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She Sheds and a 3-Step Recipe for a Happy Marriage

Recently I came across this short article from Today.com describing a new trend. She sheds.

How my ‘She Shed’ improved my marriage

She sheds are a place, like a shed, designed as a type of hideaway for women. The separate place is intended to serve as a retreat in which they can reduce distractions and relax. The unique private place allows space to feed her soul and help her recharge.

It’s somewhat of a play on the concept of a man cave, a space where a man can enjoy “manly things” typically a big TV with sports or adventure movies playing loudly on surround sound. A man cave provides space for him to retreat into his interests.

I love the idea of a she shed. When my wife gets tired and overwhelmed with the three boys in her life, I’ll just send her to the shed. Oh, that’s right, I don’t have a tool shed. We keep the tools in the garage. Perhaps she would like to spend some relaxing time in the she garage?

She sheds sound about as realistic as living on the moon. Where are the children of these women with she sheds? I’m sure every mother would like (needs) a she shed where she can get away temporarily but is that even possible? Mothers often can’t even use the toilet without young children interrupting. I’m sure no three year old is going to understand and respect the intended privacy of mom’s getaway sanctuary in the back yard.

Kidding aside, this she shed seems awesome. The owner of this she shed, Barbara Techel, is a blogger who uses her she shed to write her blog and her books. Now that is something I could use.

My favorite part of the short article is the quote by the author talking about how her she shed has benefited her marriage. Barbara says about her husband John:

He “gets it” and understands that by honoring and respecting my needs, in turn, it makes for a happy wife. Which in turn makes for a happy husband. And yes, a happy marriage.

Now that’s a great 3-step recipe for a wonderfully happy marriage.

  1. Understand your spouse’s needs.

    Understanding your spouse may feel like an impossible task. Start by asking them. Say “Hey babe, what are your needs.” Perhaps not every spouse will easily articulate their needs. Our deeper emotional needs often feel risky to share. Our wants are often much easier to identify because they don’t have the emotional consequences or the risk of rejection. Communicating your deeper emotional needs is a skill you must intentionally develop. Sharing with your spouse on an emotional level will dramatically improve your connection in marriage. When you ask your spouse what their needs are be prepared to implement the next ingredient in the happy marriage.

  2. Honor and respect their needs.

    It’s critical, once you have discovered and understand your spouse’s needs, to validate them as important. It’s not enough to simply understand, you must take action. For Barbara Techel’s husband, John, it meant building her a she shed to provide for her need to have her own space. You don’t have to convert your tool shed into a retreat center or turn your formal dining room into a sports center man cave. For you, respecting your spouse’s needs could look very different. It could be providing relaxation for your spouse by putting the kids to bed while she enjoys a bath or taking a family vacation to the ocean.

  3. Enjoy a happy spouse and a happy marriage.

    The only part left is to celebrate and enjoy a happy marriage. I’m not sure about Barbara and John but I have a feeling they don’t spend all of their time in their separate spaces. Happy couples know how to connect emotionally and provide appropriate space in their marriage. They are happy because relational needs are met and therefore both their time together and away from each other benefits their connection. Perhaps a she shed will meet your needs and improve your marriage. However you and your spouse are able to meet each others needs, a happy marriage ultimately comes from wonderful connection to each other.


View the original article by Barbara Techel on her blog, Joyful Paws

Watch Barbara Techel being interviewed on Weekend Sunrise, the Australian version of the Today Show.

View pictures of a variety she sheds


Go Deeper.

If you want to learn more about how to communicate for better connection in your marriage you are in luck. I’m putting the finishing touches on my new course

30 Days of Better Communication 

30 Days of Better Communication consists of 30 daily lessons to help you enjoy better connection in your marriage through better communication. Launch date is July 1. Make sure to join my email list to get all the details and be the first to receive it.

5 Affirmations Every Mom Should Hear From Their Husband Every Day. (Especially on Mother’s Day)

Photo by Debbie Brown brownstudios.com
Photo by Debbie Brown brownstudios.com

Moms are the best.

They supply the world with generous unconditional love. Moms deserve to know the impact of their work because the pressure of mothering can be heavy at times. Mommy guilt is the feeling moms get when they feel inadequate in their efforts to fulfill all the expectations in life. In those moments they worry about their priorities and feel they should have done something different. Husbands, you can’t prevent all of these feelings but you can greatly reduce them by affirming her. Sharing positive comments about your wife’s mothering skills is a great way to instantly improve your marriage. Notice her efforts and remind her of your love and gratitude for who she is and what she does. Share these five affirmations with your wife everyday for a wonderful marriage.

  1. You are a good mom. Parenting has a way of leading to self-doubt. When the frustrations of caring for kids overwhelm, it’s easy to be discouraged. Your wife should hear from you “you are a good mom.” If she protests, gently persist with specific examples.

  2. We can do this together. Marriage is a partnership in all aspects and parenting works best when it’s a team sport. Embrace the shared goal of raising kids into functioning adults. When she knows you are truly in it together, the load of the task is not quite as heavy.

  3. Your work is valuable. To really love your wife, affirm her efforts and daily activities. Tell her the actions she takes are noticed and you are grateful for her work. If your wife cares for your kids full time make sure to notice and affirm the little miracles she performs every day. Mothers who work outside the home need to feel supported and appreciated for their work at the office and raising kids.

  4. I love you. Affirming your love for her is always important. Sure, we overuse the word love for everything. “I love bacon, I love power tools, I love Netflix.” But declaring your love in a relationship IS special. Remind her daily of your commitment to love her. Simply saying “I love you” communicates you notice her and are emotionally available and responsive.

  5. It’s ok to rest. Mothering is exhausting and never ending. It’s also probably a lot of work being married to you. Mothers frequently have the internal pressure to continue performing and striving. That’s good, it ensures the survival of humanity. But mothers also need to know physical and emotional rest is appropriate. Give your wife the go ahead to rest and then get busy providing her the opportunity to rest when needed.

Affirmations work best when you use both words and actions. Telling her is good, showing her is awesome, doing both is magic.



You may also like: 5 Affirmations Every WIFE Should Hear From Her Husband Every Day. Learn what to say first when you give a compliment and what to say first when you are arguing. Hint: The subtle difference will make all the difference.

4 Marriage Lessons from Sour Milk

milk


I never feel more apologetic than when I clean the back seat of the car. In those moments I apologize to my car for having children. Last summer our car smelled. Bad. Upon further investigation we discovered a long hidden sippy cup lodged under the seat. It had been filled with milk and given to one of our sons and at some point in the chaos of child transport it was forgotten. Until the smell. The first day the smell arrived it smelled like something had died along the road, like we passed roadkill along the way. The smell was disregarded as we got out of the car. By the second day of the smell it was clear the roadkill was somewhere in the car. We cleaned the car and found the cup. The sour smell was overwhelming and the sick feeling was made worse when we discovered the smell was not only from the cup of sour milk but that the milk had spilled onto the floor of the car. We scrubbed, we removed the seats, we scrubbed and washed and air freshened. Eventually the smell diminished but the smell still lingers in my memory.

The sour milk tragedy reminds me of the interaction cycle of some couples. In life and marriage not everything works out perfectly. Mistakes are made, miscommunication happens and hurtful words get flung around. For healthy couples these difficult times are no fun but they are quickly resolved and connection is restored. Unfortunately, some couples ignore the mess and conflict hoping it will go away. Their conflict continues and their connection suffers until the smell becomes unbearable.

To avoid a sour milk marriage:

  1. Risk making a mess. First of all it’s okay to really engage in your relationship. You must risk vulnerability to connect well in your marriage. We are okay with living in our car. We want to engage with our children in the car which means risking spills and crushed fish crackers in the car seats. Don’t be so scared of making a mistake in your relationship that you suffocate authenticity.
  2. Take care. Although we allow our kids to eat in the car we also teach them not to be careless. We don’t expect them to never spill but we do expect them to learn. Invest in your relationship. Learn how to avoid relationship injuries. Talk to your spouse about ways you can reduce conflict. Get expert help when you are not sure how to connect well without fighting.
  3. Stop criticizing. It would not have helped to yell at our kids for spilling the milk. In your relationship it doesn’t help to shame your spouse. No matter how much you know about your spouse of how careful you are arguments will happen. Criticism destroys the foundation of trust in relationships.
  4. Clean up quickly. The main problem in our car was not that milk was spilled but that we didn’t clean it up soon enough. The warm summer days took our neglect and punished our sense of smell. When fights and arguments result in hurt feelings don’t just let it sit. You can take time to cool off if your argument gets too hot but don’t let it go days without working to resolve the tension. The longer you keep unaddressed conflict in your marriage the nastier it gets. Healthy couples quickly clean up the spills of relationship injuries.

6 Terrible Dating Techniques of Taco Bell Guy and What To Do Instead

guy in white shirt

The other day our family went out to eat at Taco Bell.* We set up camp near a young couple who appeared to be on a date. (Setting up camp is what it’s like to take two young boys out to eat anywhere.) Between directing our kids to eat their food, getting more napkins, and re-explaining the various types of cheese, we casually observed the date at the next table.

We learned a lot from watching the young couple set sail upon the waters of relationship building. Married folk like us may think we are way more advanced in relationships than this young inexperienced couple, but the lessons are for us too.

  1. Be the star of the show. This guy in Taco Bell talked non stop. He didn’t even pause while chewing his food. If your date wanted a show, they would have simply gone to a movie. For a real relationship to grow you must interact. When you spend time with your spouse, let them talk. Shut up enough to have a real conversation. Show your interest in your date by really listening to what they have to say.
  2. Talking and eating go well together. Occasionally we have to remind our three year old to use his manners, your spouse shouldn’t have to remind you. Simple manners like eating with your mouth closed, are important for all relationships. Manners display a level of maturity and respect.
  3. As long as you are funny it’s fine to insult your date. The guy in Taco Bell was not complimentary of his friend. I don’t get that. She was spending her time eating with him, at least he could be nice, it’s not too much for her to expect. The same goes for your spouse, they agreed to marry you, at least use nice words, it’s a reasonable expectation. Humor is awesome but using humor to excuse criticism is a connection killer.
  4. Guard your stuff. The guy in Taco Bell was well past kindergarten; he should have known the concept of sharing. But when she reached for a nibble of his food he told her he was not sharing. Umm, it’s just one or two mexi-fries dude, you will survive without them. Married people can become overly possessive of their stuff too. If your spouse reaches for your phone or drives your car to work, don’t get upset. Healthy couples know how to share, willingly.
  5. Make your point clear by hitting. The guy at Taco Bell swatted her hand away when she jokingly reached for his food. This dating technique is a major problem. Never hit your date. Touching is an important way to communicate closeness, care, and connection in relationships. Hurtful touches, no matter the intention, damage relationship and destroy trust needed for building good relationships.
  6. Be stingy. From what I could tell, the guy in Taco Bell didn’t pay for her food. I know it may be old fashioned for the guy to always buy on a date, but it was Taco Bell, it wouldn’t have broke the bank. Married folk, avoid getting into a lifetime of deciding if it is his or her bill to pay. Combine your finances and live on a budget. Above all else, always be on the lookout for how you can be more generous toward your spouse.

What have you learned by observing other couples?

*This post was developed after observing real interactions while in a Taco Bell. In no way do I intend to disparage Taco Bell or anyone for eating at Taco Bell. Taco Bell is awesome. In this post I refer to the young man on his date as “Taco Bell Guy” because he was a guy in Taco Bell; he was not an employee of Taco Bell. While I observed individuals at Taco Bell I did not talk to them, I do not know them, what they were discussing, or the nature of their relationship. If you believe, through my descriptions of this couple, it was you, then I hope you learned something. You never know when you may be on a date next to a marriage counselor.

Photo credit:Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

5 Refreshing Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Marriage

spring cleaning

Winter has left my lawn scraggly and brown; its cold winds piled leaves on the front step. The only green is the one struggling daffodil yet to bloom and the small weeds coming up around it. Spring is here and it’s time for a good spring cleaning.

I actually enjoy working in my yard in the springtime. I like seeing the grass turn green and the the small buds on the trees transform into leaves. Small weeds poke up but they are easily plucked out in the moist spring mornings. The smell of the first lawn mowing reminds me of warm summer fun.

Marriage has seasons too. Marriages can go through winters where connection is cold and stormy disagreements prevail.

Spring is the breeze of hope that nudges away the chill and grime of winter. Springtime can bring dramatic transformation to your marriage.

You can experience new growth and excitement in your marriage this spring.

Time for your spring cleaning.

Tend to your marriage; let some sun in and water it.

  1. Clear out the garbage from winter. Apologize for your role in the disconnection and conflict in your marriage. Acknowledging the dirt including your mistakes and neglect must come before forgiveness. Then when you commit to forgive you can begin to reestablish trust and intimate connection.
  2. Dust off your poor selfish attitude. Find ways to serve your spouse. Give them a break from the responsibilities of their day. Intentionally surprise them with a small gift or do something they enjoy, even if it’s not your favorite.
  3. Get out in the sunshine again. Have fun together. Smile. Move. Take a walk. Seek adventure again. Laugh together. Get her some flowers. It won’t take long before you start to notice the warmth of connection return.
  4. Listen for the sweet sounds of spring. Tell your spouse what you love about them every day. Start an affirmation habit. Nothing will revive a cold marriage as fast as sincere words of affirmation.
  5. Take in the fresh air. Stop avoiding and really ask how your spouse feels. Transform stale talking into meaningful conversation. Dream together. It may feel risky to deepen your communication but when you do your marriage will burst with new life.

What is your favorite part of Spring?