Marriage Challenge: Explore, Discover

“You don’t do that very often, I like it.” He said with a wink.

“How could I not have known.” I thought to myself.

After nearly 14 years of marriage I (Megan) love it when I discover new things about my husband.  It gives me a giddy feeling that there are still heights and depths which I have not yet become familiar. Each time I learn something new it brings about the opportunity to love more and connect more deeply with the man I married.

Marriage is like that, full of things that surprise us and mysteries we don’t understand. The only way to uncover these mysteries though is to explore, to take the opportunity to engage and discover what we may not already know.  Today’s marriage challenge is to explore your spouse in order to discover something new. Use questions, observations, experiences, physical touch and the like to fuel your understanding of your spouse. Explore, notice and discover your way to a better marriage.

Marriage Chellenge: Saving Yourself for Marriage

Modern society is constantly beckoning for us to do more and be more. We are a busy generation and are regularly worn out from our own best efforts. Not being sensitive of our time and our personal limitations impacts our marriages. We readily give of ourselves to our jobs, our community and a variety of other things but our marriage? Often times our spouse gets the leftovers. We don’t save ourselves for marriage.

How about a date night? I can fit you in 3 months from now.

Let’s connect sexually tonight? We can have fun as long as you do all the work. I don’t mind.

Can we at least sit down to dinner? Ok, so long as I can keep my cell phone on and tablet open.

Today’s marriage challenge is to save yourself for marriage. Don’t continue to spend the best of yourself everywhere but at home.  Save the best of yourself for the most important relationship you have, your marriage.

Marriage is for life. If we regularly neglect putting the required time and effort into something so important, what is designed to be beautiful will become a burden. What is meant to be lifelong friendship and companionship will become forced cohabitation. So yes, saving yourself for marriage is not just for unmarried people, it’s for those of us who are already married too.

Marriage Challenge: Weird but True

Our kids are fascinated with the National Geographic Kids book series Weird but True!  The books site interesting facts like:

“Slugs have 3,000 teeth and 4 noses.”

“Hot dogs can last more than 20 years in landfills.”

“A Canadian woman rode a motorized toilet up to 46 miles an hour!”

We know, fascinating facts here people!

So what does this have to do with marriage? Well, when you were dating and first got married, you enjoyed learning about your spouse. You found their likes, dislikes, habits and idiosyncrasies fascinating.  Over the years though, the facts you once found to be “weird but true” have become “weird and annoying”. Instead of accepting your spouse and their differences you want to change them. A simple laugh and occasional eye roll have become full blown gripes, disrespect and a source of misery in your marriage.

The marriage challenge today is this: acceptance.  Accept your spouse as a unique individual. Are they flawed? You bet! And so are you. This is not to say that open communication and confrontation have no place in dealing with marital strife but it is to say that many things in life are not really “big things”.  Instead of looking at the things your spouse does as “weird and annoying” choose to let those things become reason to laugh at your differences, accept their flaws and push towards a greater level of love.  On the plus side, if you send less time griping complaining and fighting about the little annoyances, maybe you”ll have time to build a motorized toilet that can go even faster!

Marriage Challenge: The Hidden Seam

Lime Green.

That’s the color I chose to mend a small hole in the pocket of Justin’s shorts. There’s no particular reason that I used green instead of white, the color of the pocket, but I did. As I did so, I was reminded of the secretive nature of marriage. The things that happen in a marriage that are unknown to any other. The hidden seams that make a marriage strong.

With my words, I can tear down or build up.

With my actions, I can bless or ignore.

With my attitude, I can invite or reject.

Marriage is a journey of hidden things. The hidden things we can do for our spouse without their ever even knowing it. The hidden things we do with and for one another that others are not permitted to know. The information that is shared, the inside jokes, the passion, the things that are hidden.

Today’s marriage challenge is this: Spend a few moments to think about the “hidden seams” in your marriage. The areas where you can bless your spouse without their ever knowing. The intimate moments you share together to which the rest of the world is not privy. Invest in the hidden seams of your marriage and you will be stronger when you are together as well as when you are apart.

 

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.” Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

Marriage Challenge: True Compliments (Giveaway winners announced)

“You had the finest, most powerful, most resonant voice of any of the young male swans in the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana.” “I did?” said the cob. “Yes, indeed. Everytime I heard you say something in that deep voice of yours, I was ready to go anywhere with you.” “You were?” said the cob. He was obviously delighted with his wife’s praise. It tickled his vanity and made him feel great. He had always fancied himself as having a fine voice, and now to hear it from his wife’s own lips was a real thrill.” 

The Cob’s wife to her husband – The Trumpet of the Swam, E.B. White

When was the last time you complimented your spouse? I mean really complimented them. Telling them something about themselves that they don’t know or even more important reminding them of something they have forgotten in the midst of the demands of everyday life. In the above example, the wife’s compliment delighted her husband and thrilled him to know how she really felt and what she really thought of him. Today’s challenge is simple, think of a way to compliment your spouse and then do it! The idea is not to go about it selfishly, desiring a compliment in return. Compliment your spouse because of the positive impact it can have on them and your marriage.

And now for the winners of our giveaway:

The Simply Romantic Wife – Katie Adauto

31 days to great sex – Lindsay Harold

Please email us your information and we will get those resources to you.

Thanks everyone for continuing to read.

Marriage Challenge: When the world takes…you give

Are there things in your spouses life right now that are taking from them? Their job? Extra demands on time? Negative people? Family stress? Financial burdens? If you have a heartbeat, I’m guessing there are.  Life is work and that work wears us down. Today’s marriage challenge is simple.  Recognize that while the world around us takes from our spouse, we have the unique ability to give to our spouse. To renew, rejuvenate and dispense a great deal of love into their lives.

Today, consider how you can give to your spouse. To get your mind going, here are a few simple ideas you may choose to enact:

a handwritten note

a massage or some other physical touch (not necessarily intended as sexual initiation)

an encouraging phone call or text

a change in normal routine (ie. planned date, special night with friends, doing a chore or running an errand that your spouse usually does)

cross something off their to-do list by doing something for them or hiring someone to do it

initiate sex

a small gift

laugh together

play a game together

encourage them to take a long uninterrupted nap (if that’s something they would love!)

The list is endless and is as varied as your spouse is. Look for clues as to what would energize and encourage them and serve them selflessly. It’s so easy to get into the “take, take” mindset in marriage, mimicking the world. But it’s my desire (maybe yours too) that our marriage is counter cultural. Take steps to help your marriage be one that gives life rather than takes life.

Marriage Challenge: Third Time’s a Charm

Today’s challenge is simply meant to add some fun, variety and entertainment to your sex life.

Marriage Challenge: Every third time you make love change one variable. After all, the third time’s a charm right?

The variable could be

  • location
  • position (at least to start with)
  • style of initiation
  • fragrance worn
  • vocalization (make some noise, different words, etc)
  • ambiance
  • what you wear
  • use your imagination!

Don’t let a drift in your sex life lead you away from one another. Keep it fresh and new, allowing your imagination and creativity to be used to the fullest extent.

Marriage Challenge: Personal Pursuits and a Question

Personal development is important to a healthy marriage relationship. Pursuing goals and personal passions can enhance the experiences and habits you bring to your marriage. In our marriage, we share common interests but we also have personal interests we pursue.  The same could probably be said of your marriage. Perhaps one of you likes to train for marathon racing. Maybe one of you plays a team sport.  We know a couple where the wife enjoys being a unicyclist for sport and fun. We might add, that while her husband supports this, he has not developed the same personal pursuit.

Providing margin in our lives to have time for personal pursuits is healthy and beneficial for marriage.  But as with most things, when taken to the extreme, following our passions can place our marriages on parallel roads rather than keeping us on the same course.  The marriage challenge today is to examine whether or not your personal pursuits are enhancing your marriage or being used as a means of escape.  Take time to consider (make a list if you want) the personal pursuits for which you carve out time. Consider the ways your personal pursuit detracts from or enhances your relationship.  Evaluating what is or is not working in your relationship is important and the only people who can do that evaluating is you and your spouse. Take the time to assess how your personal development is healthy and what you can do if it borders on escape rather than enhancement.

Question: Are the things I am personally pursuing right now being used to enhance my marriage or as a means of escape?

Leave a comment about how your pursuits enhance your marriage. Also, feel free to share about a time when personal pursuits may have been used as an escape and how you dealt with that.

Related post: The Marriage Road: Keeping Your Eye on the Road

Marriage Challenge: Unexpected Twists

Task: Washing the car

Place: Local Car Wash Station (not automatic)

Unexpected Twist: Scented Bubble Soap from the foaming soap brush

Really!?!  Scented bubbles?

I am picturing a board room somewhere with a group of business execs devising a plan to make washing a car more pleasant. That made me think. Think about the fact that an unexpected twist to a routine or possibly even unpleasant task changed my perspective.  At first it made me laugh, but after that I was able to appreciate that it would benefit me to add some unexpected twists to my husband’s day.  Maybe it’s a sticky note on the counter as he puts away the dishes.  Maybe it’s an “all about him” approach to foreplay or sex one evening. An unexpected gift at an unexpected time. The list could go on and on.  Whatever it is that you can think of to make marriage memories, do it!

Great marriages include gestures of love… just because.  No ulterior motive. No search for approval.  Gestures that reach out and touch the one you love because you love them.  Take time today to think of a way that you can encourage, bless or shower your spouse with an unexpected twist.  They may laugh or think it silly at first but those are the moments that build great marriages.

Continue the conversation:

What unexpected twist do you have planned for your spouse?