10 Ways to Revitalize Your Marriage and Rediscover Your Partner

Couple In Love

Many of us spend countless hours maintaining our homes, our cars, and our bodies. Unfortunately, too many people neglect the most important asset they have…their marriages. To boost your marriage, learn some ways to rediscover your partner and revitalize your marriage.

With nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce, it is important to take a look at what is going wrong. Too often, marriages fail because the people involved have forgotten what made the relationship great in the beginning. If you want to revitalize your marriage and keep it healthy and happy, follow these simple tips every day to keep the love alive:

1. Share memories – Rough spots are normal in any marriage. How you deal with these rough times, however, can make or break your relationship. When things get rough, have a quiet dinner where you discuss nothing with your partner but happy memories you have shared. It is especially useful to talk about when you met and fell in love. Let the happy memories and feelings take the place of any negativity.  

2. Be thankful Many people make the mistake of falling into a rut. They begin taking things for granted and forget to be thankful for the little things. Every time your partner does something for you, regardless of how small, take a moment to say thank you.

3. Make your spouse happy – Try to do at least one little thing every day that is for the sole purpose of making your spouse happy. Even a kind word or sincere compliment can go a long way toward making a bad day brighter.

4. Be honest – Small lies and omissions erode trust over the years. To avoid this damage to your marriage, make sure you are honest with one another every day about everything.

5. Share leisure time – While it is vital for you and your spouse to have their own separate interests and activities, don’t get so caught up in your own lives that you neglect your life together. Make sure there is at least one leisure activity that the two of you enjoy together on a regular basis.

6. Work as a team – Independence is great, but make sure you and your spouse turn to each other for advice and guidance. Solving problems together will make you both feel more valued and will strengthen your bond.

7. Woo your spouse – Remember the things you did to show love when you were dating your spouse? Marriage is not a reason to stop those things. Instead, you should continue making romantic gestures and constantly working to win your spouse’s love.

8. Keep yourself up – It can be extremely easy to let your appearance go once you are married. This is a tragic mistake, however, since physical attraction is an important part of love. Keep yourself in shape and take pride in your appearance so your spouse will keep coming back for more.

9. Touch often – Regardless of how busy or tired you are, make time for sex and cuddling. Do not discuss your problems in the bedroom. Keep that area sacred for love and intimacy only. It is also important to make sure that you touch your partner often. Even a kiss on the cheek when you meet in the kitchen will keep that spark alive.

10. Keep perspective – No opportunity is too small to make your partner feel loved and cherished. At the same time, most problems that seem big are miniscule when compared to the value of your love. Keep your eye on what is truly important and take steps to promote the positives and to minimize the negatives.

Instead of allowing your marriage to wither and die from lack of care, make sure to feed the fire everyday by showing love, affection and by always treating your spouse like the most important person in your life. If your marriage is already suffering from neglect, it may take some time to bring it back to life. If you are just embarking on a new marriage, begin a great new habit of incorporating these elements into your marriage from day 1. You will find that when you actively pour yourself into the relationship, your partner will gravitate toward you and the love you have will grow stronger than ever.

Get help with your marriage before you need it. More helpful guidance is available for  you when you enroll in our highly-rated Envision Love Florida Premarital Course.

Respect in Marriage Matters- 3 Ways to Show You Care

respect in marriage

If you’ve been struggling with your relationship, you aren’t alone. Many couples experience frustration and anxiety when one party doesn’t feel respected. You might know that you’re fighting without knowing the reason why you’re fighting- which can cause even more stress and anxiety. If you’re tired of losing arguments, of fighting over stupid things and of wondering whether or not your relationship is going to survive, it’s time to take action. Respect in marriage matters. Here are three meaningful ways that you can start to demonstrate respect and compassion to your partner in an effort to improve your relationship.

1. Let your partner win sometimes

Nobody wants to lose an argument, but sometimes you need to let your partner win. This demonstrates that you value and respect your partner’s point of view, but it also shows that you don’t always have to get your way. Part of being in a relationship means being willing to let the other person take the lead sometimes. If you’re ready to show your partner that you’re able to change, start by letting them have the final word.

2. Let your partner feel needed

If you’re used to handling everything on your own, your partner might not feel needed. This can be especially true with military couples after a deployment. Instead of trying to prove that you can survive without your partner, let them know how much you truly need and want them in your life. This could be anything from letting your husband take care of the baby one night, asking your wife to show you how to cook something, or asking your partner’s opinion about how to best handle a workplace problem you feel stressed about.

3. Let your partner know you value his or her opinion

Respect essentially boils down to one thing: value. When you demonstrate respect to someone, you let them know how valuable they are to you. One important way that you can show your partner your respect is to let them know how much you value their opinions. The next time that your partner offers advice on something, take it. The next time your wife suggests you wear a different tie, do it. The next time that your husband suggests you apply for a specific job, listen. Part of a successful relationship means demonstrating that the other person is important. Valuing their opinions is one of the simplest ways to show them how much you care.

Want more marriage advice before your big wedding day? Go to FLPremaritalCourse.com and enroll in our online Florida premarital preparation course. Many couples who have completed our course highly recommend it.

 

Add Oomph, Add Spark to Your Relationship!

Happy loving couple frolicking on the beach

Do you want to add spark to your relationship? The best-case scenario for any relationship is for both partners to feel happy, cared for, understood, appreciated, and valued. It sounds elementary, but genuinely living this way takes attentiveness to give your relationship a boost.

To have a meaningful relationship, you’ll need to do more than bring home gifts for each other, enjoy a combined income, or share a bed. Knowing your values and those of your partner will help you choose the right actions so you can add spark to your relationship. Ultimately, expressing your expectations and hearing your partner’s is essential for knowing how to get along. Sometimes you can add oomph to your relationship by knowing better what not to do, yet other times you can do so by taking purposeful actions.

Watch Out for Disparaging Comments and Actions

The most subtle problems in a relationship can often be avoided if you know what to watch for. Each partner has his or her own sensitivities. Walking away from a conversation, failing to acknowledge your partner’s opinion, focusing on your phone or a TV show while your spouse is talking, may give them the impression you don’t care about them.

Looking at your partner the wrong way, being sarcastic or critical (even if you think it’s constructive) can be mistaken for dislike. No one wants to be with someone they feel doesn’t like them.

Not only should you be careful of your behavior, but you should be careful not to misinterpret your spouse’s behavior. Ask for attention or clarification when needed.

Balance the Need for Space

Women’s hormonal cycles may not only test a woman’s own fortitude, but that of her partner. Likewise, cranky, tired men may become easily short-tempered. No one wants to be around someone who is irritable and acting unloving. At moments like this, it may be helpful to warn your partner how you’re feeling so they don’t take your actions personally.

No one is perfect and it’s perfectly fine to offer each other space rather than trying to fix each other. If your relationship is to succeed, give each other adequate breathing room.

Be Aware of the Potential to Keep Score

Resentment may brew when it seems like one partner is doing all the work. Make sure you revisit your expectations and communicate what you feel is lacking. Don’t become tempted to keep score on how much more you’re doing than your partner is. Love is action and you will reap what you sow, eventually.

Model Positivity and Caring

The best gift you can give your partner is to live with a positive attitude. Be generous with compliments. Get excited about small things. Happiness is contagious.

Instead of looking for what’s going wrong in your relationship, look for what’s going right. Celebrate the good. Laugh at the silly stuff.

Share your dreams and plans, but don’t worry if your partner’s dreams and plans vary from yours.  Find middle ground.

Make Life Interesting

It’s easy to stay home to relax, but doing the same thing repeatedly becomes boring. Keep action in your relationship. Buy tickets for special events, take walks, make vacation plans, and work on household projects together.

These are but a few simple ideas to implement to add spark to your relationship. Get the foundation right.  Protect your relationship from subtle pitfalls. Stay active and involved, and then add in all the gifts and loving gestures you can so your relationship will always be meaningful.

Want more marriage strengthening ideas? Discover them by taking our e-learning course at FLPremaritalCourse.com 

Starting a Conversation with Your Spouse

starting a conversation with spouse over breakfast

Has starting a conversation with your spouse become a challenge lately?  

Even though you generally think you have good communication with him or her, there may be times when your communication doesn’t seem to flow as easily or the occasional silence doesn’t seem as comfortable as it once was.

So what can you do to stimulate a good conversation with your spouse?

Here are some ideas to get your communication flowing again.

  1. Ask what was the best part of their day while they were away from you (for example, if they were away at work)
  2. Ask about the worse part of their day
  3. Read up on several news items of the day or some trending topic or report on social media and share some interesting information about one or more of those stories with a follow-up question such as “What do you think about that?”
  4. Research and give a few ideas for activities to do together this coming week, weekend, or month, and see what they think about those ideas. Also, ask them if they have any other ideas and which one or two would be their top picks from among the choices.
  5. Ask something about one of their family members- For example, “Have you spoken with your mom (or your brother) recently? What is she up to?” Also share some observations, opinions, or ideas related to the topics brought up about that relative and any issues they are going through.
  6. Tell your spouse you want to plan to have a nice dinner together so you want their input on either what type of food and/or which restaurant they’d like to go to, or, what type of food they’d like to have for the menu of a make-at-home dinner. Work out specifics of where, when, who’s cooking, who’s making the list, who’s shopping for the ingredients, for whatever the case may be.
  7. Bring up a minor to moderate problem for a problem-solving brainstorming session. Think of something you’d like to try to address together and ask your partner if they’d be willing to toss around some ideas and potential solutions so you can both find a resolution for that problem.
  8. Use some conversation starter, such as: “If you were going to be stuck on a deserted island, what is the one thing you would have to take that you cannot live without (besides me!), or what is the one type of food you would want to have there that you would not want to live without,” or, “If it was our 30th anniversary next year, where do you think we should go for a fabulous anniversary trip?”
  9. Or try: “I miss hearing your voice. Can you sing to me or tell me a funny story from your week or something you read online?” If you have a wise guy in your life, he might just reply: “Yeah, my funny story was when my wife asked me, the guy who can’t carry a tune, to sing to her! Isn’t that hysterical?” But hey, at least you would have jump started some talking!
  10. Tell about your latest activity or hobby you’ve done (your workout at the gym, latest book you’ve read, encounters during your online gaming or bicycle ride) and then ask about your partner to tell you more about how their recent hobby or activity.

Remember that even if the talking fizzles out quickly, every day brings more ideas and more opportunities to begin a conversation. Be mindful of trending topics in the family, in your lives, and out in the world, so you can continue to take advantage of opportunities to engage your partner in lively conversation and keep your communication strong throughout your marriage.

Want more marriage strengthening ideas? Discover them by taking our e-learning course at FLPremaritalCourse.com 

How to Become a Great Step-parent

Copy of bigstock-Portrait-of-happy-family-with--33002837Becoming a step-parent is one of the most challenging situations that an adult can face. Developing a good relationship with your new stepchildren doesn’t happen overnight, and it often doesn’t occur unless you put in considerable thought, preparation, and hard work. While the transition may not be easy, there are several measures that you can take in learning how to become a great step-parent and growing into your new role.

Deal with the “You’re Not My Parent” Argument Right Away

Regardless of the age of your stepchildren, it is inevitable that this conversation will be brought up. When you receive this response from your stepchild, be clear and confident about your role in the family. Let the child know that you are aware that you are not his or her parent. Let the child know you do not intend to replace their biological parent. However, if a biological parent is not available to handle a situation in which a rule has been overstepped, it is important to exert your authority as an adult that is in charge. Discuss your intentions and ideas about this with your partner who is the child’s biological parent first, to agree on parameters of your parenting involvement and to avoid conflicts with your partner. Both of you should have a united approach towards parenting the children for the best parenting results as well as marital harmony.

Be Realistic with Your Relationship Expectations

You should not go into your new step-parent role expecting instant love and attachment, as these feelings take time to develop. Instead, begin your relationship on the foundation of respect. Exemplify respectful behavior toward your stepchildren, and let them know that you expect to be treated the same way. Avoid making negative or derogatory comments regarding the absent biological parent in order to encourage trust with your stepchildren.

Spend Time with Each Child Individually

Although a group identity is essential for becoming a family, it is also important to spend one-on-one time with each of your stepchildren in order to develop a positive relationship. Make time to spend alone together, and try to get into your stepchild’s world. Consider driving your stepchild to school or volunteering with the child’s extracurricular activities in order to get this alone time.

Be a Cheerleader

As a step-parent, it is important that you support your stepchild in all of their endeavors, including school projects, sporting events, dreams, goals, and ambitions. Go to as many school functions or activities as possible that you are invited to attend, but ensure that you are respectful to the biological parent during these events. Acknowledge the struggles and efforts that your stepchild experiences, and work to be a good role model. Your stepchild will begin to learn to rely on you and will trust your feedback over time.

Focus on Having a Successful Marriage

Your marriage is the most vulnerable relationship in your home. While you may feel selfish at times, it is important to do what is necessary to ensure that your marriage remains strong, not only for you as adults, but also for your family. Guard your alone time, as a couple. Talk about issues that you may be experiencing regarding the stress of your role as step-parent and problem solve to address any issues together. Eventually, your children and stepchildren will likely model your loving and respectful marriage in their own relationships as adults.

Taking on the role of a stepparent is a challenging endeavor that will likely have its bumps along the way. By putting in effort with your new family to forge positive relationships, you will be on your way to becoming a great step-parent.

How Can You Handle a Disagreement in a Productive Manner?

Couple in a disagreement

Here’s a scenario. You and your spouse are having a disagreement. Each of you has a different idea about the issue of contention. How can you get past the frustration and handle this disagreement in a productive manner?

First, you need to decide what “handle this disagreement in a productive manner” means to each of you. Then, that will guide you towards an end-goal during your discussion. The interpretation of that phrase is what leads you down one road or another and towards a goal. It’s as if you’re at a fork in the road. One road leads to more arguments, anger, and perhaps even insults and verbal abuse. Yet, another road leads to keeping the peace, continued happiness with your partner and keeping a happy home.

As an illustration, consider that making the decision to turn onto one road is when you decide what goal you prefer to follow. Then, driving the car down that road equates to the steps you take with what you think, say, and do during the next few minutes or hours with your partner so you can get yourself down the road you choose and to your end-goal there.

Let’s explore two very different types of interpretations of “to handle this disagreement in a productive manner.” Keep in mind that there can be other interpretations and if so, the person will be led down an even different road as they attempt to realize that different goal. For this discussion, we will focus on one interpretation which generally leads the couple into a worse conflict and another which generally leads to a calmer conversation.

The Fighting Road

If one of you interprets the phrase “to handle this disagreement in a productive manner” as meaning “I will get what I want” (because what I think is the best way and so of course it’s the most productive way to handle the disagreement) and your partner interprets that phrase similarly (so they think their idea is better and they will also fight tooth and nail to get it), then the two of you will be locked into an escalating fight where the goal is to control and win (what only one person wants). In this case, each person has as their end-goal “to win with my idea.” Unfortunately, this road typically leads to a worse conflict where neither truly “win” because of what they also “lose” (the trust, respect, good feelings from their spouse).

If you choose to think and act like that couple, then you and/or your partner might be:

1. Intimidating the other by yelling louder or interrupting them so they can’t even put forth anymore of their thoughts

2. Insulting the other so they will buckle and accept your idea instead

3. Trying different tactics to “prove” your idea is superior to your partner’s idea, or that your partner’s idea is “stupid” whereas yours makes the most sense

4. Refusing to talk with each other anymore while harboring resentment, being angry with each other, and with no resolution in sight

The Power Couple Road

On the hand, if you are part of a couple where you each decide to interpret the phrase “to handle the disagreement in a productive manner” to mean “we will agree to some solution to resolve the current issue, if possible, but the main goal is always to maintain the well-being of our relationship and stay respectful, loving, and happy together” then you will not be locked in a fight where the goal is to control and win what only one wants. In this case, your partner’s happiness, ideas, and feelings are a top priority and you want to maintain a happy home. So you and your partner go down a road where each is saying and doing things towards that end-goal by calming the situation and winning by gaining ongoing good feelings towards each other in a respectful and loving relationship.

If you choose to think and act like that couple, then you and/or your partner might be:

1. Thinking of more alternatives: discussing more ideas until you both agree to one, even though the “solution” you decide on may be one that neither of you originally proposed- however, you are both “satisfied enough”

2. Standing down- letting your partner get their choice instead so you both stop arguing and continue happy together rather than angry with each other

3. Supporting your partner’s feelings even though you don’t agree with their proposed solution (example: partner is fed up with kids that day and proposes selling them online – instead of yelling that your partner is stupid for thinking that way, you give your partner a hug, say you’re sorry they had such a hard day with the kids, you know the kids can be extra challenging some days, and ask what can you do or both of you do now to help alleviate your spouses’ distress)

4. Agreeing to have different ideas: tabling the discussion because “it’s not worth it” (it’s not worth hurting each other over this issue) and you decide you each can just continue thinking differently about this and still get along fine- OR- temporarily stopping the discussion by mutual agreement so each of you has time to calm down and/or to think of more ideas for more discussion at another time

5. bargaining or negotiating such that you or your partner get what one wants now but only by also making the other one happy by giving them something in exchange now or in the future, and both of you are satisfied with the deal

This second scenario of resolving a disagreement in a productive manner is one that generally leads a couple down the road to having a stronger, respectful, and happier relationship. With such a couple, they both do all they can to make choices in what they say and do to keep the closeness and happiness they feel in their relationship as their first priority, even when they (at least initially) disagree.

Ultimately, though, this couple chooses to agree on one very important thing. They agree to put the topic of disagreement in the background (as less important) and to put their relationship first.

Marriage Advice To Live By

Couple kayaking

Whether you are a soon-to-be or newlywed couple, there are some things you should never forget as you continue on your romantic journey together. Here are a few pieces of marriage advice that we hope you will strive to live by.

1. Always remember that you’re on the same team

When you choose to be married, you are choosing your lifelong teammate. You are both working towards the same goal, a happy and healthy marriage. When conflicts surface, focus on finding a peaceful solution rather than encouraging opposition.

2. Find balance

While dedicating time with your significant other is important, it is also good to maintain your own interests. Spend some time occasionally with your friends or volunteer for a non-profit. Don’t forgo your passions for the sake of your significant other, after all, they likely have their own things that they would enjoy doing. Support each other in your endeavors– doing so will strengthen your relationship and give you more things to talk about later on!

3. Find common hobbies

More likely than not, you have probably realized that there are some things that your significant other doesn’t enjoy doing (whereas you do). It can sometimes be disheartening to discover that some activities that you are passionate about aren’t met with the same enthusiasm from your partner. But discovery can lead to excitement. Spend some time to discover activities that you can both enjoy, it is very rewarding when you find a common interest and it allows you to do something different from the normal routine together.

4. Play & Date

Have fun! After a while, a regular routine will get established. Keep the romance alive (who said it has to end when you get married?) by setting aside some time to enjoy each other’s company. Enjoy a movie, a nice dinner, a round of mini-golf, or something else entirely. In fact, you could choose to watch a favorite tv show together on your couch. Either way, quality time spent together is the ultimate goal.

Planning to get married and want to power up your relationship to the max? Enroll in our highly-rated online premarital preparation course here: http://FLPremaritalCourse.com 

Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

Couple Arguing

 

Relationships are full of emotions. We often think of these as happiness, joy, and excitement. In fact, with how many emotions you may experience, it’s no surprise that there are negative emotions that will appear as well. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t properly handle a negative emotion and ultimately convert it to a positive one! One of the most destructive emotions is anger — simply because it is such an easily misunderstood emotion. Many couples don’t express their anger in a constructive way, which leads to it being a hurtful experience.

Recognizing Your Emotions

When anger is expressed in a way where one partner takes it too personally or begins to feel alienated, it can have a toxic effect on the relationship as a whole. But it’s important to realize that each person has their own perceived reality, and while you may feel strongly about a situation, the other person may not feel exactly the same. With that in mind, you must take responsibility for your emotions– it isn’t bad to have them, but you should understand them. Make an effort to figure out how to handle the feeling in a way where you can satisfactorily address the problem with your partner. This is critical for communication!

“It’s not about me.”

As you come to the understanding that our emotions are a response to our own thoughts, beliefs, and other stimuli, try to be more mindful in situations when your partner is angry. While the emotions may have been brought up by something that you’ve done, they are telling you about themself. It isn’t completely about you. With that in mind, listen respectfully to what your partner has to say about the situation. It can be extremely difficult to listen without interrupting, especially in situations where you feel blamed. However, you should keep in mind that this is a form of intimacy. But instead of getting defensive, you should encourage yourself to feel curious. Ask yourself: why do they feel this way?

When you start asking yourself these questions, you place your focus on the real issue and opportunity. Not only do you get to learn more about your partner, you can understand how the things you do impact them. Conflicts are hard to handle, but by being a respectful and caring listener, you can peacefully diffuse and resolve problems.

Tips to Remember:

  • Ask questions that help you understand why they feel the way they do
  • Do not get defensive
  • Encourage curiosity between each other

Discover more tips for marriage and relationship success by taking our fun, online Florida premarital course.

Tips to Make a Long-Distance Marriage Work

Long-distance distance marriage video chatting

With our increased ability to communicate with people across the world along with economic issues, couples have more career choices and work location possibilities than ever before. While this can be exciting, it poses as an incredible challenge for couples trying to make a long-distance marriage work. It is important to realize though, that living apart can work for some couples as long they both are committed and use excellent communication skills.

Challenges:

Couples that live together are more aware of each other’s goals and intentions. This is primarily because things are shared on a day-to-day basis. Living apart makes it difficult to remain aware of changes that could occur, which can become a source of conflict. Couples living apart are more prone to experience increased jealousy or difficulty with their commitment, however, this is less of a problem if each individual is aware of their individual needs and voices them clearly.

Couples that are considering living apart should:

1. Have a discussion about why living apart is beneficial. While it is a tough situation, it can work if both partners strive to make it succeed. However, living apart is not a solution for getting away from the other… in this case, it is an unhealthy escape.

2. Make a plan to account for the details. This might be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to know who will be responsible for financial chores, homekeeping, and other tasks.

3. Check in with your partner frequently. It’s important to understand if the arrangement is working for both of you. After all, in marriage, you are  a team. Maintaining relationship morale is important in order to endure tough situations like this. Similarly, if you have children, you should set aside some time every day to talk to them. Daily check-in’s with your spouse and children are important for maintaining a strong, healthy relationship when you are separated by distance.

4. Set up a time for “big picture” meetings. During this time, you can address the progress towards accomplishing the ultimate goal that provided the reason for living apart. For example, moving for a position in order to save money and move your family to another state or country. Living apart is most successful when both partners understand that the situation won’t last forever.

Long Distance Marriages Are Not Easy

If you or your spouse have difficulty trusting one another, are afraid of being alone, have never been without a close physical relationship or have health conditions that require close observation and care, living apart may not be an appropriate option to consider. Rather, it should only be an option for couples that are in a solid marriage where the financial health of your partnership will significantly improve and both individuals are comfortable with the means of communication that are available. While long distance marriages aren’t easy, they can work. In fact, they can make a couple stronger in the long run since it takes a lot of care, attention, dedication and love to make a long distance relationship work. Just remember: regardless of where your relationship is, communication is critical.

Want more tips to make your marriage strong? Take our engaging online course before you marry (or even afterwards!) at FLPremaritalCourse.com

Marriage Poem: I Promise

Are you looking for wedding vows ideas or for a marriage poem that could be suitable as a reading for your wedding ceremony? If so, here is a heartfelt poem, ‘I Promise’ by Dorothy R. Colgan, which might fit your … Continue reading