Ten Tips for Great Communication

Take your hands, turn them over and look at the ends of your fingers. Use those tips to communicate your love to your spouse.

Just Watch

This weekend, spend some time to just watch your spouse. Notice a new nuance of their behavior and learn to love them more for it. When they realize what you are doing, just smile slyly and say, “Oh, just enjoying my favorite view.” Let us know how they react.

Will It Blend?

One of the videos we like watching online is the series about the Blendtec blender. Each video asks, “Will it blend?” It got us thinking. The successful marriage is not in losing yourself in each other. It is in the blending of your lives with each other where each remains unique and yet where the two are more than each other alone.

Keep Your Bed Small

Our first bed when we got married was a hand-me-down that used to be in a guest room at Karl’s grandmother’s house. It was a full-size frame and mattress that was just perfect for our two-bedroom apartment in the married student housing at the university we were attending. When the mattresses were first purchased, they were at the higher end of price and value and were still fairly comfortable. (As newlyweds, they served our active needs quite well. BIG SMILE!)

As the years went by and our bedroom activity continued (not too mention the addition of some weight), they began to deteriorate. When we got ready to purchase new ones, we decided it was time to upgrade both in quality and size. Karl had the idea that if we could we should go with king size. Bigger is always better, right? Due to constraints of the budget and the size of the room where we lived at that time, we had to settle for just a queen size.

While this did help us not be as crowded while sleeping, we still were near enough that during the night we were able to touch each other and to cuddle up to each other. Of course, an added benefit was that as we felt each other, it did lead to some great middle-of-the-night sexual activity. But, didn’t we need a bigger size?sexualcontact.feet_

The first time we went away for the weekend to a hotel with a king-size bed, we discovered our answer. While there was much more romping room, we found that if we felt the need to feel each other’s skin during the night, we nearly had to go on an expedition to a foreign country to find each other and it almost seemed like we were not even in the same bed. We have to say that aside from the additional room for sexual activity, we really did not like it. Now, when given the option, we will choose a room with two queen-size beds, rather than one king.

Without knowing it, we have realized what other couples have:  sleeping close together and having regular touch while sleeping is actually part of marital satisfaction. According to a recent British poll of 1,000 couples (links to articles below), those couples who claimed to sleep less than one inch apart from each other reported an 86% satisfaction with their relationship versus only 66% satisfaction when the reported sleeping distance was 30 inches or more.

Our recommendation for your Unashamed Marriage:  keep your bed small. Choose a size that keeps you touching as much as possible!

 

MAKE IT REAL

1)      See how many sexual positions you can utilize in the space of a twin-size mattress.

2)      Cuddle more often away from the bed. It releases health producing oxytocin.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10768902/Happiest-couples-sleep-an-inch-apart.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/what-does-the-way-you-sleep-say-about-your-relationship-9264867.html

Marriage Fun (a.k.a. Speaking in Code)

As a guy (and a fun-loving adult) sometimes I buy toys (not THAT kind – at least not in this article), just to play with. Hot Wheels, flying discs, Silly Putty, Yo-Yos, etc., are all items that are still very enjoyable! On a recent trip to Target, I saw something that I had grown up playing with, though with some modern technology – an LED Light Up Rolling Yo Yo Magnetic toy. 1220600POf course, I had to open it before the kids got up so that I could play with it for a while myself.

Light up Rolling Yo Yo Magnetic Toy on Metal Rail

So, what does all this have to do with an Unashamed Marriage? One of the key parts is laughter and humor. Keep playing with your spouse! One of the best ways to do this is to “speak in code”.

This afternoon, I noticed that one of our kids was having fun with my new toy. I asked them if they had gotten permission. Of course the response was that their sibling had played with it first. I told them it was OK, that the whole family could have fun with it if they wanted. I then told Sharon that she could play with my “toys” whenever she wants. “Good,” she said with a wink and a twinkle in her eye, “I think I’ll start with your ‘laptop.’” The kids were not sure why I laughed so hard, since they see me using the laptop often.

Of course the Yo Yo toy mattered little as we transitioned to the bedroom to play with the better toys – each other. Oh, yes. Fun married sex is the best!

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Spiritual Abuse

This is a guest post by our friends, Mike and Gayle Tucker, at Mad About Marriage

 

This might be uncomfortable but we need to bring it up because it’s so damaging to relationships.

Spiritual Abuse

What is it?

Would you recognize it if you saw it? 

Would you know it if you were doing it?

How can you know if you’re in a spiritually abusive relationship?

First of all, spiritual abuse is a form of emotional abuse that can be perpetrated by men or women.

All abuse (including emotional abuse), is based on power and control as opposed to love and respect.

*** That’s so important let’s read it again:

All abuse (including emotional abuse), is based on power and control not love and respect.

Spiritual abuse occurs when a leader, or a spouse, attempts to control, manipulate, or dominate another person.

Fear is used by the spiritually abusive because it’s one of the most effective ways to control people’s minds. If you control their mind you control their behavior.

Additionally, guilt and shame are effective weapons the abusive party uses to victimize and establish control.  

Spiritual abuse occurs in marriage when the husband or wife uses religion to “rule over” their spouse. 

Spiritual abuse makes its victims dependent upon the will of the perpetrator.

The abusive person may succeed in making the victim feel incapable of doing anything on his or her own without their help, permission or approval. 

Victims lose confidence in themselves.

They also lose confidence and assurance in their relationship with God apart from the perpetrator. 

They become emotionally enslaved to their abusive partner.

Spiritually abusive spouses are driven by the need to control.

They are jealous and try to isolate their partner from others.

They are disrespectful.

They shun privacy and personal boundaries, which is also a form of emotional abuse.

So, how do you know if you’re in a spiritually abusive marriage? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does your spouse exhibit control-oriented leadership – do they “lord” over you?

2. Does your spouse demand submission and unquestioning loyalty?

3. Does your spouse demand obedience?

4. Are questions unwelcome or perceived as challenges to their “authority?”

5. Are guilt, fear, and intimidation used to control and manipulate you?

6. Does your spouse claim that questioning him/her is akin to questioning God?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s likely you’re suffering emotional abuse and are in a spiritually abusive relationship.

What can you do if you’re being spiritually abused?

1. Remember & accept that you are a child of God and that He wants you to be free. 

2. Realize that God, despite His power, doesn’t “lord” over you - and He doesn’t expect you to allow yourself to be “lorded over” by any human being. He hates any and all means of coercion.

3. Believe that God has freed you from your abuser – and gives you the right and power to stop listening to them! 

4. Accept the truth that you are being led by the Holy Spirit, and that through Bible study and prayer, you have the privilege to decide what is good, bad, wrong or right for yourself.

Please listen carefully to what I’m about to say next:

You do not require the guidance or approval of a third party to encounter God or know His will.

And, finally, remember this:

Healthy spirituality elevates people, freeing them from guilt, fear and shame. 

Healthy religion is based on love and respect and does not seek to control, but instead invites people to choose to connect with God willingly and become one with Him. 

Healthy spirituality and religion do not seek to create fear or shame in believers. 

Guilt and shame are done away with by a caring God who forgives and restores.  

There is absolutely no emotional or spiritual abusiveness within an authentic relationship with Him.

Nor should there be any in your relationship with your partner or community of faith.

Unashamed Health

I admit it. I was a wimp. I made my wife take a day off of work. That’s what it took for her to get me to go to the doctor and see about some of the health issues I was dealing with. I had been struggling with extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and weight gain. This didn’t happen suddenly, but slowly, over many years. Of course, the dreaded blood test came. I HATE NEEDLES! I know my limitations and over the years lab techs have started to know to make things as easy as possible for me. They make me stay sitting until I’m no longer pale, sometimes sipping a soda.

What happened that day was that I learned I have a severely underactive thyroid. Once I began taking the proper medication, I was climbing up stairs again as if it was nothing and my outlook on life took a huge jump up. I just didn’t realize how bad things had gotten, until I saw how great things were getting once I found out what the problem was and got treatment.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause

My health was so important to Sharon that she was willing to use a vacation day just to be there for me, showing me how much she appreciated what I was doing for her and for our (at the time) one and only child. Knowing I was taking care of my health in order to be sure to be around for a long time was better than any life insurance policy I could have purchased. I was investing in our marriage because I was investing in my health.

One aspect of an Unashamed Marriage is the area of health. There are sometimes that things just happen that are not expected. Emergencies arise and we deal with those. But far too often, we bring the emergencies on ourselves (and thus our spouses) through our choices. Like my thyroid issues, they usually get worse and worse over time. This is not just physically. Be unashamed:  eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, learn how to build healthy boundaries in your life, get counseling if needed, etc.

Is peace of mind the only benefit this Unashamed Marriage key has to offer? Hardly. Focusing on health pays off in the bedroom too!

What one thing will you do this week to improve an aspect of your health?

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition

What Men Want (Other than sex)

Men seem to be driven by formulas: a+b=c. When they find a formula that gets good results, you can believe it will get burned on to their psyche and they will repeat it. Formulas such as: I go to work everyday + I do my job well = I get paid.

So what is one of the big results that men are looking for, something that they are willing to do a+b in order to achieve? It is simply this: to be appreciated.

Everyone likes to be appreciated, but men especially thrive on knowing that what they do and say is favorably acknowledged. Ladies – do you want the secret to appreciation for men? Everything needs to be appreciated. When he takes out the garbage, whether he remembers to put a new bag in or not; needs to be appreciated just as much as when he plans a week long getaway for your 25th wedding anniversary.

Perhaps the ladies are wondering how this works for them. Let’s put it into the favorite male vehicle of a formula. I take out the garbage + I remember to put a new bag in the can=I get a thank you from my wife. Make it a point to tell him you appreciate him remembering to put the new bag in the can and punctuate it with a kiss or a quick graze of his arm. Verbal appreciation + physical touch = a man who will do almost anything for you.

Take the time to appreciate your spouse. Ladies especially, acknowledge your husbands deeds, great or small. Show your appreciation.