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AAA Super Glue for Your Marriage

Super glue Orange


Super Glue is an awesome invention everyone needs in their house. It’s on the Mount Rushmore of must-have fix-it tools for guys. Duct Tape, WD-40, Super Glue, Hammer, Screwdriver.

Super Glue is fast, secure, and well…Super.

In the Lego Movie, super glue was the enemy. You see, Legos are designed to come apart and reconfigured to make different creations. Marriage is different. Marriage is designed to connect and stay connected.

Great marriages strengthen over time through a commitment to togetherness.

But you’re not perfect and life happens.

Your marriage may feel disconnected with pieces chipped off and broken. Conflict can lead to emotional injuries, cracks in your connection. Other times connection simply wears down. The rains of life pound down and before you know it you’ve drifted apart.

Your marriage needs repair; a quick fix to rebuild connection.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could increase connection with your spouse super-fast?

Introducing, AAA Super Glue for your Marriage. It’s fast, secure, and super. And they all start with A, clever, I know.

Appreciation

Appreciating your spouse and communicating it well is a huge predictor of happiness in marriage. Appreciation is a universal desire in close relationships but sadly it’s lacking in many marriages. Lazy people think “I don’t have to tell her I appreciate her, she knows it already” and they miss out on the power of appreciation. Expressing appreciation for your spouse fixes the connection eroded by the irritations and conflict that sneak into your relationship. Appreciation bonds partners together.

To practice appreciation today, tell your spouse three specific things you love about them. Telling them they are a snappy dresser is nice but I challenge you to go beyond surface level observations. Please don’t use this activity to sarcastically comment “wowie, I noticed you stacked all the dishes in the sink last week, that was sure awesome of you, way to go above and beyond in this relationship.” Express your appreciation for them on a deeper level. Share what’s attractive about their personality or how you’ve noticed them doing something you love.

Affection

Have you watched a young couple lately? Young dating couples have a certain way they interact with each other. I call it animated closeness. They look at each other when talking; they stay close and often hold hands. They are affectionate. Elderly couples do this well too. Older couples who show affection for one another inspire me with their sweet confident closeness. The couples in the middle have a harder time with affection. Yes we are busy with careers, children, cars, and critters, all important responsibilities. But when we abandon affection we weaken connection. The great news is; it doesn’t take long to infuse affection into your marriage. And you’ll see the benefits immediately. Physical togetherness promotes emotional closeness.

To practice affection today, touch your spouse. Sit close to them with a flirtatious smile. Give them a kiss and hold their hand. Think about your dating days and how you acted toward each other. Don’t worry if your kids think it’s silly, it’s good for them to see you showing affection. It provides security knowing their parents love each other and it models appropriate affection as they explore what it means to be in relationship.

Awareness

Living without awareness is like talking on the phone after the call was dropped. You’re going through the motions of marriage but you don’t even know if you’re connected. First become aware of your emotions. The better you understand yourself and your reactions the better you can connect with your spouse. Next, pay attention to what is going on emotionally for your spouse. Become a student of your spouse and really listen to them. If your spouse is angry help them vent. If they’re sad, allow them to cry and comfort them. If they’re exhausted, take a deep breath together and find ways to give them a break.

To practice awareness today, ask your spouse what they are feeling. If your spouse is not used to talking about feelings ask them what has them stressed today. Then listen. You’ll need to put your phone away and focus on listening to your spouse. Listening is not a passive activity like watching TV. Then listen without judging or thinking of how to respond. Once they are able to share their heart, thank them and tell them you are working on becoming more aware of what’s going on in their heart.  

No matter what is broken in your relationship appreciation, affection, and awareness will help you reconnect quickly and securely. Now that’s super!

I can’t wait to hear what happened in your relationship when you applied AAA Super Glue today.

Super Glue squeezed

The 10 Commandments for Couples



happy couple


Wouldn’t it be great if we had a list of instructions for great marriages? Maybe a top ten list would do the trick. But it would have to be written by an authority, someone who knows about people and marriage. A real expert who has helped couples not only survive marriage but thrive and build a wonderful marriage.

In my research I found the perfect list written by the perfect author.

The 10 Commandments as given to Moses by God. (Deuteronomy 5:3)

  1. You must have no other gods before me.
  2. Do not make an idol for yourself-no form whatsoever-of anything in the sky or above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.
  3. Do not use the LORD your God’s name as if it were of no significance.
  4. Keep the Sabbath day and treat it as holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother so your life will be long and so that things will go well for you.
  6. Do not murder.
  7. Do not commit adultery.
  8. Do not steal.
  9. Do not testify falsely.
  10. Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife.

Given that God is the ultimate authority and truly loves you, I’d stick to His top ten.

As a marriage blogger I adapted the Ten Commandments slightly to show how they help us love our spouse and enjoy a wonderful marriage.

The 10 Commandments for couples

  1. Keep God number one in your life, like he says, but put your spouse before all the other people in your life. Yes, even kids.
  2. Don’t let anything replace a real face-to-face relationship with your spouse. Texting each other can be sweet but technology can never duplicate true connection.
  3. Do not discard marriage as insignificant.
  4. Take time to relax and have fun together. Stop being so busy and slow down enough to enjoy each other.
  5. Be nice to your in-laws and your marriage will be long and life will go well for you.
  6. Build up your spouse. Don’t kill their spirit by complaining or criticizing.
  7. Do not commit adultery. It seems pretty basic but adultery destroys marriages every day.
  8. Don’t be selfish. Your marriage will suffocate if you make it all about you and your needs.
  9. Don’t lie. Honesty is the best policy in marriage. Lying always destroys trust in relationships.
  10. Desiring something that’s not for you will harm your marriage. Stay away from pornography. It robs you of true intimacy. The verse in the Bible goes on to say do not crave anything that belongs to your neighbor. Focus on your own marriage and count your blessings rather than compare yourself to others.

When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses it was not a drop the mic moment where God delivered his commands and left the stage. It was only a part of the ongoing story of God redeeming his people and showing them how to live to the fullest. Likewise, the ten commandments for couples should be viewed as a springboard for relationship. The real beauty of a wonderful marriage is the connection built between lovers who love each other to the fullest.

On a scale of 1-10 how are you doing at following The 10 Commandments for Couples?


(Scripture references taken from the Common English Bible translation)

 

The 10 Commandments for Couples


Do you ever feel disconnected in marriage?

Tired of surface talk like “did you feed the dog today?”

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The Vulnerability of Valentine’s Day

vulnerability valentines


The anxiety you feel in your gut when Valentine’s Day rolls around comes from the vulnerability the holiday brings.

Men.

No other day, beside your anniversary, is so much expectation placed on you to prove love. Society sends the message men are emotionally incompetent buffoons, who don’t love well. The greatest fear of men is to be found incompetent and Valentine’s Day sets men up to feel incompetent at love. Valentine’s Day becomes a test, failure confirms a deep fear, success provides temporary relief until next year.

Women.

The greatest fear of women is to be found unloveable. Valentine’s Day becomes the test, if your spouse does the right things to convince you that you’re lovable, you win. If not, you’re left to wonder and despair. Society sends the message you have to look and act a certain way to be lovable and that men are the judge.

All this testing, fear, and risk of vulnerability leads many men and women to settle for shallow connection in marriage.

Some people avoid the test and declare Valentine’s Day stupid. They say “I love my spouse every day not just on Valentine’s Day so we don’t do anything special.” It gets them off the hook and allows them to stay shallow all while sounding sweet. Others desperately desire deeper intimacy but fear vulnerability and end up sabotaging their partner’s attempts.

Risking vulnerability in relationship turbocharges your journey toward deeper connection.

To calm fears and experience true intimacy in your marriage, practice approaching vulnerable areas in your life with your spouse.

  1. Start with being present.

    Vulnerability is delicate and cannot be rushed. Everyday busyness robs couples of the time and focus it takes to develop deep connection. Being present with your spouse requires giving them undivided attention. It helps to be close physically, at arms length or touching and looking at each other. The proximity and attention sets the stage to convey emotional availability which is being present in a romantic relationship.

  2. Ask each other open ended questions.

    Open ended questions are the ones that cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. They require explanation. Asking questions like “what makes you the most excited about our relationship?” promote deeper and more meaningful conversation than questions couples typically ask each other like “did you feed the dog?” Continue the conversations by discussing your dreams, desires, and wishes for life. Then progress into more vulnerable topics like worries, irritations, and fears.

  3. Listen for emotion.

    Listening is good, but if you’re only listening to come up with a defensive response you’ll miss the magic. Even if you listen so well you could repeat every word they said, your listening will feel robotic. Don’t simply listen to the words, listen to the emotion. Even a statement like “I love my job” can contain vastly different meanings if said sarcastically or with an excited tone. Pay attention to the emotion behind their words.

  4. Validate their emotion.

    This doesn’t mean you have to like or agree with their emotion, only that you recognize they are experiencing the emotion and understand how they could feel that way. For example, if your spouse shares about being passed over for a promotion at work, responding to them by saying “feeling disappointed is sure draining” will show your spouse you are paying attention to them on a deeper emotional level than nodding or parroting their words back to them. Join your spouse where they are for intimate emotional connection. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” -Romans 12: 15.

  5. Respond to the emotion with connection in mind.

    For example, If your spouse is sad respond with comfort. The movie Inside Out illustrates this concept perfectly. The more you respond to their emotion with connection in mind, the more it will be reciprocated by your spouse, and the deeper your relationship will grow.

If risking vulnerability isn’t reciprocated and doesn’t result in mutual vulnerability and thereby greater connection, keep at it. Remember it takes time to develop deeper levels of trust.

A word of caution; If vulnerability results in pain, emotional or otherwise, get help. Counselors can journey with you to discover the reasons for your pain and provide individualized direction to heal your relationship.

Intimacy in marriage comes from mutual vulnerability and accepting the gift of your spouse’s love. You and your spouse are not perfect, mistakes will be made from time to time. Asking for forgiveness is especially vulnerable and restorative. Embrace vulnerability in your relationship and offer your love without holding back and you’ll experience less fear and more wonderful intimacy with your spouse on Valentine’s Day and every day.

Check out the sidebar for your NEW BONUS GIFT 19 Questions to Ask Your Spouse for Deeper Connection.

Sustained Happiness

couple at church


I recently read a news story from the Today Show saying faith provides sustained happiness. Read it here.

It’s not really a surprise to me. As a Christian I know my happiness comes from my relationship with Jesus. I’m able to experience true joy because I’m deeply loved. You are too. Hard times persist in life but love remains undefeated.

Nowadays, it may seem a bit strange to hear religious people are happier. Christians have a bad habit of becoming defensive and sounding grouchy and unloving. Too many Christians flip out about red cups and rainbows. I’m all for engaging difficult cultural and theological conversations but I grieve when Christians fail to communicate the joy that comes from knowing Jesus.

Religion is one of the top five sources of conflict in marriage. Disagreement about religion causes deep division about core values. Christmas is the perfect time to discuss your differences and how to increase spiritual connection in your marriage.

Discuss why you celebrate Christmas.

Talk to your spouse about your Christmas traditions and how a relationship with Jesus is more than rigid religiosity or religious ceremonies. Consider the meaning and practical implications of your faith rather than performance or ritual.

Take Action: Discuss how faith impacts your relationship.

Participate in traditional rituals.

It may sound like the opposite of the first point but there is wonder and community developed in shared experiences. Don’t forfeit the connection you’ll experience in your marriage by doing religious activities together. Christmas Eve candlelight service is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.

Take Action: Discuss what religious services you want to participate in this year and commit to them.

Learn More.

For more tips on how to reduce conflict about religion in your marriage and turn it into a point of connection, get my eBook The Best Holidays Ever! You’ll learn the three reasons couples experience conflict in this area and how to increase your spiritual unity.

Take Action: get the eBook here.

Who couldn’t use a bit more happiness in marriage? Together you can experience true sustained happiness no matter what life brings.

Yellow Light Communication: How to prevent disaster in your marriage

yellow traffic light


Our boys loved learning about traffic lights. We made it a game. While driving around town we’d ask them “what does a red light mean?” They’d respond loudly “Stop!” “What does the green light mean?” They’d yell “Go!” “What does the yellow light mean?” “Go slow!”

Technically, the driver’s manual states the yellow light means “proceed with caution.”

Yellow lights are a fantastic idea. We need more “proceed with caution” lights in life. Like when you enter a room with Legos on the floor, check a baby’s diaper, or think about eating the last chocolate your spouse stashed in the back of the pantry.

Communication in marriage needs a yellow light too.
Communication in marriage is a busy street. Safety is critical.

Most communication in marriage is a green light situation. Everything is awesome. You understand each other and share important information about your world and your relationship. It’s Go! time.

Red light communication consist of conflict. Communication breaks down and arguments erupt. Stop! The safety of your relationship is at risk. It’s time to pause your hurtful communication before you cause a wreck.

Now, if only you could find a way to prevent unnecessary conflict. A way to alert you of upcoming problems or potential damaging arguments. The Yellow light!

To prevent disaster in your marriage;

Identify when your communication is no longer going well.

The light has changed.

First you have to recognize the light is no longer green. Couples with a healthy relationship quickly identify when their communication is beginning to crumble. Couples who lack this skill fly into hurtful conversations unaware.

Be on the lookout for early warning signs of tense communication. Usually the first clue is in the tone of voice or your spouse’s body language telling you they are disappointed, shocked, or angry.

Ask your spouse how you’re doing. Ask them “did I say that ok?” or “Am I communicating well?”
Clearly state your intention to be open and engage in a respectful conversation. Communication starts to crumble when one partner senses the other is withdrawing or is becoming too aggressive.

Acknowledge your communication is not going well.

Yellow Light.

Use a yellow light code word, a word or phrase you can say when your communication is headed to a danger zone. A yellow light code word can prevent blaming, criticism, and defensiveness which kills your communication. “Yellow Light” could be a great code word for you to adopt.

Our code word is actually a sentence. When a conversation gets tense in our marriage either Hollie or I say “we’re not communicating well.” Saying “I don’t think we’re communicating very well” helps us pause the conversation. We use the brief pause to rethink and continue the conversation with extra caution.

Re-communicate.

Proceed.

Healthy couples avoid unnecessary conflict simply by acknowledging their communication is getting off track and intentionally redirecting their communication into a constructive conversation. To “proceed with caution” you must proceed. Spouses who freeze up or withdraw at the slightest tension cripple communication. For great communication; remain engaged.

Keep in mind to communicate love not simply information like you learned in The 2 Parts of Communication.

Remember to point out the obvious barrier to good communication like you learned in blog post 9 Reasons Your Communication Sucks.

Say “I know we are both tired and we need to figure out ________lets take a few minutes to talk about it.”

Before you know it your communication will turn green again. The more you recognize and prevent communication problems before they destroy your connection, the closer you will feel to each other in your marriage. Great communication builds connection. You can become a competent spouse who knows how to communicate well.


Ready for more?

Experience understanding, closeness, and intimacy you thought were impossible in your marriage. My new course 30 Days of Better Communication in Marriage will restore wrecked communication. Click here to find out how.