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5 Ways to Stop Arguing with Your Spouse

By Dustin | Communication

5 Ways to Stop Arguing with Your SpouseStop arguing with your spouse…if only it were so simple!

Let’s face it…communication is very complex.

It’s not like something like money, which is very quantifiable and systematic, as in “Do X, Y, Z, and you’ll be successful.”

Communication between one person and another is so much more personalized and dynamic, especially with your spouse.

“You Are Here”

You’ve probably been wandering around the mall before, certain the store you’re looking for is just up ahead…and then wondering where the heck it went.

Communicating with your spouse seems so straightforward, in theory.

Before you know it, you’ve gotten off track and are so caught up in it that you don’t know where you are or how you even got there.

It’s times like this I wish we had a map to reference, with a “You Are Here” sticker, just like at the mall.

Now, I don’t know if this happens in your house (it sure does in mine), but I’ll get in a conversation with my wife Bethany, and we’ll start disagreeing about something.

What we’re talking about five minutes into the conversation is not what we started talking about.

I literally forget what started it!

We’ll be talking about budgeting and asking, “Where is this receipt?” Then all of a sudden we’re talking about stuff that has nothing to do with budgeting.

By then it has moved on to more personal things. Someone says, “I can’t believe you did that.”

And then you realize, “Wait a minute. How did we get to this?”

How to Stop Arguing with Your Spouse

Whenever you get into a tense moment with your husband or wife, it’s very likely one or both of you started to recognize that you’ve starting to gradually get off course.

You’ve probably felt things getting too tense as the conversation gets heated.

The good news is, it’s not too late to get things back on track again, de-escalate and stop arguing with your spouse.

First, notice what’s going on. Then, attempt to repair things…to break the tension, to soften the situation a bit.

This could just be a glance. It could be something you say. It could be interjecting some humor, or even a change of scenery.

Whatever it is, it’s your chance to disrupt the current cycle and get things back on task.

That “something” is called a repair attempt. Repair attempts are ways to break the tension and realize the current conversation doesn’t have to erupt into something emotionally charged.

Repair attempts are nothing more than subtle things with an amazing ability to break the pattern of arguing.

I’m going to share the top five with you so you can put them to good use to stop arguing with your spouse.

Repair Attempt #1: Using Humor

Imagine that you’re arguing with your husband or wife about something yet again and suddenly they stick their tongue out, just like a four-year old.

Would that break the mood? You bet it would.

It’s kind of silly but it works! You’re in a tense conversation and all of a sudden you recognize, “Wait a minute…I don’t want to be like this.”

So you stick out her tongue out and before you know it, they’re doing the same and you’re both laughing. After a good chuckle, you both take a short break and come back to what you were talking about.

You can also say something funny to break the mood. Just be careful!

Sometimes that’s pushing the wrong button, and you especially don’t want to come across as making light of something or making fun of her. Try making fun of the situation instead.

Repair Attempt #2: Switch Rooms

This time, let’s say that you and your wife are in your living room having a conversation that is turning into an argument.

She recognizes that you’re talking about something important that deserves to be discussed, but that things are started to get heated and she doesn’t want that.

So she asks, “Hey, can we carry on this conversation in the kitchen?”

You reply, almost without thinking, “Sure…Okay.”

Before you know it, you’re in a different room and it feels different. This is a great chance to start over again, and approach the conversation from a more conscious mindset.

And this feeling of a “reset” can be one of the best ways to stop arguing with your spouse, even if the effect is a bit subconscious.

Repair Attempt #3: Go for a Walk Together

Another way to break the tension is to go for a walk together. This works really well with emotionally-charged situations.

Not only does it involve “switching rooms” by going outside, but when you’re walking side-by-side it feels more like you’re easing into your difficult conversation.

You’re approaching it head-on without all the pressure of being face-to-face, which can feel like a confrontation.

For my wife and I, the greatest conversations happen when we’re driving because I have to keep looking forward.

I’m not saying you should avoid eye contact, but consider it taking a break from staring at each other’s frustrated faces.

Repair Attempt #4: Using Touch

Another tip along these lines is to hold hands. It just warms the heart and serves as a reminder that you’re both coming from a loving place.

Even if you’re really angry, it’s pretty hard to hold their hand and look into their eyes without feeling soothed enough to get back on track about whatever the conversation is supposed to be about.

Be the first to reach out and gently hold your partner’s hand, and you’ll see the difference it makes.

Repair Attempt #5: Sit Beside Each Other

Like I was saying before, no one ever said you have to sit face-to-face across the table from each other and talk things out. It can feel kind of confrontational.

Maybe neither of you feel like doing that this time. One of you might be comfortable with eye contact, and the other is not.

Instead, try sitting beside each other, because then you can concentrate on the topic at hand without getting caught up in body language – which may or may not be tied to what’s really going on.

Now, of course you want to be tuned into their mood. But you also don’t want unhelpful distractions.

If, for example, my face gets some sort of weird look all of a sudden and my wife sees that, she’s going to respond to it.

Maybe I just have gas, though!

I might be uncomfortable, but it’s not about what we’re talking about. It’s something else. In the heat of the moment, however, it’s easy to misunderstand.

Setting the Habit

Obviously, as you understand each other and connect better over time, the fewer misunderstandings you’ll have.

But body language will always influence us in ways we’re not even aware of, so try sitting beside each other and see how it feels.

Human nature is what it is, despite our best intentions. So until the day comes that tempers never start to escalate, you have these five repair attempts.

Try each of them and see how they go for you. You might even come up with your own and personalize things for your own relationship and experiences.

The main thing is to 1) be conscious when tension is occurring, and 2) use your communication skills to break the pattern and get back on track again.

You’ll find it helps repair your conversations and does preventative maintenance on your relationship as well.

And those are two keys to stop arguing with your spouse.

The Time to Work on Your Marriage is Now!

By Dustin | Communication

The Time to Work on Your Marriage is Now!No one expects the honeymoon to last forever.

No surprises there. We all know that even when you work on your marriage it will have its ups and downs.

Where you’re at today is not where you were yesterday, or where you’ll be tomorrow.

But where are the two of you at, exactly?

Here are some classic lines we hear…

  • “We’re fine.”
  • “We’re doing about as good as our friends, or better.”
  • “We may not be where we wanted to be when we first married, but we’ll get there.”

I mean, why bother spending time fixing something that’s not broken, right?

If something’s not noticeably broken, then it doesn’t seem urgent or important…

…which means that you’ll take the time to work on your marriage later….one of these days…someday.

Creating your dream marriage might seems like something to put off until the kids are older, or when you have more time, or money, or have advanced more in your career.

Well, guess what? There’s never a perfect time to work on your marriage, because later never comes.

The Prime Time for Divorce

If I had a nickel for every time Bethany and I have talked to a couple in their 20’s, 30’s,or especially 40’s who tells us:

“We’re doing okay right now. We have so many sports activities and stuff, but when the kids move out, we’ll be able to focus on us, and that’s when we’ll have the dream marriage that we always wanted.”

Right? Wrong.

Did you know that the #2 most common age range for divorce is between 50-55? It’s right there at the beginning of the Empty Nest phase.

Can you guess why?

What happens is that life keeps moving forward while taking care of the relationship gets quietly put on the back burner.

When you put off focusing on being a couple and doing the things that make marriage awesome, you wake up one day and feel like your husband or wife is a stranger. You feel like roommates, because haven’t done anything to keep the marriage alive.

Love is a choice. And love is a verb. It’s something you have to do, not have.

If all you do is live together in the same house, go to work, take care of the kids and so on, without taking consistent effort to work on your marriage and keep the fire going, here’s what will happen.

If you put your relationship on the back burner for too long, I guarantee you’ll will wake up one day to an empty nest and realize the children were the only thing keeping you connected.

You won’t know what to do with yourselves.

And that’s so scary, because that’s when divorce happens.

Where is Your Marriage at Today?

So please, beware of the “We’re fine, we’ll work on this later” attitude.  If you get one thing out of this article, please avoid falling for it!

Make the choice to work on your marriage now, in some small way.

Do something now, even if it’s something small. Every little bit helps, and usually that’s all it takes.

If you read my previous article “3 Powerful Marriage Exercises You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less,” it shows how it only takes a few minutes here and there to make a very powerful, positive impact.

Here’s a quick exercise. You can do this by yourself, or together if your spouse is with you.

Grab a pen and paper and draw a horizontal line on it, with a 1 on one side and a 10 on the other. Then, add a triangle in the middle at 5.

It should look like a teeter totter. Pushing down on one side is going to make the other side come up.

Now, give yourselves a grade, rating the current state of your marriage somewhere between 1 and 10.

  • 1 means on the verge of divorce – poor communication, no intimacy, maybe even separated.
  • 10 means you’re living your dream marriage, however you picture that to be.
  • 5 means average – you’re doing okay. Not great, but not bad.

Now, here’s the interesting part.

If Your Marriage Isn’t Growing, It’s Dying

No matter where your point is at on that line, it’s always moving. It might be to the left or to the right, and it might be slow and subtle.

That’s because marriage is a living thing. It’s either living and growing, or it’s dying and decaying. A marriage is getting better or getting worse at any given time.

Now, people will argue and say “That’s not true. We’ve been together for five years and we’re doing fine. Some days we’re a 3 and having a fight, some days we’re a 7 and the sex is great, like last night. But we’re pretty much a 5.”

A couple thoughts on that…

First of all, why would someone want to stay mediocre forever, at a 5? I understand a 10 is very hard to reach and stay at on a daily basis, or even comprehend. But wouldn’t you love to live in an 8 marriage?

How much happier would you be if your relationship with your spouse (the most important one in your life) was at an 8 or 9, day in and day out?

It would be awesome! So that’s one good reason to make the effort and work on your marriage now.

Beware of the Slippery Slope

The second reason is on the cautionary side.

While you might think your marriage is sitting squarely at 5, the days of the 3’s and 4’s are going to slowly accumulate as your marriage quietly starts to slide just a little more to the left.

It won’t feel like it’s moving at all. But if you’re in a static place (also called a rut), your marriage is going to start to slide backwards.

Now, it doesn’t jump straight from 5 straight to 4, then 3, and then all the way to the left. Nope! It slides from 5 to 4 ½.  Then just above 4. Then at 4.

And then one day, bam – you wake up and it’s at 1 or 2.

By that time, there’s already something majorly wrong. Maybe there’s been infidelity or hidden finances. There might be depression, drug abuse, pornography addiction, or other something else – and neither you or your spouse thought you were the kind of person who could ever do it.

And now you’re asking yourself, “What the hell happened in our marriage?” We were fine! I thought we were fine!”

You’re angry and upset, and don’t have any idea what happened.

Bethany and I hear this every single week (if not every day) from couples who come to us looking for coaching help. They tend to say, “We didn’t see it coming.”

That is the slippery slope.

These kinds of things happen when you’re stuck in a rut. Whenever the relationship slowly degrades because you’re not feeding it positive fuel, you start to slide back down that slippery slope until you fall off.

Before you know it, you’ll have some major issues and rebuilding to do.

I don’t want this to happen to you.

The Time to Work on Your Marriage is Now

Some people might be reading this and thinking,“Dang, that’s exactly what happened to us! “

Now we’re at a 1. My husband is living out of the house, and I wish I could rewind everything and be working our marriage up above 5 on that scale instead of letting it slide.”

Or, your marriage might be at 7 and you’re thinking, “Hey, we’re doing pretty well here!” That’s great! But you can’t stay complacent because it’s very easy to slide right down the scale. Keep at it!

But wherever your marriage is right now, you can only start where you’re at. Make the choice to work on your marriage now, tomorrow, and every day after that.

Give your marriage the time and attention that it needs to grow. That’s all I’m saying.

Think about that visual image of the scale and what it means for you, and always be thinking about improving.

Here’s the Next Step…

If you’re tired of being “fine” (or worse), and you want to take positive action to work on your marriage, I strongly encourage you to sign up for our FREE web class:

Click here to sign up for our free web class – How to Start Living Your Dream Marriage Now (No Matter How Busy You Are)

You can choose a time that’s most convenient for you to attend the web class.  We’ll give you the tools and encouragement you need to start pushing up that scale towards the Dream Marriage you desire.

You just have to take the first step.

3 Powerful Marriage Exercises You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

By Dustin | Communication

3 Powerful Marriage Exercises You Can Do in 15 Minutes or LessI’m sure you know how it goes.

You feel like you just don’t have the time or energy to work on your marriage, let alone do some kind of marriage exercises.

Maybe you’re just so preoccupied with taking care of the kids, your job, and getting everything else done that you feel that kind of time is a luxury you simply don’t have.

I’m going to prove to you that you can do it more easily (and fun) than you think, by sharing a few marriage exercises from our book, 15-Minute Marriage Makeover, which is full of activities that can transform your relationship.

Did you know that if you do anything consistently for just 15 minutes per day, you’ll become a master of it?

That’s really just 1% of your time!

Imagine if you carved out one tiny percent of your time to take care of your relationship.

Here are some quick marriage exercises you can start doing in just a couple minutes while you spend time with your spouse.

Marriage Exercise #1: Reflective Listening (2 minutes)

Picture this…you’re a husband and you hear your wife come home at the end of the day. The garage door comes down, you hear her slam the door behind her as she comes inside.

Then she sighs as the air leaves the room. You’re probably thinking, “Oh boy, this is  going to be a fun night!”

Now, let’s say you ask her, “Honey what’s wrong?”

So she tells you. “My boss is being a jerk, I had a super-stressful day, and every time I try to…”

As she goes on with the story, what’s your first instinct? Is it to start offering advice to make it better and fix things?

If you’re like many people (especially most men) you want to start prescribing advice, like “Well, you should do this, tell your boss that,” and so on.

You have the best of intentions but also you’re also not allowing her to get it all out.

Take a Deep Breath…and Try This

Here’s something to try instead. The first of our simple marriage exercises is called Reflective Listening.

Instead of rushing in to give advice, let her talk.

Take a deep breath. Don’t respond right away. Let her speak about what happened and how she’s feeling. And when she stops, wait a second!

Make sure wasn’t just taking a breath before you respond.

Eventually, she’ll have let it all out. That’s when you say, “Here is what I heard you say,” and repeat back to her (succinctly) what you heard, what happened, and how she felt.

Finally, confirm it. “Do I have that right?”

If you do this, she is going to feel heard. She’ll feel listened to and understood, and that is such a powerful thing.

It will work wonders.

And it’s so simple! Just a tiny little break in the pattern I’m sure you’ve seen over and over in your relationship…talking over each other, trying to be helpful, trying to give advice.

You didn’t intend to be negative all those times, but what happens is your spouse doesn’t feel heard or appreciated.

Wait…What About Solving the Problem?

After reading all this, are you still wondering how the actual problem she’s describing is going to get solved? That’s fine. We’ll get to that.

Just make sure you practice Reflective Listening first, if nothing else. Notice that she’s talking, take a breath, truly listen, and reflect what you think you heard back to her.

If you do this first, then one of two things will happen:

1) She never really needed your input and will solve the problem on her own. The odds are she won’t ask, and that’s fine. You don’t HAVE to give advice. But you do have to be there for her.

2) At some point, she will pause and ask you, “What do you think?” or “What would you do?” That’s your opportunity to try and fix the problem.

Over the years when we’ve suggested people do this, they have told us later, “We tried this and had the best date night, the best sex, and we don’t even know why! I wasn’t even being romantic – all I did was not cut her off when she spoke.”

It’s a very simple thing, but it’s not so obvious for many of us!

It’s just one of a few short marriage exercises that takes very little time to do (seriously, like two minutes!) and can make such a big difference in your marriage.

Marriage Exercise #2: Take the Lead (5 minutes)

The second of the marriage exercises we want to0 share can apply to many things like intimacy and money, but let’s apply it right now to your date night.

Say you’re the woman in the relationship. Text your husband and tell him, “I’m really looking forward to tonight. I’ve got a little something special for you.”

Trust me, it’s going to pique his interest! He’s going to feel excited and appreciated.

Now this “something special” doesn’t need to mean anything fancy. It doesn’t require money, or a babysitter, or a lot of planning.

All you have to do is this…When the kids go to bed, simply say:

“Look, I don’t have anything big planned, but this is really important to me. We have such a blessed life, and often we don’t take the time to celebrate that.”

“We don’t take time just for each other and celebrate the little things. So tonight I just wanted to spend an evening together when our kids are in bed.”

“I’ve got a bottle of wine, I’ve got our wedding album, and I want to spend some time with you just hanging out and being a couple.”

I guarantee that will leave an impact. It will take you 30 seconds to send that text and a few minutes to prepare once the kids are in bed. And of course this works both ways. Either spouse can do it.

Doing this takes the lead. It shows that you care enough to show some initiative.

Just the small act of taking the lead is going to re-spark your romance. And they’ll reciprocate!

Then you will, and so on. Over time, you’ll develop this healthy pattern and enjoy more date nights and quality time together.

Marriage Exercise #3: Three Little Things Today (10 minutes)

The last of the three marriage exercises is called Three Little Things Today. Bethany and I started doing this years ago.

It will take 5-10 minutes, tops.

What we do is this…at the end of the day when we’re laying in bed, I tell her two small things she did that made my day better.

The First Two Little Things

What kinds of things are these? One example is when she made some coffee for me this morning while I was running out the door.

Or, tell her “Thank you so much for volunteering to pick up the kids from school so I didn’t have to rush after my doctor’s appointment.”

It might be some small thing like putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush for you, or giving you a kiss on the cheek at an unexpected time. The littler the better.

Doing this has two benefits. It makes you more aware of the good things that your spouse is doing for you, which will have a positive effect on your life.

And, when you verbalize what you noticed, it makes them feel good!

Everyone loves knowing that they’re valued and cherished. It’s an awesome feeling, but we rarely take the time to do it.

The Third Little Thing

So those were two little things from today. The third can either be A) something larger or B) something from the past.

You could say, “Hey, when you wore that blue dress today, it got me thinking about that time we had dinner in Cancun and man, what a night that was. Do you remember that?”

Or maybe it was some family event you had with your kids. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Just bring it up!

What matters is that you’re regularly pulling back some great memories from the past, the same way Facebook does when it shows you memories from several years ago.

Doing this helps you to focus on the positive. It will warm your heart and theirs, too. Your husband or wife is going to love reliving those best memories with you.

You could do all three of these marriage exercises in just 15 minutes each day. Maybe while lying in bed, maybe while cleaning the kitchen, maybe during a drive.

You don’t have to do them every day, but imagine what a difference it would make if you did it consistently!

How to Set a Vision for Your Dream Marriage

By Dustin | Communication

How to Set a Vision for Your Dream MarriageIf you haven’t set a vision for your dream marriage (or haven’t for a long time), you’re in for a real treat.

Humor me for a minute.

Close your eyes and pretend you’re back in those early years of your relationship. Try to picture what a “dream marriage” looks like to your former self.

Paint a picture of what it was like when you were the most happy and enthusiastic about the future.

Maybe it was when you were still dating, or during the first few years of your marriage.

Forget all about the current work or problems you’re dealing with and go back to that time.

Tap into that memory so you can imagine some of those feelings and the outcomes that you wanted so much before life got in the way (or maybe before you became a little jaded).

If you had asked your former selves during that time to set a vision for your dream marriage, what would you have said? What did it mean to you?

What would be ideal – your own personal dream marriage? Why did you choose to get married, and with the person you did?

Whatever you want to call it – your ideal marriage, your dream marriage – what it would look like at the very end of a scale going from 1 to 10.

Although this vision may change over time, it’s something worth getting clear on at every stage of your relationship.

How to Begin to Set a Vision for Your Dream Marriage

There’s a really simple exercise that will bring some clarity to you on what your ideal marriage looks like that will also unlock some really productive conversations with your spouse.

I call it “Your Dream Marriage What-If.”

Here’s how to do it…

Each of you write out and describe an ideal day in your marriage. Do this separately at first, and then both spouses should come together to compare notes.

Imagine and visualize it as you answer these questions:

  • Where would you live, and how would you interact?
  • What would your day together look like?
  • When would you see each other throughout the day?
  • How much sex would you have?
  • How much money would you have?
  • What kinds of activities would you share together?
  • Where are the kids in this picture?

Each of you think about what an ideal day would look like if you could live it, and then compare what you wrote with the other.

Discover What You Really Want

This is something that Bethany and I did once at a retreat, at a point in time when we weren’t that great at communicating. We really weren’t that open with each other.

When we did it, we didn’t know we had to share notes, so we wrote them out separately. Then, we had to sit down knee-to-knee while I read my ideal day to her, and she read hers to me.

It ended up being a life-changing experience.

At the time of this retreat, I was working from home already on my business. She had become a Special Ed teacher and was fantastic at it, and was still paying off her student loans.

Years ago, we had both thought it would be great if she could be a stay-at-home mom. It’s something we had talked about even during our dating years.

It was part of our vision then, but life got busy and we forgot about it. Maybe you know the feeling.

So as I read my notes to her, I said, “It would be so great if you could be home, too. But I know you love your job.”

“You love what you do, you’re excellent at it, and you’ve got great friends at school. So I would never expect you to give that up.”

She was crying.

I thought “Uh-oh…what did I do wrong?”

Then she started to read what she had written. Among a lot of other things, she said, “In an ideal day, I’d be a stay-at-home mom for our kids.”

“But,” she continued, “I know it’s not a financially smart move. We’re trying to get out of debt. And I do love working. I want to be a hard worker, and I want to be a contributor to the finances in our home.”

Wow. I had said it would be ideal, but qualified it in a way. And she had done the same.

Get it All Out in the Open

We had both realized in that moment this was something we wanted very much, but we hadn’t talked about it over the years.

The idea that we should discuss our ideal marriage had quietly fallen back into the shadows, and we had both assumed that the other wanted something different.

This may be the same reason you have not set a vision for your dream marriage.

This was something we wouldn’t have talked about if we hadn’t taken a little time to go through this exercise. It would have stayed as a forgotten dream that we never brought up again.

So, long story short…it took us three and a half years to pay off all of our debts.

When we were pregnant with our third child, we decided that it was time to start. She began to stay at home and raise our children during the day.

This simple exercise quite literally changed the course of our lives!

And, it’s absolutely something you can do to set a vision for your marriage, which will supercharge your communication and fuel your motivation to achieve big goals together.

You’ll find that you both agree on some things that you expected to agree on, and you may disagree on a few things that you didn’t expect.

And that’s healthy, too, because it’s not good to keep it all inside.

Doing this truly helps to discover different aspects of what your ideal marriage looks like, to get these things out, and start talking about them.

Then, you’ll have a shared understanding. And with that, you can begin to set some goals and make progress together from where you are now to where you truly want to be.

So give it a try. Set a time, do it together, and let me know how it goes!

So, What’s Next After You Set the Vision?

Setting a shared vision is a critical first step, and we guide you to exactly how to do it with our Dream Marriage Planner inside of our flagship program Total Marriage Makeover.

If you are looking for a proven way to reconnect, deepen your intimacy and start living YOUR dream marriage, you should definitely check it out. You’ll be amazed at the transformation you can enjoy in just 28 days.

Kids Need to See a Positive Example of Marriage Through You

By Dustin | Communication

Kids Need to See a Positive Example of Marriage Through YouIf you need one more reason to make your marriage a priority now and stop waiting for some distant, perfect time, be an example of marriage for your kids.

We hear so often from parents, usually the mom, saying, “My kids are everything. My kids are my life.”

But in order of priority for us, we put faith first. We put God as #1, then it’s our marriage, then it’s our kids, then it’s our family and friends, and then it’s everything else.

It’s a clear distinction.

Our marriage has to come first, because it’s only by having a wonderful marriage and a loving relationship that we can best raise our kids and be examples for them.

Setting a Positive Example of Marriage

If you think about it, where are your kids going to get a healthy example of marriage and what a happy, functional relationship looks like?

Where is your daughter going to get an example of what it looks like to be respected by a man? Where is your son going to get an example of what it’s like to be loved and respected by a woman?

Is the culture we live in going to give them a positive example of marriage? Are they going to get it from movies, or TV shows?

No way. Even their friends at school or in the neighborhood are probably experiencing a lot of brokenness at home. There’s just not a lot of good examples for them to see of what a relationship is supposed to be.

It’s going to have to be yours. Your relationship – the one they see every day in your household – is always going to be their first and foremost example of marriage.

In my family growing up, we had some bad examples (like really bad), and later in life I was blessed to have some good ones. Even when you know the difference, it’s still very hard not to subconsciously follow the one you saw first.

Do it For You, Your Spouse, and Your Faith

Also, if you’re a Christian, part of our call is to love each other as Christ loved the church. Our love is supposed to be agape love – sacrificial and completely giving.

It’s hard to do that on a day-to-day basis, of course. But when you focus on it, you’re going to do a lot better over time.

That love that you share for each other will definitely transform not only your relationship but your kids, your community, and extends further out from there.

So do it for yourself. Do it for your spouse. Do it for your kids. And, if you’re a person of faith, do it because our faith calls us to.

The Kids are Watching!

Bethany and I had something happen pretty recently with our daughter, Kendall.

She’s the middle child and the shy one of the bunch. Sometimes my wife and I will kiss over the kitchen table in the morning, and she’s the first to say “Eww gross!”

She’ll close her eyes and make a big deal of it.

But then one night after she said her prayers, when it was just Kendall and I in her room, we were doing a gratitude review that we call “What are you thankful for?”

At first, Kendall said she was grateful for ice cream, for having a great day at school…the usual kid stuff. But then she looked at me and said, “I’m thankful because you love Mommy.”

I thought, “Wow.” That meant a lot. I didn’t want to pry, so I left afterwards and got to thinking.

On one hand, I was really happy to hear that we’d set some kind of positive example of marriage for her.

She knows that I love her mom because we’ve made a point to express it without hiding it. We’re not shy about holding hands or kissing in front of the kids and saying “I love you” to the other.

And this is all very positive because it means she feels very secure.

It means we’re demonstrating a model of how she should be treated by her own future partner and what what their interactions should look like that she can reference later on.

But it also made me think, “What has she experienced that’s making her realize this is special?”

Was it maybe a friend of hers at school whose parents aren’t having a great time right now in their relationship? Maybe it’s something she saw in a TV show?

Be the Positive Example of Marriage Your Family Needs

I don’t know the answer.

But I know that finding out she had been noticing our mutual love as husband and wife was something that made it very concrete for Bethany and me. It showed me how important it is that our children always see that love firsthand.

So it pays to always remember…your kids really are paying attention!

It pays in many ways to work on your relationship, not only because of how it will increase you and your spouse’s happiness, but because it’s our first and foremost duty as parents to have a good marriage and show them the way to do the same.

Be the positive example of marriage that your children or other family members need in their life.  In our next post in this series, we’re going to show you how to do just that…stay posted for it.

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