It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I write a post, and then you all chime in by linking up your own marriage posts to the Linky below!
Do you remember the prayer of St. Francis?
That’s a lot of brilliance right there.
I receive tons of emails everyday from women who are hurting in their marriages: their husbands are using porn, or never show them affection, or won’t get a job. Some of the problems seem overwhelming.
And so today, I’d like to challenge you: What CAN you change?
We’re in the middle of the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle Sale, a one-week sale where you can purchase 86 amazing ebooks, and tons of bonuses, for just $29.97. As I was reading through so many of the books over the last week, it started me brainstorming about the many different ways that we can start developing new habits and doing new things that can make our marriages–and our families–healthier and happier, even if your husband doesn’t change. But it doesn’t stop there. As I say repeatedly in my book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, when you start to make changes, he’ll likely make changes in return. You’re changing the dynamic in your marriage, and that’s going to stir things up! So take the initiative and DO something different.
Yesterday I was talking about choosing to eat better and actually take care of our bodies. Today I want to talk about relationship dynamics.
Here are just a few areas where little changes can often go a long way:
1. Put First Things First
Do you know when I feel the most stressed and annoyed at my husband and kids? When I feel like my to-do list is a million miles long and I’m not done it yet.
But why does my to-do list come before the family?
For me it’s email. I try to keep my inbox under a certain number everyday, and if it goes over that I go antsy.
When did it become the mark of a successful day if I got through all my e-mail? When did that trump laundry folding or book reading? I don’t feel guilty when I go to bed and my dishes aren’t perfectly stacked in evenly spaced rows, or the spines of our books aren’t perfectly aligned on the shelf. So why does my stomach churn when I open my inbox and see e-mail that I still haven’t opened? It’s really not that big a deal, when you think about it.
She’s right! I feel such freedom in reading those words.
Ask Yourself: What task can you NOT leave undone–even if your preoccupation with it drives everyone crazy?
Now let me ask YOU this: Are you allowing that task, or series of tasks, steal you away from your family? Are you letting that task influence your mood and attitude towards your family (“Why am I the only one who ever folds laundry? Why can’t everyone else fold laundry? Everybody is so ungrateful! No, I can’t come play a board game when all this mess is here. Don’t you all see the mess?”)
Of course there’s a fine balance: we have to keep an organized home, and we also have to involve other people in doing those chores as well. But let’s remember that people always come first, and if you’re living your life in a constant state of annoyance, DO something. Teach your kids to do chores and find an allowance system that works. Get more organized yourself. But above all, remember that people come first, and do not allow a task to make you into a dragon towards your spouse.
2. Work at It!
Now, this one may seem to violate point 1, but hear me out for a second. Why is it that we let the laundry, the email, the dirty dishes make us grumpy? Because we’re allowing external things to determine our mood. We aren’t living life–we’re reacting to what’s around us.
To live life involves two steps: the first is putting those first things first. The second is to develop some discipline. No, those things aren’t going to dictate our mood. But they’re also not going to become overwhelming in the first place.
Ask Yourself: Is there an area of my life where more discipline would also make me more peaceful, more organized, and less chaotic?
My life isn’t disciplined, and it’s my fault. And I could wallow in frustration over my shortcomings and failures. But instead, I want to let that frustration motivate me. I am the problem, but I am also the solution.
Crystal Paine’s 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life is quite simply amazing. I love this book! I’m going to start my 21 days as soon as I’m back from a speaking tour in Michigan next week, but I’m already planning on how to put some things into practice. I really think this can make a difference.
Please listen to me, ladies: So often our lack of discipline and lack of organization actually aggravate our relationship problems. If you’re miserable in your marriage, could it be that part of that is because you’re chronically miserable with your life because you don’t have a handle on it?
I know some marriage problems can’t be fixed by just getting more discipline or starting to go to bed at a decent time or being deliberate about everyday tasks. But it can’t hurt. And if you do get more disciplined, and more peaceful, you will also be able to tackle those bigger marriage problems–ones like porn or parenting–so much more easily.
Most relationship problems don’t start as relationship problems. They start as internal problems. We’re not happy with ourselves, and we turn it outward. Don’t do that. Put first things first, and then also commit to being more purposeful in your everyday life.
3. Love Your Husband
Sometimes husbands have big issues that absolutely need to be dealt with–like porn use, affairs, or other addictions. The vast majority of the problems in marriage, though, are far smaller. We simply drift apart because we don’t put enough work in. We feel upset because he’s not affectionate so we withdraw. That in turn causes him to withdraw. And so on, and so on, and so on. We go on for years of unmet needs, and soon resentment builds. Bitterness builds.
Ask yourself: Are we drifting apart, or am I being purposeful in loving my husband?
I spend so much of this blog talking about how we can grow love and keep love. I truly believe that sex is a key part of that. God made sex to unite us intimately, not just physically. And when sex falls by the wayside, you will feel separate. Sex can’t heal that is wrong in a marriage, but it sure can cover over a multitude of sins, and build up the goodwill and affection between you enough that you can tackle some of those other things.
Are you putting a priority on sex?
Sex is the physical acting out of everything that marriage is. We become vulnerable with one another. We become naked with one another completely– and that means real intimacy, not just physical intimacy. We cherish each other. We protect each other. But we also have a ton of fun with each other!
If you don’t know where to start, may I humbly suggest 31 Days to Great Sex? It isn’t 31 Days OF Great Sex. I’m not making you have sex everyday! It’s 31 days of exercises that draw you closer together in every way in the bedroom–physically, spiritually, and sexually. And if your marriage has become blah, and you find yourself getting annoyed too fast, this really can help.
Already have it? You can give away the copy in the bundle to a friend who could use a boost!
And remember it makes an awesome Stocking Stuffer for your hubby! Just print out one of the coupons I have here, and then slip it in his stocking telling him what you have planned!
4. Choose To Do Something Today
Your life will not magically get better on its own. Your marriage will not magically improve. You need to do what is in your power to do.
But you don’t have to do it alone! If you need some daily inspiration, the books in the bundle sale will not disappoint.
I love Crystal Paine’s book on discipline, but there are also books on eating well, raising healthy kids, living a green lifestyle, and more!
You get 86 ebooks for just $29.97–plus tons of bonuses and enrollment in Coffee Table Conversations, your chance to ask experts anything! It’s so worth it.
Don’t miss the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle –it goes away Saturday at midnight. I know you’ll love it, just as I have!
Now, what advice do you have for us today? Leave the URL of a marriage post in the linky below! And be sure to link back here so other people can read awesome marriage posts, too.
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