5 Reasons 2020 Was Good for Relationships

This might sound crazy, but we’re going to put it out there: 2020 has been good for our relationships. Not just our relationship as a couple, but all of the meaningful relationships in our lives. Don’t get us wrong, it also put them to the test. We experienced tension, terse words, and probably a few arguments thrown in there, too. But we’ve now been in this long enough that we can pull back a bit and see things through a broader perspective.

Here are some of the positive effects on relationships we experienced this year.

Read More

Crazy Families

My brother recently got married. During the reception, they played the game where the bride and groom sit in chairs back to back. They each hold one of their own shoes and one of their spouse’s shoes in each hand. The DJ then reads off a series of questions, such as, “Who is the better driver?” or “Who is a night owl?”, and the newlyweds raise the shoe of whomever they think the answer is. It’s entertaining to see how similarly (or not) the couple responds!

One of the questions for my brother and his new wife was, “Who has the crazier family?”

Read More

Why Your Expectations Sneak Up On You

Expectations are like a measuring stick that we hold our reality up against. If they’re too high, you’re going to feel pretty disappointed in the state of things. Too low, and you might be settling for less than you should.

In the context of relationships, expectations play a huge role in how happy and satisfied you feel. But the process of learning how to manage them in a healthy way can come with its own set of growing pains. Why? What makes it so hard? Well, one reason is that oftentimes we don’t even realize we have them, or if we do, we don’t understand where they came from.

Read More

Break Your Communication Barriers

“If there’s an issue, make sure you always communicate,” they said.
“It’s the key to everything,” they said.

If only it were that simple. We’ll be the first to admit we’re big on emphasizing the importance of quality communication in your relationship. And it is important. It’s the foundation for staying connected, working through conflict, and the key to so many other aspects of your relationship. But as straightforward as that sounds, that very basic thing can actually be very difficult. You might feel like, “Oh geez, if we can’t even do the basics, where does that leave us?” That can be very discouraging.

Sometimes when we’re trying to work through a conflict or a contentious issue, things quickly devolve into an unproductive argument. Once again, nothing gets resolved. Why does this keep happening? There may be barriers preventing us from letting down our defenses and being vulnerable so that we can truly hear each other.

Read More

Your Relationship Winterization Checklist

Here in Minnesota, we have to do something called “winterizing.” If you live in a region that gets cold in the winter, you probably know what this is, but if you live somewhere that’s warm year-round, you might be saying, “Huh?”

Winterizing is basically adapting or preparing something for use in the winter. For example, you might winterize your car by replacing the wiper blades, switching to snow tires, testing the battery, and making sure you have a winter emergency kit in tow. You winterize your house by checking your furnace, sealing up drafty window and doors, and putting away the patio furniture.

The idea is that you know a new season is coming, and you’re taking proactive measures to avoid ending up in a less-than-ideal situation, such as coming out to a dead car battery in a snowstorm or paying a sky-high gas bill because the heat is literally going right out the window.

Does your relationship need winterizing? Perhaps your “winter” is a new addition to the family, or a new career, or your kids entering a busier, more demanding stage of life. How can you take stock of your relationship and prepare it for what’s to come?

Read More