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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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? Read More

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. Read More

The Rules of Taking a Time-Out

alarmclock“We kept fighting and fighting and yelling and screaming and eventually we solved the whole problem completely!” Said no spouse, ever.

One of the most significant tools I help couples learn to implement into their conflict process is the time-out. Though I’m sure this term makes you think of a toddler sitting in the corner of a kitchen on their mini-stool with a parent standing over them shaking their finger, a time-out in the context of a marriage is a powerful and honorable thing to do.

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When Money Changes, Marriage Changes

retirement

When we think of retirement, we usually think about it in terms of money. Will we have enough to travel? Will we have enough to spoil our grandkids? Will we have enough to help our children? And most importantly, will we have enough money to live out our lives the way we want to?

When money changes because of retirement, other changes in the marriage happen without much consideration.

I recently sat down with several couples to learn about how retirement impacted their marriages. All had been married for over 25 years, with one couple even approaching their 60th wedding anniversary! To learn from the stories they shared, let’s consider the story of Mark and Marion. Read More

3 Ways to Get the Best Marriage Prep

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Expectations are high when planning a wedding. There is this need to find the perfect dress, delicious food, a picturesque location, and a photographer who can capture those special moments. Luckily, premarital counseling is becoming part of the wedding planning experience, but that begs the question – Do couples have high expectations for their marriage prep?

Is anyone actually searching for the perfect program that combines guidance, assessment, and skill-building exercises? Read More

Make Your Next Date Memorable

Couples at all stages may sometimes struggle with date ideas.  Whether you are a long-term, committed couple looking to change up your date routine, or a fresh couple looking for some new ideas, we have provided a list of fun, cheap dates that are bound to spark the butterflies.

According to Larson & Arp’s book, $10 Great Dates, a worthwhile date has a couple common elements: quality time together, time away from your regular routine, a shared activity, and conversation.  All of these date ideas will provide you with the foundation to make your date something memorable. Read More