fbpx

Category: Married Life

Home / Category: Married Life

After a haitus for our son’s marriage, we’re back in the saddle! Thanks for your patience. 

Today is a blog post from Jeremy. The same topic from the wife’s perspective was posted last week by Kari.

It’s sometimes difficult, especially after a long marriage, to remember to do “the little things” that make for a happy wife and a happy home.

We men can become very complacent in long-term relationships. It’s easy to believe the “hunt” is over, and now we can get comfortable.

The problem is, when men get comfortable, women get bored.

Here are five things I’ve not always been perfect at, that have meant a great deal to my wife over the years. You wife may have different needs, or find different things more valuable (and if you don’t know, share this blog with her and talk about your marriage with her).

(more…)

After a haitus for our son’s marriage, we’re back in the saddle! Thanks for your patience. 

Today is a blog post from Kari. The same topic from the male perspective will be posted later this week.

Think about when you first started dating your spouse. For some of us, we may have to think waaaay back. What did you do that was special for your man that only a girlfriend would do? What did he do for you that made you fall in love with him?

Now ask yourself, do you still do any of those things for your man? Does he still do those little things for you that made you know he was the one?

One of the main reasons people fall “out of love” with their spouse is because they stopped being the person that they fell in love with in the first place. Many people think that once you are married, the “dating” stops. I’m not talking about “going” on dates, although that is one thing you can do.

Jeremy and I went through a time where I stopped being his girlfriend and he stopped being my boyfriend. This was probably the most unfulfilling time in our marriage. We fought a lot and I actually asked him to go to counseling at one time. In the process of discussing this, we started to communicate and realized we were not doing the things for each other that a couple who are dating, do. We decided to change things going forward and have not looked back.

Here is a list of five things I do to show Jeremy how special he is to me. Some of these are things I did when we were dating, and some are new things I’ve learned along the way. You have to decide what will work for you. Better yet, talk to your husband and ask him what he remembers you doing when you were dating that made him fall in love with you in the first place. You might be surprised at what he says.

I tell him that I love him and I’m so proud of him.

I was always pretty good about telling Jeremy that I love him but was terrible about telling him that I was proud of him. Girls, your man needs to know that you are proud of him and that you are glad you married him. I always thought it but was terrible about saying it. Then Jeremy and I talked about it and I found out how important it was to him. This is what makes it worth going out into the work world and killing himself for you and the kids. Trust me, most men do not go out into the corporate world because they like it. They go out there and fight the good fight because they LOVE you.

Just a quick, “Thinking about you,” goes a LONG way.

I text him during the day to say that I’m thinking about him.

Most couples spend eight or more hours a day away from each other at work. If you’re like me, you might have a two-hour commute. Then add in the time we spend getting ready in the morning, putting the kids to bed, cooking dinner, any other after-school extracurricular activities, doing the dishes, and then it’s time for bed. Add it all up, and it’s a wonder if we have time to sleep. Marriage takes work. Jeremy used to spend hours talking on the phone at night until we HAD to go to bed if we were going to get up for work the next morning. This is one of the few times where I am so happy to have cell phone technology. Some days it just makes the world a different place when you receive a text from your spouse saying that they are thinking of you and love you.

I fix his dinner plate and bring him coffee in the morning if I’m up before he is.

This is one that I didn’t do when we were dating, but I’ve picked up over the years. It’s my chance to “serve” my husband. Not because I’m beneath him, but because he’s worth it, and I like taking care of him.

I touch him.

When you’re first dating, you can’t keep your hands off of each other. I’m not talking about sex. I mean touching so you can be close to the one you love. I hold his hand, I come up behind him and give him a hug, I put my hand on his leg in the car. Human beings need to be touched. It’s important that the person who provides that for your husband is YOU.

You don’t have to be a beauty queen to put your best foot forward.

Put forth an effort.

I am far from a supermodel and I definitely have my “dumpy” days, but I try to put forth an effort to look my best for my man. If I know I’m going to be spending the day with Jeremy, I will wear makeup and try to wear decent clothes. I’m not talking about heels and a gown, but I don’t go around in sweats and PJs. I want Jeremy to be proud to be seen with me. This is not always easy, especially if you have little ones at home. But it’s worth the effort. Don’t save the best of you for your co-worker’s at the office, and leave your husband with the tired leftovers.


Ladies, what things do you do for your husband that I didn’t mention? Any here you disagree with? Share your stories in the comments below.

Fighting Fair, Part 2

March 27, 2019 | Married Life, Relationship Builder | No Comments

In every marriage, there will be times of conflict. One of the ways we believe you can help create a marriage that lasts is learning how to “fight fair”.

Last week, we gave you the first six of our Dirty Dozen rules of fighting fair. This week, we’re exploring the other six.

Be willing to be wrong, and be willing to say you’re sorry.

This sounds like common sense, but it’s actually very difficult for some people to do. No one likes to have to admit fault (or error), and, “I’m sorry,” is one of the toughest sentences to utter in the English language.

A successful marriage is based on trust, and trust is earned over time through a series of interactions that have honesty at their core. If someone cannot honestly own their mistakes, and apologize for the all-too-human temper or harsh words, then trust will be eroded until it’s gone. And as the foundation of a marriage, when trust doesn’t exist, neither does the marriage.

The root of an inability to admit a mistake or ask for forgiveness is just foolish pride. It can also be hidden vindictiveness – you don’t want to say you’re sorry because you never intend to accept anyone else’s apology. People who don’t let others off the hook will find it very difficult to ask for that grace from others.

But more often than not, it’s the right thing to do. Admitting the other party is right, and we are wrong, is a sure-fire way to diffuse tensions and allow you to work toward an actual solution. As we mentioned last week, a fair “fight” within a marriage isn’t about winning; it’s about resolving the issue.

When you’re wrong, or maybe were a little too passionate in your argument, or said something unnecessarily hurtful, say you’re sorry.

Forgive when it’s asked for (and sometimes when it’s not)

The flip side of being able to ask for forgiveness is being able to grant it – meaningfully – when it’s asked for.

We’ll all screw up from time to time. Whether it’s something pretty innocuous like forgetting to run an errand, or really egregious like hurling hurtful words in the middle of an argument, whenever our spouse realizes they owe us an apology, we need to accept it, and mean it.

That’s not always easy if in the heat of the moment, the wound they caused still stings. But forgiveness isn’t just about absolving your spouse of whatever they did that hurt you. It’s about removing a huge emotional barrier to bonding and intimacy.

And it might even be really healthy for you to practice forgiveness as a way of life.

We’re both practicing Christians, and one of the primary tenets of our faith is to forgive others as we were forgiven by God. As Christians, the Bible tells us that whenever we humble ourselves and confess our sins to God, “…He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We need to do the same for others.

There is debate about whether you should forgive someone who hasn’t asked for it, but even if they haven’t asked, it’s still possible to let your anger subside and “lay down your sword”. Do this for your own sake, and for peace in your home.

And like we mentioned last week, if you’ve forgiven, then the transgression you forgave needs to stay in the past.

Not every hill is worth dying on.

We know some couples who fight over every little thing: where they are going out to eat, what corner to put up the Christmas tree (and white or colored lights), how long to cut the grass.

We even had a decent argument last fall about which specific tree branches Jeremy was going to cut off that Jeremy is pretty sure will happen again in a few weeks, because he wants to cut two more off of Kari’s peach tree that she doesn’t want to lose.

Ask yourself, in the grand scheme of things, if the thing you’re arguing about is actually worth the effort. Or more importantly, if it’s worth the emotional toll it takes on your relationship.

We hate to break it to you, but leaving the toilet seat up probably isn’t worth the fight.

One way to determine if the issue is worth doing battle over is to call a truce for an hour or more, to let tensions simmer. You can always reapproach the subject later, in a calmer atmosphere and with more clarity. Often, after a period of time spent focused on something else, that little annoyance suddenly doesn’t have the same grip on you that it did earlier.

Learn how the other person fights.

After 25 1/2 years together, we know each other extremely well. So much so that we often have entire conversations without saying a word to each other. We can be at a dinner party somewhere, and just by swapping glances, we know that our spouse is enjoying the conversation (or hating it), if we want to leave, if they find a person entertaining or dull, etc.

Getting to know another person so completely is one of the best parts of a long marriage. It’s actually really fun to be able to have meaningful interactions in a crowded room, without saying a word to each other.

Coming back around to the subject of fighting fair, you also get to know how your spouse engages in conflict, how they disengage, and what their recovery process typically is.

Kari was reminded of some Glory kickboxing matches we watch occasionally while we’re going to bed; specifically, the fighting styles of two of the heavyweight contenders we see regularly.

Rico Verhoeven, the long-time Glory heavyweight kickboxing champ, is a very good-spirited, very athletic 6’5″ guy who likes winning his matches by out-scoring his opponent in points. He thrills to use combination punch-kick-knee attacks and loves to go the entire 3 or 5 rounds with his opponent. And because he’s in amazing physical shape with high stamina for a man his size, Rico tends to out-last his opponents in the ring – he doesn’t have to go for an early victory. In fact, though Rico has been the Glory heavyweight champ for 6 years straight, he’s only had 16 knockouts in his entire career.

In contrast, one of the other heavyweight contenders, 6’8″, 260 pound Jamal “The Goliath” Ben Saddik, tires quickly with his lumbering stature, so he needs to try to take his opponents out early in the fight with a knockout. He’s had about half the fights of Rico, but has almost double the KOs.

Each fighter has a style that matches their training, experience, and skill set. We believe it’s critically important to know that about your spouse, because knowing how our spouse fights helps us to understand the best way to approach and resolve conflict in our marriage.

For instance, Jeremy (by his own admission), is much more short-tempered than he was as a younger man, quicker to get crabby (he calls it, “not suffering fools gladly”), but also usually quick to realize when he was a little too hot-tempered. He’s quick to apologize and forget the argument even happened.

Kari, on the other hand, is very slow to anger but when she’s really steaming, she also takes a longer time to calm down.

It’s important to respect that your spouse may anger differently, argue differently, and release that tension differently. Just as you cannot expect them to see everything the way you see it, you can’t expect them to feel things the way you do, either.

On that note,

Respect the other person’s recovery process

One the fight has reached its peak and some agreement is reached, there’s going to be a process of healing and recovery and return to intimacy, and that’s different for each person.

In our marriage, Jeremy is almost always the first to forgive and forget, often to Kari’s bewilderment.

Jeremy describes his process this way:

Often, as the fight reaches the ridiculous peaks (like they often do), I will suddenly tire of the fight and switch emotions at the top of the “hill”. I’ll tell a joke or make some physically funny gesture that stops the fight cold in its tracks. It’s like riding an argument up like an elevator. Whenever we reach the floor I think is high enough, I’ll step off the “anger” elevator and get one another one, and ride that back down. It’s not deliberate – it’s just a way out of tension that works for me.

Kari’s process is very different:

I have to internally process the argument afterward and review it in an internal monologue. Sometimes I know I’m too mad to think objectively, so I like to step away, review the situation and what happened, and think about how I really feel. I have to let the anger subside, sometimes by talking myself out of being angry. 

The anger doesn’t stay, but it can take hours before I feel back to normal.

Neither process is better than the other. But both have to be respected and understood. Jeremy can usually move on very quickly but that doesn’t mean Kari can do that, and he has to respect the time it may take for her to feel better.

Your spouse has a specific process of recovering after a fight. Learn it and embrace it as part of what makes your spouse that wonderfully unique person you married.

(By the way, we envy those couples who have wild make-up sex after a rip-roaring argument; that’s never been our process, dang it.)

Having it out is better than holding it in.

The last rule of our Dirty Dozen about fighting fair is pretty simple: it’s always better to have the argument than it is to bottle it up.

Little problems grow into massive ones if they are left unattended. It’s never fun to bring up a concern to your spouse, but it’s far better to do that than slowly start to harbor resentment toward them.

Some grievances may not seem like a big enough deal to bring up, but its often better to talk it out than make assumptions or put your own motives on others.

Here’s an example: Jeremy works from a home office most of the time, so it’s easy for the family to ask him to step away from his work to do things they need him to do. Because he often can do it for brief moments of the day, Jeremy does so.

But over time, he begins to get irritated and finally resentful that the family doesn’t seem to respect his work, just because he’s at his desk in his study instead of 20 miles away at an office like Kari is.

Instead of bringing it up, Jeremy will finally get very angry at the interruptions, and usually, one family member (the last one who asked for something) takes the brunt of his frustration.

That’s not fair to the family member. Jeremy realizes he needs to set firmer boundaries long before they become a significant frustration to him.

Especially if you follow the first eleven rules, it should be easier to bring up issues with your spouse instead of just keeping quiet and being bitter about it. Remember that the purpose of a fight is to solve an issue, not to beat your spouse in a shouting match. If you approach your marriage fights in that light, bringing up (or hearing) grievances is easier to do because you are both working toward a solution that strengthens your marriage, not breaks it down with bickering.


That’s our Dirty Dozen on fighting fair! What did we leave out? What other rules do you believe make for resolving disagreements in your marriage? Answer in the comments below!

Fighting Fair, Part 1

March 18, 2019 | Married Life, Relationship Builder | No Comments

One of the most common questions we’re asked in this new little blog is, “what about the fights?”

Indeed, if you haven’t had some serious, heart-pounding disagreements in your relationship, you’re probably not in a serious, heart-pounding relationship yet.

Disagreements are inevitable in any long-term relationship, and sometimes they can be very spirited ones. Let’s face it – if you’re going to be married, you’re going to fight sometimes.

We think the difference between a marriage that remains strong after a fight, and the one that is damaged from it, is how you fought. In 1579, poet John Lyly wrote that “all is fair in love and war,” but when love is war, we can’t stress enough how helpful it is to have some rules of engagement.

We’re going to cover our Twelve Rules for Fighting Fair, our “Dirty Dozen”, as it were, over two blog posts. This week, you’ll get the first six, and next week’s post will cover the rest.

One thing we should note before we begin:

We are most definitely not talking about enduring abuse of any sort, including verbal and emotional abuse. If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, you need to seek outside help immediately. Here is a hotline for victims of domestic abuse that will help you get out, and stay safe. Or, in a moment of violence, immediately call 9-1-1. Do it!

That said, here are our first six rules to fight fair:

(more…)

Yeah, he really does hate to shop.

March 4, 2019 | Married Life | No Comments

When we asked our Facebook friends what to talk about this week, we got unanimous approval to talk about the shared agony of men going shopping with their wives.

Source: Instagram: miserable_men

It’s been stereotyped to death, but there are fewer things in life truer than this: ladies, your man would rather be in a dentist’s chair than at the mall with you.

Why is this? A lot of theories fly around (and we’d really love to hear some of yours, along with your painful shopping stories).

Psychology Today has a wonderful article giving an evolutionary explanation. You see, in eons past, during the hunter/gatherer days for our species, men hunted for wild game and the women foraged for fruit, nuts, etc.

Men are wired to decide what they want, go look specifically for that thing, hunt down that single thing, and return home victorious. On the other hand, women were programmed to go looking for lots of the same thing. They had the time and patience to be choosy on which ones they took (whereas a passing antelope might be the only one that day).

That makes perfect sense to us.

If a man feels cold, he goes to the store, really any store will do, to buy a coat. He finds a coat on the rack and tries it on. If it fits, he proceeds to the checkout, pays for the coat, and leaves the store. The hunt is completed; he has his coat. Now to hurry home before the game starts.

A woman will start foraging for a winter coat as soon as they’re out on racks… in July. Then they need to try on every style, look at every color, and find the best price in eleven different stores.

So it’s just our biology. Women love to forage. Men love to hunt one thing, kill one thing, and go home. (There’s probably a game on, anyway.)

Fast forward to the modern era, and we see this truth played out in hilariously predictable scenes at every store in the country. Bored, frustrated men drag painfully behind their attentively-price-comparing wives. Fitting rooms in ladies’ departments always have husband chairs. Or, husbands get dropped off at the row of couches and benches in the main part of the mall, to be forgotten for hours on end.

The pity plea didn’t go over well with Jeremy’s female friends.

We’ve had our own man-mall moments, too, but usually, Jeremy tries to put a fun spin on them. Behold, a real Facebook post from 2014, as he sat waiting for Kari outside a fitting room (with a massive storewide sale going on):

 

 

 

Once again, the brotherhood understood, while the sisterhood told Jeremy to “man up”.

 

And here is yet another from 2018, when he reminded the entire world that he was hungry and she wouldn’t stop trying on bras so they could go eat.

As funny (Kari would call them “pathetic”) as these posts were at the time, there are hundreds of other photos of men online, begging for death at malls the world over (see this hilarious Instagram account dedicated to the plight of the Mall Male), the almost universal response from the ladies to these photos is, “then why the hell do you go with us?”

After giving it a whole afternoon (there wasn’t a game on), Jeremy can’t answer this question. We wonder how many men who do go with their wives might have a reason.

“I honestly don’t know. I think it’s because we don’t see all that much of each other all week, so when the weekend finally shows up, Kari usually has a long to-do list that includes shopping. To spend time with my wife, I tag along. And then I hate every minute of it, and I make her miserable in the process.”      – Jeremy

As our bevy of photographic evidence will show you, Jeremy is definitely not alone in repeating this traumatic cycle.

So what’s the solution?

Ha! You think we, your humble bloggers, are going to solve this one for you?

Not a chance. There is no known cure for this relational disease.

The obvious answer (that no men seem to follow anyway) is, men, if you don’t like to shop, don’t go with her. Kari assures you that every wife reading this will gladly give you permission to stay home.

So guys, let’s commit to let our wives shop in peace in 2019, while we nap someplace cozier than the sticky local mall “pleather” couch.

Besides, there’s probably a game on.