To Do or Not to Do

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Time and time again, couples are faced with the struggle of defining their roles in their relationships.  Who will clean the bathroom this weekend?  Who is going to make dinner tomorrow? Who will wash the dishes tonight?  What may start out as a simple chore can catapult into a battle for acknowledgement, assurance, or even power.

How often are you faced with the struggle of doing the laundry for the third time this month because your partner doesn’t seem to be bothered when the laundry basket begins to topple over with dirty clothes?  You know it is their turn to do it, but you wish they would do it without you having to ask them. (more…)

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A Positive Posture Pays Off

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The plane landed and I hurriedly walked to meet my ride.  After having been gone for a five day business trip, I was eager to meet my family at my son’s flag football game.  After we shared hugs and heard about the kids’ week, my husband informed me that he had moved everything out of our office to install some carpet.  “Oh!”  I said, trying to manage my surprise.  He went on to say, “I labeled anything that I moved and organized it in bags and laundry baskets so you can find it.”  Unsure what to say next, I replied, “Wow, that was a lot of work!”  Inside, I was a mess of emotions ranging from, “Oh my, I wasn’t ready yet!” to, “I can’t believe he moved all my paperwork!  How will I find…” to, “He was just trying to finish a project we had been planning,” to, “Don’t blow up.  He put a lot of work into this.  Show him respect.  Calm down.  It had to be done at some point.” (more…)

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Relationship Tips for When You Take Trips

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“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Visiting new places, trying unfamiliar food, indulging in unique cultures, and seeing exotic sites are great ways to experience life to its fullest. However, traveling without your partner can be tough. When you travel for business, it can be hard to focus on work when you know your partner is not physically with you.

As a member of the PREPARE/ENRICH team, I travel a few times a year and it typically doesn’t bother me to be out of town for a few days. Earlier this week, I traveled from Minnesota to California to attend the Exponential West conference. Before I left, I was already feeling anxious about missing my husband. As I was packing my suitcase the night before my flight, I began to prepare for my time away from him more intentionally.

In attempt to help you be more intentional next time you travel without your partner, I’ve created a list of tips, complete with examples, to ease the stress of travel on your relationship.

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Be Accountabilibuddies

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One of the first things we learn about having a successful relationship is that there needs to be healthy, proactive communication.  Though, because we are all human, sometimes there is a lapse in this proactivity.  You can’t turn back time to fix a mistake, but what you can do is aid in the healing of the situation at hand.  One way to do this is to be accountable for your part of the relationship.

There are many things to be accountable for in a relationship, such as:

  • Your actions: Acknowledge what you did so that you can move forward with your partner.
  • Your words: The things you said can hurt just as much as your actions.  Remain accountable for even the small things that may have distressed your partner.
  • Your feelings: Take responsibility of yourself, own your feelings.  Express to your partner how you are feeling in regards to a certain situation.

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How to Deal with “Sexpectations” in Marriage

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When it comes to marriage, expectations are one of the first things a marriage counselor, coach, or premarital program will encourage you to put on the table and address. Oftentimes, people don’t even realize the rigidity of their expectations, or how many they actually have!

Adult couples often squirm in their seats when asked about their sexual expectations. For many, it’s a source of awkward unknowns or it becomes an emotionally charged conversation. (more…)

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You. Owe. Me.

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Recently, my husband and I had an argument about how to get rid of some junk in our garage.  I wanted to post it on Craig’s List for free.  He wanted to take it to the dump. I didn’t want to pay to get rid of it.  He didn’t want it sitting on our front yard.  We compromised and agreed that I could post it on Craig’s list for three days and if it wasn’t gone he could take it to the dump.  Three days later, very little of it had been picked up and my husband had figured out what could be taken to the Reuse Center and what needed to go to the dump. (more…)

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Gold Medal Marriage

raceThe 2016 Rio Olympics have come to a close and for those who have watched, we have been inspired by seeing the fruits of the Olympians’ years of preparation and labor.  What can we learn from Olympians to inspire our pursuit of a “Gold Medal Marriage”?

  • Olympians work at it every day. They daily-discipline themselves to do what they ought to do, not what they want to do. In marriage that may mean holding our tongue, doing the dishes, or actively listening to each other.
  • Olympians build on each other’s strengths. Synchronized swimming teams identify who is the best person to do the lifting and who is the best person to be lifted. Once those roles are identified, the coach trains each person to excel in their role.  What are your strengths?  What are your partner’s strengths?  Have you defined roles and responsibilities to align with each other’s strengths? (more…)

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Pursuer vs. Distancer

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I fight with my husband from time to time. It happens because conflict happens. We disagree, but then we figure it out and move forward. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly, but it is easier now that he and I understand more about ourselves and our relationship.

Until just recently, every time we disagreed, we would find ourselves frustrated and in this cycle. I’d move closer, he’d move farther away. Thinking he needed space, I’d reluctantly back off. He’d feel comfortable again and move closer. Just as I’d warm up to being close again, he’d start to retreat, needing more space. We stumbled in and out of this pattern for years. Not entirely understanding why, but understanding this was us. (more…)

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Monopoly, Money, and Marriage

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“I will buy water works from you for $250,” my husband offered.  We were playing our first family game of Monopoly.  Sitting around the board was my daughter who is eight, my son who is ten, my husband Brad, and myself.  Having played board games with my husband for 13 plus years, I knew what kind of overall “game player” he was – aggressive.  However, I had never played Monopoly with him.  He was definitely aggressive, buying up properties left and right and making deals on the side.

As the game went on, greed was evident, as well as spending all your money, taking big chances, and mortgaging property to pay bills.  I found myself reflecting on what we were indirectly teaching our kids about money by the way he and I were playing the game. I worried that Brad and I were modeling behaviors and values that we did not espouse in our management of money. (more…)

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