fight.

It keeps your heart and eyes from being deceived into believing that your spouse and children are the enemy. Prayer keeps your weapon locked and loaded on the real enemy – Satan.

Having a regular quiet time allows you the time to be still and pray. Learn how to jumpstart your own quiet time in my blog post: How to jumpstart a life-transforming quiet time routine.

Strategy #4: Become what you desire

Remember earlier when I asked you what kind of marriage and family life you want? But there was a question I didn’t ask. What kind of spouse/parent are you willing to become? If we want our spouse to be kinder and more gentle with us, are we providing the model for that desired behavior?

If we want our children to be more respectful, are we providing the model of a respectful person? If we want a more fun family life, are we becoming a more relaxed and fun person?

We need to become skilled in becoming what we desire in other people. It’s easy to look at what others aren’t doing right, and forget about our own faults.

Related: How to Find the Courage to Fearlessly Follow Your Dreams

Whether your family is happy and strong or struggling; use these strategies to get in the fight. Don’t give up on your family, and NEVER be passive. There’s always a level higher than where you are. You just have to reach up and grab it. And throw a few jabs along the way!

Leave a comment and share where you are and what strategies you’ve used in difficult times. We all need support and encouragement from others!

 

Family Date Ideas Checklist