ONE

Champions of Extraordinary Marriages

More…40 Days to a Mind Blowing Marriage! December 29, 2009

“I need to think about it.”

WHAT!!! He had to think about it? C’mon I had just said yes to making love to him for 60 days!!! What in the heck did he have to think about?

It turns out that he had some of the same questions that I did.

What if we did this?

What if I can’t hold up my end of this?

How would this work?

Could I do this?

So, we really had quite a bit to talk about as we ventured forward.  We laid there in bed talking about how this would all work out.  The How, What, Where, and When.  We set up “excused” days-illness, my menstrual cycle , and out of town trips.  During the discussion we decided that we were both willing to get creative with location, time of day, positions etc.

Over the next couple of nights we continued to discuss all sorts of possibilities that could arise.  Here are a few that I remember:

What would happen if one of us was out and didn’t get home until late and the other was fast asleep?  Wake them up.

How do we work around Tony’s bicycling schedule?  He was willing to make it work no matter what.

Does a “quickie” count? Oh, YES!

Finally, we began the countdown to September 1, the start of our 60 Day Challenge.

From the start I was blown away at what started happening in our marriage.  We began having conversations about more than just the kids, work, and the day to day stuff.  We were talking and listening to each other and enjoying it. We began to rediscover each others desires, passions, and fears.  It was truly amazing!  The craziest thing, for me, was that I looked forward to being intimate with my husband. It was no longer about making excuses to get out of making love,  but rather when and where were we going to make love.  Let’s get to it became my motto!

September was like being on our honeymoon again but better because after 11 years we had learned a lot about each other and were truly enjoying these intimate moments.  We were veterans at this and now we were really putting our years of experience to work, literally and figuratively.  We started strong, we were able to go 9 days straight before our first day off, hello fatigue!  As much fun as we were having it was exhausting keeping up with our daily tasks, kids, work, and other activities.

One memorable night was when Tony had gone to Orange County for a going away party and was expected home around 11pm.  Tony, wanting to get home so that we could make love,  got a late start back to San Diego.  It came down to the wire as he arrived at 11:55pm.  I waited for him at the door as clothes came flying off as we headed for our bedroom. We ran over into the next day and wondered if we could count this love making session as two days?  We decided no and laughed as we fell asleep in each others arms.  The end of September brought my menstrual cycle and we were both so happy and ready for a break!

The strange thing for me was after a couple of days I was missing that physical intimacy with Tony.  I was looking forward to getting back to our daily love making, but October was completely different.

October started out with two sick kids, Tony’s first ever migraine and MRI, sleepless nights and sheer fatigue!  Translation:  No desire to make love whatsoever.  We were in a state of disconnect.  With all of the health problems we were completely out of sync.

One particular entry from October 6th tells the story perfectly.

Alisa’s entry – We are healthy!  Yet I don’t want to make love to Tony.  I actually prayed tonight for a change of heart because I had been enjoying this and looking forward to it last month.  Physically I enjoy myself but mentally, tonight, I had difficulty being in the moment with Tony.  I am wrestling with it so much that after I couldn’t fall asleep.  I tossed and turned for 2 hours gefore getting up to read on the couch and fell asleep there.

Tony’s entry – What a wonderful evening together.  Alisa and I made love for what seemed like the 1st time in a long time.  I guess when we’re making love almost every night in September to being derailed in October it feels like a long time.  It’s great to be close to Alisa again both physically and spiritually.

With the end in sight, we had lots of nights where we were just trying to make it through.   I began to pray before and during our physical intimacy.  It helped, but that’s for another blog.

October 31st came before we knew it.  The highs and lows of our 60 Day Challenge came to an end and you know what, we survived.  We didn’t just survive we learned a lot about ourselves that and are thriving to this day!  This was perhaps the single most positive life changing thing we have ever done for our marriage.

This time together was challenging, exciting, and awesome!

I’ve been asked if I would do it again? YES!  I have come to realize that having that connection with my husband truly changed our marriage.  Putting a stop to the excuses and accepting Tony’s needs was a win for me too.  It turned out that my intimacy needs, emotional, intellectual,  and spiritual were being met more than I could have ever expected.

We’ve made a lifestyle change where intimacy is a priority in our marriage and we hope that this will spark are flame in you to move beyond yourself and begin a challenge of your own.  What are you waiting for?

Coming March 2010, Stripped Down – 13 Keys to ONE Extraordinary Marriage.

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40 Days to a Mind Blowing Marriage! December 28, 2009

It’s time we came clean with how we find ourselves writing this blog and even talking about marriage.  It all started back in August 2008.  Tony and I were about to lead a small group on intimacy and had stumbled across an interview with two couples who had done what would seem virtually impossible.  Chandra Mueller had offered her husband 365 nights of intimacy for his 40th birthday and Douglas and Annie Brown had had sex for 101 nights.  As we are watching these interviews on the computer I’m thinking to myself that these women are NUTS!!!!! I make sure to verbalize this to Tony so that he doesn’t get any crazy ideas.

I’m glad I verbalized my thoughts to Tony, but having been married to him for 11 years I expected something.  He didn’t disappoint me.  The next day he threw it out there.  “Hey Alis, what if we were intimate (make love/have sex) every night for the next two months while we lead our small group?”

NO WAY.

Tony loves throwing ideas out there and this was one I didn’t have to or want to think about it.  There was no way I was going to say yes to be intimate with him every night for the next 60 days.  We probably made love once a week, maybe twice if we were lucky, and now he wanted to make love every day.  No thank you, good night.

That night, as I laid there in bed reading, my mind was working overtime.   I was actually kind of intrigued by the idea.  The “What IF’s” kept coming up.

What if we did this?

What if I enjoyed it?

What if I said yes?

How would this work?

Could I do this?

At the time (September and October 2008) we had a 5 year old and a 2 year old, Tony had his business obligations, we were involved in our church and our many other activities from volunteering to sports.

Would I like it? Don’t get me wrong here I enjoy being intimate with my husband, but would it still be good day after day after day for 60 days?  I didn’t want to lose the special connection just because we were trying to make love for 60 daysl.

Here’s the big ONE…Was I willing to give up my excuses (I’m tired, it’s been a long day, I don’t feel like it, etc.) and commit to saying YES every day? I’m sure every husband reading this is probably thinking that this would be the ultimate gift.  However, I had become very comfortable controlling the frequency of sex in our marriage.  If I was in the mood for it then we would make love, otherwise sorry.  Was I willing to relinquish that power I had over our sexual intimacy?

The evening after Tony asked, “What if we were intimate every night for the two months while we lead our small group?”, I told Tony the one word that will forever change our marriage, “YES”.  And then he said one of the craziest things I have ever heard…

What do you think he said?

 

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.

 

A Romantic Christmas is… December 11, 2009

There have been times when we’ve posed a question for you our loyal reader to respond to, this time we’re changing it up a bit. We are looking for your thoughts, but this is also a tool to help you design your life and relationships as you move forward.

The format is easy, simply complete this sentence in the comments. While the format may be easy, completing the sentence may not be.

If you’d like to get even more from this exercise, journal on this as well, or discuss this with your spouse, family, and friends.

A romantic Christmas is…

 

Bumps in the road November 24, 2009

Filed under: Communication,intimacy,marriage — Tony & Alisa @ 9:58 pm
Tags: , , , ,

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

 

Friday the 13th… November 21, 2009

Last Friday was a great Friday the 13th…It was my day to Take the Lead and I did, Tony had no decisions to make.

I made reservations at a restaurant we had never tried before, Cafe Luna.  From the moment we walked in the service was superb and the atmosphere was fantastic.   A very intimate setting it was perfect for a night just the two of us.  Our server, Jamie, was incredibly friendly and helpful.  She even offered to take the picture of us.Date Night

Jamie listed off the specials of the day and left us to contemplate dinner.  I decided on the Ravioli Con Noci and Tony had the Flat Iron Steak with Chipotle Rice.  Both meals were amazing.

It was great just to sit and enjoy the slower pace of a meal by ourselves, taking the time to just enjoy each other’s company.  And I have to say that it’s amusing to me that Tony is now the one who photographs the food so that you  can enjoy seeing our dinners.

Dinner was followed by a desert, Chocolate Decadence.  WOW!!!  A lightly baked dark chocolate confection with pineapple creme fraiche and strawberries around the plate.  For those of you that don’t know, I love chocolate and this dessert had just the right balance of flavors.

After dinner we spent the evening at Borders and at Kohls shopping together, something we really only get to enjoy when the kids are at the sitter.

In addition to discovering Cafe Luna I also found the website Coupon Cabin to get a discount gift certificates for the restaurant.  It was an amazing deal.  For only $7 we were able to purchase a $25 gift certificate.  Net savings $18 for a meal we were already going to eat.  Since then I’ve found deals were you can get the gift certificate for even less.  Check it out and enjoy your date night.

Tell us about one of your more memorable date nights.

Alisa