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Stuck at a Sexual Crossroads in Your Marriage?

sexual-crossroadsI didn’t know when I started blogging about sex.

I didn’t know how many people struggle – I mean really struggle – with sex in their marriage.

It all seems ironic now, but when I started writing and speaking about sexual intimacy in marriage, I must have naively underestimated the power of the internet.

And after awhile, as the emails and comments started to pour in from every corner of the world, I started to see some common threads.

Heart-wrenching threads.

Many people, maybe yourself included, are at a sexual crossroads in their marriage.

Sex has been a source of disconnect way more than a source of oneness.  Sometimes for years.  Decades even.

Sure, the specific circumstances may vary, but generally it often comes down to one person valuing and wanting sexual intimacy.  And the other spouse avoiding it at all costs.

I’ve long believed that healthy patterns are intentional.  No one falls into an exercise routine or happens upon some vitamin rich broccoli.  No one haphazardly starts digging into God’s Word on a regular basis. Or drifts into a balanced budget.

Nope. Healthy patterns are intentional.

You have to walk in the direction of health, whether it’s physical, spiritual, emotional, financial – or sexual.

Unhealthy patterns, though, usually sneak up on us much more casually.  They are unintentional.   No one stands at the altar and thinks, “Someday I’m just going to stop having sex with this person to whom I have just pledged my life… my future” or “I can easily see the moment down the road when his touch will mean nothing to me.”

Nope.  Unhealthy patterns are hazy.  We’re in them before we really know it.  And once there, they become our normal.

Regular mutually satisfying sex drifts into occasional token sex.  Babies come. Life gets complicated.  Jobs get demanding.  Lawns need to be mowed. Sexual distance begins to seem less awkward.

Fill in the details however you may, but I see common denominators among many married couples who are rarely having sex.

They never envisioned sex in their marriage would ever look like that.

It just happened.

Thus the crossroads, where one person in the marriage is ready for a healthier normal that includes sex with the person they love — sex as God designed it.   And the other person isn’t quite sure if they are ready to give up the comfortable unhealthy pattern.  (Actually, sometimes they are quite sure they don’t want to give it up).

I don’t know if any of that describes you, but if it does, I encourage you to read this post with your spouse.

Does that take courage?  Without a doubt.  Whether you are the one desiring nurtured intimacy or you are the one who has been refusing it, it takes courage to address such deep woundedness in your relationship.

Sometimes, though, those baby steps in the direction of health – as painful as they may be to take – are the first steps toward something changing for the better.

No, there are no guarantees.

But staying stuck at a crossroads seems equally or more painful as well.  Better to at least try to shed light on the matter. Better to give hope, love and sexual renewal a fighting chance.

Are you stuck at a sexual crossroads in your marriage?

Could you do something to move your marriage in a healthier direction?

When I started blogging, I had no idea how often I would be asking that question.  But now I ask it all the time.

7 Reasons Every Smart Couple Needs a Side Income (and How to Get One)

7 Reasons Every Smart Couple Needs a Side Income

How would your family benefit from an extra $250, $500 or even $1,000 every month?

In this post, I want to share why it’s so important that your family develop a side income and show you how to make it happen – complete with real-life examples of the many ways we’ve added to the bottom line in the Riechmann household.

7 Reasons You Need a Side Income

Let’s start by outlining a few of the many benefits of developing a “side hustle” and bringing in an income outside of your 9-to-5 paycheck.

1. More Money :)

Duh, right?  Let’s start with the obvious – just like a big raise at work, side income increases your bottom line.

If you’re doing the right thing and budgeting every dollar of your income, you probably know exactly where you’d plug in some extra cash.  Even if you’re not that organized, I bet you could find some awesome things to do with 500 bucks.

You could pay off debt, give more to charity, save for emergencies, go on nice vacations…all the wonderful things that more income allows your family to enjoy.  Good stuff for sure, but this is just the start!

2. Greater Freedom

If you put it in the right context, more money is ultimately about enjoying more freedom.  When you’re not stuck living paycheck-to-paycheck but instead start building more margin in your budget, it gives you options to do more of things you want to do as a family.

In practical terms, killing off debt payments and boosting your income to reclaim your monthly cash flow gives you the freedom to make choices about how to spend your money and your time.  It could also represent the opportunity to leave a job you don’t enjoy to do something you love.

3. Sense of Security

This is where a side income really starts to separate itself from a regular paycheck.  The raw truth is that dependence on a single income source is really dangerous – you’re only an economic downturn or angry boss away from losing it all.

When you develop alternative forms of income, you can not only build a bigger emergency fund and nest egg, but you can enjoy the security of knowing that one change won’t wipe out your inflow of cash.

And as your side pursuits mature, you’ll likely find that you can automate (or hire out) much of the work and create passive income that supports you without direct investments of time – that’s true financial freedom!

4. Opportunity for Something BIG

What starts off as a modest attempt to make an extra $200 could grow into something much, much larger.  Many of the world’s most successful companies started off as side ventures or small solo pursuits…have you ever watched Shark Tank?

The fact is that you never know where the market may take you – a simple idea can strike it big and grow into a massive success.  That’s exciting!

5. Help Others

One of the awesome benefits of doing good work is that you get to help others in the process.  The best way to make money is to provide genuine value by helping people.

While you may feel this in your day job, there’s a good chance that your side hustle will connect you more closely with the value cycle and let you experience the real joy of helping others.

6. Lifelong Learning

One of the surprising benefits I’ve found in developing side businesses is that it’s incredibly intellectually stimulating.  It’s much too easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day demands of a regular job and never stretch your thinking.

When you do work on the side, you’ll gain entirely new skills, feel excited to learn something new, and then get to implement it right away to grow your income.

7. Fund Your Dreams

When you think about your dream marriage, there’s a good chance that money will play a role in the lifestyle you desire.  I’m not necessarily talking about sipping drinks by the beach, but enjoying the freedom to live life on your terms.

In our case, it was our side income that was instrumental in allowing Bethany to stay home with our kids two years ago.  Only through side gigs were we able to pay off $54,500 in debt and position our family for the future we desired.

BONUS: Family Bonding

Are you thinking that developing a side income is going to steal too much quality time away from your family?  I totally get that, and it’s a legitimate concern.

It’s all about how you set your business up both in terms of how many hours it requires of you and how much of that time is solo.  When you see the list of former and current businesses we’ve done below – you’re going to think I’m insane and that I must have an extra 8 hours in the day…but the reality is that each side gig is set up strategically to minimize the time required (and we’ve dropped most dollars-for-hours tasks over the years).

One surprising benefit that we’ve found with our side pursuits is that we can actually enjoy some very high-quality time together.  As I note below, my son is my “partner” on one business, and Bethany is absolutely involved in Engaged Marriage and Fit Marriage.

You should view your side business as a real opportunity to connect around an interesting project that benefits the whole family!

How to Make It Happen (and What We Do)

If generating a side income was easy, you’d already be doing it, right?  Maybe.

It can certainly be intimidating but it’s probably not nearly as hard as you think.  Here are the three main suggestions I have for you as you consider how to generate side income:

  1. Start With What You Know
  2. Go Low-Cost & Low-Time
  3. Get Your Spouse & Family Involved

We’ve built different streams of side income throughout our 13 years of marriage.  When we started out, we traded more time directly for dollars, but we’ve learned along the way and also taken advantage of the power of the Internet.

Here are several examples of side income streams that we’ve enjoyed in our household along with a short description of each:

  • Golf Club reselling

This was one of the first side businesses I did, and it was quite profitable with more than $1,000 a month in income.  The model works for lots of different items, but I got into golf clubs when I was trying to find the right set for myself (this is often how I find business opportunities).

In a nutshell, I bought clubs locally (through Craigslist mostly), cleaned them up, and sold them nationally through Ebay.  It’s a classic case of buying low in a local market and selling higher to a broader audience who will pay true market value.  I only quit doing this because it was too time consuming for me to travel around the region buying the clubs.

  • Tutoring

Both Bethany and I have tutored kids in various subjects, and it’s a nice way to make extra money.  I still tutor a neighborhood high school student in math occasionally as a favor – I enjoy it and we use the money to pay our kids for household chores.

  • Teaching (online and offline)

There are SO many opportunities to teach what you know to others.  One the best ways to do this is to create a simple course on a platform like Udemy where you can reach the world.  You can create the course once and sell it many, many times.  I have one course on Udemy currently.

I’ve also taught engineering courses at a local University, which I found quite fulfilling.  This is more dollars-for-hours in scale, but you may find it’s a great fit for you to teach locally or for a college online.

  • Writing

If you enjoy writing, there are pretty much limitless opportunities to get paid to write.  One of the best places to find work is through blogs you enjoy – we employ four awesome writers here at Engaged Marriage.

I’ve written for other blogs for pay in the past, and I’ve also written articles for magazines.  They pay better, but of course this requires more work and specialized skills.

If you want to take it to another level and develop more passive income, you can absolutely self-publish a book!  The Kindle platform in particular makes it easy, and you can also have Amazon convert your ebook to paperback.  I’ve written three books personally, and they all generate a nice passive income through Amazon (and other platforms).

  • Engaged Marriage

This very site is a robust business with income from books, workshops, advertisements, affiliate relationships and coaching.  It is FAR from passive with nearly 400 posts written mostly by me and a continuous effort is required, but it’s a true labor of love getting to help others live a married life they love.

  • Fit Marriage

I’m also a partner with another online site/business called Fit Marriage where we help busy couples make fitness a key part of their marriage.  We have numerous income streams, but our primary revenue comes from a fitness program we developed for couples called Thrive90 Fitness – it’s pretty much completely passive at this point.

  • MLM (Team Beachbody)

One of the easiest ways for people to get started building a side income is through a multi-level-marketing (MLM) company.  There are many successful companies out there like Tastefully Simple, Mary Kay, Thirty One, etc. – just think of “home parties” you’ve been invited to and you’re likely thinking of an MLM.

Through my work at Fit Marriage and my past experience with the P90X fitness program, I became a coach with Team Beachbody.  This is the MLM company behind many of the most popular at-home workouts out there.  I treat this pretty passively, but it generates a nice income and discounts on their products.

  • Coaching & Consulting

You can get paid really well for sharing your expertise and guidance with others.  I don’t even advertise these services, but I’m able to generate a very nice side income through coaching and consulting.

You can coach/consult on just about any topic that you have specialized knowledge in.  In my case, I help married couples achieve their dream marriage through strategic planning (set big goals and follow a step-by-step plan to achieve them), and I consult with folks on getting control of their schedule and being more productive.

I also do consulting to help others get started or ramp up their online businesses.  It’s so fun to apply what I’ve learned in five years of online business to help others generate real income to help their families.

Like I said, I’ve never even advertised these services (people contact me), so there’s clearly a real demand out there for help.  If you’d like to chat about working with me in either of my specialty areas, shoot me a message. ;)

  • Shin Splints Treatment Kit

This is my latest venture, and I love it because it’s really specific, pretty passive and I get to teach my 9-year-old son about business.  When I got into running about 18 months ago, I suffered BAD from shin splints.  Long story short, I found a quick treatment regime that really helped me and some of my friends (I actually just ran my first marathon two weeks ago).

In the process, I found an opportunity (you develop this mindset once you start a side business) – all the materials I needed to do the treatments were only available from random sources and at pretty high prices.  I simply created a short guide on how to do the treatments, then found wholesale sources for the materials needed (foam roller, ice packs, resistance band).

I shot a 5-minute shin splints instructional video to put on YouTube and put the Shin Splints Treatment Kit up on Amazon.  With NO marketing, we make several sales every week with profits per kit of $12-$22 depending on shipping costs.

My son Braden packs the boxes for me and helps me with shipping.  I pay him $1 from every sale, and he loves it.  This is an awesome way to teach about the entrepreneurship and have fun together while helping others!!

OK that’s quite a list – so we clearly LOVE side businesses!

Keep in mind that we’ve had small children in our home that last 9 years, and I still work a demanding full-time engineering job (that I love).

You can totally do this. You’ll notice that a lot of our endeavors have been centered online, which we love for the flexibility it provides, but I know many other couples who thrive with “real world” businesses helping those in their community.

It all starts with one simple idea and a smart action plan…and I know just the guy to lead you on that front!

Your Step-by-Step Plan from Idea to Income

Join Dan Miller and me for an Awesome Workshop on Building YOUR Side Income!

Join Dan Miller and me for an Awesome Workshop on Building YOUR Side Income!

I couldn’t be more proud to tell you that I get to share the virtual floor with one of my favorite authors and mentors to help you build your family’s side income.

Dan Miller, 3-time New York Times best-selling author and creator of 48 Days, will be my guest expert for our next Engaged Marriage How To Workshop.

You can sign up now to join us live next Wednesday, or if you can’t make it live, no worries – everyone who registers will also get full access to the workshop as a premium recording at a deep discount:

 

Sign up here for “How to Make an Extra $500 a Month to Bless Your Family”

Dan has been gracious enough to give every participant a copy of his awesome ebook “48 Low or No Cost Business Ideas” to get your wheels turning on your own side business ideas.

The book alone is worth more than what we’re charging for full workshop, plus you get an action-oriented 60-minute training seminar AND the opportunity to ask Dan (and me) your personal questions!

Whether you join Dan and me to learn exactly how to get started or you do it on your own, I hope you’ll take action and create a side income.  It will truly bless your family in ways far beyond what money can buy.

You can do it!

If you currently have a side income or you have an idea you’re excited to pursue, please share it in the comments below.  Also, be sure to ask any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Romantic Foundations That Endure The Struggles Of Life

Romantic Foundations That Endure The Struggles Of Life

Tom and I have been through a lot this past month, and it has stretched us in ways we’ve not been stretched in a long time. On March 20th, our 7th grandchild was born after waiting for two weeks for her to arrive. This wouldn’t normally be difficult, but we live 7 hours apart. We [...]

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10 Places to Find Free and Nearly Free Stuff

10 places to find free and nearly free stuff

Some folks are just not comfortable with the thought of obtaining previously owned clothing and household items, and that’s fine. Others, like my husband and I, make our dollars go much further by taking advantage of gently used goods. What we especially love is finding merchandise in good, usable condition for free or nearly free. [...]

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Letting Go of The Jones’: Finding Relief from the “Supposed To’s” of Financial Goals

Letting Go of The Jones': Finding Relief from the Supposed To's of Financial Goals

If you ask me what my least favorite topic to write, talk or counsel others about in the entire world is—I will tell you right now, it’s money. Which is terribly inconvenient for several reasons, not the least of which being that finances are still touted as being close to, if not #1 on the [...]

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