Category Archives: Marriage Monday

Because your spouse matters

Argument Resolution Protocol

I was talking with Tiffany last week and we were discussing compromise in marriage. No, she is not yet married but we talk about these things to prepare her for marriage one day; she is twenty-one.

“–When in a argument or heated conversation . . . there needs to be a point to throw down the white flag: ensure both understands what the other is saying, stop, take a minute to collect yourselves, pray, and talk it out to a resolution.”

Basically, we said that it would be good for couples, when they first start out, to develop a protocol to resolve arguments or other such opposing situations. Because the fact of the matter is that when you are in a frustrated conversation you are no longer trying to be reasonable and understanding, you are trying to get the other person to understand why you are right. :p

Here are the suggestions we came up with:

  • When you realize that you are getting frustrated with a conversation or situation, call a time out and both parties calm down.
  • Come back together after a few moments and hold hands and pray, asking God to change me where I am wrong and change the other where he/she is wrong and help us come to an agreement.
  • Then each person take a moment to tell the other what they understand the other to be saying, after which the other can either calmly affirm or clear up their point but not trying to push their opinion, just bring understanding of what you think/feel.
  • Then work together to find the correct answer for you as a couple.

One example we had was about how much money to spend on a birthday present. Husband wants to spend $40 and wife only wants to spend $20. It gets heated. The conversation is stopped. Each person cools off, they come together and pray together, and then the husband says what I understand you to be saying is that you want to reduce our normal birthday gift from $25 to $20. To which she should reply in the affirmative and then proceed to tell him that she understands him to say that he wants to increase the budget from $25 to $40.

Then proceed to ask the other their reasons. This is important because this is where you find out why the person wants to take the action they are suggesting. Maybe he feels that gift choices are too limiting at $25 and $40 would yield better options. Whereas the wife may be wanting to decrease it by $5 to budget in for something she wants/needs. Maybe it is to afford a night away once a year or to get something small that hasn’t been affordable under the current budget.

(I know these numbers are really arbitrary and not necessarily realistic, especially since it is usually the husband who wants to decrease spending as much as possible. ;) But I use it as a generality to explain the resolution protocol.)

At this point in the protocol it is important to both be willing to offer solutions to the situation or agree to table it so that you can both pray about it individually and schedule a time to talk about it again. This scheduling is vital because then it gives both parties the feeling that they are being heard and not ignored but that we will revisit this and come to a resolution together.

I do not believe that either party should always be the one to give in/compromise. Both parties need to feel that they are heard, considered, and that you have agreed on an outcome together. Sometimes you should both give a little. In the example above, maybe they agree to increase the budget to $30 or $35 but also agree establish a budget for whatever it was that the wife wanted to do.

Establishing these steps to conflict resolution can help keep conflicts from escalating to a shouting match and hurt feelings. Even if you are already married, you could talk to your spouse about setting up something like this to curb out of hand conversations. ;)

Do you have a system like this in your marriage? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Why Wild Flowers

Wild Flower Bouquet ~ lifeofjoy.me
Picture taken when I was feeling better, so not at their prettiest moment. ;)

Okay, first I have to say that wild flowers are NOT weeds. You may not want them in your cultivated lawn of green grass but they are flowers. I love wild flowers. I figure God made all the flowers and some are just pure, others got worked over by man. ;)

At any rate, I wasn’t feeling well last week–it was my turn, we like to share everything in this house, evidently–and Michael took great care of me. One day he came home from work and had a bunch of Indian Paint Brush wild flowers with him. He came in and put them in a vase with some sugar and vinegar to make them last, and put them on the shelf above my table beside my chair. :)

He’d told Sean that the reason wild flowers grow by the side of the road is so that a man has no excuse not to bring his wife flowers. :) Since I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t get a good picture of them but they made me happy.

So men, keep some scissors or clippers in your vehicle and bring your sweetie some flowers on a regular basis. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Monthly Cycle

Sometimes a girl just NEEDS chocolate!

Brad and Kate over at One Flesh Marriage wrote a couple of good articles about understanding the woman’s monthly cycle and how important it is to communicate about it. I wish this information had been available to me when I was younger because I believe it would have helped us. Especially coupled with the herbs/supplements that I found.

So today I am sharing several links with you, to some short articles both on their site and mine. (The last 3 are mine.)

Although it doesn’t appear there are any new articles/posts over on One Flesh Marriage, they have an archive of over 500 posts. They have a nice style where one will write on a topic and then in another post the other will write on the same topic. It is nice to read things from both points of view. I recommend checking their site if you want some marital encouragement. :)

Well, I’m going to run. You have enough to help you with the wonderful and dreadful time of the month in those 5 posts. I urge you to go read them.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Intimates Sale

Heart Rose Petals ~ lifeofjoy.meI’m going to keep this short today so that you can go check out the sale on HonoringIntimates. It seems there is a sale as well as a special discount code only good through Thursday (April 25, 2019) using the discount code: intimacy, so hurry on over to get an additional 20% off. If when you get to the site, you don’t see a banner at the top click there through this link which is from IntimacyinMarriage.

The site uses headless mannequins to tastefully display the lingerie. It’s nice to have a place where you and your hubby can go and look together for intimate apparel.

If you need an excuse to buy a new piece of lingerie, other than it’s on sale, Mother’s Day is coming, so why not treat him to some eye candy or buy and save for Father’s Day. :)

Oh! I wanted to mention that they have sizes from 00 to 24. The size 24 is generally a queen one size fits all which covers 18-24 from what I saw.

There is a good variety of lingerie. They even have some silk boxers for the gents and lubricants which are both also on sale. :)

Just so you know, I don’t get any benefit from telling you about this other than knowing that I shared a good deal but I did see they have an affiliate program so I may be joining that in the future.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Quick to Forgive

Forgive ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was listening to a Trim Healthy Mama Podcast, episode 114 Grocery Cart Judger or Discerner, the other week and around 17:30 Pearl mentions her sister Vange and what they’ve been doing this year. Pearl talked about not taking hurt and that we’re created to live above hurt. They talked briefly about how your body responds to offense, i.e. negatively.

Pearl talks more about hurts around 29:05. She is vulnerable here and shares how she used to get hurt by her husband. Danny points out that men don’t own up to being hurt but offended or ticked off and consequences of being offended. Then they talk about forgiving and getting over it. In other words, it was a good podcast that made me think and encouraged me to “up my game” and be even more conscientious about not getting offended and quick to forgive.

Of course that means that I had the opportunity to put my decision to action. I’d love to say that I passed but the truth of the matter is that I could have done better but I’m aware of my failure and will continue to aim to do better.

It is natural to get offended but so freeing when we pass the urge to do so. Forgiveness is for us; it releases negative emotion and keeps it from causing harm to your body (like stress harms your body).

So, I’m learning to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Will you join me?

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting Connect with Your Spouse

Today is the last part of that article I wrote for the local homeschool support group newsletter years ago. This one has lots of date night ideas for both at home and out, with the children and without. :)

I hope it’s helpful to you. So without further adieu . . .

TConnect with Your Spouse ~ LifeofJoy.meoday I thought I’d share some GREAT websites to give you some GREAT “Date Night” ideas. Many of these ideas are adaptable to different situations. I like these sites because I don’t have to get super creative, I can just read through and find something that I think we’d enjoy and make any adjustments I want to make for our given situation.

  • First up is The Dating Divas  which is jam packed with lots and lots of date nights that are customizable to your situation. Many of the ideas include printables for you to download and print out and use!    Here is one you can do with your kids: http://www.thedatingdivas.com/corie/10-dates-for-20/ Check out some of the different date nights and see which ones you and your hubby might like and which ones you might enjoy with your whole family; just remember that if you use the idea with your whole family to ensure that your hubby knows and feels that this time is created with HIM in mind, since the point of it is to get closer to him. There are also a list of about 100 suggestions added in the comments of this post.
  • This next one is another idea from The Dating Divas site. This is a cute idea for a once a month, year long, project of “date” nights. Here’s how to adapt this for the whole family and some homeschooling as an added bonus. Make the passport and such as suggested on the site but give it to your husband when the two of you are alone together and explain that once a month you will be treating him to a special date night. Much of it will be shared by the entire family but let him know that the ‘night belongs to him’ and that once the children are down for the night and/or you retire to your room, the date night will continue. Imagine the smile that will be on his face when he comes home to the decorations and smells of a foreign place, right in his home, but he knows that his fun is ONLY just BEGINNING. Be sure to decorate your bedroom as well as the eating and/or living areas. Take the opportunity to do a short unit study on the chosen “destination” with the children prior to the “date night” so that there is an educational benefit as well. 🙂 You can make passports for your kids too, just leave some special touches for just your honey. (Remember to make it special for HIM, if you do all the same things for the kids, he’s not getting anything special.)
  • Love Actually is the next one and it has many date night ideas (click that one for the index)!!! You could spend hours here. You might even plan a date night where you and your hubby look through some of the different date night ideas and see what he thinks would be worth a try. You might want to also check out the blogger’s other site, http://lifedesigncraft.blogspot.com/ , to see some ideas she has there for other things . . . I noticed she has a girls party with a theme of Milk and Cookies, sounds like it could me a fun Homeschool Moms Night Out.
  • Here’s another Date Night Idea blog: http://fridaywereinlove.blogspot.com/ She has a link to 101 Date Night Ideas, surely we older ladies can even find some ideas here. ;)
  • Here’s an interesting article, “Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples,” that has some interesting ideas about the kinds of activities you should pursue together. Please take the time to read this; it is really good.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/health/12well.html
  • Here is one idea I plucked from an other-wise ridiculous list: Pick up a bucket of fried
    chicken and head for the drive-in.

In my travels, I came across that great website mentioned above, The Dating Divas. While perusing the site, I came to realize that a couple of the contributors are Christian ladies, which explained why the site is so tastefully done. I read their FAQ page  and the answers to questions 7 and 8 are great. I hope you’ll pop over there and read their wise words and that these links will inspire you and help you keep connected with your husband in a deeper way than before.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Revisiting Show Him You Love Him

As I mentioned the last, I’m revisiting that article I wrote so many years ago for my local homeschool support group newsletter. Today I share part three. Revisiting this article has reminded me about how we spent our evenings for a while and sadly, we have gotten out of that. So, I’m hoping to bring it back. I actually mentioned it last week one day and we both enjoyed sitting on the sofa together as I read and he did his own thing. :)

I hope this will be a blessing to you today.

Show Him You Love HIm ~ LifeOfJoy.meIt is amazing to me how something as simple as leaving the recliner and my laptop and going and sitting on the sofa with Mike at 9pm in the evening can make such a difference in how Mike and I relate to one another. It makes him feel loved and important in my life. OH! How I wish someone had given me these tips when I was younger . . . Huh! I wish someone had given me these tips a year ago, because by now, our marriage would be so much stronger and healthier and happier.

I was astonished to find out that he felt that there was little place in my life for him because I had volunteer work I do; I sang on the worship team, which required a night out each week and early departure for church on Sundays, I have support groups I run online, I have a newsletter that I did, I had the kids to tend to, the house to clean, food to make, and I needed to relax too . . . He felt lost in the cracks and I couldn’t understand this before, they are his kids too, his house and food too . . . It isn’t like I ignored him or his “needs”. I thought I was doing good; I go to bed when he does, get up around the time he does, I make him a hot breakfast before he leaves and pack him a lunch each day, have his clothes washed, try to have things ‘picked up’ when he gets home in the evening, and have dinner ready shortly after he gets home. I don’t spend time in another room in the house in the evenings, we are all in the living room together; we may all be doing something different but we are together and do share what we are doing with each other.

I thought I was sacrificing and doing good . . . But he saw clutter and that one pair of pants that he wanted to wear tomorrow were dirty, and would’ve liked to have had dessert or something different for dinner. He saw me on the computer, neglecting him. Much like I imagine God feels, he just wanted me to pay some attention to him. It is sad that it has taken me this long to get it, but thankfully, I finally did! Now, I hope to help you!
Around the time I got this realization, we were able to spend the weekend together and have a chance to just talk. You see, God had been preparing me. I picked up a book from Mardel’s (a local Christian bookstore) entitled Before the Last Resort: 3 Simple Questions to Rescue Your Marriage, by George Kenworthy. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! The author pastored a church in Minneapolis where he saw God heal about 90% of the marriages of all the couples they counseled. Did you see that? 90%!!! These weren’t just slightly troubled marriages, some of these were severely troubled, like one couple ready to file divorce because one partner was living with another man having an adulterous affair. The stories he shares are astounding, and do precisely what he shares them for, GIVES HOPE !

One of the first things that struck me was the 3 simple questions he asks, questions EVERY Christian should be willing to answer yes to and very easy to do. Then he suggests a “Communication Date” which is very simple as well but I have to tell you, it shook me.
On this ‘date’ you tell your spouse how you felt their love for you this week. Wow! Stop and think about that a minute – Have you shown your love to your spouse in a way that he will recognize??? Or that will make an impression with him??? It was out of this thought that the “sofa time” with my husband has emerged. What will you do this week to ensure that your husband feels your love for him?

At any rate, back to my story, Mike and I were able to just talk, not confront, argue, gripe, or nag about anything. It had been a very busy two weeks of volunteer work and I was afraid to ask him “how he felt my love for him” recently, as was suggested in the book, because I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to pinpoint anything in all our busyness but thankfully he did. It was a good weekend and we were able to connect with each other and then fellowship with several couples around our age from the church we were attending at the time. It was a truly enjoyable weekend.

Finally, in an effort to keep this a G-rated article, I will merely say that I have put effort into “spicing up” our time alone. No one likes to be caught in a rut or feel that they are the initiator all the time. Surprise your man! Do something you haven’t done before! Bring a  smile to his face. Let him know that you still desire him too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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