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You Can Do It!

April 10, 2016

It has been said,“The only perfect thing about marriage is the air brushed wedding photo.” Many couples believe they are going to have a great marriage, and why not! When we were dating everything seemed to go so well: no trust barriers, no communication problem, or lack of time together.  “But what when wrong?” you ask,  “What happened to that person I married?”

This is what happened…we both became selfish and started to blame the other person When we saw that we were not getting our needs fulfilled;  we decided to have it our way.  In other words, our true self appeared and our marriage was more work than fun!  Welcome to the world of marriage!  Isn’t it awesome!

Marriage is awesome as long our priorities are kept in order! During the first few months or year many couples will say that they are living on love. As time passes, spouses become busy prioritizing  other things over their marriage and  begin to neglect one another.   Yes, it takes time, work, and consideration for a marriage to be awesome but it is worth it!  Below you will find 3 ways to either jump start your marriage or keep it in great condition.  Have fun!

  1. Changing your attitude from negative to positive.

Listen to the news on TV.  Its content is mostly negative, with a few good stories scattered in the mist. It’s full of killing, stealing, cheating, and the lack of responsibility.  I have listened to many individuals explain as married individuals they just can’t seem to get along any longer. When they are both negative about life and each other, there is no room for the another person. It is easier to look at what is going wrong in your marriage and never see what is going right. Here is an activity that Deb and I have done and you will be  amazed how it can change your perspective on life.  You and your spouse block some time off where you can write down the different things that you are thankful for in your marriage. It could be your children,(name them)  your home (name the things in it), your job…you got the idea. Name each thing individually that you’re grateful for and say why. Your goal is to come up with 100 things. You can start with 25, however, I challenge you to do a hundred. See if your outlook on things changes!  It may take a day or two, so don’t expect immediate changes. Good luck!

  1. Strengthen you relationship by getting to know each other again.

Remember those times when you were dating! We couldn’t find enough time for each other. We would talk and listen to each other for hours about anything and everything. It seemed like the well of information would never run dry. Then we got married. We stopped talking and began giving advice. We didn’t listen anymore! Important things being creeping into our lives such as: work, children, me time, and everything else except our spouse. Soon we find that we are just roommates living in the same house. What happened! The well went dry!

What do I do now?   Get to know your spouse like you did before you got married. Things like: Who are the people in your spouse’s  life? What are the important events, in your spouse’s life? What are your spouse’s stress and worries?  John Gottman calls these questions the Love Maps. You can find these Love Maps and more at Gottman.com relationship blog.

    3. Spend quality time together as a couple.

On average, married couples with no children spend an average of one hour of quality time a week.  If a couple has children, the average quality time spent together drops to zero hours per week. People having an affair spend an average of 15 hours of quality time a week getting to know each other. When I say quality time I am talking about getting to  know each other. You can’t do this watching football or texting at dinner. We all know the old saying, “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” I like it put this way, “The grass is greener on the side we water.” Which side are you watering? Keeping your marriage alive and well takes work and a lot of water. Here are a few ideas which can help you stay in tune to your spouse. When you take a walk invite your spouse to come along and listen to what she/he has to say. Do not interrupt or talk for your spouse. Go on a date once a week and make sure you give your spouse your undivided attention. That means no social media. Listen to what your spouse is saying and acknowledge that you understand. “Your spouse needs a listening ear; not your advice on how to fix it.”   Let your spouse know that his/her feelings make sense to you. It has been said that God gave us two ears but only one mouth because He wants us to spend twice as much time listening as talking. Others claim it is because He knew listening was twice as hard as talking.  You married each other  because you love your spouse.  So listen, you may learn something.

Ron Smart

Christian Life Coach

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