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.


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


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.


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.


Married Mondays — Communication is Key


[kuh-myoo-ni-key-shuh n]
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.


1.the faculty or sense by which sound is perceived.
2.the act of perceiving sound.


[lisuh n]
verb (used without object) give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear. 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.

Married Mondays — The Elusive Mythical Date Night

Hey everyone and Happy Monday.  This week I want to talk about the elusive date night.  Let’s face it, life comes along and date nights get few and far between once you get married.  Now I don’t want this to be discouraging so just stay with me through this first part…

  1. The initial dating phaseonline-dating-header2
    1. You are on your best behavior, ALL of the time.
    2. You are still getting to know each other.
    3. You are spending time just the two of you
    4. You are spending time with friends
    5. You fall madly in love.
    6. You talk about everything and nothing for hours
  2. Engagementproposal
    1. You are in love and don’t care who knows it.
    2. You know and learn more about each other
    3. You go on private romantic dates
    4. You talk mainly about the upcoming wedding
    5. You unintentionally alienate your, not as close friends
  3. The Honeymoon Phase (The first year(s) of Marriage)Just Married
    1. You are involved with yourselves
    2. You spend hours upon hours talking about how much you love each other.
    3. You have a few close Friends that you still get together with
    4. You go out as much as possible at least a couple of times per week.
    5. You love each other and those around you are close to sick of hearing about it.
  4. The Career PhaseCouch couple
    1. You are both working hard on your careers trying to get things in line for a family.
    2. You go out when you can.  Usually just on the weekends
    3. You catch up with your friends if you can, but you don’t make as much effort
    4. You still spend as much time as you can with each other, but occasionally work gets in the way.
    5. Long nights of talking turn into binge watching shows while you finish up extra work or browse Facebook, or read some blog.
  5. The Family PhaseA-family-watching-TV-006
    1. Kids are now in the picture or on the way or both
    2. Life has gotten crazy.  Days, weeks, months, move faster
    3. You go out sometimes maybe.
    4. The big outing as a couple is a trip to the grocery store without the kid(s)
    5. You take the few hours that you have of grown up time to catch up on shows, reading, and to catch up with each other.

I could go on with lists but I won’t you all get the picture.

Where do you find yourself in this list?  It doesn’t matter where you find yourself, eventually you will hit one part of these lists or another.  This happened with my wife and I.  We realized one day that we hadn’t really done anything for ourselves for a while.  We started making sure that we at least got a weekend just us every few months.  You have to spend time working on your marriage.  It doesn’t matter how strong of a marriage you believe that you have, if you aren’t continually working on keeping in touch with the person in your bed at night, you’re not on the right track.

I fully understand how busy life can get.  Face it you have 3-4 hours of family time each day, you have 1-3 hours of spouse time, and 16 hours things to do after you’re 8 hour work day.  It seems impossible to make time for it all.  It takes A LOT of effort.  But anything worth anything isn’t easy.  It wasn’t easy at the start of the relationship getting to know each other, but you found time for each other.  Now that you’ve been together 2, 3, 7, 10, 20 years, are you still willing to put in the same time and effort?  I hope so.  Yes, dates are going to become few and far between once you have kids.  Make the effort to go out, by yourselves, start with once a month.  Go to a nice grown folks dinner, go out to a movie with real people as the actors, and DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go grocery shopping.  Any date that ends in the Wal-Mart/Kroger/(Insert Local Store here), is not a date.

And this if for the men reading this, make the effort.  Surprise her, do something you wouldn’t normally do.  She has dropped hints, at some point recently about something she would like to do, make it happen.  We are men, we are doers, even when you fail, if your plan is so jacked up, it will give you something to look back on and laugh about. To the women reading this.  We are men, we are doers, we are literal.  We are not going to pick up on the hints that you are dropping in small doses.  We need direction.  Don’t mention something 4 years ago in the middle of doing dishes after that one meal that we had, and expect us to remember in intimate detail.  We are going to let you down when we plan a date.  Sometimes we will knock it out of the park, but we will try.

Not every date has to be epic.  But you need to ensure that you are taking time for yourselves.  Go out for coffee and just sit and enjoy being with each other again.  Pick one thing that you used to do when you were dating, or engaged, or newly married and go do that. Take time to remember those things that you used to do before life got in the way.  Maybe your favorite date memories were riding around in the car talking with no real place to go, maybe you loved going out for coffee and desserts and reading a book together.  No matter what it was that brought you closer together and built that love that you have that used to drive everyone around you crazy when you were starry-eyed lovers, do the best that you can to go to that point again.

If you don’t know by now, my challenge for you this week – Go on a date.  Spend time together, as just a couple, catch up on each others lives even if it’s only for an extra couple of hours that you get together.