Category Archives: Marriage Monday

Because your spouse matters

Revisiting No Excuses

Last week I revisited the first part of an article I’d done for our local homeschool support group many years ago and was one of the first posts on this blog. Today I continue with that article with part two where I talk about common obstacles and how to overcome them.

Without further adieu, here is the post from the past. :)

ObstaclesLast week I talked about making time for you and your spouse. I know that no matter what age your children are that there are obstacles to spending time alone together but I’m here to help. God has sent me to some wonderful sources of ideas and encouragement that I will share with you in the weeks to come. Some of the  ideas can be done with the entire family and just  continued with  you and your hubby in the privacy of your room after the kids have gone to bed. Some of the ideas on the sites I will share, are just plain FUN and can be done just as a fun time for the family. If you choose to do an activity as a family, be sure to snuggle up to  your honey and shower him with attention as you all enjoy the activities together.

Here are three obstacles or excuses for not spending time alone with your spouse and ways to jump over them.

#1:    I have a baby that wakes me up in the middle of the night and so I’m tired.

If this is the case, then there must be a time that the child sleeps during the day, so take a nap at the same time. If you are rested, things will go much better for you.

Even if you home educate your children and you have pre-schoolers, elementary, and/or secondary aged children at home, this will work for you too! Just make each child go to their bed, on which they can have some quiet time. I allowed my children to read, write, draw, color, or do nothing during quiet time, but they had to stay on their bed and could NOT talk (this kept them from disturbing me or the baby and kept them from fighting). {The reason they had to stay on their own bed was because the boys shared a room and I didn’t want them fighting over toys or making ANY noise at all. If your children don’t have their own bed, you could set up quiet spots for certain ones, on a sofa or recliner, on the floor on a blanket under the kitchen table and rotate places if this is a source of squabbles, that way everyone will have their turn in the ‘fun’ spot.}

#2    I have children that don’t have a nap time any more and stay up about as late as I do.

You have several options for alone time with hubby. There is nothing wrong with having your kids go to their room earlier, one night a week. Just explain to them that Mom and Dad need to have some time alone together––explain that God wants you and daddy to stay best friends and the best way to do that is to have time alone together in the evening, once a week.

You could make this a special time for the children. Maybe you could make it dessert night, served right after dinner so that they come down off the sweet rush before bed. Make it a night they get to watch a special show in their room, laying on the floor on sleeping bags with the lights out and eating popcorn. Maybe it is a night that they can play with certain toys in their bed or read a book longer than usual in bed. If you need more ideas, contact me with your special circumstances and I’m sure God will give us an answer, tailor made for your situation.

You could have one night be “go to bed early night” and one night be “stay up late night”. My kids looked forward to Friday night, after they got older, because I’d let them stay up until 3:00 am if they wanted but Mike and I would not stay up late ourselves. The key here is that they had to get up by 9:00 am on Saturday and weren’t allowed to take a nap unless we were all doing so. In other words, they couldn’t sacrifice their time with the family because they had chosen to stay up late the night before.

#3    I have older children/teens; this is can be an awkward time.

We generally go to bed at 10pm each night, or at least start in that direction; so at times, at 9pm I go and sit on the sofa, where Mike joins me. There he puts his arm around me or I scratch his back or rub his shoulders, as we watch a show on television together with the kids. By doing this, Mike and I are giving each other our attention and still spending time with the kids and not requiring them to make any changes.

Because my kids are old enough to stay home alone, we now have the ability to go out alone with no babysitter required. Yours may not be old enough for you to spend an extended time away from home with them unsupervised but maybe they can be alone for 30 minutes or so, which is long enough for you two to take a short walk together and have a little time to talk – not gripe – to each other. Sit out on the patio with some lemonade or sweet tea or some other special drink for the two of you, as you spend a short time alone together. Take a blanket out in the back yard and lay down and watch the stars together for a little bit.

As I said before, it is VITAL that you spend time with your honey; give him SPECIAL
attention! Let him know that HE is the most important thing in your life, besides God! I know those children NEED you. I know you get run down and burnt out and just plain tired but your spouse NEEDS you too. Think about this for a minute; think about your intimate times with your hubby. Recollect  how you felt about those times when you were first married. Now, try to recreate that  feeling and attention you had back then.I won’t say any more about that here but know that if you need someone to talk to, God has helped me and I’d be glad to share with you confidentially.

If none of this seems like it will work for you, Pray! Ask God! He has the answer for you because His desire is for you to be in correct relationship with your husband.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting Right Priorities

Years ago I created a newsletter for the homeschool support group with which we were affiliated. One article I was especially passionate about became the first Marriage Monday posts on my blog nearly five years ago. I just felt it was time to bring them back to the forefront.

Right Priorities Revisited ~ Lifeofjoy.meMike and I recently celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary; while it is a milestone and an accomplishment to us, it is less than many couples I know. Our life together has not been sheer bliss. 😉 We have had our bumps along the way, as I suppose most couples do. There have been some things about our relationship that I kept hoping, and yes, even praying, would change but sadly I am here to tell you that they have not.

One day around about 2 years ago I was pondering the movie, Fireproof. Both of the main characters were so caught up in there individual lives that they lost track of who they were as a couple and the other’s needs and neither thought they were in the wrong. I realized that Caleb, the main male character, felt he hadn’t done anything wrong and felt he was actually the ‘injured’ party but was the one who accepted the challenge of reaching out to his wife and wooing her anew. Now, I don’t want to give you the impression that Mike and I were heading for divorce or even tempted to have an affair, but God used that fictional story to wake me up to realize that if I wanted things to be different it didn’t matter who did what, someone had to take action or things would not change. I chose to follow the nudging of the Holy Spirit to let me be the one. In doing so, I came to understand that Mike felt I had some changing to do, and quite frankly, I did.

So here is what I want to challenge you with: think back to when you had just met your honey. Think about how you acted when you first had his attention. Think about how much time you spent talking together on the phone and in person. Think about how much attention you gave him. Think about those honeymoon days and the first months of your marriage. Now, think about how much time and attention you have given your husband in the last 24 hours, how about the last week, and even the last month. How does it stack up? Are your words as nice and sugary as they were all those days ago? Or are you burdened down with your various ‘jobs,’ tuckered out, distraught, and overwhelmed by all the demands of being a wife, mother, and, if you homeschool, teacher with the children around and underfoot 24/7?

I know what it is like to have limited funds. I know what it is like to feel guilty about going out with my husband and spending money when we don’t do many things out as a family. I know what it is like not to have a babysitter or the funds to pay both a babysitter AND be able to go out on a “date” with your hubby. But let me tell you something, dear one, you have got to make time for him!!!!! It is easy for resentment to build on both your parts: his because you are always too tired or you are always doing something else; yours because he doesn’t understand he is just another person making demands on you. This is not good!! I admonish you, MAKE time for the two of you! There will be a time, all too soon, when there will be no more children at home; what will you have then? If you don’t make time for the two of you NOW, you will have two miserable people, frustrated, and lonely who will have to learn, all over again, how to get along with each other (if you even last that long together).

Since this first post is getting a bit long, I will share some ideas God gave me to help you find ways to accomplish this feat in the coming weeks. If you are in a desperate situation and need immediate help, email me your specifics and I’ll try to help.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Couples Apps and Love Languages

Married Couple App ~ Lifeofjoy.meI try to limit my phone and computer use as much as possible but it is getting harder and harder these days. We just switched library systems and the one we will be frequenting is in the opposite direction of where we usually go, so it isn’t as convenient as the old library was. So we are also using electronic books. Of course that means using my phone or Kindle paperwhite, which is fine but just using electronics again.

Well, I recently heard about this couples app called Ultimate Intimacy. It was recommended by a Christian marriage blogger, so I decided to check it out. I went to the app store and searched for it but while I was there I saw a 5 Love Languages app too. So of course, I downloaded both free apps.

I haven’t looked at the first one very much yet so I cannot say much of anything about it. However, since I was already familiar with the 5 Love Languages called Love Nudge, I opened that one right up. Of course you can take the quiz to find your love language. I sent the invitation code to Michael and helped him get it onto his phone.

He took the quiz and low and behold, his lowest love language is touch and guess what my highest love language is . . . yep, touch! His highest right now is gifts and I don’t have much money! LOL At least I was creative for Valentine’s Day and he got a gift of several gifts. :) I don’t know if we will use the apps. We tried the Dating Divas texts for him and her but those didn’t work too well. They just weren’t right for us. We both gave it a shot but in the end, didn’t do much with it. So, we will see how these turn out.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Take Interest in His Doings

Hard Workin' ~ Lifeofjoy.meRecently Michael got home from work a bit early and decided it was time to get some work done on the back section of the property. It has really overgrown and a lot of trees are down. It needs some serious attention. So out he went, even though it was quite cold. By the time he came in, of course, he was quite warm. :) Work has a way of doing that to you.

Of course I was interested in what he’d done, it’s really a huge undertaking but was busy making dinner and then it got dark. A day or two later he and Sean were home and they went out for a bit working down the east line trying to clear a bit of a path. They’d been at it for a while and since it was still early enough in the day, I thought I’d go out and admire him and his hard work.

I caught them on their way back in but still far enough out that I could see some of the progress they’d made. I can only imagine what it looked like before but I have a pretty good idea. Now there is about a 2-3 foot wide clearance along most of that quarter mile.

Father and Son working ~ Lifeofjoy.meYeah, it’s a mess and LOTS of work yet to go but it’s coming along. :)

The thing I’m wanting to point out today is that although I really didn’t want to leave the warmth of the house, it was important to go out and respect what he has been doing, to show my appreciation with actions and not just words. Words can be so cheap.

My encouragement today is to go out of your way to show your spouse that you appreciate what he does and be a part of it in some small way.

On the way back to the house the chickens and one cat came up to him. Those two chickens like him to pick them up. :) He picked up the one and then the other laid at his feet for him to pick her up as well.

Hubby is loveable ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Holding the second chicken

Gosh, I love that man!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Attitude Check

Unmet Expectations ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. How were your expectations? Was the reality different? Did it leave you happy, sad, or somewhere in between?

If your hubby did not meet up to your expectations, did you communicate those expectations to him?

On Monday when I was in the bathroom at the sink and hubby came in for something, I ever so subtly said, “I cannot believe Valentine’s Day is this Thursday.” =)) Yeah, real subtle. But Michael has asked me before to remind him about things like this. He said, “Oh yeah!” and we both had a giggle. (Even writing this I’m smiling once again over it.)

Then on Wednesday, as I was again at the sink in the bathroom and he came in, I said something like, Wow, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. To which he replied something like, Oh Yeah! and then muttered something about needing to go by the store. :D

Smiles ~ Lifeofjoy.meThen later that evening as Tiffany and I were in the kitchen working on some Vday sweets, he was like, ummm, your gift is in two parts. I could tell he was feeling a bit bad about it but at this point in our marriage, I have learned that my hubby loves me and as long as he makes some kind of effort, I’m good (low expectations). So I laughed and said, So, you got me a card but nothing else yet huh? He laughed (as did I) and he said yeah. And honestly, I’m okay with it.

It did make me think though about how much I’ve grown over the years. In years past, I would have probably gotten bent out of shape because even after reminding him twice the week of the special day, he still forgot to have it ready. I probably would have cried or pouted or thought bad/sad thoughts but today, I’m secure knowing he loves me – no, he really really loves me and he does not take me for granted. Valentine’s Day is just one day a year and even when you add in the other special days of the year, it still pales in number to the other days . . . you can make any day be a special day.

So, I admonish you today, if your expectations of Valentine’s Day left you feeling sad or worse, reflect on why and then talk to your love about your feelings. Don’t attack him by saying something like, You hurt me . . . better to say something like, I really feel loved and cherished when . . . or, I know you love me but on special days like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, our anniversary . . . I really feel loved when . . .

And then ask him what he likes. Michael and I did this years ago concerning cards. He used to make me cards and I’d spend a very long time selecting the right card for him from a store. As it turns out, he prefers the homemade cards and I prefer the store bought ones. So he now buys mine and I now make his, all because we had a nice calm conversation about it.

Oh and one really important thing . . . remember to pray about it too. It is important to ask God to help you with your expectations and to help you express your desires without frustration.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

That “Lovin’ Feelin'”

That Lovin' Feelin' ~ Lifeofjoy.meI listened to a webinar, at least that is what the author called it. I call it a pre-recorded presentation. But I’m always looking for ways to better myself and our marriage; I can be such a mess at times. A link came up for a marriage webinar on facebook the other day and since it was to begin in a few minutes, I decided to click over to it and see what it was about.

First off, her voice was a bit breathless and annoying to me. I don’t know exactly what it was that made me annoyed by her being so chill and breathlessly quite, but I was. There was a chatroom but nobody chatting, even when I asked, after about 30 minutes, how long the presentation was going to be.

Having said that though, she did say a few things that struck me and I will definitely continue to ponder and pray about. One was to stop “dropping” your love. Hmmmm, this thought intrigued me a bit. I’ve pondered a bit about how one “drops” your love. I’m reminded of something that has happened several times in the last several months (about four months or so) and I have mentioned here before . . . a Christian song came on the stereo and all of a sudden I was overcome with deep feelings of love for my hubby. If that feeling can be aroused merely by a song being played, then it seems that I should be able to protect that feeling and hold on to it. Don’t get me wrong, I did manage to hold on to it for a while, as is evident by writing the blog post, but it eventually gets covered by other stuff/feelings.

At any rate, it is something to consider. If you have an idea of how to protect that “lovin’ feelin’,” I’d love to hear it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Connect Daily

Dinner Together ~ Lifeofjoy.meThere was a good post with ten budget-friendly date night ideas over on To Love, Honor, and Vacuum recently, suggesting things like go out for dessert or coffee and other such things that I won’t spoil here (go over there and read it and I get nothing for suggesting it).

Those ideas seem good if you are either an extrovert or live in town. I, on the other hand, live way out in the country and am in introvert and although Michael is an extrovert, after driving into town for work, he does not want to go back out once he gets home. We are both content to just be at home. :) It truly is how we spent the majority of our dating life as well: just hanging out together at someone’s house be it his sister’s, my parents’, the place he lived with others, or even others’ homes. So it is no wonder that our married life has looked so similar.

However, it is important to connect each day! Talk to each other. Eat together. Take a walk together. Share experiences together. Marriage is about living life together not living your separate lives but in the same house with benefits. ;)

I have come to realize that we are not normal in our home. We eat the vast majority of our dinners together, at the kitchen table (we do not have a dining room). We don’t usually have anything on the television either, unless it is just music or for noise. (Michael hates to hear people chewing their food. :D ) We talk at dinner. We fellowship together. Then the rest of the evening, on many occasions, we will put on some videos (tv show–Stargate is a frequent one) we own. We are each doing our own thing but all still kind of paying attention to the show; we interact with each other but are all still doing our own thing but we are doing it together in one room. Yeah, it’s been challenging at times, as they people that the guys play with online can hear it too, but enjoyable all the same.

I guess what I’m saying is that date night is a great idea but I think the point of date night is to interact with each other. So, although Michael and I don’t really have many date nights, we interact with each other on a daily basis, outside of the to-do lists and frustrations of the day. One thing I’m hoping to do when it warms up a bit, next month probably, is get him to go on a short walk with me in the afternoon/evenings. I need the exercise, so he’ll probably agree to it, to encourage that. :)

Well, I hope you will consider how you are living life with your spouse. Don’t just put it off for one night a week. Engage with each other, each day. And as special days approach, add an extra little touch to make it a bit more special. Marriage takes work to have what you thought it was going to be.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Time to Start Planning for Valentine’s Day

Time to plan for Valentine's Day ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is hard to believe that January is nearly over. As January departs and February arrives, it’s time to start thinking about how to celebrate with my love for Valentine’s Day.

This year I’m thinking about giving Michael (hope he doesn’t read this ;)) a card and letting him know that he will be receiving some different things from me for the duration of one week. I plan to include homemade sweets he likes, a favorite dinner, massage, and some intimate things too. :)

Did you do a special countdown for your sweetie for Christmas? I did but it was very laid back and it took him a few days before he even realized I’d done it. ;) Maybe Christmas is way to busy for you to do something like that for him then. Well, Valentine’s Day is a great time to give it a go. You don’t have to be limited to the Valentine ideas online, look for some of those from Christmas too. ;) Here’s a post I did that has some links to look into for some ideas.

Whatever you do, let him know you’d choose him all over again, in a way that is meaningful to him.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Use Your Discretion and PRAY

Love and Respect ~ Lifeofjoy.me

So many times we take what others say or recommend without praying about it. It is so easy to forget to pray about everything in our lives. God desires an active relationship with us on a daily basis but I have a tendency to forget to seek Him in all things.

Many times I take advice and forget that although it is convincing and my sound good, it may not be right for me and my family. I’ve learned to deal with this when we home educated our children but what I didn’t realize is that not all Christian marriage books or advice is sound, no matter who recommends it.

You are probably wondering what has brought this post about. Well, this week Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum shared a series of posts about the book, Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, which has long been used for marriage seminars and such in churches. I have seen the book and may even have a copy of it around here somewhere, but do not recall having ever read the book. However I have read a book of Sheila’s and followed an entire month series of posts several years ago, and recommend them to others.

One thing I have learned by reading her posts this week is that it is important to pray over everything, every decision, every situation, and even every action. There were many woman who read this week’s posts and shared how the same book had harmed them and their marriages, which I take as a warning to pray over everything.

Very succinctly, here is my take away from the book review:

Eggerichs wrote the book to and for women to tell them how to get the love they want by giving their man the respect and sex he needs. Yeah, that’s it. It appears that he doesn’t believe that women want or even need sex! Ugh!

Seriously, if you’ve read this book or have someone suggesting it or worse, your church is using it for a marriage seminar, do yourself a favor and go read the posts from last week. And since they are not short, I’ll close and give you time to go check them out.

Until next time, blessings,

Michele ºÜº

We Each Need Different Things

We have different needs ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I received this email from Marriage Today that I thought was very good. I felt it really communicated what women need in marriage. The Bible tells men to love their wives because that is what we need. It tells us wives to respect/honor our husbands because that is what they need.

I recently read this post on Shaunti Feldhahn’s site about telling your husband thank you. Of course it isn’t just a flippant thank you but a specific one like, thank you for taking the trash out. Of course, her examples were much better than mine, so go read her article.

I’ll leave this post with that since there are two articles to read. If the first one rings true for you, maybe share it with your hubby. And then take the second one to heart and look for ways to tell your hubby you appreciate what he does for you and the family.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº