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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.

Take Your Marriage Seriously

By Dustin | Help

Take Your Marriage Seriously - Dustin Riechmann.001Imagine you’re 45 and in pretty good shape.

You exercise several times a week, eat more 4 – 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and outside of the occasional cold, are healthy.

You’ve been married for over 18 years, have a couple of kids, nice house, and a good job.

One morning you wake up to find that you can no longer move your right arm. Everything else in your body seems fine, you even have feeling in your arm, you just can’t move it.

What would you do?

If you’re like most people, you’d schedule an appointment with your family doctor as soon as possible. You may even immediately head to the Emergency Room.

You also would probably be completely open to several visits with various specialists in order to find out what’s going on with your arm.

You’d sit through tests, scans, waiting rooms, and be willing to take whatever prescribed medication the doctor’s recommend.

You’d be willing to go to physical therapy several times per week until your arm was working properly.

The point is, you’d be willing to do almost whatever it took to have your body working well.

Now, answer me this: What is it that makes so many people not treat their marriage the same way?

If you wake up one morning and discover a problem (or finally admit to a problem’s existence), would you seek out help right away or would you hope the problem simply goes away on its own?

It seems many people hope for the latter.

Don’t believe me?

Research continues to show that couples wait an average of 6 years after a problem has become a problem before seeking out professional help. That’s 6 YEARS!

Imagine if we treated our bodies the same.

Imagine if we said to ourselves, “Oh well, I really don’t use my right arm all that much. Perhaps it will begin working again soon. I’ll just wait and see. In the meantime, honey, can you open this jar for me?”

Marital problems and struggles are common to us all.

But they don’t have to be the end of the relationship, and you definitely don’t have to go through them on your own.

Seek out a professional help. This is your best option.

If you don’t want to do that, open up to a close friend. Preferably as a couple to another couple, or if it’s just you, share your troubles with a good friend of the same gender.

Life is so much better when shared with others. Including our struggles.

Most of the time, when you share a struggle with a friend, you find out that they’ve experienced it as well. Plus, you get the burden lifted off your own shoulders a little.

Pick up a book. There are many authors who can help you navigate the path the a better relationship.

Incidentally, I’m one of them and you can pick up a copy of my new book, Naked Marriage: Uncovering Who You Are and Who You Can Become Together, today!

Regularly read a blog. Sites like Engaged Marriage offers regular thoughts and challenges that will help. Plus other resources that are worth checking out.

Thanks to the technology of today’s world, you can find help regardless of where you live.

 

Dr. Corey Allan is a Marriage and Family Therapist, author and speaker who regularly creates resources that will help you in your marriage and family. You can find his newest book here.

The 20 Best Marriage Books That Will Change Your Life

By Dustin | Book & Product Reviews

Best Marriage Books You Need to ReadIt’s hard to believe, but we recently celebrated the 8-year anniversary of Engaged Marriage!

Over this time, we’ve been blessed to interact with tens of thousands of couples across the world who share our belief that the best way to enjoy the marriage of your dreams is to get engaged and make it happen.

After publishing over 500 posts, getting to know most of the top voices in marriage and self improvement, and reviewing dozens of wonderful books, we’ve pretty much seen it all on the marriage enrichment front.

Today, we want to give YOU a gift in celebration of our anniversary and the incredible community we share here.

I’m excited to share the ultimate guide to the best marriage books in the world.

The Best Marriage Books You Need to Read

Here are the best books you should read to enrich your marriage and your life based on our own experience and feedback from the Engaged Marriage community.

In no particular order, here’s the list:

1. Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman

2. Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver

3. 15 Minute Marriage Makeover by Dustin Riechmann

4. Stripped Down by Tony & Alisa DiLorenzo

5. The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Gregorie

6. Marriage Rebranded by Tyler Ward

7. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

8. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

9. Pursuit of Passion by Jeffrey Murphy & Julie Sibert

10. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

11. Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design by J. Parker

12. The Bible by God

13. The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick

14. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Dr. Gary Chapman

15. Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

16. Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix

17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

18. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

19. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

20. Boundaries In Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Best Marriage Books

What book would you add to this list?  Tell us your favorite marriage book in the comments below.

3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & Businessman…and Why I’m Starting Over

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

An update...one year later
NOTE: I originally wrote this post in 2016 after my first experience with The 90-Day Year. Since then, I’ve completed the program two more times and have more than tripled the results discussed below. It works!

Stressed. Overwhelmed. Disconnected.

3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & Businessman…and Why I’m Starting Over.001Those are a few of the feelings that described me towards the end of last year.

For a guy who prides himself as “having it all together” and helping others to be more effective leaders, this was really troubling.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything fully, and I felt like I could never catch up with my engineering work, Engaged Marriage, my fitness and (worst of all) my home life.

Can you relate to feeling SO busy that you struggle to enjoy the people and projects that you care the most about?

It was pretty terrible, and I knew that something had to change.

Looking Back (Not Fun)

I took off a few days around Christmas with the hopes that I’d be able to clear my head.

No dice.

As I reflected back on 2015, there were definitely lots of successes and things to be proud about.

But I knew I fell short in many ways, too.  Not just in business but in my connection to Bethany and our three kids.

Plus, the extra 20 pounds around my waist was feeling especially heavy.

I pulled out my trusty Moleskine journal and took a look at the Big Plans I had for 2015, and the SMART goals I had set early in the year.

I had about a 20% success rate, and I realized that even the best of intentions don’t mean much when you fail to follow-through.

#FAIL

The Turning Point

I remember it clearly…while mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed while waiting for a haircut, an ad caught my eye.

It said something along the lines of “You’re Wasting 80% of Your Potential” – and based on my annual review, that raised an eyebrow.

When I clicked over, I realized I had heard this guy on a podcast with Amy Porterfield recently.  He was all about high performance and breaking free of overwhelm by using smart systems.

My kind of guy.

His name is Todd Herman, and he’s become a mentor to me in 2016 (even though we’ve never met or even personally conversed).

My Mentor Todd HermanYou can learn more about him as part of his free training series, but here’s a quick summary:

Todd’s spent almost 20 years serving as one of the world’s most sought after peak performance coaches… working in the trenches to help over 10,000 Olympic athletes, 9 Fortune 100 Companies, billionaires, and even royal families achieve the epitome of success in their fields.

Todd is also a devoted husband and Dad to two little girls – again, my kind of guy!

I started following Todd and not just learning but APPLYING his advice, and it was a real game changer for me.

There’s a lot I could share, but these three simple things made the biggest difference for me…and our family.

These 3 Things Changed My Life Big Time

1. I Broke Free of “Old-School” Goal Setting

I’m a big fan of goal setting, and I’ve done it all of my adult life (and even as a kid).  But I found that as life got busier and more complicated, my success rate in actually meeting my goals was pretty dismal.

I got away from thinking in terms of “right now” or “this year” and I quit allowing my brain to be fooled into thinking that setting a goal was an achievement in itself.  Instead, I adopted Todd’s achievement system, switched to 90-day goal horizons with 2-week “sprints” and my success soared.

RESULT: I created, launched and delivered our new flagship program at Engaged Marriage in less than two months (total). And it happened while working full-time, expanding the EM team and spending more quality time with my family.

It’s called Total Marriage Makeover and it’s by far the best thing we’ve ever done to help busy couples enjoy the marriage of their dreams.

2. I Quit “Context Switching” ALL the Time

I didn’t have a name for it until Todd gave me one, but Context Switching was an absolute productivity killer for me, and I bet it is for you, too.

Our culture’s love affair with multi-tasking is a complete farce, and I guarantee you will benefit from changing how you work.  I thought I was a productive guy, but giving my to-do list a makeover and knocking out big items using Todd’s “block and tackle” approach was a game changer.

RESULT: Once I switched HOW I work, I found I needed to work less to get more done.  That’s a sweet change, and in my case it allowed me to spend more quality time with Bethany and our kids.

An important distinction – it’s not just about quantity of time either.  Because I felt accomplished in my work, I was far less distracted and could really, truly focus on my family.

3. I Started Focusing on Performance…Not Potential

This is really the overarching change that’s occurred in my approach to business and life.  It’s a mindset issue, but actually putting it into action is much less abstract.

It takes some effort to break old habits, but I found that Todd’s approach was practical and systematic.  So even when I wasn’t sure about the outcome, I learned to trust the steps and the payoff was immense.

RESULT: I’m achieving success like never before.  I literally did more in our business in the first quarter of 2016 than we accomplished in all of 2015 (or any other year).

Then I kept applying what I learned each 90 days, and it’s truly been an amazing year as we’ve launched a membership community, several new programs and created a very successful digital marketing consulting company…all without feeling crazy overwhelmed despite our full schedules…because we just follow the system.

And again, this goes way beyond entrepreneurship.

Family, faith life and friendships have been enhanced so much.

So, life’s easy now, right?

Of course not.  The reality I’ve learned is that each 90 days requires a reset and a fresh plan, but it’s fun and exciting now.

I’m ready to plan for an even better 2017, and I’d LOVE to have you join me.

Check Out Todd’s Free Training While It’s Available

Todd just released a powerful, free training series that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Click here to watch Todd’s first training video

Todd Herman 90-Day Year

And be sure to download this FREE Blueprint that shows you the success system that I’ve been following:

Free Success System Download

I believe this free training is available until June 12th.

After that, Todd will open up the FULL 90-Day Year program.  This is the same program I followed to get such great results, and it only opens for enrollment every six months.

Join the 90-Day Year & Get My $850+ Bonus Package for FREE!

The 90-Day Year will be open for enrollment between June 12th and 16th, 2017.  If you miss that one-week window, you’ll have to wait until 2018 to join…please don’t  do that!

To encourage you to take action and to ensure you get the best results possible, I’ve put together a 90-Day Year Bonus package to supplement Todd’s training.

And you can get it for no additional cost!  Just click the link below to get all of the details:

Click here to check out my FREE $850+ 90-Day Year Bonus Package

I’m excited to hear about your results with the 90-Day Year so you can enjoy a better, more engaged life!

5 Surprising Factors of Long & Successful Marriages

By Dustin | Communication

5-surprising-factors-of-long-successful-marriages“Until death do us part” is a time-honored oath declared in most wedding ceremonies, but this promise is often difficult to maintain as numerous challenges wreak havoc on your marriage commitment.

In a society where divorce has become normalized – even expected – how can you withstand those bleak statistics and experience fulfillment with that same person to whom you vowed “I do?”

The following attributes can infuse your marriage with longevity and vitality for a lifetime.

Social Media Does Not Replace Interaction

The rampant accessibility of various networking sites can help you connect with people across the globe, but avid social media usage could alienate you from the relationship worth sustaining above all others – your spouse.

In fact, research conducted at Boston University in 2014 found that a 2% upsurge in nationwide divorce might correlate with increased Facebook consumption by 20%.

So, don’t mistake digital messaging for actual conversation – humans are communicative beings, and your partner is no exception.

Balance Togetherness and Alone Time

Couples who pursue both individual interests and shared activities tend to experience an increased sense of compatibility, engagement, mutual support and positive affirmation.

That’s because each person in the relationship needs separate and conjoined outlets to preserve their own identity, while finding common ground with their spouse.

Bring your unique passions into the marriage, but discover a new hobby you can cultivate side-by-side – whether it’s training for a marathon or taking lessons on the ukulele.

Prioritize Education and Employment

Financial strain can provoke numerous marital issues – deception, anxiety, selfishness, resentment and distrust – but a conscientious view of your job can give your partner the security and stability they desire.

Moreover, 35% of employed people get divorced, compared to 42% of unemployed people.

Obtaining higher education also projects to your spouse that you are dependable, motivated, and goal-oriented. The Washington Post even reports 10% fewer divorces among those with a bachelor’s degree.

Conscious Choices Exceed Rash Decisions

When faced with transitions – pursuing a career advancement, beginning a family or moving to another state, for example – couples are more equipped to reach a mutually beneficial verdict when they discuss their options in a thorough, candid and respectful manner.

This approach helps you both fight the urge to react impulsively based on heightened emotions, therefore avoiding tension, arguments or consequences.

While change is inevitable, your response can either uphold or derail the marriage bond.

Use Inclusive Pronouns

Rather than telling your spouse, “I think” or “I need,” research compiled at the University of California Berkeley indicates that “us” and “we” communicate a more unified front – particularly in disagreements.

Using these words during high-stress moments can reduce feelings of division and promote conflict resolution instead.

So, the next time you find yourselves embroiled in combat, remember that “I” or “me” conveys isolation, but “us” or “we” forges camaraderie…a basic ingredient for overcoming obstacles.

There you have it – five ways you can proactively help to ensure your marriage is lifelong…and happy.

 

5 Surprising Factors of Long & Successful Marriages.001

How to Be a Good Husband: Here is Everything She Needs From You

By Dustin | Communication

How to be a Good Husband - Dustin Riechmann.001Whether you’re single, thinking of engagement, or have been married for years, your lover will appreciate these tips on how to be a good husband.

We live in a world where you can find instruction manuals for almost anything online.

But there’s no Haynes manual on how to be a good husband.

We also don’t come into this world instinctively knowing how to do it.

With a 40-50% projected risk of divorce, it looks like a lot of couples could use some help.

The good news is, being a good husband is a skill you can learn!

Follow these tips and 10x your relationship!

1) Remember that she can sense how you’re feeling.

Men aren’t mind-readers. And while they’re much better at reading between the lines, neither are women.

But they can sense a shift in emotions. So if you’re in a bad mood, feeling resentful, or bitter, she’ll pick up on it.

Body language, tone of voice, choice of language – she’s unconsciously reading all of it, all of the time.

She might not even know she’s detecting your feelings on a conscious level. But she’ll react to them all the same.

So far, that sounds pretty negative. But the solution is surprisingly simple. If she’ll pick up on your bad emotions – she’ll also pick up on the good ones.

Respect her. Be authentic. Be honest.

This is particularly important if she senses something is wrong. If she asks you what’s up, don’t ignore her, even if you’re worried she won’t like the answer.

Howard Markman, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, believes that “nagging is an enemy of love”.

2) So, don’t turn her into a nagging wife.

Be honest. Do you ever complain to your friends that your wife won’t stop nagging you?

Well if you want to be a good husband, then your first job is to realize that you’re not infallible.

If she asks you to do something, do it. Don’t keep putting it off until she has to ask you a million times.

She’s only nagging you because you’re ignoring what she’s asking.

You may get home from work and be too tired to do what she’s asking.

But think about it from her point of view. She’s probably been at work all day too,

Yet she’s still expected to do the household chores, make the meals, look after the kids, and clear up after you.

If you want some time to yourself to unwind, then why would you expect anything less for her?

Step up and take some of the responsibilities off her shoulders. That’s how to be a good husband.

3) Involve her in your struggles.

Maybe you’ve had an awful day at work. Perhaps you’re in a terrible mood for any number of reasons.

You already know she’ll be able to tell. So involve her in what’s wrong.

Tell her about your day. Ask her advice.

Just let her know your mood has nothing to do with her.

Simply talking about it might lift your burden. Or she might have some useful suggestions.

Making her feel like you’re a team to tackle problems together is an easy way to strengthen your relationship.

By the same token, when she talks about her problems, don’t offer to solve them for her.

And certainly, don’t tell her how she should have acted.

Just listen, and let her know that you care.

It’s a cliche but it’s true – a problem shared really is a problem halved.

4) She wants to feel wanted.

It’s sometimes a common misconception that men are more interested in sex than women.

That’s not true. It’s just the case that men are more vocal about it!

Flirt with her. Make her feel special.

Don’t make her feel like sex is an obligation or a chore.

This goes back to #1. If you’re resentful or critical of her, she’s not going to jump at the chance to jump into bed.

But if you show her you appreciate her, and you value who she is, she’ll naturally be more positive towards you.

Listen to her when she’s talking. Ask questions about her day. Pay her compliments even if she doesn’t ask for them.

Sneak love notes into her purse. Find out her favorite food and prepare it for her to take to work for lunch.

Or, offer to make her dinner. Take her to that fancy new restaurant that’s getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

You could really put some proper thought into your anniversary plans. These 5 gestures will mean more than a box of chocolates ever will!

If she feels more emotionally fulfilled by the relationship, then she’ll be far more loving towards you.

5) Remember why you wanted her in the first place.

There must be a reason you chose her above all other women.

It’s easy to lose sight of that after you get married. The novelty wears off and the daily grind sets in.

You start to rub each other up the wrong way. She criticizes you, so you snap back. You want her to feel bad too.

STOP.

Talk to your friends about how they saw your relationship when you first got together. Look at photographs. Watch any videos if you have them.

And don’t just look at how she’s changed. Look at how you’ve changed. Is it for the better, or worse?

This is also an exercise you can get her on board with, especially if you’re both frustrated with each other.

Turn it into an adventure.

Go on an emotional journey together to find your way back to the people that you were.

Have dates in unusual places. Get to know each other again.

She’ll appreciate the effort that you’re making.

6) Most of all, learning how to be a good husband is just step 1!

Reading about it is one thing. Putting it into practice is quite another!

Put some effort into planning an anniversary celebration.

But always involve your partner in everything. She’s your partner, not your property, trophy, or servant.

Listening to her should be at the heart of your lives together.

Make no mistake, she needs to listen to you too. This goes both ways!

So make an effort to have time together without interruptions. Put your phones away, turn off the TV, and just talk.

Really listen to each other, too. Don’t spend all of your time just waiting to speak.

Practicing mindfulness could really help you, especially the use of deep listening. You’ll hear things you’ve often missed in the past – and you’ll get to know her so much better as a result.

It’s true that following all of these steps will take time and effort. If you’d like to kickstart your journey with a peace offering, then consider one of our beautiful gifts for her.

Good luck!

dr-carissa-coulston-relationship-psychologistDr. Carissa Coulston is a Clinical Psychologist with over 30 research publications in high standard medical and psychiatric peer-reviewed journals. She has experience in managing a wide range of problems within the Psychology spectrum from common everyday issues such as stress and anxiety, to more chronic and severe mental health conditions.

Carissa writes a regular blog on relationship management and helps people deal with various problems they face in relationships, offering advice on how to resolve difficult situations, strategies to cope with and move past painful and disappointing experiences, and tips on how to improve the overall quality of relationships to achieve happiness and fulfillment.