Dustin – Page 81 – Engaged Marriage

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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.

Get Fit and Have a Healthy Marriage: The Reasons

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Exercise and Marriage

Welcome to Part 2 of the mini-series on Fitness and Marriage!  In Part 1, I shared my story about how I realized that exercising and feeling great physically benefited my own marriage.

As promised, in this follow-up, we will take a look at the Mayo Clinic’s article outlining the Seven Benefits of Regular Physical Activity.  However, instead of following their lead and talking about how exercise helps you personally, makes your heart beat more efficiently, yada, yada, yada, we are going to give a little thought to how these Benefits relate to our marriages.  What else would you expect from EngagedMarriage.com?

So, here are the Mayo Clinic’s Seven Benefits with my own commentary explaining why you should actually care about this stuff (other than that whole heart thing):

1. Exercise Improves Your Mood

Have you ever had a small issue turn into an all-out fight with your spouse for what seemed like no good reason?  Chances are one of you was just in a pissy mood to start with and things spiraled out of control unnecessarily.

Physical activity stimulates chemicals in your brain that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out.  Not to mention the fact that you’ll be looking good and feeling more self-confident (and perhaps a bit less defensive).  Bottom line: you don’t pick silly fights when you’re fresh off a “runner’s high”.

2. Exercise Combats Chronic Diseases

This goes back to the heartbeat issue and well beyond it.  If you stick to an exercise ritual, you will greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a host of other major diseases.  You will be around longer and enjoy a higher quality of life with your spouse.  Heck, maybe you’ll even win an Anniversary Dance one day if you really get in gear.

3. Exercise Helps You Manage Your Weight

Do you think your spouse would find you more attractive if you lost a few pounds?  To me, that’s not even the real question.  The key is that you feel attractive and confident about your looks.  That will have a huge impact on your marriage and your sex life.

It’s pretty simple: when you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to keep your weight under control.  No beer belly = more confidence!

4. Exercise Boosts Your Energy Level

Personally, this is probably the biggest benefit I see from regular exercise.  After a long day of work, I will spend time playing with the kids, getting them ready for bed, doing chores around the house, trying to maintain a connection with my hobbies (like blogging) and all of the other duties I need to fulfill as the man of the house.  My wife has even more to do.  Where does that leave us at the end of the night when we need to spend some quality time together?

With the need for more energy!  The good news is that your cardiovascular efficiency and your overall energy levels will improve with regular exercise.  Here’s to late night blogging (and “quality time”)!

5. Exercise Promotes Better Sleep

I don’t know about you, but the core of most of the “disagreements” in our marriage stem from my wife or I being crabby due to a lack of sleep. With all of the demands of modern life, sleep is the easiest thing to give up.

But it doesn’t stop with your sleep schedule.  You need to have quality sleep during the precious time that you devote to rejuvenation. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.  And that will help your marriage.

6. Exercise can put the Spark Back in Your Sex Life

Do you like sex?  Then exercise.  Enough said.

Okay, so I guess I should provide some facts here to clarify how this correlation occurs (although all you really need to know is that time on the treadmill improves time in the sack). Not only does exercise leave you feeling energized and looking better, but it can actually lead to enhanced arousal for women.  And men with regular fitness routines are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise (especially as they get older).

Do you really need any more reasons?

7. Exercise can be Fun!

While I love P90X and the results it provided me, you really don’t have to be as intense and overt with your fitness routine.  Your activity can be purely fun as long as you do it consistently.

You could take a dance class (not my cup of tea, but maybe that works for you).  On the more manly side of things, you could try rock climbing or take a long hike.  Get your whole family involved with a trip to the park.  Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find a physical activity that you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, it’s exercise!

Now that you have read these benefits and thought about how fitness not only benefits your physical health but your relationship and your family life, I bet you are fired up.  Heck, you’re probably running in place and taking your pulse right now, just hoping I would cut this post a little short so you could get outside to knock out a few sets of wind sprints before you ride your bike to work today.

Personally, I’ve written this entire post while maintaining a perfect Downward Dog yoga pose.

Okay, I realize that it will take more than my posts to get you into a regular fitness routine.  However, I do sincerely hope that you will consider your spouse and your marriage when you are looking for motivation to get to the gym, go for a walk or pop in your Tony Horton DVD.

So, now you have all the reasons you should ever need to take action and improve your level of fitness.  What could possibly be holding you back?

Oh, right.  You are letting that whole finite, 24 hours in a day baloney hold you back.  Trust me, I feel your pain and I have some advice that I hope will help you see that you can (and really must) make time to invest in your health and your marriage.  T-I-M-E is what Part 3 of this little series is all about!

Photo courtesy of bobster855

Get Fit and Have a Healthy Marriage: The Realization

By Dustin | Individual Fulfillment

Exercise for Family FunDid you know that regular exercise is good for you?  Have you heard that there are benefits to your health if you make physical fitness a key part of your lifestyle?

Given that you are taking the time to read an article on a site dedicated to proactively improving your married life, I’m gonna go ahead and assume you are not a moron and you do not currently live in a cave.  Of course you know that exercise is good for you!

So do you have a regular fitness routine that you maintain as a high priority in your life?  Me neither, at least not on the consistent basis that I should.  I tend to operate in extremes with my exercise commitment.  Earlier this year, I came to the sober realization that I was fat.  Not obese, not disgusting, but fat, soft and lazy nonetheless.  I got fired up.

I decided that it was time (again) for a change.  I bought the P90X Extreme Home Fitness System that you may have seen on TV, as it is one of the most successful infomercials of all time.  I can tell you that P90X is tough, its intense and it works remarkably well if you commit yourself to the program.  I was totally plugged in to the workouts, waking up at 6:00 a.m. six days a week to sweat my butt off in my basement while Tony Horton implored me to “Bring It” day after day on my wide-screen TV.

Over the course of about eight weeks, I lost 23 pounds and felt fantastic.  I turned my attention to cycling and completed my first Century (100 mile) bicycle ride on my 30th birthday in July.  I was never a threat to Lance Armstrong, but I was in the best shape of my life.  In the weeks since this pinnacle, I’ve slacked off a bit but remain at a healthy weight that I can maintain with a moderate fitness plan working out three mornings per week.Great Move!

It just so happened that my wife discovered a love of (and talent for) running this summer as well.  She would get out in the evenings after we got the kids to b ed to take a brisk run around the neighborhood.  She “peaked out” in her own way by participating in several 5K events in our area, and let me tell you that she is looking great!

But this article is not about specific fitness routines or getting you to Sweat to the Oldies.  And, although I’m pretty pumped about my accomplishments this year, it’s also not about tooting my horn (I am happy to brag on my running wife, though).  This article is about something much more important that I realized along the way.

Getting physically fit can really benefit your marriage!

It makes a lot of sense when you take the time to think about it.  Exercise reduces stress, increases self-esteem and helps you to feel more attractive (I love it when my wife feels more attractive:)).

Seriously.  Take a moment to visualize yourself and your spouse (unless they already look like a Greek Goddess like my dear wife…she does read this blog, you know) in great physical condition.  I bet you are both smiling in your vision, and for good reason.

I think we have all heard repeatedly about the great benefits of exercise as they pertain to our personal health.  But I doubt you have given much thought to the important role your own fitness can play in your marriage and family life.

In Part 2 of this series, I want to share with you a short article that was recently released by the Mayo Clinic outlining the Seven Benefits of Regular Physical Activity.  Predictably, the article is focused almost entirely on personal health benefits.  I think it will be fun and motivational to look at these same Seven Benefits and how they can help make your marriage awesome.

After all, what good is a great body without a spouse to share it with?

Photos courtesy of kevindooley

Weekly Round-Up of Interesting Reads #1

By Dustin | Link Round-Up

As I have become more immersed in the world of blogging, my eyes have been opened to the great deal of quality content out there to read.  I thought it would be fun and hopefully useful if I posted a weekly “round-up” with links to some of my favorite reads from the week.  These will range from serious, marriage-related articles to funny photos.  Enjoy!

  • Zen Habits article on getting things done.  Zen Habits is one of the biggest blogs on the web, and I saw a lot of value in this article on reducing the “friction” in life so you can get more things accomplished.

  • Cool story about Teddy Roosevelt.  The Art of Manliness is a cool blog aimed at helping guys be a “man’s man”.  Teddy Roosevelt was the ultimate manly man, and this story about his adventures on The River of Doubt proves it.

  • Debt Free with the Debt Snowball.  My Super Charged Life is a cool blog aimed at helping you make the most out of life.  This is an older article about using Dave Ramsey’s plan to get out of debt.  Our family has used this method and the resulting financial freedom has definitely enhanced our marriage.

  • And finally, an awesome photo from a very addicting site I found today.  This comes courtesy of People of Walmart, and I think it speaks for itself!

Wal-Mart Wedding

Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just be a Couple

By Dustin | Romance

Trust me, I know how busy your life as a married couple can be.Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just be a Couple

With work, family, extracurricular activities, exercise, kids, cooking, household chores and all of the other tasks we have to complete each day, it seems like there’s no time for anything else.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you must make time for one more thing…fortunately, just 15 minutes each day will do the trick.

That’s only 1% of the time you have available each day, so you know it’s realistic.

Couple Time is a Must

You need to make some time each day to be a couple instead of parents, employees and whatever other roles you play each day.

Your marriage is more important than your children or your career, so you need to start nourishing it.

Your marriage must come second (just behind your relationship with God if you share that belief), and it cannot be allowed to slide to any less priority in your everyday life.

15 Minutes, Really?

Find just 15 minutes each day to sit without distractions and talk to your spouse about your day, your thoughts, your dreams and whatever else you feel like sharing as long as you are engaged in an intimate conversation.

And please be sure that your conversation doesn’t revolve around things that need to be done around the house, the kids’ school activities or any other “responsible” meeting topics.

This time is for you to talk about your individual thoughts and your desires as a couple.

Find the Time

The first step in this fun little adventure in romance is to identify where you’ll find your 15 minutes.

Well, it starts with the right perspective.

What if you found out that you had to spend 15 minutes each day getting a medical treatment that you needed to survive?

Less dramatically, what if you could voluntarily give this time to help your spouse achieve a great deal of happiness? Or pump up your own happiness, get rid of stress and feel fulfilled?

You can find the time. After all, we are literally only talking about 1% of your day here!

To get you started, here are some areas where you might be able to cut back a bit:

  • Watch less television (this should do it for most of us)
  • Cut out 15 minutes of mindless web surfing (this should take care of the rest)
  • Check Facebook less often or update your Pinboards a bit less frequently
  • Focus at work so you can leave a bit earlier
  • Only check your email twice per day (this can be a HUGE time saver)
  • Cut down on video games
  • Exercise at home instead of driving to the gym
  • Put the kids to bed 15 minutes early
  • Wake up 15 minutes early
  • Quit reading Engaged Marriage – this is an absolute last resort and is not recommended! 🙂

When we decided to make this 15 minutes of “couple time” a priority in our marriage, we simply made sure the kids were in bed at a consistent time each evening and spent our time together before we did anything else.

We found that all of our other responsibilities can easily wait for a measly 15 minutes.

This is our sacred time for each other and the key to staying engaged in our marriage – and we wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Beyond Daily Time

While 15 minutes per day should do the trick, I further encourage you to schedule a date night once every week or two. It doesn’t have to be an expensive or elaborate outing.

While it is preferable to get away from the house and all of the “to-do’s” it represents, you don’t necessarily even have to go out.  Your date night can be as simple as cooking dinner together and sharing a bottle of wine, or just watching a movie together after the kids go to bed.

The important thing is that you are engaged in your relationship and focused on appreciating each other as a couple for at least a short time each week.

There you have it:  spend a measly 15 minutes being a couple each day, and you’ll feel closer than ever.  Throw in a fun date night just once per week and you will be on your way to having an awesome marriage for life.

See, it’s not hard to be Romantic after all!

Need Some Ideas for the Best Way to Spend Your 15 Minutes?

Click here to learn how you can refresh your marriage and rock your communication, romance, sex life and finances in just 15 minutes a day…

15 Minute Marriage Makeover

Be Consistent with Child Discipline or Be in the Doghouse!

By Dustin | Children , Communication

Good Discipline for Children or Else

Our family enjoyed a (mostly) relaxing Labor Day weekend spent camping, fishing and visiting with lots of family.  However, due to my own shortcomings, the trip ended on a bit of a sour note that reminded me of the importance of good listening (especially to my dear wife…who will likely read this at some point…did I mention she is beautiful?) and consistency when disciplining our children.

It all started innocently enough.  My son was enjoying some morning fishing time with his Grandpa, and he developed an affinity (okay, maybe borderline obsession) with the plastic “fishy” fishing lures in the tackle box he was supposed to be sitting on.  Don’t worry, these were without hooks so they were mostly safe if you discount their apparent addictive properties.

So, we have a four-year-old boy rapidly “collecting” small plastic fish of a truly alluring variety.  Well, at some point a limit was established and the little guy was mostly okay with his three new pets.  A bit later, he decided he needed just one more fish (or so I thought), a small piece of sparkly gold in his eyes.

Listen to your wifeWhile I was enjoying a few moments of semi-peace in a nearby lawn chair, I overheard his (very dear) mother sternly telling the child that no more fish would removed from the tackle box.  No more fish!  I said no more!  If you can’t listen, you’ll just have to be in timeout.  And to timeout he went.  Fair enough, he deserved some discipline and needed to chill out.

Enter Daddy O’ The Doghouse

And here’s where Daddy gets his dog bone.  My son served his time in the penalty box with honor.  Upon discharge, he approached the forbidden box of tackle.  Ah, don’t worry Mama, Daddy’s got this situation under control.  What we need here is a grand solution, a win-win, a use of superior intellect to fool this child into believing he is getting his way while actually advancing the parental motives.  Brilliant!

In my best Daddy-knows-best voice, I tell the young man that he cannot have any additional fishing lures.  However, he may elect, if he so chooses, to trade in his three fish for the single sparkly fish of his heart’s great desire.  At this point, I can see a real role in world politics and peace-building in my future.  And the young, naive boy took the offer with zest!

The Great Negotiator?  Maybe Not.

A few moments later, I get “the look” as Mama has seen the new sparkly fish.  I can tell this is not a good reaction, but I am puzzled.  I have not added a fish to his collection.  No way, I’ve actually reduced the number of outstanding lures by two.  What could be the problem here?

I was sternly informed that the original argument was over the proposition the young boy had made to make a trade for a different fish.  At first, I think, “Wow, this kid is brilliant…a chip off the old block.”  Then I believe the color began to leave my face as I realized what I had done.

Parent skills should be rewardedWith a single act of not listening fully (and not asking later), I had contradicted my wife’s worthy parental discipline.  I had given our son exactly what he wanted after he had been disciplined for not taking no for an answer earlier.  This was clearly a bad move that served as a poor example of consistent parenting.  Ouch.  Bad Dad, Bad.

So, into the Doghouse of shame I was sent for most of the drive home from the campsite that morning.  And rightfully so, as I had made a fairly serious parenting mistake simply by not listening well.  To my wife’s credit, she threw me a bone and let it go pretty quickly.  Did I mention she is a great wife, smart and witty, gorgeous too…

Doghouse photo courtesy of ClicPhoto Studio; Tackle Box photo courtesy of jasonippolito; Dog Bone photo courtesy of ktylerconk