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Communication - 2. page

6 Exciting Reasons to Lie to Your Spouse

excited couple


Do you ever get tired of hearing honesty is the best policy? What about a little white lie or a crumb of dishonesty? The expectation for complete honesty in marriage is so restrictive and closed minded. Just because lying has a negative connotation doesn’t mean you can’t lie to your spouse. Lying can produce exciting results in your marriage. If you’ve been looking for permission to lie, you’re in luck; I’ve compiled a list of 6 exciting reasons to lie to your spouse.

bulldozer

You want to destroy trust.

No worries, trust is only the foundation of any good relationship, houses don’t need foundations. Just bulldoze the foundation, no one in the house will notice.

You hate intimacy.

Lying will make your partner cringe when they see you. This creepy-crawly feeling prevents closeness and good touch. No touching means no sex. Lying to your spouse will end sex forever. What could be better for a relationship than a dry deserted love life?

Arguments and verbal fights are your idea of a good time.

Lying is a great way to turn your marriage into an eternal tennis match of verbal abuse. Nothing is as exciting as knowing you have another emotionally painful argument waiting for you every night.

You’re trying to demolish your family.

A fun close knit family life is easily flushed away by a few lies. Dramatic conflict is a truly effective way to create anxious and angry children. Divorce is a predictable outcome of lying to your spouse.

You have too much money.

Lying is a great way to burn through cash. Lying about money is one of the most common lies people tell their spouse. It takes even more money to cover up the secret money you spent; it’s an exciting game to play and it easily relieves you of all that extra money. If that doesn’t work you can always hire a divorce attorney. They charge hundreds of dollars per hour and are quite skilled at…talking…slowly.

TV dinnerYou want to suffer a cold lonely marriage.

Living disconnected from your spouse is available for only a small investment of dishonesty. Your marriage could feel like eating a lukewarm Salisbury steak TV dinner alone for every meal.

Or you could develop a habit of honesty in your marriage. Your call.

For a less snarky post about honesty and the secret to doing honesty right in marriage read “Honesty is Powerful” <<<Click

Uugghh, You’re So Annoying

annoying couple


Recently I read a fun article from the Today Show. It reminded me of premarital counseling.

Every time I see couples for premarital counseling I have them discuss their expectations for household tasks. The exercise of discussing daily tasks like washing dishes, doing laundry, feeding the pets, and cooking food creates opportunities to discuss tension points. An unbalanced household workload is a MAJOR source of conflict in marriage. Resentment forms quickly when one partner feels they are doing everything around the house and their spouse is a slacker. If you cannot communicate well regarding simple household tasks, deeper, more intimate topics will be impossible to manage.

The article I mentioned from the Today Show is titled ‘Infuriating!’ Here are 5 of the most annoying household habits ever.

The folks at the Today Show did a little survey asking people about their spouse’s most annoying habits. It’s a short article, you should click it quick and read it.

They found the most annoying household habits ever are:

1. Leaving the dirty dishes in the sink

2. Taking other people’s food out of the fridge

3. Putting empty containers back in the fridge

4. Wasting paper towels

5. Not replacing the toilet paper roll

When I read the article I thought ut-oh! I’m guilty. I like paper towels. A lot. I’ll admit to overusing paper towels but in my mind I never waste them. I’m not sure about your house but in our house kids make messes. Ok, I make a lot of messes too but I’d like to think mine are more sophisticated adult messes like exploding spaghetti sauce in the microwave. But I never fear because the paper towel holder is near. I use paper towels for wiping the kitchen counters, cleaning chocolate milk moustaches, gathering smashed banana pieces off the floor, and cleaning out the stray coffee grounds from the coffee maker. Paper towels are clearly superior to a kitchen washrag because the dirty mess goes right into the garbage, not the sink. This saves a few unnecessary steps. My paper towel habit is not saving the trees, but it’s justified because it saves my energy and sanity.

paper towel


After reading the Today Show article I began to wonder if my habit was eroding Hollie’s sanity. Was I unintentionally the most annoying husband ever?

I didn’t know so I texted her “Do you think I use too many paper towels?” with a link to the article.

She responded back “that’s a fun article.”

Kind of left me wondering but at least it wasn’t “YES! It’s super-duper annoying.” So I’m thinking she doesn’t mind much.

If you ever wonder if one of your habits is annoying your spouse,

Think.

Come on now, just think about it for a second. You probably already know you’re annoying in some things because leaving dirty socks next to her pillow is the essence of annoying.

Listen.

You know that sound your spouse makes? It’s called talking. If you listen closely enough you’ll discover they’ve been telling you directly how annoying your habits are. When we grab fast food Hollie and I typically share a large drink. I drink the majority of it and she tells me “hey! You drank it all.” I’m pretty sure that annoys her more than using a bunch of paper towels.

Ask.

If you’re still not sure if your habit is annoying, ask your spouse. Ask them by text, with a silly voice or in a serious moment but ask. If you want to know something, you’ve got to ask. You may not want to know, afraid you’ll need to change. If you ask and your spouse responds “yes, that’s super annoying,” then you’ve put yourself in a position where you’ll either continue making it hard for them to love you or you’ll change your behavior.   

News flash! Changing your annoying habits to make yourself more tolerable and lovable in marriage is a no brainer. Showing you’re willing to do the difficult work of putting your socks in the clothes hamper could work miracles in your marriage.  

All relationships require adjusting. When we were first married I piled up dishes in the sink. As a bachelor my dishes strategy was to conserve effort and wash the dishes only when I had no more clean ones. The pile could build for over a week; I only had to do dishes a few times a month. After we got married I quickly discovered my pile up the dishes strategy wasn’t going to fly anymore. Eventually I learned to adjust and became more diligent about putting the dishes in the dishwasher.

Couples fit into one of two different communication ruts when addressing annoying habits.

Ignore and avoid

The ignore and avoid communication rut looks like couples who try to ignore their partner’s annoying habit. At first this looks like a good strategy, it reduces conflict and prevents sounding like a complainer. The problem is eventually, since the habit is quite annoying, avoidance takes over in everything. The tendency to avoid conflict leads to avoiding contact. Guys who ignore and avoid are silent at home but often have no problem spouting off the annoying habits of their wife when talking to their buddies on the golf course. When spouses avoid contact with each other, love drifts off.

To stop the avoiding communication pattern, be bold. Risk stepping on some toes, you’ll find honest, caring, and direct communication opens doors to really connect with your spouse on a much more intimate level.

Confront and conquer

The confront and conquer communication rut looks like couples who constantly nit pick at each other. Nearly all communication contains a critical tone. When others point out their criticism, they laugh it off and say “we love each other, that’s just how we communicate.” Yikes. Even if they try to shrug it off, the communication pattern is dangerous. Each partner feels attacked and actively defends their actions, usually by a counter attack. “I hate how you’re always coming home late!” “oh yeah? Well if you’d ever make dinner worth eating maybe I’d want to come home.” The attacks continue until one partner is conquered.

To stop the conquer or be conquered communication pattern, chill out. Apologize for your nit picking and give your spouse grace. Putting away your battle weapons will open doors to connect with your spouse in meaningful and intimate ways.

What’s your annoying habit?

How will you communicate with your spouse differently today?

Facing Life and Death Moments in Marriage

couple on beach


This post is deeply personal. It’s somber and serious, joyful and hopeful, this is our story today.

Life is going to throw you hard stuff. I wish it wasn’t true but sometime in your marriage, probably without notice, you’ll face a crisis. Financial crisis. Medical crisis. Employment crisis. Parenting crisis. Emotional crisis. It feels like every day we learn about another couple facing desperate situations.

My mother-in-law passed away last week, September 1, 2016. She was an amazing lady who endured so much suffering in her life and still she remained full of faith and hope. The last eight months of her illness launched us out of our comfort zone and her passing leaves us extra emotional. We’re leaning heavily on God’s unfailing love as we fell the full impact of loss. 

When you find yourself facing life and death moments in your marriage:

Commit to what’s most important.

Crisis has a way of re-prioritizing life. Focus on relationships in the midst of crisis. Other goals and activities dim in importance when you are faced with a life or death situation. It’s not enough to identify your priorities, you must then commit to them.

Build a firm foundation.

No matter what season you’re in right now, invest in your marriage heavily. There’s no telling when you’ll face an impossible situation forcing you to rely on the foundation you’ve built. A feeble foundation won’t last when storms blow into your life. The foundation of trust and love Hollie and I have built over the years has provided us a solid marriage foundation from which we’ve launched into the scary unknown.

Communicate love.

Everyday, and especially when facing crisis, you must communicate love with your spouse. I believe every form of communication in marriage adds to or takes away from connection. Focus on providing affirming words to your spouse. The details about the dishwasher and the soccer schedule can wait. Use every opportunity when hearts are broken to pour love into your spouse.  

Allow for emotion.

Speaking of broken hearts and emotion, when you’re facing desperate times, expect a variety of emotions. Anger, sadness, joy, disgust, and fear are all invited to this party. Although it can feel like uncontrolled chaos it’s important to express your emotion. Properly expressed and validated emotion begins the process of regulating emotions.

Look for bright spots.

Crisis is certainly a stormy season but if you look closely you’ll find a silver lining or a ray of sunshine eventually. Hollie and I have enjoyed times of celebration when we’ve witnessed a medical miracle or remember the humor in her mom’s voice.

Let distance grow fondness.

You may have heard the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s been true for us while we’ve lived 500 miles apart. But distance only grows fondness if you commit to connecting and build anticipation for your return.  

Recognize exhaustion.

Exhaustion, especially emotional exhaustion, is a brutal bugger. It will drain you of your ability to think and respond rationally. That’s ok. You’re allowed exhaustion when facing difficult circumstances day after day. The important part is to recognize exhaustion as an understandable response rather than a personality flaw.

Appreciate facing big deeply profound moments together.

Hollie and I experience amazing times of connection simply by noticing how profound these moments are in our life. Facing life and death moments will either divide and destroy your marriage or strengthen your connection. Hold each other close and resolve to face the storms together. Reflecting on the enormity of the moments we’ve shared provides remarkable perspective on the privilege of being married to my best friend.

Rely on God.

Facing the scary unknown has drawn us closer to the one who holds the future and loves us more than we can grasp. We have found strength in weakness as we desperately ask God for continual direction and healing. The most intimate activity spouses can experience is praying together fully relying on God.  

What would you add to this list?

Share what helped you face life and death moments in your marriage.

8 Things Your Kids Should See You and Your Spouse Doing Together

kissing couple with kid


Modeling a healthy marriage is a vital part of parenting. Showing your children how to negotiate a marriage relationship is your primary responsibility. Well, feeding them is pretty important too, but teaching them healthy relationships is definitely toward the top of the responsible parenting list.

To model healthy relationships make sure your kids can see you:

Spending time together.

Life is hectic especially with kids. Time together is at a premium and it’s tempting to save it for after you put the kids to bed. However, demonstrating you like to spend time together shows your children quality time matters in relationships.

Talking.

Good relationships utilize good communication. If your kids only see you taking to your phone they won’t understand the importance of face-to-face communication.

Listening.

Good communication involves more than talking. Demonstrate appropriate listening skills by actively listening to your spouse. Active listening looks like looking at your spouse, asking clarifying questions, and even leaning toward them.

Disagreeing and problem solving.

Disagreeing is fine but please don’t intentionally fight in front of your kids. Some parents believe it’s important for kids to see “reality” including your fights. I disagree. Children cannot understand all the dynamics involved in your argument and feel less secure when their parents fight. Keep your arguments as private as you can. Your children will pick up on the tension well enough anyway. When you and your spouse disagree, make sure your kids see how you solve the problem by negotiating a solution.

Making up.

Fight in private but make-up where your kids can see you ask for forgiveness and offer forgiveness.

Laughing.

Good relationships are fun. Show your kids it’s fun to be in relationship with one another. If you have lost the ability to have fun ask your kids for how-to-be-silly tips.

Interacting with friends.

We are designed for community. Good marriage relationships don’t isolate. It’s fine to get a babysitter for date night but make sure to include times when you and your spouse hang out with other couples to show your kids what community feels like.

Kissing.

Physical affection is a wonderful part of a great relationship. Your kids may hide their eyes depending on their age but they love it. They’ll feel the love.

Children are observant and master imitators. They may not do what you say but they will always do what you do.

What would you add to this list?


Parenting is hard and takes a more dramatic turn during the holiday season. My ebook, The Best Holiday Ever: How to move from conflict to connection this holiday season discusses how to navigate the wilds of parenting during the Christmas season. It’s easy to read it now.

The Secret to Delighting Your Spouse This Christmas. A Life Lesson From My Grammy

delighted couple


The Secret to Delighting Your Spouse This Christmas. A life Lesson From My Grammy

One of my holiday bucket list items is to delight my spouse. When I imagine the perfect Christmas I see our family snuggling next to the fire. I look toward my wife and I see her contented smile. Delighting my wife is a wonderful gift; nothing is better.

Delighting your spouse may seem like the most complicated algorithm possible. I’ve certainly not perfected it. Check out my post about my marriage mistakes. (LINK mistakes)

My Grammy taught me the secret to delighting my spouse. She’d be surprised but thrilled I learned it from her.

She passed away on Thanksgiving Day 2014. I miss her hugs the most. Read about Holiday Grief.

You see Grammy lived the secret; it’s simply who she was.

Grammy was especially easy to delight.

Every birthday or Christmas she was delighted by whatever gift she received.

I’ll never forget her genuine squeals of delight and feet stomping followed by “oh you shouldn’t have.”

I always loved giving my Grammy a gift. The true gift was watching her delight and knowing she delighted in me.

The same can happen in your marriage.

The secret to delighting your spouse is to be easily delighted yourself.

Because your spouse loves you and wants you to be happy, seeing you happy is the best gift.

This Christmas season, be like my Grammy. Simply delight in the moment.