Dustin – Page 82 – Engaged Marriage

All Posts by Dustin


About the Author

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

Marriage as a Vocation

By Dustin | Spirituality

Marriage as a Vocation

What comes to mind when you think of a vocation?

How about vocation in the context of a marriage?

If you are like most people, and especially if you happen to share my status as a member of the Catholic Church, you probably think of a priest (or possibly a nun).

When you add marriage into the mix, your thoughts may shift slightly to the particular clergy that performed your wedding ceremony or your current pastor.

In church, we often hear about the need for additional vocations or calls to the religious life.  It seems that “vocation” is basically synonymous with “calling” which again leads us to the idea of a young man or woman being called by God to a life of religious service.

If you read about career coaching or seek guidance in this area, you may come across a slightly different idea.

Many career coaches like to break down the approach to work into three areas from broadest to most specific: vocation, career and job, where vocation is your overall “calling” or purpose for working.

Well, if you look up “vocation” on dictionary.com, here is what you’ll find:

1. a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
2. a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
3. a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life.
4. a function or station in life to which one is called by God: the religious vocation; the vocation of marriage.

I was actually a bit surprised by this result as I expected only the first 3 1/2 definitions to show up.  The last half of the fourth definition was a pleasant surprise, as this was my point in creating this post!

If you are married (or engaged to be married), you need to start viewing your marriage as your vocation.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think it is helpful to understand that your marriage is the central function of your life (see #4) and your most important calling (see #1).

Your marriage must come above all things including your career, your friends and even yourself.

That is unless you do share my belief in God.  In that case, marriage must be your second priority behind only He who created marriage.

After all, it was God who brought you together with your spouse and formed a divine Trinity.

Yes, a Trinity.  He invited you to a sacrament that permanently transformed you from two individuals into an inseparable loving relationship that includes you, your spouse and the Big Guy.

I know that’s some heavy stuff, but I personally believe that is where marriage fits into a Christian life (see #3).

So, I hope next time you hear someone use the word “vocation” it reminds you of your own calling from God. 

Don’t ever forget where your marriage belongs in your long list of priorities in life.  And strive everyday to treat your spouse like a true member of the Trinity that has been created just for you.

Photo by YourDreamTouch Photography

Marriage and Great Communication: Ageless Advice from Aged Couples

By Dustin | Communication

Marriage and Communication

Have you ever attended a wedding reception where they have a dance for married couples and the D.J. makes the couples sit down based on the length of their marriage?  First, the newlyweds are gone, then the 5-year whippersnappers, then the measly 10-year marriages, then 20, 30, 40…and then it gets interesting.

Once you get into the 50-year plus range of marriage, you are dealing with some major geriatric wonders.  I mean these people have not only lived for 70, 80 or even 90 years, but they have survived more than a half a century of marriage…with the same person.

My wife and I have been to a lot of weddings over the course of our relationship, and I can honestly say that I have grown to appreciate the “Anniversary Dance” more and more through the years.  No, it’s not the music, which is generally pretty lame so as to keep pace with said geriatric wonders, it’s the candid marriage advice that the winning couple is asked to give to the newly married bride and groom after the dance (and before they’re allowed to sit down and rest).

Ageless Advice

Almost invariably, the man answers the request for the best advice they have to offer with something along the lines of “Do what she says” or “Listen to her and you won’t get hurt” or some other short quip that old men tell best.

The woman usually seems just a bit embarrassed by the attention and the need to speak into a microphone, but with a quick gaze into the eyes of her long-time husband (who at this point is really feeling the ache in his knees and badly wants to sit down) she gives her advice.

And from my experience, the elder bride sums up her marriage advice with something similar to “Don’t go to bed angry” or “Always communicate well with each other.”

There you have the golden marriage advice that holds true for every generation: Great Communication makes a Great Marriage. Take a look at all of the blog categories listed on the sidebar of this website (these will continue to grow as I fill in the blanks with new posts): Finances, Sex, Spirituality, Children, Marriage Preparation, Household Management, Individual Fulfillment and Romance.  These are the major issues facing our marriages, and every critical topic requires solid communication for success.

Stay tuned for a variety of posts and great resources related to having awesome and open communication in your marriage.  In the meantime, remember that the first rule is that communication is a two-sided coin that requires both effective talking and excellent listening.  Even after 50-plus years of marriage, those old, happy couples that we can all admire still remember Rule #1 and recognize its timeless value.

Photo courtesy of maveric2003

Marriage, Sex and Family Planning

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

Family Planning and Children

If there is one subject related to marriage that I love to talk about, it’s sex! 🙂 Don’t worry (or be disappointed depending on how warped your mind may be), I am not referring to anything dirty or inappropriate here.  Instead, I am talking about how healthy sexuality should play a key role in a vibrant and successful marriage.

Of course, it is difficult to talk about sexuality and marriage without also discussing the issue of family planning and decisions related to bringing children into this world.  Good news!  I also have a passion for this subject and feel like I can offer a great deal of practical and hopefully comforting advice on this topic.

It just so happens that my wife and I are regular presenters on the topic of Sexuality and Family Planning in the marriage preparation class offered by our church. In fact, it was our involvement in this program, along with our interaction with many engaged and married couples, that inspired the creation of the Engaged Marriage blog and website.

You will find a lot of valuable resources related to having a healthy sexual relationship and finding the right family planning approach for your marriage in this category.  In particular, I hope to shed some light and spread the word about the family planning method that my wife and I have chosen: Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Whether for practical, moral, health, religious, financial or other reasons, many couples are not comfortable with their current forms of family planning.  This was an issue that we struggled with for the first four years of our marriage until we were blessed to discover (through a rather interesting journey) the practice of Natural Family Planning. I can hardly wait to share both the benefits and challenges of NFP, especially the fantastic positive effect it was had on our marriage and our overall relationship.  However, I am told that blog posts are best left shorter and sweeter, so I will save that for another day (but soon).

Before I wrap up this introductory post on Marriage, Sex and Family Planning, I did want to alert you to keep an eye out for what I feel will be a unique review of a product we have decided to use, the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor.  While we have successfully used Natural Family Planning for more than four years now to both quickly conceive and effectively space-out our two children, we feel like adding this monitor to our “toolbox” may help add another level of quality and effectiveness (especially since we are thinking of trying for Baby #3 soon).

I plan to purchase one of these from Amazon (based on their price and shipping offers) in the next few days, so we can start trying it out so stay tuned for updates.  If you are interested in reading more about this monitor or possibly purchasing one, you can click on the links for the MonitorClearblue Easy Fertility Monitor, the SticksClearblue Easy Fertility Monitor Sticks or the Monitor and Test Sticks Combo Package.

Photo courtesy of christine [cbszeto]

Marriage & Finances

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Money and Careers

Do you and your spouse or fiance ever have disagreements about your finances? Of course you do. It is only natural that we would have some differences of opinion regarding our spending decisions, especially when you are combining households and dealing with all of the other life changes that accompany marriage.

However, it is important to recognize that money fights and financial difficulties are widely regarded to be one of the leading causes of marriage problems and are often cited as a main reason for divorce.

It is vitally important that your marriage include a solid financial plan! The good news is that it is actually pretty easy to make smart decisions about money and set your marriage up for financial success. This is one of my favorite topics, so you can look forward to plenty of information about having a great career, buying a home, budgeting, becoming debt free, investing, giving, retirement savings, planning for college funds, buying a car, spending wisely, increasing your income and much more.

I have read many great (and not so great) books and free online articles on these subjects, and I love checking out useful forums and podcasts. So you can also expect some honest reviews that cut through the B.S. and show you where you can find the best tools to master this important aspect of your marriage.

Stay tuned for tons of useful posts that will give you the knowledge and resources you need to have a “million-dollar marriage”!

Photo by Rob Lee

The Big Issues Facing a New Marriage

By Dustin | General

New Marriage Advice

For many couples, it may be hard to imagine a more stressful time than those that we must face in our last years as poor single souls. Not only are you dealing with inconsiderate roommates, final exams, part-time work and the need to juggle a variety of critical social activities (sports, parties, beer drinking, movie watching, video games, etc.), you also have to plan the most romantic wedding proposal in history (for the guys) or the grandest wedding ceremony and reception ever celebrated in Western civilization.

Let’s not even talk about the trials of selecting the perfect wedding dress or honeymoon location, and don’t even mention the matrix that has to be evaluated to pick the right wedding attendants. And who can find a quality wedding photographer and a worthy cake decorator with a mere two years of notice? Talk about stress!

I’ll bet that those with a few years of marriage under your belt probably read these two paragraphs with a guilty grin. At the time, these seemed like real problems that demanded our full mental and emotional capacities. If we can only get through the wedding day and rock the honeymoon, life will be practically stress-free.

Not so much. Married life is awesome and lacks comparison to any life event for the sustained joy it brings (save perhaps the birth of your own children, but we’ll get to that). However, marriage brings about a LOT of new stressors and critical issues that you must deal with as a new couple.

Money, Careers, Sex & Family Planning, Household Management, Communication, Romance, Children, Individual Fulfillment, Spirituality. Yeah, these are kind of a big deal. Fortunately, if you are reading this, you have found what is emerging as a valuable resource to guide you from marriage preparation through those critical first several years of your marriage. Stick with Engaged Marriage as we address these issues and many others, and together we will try to get this whole awesome marriage thing figured out.

Photo courtesy of Missus L