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OMG!! The news is on again! I roll my eyes. My husband is getting his minute-by-minute information about COVID-19. For me, it’s overwhelming and too much. I just want the facts, not everyone’s opinions about the facts. I don’t know about anyone else, but this time and space in history has taught me how different my husband and I are. 

It reminds me of my favorite movie, “Forrest Gump.” Forrest described him and Jenny as Peas and Carrots. Items that can stand alone, but go well together. There are other complementary pairs like peanut butter and chocolate, ham and eggs or fish and grits. (Savannah, GA is my home.)

The key is to remember that each item holds culinary value. They may be different, but their differences do NOT make them deficient when compared to each other. It is important to recognize that our mindset matters. Perspective is vitally important. How we choose to see or experience our differences is key.

The More You Go There, The More You Go There.

Since we are homeschooling and home-working, the differences that we have with our spouse or partner may be MORE pronounced and MORE irritating. Differences in how we set the daily schedule, how and on what items money is spent are a few of the differences that are exacerbated. When you are at your wit’s end with how your spouse washes the dishes or places the toilet paper on the roll, stop. Take a deep breath. Say to yourself, they are trying to help in the way that they know how; Different is Not Deficient. Different is NOT deficient. 

Believe the Best About Your Spouse.

Yes, they do things differently than you. I don’t believe that most spouses wake up daily with the intent of making their spouse miserable. We have to make a conscious effort to train our brain to see the positive efforts they are making during these trying times. 

Boss your feelings around.

It’s important that we acknowledge our feelings, but don’t allow them to dominate how we react. In other words, seek to respond versus react. When my husband folds the towels and I see that they are folded his way rather than “my way,” my first reaction may be to ask, “Why did you fold them that way?” A better response would be, “Thank you for helping with the laundry!

In the midst of COVID-19, I am reminded of a wonderful saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” It is important to remember that you and your spouse are a TEAM. Each player on the team has a role to play. For our RELATIONSHIP to be at its best, we must be doing our BEST as individuals. For many, this pandemic can be an opportunity for individual and relationship growth.

Depending on how we intentionally focus on each other determines whether or not we come out better on the side. Take this time of Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine as an opportunity to be BETTER TOGETHER.

For more help with avoiding and managing conflict in your marriage, check out these blogs!

Help! My Spouse And I Can’t Stop Fighting And We’re Stuck In Quarantine!

5 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage During the COVID-19 Pandemic

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Image from Unsplash.com

Want to take date night up a notch?

DISCOVER A DEEPER LEVEL OF INTIMACY IN THE MIDST OF UNCERTAINTY WITH HOT LOVE.

This premium on-demand virtual date night guides you and your spouse to learn the secrets to growing deep intimacy. You’ll work together to learn…

  • Tools to reframe your mindset
  • Ways to discover and remove roadblocks to intimacy
  • Strategies for turning up the temperature

Every time I introduce myself to a group, I always lead with the fact that I have been married for 24.5 years. I often see wide eyes and hear deep sighs after that. Then I tell them we’ve been together for 30 years, which is often longer than some of the participants have been alive. Some will even give a round of applause. I say my husband needs a standing ovation for being with me all these years.

As we move toward our silver anniversary, I’m thinking about and reminiscing on the things that allowed us to make it when so many didn’t make it to five years, much less 25, especially since my husband and I are so very different. I think there are two main things that keep us together.

For us, quitting is not an option.

We’re both from families where our parents stayed married for many years. My parents were married for 35 years before my mother died. My in-loves will celebrate 56 years of marriage in August. Plus, our grandparents stayed married for 50+ years. We saw marriage lived out in all of its complexities, and I saw my parents stay together through ups and downs. When I was a child, my parents came close to the point of divorce. Seeing them happy and in love as an adult reinforced my view that marriage is HARD WORK. But it is so worth it.

We choose to accept and respect the differences we have.

From the very beginning of our relationship, my husband and I were different. He liked Lakers’ Showtime of the 80s while I was a fan of the Bad Boys of Detroit. I loved pro-football and he was big college fan. I am an extreme extrovert who loves being around a lot of people while he is much more comfortable around a small group of close friends.

For a long time, I wanted him to act more like me. I thought it would make our relationship better if we liked ALL the same things. I now realize and respect our differences. If I were with someone JUST LIKE ME, one of us would certainly be unnecessary. The fact that we are not the same and see things differently makes us STRONGER. We lovingly and consistently challenge each other to see old things in a new and unique way.

No matter where you are in a relationship, it’s important to love and accept your partner for who they are without spending all of your energy into shaping them into the image you want them to be. If they are not who you want them to be, or if their actions don’t mesh with you, you have another difficult decision to make.

Perhaps the person who needs to change isn’t them; it just might be you.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Here’s what some couples say are major issues to deal with in marriage, according to a Life Innovations survey of 21,501 married couples from every state. 

  1. Problems sharing leadership
  2. One partner is too stubborn
  3. Stress created by child-rearing differences
  4. One partner is too negative or critical
  5. Feeling responsible for issues
  6. One partner wishes the other had more time
  7. One partner wishes the other was more willing to share their feelings
  8. Avoiding conflict with partner
  9. Difficulty completing tasks
  10. Differences never feel resolved

Building a healthy marriage means that you have learned to turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Build on your strengths and find ways to creatively address your differences. Conflict management/resolution skills are crucial.

In strong marriages, both partners say:

  • they feel free to share their feelings and ideas,
  • their partner understands their positions,
  • they take disagreements seriously, and
  • they work cooperatively to resolve conflicts.

The happiest couples said they were satisfied with the way they communicate, find it easy to express their feelings and find their partner to be a good listener. They note that their partner doesn’t use put-downs.

 

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

YOU CAN BE HAPPILY MARRIED.

And no, that’s not just a fairytale. Sometimes we settle, we coexist, we go along to get along, or we just try to keep the damage to a minimum. There are no perfect marriages. There are also no unicorns. So what? You can always Maximize Your Marriage. You know what’s NOT a mythical creature? Your marriage being BETTER than you could ever imagine.

To help you write the next chapter of your marriage story, each module features…

  • A simple, easy-to-understand video lead by marriage experts,
  • A download to help you personalize the key concepts for your marriage, and
  • Action items to transform your marriage as you go through the course.

You’ll have access to two marriage experts every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement. (THIS is what makes Maximize Your Marriage customized & personalized!)

Are there any irreconcilable differences? The University of Washington has more than 35 years of marital research by Dr. John Gottman that determines with greater than a 90 percent accuracy rate what’s going to happen to a relationship over a three-year period.

In a national telephone survey, there were two issues that couples were most likely to report arguing about. What would you guess those two areas are?

ANSWER: Money and Children

Examples of potential irreconcilable differences might include:

Here is the important takeaway: Differences are inevitable. It’s how you manage the differences that matters. Discuss potential differences in your relationship.

For example: Money

  1. Discuss how money was managed in your family.
  2. How would you want money managed in your marriage?
  3. Discuss: “What does money mean to you?”

Image from Unsplash.com

Everyone wants a smokin’ hot marriage, but how can you make it happen? You found your “soul mate,” dated and fell madly in love. Before long you were fantasizing about what your wedding and wedding night would be like. The honeymoon was wonderful, and so were the weeks and months that followed.

As you slowly get down to the business of marriage, tasks, opportunities, decisions and real life can hit you square in the face.

After a couple of years, your home and roles in married life are down to a routine. Looking to the future, you suddenly realize that your romantic life has become as routine as the household chores.

Since the routine doesn’t have the magic it once had, you wonder, “Did I really marry my soul mate?”

“This is an all-too-familiar story for many people,” says Dr. Pat Love, author, speaker and educator. “People find this very disconcerting. They know couples who are talking divorce which makes the lack of passion in their own marriage a bit more concerning. Couples have the baby, the recession, responsibilities, job insecurity, and so many irons in the fire that the fire has gone out of the bedroom. Their commitment is strong, yet there is this gnawing worry that maybe they should be doing something to flame the embers and get the fire going again.”

During the first two years of marriage, couples get a free dopamine ride. Everything is new and exciting and they have an elevated sex drive. But dopamine levels drop around the two-year mark, and spouses begin to wonder what is wrong. To make matters worse, they rarely talk about what is happening in their relationship.

“These disconcerting thoughts can lead to arguments about things that don’t have anything to do with the real issue at hand – what has happened to us. Research shows that talking about sex during the first year is correlated with high marital satisfaction for men. Discussions after the first year are highly correlated with female satisfaction in marriage,” Love says. “If you can’t talk about it in a healthy productive way, both spouses are likely to be dissatisfied. This quickly moves to discontentment which can lead to the dissolution of a perfectly good marriage.”

Perhaps the passion in your marriage has fizzled. If you want to make sure it stays alive, you can still fan the flames.

Believe it or not, there are classes and events for couples on topics just like this. In a safe and fun environment, you can consider what makes you feel close to each other. You can also learn how to talk about sexuality and sensuality without being overly-sensitive or blaming.

To learn more about fully understanding your spouse’s needs or how to deal with differences in creating passion and intimacy in your relationship, please contact us or check out our classes for married couples.

 ***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

YOU CAN BE HAPPILY MARRIED.

And no, that’s not just a fairytale. Sometimes we settle, we coexist, we go along to get along, or we just try to keep the damage to a minimum. There are no perfect marriages. There are also no unicorns. So what? You can always Maximize Your Marriage. You know what’s NOT a mythical creature? Your marriage being BETTER than you could ever imagine.

To help you write the next chapter of your marriage story, each module features…

  • A simple, easy-to-understand video lead by marriage experts,
  • A download to help you personalize the key concepts for your marriage, and
  • Action items to transform your marriage as you go through the course.

You’ll have access to two marriage experts every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement. (THIS is what makes Maximize Your Marriage customized & personalized!)


Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV for an in-depth look on this topic!

Perhaps you have seen the video It’s Not about the Nail that has millions of views on YouTube.

As a couple sits on the couch, the female describes relentless pressure and pain in her head that won’t go away. While she vocalizes her frustration, the scene expands enough for the viewer to see a nail in her forehead.

The male says to her, “You do have a nail in your head.”

Her response? “It is not about the nail.”

An argument ensues. She accuses him of not listening and of always trying to fix things when what she really wants is for him to listen. She continues to talk about how much pain she is in, how she is not sleeping well and that every sweater she has is snagged.

He looks at her and says, “That sounds really hard.” Her facial expression softens and she reaches out to touch his hand as she realizes he feels her pain. She leans forward to kiss him, only to hit the nail in her head. Once more, he tells her she just needs to get the nail out of her head, and off to the races they go…again.

Men are notorious for wanting to fix the problem, but women just want men to listen.

Sound familiar? There probably isn’t a couple on the planet that can’t relate to this scenario.

If you have something so obvious like a nail in your head and you aren’t willing to listen to your spouse that is a problem, BUT not everything is that simple. Sometimes, not everything sticks out like a nail in the head, but guys try to fix it anyway. And, there are many instances when guys really do need to just listen.

Did you know there are ways to bridge this communication divide? Here are some tips to help you communicate with the opposite sex.

  • Stop trying to change each other. Men tend to communicate with purpose to solve a problem. Women spend a lot of time communicating to bond and build relationship. Neither way is wrong.
  • Before starting a conversation with your husband, tell him what you want. Do you want him to just listen or do you want him to help solve the problem? Doing this could spare both of you a lot of agony.
  • In general, men tend to think things through before they talk. Instead of saying nothing is wrong because you aren’t ready to talk about it, tell her you aren’t ready to talk and give her a time when you will give her the download. Women, this is your cue to back off.
  • If you want to keep your husband’s attention, cut to the chase and be direct.
  • Learn to listen. Listening does not come naturally. It takes effort to focus on what someone is saying.
  • Avoid mindreading. Assuming you know what someone else is thinking can create a lot of unnecessary drama.

Men, learn to look past the proverbial nail in the head. And ladies, don’t be so quick to dismiss a potential solution to your problem.

Instead of getting irritated because your spouse doesn’t communicate just like you, take it as a challenge to learn how to engage and understand each other’s point of view.

Tired of the so-so communication in your marriage? 

Check out this hefty DIGITAL E-BOOK by Marriage Researchers & Therapists

Inside, you’ll find:

  • How and why you and your spouse communicate differently, and what to do about it
  • 5 proven listening techniques that will pump up the intimacy in your relationship
  • 4 ways to start and end difficult conversations well
  • 5 ways you may be hindering communication with your spouse without realizing it
  • AND MORE!

PLUS! Every section has an easy, no-stress discussion guide created for you and your partner to build the communication you want in your marriage.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Just weeks into their marriage, Sam and Ellen* were caught a bit off guard as their different perspectives about certain things became very real. While they had discussed many of the big potential areas of conflict – money, career, children and how they wanted to deal with their in-laws – the impact of the more “trivial” matters on their marriage surprised them.

For example, things like socks on the floor, how to squeeze the toothpaste tube, how to do household chores, how to spend their downtime and even how to get to a certain location had become frequently intense conversations.

It baffled the couple that these seemingly little things could have such a stranglehold on their marriage. The conflicts were affecting their relationship and neither one of them liked what they were experiencing.

In reality, it is nearly impossible for two people with different upbringings to not have differences in perspective about many things. Truth be told, we are creatures of habit. In most instances, it is far less likely that a spouse intentionally leaves socks on the floor or squeezes the middle of the toothpaste tube just to get on your nerves. It’s far more likely to be what they have always done.

So, how can you keep these seemingly minor issues from becoming major areas of conflict in your marriage?

Parents teach their kids to stop, look and listen before crossing the street. But believe it or not, this is a really useful skill for managing conflict.

  • Stop. Before launching into a lecture or hissy fit, consider these things. Ask yourself if what you are about to say or do will be helpful to your relationship. What is your current state of mind – are you stressed, tired or hungry? These things can impact how intensely you feel about something at any given moment.
  • Look. First, look at your spouse and remember you are on the same team, not rivals. Then, examine the situation at hand and ask yourself if this is truly a big deal or really a matter of different preferences. Whether it is folding towels, loading the dishwasher or the current condition of your car’s interior, some things boil down to personal preference. Is pursuing a conversation about these things worth the cost? And, in looking at the big picture of living life together, will you choose to place your focus on these areas?
  • Listen. Instead of assuming your spouse couldn’t possibly have a reasonable explanation for why they do something a certain way, seek to understand their perspective before telling them why your way makes the most sense. It could help you avoid a lot of unnecessary drama. Even when you truly believe you are right, is it really necessary to prove it?

Undoubtedly, there are legitimate times for some hard discussions. Moving past those little irritations, however, will require you to think carefully about how you manage those conflicts. After you have walked through stop, look and listen, think about these things:

  • Considering how much time we have together, is this matter worthy of our precious time and energy?
  • Why does this particular issue get under my skin?
  • Am I willing to sacrifice our relationship for this issue?

Most couples say their relationship is what matters most to them. What tends to trip them up is mistakenly making the minor things the major ones. In many instances, it’s better for your marriage if you agree to disagree and get on with enjoying life together.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Top 10 Strengths of Happy Marriages

Talk with your spouse about this list.

David H. Olson, founder of Life Innovations and one of the creators of the Prepare/Enrich marriage enrichment tools, has surveyed 21,501 married couples in all 50 states to identify the top ten strengths of happy marriages.

Research shows the strongest couples are those who have strong communication skills, a clear sense of closeness as a couple, flexibility, personal compatibility and good conflict management skills.

In strong marriages, there is a balance between separateness and togetherness. These couples make togetherness a top priority, ask each other for help, like doing things together, and spend most of their free time together.

  1. Partners are satisfied with communication.
  2. Partners handle their differences creatively.
  3. They feel very close to each other.
  4. Spouses are not controlling.
  5. Partners discuss their problems well.
  6. They are satisfied with the affection they show and receive in the marriage.
  7. There is a good balance of time alone and together.
  8. Family and friends rarely interfere.
  9. Partners agree on how to spend money.
  10. Partners agree on spiritual beliefs.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

YOU CAN BE HAPPILY MARRIED.

And no, that’s not just a fairytale. Sometimes we settle, we coexist, we go along to get along, or we just try to keep the damage to a minimum. There are no perfect marriages. There are also no unicorns. So what? You can always Maximize Your Marriage. You know what’s NOT a mythical creature? Your marriage being BETTER than you could ever imagine.

To help you write the next chapter of your marriage story, each module features…

  • A simple, easy-to-understand video lead by marriage experts,
  • A download to help you personalize the key concepts for your marriage, and
  • Action items to transform your marriage as you go through the course.

You’ll have access to two marriage experts every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement. (THIS is what makes Maximize Your Marriage customized & personalized!)