“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book.  Write a good one.” – Brad Paisley

Engaged Marriage - Best of 2013Whether 2013 has been your best year yet or a struggle, it’s that wonderful time of year when we turn the page and celebrate a fresh New Year.

To help celebrate and thank you for your support, we’ve got a great giveaway near the end of this post.

But before we get there, I want to share some highlights from 2013 for your enjoyment and also let you know about some exciting changes you can expect as we leap in 2014.

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Great! Grab our 7 simple steps to improve communication in your marriage (in less than 15 minutes):

Goodbye 2013

On a personal level, it was a bit of a mixed bag for us in the Riechmann household.  We lost my Dad earlier in the year after a long struggle with his health, which is very difficult yet a blessing in its own way after sharing so much suffering with him in recent years.

Despite that loss, I can only look back on 2013 with a smile and give thanks to God for another year of good health and happiness for our family.  Our kids grew a year older, our marriage matured (in a good way!) and we enjoyed meeting many personal goals along the way.

I hope you are able to take a little time to reflect on the past year and count your blessings.  I’m sure there are many.

On the Engaged Marriage front, I’d also have to say that 2013 was a mixed bag.  On the positive front, we welcomed some amazing new writers to our team mid-year.  And in the last few months, we introduced our How To Workshops, which proved to be a real hit.

Despite our successes, I look back at the last year with a bit of regret. I wrote pretty infrequently, I feel like the site lost some of its luster and, if I’m being honest, a bit of its soul.

I miss the tight-connected community we’ve had here in the past (we’ve been going for over 4 years now!), and our blog/business/brand needs to get back to our central mission.

More on that in a moment. 🙂

The Best Posts of 2013 (and a Few Classics)

Based on the popularity among our readers, here’s a brief rundown of the Top 10 new posts of 2013:

Here are a few classics that attracted the most attention overall this year:

And here are the new programs that we introduced in 2013 to help you in new ways:

Phew, what a year it was for creation and expansion of our content!

Exciting New Changes are Coming in 2014

Like I mentioned above, for all the success we’ve shared with you this year, I know we can be doing much more for you.

To make it happen, we have some things in store in 2014 that I think you’ll love.

  • My wife Bethany is officially joining the team! 

This is my favorite news in a long time. While she’s been my unofficial confidant and helper forever, Bethany will be taking the reigns as our Editor here on the blog and our community manager on our Facebook page.  She is awesome, and I know the site will benefit big-time from her new contributions!

  • The site will be refocusing on our core mission. 

Engaged Marriage is here to serve busy couples and provide you with the practical, marriage-boosting resources you need to enjoy all the glory God wants to provide in your relationship.  We firmly believe that strong marriages make strong families and a better world, and we’re here to help you live a married life you love, no matter how hectic life gets.

You’ll see this refocus happen in a few areas.  For one, I’ll be writing much more consistently and (to make room and narrow the focus of our topic areas) we’ve cut back on the number of other team members from 8 to 4.

We’ll also be offering our How To Workshops on a monthly basis to provide you the targeted, actionable help you need in a super-useful and proven format.

  • We’re coming together as a community again and having more FUN.

We’re also putting a renewed emphasis on making Engaged Marriage a community that you’re excited to be part of again.

Aside from new awesome content here on the blog, we’ll be focused on meeting you where you are with lots of interaction on our renewed Facebook page and our growing Pinterest page.  And our email newsletter will feature more fun stuff and highlight great things going on within the EM community.

Plus, we plan to do many more giveaways, starting with today’s post.  Giveaways are fun, helpful and serve to encourage you to spread the word and invite others to join us here.  That’s a total win-win.

To make sure you don’t miss out on the giveaways or any of the new resources we’re making for you this year, make sure you’re signed up for our email insider club.  It’s free and you’ll get a bunch of free gifts just for joining.

What Are Your Goals for 2014?

We have some ambitious goals for the New Year that I’ll share in another post in a few days.

I find “stretch” goals to be most effective, and we’ve got some EM goals that will require your help (like doubling the reach of this site by sharing it with your friends) and some personal ones that I enjoy sharing since I need our community’s support (like running my first full marathon in April- yikes).

I haven’t shared it much here on EM, but I created a pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) step-by-step program that will help you set your goals and achieve them.  It was made with you in mind, so it will also show you how to find the time to accomplish your ambitions and keep your motivation high when the New Year’s rush runs out.

It’s called Time to Thrive, and to encourage you to get going on your goals, I’ve got a special 50% discount just for our community this week.  Just click here and enter the coupon code “EM50” to get half off (expires 1/7).

Share Your Top Goal & Win Great Stuff

To encourage you to put your goals down in writing and to help you feel the love from the EM community, I have a giveaway for you.  It’s really simple to enter.

In the comments below, just share your #1 goal for 2014 and (if applicable) what we can do here at Engaged Marriage to help you achieve it. 

Is there a post that you’d love to read?  A particular How To Workshop topic/guest that you’d benefit from?  A book or resource we should give away to help?  Something we can do as a community?

Just share your thoughts..and it’s totally okay if you don’t think we can help directly. 🙂

Here’s what you’ll be eligible to win:

  • A copy of Time to Thrive
  • A copy of the How to Have More Sex & Better Intimacy in Your Marriage workshop
  • A copy of the How to Communicate Your Way to a Better Marriage workshop
  • A $50 gift card to Amazon

If you win Time to Thrive or a workshop that you own already, we’ll send you a full refund – so feel free to get started today if any of those programs interest you.

I will select one comment at random to win one of each prize.  Entries close at Noon CST on Saturday 1/4/14.

To encourage you to cheer on your fellow readers, any comments you leave in reply to others will also count!  So if you see someone who shares a similar goal as you or who is seeking to achieve something you’ve done yourself, by all means reply to their comment with your helpful thoughts.

To help us jump-start our goal of doubling the size of our community, it would mean the world to me if you’d share this post with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.  I’m not requiring it, but you can feel good for helping us while helping your friends, too – plus you can reply to their comment and get a bonus entry!

Thank You!

Thank you so much for being part of this community.  We look forward to sharing so much more with you in 2014 and beyond.

Cheers from our family to yours!

Dustin & Bethany

Family Christmas

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About the author 

Dustin

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.

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  1. I am hoping to find better balance in my life. My husband and I work FT together but we never take time to spend just us, without kids, without discussing work….we need to find a better balance in work and family and down time etc.

    1. I love that, Kristin! My husband and I are similar. Until Thanksgiving, we both worked full-time separately and part-time together. At Thanksgiving, I quit my FT job (at hubby’s prompting) to focus FT on the Coaching business that he and I share. I have so many goals for myself as a Health and Weight Management Coach, but don’t want to let the fact that my home is now my workplace further distance us from spending that quality time together. To make things just a little more challenging, our only child is a high school junior, so we have limited time remaining with her before she leaves for college. Lots of attention is being paid to that process and creating lasting memories for our family, but I am afraid that when she’s gone, we run the risk of feeling like we are both living with a stranger because we haven’t focused enough on our own relationship. I would love to have help and encouragement along the way.

    2. Thanks for sharing, Kristin. I know it’s a constant battle for me as well – I like to think in terms of healthy boundaries with my time rather than focusing too much on “balance,” which just isn’t realistic sometimes.

      Best,

      Dustin

  2. My goal for 2014 is to ultimately get married to my wonderful fiancรฉ, but with that I need to work on my communication. I have a snippy/attacking way of responding and reacting. That is not loving. This will only help us grow as a couple and show that I respect him. Any advice and encouragement along the way would be awesome. Come on 9/27/13- I can’t wait to marry my love!

    1. Congratulations, Suzanne! I assume you meant 9/27/14 as your wedding date? ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’d encourage you to check out the Communication Workshop mentioned in the post above – it will be super useful for you even if you go through it on your own.

      Best,
      Dustin

  3. My husband and I have decided to do a couple’s Bible study together on a daily basis. We’ve got one to start on. Do you have any suggestions for another?

    1. Lisa- Do it! My husband and I are just finishing our first study together. It was such a great experience! I can’t wait for our next one!

    2. We have done many studies together. We have done a variety of things from short devotionals to reading a book together. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” is a classic. Two others we have done recently are “The Four Seasons of Marriage” also by Gary Chapman and “The 5 Love Needs of Men and and Women” by Gary and Barbara Rosberg. There was also a marriage study by Andy Stanley my wife and I enjoyed (had a DVD) but cannot seem to find it right now.

      1. The 5 Love Languages is absolutely amazing! I’ve been able to use what I’ve learned in relationships outside of marriage and it gives such terrific perspective ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. What an awesome idea, Lisa! I may need to borrow some of the other suggestions here and see if Bethany would like to do something similar.

      Best,
      Dustin

  4. For 2014 we’ve set the goal of having a date night every month and one getaway weekend. My husband has a difficult work schedule but we are committed to taking this time. I pre planned 12 date nights with some at home and some in town. Tomorrow he gets to find out what we are doing with the first date night.
    Lori

    1. This. Is. Awesome.

      Well done on both your goal and your specific plan to make it happen, Lori! How did your first date night go?

      Dustin

  5. My family is very important to me and I think it is important to not only think about the short-term needs of my family but also taking care of them in the future. With this in mind, I have set a relational goal of getting all documents created and organized that will help take care of my family if something would happen to me by creating a legacy box this year for them.

    1. Very smart, Joshua. This is not a fun thing to do, but it’s so important and shows a lot of respect for your family.

      Best,
      Dustin

  6. I hope to be a better wife to my husband, a better mother to my child, and a better person all the way around. I know that’s a lot to do all at once but I am going to slowly start by finishing myself first, because we all know that if you don’t love your self you can’t reLly love anyone else.

    1. These are wonderful ambitions, Margaret! If you want to see real change, I’d encourage you to break these down in specific, actionable goals that you can achieve along the way. Time to Thrive (mentioned in the post) would be a great plan for you to follow to make it happen.

      Best,
      Dustin

  7. Thanks for everything you do for the Thrive community Dustin! For 2014 I hope to find a way to conquer our family chaos by developing better routines, clearing clutter, and simplifying our lives. I also would like to find a way to work from home so I can continue to homeschool my children but without the 62 mile round trip commute I have with my current job.

  8. A huge goal & focus in our marriage is rebuilding what was broken due to some trust issues that overtook us for awhile. It almost broke our marriage but there are too many years to walk away over something that the devil throws in our path. We will focus on spending more 1 on 1 time together & more time with couples from church to help keep us focused & accountable for what we want to achieve! We will also spend more time in Gods word together…bring it 2014, we are ready!

    1. Thank you for sharing where you’ve been Stephanie. It sounds like you’re back on the right track and putting your focus and trust in God. I pray for a happy 2014 and beyond in your marriage.

      Dustin

  9. My goal for 2014 is to spend more time in the bedroom with my husband working to overcome my physical condition that currently makes it impossible for us to have sex. Engaged Marriage can help with this by continuing to post encouragement and reminders of how important sex is but also how awesome it is!

    1. Thank you so much, Amy! We’ll certainly continue to provide encouragement for intimacy in all areas of our marriages.

      Best,
      Dustin

  10. I appreciate your website. My wife and I are greatly struggling in our marriage. Our communication is not good and there is lack of trust. I am praying that during this next year in 2014, that we will begin to rebuild our marriage by beginning to work on praying together one on one and then to work with another couple to help mentor us. I plan on working on reading the Word together and just growing in my relationship with God.

    1. Thank you for sharing this David. I’m very sorry to hear you’re struggling, but I’m encouraged by your recognition and your plan to seek the help you need, both in prayer and with a mentor couple. I’d also suggest you speak with a pastor and/or counselor about your situation to get that unique guidance and encouragement.

      Best,
      Dustin

  11. Pingback: Top Posts Over at Engaged Marriage… | Intimacy in Marriage
  12. Hi Dustin & Bethany, thank you for the awesome year of awesome blog posts! I’m a fairly new reader of blogger and started out when I noticed an engaged friends of mine (now married) posted a link of your blog on her FB. I’m an unmarried woman and I’ve been curious, as I’m aware that being a Christian doesn’t make me immune from the horrid divorce statistics today. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge so I can get excited and be better prepared for my future marriage. I look forward to more this year ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, my goal for 2014 is to be more intentional with my self development and foster a deeper relationship with God as I lead an organization of young leaders. I guess the only thing I can really suggest for your blog is to have an awareness that there may be single men/women reading in terms of preparedness (I’m not really sure who else is unmarried here). Other than that, I don’t really have anything else to say. Thank you again ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That’s awesome, Kristine! It’s so encouraging to hear from someone who is seeking wisdom for their marriage before they get there. Kudos to you!

      And I appreciate you pointing out that there are those reading who are not yet married – very helpful to remember. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Best,
      Dustin

  13. First, THANK YOU for this website. It represents encouragement and practical help and hope for my marriage! Please keep up the wonderful, God-filled, inspired and inspiring work.

    Which brings me to my top goal for 2014: To improve my marriage by DAILY striving to live life guided by gratitude, generosity and grace. My marriage just isn’t where I want it to be and, as I’ve examined myself over the last year, much of that is my doing. I’ve become selfish, too often worrying about my unmet needs first and getting upset because she doesn’t seem to care. My hope is that by focusing on gratitude I can learn to put God first by recognizing blessings (even when some areas lack); by focusing on generosity I can become more like Jesus who gave all of himself sacrificially without expecting anything in return; by focusing on grace (even to myself) I can become more like Jesus who IS the very essence of grace, of undeserved favor, of boundless love. In short, my #1 goal is to live life in 3G so that I can be more like Jesus and be a greater blessing to others no matter the cost. Some days I’ll do well, some will be a struggle, but over-all becoming more like Jesus is worth it!

    1. Wow, thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement, Steve!

      I love your sentiment, and you’re spot on. When we can live with a strong sense of gratitude, it’s transformative to our marriage and our lives. It’s been said that gratitude is the key to happiness, and I believe it.

      Best,
      Dustin

    1. Ria,

      As a husband, that would be such a WONDERFUL gift to receive! Words of affirmation are a big deal and really show respect. I wish you success in your goal and your marriage

    2. Ria,
      That is a great goal. I know that is my main Love Language so I’m sure it will mean a lot to your hubby (if you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages yet, do it!).

  14. Our goal is to get certified as a couple to be marriage mentors! We love being married and encouraging others! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Thank you for all you do, Dustin and Bethany! My goal this year to read one marriage/spirituality book each week. I’m an avid reader, so I know I can do it.

  16. Thanks for the accountability of letting me post my goal here, Dustin.
    My first goal is to go on a slow-carb diet (a la 4 hour Body) for one month with my wife. Fortunately, this is already underway.
    My secondary goals are to grow my emergency fund to cover two months of expenses, thoroughly research and choose a new investment property, and better proclaim the Good News through my Natural Family Planning ministry. All of those goal require coordination with my wife first!
    If you could keep up the Godly community encouragement, that would be the best thing you could do. I’m glad that your voice will be more prominent this year and I look forward to seeing Bethany’s influence.

    1. Fantastic, Jimmy! As I mentioned to you before, I wasn’t aware of your NFP ministry and I love to hear it. I know you have the right focus to make your health and financial goals a reality this year.

      Best,
      Dustin

  17. Thanks Dustin, It was good to look through some of your best posts of 2013 as there were a few that I missed. I’m sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. I wish you strength and peace through you grief. I love your practical advise here and I look forward to the coming wisdom you have to share in 2014. All the best to you and your beautiful family!

    1. Thank you, Jason. My Dad’s passing certainly a left a big mark on our year, and I appreciate you kind words.

      Best,
      Dustin

  18. My 2014 resolution is to kiss my husband at least once a day and to tell him I Love Him more often. I realized that on the weekends and holidays, we may go several days without a kiss. So, I started this year with a conscious effort to kiss him more. And always a passionate kiss goodnight!

  19. My goal for 2014 is to rid ourselves of clutter, organize and simplify our lives. Another goal is to finish what I start. I have gotten into a habit of starting a book or project and then other priorities come up and it gets forgotten about.

    1. Thanks for sharing Jennifer! Every time we focus on organization and simplifying, it pays big dividends in our sense of peace and contentment. I think it may be time to think about it again after the holidays. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Dustin

  20. Thank you SO much to everyone who entered to win our first giveaway of the year! I loved reading all of your goals and affirmations.

    I randomly selected four comments to choose our winners. Here are the results:

    Time to Thrive – Kristine C
    Sex Workshop – Janice
    Communication Workshop – Joshua
    Amazon gift card – Jill

    I will contact each of the winners by email.

    Best to you in 2014!

    Dustin

  21. I’m coming up on our one year anniversary and it’s literally been the year from hell. I’ve had to deal with separation, an affair, emotional and physical abuse, and drug and alcohol addiction. And yet God’s word is clear, “Hand on. I HATE divorce!” So this year I’ve picked “change” as my theme for 2014. I cannot endure another year like 2013, so I’m being proactive and trying to make some positive lifestyle and relationship changes! Thank you so much for your blog! Your resources have helped SO much!!

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