Married Mondays – Guarded

Happy 2016 everyone.  It was a great break and opportunity, to reflect, recharge, and refocus.  As I was going through what to post this week, I had a couple things kind of pop up and smack me in the face, leading me to this post.

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To me Guarding your marriage, and guarding your loved one, is as DJ Khaled would put it, A Key to Success.

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I won’t post the image here, but I saw a Facebook post last week that depicted the story line of an affair using stick people.  Everything started out great, you got married you had kids, one person went to work, one stayed home, a friend comes over for coffee, one thing leads to another, and shortly after there are divorce papers, child support and additional house payments.  All because someone else was there to listen and make the other person feel special.

It is your job in your marriage to make you spouse feel wanted, feel special, to feel appreciated.  If you are having problems at home, don’t talk to someone at work about the issues that isn’t your gender.  Problems and “friends” of the opposite sex, will cause you 99 more problems.  If your having problems, Facebook, Twitter, (Other social media site here), is not the place to air your dirty laundry.  This just opens the door for someone to come in and be the sympathy card.  Cheating and affairs don’t always start physical.  Guys, we unknowingly flirt, ladies you will unknowingly flirt.  No I’m not saying that you can never talk to a person of not your gender, but be careful your vocabulary.  Be careful of your body language.  Be cautious of your time.

Guard your words, your actions, and your time.  Your words of encouragement should be for your spouse first.  Your actions, you helping out, should be for your spouse first.  Your time, make sure your spouse, and your family come first.  Your marriage is sacred.  If you aren’t paying attention to your spouse and holding each other accountable for all of their actions, you are not guarding your marriage.

You have to talk and communicate with each other.  You also need to be sure that your not keeping things bottled up inside waiting on them to ask you.  Yes, “We need to talk…” is scary as anything, but without facing reality, you will never have a successful and vivbrant marriage.  If there is one person in the world that you can be truly real with, be your honest to goodness real self with, it is your spouse.  Walls should be around your marriage not through it.

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Your marriage is a living thing, it is the two of you.  If you don’t take care of it, if you don’t nurture your relationship with each other, of course it’s going to die.  We have to guard against complacency and the myth of that could never happen to us.  We just entered a new year 4 days ago, do you remember what you were doing this time last year?  Do you remember what you did together last week?

As we get moving into this new year, I want to challenge all of you, to not worry about your resolutions, don’t worry about losing the 20+ pounds, don’t worry about stuff.  Focus on making each day the best day of your marriage.  Focus on being fully involved in each others lives.  Guard against the things that take your focus off of each other.  Guard against complacency.  Guard against any thing else that can and will attack your happy life together.  There is nothing that you can’t get through together, as long as you stand strong and stand guard together.

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Married Mondays — Holidays

Hey everyone thanks for all of the follows and like through out this series.  I have decided to take a couple week break to truly practice what I post.  I challenge you over the next few weeks to truly focus on your family and on your spouse most importantly.  Take time out for each other even though it may not seem like there is time.  Invest in each other, and make sure to show your love not through stuff, but through true dedication to working on your marriage and to building each other up.

Have a wonderful Holiday, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

I’ll talk to you all again in January.

 

Married Mondays – Trust

Happy Monday everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Married Mondays.  This week, I want to talk about trust.  Trusting your spouse is not complacency or naivete.  Trust is not control or guilt.  Trust in a marriage is knowing that you are both looking out for the interest of the team.  You are taking care of your marriage, you are doing the things that you promised to do when you took your marriage vows.

When you begin thinking, “Oh that could never…” or “we don’t have to worry about that…” you run the risk of becoming complacent.  You run the risk of your spouse not knowing that you know they are worth fighting for.  You can more easily loose the spark in your relationship, when you become complacent.

Trust, to be is being open and honest with your spouse.  It comes back to communication.  Even the small things that are going on make sure that your spouse knows.  We all think differently about things.  Take this for example:

“Honey it’s me. I don’t want to alarm you but I was hit by a car as I was leaving the office. Paula brought me to the hospital. They have checked me over and done some tests and some x-rays.

The blow to my head was severe. Fortunately it did not cause any serious internal injury.However I have three broken ribs, a compound fracture in the left leg, and they think they may have to amputate my right foot.

Wife’s Response:    “Who is Paula?

Or this video:

 

But in all seriousness, in thinking about the Christmas story in the Bible and the events that led up to Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, there was some true trust in each other and trust in God.  A firm trust in God and what He has for you and your marriage, will push out any distrust between you.  The more you trust God the more you will trust each other and all of those in your life.

Matthew 1:18-24

18This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
19Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
21And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
24When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.
Trusting in God and trusting in each other, are the pillars that a marriage and your life should be built upon.  Let me also say that trust is not something to be abused.  If there are trust issues in your relationship, work to resolve them.  Trust issues and fights will break down your marriage, they will break you down as a person.  Not to be corny but, Honesty is the best policy, is truth. You are a team, you are together one person, you should have no secrets from each other.  If you scroll though your spouses camera roll/text messages/emails/(insert social media stream here), you shouldn’t be surprised by what you see.
Work with each other, talk out any issues that you have, with cool heads.  Listen to each other, fight for each other not against each other.  If you need to rebuild that trusting relationship.  Don’t hold past issues in the way of rebuilding that trust.  Yes broken trust is hard to repair but it’s not impossible unless you make it impossible.
This week, talk with your spouse.  Make sure that they know that you feel that your marriage is worth fighting for.

Married Mondays – Old School

Over the past few weeks, I know that I have repeatedly, wrote about shutting off your devices and spending good old fashioned quality time with your spouse and loved ones.  This week I want to step past just talking about things to do with your spouse and hit on things to do as a family.

As we get further into the holiday season, take time to focus on what truly matters most.  Many of us just finished up Thanksgiving, and still have days worth of left overs.  Many of us went out for Black Friday sales on Thursday and through the weekend, and many more of us will be spending time going through all of the Cyber Monday/Cyber Week deals.  These aren’t the things that matter.  What truly matters is looking at what you can do as a family to touch those around you.  Maybe, as a family, you can start a tradition of doing Operation Christmas Child(a little late for this one now,) Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, or working with one of the many other charities out there.  As a family we have made it a point to do something every year.  For less than you would spend on junk that you don’t need, you can use that on someone else.  We tend to fill our lives with stuff, and we retreat to our STUFF to make us Happy, but then we just need the newest thing, or the thing that is better than someone else’s.  And we get stuck in a cycle of want.  Let’s put it in perspective, the phone that many of you are reading this on, will cost you over $600 ($10-30/month at a time.)  If you feel that you can use that same phone for a year longer, what could you do for someone else, for another family, for someone in another county.  As a family take a moment to do something for someone else.  We are now a global community, from your house in the US, you can with a simple click, buy chickens for a family in another country.

This week’s title I took from the book my daughter is reading right now Diary of A Wimpy Kid : Old School.  It has taken her a little while to understand what it is really about.  From what I have seen of it so far is one of the things that I have been touching on over the past few weeks.  Stepping away from technology, actually communicating with words from your mouth, and enjoying what is around you.  Enjoying the outdoors, enjoying company, enjoying each other.

For our marriages and for our families, shutting down the electronics, and spending time playing, using your imagination, talking, and being present changes everything.  The past couple weeks, my wife and I have had the chance to just chill at the house after the munchkin has gone to bed.  It has been awesome to unplug, not watch a show or anything, but spend time together with the Christmas tree on.  We have been able to take this little bit of time to catch up with each other, and put into practice what I’ve been writing these past few weeks.

Also as we get further into the holiday season, I encourage you to make sure that you are taking time out as a couple and as a family, to refocus and rebalance your needs and wants.  Focus on the things that you can do together as a couple and/or as a family, that don’t involve the TV, computer, or game system.  Pull out an old board game, do something that requires imagination, and give them your full attention.  The worries of tomorrow can wait until tomorrow.  Don’t make you family, your spouse, your loved ones, compete for your attention. Go Old School, shut down and have family time.

Married Mondays – Thankfulness

All over social media the past couple weeks, people have been posting days of thankfulness.  It’s this time of year that people are focusing on what they are thankful for.  It’s this time of year that we are spending more time in the next 45 days with family than many of us have all year.  But holidays aren’t what I’m talking about this week.  I truly hope that you aren’t only expressing your thankfulness for your spouse this time of year and just because your friends on Facebook are saying what they are thankful.

As life catches up with you, days, weeks, months may go by without you telling your spouse that you are thankful for them.  You probably tell them you love them every day, but are you saying this out of habit and are you just going through the motions of marriage.  It is easy over time to become complacent and accidentally start taking each other for granted.  We must daily and whole heartedly make sure that our spouses know how much we love them and how thankful we are for them.

Taking each day, making it special, and recognizing the good things that happen every day.  Even the worst days, have a bright moment.  That moment of thankfulness in the day might not come until you get back home, or until you get that phone call right at the perfect time.  No matter how bad you think that your day has been, there is always someone who has it worse.  We live in a nation of “First World Problems,” we live in a time that has forgotten how to be thankful.  We live in a time, that we easily get lost in wanting.

So this week, my challenge to you, is to take the time to stop and look around at what you have, who you have in your life, and reflect on your blessings.  Each day find at least one thing to be thankful for, and share it with your spouse.  Find something everyday that your loved one does that goes unnoticed and make sure that you recognize it.  Take time together to write down things that as a couple you are thankful for, write down what you are thankful for in your relationship, and remember each day that you have someone that loves you, and that is at least one thing to be thankful for.

Married Mondays — United

Welcome back to another Monday!  I’ve gone back and forth on what to talk about this week.  I’ve finally went with being United.  To me this takes being a team, being partners, being there, to another level.  When you get married you are referred to as one mind, one body, and one soul.  You are United.  You stand together as Mr. and Mrs.  You are now one unit.  Again, you will have different strengths and weaknesses, you will have different opinions on things at times, but when it comes to big things you must be united together.

Standing up for something, believing in something, standing strong together, is how to truly build you relationship and shape the future for generations to follow.  It is being united as parents, that shape your children’s futures.  Just being partners in your marriage works for a period of time, then for many that season of life ends and another season starts with a new life coming into yours.  Now the decisions have gone from what do you and I need, to what do WE need.  Life changes.   The partnership and sharing of responsibility now becomes, who is changing the diapers, the diaper genie, doing the 3 AM feeding…  Face it if it’s both of you together that’s great but at some point someone is going to be in someone’s way.

And it’s easier as the kids are younger, but even at an early age, your kids will know if you aren’t united.  If one is the “fun” parent and one isn’t, kids are going to play at that.  They don’t know that they are picking one over the other, their kids they want to have fun and be kids.  And kids are kids, not bargaining chips, not leverage.  Your kids are going to model their future relationships off of what they see in your house.  If that is a life of manipulation and fighting, they are more likely to go toward that type of relationship in the future.  If they see parents, that are truly in love with each other, that take time for each other, and time for the kids, that show that they know where the proper priorities are, they are more likely to have a relationship that is long lasting.

I am very happy to say that my wife and I both come from families that were like that.  After around 30 years or more of marriage, our parents are still together.  We had great examples growing up, and I feel that is why our marriage has been successful up to this point.  We saw what it looked like, to work as a team, stick to decisions, and be dedicated to each other.

This week I challenge you to make sure that you and your spouse, are on the same track.  Make sure that you have the same vision for your family.  Make sure that you are setting the example for your kids, of what a God filled, love filled marriage looks like.  And if you still can, thank those you helped shape your marriage and your life.

Thank you Bob and Deb and Rick and Jazmina, for shaping us and being an example of how to work through things and be united.

Married Mondays — Communication is Key

communication

[kuh-myoo-ni-key-shuh n]
noun
1.the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated.
2.the imparting orinterchangeof thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
3.something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.

hearing

 [heer-ing]
noun
1.the faculty or sense by which sound is perceived.
2.the act of perceiving sound.

listen

[lisuh n]
verb (used without object)
1.to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear.
2.to pay attention; heed; obey
This week, I wanted to touch on something that I have been hinting out the past couple weeks.  One of the things that I feel give my wife and I a successful marriage is that we communicate with each other.  Communication, true communication is back and forth.  It is listening, and then responding.  You cannot respond properly if you haven’t listened to everything that is being said.
Now let’s be honest, the women in our lives will use words that we don’t understand and will say things in ways that we have to really pay attention.  Listen to her words, watch her actions, listen to her voice.  Does this look ok? and Does this LOOK ok? and How do I look? are not the same question, and an answer with the word fine, does not mean the same either.  It comes down to knowing the question that was asked versus the question you think was asked.  My wife had a co-worker at one time that would always answer that they thought they heard in the most intellectual way possible.  A simple question about the time could turn into a story about Swiss watch makers, and 15 minutes later you still didn’t know what time it was.
It comes down also to sometimes she is just going to need you to listen.  Sometimes you just need your spouse to listen to you.  I have always struggled with trying to find the answer or resolution half way through the story.  I’m planning my response not as a rebuttal to conversation, but as a way to work something out.  Guys STOP do this.  There are going to be things that we can’t fix.  There are going to be things that are going out that you don’t want a certain level of detail on.  When you are there as the ear to listen, the hand to hold, and the shoulder to support, sometimes that is all they need.  They don’t always need you to fix it.  Be there, be present, be a listener.  Some times they do want you to take action, just not always right then.
The other factor into all of this is vocabulary.  I included the definition of the work hear as well as listen, but I’ve been very careful not to use hear in this.  Hearing is only receiving the sounds, we hear the keys of the keyboard, we hear cars outside, we hear someone at the door.  We listen to music, we listen to our children, families, and spouses.  You also know over time what the proper vocabulary is for whatever mood you are both in.  As time goes on you learn when to just shut up and let them vent or stew.  Just make sure that you are there for all parts of the communication process.
Take this week, and again as I have said before, put the phone away, put down the game controller, put the computer away, wrap your arms around your loved one.  Ask them about their day, and be truly interested.