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How to Confront Your Husband About Flirting (without Starting a Fight)

By Dustin | Communication

4 Inspired Ways to Get the Respect You Deserve

Is a woman flirting with your husband at work?  Or maybe he’s the one flirting with another woman?  

Either way, it is crazy-making to deal with a flirty husband!  It’s scary to think what that might lead to. 

It’s also just plain hurtful to live with. 

Does he really expect you to turn a blind eye to such blatant misbehavior?  How are you supposed to ignore his ogles, smiles, and winks?

That’s not right.  He should be more respectful and control himself.

But what if he won’t? 

It’s embarrassing, and it can make you feel like a fool. 

Fortunately, you can use your influence to put an end to such disrespect.

Here are 4 ways to end the flirting problem and get the respect you deserve, without having to just ignore it.  

1. Don’t Make This Very Common Mistake 

Flirting has many purposes.  

It could be reward-seeking or looking for proof that he’s still “got it.” 

It could be an awkward way of getting your attention, even if it’s negative.

It could also be a way to shore up a self-esteem issue.

That doesn’t make it right. 

That doesn’t make it okay. 

But knowing that could be a clue that helps you resolve the issue.

Here’s what I mean: No marriage is perfect – not even mine. If yours isn’t perfect either and if your husband is dissatisfied with the relationship because you’re unhappy with him (maybe because of all his ogling), he may compensate with what he considers harmless flirting.

We all have a deep need to be heard and seen and known in big and small ways. That’s just human. If he’s looking for that, ask yourself: Has he been able to get that from me recently?

I’m NOT saying his flirting is your fault. Not at all. 

But if your relationship is falling short or you’ve lost the joyful spark that attracted him in the first place, then you have more power than you realize to keep his wandering eyes firmly planted on you. 

And it’s not going to happen by scowling at him, even though you’re hurt and upset.

That’s a very common mistake I see so many women making, but it actually makes things worse because what he’s missing the most is your happy, sexy smile directed at him.

Have you flashed him one of those recently? Can he still get the validation and approval from you that he used to get?

It’s easy to become serious or overwhelmed when there’s a lot on your plate. You may have lost the playfulness you once had.

Consider what’s happening on your side of the street. 

Ask yourself if you have behaviors that might cause your spouse to feel insecure? 

Of course you don’t intend to make him feel insecure, but him flirting could actually be a symptom that he’s not sure you think he’s still “got it.”

Just letting him know that you think he does could go a long way toward ending his flirting with others.

2. Avoid Unwittingly Making His Flirting Worse 

When Mia was worried about her husband’s too-close-for-comfort relationships with other women, she laid down the law and made it clear that if he ever cheated, she’d be out of there. 

Guess what happened after her ultimatum?  He cheated. 

Author John Gray of Mars and Venus fame nailed it: “When a man does not feel loved just the way he is, he will either consciously or unconsciously repeat the behavior that is not being accepted. He feels an inner compulsion to repeat the behavior until he feels loved and accepted.”

That’s not to say it was Mia’s fault, but it was a painful lesson for her that what she focuses on increases.  Now that she has shifted her focus to how faithful he is and how much he wants to please her, she’s the one he’s flirting with!  

No one likes a nag.  If you bring up every one-off instance where he flirted, that will only make him feel like your personal punching bag, and he’ll retreat even further. 

Also, if you’re anything like me, you don’t just want him to stop flirting, you want him to want to stop flirting.  But laying down the law does just the opposite of what you want it to do. The moment you make an ultimatum, you’re dangling forbidden fruit that actually makes him more likely to continue the unwanted behavior, as I explain here.

Is there a certain stressor in your marriage that leads to him flirting?  For instance, does he get more flirtatious with other women after you’ve had a nasty spat? 

It can be even more crazy-making when that happens, but consider the possibility that you could interrupt the whole vicious cycle yourself by changing up just your lines in the familiar argument you have about flirting, just like Mia did. 

3. Get More Respect and Reconnect with These Three Words  

Men want to feel masculine.  Going into mom mode by scrutinizing his every move tends to have the opposite effect (not to mention killing the intimacy since nobody wants to have sex with his mother).

So don’t get too caught up in the details of his flirting, like saying, “Remember that one time you ogled the barista and the waitress after and the very next day the crossing guard?” 

Naming names will put him on the defensive.  Nobody’s at their best when they feel defensive.

Instead, listen to his side of the story, even if you don’t agree with it.  Simply responding with “I hear you” when he opens up and shares with you is a magical way to create a culture of mutual respect.  

After all, conflict resolution is a two-way street.  

If you’re not rehashing the dirty details of his deeds, what are you supposed to communicate about?  Try recognizing his strengths and the strengths of your relationship.  Consider going a step further and actually expressing your gratitude for all those strengths. 

This does double-duty: You quit giving oxygen to the behavior you don’t want (which actually increased it), instead increasing what you do want to see more of.  

You’ll also create a culture of gratitude this way, so be prepared to be on the receiving end of lots more appreciation! 

4. Bring the Butterflies Back

Make your marriage fun!  Use tiny gestures that show him your flirty side.  Hugging, kissing, and handholding are all strong relationship anchors. 

An old ad for jeans wisely put it this way: You flirt not because he looks good but because YOU do.

In other words, feeling good about yourself – whether it’s because you gave yourself a pedicure, are flush from a brisk walk, or spent the whole day at a spa–is a great springboard to flirting.

Outside flirting is often a way for him to rediscover the passion and excitement you shared in the early days of your relationship.  If you miss that too, think about what you could do to bring back those butterflies-in-your-stomach moments.

When Candace’s husband’s flirtation with his secretary went too far and he told his wife he needed a three-month break from her, she went full Goddess of Fun and Light mode.  She piled on the fun, indulged in activities that made her happy, making a point to schedule at least three per day. 

She dialed up the gender contrast by dressing sexy and feminine.  She honored her desires, even buying herself flowers.  As she focused on what she wanted, she considered going overseas to pursue her studies. 

But her husband talked her out of it!  

She’d become so irresistible that he couldn’t even wait three months before coming back home.  He started saying “I love you” several times a day, which he had never done in all their years together.  He now held her so tightly at night that she ended up sleeping crooked so as not to forego the delicious snuggling.   

The chemistry was definitely back!  And the extracurricular flirting was gone.

The same can happen in your relationship when you focus on doing the things that bring you closer.

About Laura Doyle

Hi! I’m Laura.

I was the perfect wife – until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John – who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

The Often Overlooked Factor That Has The Biggest Impact on Your Relationship

By Dustin | Communication

Have you ever known a couple that has huge arguments and blow-outs, but is also so in love that they couldn’t live without each other?

Relationships are rife with conflict. But make no mistake: relationships are also our number one source of happiness. Nothing else comes close to it.

Success, wealth, or achievement can’t take the place of fulfilling relationships. Nothing else tugs as tight on our hearts or delights our spirits more than a relationship that meets our longing for belonging.

This, unfortunately, is where the problem lies.

We want to belong. We want to feel like we’re not alone.

Whether that’s home with a partner you love…

Or in the office, feeling like you’re valued and appreciated…

Or around friends and family; those who understand what you’re like…

You long to belong!

This places a lot of pressure on your relationships. Maybe you put so much pressure on yours that you define your happiness and self-worth based on the strength of them. You want them to be strong and healthy. So, as soon as you hit a problem you immediately jump to a solution to improve it.

Maybe this is why you’re reading this article right now…

The problem with this is, you miss the most important aspect that impacts your relationships.

And, you overlook the actual root cause of your pain: your own wholeness.

Why Wholeness Has a Huge Impact on Your Relationships

Although relationships are the number one source of happiness, they will never complete you.

If you try to build intimacy with another before you have gotten whole on your own, all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself. This is why so many relationships fall flat or fail. Nobody else can complete you. Not a friend, colleague, family member, or even your soul mate.

Nobody can do that work for you. 

They can help you, as iron sharpens iron. 

But you are the one who must do the work.

Any relationship you have with another can only be as healthy as the one you have with yourself.

So although you may have arrived here wanting to improve your relationship with your:

… I’ll instead encourage you to focus on the relationship you have with yourself.

How To Move Towards Wholeness

There’s a lot that goes into making yourself whole. It’s often a life-long journey.

The sooner you start it, the better; the sooner you can finally be whole and feel like you belong.

Until you feel whole, nobody else will fill the void.

You can read books and try every trick in them, but you’ll keep returning to the same point.

Here are a few ways you can move toward wholeness.

1: Define What Being Whole Means To You

Whatever your baggage or background, I know at least one thing about you:

Each day you either move away from or toward the person you want to be.

You’re either maximizing your moments or allowing them to slip by without notice.

It’s hard to know which camp you fit into unless you know where you’re heading.

  • What does wholeness mean to you?
  • What does progress look like?
  • How will you know when you arrive?

Too many people live life with no thought of where they’re going. 

Yet if you want to feel whole, you must first define what it is.

This is unique to you, too. For one person, feeling whole may involve: the freedom to work wherever you like, whenever you like; feeling healthy and fit; have time each day to reflect and enjoy a little “me” time…

Whereas for someone else, feeling whole may center around: family, spending time with your kids each day and enjoying adventures with one another.

There is no right or wrong.

It’s about what’s right for you.

What makes you whole?

What does wholeness look like to you?

2: Appreciate You Are Not, And Never Will Be Perfect

Nobody is perfect. Not even healthy and happy people. 

In fact, the truly healthy and happy ones own their dark side; their ugly parts

They recognize and study their personal flaws, wounds, and idiosyncrasies. 

Knowing they have blind spots, they’re on an unending quest for better self-insight. 

Through good times and bad, they continue on their journey to improve. Their brokenness and failures become the reason to grow, not a deterrent from it. They embrace that they’ll never be perfect.

They may never quite reach the point they’re driving toward.

And they are okay with this because their real purpose is the journey they’re on.

3: Be Content With The Present And Grateful For The Past

To use the thoughts of Epicurus: the most contented people remember the past with gratitude and accept their present situation without coveting what someone else has.

We all have a past.

Some of it is good.

Other parts of it are bad.

To become whole, you must accept the past for what it is; to be at peace with it; grateful, even.

It’s impossible to feel content with what you have, otherwise.

How can you possibly live in the moment if you cling to the past?

Yet once you do live in the moment, you can be thankful and grateful for what you have. 

No longer envious of what other people own, you can finally become whole.

4: You Have A Choice, And It’s Yours Alone

“I never knew I had a choice.”

It’s the saddest sentence I ever hear when counseling someone.

Many things in life are beyond your control. 

But there is a vast, unclaimed territory of actions over which you do. 

These actions involve the countless choices you make—or do not makeevery day.

These choices go on to define your life and how you feel about… everything.

Whatever your situation is, I promise you that you do have a choice.

If you wish to become whole, it’s within your control.

If you want to heal your relationships (with others and yourself), you can choose to whenever you like.

5: Be Aware of Where You Are Right Now

This final step is actually the first one.

Before you can define where you’re going and who you want to become, you must first appreciate where you are.

  • How you’re feeling.
  • How you currently act (and react).
  • The state of your relationships overall.
  • The state of your most important relationships.
  • The state of the relationship you have with yourself!

A question I’m often asked is:

What’s the single most important thing you can do for your relationships?

I offer a simple answer: Get Healthy!

When relationships go bad, we look for things (or people) to blame.

We expect relationships to make us feel better about ourselves.

This is wrong. It’s the other way around.

Our relationships improve once we improve the one we have with ourselves. 

This begins once you gain an awareness of where you are.

You are not perfect and you never will be. So, embrace the point you’re at.

To help you discover this, I’ve prepared a Free Assessment you can take. This free assessment shows you ways you can destroy toxic self-talk and revolutionize your relationships.

The way you talk to yourself prevents you from being (and feeling) whole

Take back control. Once you do, you can mend those relationships that feel most broken.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Les Parrott  is a psychologist and author of best-selling books including Love Talk, The Good Fight, Crazy Good Sex, and the award-winning Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts.

His work has been featured in the New York Times and USA Today and on CNN, Good Morning America, the Today Show, The View, and Oprah.

Please check out his latest work and take his free assessment for the health of your self talk (and relationships) by visiting

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!

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