We owe it to our kids

When we got remarried, one of our goals was to model a loving, healthy marriage for our 4 children.  While this has remained in the forefront of our minds, the world around us has given more meaning to this specific goal.

We all have seen it, though it may not immediately register because we are so busy with our own lives, our own struggles and our own celebrations.

However, as we were reading through some blogs and news sites about marriage recently we were hit over the head with the reality.

More millennials today are deciding to live together unmarried than any other generation. Continue reading “We owe it to our kids”

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As victims, we learn to survive…and thrive

“Victim” may not be the most appropriate term, but it feels right given what we’ve been through – and what we know so many have been through as well.

Whether it is in marriage, or at work, or in other areas of life, we sometimes encounter people who attack us – and don’t stop.  For almost two years now, there has been someone in our lives who has gone all out to ruin our marriage and steal our joy on a weekly, and at times daily, basis.

During our engagement and through our first years of marriage we have been attacked and we didn’t know how to handle it.  We felt like victims.  And like most victims, survival is hard and even traumatic.

We’ve talked with and leaned on friends and they have constantly said, “Don’t let that person steal your joy.” Logically, we know they are right.  But as we get relentlessly attacked, it is hard not to feel victimized and helpless.

Only recently have we figured out how to survive…and actually thrive.

Several things have come together for us to get beyond this season in our life.  By creating a stronger marriage we are more equipped to handle the arrows headed our way.  We hope these few points can serve as hope for you or someone you know too.

  1. First and foremost, focus on your marriage and your relationship. Make sure you are both FULLY understanding each other.  Understand how you are being impacted and specifically hurt.  If you are being attacked it will impact you and your spouse differently – primarily because you are different people and different genders.  It is vitally important to get on the same page as your spouse in every possible way.  Counseling has been so important for us reconnecting better than we have ever connected.
  2. Research and use some self help books or video studies on marriage.  This will help you put your focus elsewhere.  We have a group that is learning about Love & Respect in marriage.  This has driven us to focus further on our marriage, our relationship and understanding each other.  We are more prepared now when one of us starts getting upset for one reason or another.  The group will also help you talk through the struggles.
  3. Find friends and people with wisdom to talk to and seek their support.  Perhaps they have been through something similar or maybe they will just be there to listen.  If they are a good friend, they will have something to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask them.
  4. Now the real hard part.  Avoid, ignore, and withdraw from any interaction with the person who is attacking you.  We have heard from many, and we understand that may be next to impossible with an ex-spouse that you share children with, but there are things that you can do to limit contact.  We won’t bore you with all the detail here but we are happy to chat privately about it with anyone who is interested.  The critically important element is not to engage in nonsense and only interact when necessary.  Don’t get drawn into fights.

As Christ followers, we know that the devil is after us.  We know that the devil truly hates that we got married and are growing a family together.  We know the devil despises the fact that we are trying to help others build strong, resilient marriages.  And we know that the devil uses people to pierce us where it hurts most.  John 10:10

Just knowing that doesn’t always help.  But, now that we have strengthened ourselves, we are moving beyond surviving and we are using our experiences to thrive.  This difficult season has helped us come together, understand each other and love even more.  We are very thankful for that blessing and that season.  And we hope you can gain some peace working through this too.

By the way, even if you aren’t being attacked, it is always good to practice the first 3 points above in an effort to get closer to your spouse.  You can never be close enough!

 

Cruisin’ For Closeness

For almost two years we’ve been blending a family.

Trying to get 4 very different kids to develop relationships together is harder than it looks. Unless you think it looks hard – then it’s exactly how it looks!

However, with last year’s vacation we felt we had a breakthrough because there were times when all 4 kids played together – more than we expected.

Then there were other moments like that throughout the year too.

So as we prepared for our second family vacation together we had high expectations that the kids would grow even closer together.

But to our disappointment, our expectations were not met.

Did they have some close times together? Yes. And that was important.img_2757.jpg

Continue reading “Cruisin’ For Closeness”

Fun Fact: Are You Part Of The 17%?

Yesterday we wrote about the wonderful benefits of sleeping naked.  We hope you started a new habit with your spouse last night if you haven’t already been sleeping in your birthday suit!  And if you missed our post, check it out here.

Today’s fun fact tells us just how many of you actually sleep in the nude!  According to a survey published by Men’s Journal, only 17% of Americans sleep “unclothed”.  52% of Americans sleep “partially clothed” and 31% sleep “fully clothed”.

Some other interesting sleep stats from the Men’s Journal survey:

  • 12% get 5 hours sleep — that’s us sadly…
  • 24% get 6 hours sleep
  • 30% get 7 hours sleep
  • 20% get 8 hours sleep
  • 36% sleep soundly through the night — also us 😦
  • 64% wake up one or more times

Click here for the full Men’s Journal article.

As we head into the weekend: sleep naked, sleep better, and if you are like us, let’s try to move into the 6 or 7 hours of sleep category!

 

 

Sleep Naked, Sleep Better.

Who knew sleeping naked had so many benefits – but IT’S TRUE!

First things first – we like to be transparent so we will tell you up front – we don’t sleep naked together NEARLY enough!  We love it and we are making it a habit to do more often. Why? Well for SO many reasons.

The biggest and best reason to sleep together, in our humble opinion, is probably the obvious one: it is sexy, appealing to your partner, and is a way to consciously encourage sex with each other.

You may not know that the skin to skin feeling releases the hormone oxytocin which increases the feeling of comfort – and in turn may put you in the mood for sex! Oxytocin also lowers your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, increases the feelings of trust, and generally makes you more ready for sexual interaction. YES!

How about the HEALTH BENEFITS? Continue reading “Sleep Naked, Sleep Better.”

Don’t Forget The Storm

We follow so many friends and family on social media and what do we notice most?

Flattering pictures and glowing comments about our lives:  My wife is amazing!  My husband is a gift from God!  My son just came in second place in the long jump!  My daughter made the honor roll!

Please understand, we aren’t knocking social media – we love it as much as the next person.  However, with EVERY success there is a struggle.  And the struggle is often the most important part of the story!

We just had one of the most wonderful weekends of our marriage.  And we posted about it on Facebook!  But is that the most important piece of our story from the weekend? No.

We have had a very difficult 20 months of marriage, Continue reading “Don’t Forget The Storm”

Make A Difference.

Encouragement.

There may be nothing more powerful than a few words of encouragement when someone is struggling.

While it is important to encourage our spouse daily, offering encouragement to others can be a big difference maker too.

Couples who are struggling in their marriage need encouragement.  As we know first hand, struggling couples tend to feel alone like they are the only ones going through deep struggle at that very moment.  Unfortunately, most churches aren’t equipped to handle marital challenges, nor do they put an emphasis on it which adds to the feeling of being alone.

That puts the responsibility on private counseling – and on us: friends, family, co-workers, or even just acquaintances.   But don’t think of it as a burden!  This is an OPPORTUNITY! Continue reading “Make A Difference.”

Let’s Talk Money!

You may have heard this before.  The number one issue that couples fight about isn’t sex, kids, or the in-laws.  The big issue?  MOOOOOOLA!  BACON!  CABBAGE!  GREENBACKS!  In other words – HOW ARE WE PAYING THE BILLS?  We were surprised to learn this was the top issue of conflict.

We are leaving the stressful month of April which includes annual tax filing and school vacation.  This can be a difficult time for marriages and families. One, many people have to pay to prepare their taxes.  Two, many people have to pay taxes on top of what they have already paid throughout the year.  And let’s face it – there is a never a good time to have to pay taxes!  Three, vacation spending can add to the financial anxiety.

As is the case with most couples, one spouse manages the money and the other spouse tends to spend the money.  Sometimes, one spouse won’t event talk about, think about, or breathe a word about money.

So let’s say you both approach money from different perspectives.  And let’s say it’s a problem – you are spending more money than you are making.  Credit card debt is rising.  Home equity line is increasing (guilty).  You and your spouse aren’t seeing eye to eye.

First order of business – a budget!  Below is our basic budget template.  Continue reading “Let’s Talk Money!”

It IS A Good Friday!

What is “Good Friday” to you?  Good Health?  Good Weekend?  Good Job?  Good Family?  Good Marriage?  Good Kids?  Good Future?  Well if it isn’t it can be!

For Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, it is one of the most important days of the year.  It is the day Jesus was crucified and died on the cross.  And he did that to save us from our sins – which we struggle with daily.

We’ll be the first to tell you that we face down sin every single day!  Whew!  Some days are a LOT harder than others.  But we know that Jesus suffered so that we don’t have to.

For those who don’t follow Jesus Christ, GOOD Friday can be GOOD for plenty of reasons! You can celebrate your blessings and successes with family and friends! And you can be proud to show your love for your spouse and others because it is a GOOD Friday!

And if you are struggling in any area of life, today can be a GOOD Friday to start looking at things a different way!  You are breathing air into your lungs.  You have friends or family somewhere around.  Today can be the day you start looking at the glass half FULL!

Your relationship is broken?  Continue reading “It IS A Good Friday!”

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