Hello! I love You! This One is for the Girls

This post is for the girls.

Often in our Marriage and Relationship Life Coaching sessions we meet with couples who have been married only a few years.  However, from time to time we have couples who have been together for many years.  For these couples, they often report they feel like they are living with their sibling.  Rarely is it something huge that derailed their marriage rather a lack of demonstrations of love each day.  As you know I often say, "If the grass looks greener in your neighbors yard, water your own grass."  Often times after years of living with someone you get so accustomed to their ways and thoughts that life can become routine.  This is often the downfall of many marriages.

What to do?  The best answer truly comes from the past.  When you first met your husband, what did you do?  When you first started pursuing him, my guess is you left no stone unturned in your effort to get his attention and demonstrate your love for him.  Well, sometimes going back to the basics is the best idea.  To revive the romance in your marriage, why not try some of the wonderful things you did in the early days.  Here are few suggestions that might be helpful in jogging your memory.

  • Leave sweet notes of love for him to find in his car in the morning.
  • Send him off in the morning with a PASSIONATE kiss.  (This is two-fold, it starts his day of right and reminds him why he wants to come home at night)
  • Meet him for a surprise lunch.
  • Send him sexy text messages during the work day.
  • Make sure your hair and clothes look as good today as they did when you were dating  him.
  • Put chocolates on his pillow in the evening with a love note.
  • Flirt with him from across the room.
  • Surprise him by greeting him while wearing his favorite color of lipstick and perfume.
  • Plan a date to somewhere you went when you were dating.
  • Recreate your favorite things to do when you were dating.
  • If he played sports take him to the ball field or court where he played and remind him how much you loved watching him play.  Talk about that big play or shot he made.  Let him know you still remember.

Be creative,  you will find wonderful ways to spice up the romance in your marriage, no matter how many years it's been since you first met.

For those of you who are newly married, never stop doing the things that won his heart to start with.  Years from now you will be so glad you did.


Who is Teaching You about Marriage?

Who is Teaching You about Marriage?

Today, I want to start out with what I tell all wives I work with up front.  There are two things that if you apply them to your marriage, will begin to make things better.  Please remember that change and results don't happen overnight.  These changes are a process.  You won't be perfect at applying them at first but if you submit to the process and keep going you will see results.

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Embracing the Differences

The saying goes that opposites attract.  This is very true in marriage.  What goes unnoticed is the reason why.  You have been hanging out with yourself your whole life and frankly you’re pretty bored with you.  This makes someone different even more attractive than they might be otherwise.  Our being overly familiar with ourselves presents a couple of reasons why your spouse looks so good to you.  It’s as simple as strengths and weaknesses.  We are infinitely aware of what we don’t do well.  For me, my strong points are not cooking and fixing things.  When looking for someone to do forever with, if she didn’t cook, it was going to be a lot of pizza delivery and eating out.  Truth be told, I don’t make enough money for food to be that big a percentage of the budget.  That is one of the many reasons God saw fit to put me with Melisa, who by the way, is an amazing cook.  In the same vain, Melisa is not the most touchy, feely person you will find.  She doesn’t throw around atta boy’s easily.   It isn’t as if I can’t feed myself or that Melisa can’t tell someone what a great job they have done, but together we don’t have to operate out of our weaknesses.  As a team we can work from place of strength.  The Bible addresses this in a couple of places.  Genesis 2:18 says “God thought it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone so He made him a helpmate.  God didn’t make him a twin, not a mirror reflection but a helpmate.  The reason they are called a helpmate is they help you do what you can’t do on your own.  People say being Christian is being Jesus with skin on.  In a way, your spouse is grace with skin on because they help you do what you couldn’t do on your own.  The other passage that shows this pretty clearly is Eccl 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  While we want to cover up our weaknesses, we don’t want to do duplicate strengths.  I have heard it taught that if a husband and wife were identical, one of them would be unnecessary.  There is a famous line from the movie Jerry McGuire where Tom Cruise says, “You complete me.”  More accurately he should say you complement me.  You didn’t marry me for what they couldn’t do, you married them for what you couldn’t do.  Changing them to be more like you defeats the purpose.  Here is a practical example of differences at work.  Take a look at child’s birthday party.  Someone needs to invite the kids, talk to the parents, schedule the time, and clean the house.  Another person may have to bake a cake, decorate the house, entertain the kids once they get there and maybe even design a costume or make balloon animals.  Two very different mindsets and skill sets.  Different strokes for different folks.  Very different very necessary.  The need and value of this diversity isn’t any clearer than in 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”   On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,  which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,  that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.   Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.  And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?  Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

This passage tells us the only way to be healthy is to be different.  If you have ever heard that someone is all thumbs that is not a good thing.  If a marriage between two people whose part in the body of Christ was to be the thumb, you would have a hard time shuffling a deck of cards.  So when you realize you married a list maker or a free spirit, don’t frown or gripe, and for heaven’s sake don’t run away!  Realize that what they are is what you are not and it is how God planned it.  It’s the best for you, it’s the best for your marriage, and it’s the best for the church.  When your differences stare you in the face, don’t run from them run to them, and give them a great big hug. 

Choose a Seat Not a Side

I was on Facebook recently and I saw a sign that said “As two families are becoming one, we ask that you choose a seat not a side.”  I’m would love to give credit to the person who made that statement originally but in my research I was unable to figure that out so if you know please share it with me.

As I thought about this statement, I thought about the magnitude of the truth it conveyed.  Being a wife, mother, and a mother-in-law, I have found myself on both sides of the coin.

When two people get married it often brings with it two very different families and therefore two very different family cultures.  While in most cases, the guys are less likely to bring their family into the marriage, girls are highly likely to.  I remember my mom would always say “You have a son until he takes a wife, you have a daughter all your life.”  This is true a lot of the time.  This is not necessarily bad or good but can many times be one or the other.

Before you get married is the best time to take a good look at what each family can bring to the marriage.  It is important to discuss such things as family culture, family holiday traditions, and religious beliefs and practices.  By doing this you can save yourselves a lot of unnecessary problems.

If you are the parent or parent-in-law/family member or family-in-law member I encourage you to do your best to not choose sides but choose the side of promoting a healthy, loving, God-centered marriage.  Making this choice, you will not only help the marriage but you will help impact future generations.  Your support can and will make a difference.

Ulterior Motives

Many times in our marriage we can find ourselves attributing our spouse’s behavior to a specific ulterior motive.  If the ulterior motive is “they love me and really want to be a great spouse,” then you are probably enjoying a great marriage.  Honestly, more times than not this is not our default concept of our spouse’s motives.

For many years now Steven and I have utilized a concept that for the most part, helps us maintain right thoughts, attitudes, and interpretations about each other’s words and behavior.  We do this by applying this very simple principle, “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”    When you encounter any situation where you find yourself angry, disappointed, hurt, or feeling condemned, applying this simple technique can prevent you from charging head-long into a full on assault or sliding completely into a pit of hurt feelings and despair.

Many times, the behavior of our spouse is influenced by many things and these can manifest in behaviors that are confrontational or hurtful when this is truly not what they are intending to communicate.  Consider this idea.  If you have had a bad day at work, you were caught in traffic, late for a meeting, or perhaps were treated unfairly by your boss, you may have trouble letting it go when you come home.  Because you’re already in a stressed state, you are more likely to find fault or have your feelings hurt by something simple that your spouse says, does or doesn’t do.  While your spouse may intend no ill will or have no negative ulterior motive, you still perceive it as an assault or attack.  It is during these times that it is important to take a step back, breath, and ask yourself a simple question “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”  This one simple technique when applied can prevent many unnecessary problems in your marriage.

So I ask you today, What is the intent of your spouse’s heart?

Meeting Your Wife's Needs: A Great Way to Receive What You Need

When you do work with couples, you find that many couples come to get help because they are experience a lot of conflict in their lives.  When we dig a little deeper one of the common things we find is that one or both of the couples have some seriously unmet needs.  A great deal of the time their spouse is not avoiding meeting their needs because they are trying to be mean.  Generally, they are not meeting the needs of their spouse because they just don’t know what they are.  Husbands frequently will feel like they are doing their very best to meet the needs of their wife but they are using techniques that would make them happy.  A simple revelation of your wife is a girl and she is not like you, opens the door to begin to help guys make a few changes that will make a big difference in their marriage. 

            Having looked at men’s needs in the previous post, we now examine the needs of women.  Men’s needs and women’s needs are very different.  This is a plan specifically designed by God.  When husbands are able to identify and meet the needs of their wives they find that unity becomes not only something that is achievable, but very powerful as well. 

            Again, it is important to note the needs of women we will identify in this chapter are given in generalities.  There is not enough space to identify all the variations of these needs.

            The needs of a woman include security, affection, open communication and leadership.  Again, this list of needs are not given to be used as a measuring stick by the wife to determine if her husband is meeting her needs but rather by the husband to provide practical ways to meet the needs of his wife.  It is import to keep the proper perspective when we identify and implement the needs of a woman. 

            The first and primary need of a woman is security.  A woman’s need for security shows itself in four areas:  Emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial security.  For a woman, emotional security is an issue of the heart.  Spiritual security is a soul issue.  Physical security involves touch.  The basis for financial security is wrapped in provision.  As these needs are met, areas of insecurities decrease tremendously which allows her to fully enjoy marriage.  A secure wife is then in a better place to meet the needs of her husband.

            The second most important need of women is affection.  Affection often means very different things to men and to women.  Affection is defined in the dictionary as a tender feeling towards one another.  Often this can also be identified as non-sexual touch.  Affection can also be the expression of care.  It symbolizes protection, comfort and approval.  When spouses are affectionate towards one another it sends the following messages:  ‘You are important to me and I will care for and protect you.’  ‘I am concerned about the problems you face and will be there for you when you need me.  Affection comes naturally during the dating process.  However, affection becomes more important in the marriage because it says that you are still valuable and worth being pursued. 

            It is always better to be over affectionate than under affectionate.  In doing this you will eliminate any doubt about your feelings. Frequent simple gestures of kindness and physical touch are greats way to meet the need for affection.  Hand holding, sitting with you arm around her, a kiss or just the act of a gentle touch without any need for this to lead to sex are important in ensuring that her need for affection is fully satisfied.  Additionally such things a kind word, a greeting card, a text message or a love note unsuspectingly tucked into her purse are always great ways to demonstrate affection.  The ultimate goal is to make sure that she always knows that she is on your mind.

            The third need of a woman is open communication.  Conversation, not in generalities, but with details and emotion attached.  Most men will need to make a concerted effort to meet their wives needs in this area.  Women are generally freer to express emotion and details when communicating with others.  Men generally have a tendency to communication precisely and matter-of-factly.  Men are going to need to develop their communication skills to meet this need of their wives.  It is only in some areas where they struggle.  For example, when a man is telling another man about a car, he can communicate make, model, horsepower, engine size, and details with difficulty.  Husbands need to utilize that same type of communication in order to meet the communication needs of his wife.  He does this both by listening to her and by mapping out the details of his heart.
            Husbands if you feel that your wife is bombarding you with questions, this is a good indicator that you are not adequately meeting her communication needs.  By providing conversation in sentences not one-word answers you will find that the barrage of questions may subside.  Also by making a commitment to conversation you will take the fear out of hearing her say, “We need to talk.”  By being an active participant in conversation, even starting them at times you are building your marriage, meeting her need, and drawing closer together.       Remembering that body language is a huge part of communication talking to her while acting like you are going to the dentist is not relaying that you feel it is important to her.  It conveys you are doing it because you have to.  A gift not freely given is not really a gift.  Give her the gift of communication, she will treasure it.

            The fourth primary need of women is leadership.  Leadership is not domination.  Leadership is the act of getting others to willingly follow.  Men are called to be the leaders of the home in the many areas.  Spiritual leadership is the most important area.  Spiritual leadership involves Bible reading/study, prayer, and church involvement.  Leadership is provided by example more than verbal directive.  Leadership should also be demonstrated in the areas of finances, romance, and children.   Wives need to provide an environment where men can remain in the leadership role that God has designed for them.  It is important for women to be submitted to the leadership of their husbands.  This can be difficult if a woman comes from a home where her father did not assume his leadership role or where a mother dominated the relationship.  This will be an area where women with strong personalities may struggle.  The benefit of strong leadership will be a clearly defined purpose and direction, this will enable the couple to work together as a unit and accomplish more in their relationship.  When wives will allow their husbands the opportunity to assume his role as leader, they will see God’s blessing on their marriage in amazing ways.

Decrease Conflict in Your Marriage by Meeting Your Husband's Needs

If you are living in a marriage that has more conflict than comfort it is more than likely from unmet needs. Marriage will always have more conflict when needs are unmet. If you can meet these 4 needs in your husband, you can see a significant decrease in the overall conflict in your marriage.

1. Respect: The number one need of men is respect. To often in our world women have given up this main aspect of relationships with men and they are now suffering the consequences. In many marriages today we see women who have no idea what it looks like to treat their husbands with respect. Hey let’s face it, you just don’t know what you don’t know. Respect looks very different to men than it does to women. If you are out to dinner with your girlfriends you will probably find that all of you talk at the same time, you are fully engaged in every conversation and no one at the table is the slightest bit offended by this. The difference is men NEVER do this. They never talk over each other. To a man, that is super disrespectful. Learning to let him talk without butting in will speak volumes of respect to him. Another way wives get in trouble is by making their husbands equal to the children. If we are not careful women, we will redirect their behavior, spit on our finger and wipe food off their face and maybe even slick down their hair right in front of everyone. Remind yourself, you are not their mother. You are free to make a discrete suggestion if you notice a problem but they do not want to be mothered.

2. Sex: For men, sex is such a vital part of who they are and how they see themselves. Men need a sexual connection with their wives to help them feel completely connected to them. When you are withholding sex from your husband it is creating a huge wedge between you and him. Initiating sexual encounters with your husband feels this need like nothing else. Sex is not something to be earned, it is not to be used as punishment. Sex is a vital need of men and it enhances your relationship when you give it freely.

3. Companionship: Sometimes I call this fellowship because it helps me remember fellowship is really 2 people in the same ship. Men need to enjoy spending time with their wives doing something they like to do. Learn to enjoy what your husband loves to do. Learn to speak that language. If you husband loves sports learn as much about it as possible, watch games or engage in playing the sport with him. Showing your interest in something he is interested in builds communication and emotional connection. The payoff is big when you meet your husbands need for companionship.

4: Domestic Support: This is much more than just having a clean home that passes the white glove test. This is all about creating a home environment where you husband wants to be and feels safe. This need is why so much money has been made in the “man cave” industry. While I’m are not saying your entire home should be his man cave it does give you a good basis for where to start. Does he need a short period of time to shift gears from work to home life when he gets home? Giving him that 20 minutes of peace and quiet will increase the quality of the rest of your evening together. Does he enjoy a home cooked meal? Making it important to have a meal cooked often really can meet this need. Is he safe at home to really be himself without being judged and criticized? Can he be sure that you will keep his confidence if he shares his innermost thoughts with you? These are all ways to provide domestic support will have his needs met well.

One of the best ways to know if you are truly meeting the needs of your spouse is to look at the amount of conflict you have in your marriage. Less conflict happens when needs are met. Do you need more help for your marriage? Connect with us. Learn to have the marriage of your dreams.