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Champions of Extraordinary Marriages

It Takes Two December 21, 2009

It takes two to make a thing go right
It takes two to make it outta sight

~Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock

What’s the key to a successful marriage? It takes a willingness on the part of both spouses to do those things that we often let go by the wayside or allow to become not so important. Read through the helpful tips below on how to make your relationship extraordinary.

1. Without quality time together, your relationship will not survive. Aim to devote at least half an hour a night, and at least one day a month when the two of you spend time exclusively together.  We like to take time before going to bed to unwind and connect.  With 2 kids this is a perfect time for us.

Each month we have a date night on the calendar, usually the first Friday of the month.  This is our night to dress up, try a new restaurant, and take a drive along the coast.

2. Money is one of the top conflicts between most couples. For the relationship to work, you need to address your finances and maybe even work out a budget.  We’ve come from the depths of debt. We amassed over $50,000 in consumer debt and are now debt free.  We’ll blog more on this in an upcoming post.  Check out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace.

3. Communication is vital to all healthy relationships. Listen to your partner and avoid blame and judgment. Don’t let your emotions dictate your behavior. Talking things over can help you to both have a deeper understanding of each other.  Are you having trouble getting the conversation started?  Check out Three Questions to get the Conversation Started to help you out.

4. Sort out your sex life. For most of us, it’s probably not what it used to be.  It’s time to recapture the passion.  Maybe one of you prefers more sex than the other. Why not experiment with new ideas in the bedroom?  Try new positions, new locations (outside of the bedroom), use oils, and/or set the mood with candles.  Whatever you decide, remember it has to be comfortable for both of you-talk about it.

5. Learn to forgive.  One of the hardest things to do in any relationship is to let go of past hurts.  Remember that holding onto the anger and resentment does not improve your relationship with your spouse but further isolates you from each other.   Making the decision to forgive gives you power and freedom over the situation.  While it is not easy and takes time choosing to forgive can have a profound effect on your marriage. What does the Bible say about forgiveness?

6. Remember that going to a marriage coach is not a sign of a failed relationship but rather an indication that you want to make things work.  Seeking help can turn a bad relationship around and can also turn an average relationship into an excellent one. More and more couples are turning to coaching today; it shows you are both prepared to try and make things better, which can’t be a bad thing at all.

It takes 100% commitment from both of you. However, healthy and long-lasting marriages are achievable and many couples have proven just that. Not everything is always going to be perfect but if you both choose to make it work then it can. And remember it’s the little things that you sometimes do that can go a long way to making your relationship work.

 

Flowing River or Stagnant Pond? December 9, 2009

Filed under: Communication,Romance — Tony & Alisa @ 8:30 am
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Is your marriage flowing?

Is your marriage a flowing river or a stagnant pond?

Your marriage should be like a flowing river. Fresh, moving around and finding ways around obstacles. Your marriage should never be like a still pond of water that just exists as the mold and moss collects along its banks. Like a flowing river your marriage should always be moving forward.

Unfortunately, many marriages become like a pond over the years.  The days of being a flowing river have slowed leaving you and your spouse wondering where to go, and whether to exist at all.  Your marriage continues to exist with little or no pleasure, but you know there is a flowing river ready to be let loose.

What should you do? Sit down together, talk about the stagnation in your marriage, and talk about how to give it a new life.  If you are harboring feelings that are stopping the river from flowing you need to talk to your spouse.  I will admit it is hard to take the first step, but worth it.

Are you not sure how you will come across as you dive into some deep and intimate issues?  Talk openly with an accountability partner (same gender), pastor, marriage coach or counselor.  Any of these folks can help you arrange your thoughts as well as help you move through a personal blockade.

As for me, Tony speaking, every time that I have had to take that first step it’s been a bit nerve racking.  My hands get damp, my heart beats faster, and I get short of breath.  I’m nervous of how Alisa will respond to the conversation.  Fortunately, we have been able to discuss our issues and then work through them.  Over the years we have had less BIG discussions as our river (conversations) flow each day, week, and month.

Is your river flowing today?

 

3 Questions to Get the Conversation Started. December 3, 2009

Filed under: Communication — Tony & Alisa @ 9:14 pm
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Put your questions on some index cards.

Many relationship problems begin with poor communication. Couples often feel that their partner should know what they are thinking and how they feel so do not communicate and then wonder why they feel neglected and under valued.

How many people decide not to tell their partner something just because they don’t know how to say it and then the problem just eats away at the relationship until there is no relationship left?  What a waste, just the sheer ability to share a problem can make what seemed to be an insurmountable issue a tiny little blip on a large horizon.

So whenever you feel stressed or don’t know what to do don’t just bottle it up, talk about it, seek advice and listen to the answer.  Don’t keep quiet when you know in your heart a problem has to be aired and don’t put off until tomorrow what has to be sorted today. Tomorrow never comes!!!

Something that Alisa and I have done to help us through these dry spells is to get two 3″x5″ cards and on each card we write down three questions that we’ll ask one another every day. Some questions that might be used are:

What victories have built up our marriage?
Could changing our spending and savings habits make a drastic change in our marriage?
What do I do that attracts you to me?
What blessing have we seen in our marriage?
Tell me about the most exciting thing you did today?
Need more questions, check out 201 Great Questions by Jerry Jones.

Now schedule 15 minutes when the two of you can sit down and ask each other your questions.  Really listen to your spouse and hear what they have to say.  You’d be amazed at how much you’ll learn about that person you sleep next to every night.

 

Bumps in the road November 24, 2009

Filed under: Communication,intimacy,marriage — Tony & Alisa @ 9:58 pm
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I am not perfect and this time of year usually magnifies those flaws.

Between Thanksgiving (at our house) and Christmas we have both kids birthdays and the anniversary of the death of our second son on top of all of the usual holiday “stuff”.  I am one of those people  who tend to shut down when things get to be too much and that happened just a couple of days ago.  My multitasking was not going as well as I would have liked and I was starting to drop those balls that I typically juggle so well.

It all came to a head on Sunday night when Tony said the dreaded words “I think we need to talk”.  Now, I don’t care who you are hearing those words is usually not a good thing and this was one of those times.  We sat on the couch, I didn’t even want to look at him, as we attempted to work our way through what was heavy on my heart.  My first reaction was to sit there, in silence, take in what he had to say, parrot back to him the “right” answers and move on.  But you know what, this time I fought that urge, I resisted being flippant and I took the time to listen, truly listen to the pain that I was causing my husband and my marriage.  I allowed myself to be vulnerable to my husband and I deeply appreciated his sentiment that he was not going to “give up on me”-ironic because that had been the topic of Pastor Harry’s sermon just that morning.

Why do I share this with you?  Because on the outside you can’t always tell what is going on with someone or with their marriage.  Because even good relationships hit bumps in the road.  Because you can learn new behaviors to overcome the ones that have been a problem in the past.  Because when you are married to someone who is not willing to give up on you, you have to make the extra effort to grow that marriage, to make it truly extraordinary.

What do you and your spouse need to talk about today?

Alisa