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Practice Makes Passion Possible (+Free Book)

Note: Don’t miss the FREE BOOK info at the end of this post!

Practice Makes Passion Possible

When you first fall in love, happiness comes easy and it seems so effortless to be a good partner.

Your jokes are funny, your thoughts and actions are romantic, and your time together is pretty much all rainbows and butterflies.

It turns out that there’s a good reason for this—a scientific one at that. Your first few months or even years together are shrouded in a chemical cloud of infatuation.

You’re literally high on each other and the lovin’ comes easy.

So what happens a few years down the road after you’ve decided to get married and settle down together? Well, the chemical boost fades and you’re left with the choice to love your spouse.

This is the part of marriage that sometimes freaks a couple out.

You may start to have doubts about whether you’re still “in love” with your husband or wife. You may look at him or her and wonder when things got so… soft. You may ask yourself where the passion has gone. Trust me, the love is still there, but you can’t rely on
chemistry to make it work on autopilot.

It’s time for you to step up and practice having the marriage you desire. 

Like learning to play the guitar or run a marathon, an awesome marriage is the result of practice. You can have a mediocre relationship without a lot of effort, but the dream marriage you envisioned during your engagement is going to require some good old fashioned hard work.

So, what sort of things do you need to learn and refine to enjoy a thriving marriage?

Based on our own experience and the wisdom gained from working with dozens of other couples, here are three simple steps I’d recommend practicing to keep the passion alive.

1. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

As your relationship matures, and especially when children enter the picture, it’s frighteningly easy to lose your connection as a couple. Your roles as a parent, caregiver, breadwinner, housekeeper, etc. can be so overwhelming that you never give the time or energy needed to be a great spouse.

I recommend every couple spend at least 15 minutes each day simply being a couple. This is sacred time to enjoy each other and put aside those other roles for a while.

Sit, talk, laugh and be together—simple as that.

2. NEVER STOP DATING.

Do you remember when you were dating? When you’re dating, you don’t need “date nights” because every time you get together it’s all about getting to know each other better and building your relationship.

That’s not the case when you’ve been married for a while. You’re together all the time, which makes it exceedingly easy to get complacent and fail to feed the romantic side of your relationship.

Be sure to schedule a date night every week or two to spend some special time together and rekindle the intimacy between you.

While it’s great to get out of the house for a big night out, this can be as simple as a lunch date or an evening at home together after the kids are in bed.

3. TREAT MARRIAGE LIKE AN INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO.

It’s funny how easy is it to justify spending money on new gadgets, improvements to your home or even lessons to learn a new skill. Yet, when it comes to the most important relationship in your life, many of us shy away from trying to better ourselves.

I can’t recommend enough that you spend some time and money making yourself a better husband or wife. Pick up a course on communication, read a good book and don’t be too proud to sign up for a marriage retreat where you can get away and focus on each other deeply.

When you consider that you’ve devoted the rest of your life to your spouse and you spend everyday together, it’s easy to see that there’s no better return on your investment than in learning the skills you need to be as happy as possible together.

Do yourself a favor and make a commitment today to make your marriage your highest priority (right after God). Devote quality time each day to your spouse, bless your marriage with regular date nights, and do everything you can to be the best husband or wife you can be.

Building your dream marriage isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Get Your Free Book from the Best Marriage Writers!

Marriage is an increasingly unnatural and confusing thing for most couples today.

In light of this, Tyler Ward—author of Marriage Rebranded—recently asked 25 leaders for their single best marriage advice for young people. The level of insight and wisdom he received—compiled in the free eBook Marriage Hacks—is guaranteed to help many navigate this uniquely beautiful relationship called marriage.

I am honored to have been one of the leaders Tyler interviewed for Marriage Hacks…and I’m excited to share this awesome resource to you for free as part of the Engaged Marriage family:

MARRIAGE-HACKS-COVER

FREE-DOWNLOAD-BUTTON

Marriage Hacks is a compilation of the best marriage advice for young people from 25 leaders including:

  • Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages
  • William Paul Young of The Shack
  • Gary Thomas of Sacred Marriage
  • Danny Silk, Keep Your Love On
  • Dustin Riechmann, 15 Minute Marriage Makeover
  • Jeremy Cowart, Celebrity Photographer
  • Jonathan Jackson, Emmy-Award-Winning Actor
  • And many more…

The book speaks to some of the most common questions in marriage including…

  • how to keep things from never going stale
  • how to handle personality differences
  • how to cultivate emotional intimacy
  • how to spice things up in the bedroom
  • what to do when your spouse isn’t as intentional in your relationship as you are
  • and more…

Marriage Hacks is for those of us that could use a little help in navigating this unique practice.

If marriage is hard for you at the moment, this read will simply comfort you to know you’re not alone. If marriage is amazing and fruitful, it will help you sustain. If marriage is confusing, it will offer some insight on this unique union. If marriage feels pointless, it will add purpose and depth.

Hope it helps!

Advice from Friends: Why You Might NOT Want to Ask or Listen!

ID-10055079Have you ever asked your friends and family what they think of your spouse? Have they ever offered up an opinion regardless of you asking for it? Should you listen to what they say? And if so, how seriously should you take their opinions to heart?

Is there any benefit to hearing feedback about your relationship?

Relationships in general – let alone marriages— do not exist in a vacuum. They are intricate tapestries woven from not just two lives becoming intertwined, but rather two complete lifetimes full of families, friends, and all of those individual and shared histories.

Given the amount of moving parts involved, is it any wonder relationships are often complicated?

Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good thing to have people in your corner cheering you on as you face life’s challenges! However, it gets a little bit tricky when those challenges include your romantic relationships and marriage.

Learn the WHEN’s and WHEN NOT’s of feedback:

When should you ask for feedback?

There are times when asking for feedback is not only appropriate, but also very helpful.

One of the major benefits of asking for feedback about a situation or dynamic in your relationship is that it provides the opportunity to hear a different perspective. Especially when we believe strongly or passionately about something, it can be really difficult to shift our lens to another viewpoint.

Asking for feedback may help you to see things from your partner’s perspective, gain empathy and even bring you closer together.

When should you not ask for feedback?

Can I take off the professional hat for a second here? As someone who was her friends’ go to ‘feedback giver’ long before I ever decided (or learned how) to do it professionally, I feel like I need to advocate for all the dear glorious friends and family members out there who so patiently lend an ear when needed:

Please do not ask for honest feedback if you’re not ready to receive it. No one likes the experience of feeling baited. (Am I right?!)

Do not ask for feedback when what you want is a box of tissues, your best friend nodding along and a cheesecake a la The Golden Girls.

On a more serious note, asking for advice about something to a friend or family member that involves very intimate, personal details about your partner could really backfire—especially if it was something that person shared with you in the strictest of confidence.

If that person breaks confidentiality—even by accident… ugh! By going that route you’re taking a tremendous risk with your partner’s faith and trust in you.

If you absolutely need to speak to someone about something your partner has disclosed in the strictest of confidence, then I highly suggest you seek out a professional or clergy member.

Sometimes you ask for it, and sometimes you don’t.  

Folks may offer feedback under a variety of reasons and circumstances—but when should you actually listen to it?

ID-10024387When should you listen to feedback?

It’s important to listen to feedback—even if you don’t like it—as it comes. It’s whether or not you choose to see it as a valid point, throw it away like junk mail, or file it away as something to revisit.

My best advice? Listen for patterns.   Patterned feedback is feedback that has a similar theme or message and comes from several sources.

For example: If one person expresses concern over how your spouse speaks to you in front of others, it might be easy, and perhaps even reasonable to dismiss their concern as ‘just a bad moment’ or something ‘caught out of context’.

However, if your mother, your best friend, a coworker and your running partner express concern over how your spouse talks to you in front of others at different intervals, you might want to consider whether this behavior is a pattern.

You should also take note of positive feedback. Listening to positive feedback from others about your spouse or your relationship can help you rediscover aspects of them that you’ve grown accustomed to and therefore, kind of take for granted.

“Your husband is such an attentive father.”

“I really respect your [spouse] as a professional/colleague/coworker.”

One time, my mother-in-law (who is a woman of few flowery words) told me, “You are very good for my son. He is happy. I can see it.” Receiving that reaffirmation of our relationship felt awesome!

When should you not listen to feedback?

For all the times that feedback is great, it’s also important to acknowledge the times when you should take someone’s feedback with a grain shaker of salt.

I’m sure we all know at least one person who wouldn’t recognize a healthy relationship if they got smacked over the head with one. Ask yourself: Does this person have relationships I admire, even if they’re not currently in one? Are they honest and forthright, or do they play games?

Another issue to consider is whether or not someone has anything to gain from drawing attention to negative aspects of your relationship.

Truly toxic people will place a negative spin on almost anything.  For example, when someone’s feedback focuses on a truly superficial issue—like someone’s appearance or how his or her job/profession stacks up against perceived “social status.”

Feedback can be a really great tool to have in your marriage toolbox, if you know how to ask for it and when to listen to it.

Feedback can add valuable perspective when it is offered from a place of integrity, love, and concern.

Chime in!

Now it’s your turn!

Who do you think would be good sources of feedback? Who would you NOT ask for advice? Tell me in comments below or on social media!

On Twitter?  Remember to include @EngagedMarriage@SimplyEJS in your tweets! 

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Sexual Touch and What You Might Be Missing

sexual touch in your marriage

The way you touch your spouse — what does it say about your sexual desire? It’s an important question. Sexual desire — the degree to which we sexually long for the person we married — is a tender vulnerable place. Rich with possibilities.  And, in some marriages, fraught with discouragement. My husband and I had [...]

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Summertime And The Romancin’ Is Easy – 10 Great Dates

10 Great Dates

 Ah! Summertime. The time when we look forward to enjoying life outdoors. We live in Florida, so most of our summertime dates include enjoying the water–at the beach, in our pool, or by the lake–it doesn’t matter. Not everyone has access to the water, but in Florida it is so hot and humid, it’s a necessity [...]

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Essential moving tools to save your back, your sanity, and maybe even your marriage

essential moving tools

 Tis the season to be moving, fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, UGH. Whether you are one of the over 40 million people that will move to a new home this year, a parent moving your child to a college dorm, or a person who adores moving furniture around the living room, I have some [...]

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