Eat Meals At The Table

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

With every couple, child, parent, and/or family I counsel, I always ask about how mealtimes are handled by everyone.  Unfortunately, when a child, marriage, or family is struggling, I am often told that rarely are meals happening at the table.  Instead, individuals are eating in the bedroom, living room, or just standing at the counter in the kitchen.  Marriage or family meals at the table allow for positive conversation, excellent eye contact, and a strengthening of family ties.

I have found that a happy marriage is a major challenge when couples are not eating together.  In addition, one research study found that children learned a majority of their life and faith values during mealtime discussions at the table.  So if family members are not sitting together at the table for meals, there is often a disengaged family and a significant lost opportunity for discussing life and faith values with a child.

It makes no difference if only two family members are home or if you are only having sandwiches and chips, a major goal is to have meals at the table as often as possible.  Always avoid discussing any problems so your meals together will be positive times.  Turn off the TV, remove all technology gadgets, have light-hearted conversation, and perhaps share one or two positives from the day.

TODAY:  Begin having marriage/family meals at the table and enjoy making an eye-to-eye heart connection with your spouse or other family members.

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Enhance Your Marriage: Be An Initiator

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Sadly, I have heard some form of this comment numerous times, “My spouse rarely initiates anything positive with me and that is extremely disappointing and hurtful.”  When a spouse stops being an initiator of encouraging words and actions that usually leads to the disease of complacency and complacency is one major factor that creates marital unhappiness and sometimes eventual failure.

The Bible states, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and your closest “neighbor” is your spouse. Loving your spouse requires an initiation of a meaningful behavior or an encouraging comment.  Initiation is one major quality possessed by every healthy spouse so work very hard at being a wonderful daily initiator with both words and behaviors.

TODAY:  Be a healthy spouse and initiate a compliment or a hug or a kiss or a conversation or hold your spouse’s hand or say “I love you” or say “Thank you” or suggest a date for next weekend.

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Have A Compassionate Heart For A Happy Marriage

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on life, marriage, or parenting.

 Happy marriages usually have two spouses with compassionate hearts.  Two compassionate spouses can usually heal a marriage because sympathy, empathy, understanding, and sensitive caring are at the core of their identity.  Compassion helps you look at one another through kind, patient, and merciful eyes.  The Bible points out the true character of Jesus, compassion, which led to His death and glorious resurrection.

Definitely, compassion is necessary when a spouse is suffering physically or emotionally.  Compassion is necessary when a mistake occurs and only a humble apology will heal your spouse’s broken heart.  Compassion is necessary when your spouse deeply disappoints you and only forgiveness can restore your relationship.  Compassion is necessary when your relationship is going through difficult times.  When an impasse arises, compassion is necessary to help you try to understand your spouse’s perspective.

TODAY:   Ask your spouse what you can “do” or “say” that would demonstrate compassion within your marriage relationship.

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Remember Marriage Good Times

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

It is far too easy to remember the not so good moments in a marriage.  Hence, remembering positive moments or situations from the past is always important.  One way to keep a marriage growing, healthy, and strong is to focus on all the good times that have occurred in your marriage.

Every marriage will have challenging “seasons” where stress is present and an emotional separation creates an empty relationship feeling.  By remembering and discussing those fun, happy times from the past, your marriage can receive a boost of encouragement for an even better and happier future.

TODAY:  Or sometime during this week, individually make a list of the ten best moments in your marriage that does not include family or friends.  Then, exchange lists, sit down together, look into each other’s eyes, and enjoy discussing happy moments in your relationship. 

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The “3Ts” of Marriage: Time, Talking, and Touching

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

The “3Ts” of Marriage:  Time, Talking, and Touching

Very simply, without regular “Time Together,” “Talking Together,” and “Touching Together,” it may be very difficult to enjoy complete marital satisfaction.  One way to enhance a marriage is to focus on consistently incorporating the “3Ts” in a relationship.  All “3Ts” need to be present daily NOT just weekly.  Healthy couples set a goal to make the “3Ts” part of their daily marital routine.

However, due to different work schedules, I realize that all “3Ts” may not be possible for every couple.  Nonetheless, every day evaluate:  1) How much Time you spend with your spouse?; 2)  The quantity and quality of your face-to-face Talking; and 3) How many times you physically Touch each other from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed?  I think you will be amazed how a daily assessment will help overcome the “Disease of Complacency.”

TODAY:  Or one day this week, sit “touching” on the sofa and spend “time” “talking” with your spouse about how to integrate the “3Ts” on a daily basis.

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Regular Marriage Dates Are Essential

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Regular Marriage Dates Are Essential

During the premarital period, most couples enjoyed dates with each other at least once or twice per week.  Those “Special Date Times” were a major factor for enhancing feelings of love, thereby, creating a strong, rewarding relationship and the desire to eventually marry.

Sadly, although a common occurrence before the wedding ceremony, after the second year of marriage most couples stop having regular dates outside the home.  And without consistent bi-monthly dates, it can be very difficult to have a satisfying marriage.

After helping more than a thousand marriages, I have found that couples with gratifying relationships usually have “Special Date Times” at least twice per month.  Those regular dates allow a couple to lovingly look into each other’s eyes with full focused attention resulting in a stronger emotional bond.  To have a happy marriage and stay emotionally connected, set a goal to return to your premarital romance times of frequent dates.

 TODAY:  Whether a date costs nothing or is an expensive one, plan a fun outing together within the next two weeks and continue that significant healthy habit at least twice per month. 

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One Significant Marriage Goal

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

One significant marriage goal is to overcome complacency!  Complacency can be defined as taking your spouse and/or your marriage for granted.  The disease of complacency is a major reason for a troubled, unhappy relationship, and sadly one frequent cause for divorce.

For most of us, when we were dating our marriage partners, we made frequent uplifting comments and did many kind actions in order to win our future spouse’s heart.  Unfortunately for many relationships, after the second year of marriage such considerate words and behaviors diminish with each passing year.

Ask yourself two key questions:  “When was the last time I either complimented or made a very encouraging comment to my spouse?”  And “When was the last time I demonstrated a nice, thoughtful action toward my spouse?”  One essential way for us to overcome complacency is to continue being a boyfriend or girlfriend to our spouses.  Such an attitude will cause us to work really hard at valuing our partners.

TODAY:  And every day, be like a boyfriend/girlfriend to your spouse by making caring comments as well as exhibiting meaningful actions.  

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Marriage Expectations

In the middle of each week, I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Your spouse cannot read your mind!  Yet, when you feel disappointed in your marriage, the reason is often due to a “mind-reading” expectation.  At times, we all can have the “false belief” that our spouse should meet our expectation without us even making our request known, and that harms our relationship.

Remember to always question yourself when you are disappointed in your spouse, “Did I make my expectation known?”  You and I will frequently find that our hurt is due to our own mistake of not requesting our expectation.  In addition, most often it is healthiest to ASK for your expectation rather than even use a polite statement to prevent your spouse from feeling a demand by you.

TODAY:  Identify one expectation you have for your spouse and enhance your relationship by ASKING your spouse for that expectation. 

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Marriage Requires Daily Effort

In the middle of each week, I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Every successful endeavor in life requires tremendous effort!  And a happy marriage is no different, also requiring hard work!   But that work is a privilege, NOT an obligation.  Definitely, such effort is a privilege because you have the opportunity to love and value your spouse.

Daily, your marriage is getting better or it is getting worse but your relationship never stays the same.  So work very hard to improve yourself as a spouse, and work equally as hard at valuing your spouse in order to improve your marital satisfaction!

“Christ came to serve, not be served.”  Likewise, work hard at serving your spouse.  And both of you must work hard at serving one another, otherwise, your relationship will be imbalanced and unhappy.  Your mutual determined efforts will bear fruit for marital happiness.

TODAY:  What one behavior can you demonstrate that shows your spouse you are willing to work hard at creating a gratifying relationship?

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