Jul 23

4 Books that Every Married Couple Needs

According to the 2012 American Time Use Survey, an average of 2.8 hours per day was dedicated to watching television. First, I would like to say this is not a TV bashing post. I will not take the liberty to do the math, but this is a lot of hours dedicated to the tube.

With so many hours dedicated to television, we neglect to exercise our brain. Exercise your brain is one the best thing you can do to keep your relationship alive. I truly believe that love is a verb, and it requires practice. In order, to really feed your mind about your relationship health you cannot be in front of the television for several reasons.

Just to name a few: television couples are a joke (I am being nice), the television father has no backbone, the 7 Day television wife is the total opposite of The Proverbs 31 Woman. And, I am not really going to write about the way children are portrayed

Needless to say. It is time to get off the couch and read something that will challenge and strengthen your relationship.

proverbs

Why should you read for your relationship?

I said it earlier, but I will say it again. To show real love in action, you have to exercise and condition your brain to learn it and practice it. If not, it will atrophy. Secondly, reading is not the only way to learn, but it is the quickest way to learn any skill. I can go on, but once you start reading you will tell me the other reasons.

What should you read for your relationship?

Well, I can tell you I thought about this a lot. I was going to make a long list, but since you will share at least one of your favorite books with me I decide to share only four of my favorite relationship books with you.

 

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What should you read for your relationship?

Well, I can tell you I thought about this a lot. I was going to make a long list, but since you will share at least one of your favorite books with me I decide to share only four of my favorite relationship books with you.

Drum roll!

Proverbs – I bet you did not expect this book to make the list. The book of Proverbs is really a great source of wisdom. I cannot even begin to unpack the knowledge I get from it. If you want to have a mind blowing experience, read a chapter of Proverbs a day for 31 days. This book really taught me the power of silence as a wife and as a counselor. I promise you; your learning experience will range from excellent work ethics to the nuts and bolts of strong friendship.

Five Love Languages – I strongly recommend this book for all engaged couple. This book has helped me solve many fights in my counseling practice. It is one of the greatest tools to communicate with your spouse the way he/she wants to be love.

His Needs/Her Needs – A great resource for couples who love each other, but are having a hard time understanding each other. I love the fact this book breaks down the needs of the husband and the need of the wife. This book has helped me to really teach couples what each other needs are. To top it off, there is a wonderful evaluation in the back of the book that allows you to rank your needs.

Boundaries – This is a classic. If you want to have healthy relationship with your spouse or with family. This is your book. This book helped me to see that saying no is okay. If you have problem saying no, or feel guilty when you say no. Again, this is your book. This book will teach you to develop a backbone. Trust me you will have a better relationship

Today is the day to feed your mind. Exercise your love muscle by getting a book of the bookshelf. Or you can just download it from your electronic device.

Questions: What is your favorite relationship/marriage book? What is one thing you have learned from that book that changed your relationship?

Thank you for reading

Jul 21

Lessons from Love & Respect

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.
Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing.  Join us from June 2nd to September 8th as we read Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

 

GET THE BOOK TODAY

Chapter 13 – Loyalty – She Needs to Know that You’re Committed

Chapter 14 – Esteem – She Wants You to Honor and Cherish Her

 

Can She Trust You?

A marriage that is built on trust will flourish even when there is hardship. Trust is valued in most marriages. The ability to know that your spouse respects the marriage and respect and your love you enough to stay faithful is priceless. However, in many marriages there is a compromise on trust. Husbands who understand that a wife‘s heart needs full trust won’t compromise the trust. Trust  has a loyalty factor. Trust and loyalty go hand in hand. Can your wife trust that she is the only one in your heart and mind? There are many husbands that are not having a physical affair relationship but they have broken the marital trust by exposing the marriage to some of the dangers listed below.

Exposing the marriage to pornography

Exposing the marriage to other emotional relationship

Exposing the marriage to lustful thoughts

Exposing the marriage to secrecy

In trust terms, to have and to hold mean that your wife is the only woman you will look at and think of with sexual longing.  We are bombarded daily with negative sexual messages that can chip away at the marriage loyalty. In order to stay loyal, you need to be intentional about:

Reassuring your wife of your love

Directing all your sexual longing toward your wife physically and emotionally

Wearing your ring as a symbol of your closeness to your wife

Be completely open about your plans

Don’t criticize her in front of others

Reassuring your wife of your commitment

Reassuring your wife of your emotional, physical and mental loyalty

Don’t compare her to others

When trust is broken, it takes time to heal. Healing only comes with time and dedication. If trust has been broken in your marriage, be patient. It will take time and effort to show loyalty.

5344555446_68ced6f740_bPhoto Courtesy of Lauren Hammond under Flickr Creative Commons

Do You Cherish Her? Do You Esteem Her? Do You Really Love Her?

To cherish is to value.  To cherish is to treasure. If you treasure your wife, you will esteem her. Not only by words but by countless actions. You cannot be loyal to your wife in mind, heart and spirit, if you don’t esteem her. Many husbands especially Christian husbands fall short when it comes to cherishing their wives. As “the leaders” of the household, these men devalue their wives’ opinions. In some cases, many husbands treat their wives as second class citizens. Consequently, these marriages suffer. These husbands fall short because to love is to esteem by not showing esteem they are not loving. If you do not esteem your wife, she does not feel love. Be a leader in a house and be the leader of her heart by honoring her and cherishing her. Honor your wife by doing the following.

Show that you value her opinions

Put her first after God even before the children

Show her unconditional respect

Praise her

Value her efforts

Value her commitments

Let her know that you are proud of her

Rejoice in the woman that she is

If you esteem your wife, you will trigger her to show you the respect that you desperately need without asking for it.

Challenge of the Week – Loyalty and esteem go hand and hand. You cannot be loyal in spirit, mind and heart to your spouse if you don’t esteem her for she does and cherish her for who she is.

Loyalty – This week evaluate your heart and thoughts. Are you loyal to your wife? Are your thoughts and actions communicating trust? Can she trust your intentions?

Esteem – Do you treasure your wife? Do you honor her for who she is? Do you praise her for what she does? This week show her you esteem and cherish her with words and actions.

Thank you for reading

 

 

 

 

Jul 18

10 Tips To Create a Strong Family Unit

It is in a woman’s nature to create a strong and functional family unit with her spouse. The family unit might differ from home to home. However, commitment, unity, quality time are some family values that most women desired in a mate. Having the desire to have a strong family is one thing, but seeing that desire being fulfilled by a spouse is at the utmost importance. Many couples fail to discuss family commitment expectations before they say. “I do”.  Coming from different backgrounds and being exposed to different parenting styles, couples who want to have  successful marriage will invest the time to discuss family commitment.

A wife might expect her husband to be the disciplinarian and helped the children with homework. Nevertheless, if the husband sees discipline and homework help as the wife’s duties, this couple will pass each other as two sailing ships going in the opposite direction. Many husbands do a great job providing financially for the family, but they neglect the family emotional needs. Consequently, they are working in vain.

Tara Elizabeth FlickrPhoto Courtesy of Tara Elizabeth under Flickr Creative Commons

 

To avoid, unnecessary conflicts husband and wife need to be on the same page about family commitment. Listed below are 10  tips to create a strong family unit.

 

  1.     Talk about roles and expectations of each spouse as mother and  as a father

   2.     Spend quality and fun time as family

   3.     Discuss parenting rules

   4.     Be a united front when parenting the children

   5.     Be consistent in parenting

  6.     Help and support each other’s decision

  7.     Get help since children do not come with a handbook

   8.     Remember you are on the same team

   9.     Know the different aspects of parenting (i.e. training, disciplining, teaching, encouraging, etc)

10.  Do not let your anger interfere with family commitment

Husbands – If your wife’s need is family commitment, you need to dedicate the time to fulfill that need. A husband who does not meet family commitment need in his household destroy his family.

Wives – Work together with your husband to create a lasting family unit.

 

Question: What are some tips you use to create a strong family unit in your household?

 

Thank you for reading.

Jul 16

Your Grass Can Be Greener Too

It is not uncommon for a couple to look at other marriages and wish that their marriage was better. You might go so far to wish that your husband had better qualities or your wife was nicer.

 

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You can wish many things, but do not waste your time and look at the green grass in other marriage and hope that your grass was greener. Water your grass by speaking your spouse love languages. Meet her emotional needs. Go the extra mile and your grass will be greener.

 

Question: How do you plan to water your grass this week?

 

Thank you for reading 

Jul 14

Lessons from Love & Respect

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.

 

Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing.  Join us from June 2nd to September 8th as we read Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

 

GET THE BOOK TODAY  

Chapter 11 – Understanding – Don’t Try to “Fix” Her: Just Listen

Chapter 12 – Peacemaking – She Wants You to Say, “I’m Sorry”

 

Just Listen

Listening to your wife speaks is not just an activity on the check list. I have counseled many men who wanted physical intimacy but yet neglected to initiate a conversation with their wife after work.  Yes, you are tired after a long day of work. Yes, you just want to distress by watching TV. Still, it is not an excuse to ignore your wife’s emotional need.

Why talking is so important to women?  Apart from being an emotional need for most women, talking is a way for your wife to share her feelings with you  and get to know you. As a woman I can say one of the most important  reason I talk to my spouse is to connect. Connecting with my spouse lead to me feeling love and understand. Dr. Emerson urged men to just listen. Listening to your wife touches the very core of her heart. You can win her heart by just opening your ears.

So, the next time your wife is talking

Don’t analyze her

Don’t give unsolicited answers

Do ask her if she wants a solution or a listening ear

Do show understanding

Don’t interrupt her

Do try to build rapport

Don’t tell her to just share the facts

Do allow her to process her feelings

Don’t fix the situation

Do show empathy

If you really want to win your wife’s heart, apply the above tips.

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Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici under freedigitalphotos.net

 

Let’s Drop it – Will Lead You to More Arguments

A wife in counseling told her husband that she was upset about a particular matter. The husband was perplexed because he really thought she was okay. This is not an uncommon issue. When you say, let’s drop it and your wife does drop it just to appease you, the conflict is sweep under the carpet to resurface it again.

The best way to promote peace in your marriage is to solve conflicts. Instead of dropping it to avoid the “possible tension” use these 3 tips

Do ask for forgive

Do say “I’m sorry”

Do say “I was wrong”

Do make a sincere apology

Do offer to undo the wrong doing if possible

Do follow with actions that show you are truly repentant.

Yes, peacemaking can be difficult, especially in marriage. However, the benefits of promoting peace in your marriage outweigh the cost of “the possible tension.” Avoid the tensions, they will creep up again.

 

Challenge of the Week – Listening and Peacemaking go hands in hands.

If you are not listening to your wife, chances are you will have conflict. Real listening and sincere apology will get your spouse to connect with you and accept your flowers. This week get out the crazy cycle by listening and apologizing.

Listening – The next time your wife is talking ask her if she wants a listening ear or a solution.

Apologizing – When was the last time you say, “ I’m sorry.”  Saying I’m sorry can really heal your marriage. This week give a sincere apology.

 

Thank you for reading

 

 

 

Jul 11

Are Your Internal Obstacles Getting in the Way of Your Happy Marriage?

Henry Ford once said, “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right. Which one are you?”

The human brain is something spectacular. We marvel at beautiful creatures on earth, in the sky and in the ocean, but no creature on earth has the power of a human being. The difference is just one thing – our brain. We can think and they cannot.

Yet having this unlimited power in our hands, we allow ourselves to succumb to internal obstacles that trickle to every area in our lives. Even our marriages. You might ask what I’m talking about.  It is your thoughts. Your thoughts about yourself are getting in the way of your happy marriage. They are your internal obstacles because you are the only person that can remove them.  I have seen it times after times – The husband who feels that he is failure but he wonders why his marriage is not working. The wife who thinks that she has nothing to offer and ponders why her marriage is in shamble. It is not just one story or one part of your life that under siege. If your thoughts are affecting one part of your life, chances are the other parts are suffering.

ID-10041556Photo Courtesy of Digitalart under freedigitalphotos.net

 

Here are some common internal obstacles you should watch for:

I can’t do it

I am not good enough

I will never be able to

I am the source of —-issues

My past

My present circumstances

I don’t have

And on and on

You cannot be the wife or the husband you want to be if you keep putting yourself down.  What can you offer if you don’t think you have anything good to offer? A bad tape might be a bad tape, but if you keep playing it that is the exact tune you will sing to.

 

1. Stop the bad tape – You don’t have to keep playing the negative thoughts again and again. You got to stop it right now. You cannot play around with negative thoughts they follow one guaranteed destructive course. 1. They start by creating moments of doubt. 2. You stop taking onward actions. 3. You start identifying with them and behaving by your negative thoughts. 4.You feel miserable but you are too afraid to move. 5. You have learned to live with them comfortably and they have become your internal obstacles. You have one option – each time you notice you thinking negatively. Stop.

 

2. Write down the person you want to be – Without vision and a plan, the people do perish. Don’t just evaluate your marriage. Evaluate your life and write a vision and plan of what you want to be. It might seem daunting to really look at your life, but creating a vision has worked for me and for many clients. There is no shortcut or just fixing one part of your life. I had a client once who engaged in the counseling process for marriage enrichment. The closer we look at her life the more we see that the marriage was just one of the casualties of her internal obstacles. We worked together and created a plan that address her life. I am neither a nutritionist nor a personal trainer, but t I can tell you within 2 weeks of eating and sleeping well and going to the gym, she started viewing her marriage in a positive light. Once again, look at your life. No shortcuts. No partial fix and no quick fix. So if your evaluation point out health, marriage, spirituality, work, etc, write a vision of success that address your life. Not just part of it. Get help if needed.

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3. Act – Take the small and the big steps. Writing down who you want to be is one step, but putting the words into actions produce results. See the wife, the worker, the ——–you want to be emerge out of the new you have created. It is not by accident your new self will be created. It will be by work.

 

The steps listed above might seem like a quick fix. But they are not. These few steps require real work. There is no perfect human being except for Jesus. You might never take captive every single negative thought you tell yourself. But, if you plan to be a great spouse you got to stop carrying your internal obstacles around like some badge of honor. There is no honor in your self-destruction. Thoughts might seem small but they are powerful. If you take closer look, it is not just your marriage that is being affected. It is your whole person – your work, your relationships, your spirituality, you name it and you know it is suffering blows. So, if you think can or think you can’t. You right.

Which one are you?  And what are you going to do about it?

 

Question: What tips are you using to overcome your internal obstacles?

 

Thank you for reading

Jul 09

10 Things Every Engaged Couple Should Do

We are in the middle of wedding season.  From June to August, many engaged couples seek to tie the knot. Couples are walking down the aisle ready to profess eternal love. My hope is for all the couples who say “I do” work hard to have a healthy and happy. Since marriage vows states  till death do us apart, here is 10 tips that  every engaged couple should do to before saying, “I do”.

Attend pre-marital counseling – Marriage is a lifetime decision. Pre-marital counseling can really help you and your spouse to be prepared to face marriage challenges together. In addition, premarital counseling help many couples to address problems areas before the marriage.

Discuss your expectations – Many engaged couples enter the marriage covenant with unhealthy expectations of each other. Discussing tour expectations with your spouse to be will not only clear the air, but it also give you a chance to be on the same page. Expectations about house chores are a huge component of my pre-marital counseling program because I have encountered many spouses to be who were not on the same page. Discussing your expectations can help you and your spouse to create a plan about cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc.

Create a vision for your marriage –This is one of the most powerful exercise I have seen in my counseling practice. Many couples who write marriage vision together have informed me they know where their marriage is going. A vision for your marriage allows you to dream together and work to move together. In reality, creating a vision together really set you on the path to be one.

Find a couple who can mentor you – Marriage can be so challenging if you have no outside support system. A mentoring couple knows your challenges and encourages to keep fighting for the marriage. I always encourage engaged couple to pick a couple that they want to emulate.

Discuss finances – Money fights and money problems are one of the main reasons for divorce in the United States. Discussing your finances will allow you to get on the same page about creating a budget. In addition, you can discuss a plan to attack your debts. If you want to win financially, you will need to discuss your finances openly.

ID-10037878Photo Courtesy of Photostock under freedigitalphotos.net

Discuss in laws – Many engaged couples fail to discuss the in-laws. Consequently, many engaged couples fail to set healthy boundaries with their in-laws. Discussing the in-laws with your spouse allows you to establish your oneness. Leaving and cleaving is so hard for so many individuals, but you can leave and cleave to your spouse in a healthy way by having in-laws discussions.

Discuss Children – It is extremely important to be on the same page about your decision to have or not have children. How you will raise them? Do you have the same values? Children bring joy and a set of challenges in marriage. If you are on the same page about your parenting, your marriage will be stronger.

Continue to date each other – The best way to keep your marriage fresh is by dating each other. Dating is the best way to keep courting each other. You build knew memories together. Consequently, you build recreational intimacy.

Spend quality time daily – It can be just drinking a cup of coffee before you leave the house for work, but quality time allows you to stay connected with each other. The daily stress of life can pull you apart but if you spend at least 15 minutes connecting with each other you won’t end up being two strangers in the same house.

Give grace – Your spouse is not Christ. He or she will never be perfect. Your feelings will be hurt (99.9% it will not be a malicious act from your spouse). Be quick to forgive. The first year of marriage is fun because you getting to know each other and forming your life as one. However, merging as one requires to be patient with each other.

As you enter the bond of matrimony, work hard to build a happy and healthy marriage. Congratulation on your big day.

 

Question: What are some other tips you are using to set your marriage for success?

 

Thank you for reading

Jul 07

Lessons from Love & Respect

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.
Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing.  Join us from June 2nd to September 8th as we read Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

 

GET THE BOOK TODAY

Chapter 9 – Closeness – She wants You to be Close

Chapter 10 – Openness – She Wants You to Open Up To Her

 

To Leaves and Cleaves a Husband Must Build Closeness and Openness

Leaving and cleaving is essential in a marriage. Yet, many husbands fear the concept. As single bachelors enter married life many are afraid they will lose their freedom. Consequently, instead of leaving and cleaving to become one, many husbands maintain a separate life within the marriage. In many marriages, the lack of leaving and cleaving lead to a destructive chase.

Wife Wants Closeness – Husband Withdraws when He Perceives Closeness as Control – Wife Pursues Closeness – Husband Withdraws More

This destructive pattern when left unchecked is toxic and many couples suffer by going through divorce due to lack of openness and closeness. One way a husband can stop this destructive downward spiral is to practice closeness and openness.

ID-10050879Photo Courtesy of Jomphong under freedigitalphotos.net

Your Wife Feels Close To You When

You hold hands

You make spending time a priority

You seek her insight

 

Your Wife Feels You Are Open When

You give her you full attention

You pray with her

Your share your feelings

 

Challenge of the WeekHave you really leave and cleave to your spouse?

Leaving and cleaving build oneness. You cannot become one if there is no openness and no closeness.

Husbands – Initiate actions that lead to closeness and openness. (I.e. talk to her about your day, give physical affection without initiating sex)

Wives – How are you communicating your needs for closeness and openness? Is your anger and disappointment masking your request for love and closeness? This week pay attention to your words and your tone. Make requests that will strengthen your marriage instead of tearing down your husband.

 

Thank you for reading

Jul 04

Gratitude, My Response to Freedom

In the early 90s, I immigrated to United States from Haiti. In my early years in the US, I was too busy getting assimilated. Gratitude for the freedom I experienced was really not in the fore front of my mind. Little by little, I started to grasp the scope of the sacrifices many men and women make daily so I can be free. Over the years, my gratitude to these men and women has grown tremendously.

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Photo Courtesy of Ohmega1982 under freedigitalphotos.net

The sacrifice is not solely on a battlefield. You leave your family sometime daily and at times for many months so I can be free. Your sacrifice has a hefty price – divorce due to physical and emotional separation, drug use and alcoholism due to poor coping skills, PTSD and other related illnesses due to trauma. On the home front and on the battlefield you see death, you lost partners and at times you suffer irrecoverable injuries. This is just to name a few.

What is freedom?

No, I am not bound in chains. And if some of us are in chains, most likely we are imprisoned by our thoughts. You never met George Washington or any of the forefathers, but you keep fighting for what he dreamed of.

I know you probably need to hear this more often – Thank You. I’m grateful to you and to your family. Because of your sacrifice I can worship God without the repercussion of punishment. I have the choice to pursue happiness.

God granted me the opportunity to make a life on this land. My duty is to be the best me  that I can be. I am grateful for your support in protecting my duty.

Question: How do you plan to celebrate your freedom?

 

Thank you for reading

Jul 02

Is Chivalry Dying in Marriage?

If there ever was an institution where I would expect to find a hint chivalry, it would be in marriage. I know time has evolved, but the notion that every girl wants a knight in shining armor and every boy wants a princess still exist. So, it was a huge surprise to watch a husband entered a restaurant and leaving his wife behind to fend for herself. Well, she did eventually open her car door and walked inside the restaurant to join him.

Sitting outside the restaurant as an onlooker and a wife, it really saddened me to see that chivalry is dying even in marriages. You could argue that perhaps they are not on good terms or maybe they are so comfortable with each other that opening a car door is not that important.  Still, there are no justifiable excuses to depreciate a marriage. Whether they were aware of it or not, this couple was sending a message with their marriage.

Witnessing this couple really helped me to really appreciate my husband’s chivalrous actions. In fact, the whole experience has reminded me to not take my husband for granted. I have counseled many couples who really have taken each other granted. These spouses talk to each other any kind of way. They act more like college buddies or roommates instead of married couple. Don’t  get the wrong idea. Your spouse should be your best friend. But under no circumstances should your friendship diminish the romantic aspect of your marriage.

Roberto Trm FlickrPhoto Courtesy of Roberto Trm under Flickr Creative Commons

Being chivalrous to your wife is one of the greatest tools you have to keep the courtship alive. Keeping the courtship alive is not the sole responsibility of the husband. If you are willing to dress up like a prince and a princess of your wedding day, why not go to the distance and actually treat each other with that standard in the marriage? So much focus is placed on the wedding day that many couple forget that the real work that keep love alive takes place in the marriage. Consequently, these marriages do not succeed because the romance stopped. In many cases, these are the marriages that are susceptible to adultery because an outsider initiates romance where there was none.

Is chivalry dying in marriage? Sadly, in some marriage chivalry is dying.  However, chivalry does not have to suffer death in your marriage. In fact, in many marriages, chivalry can initiate passion, build intimacy, and ignite love that love that was dying.  So, here are 5 ways that a husband you can be chivalrous and 5 ways a wife you can promote chivalry.

 

5 Ways a Husband Can be Chivalrous – 5 Ways a Wife Can Promote Chivalry

For Husbands to be Chivalrous

For Wives to Promote Chivalry

  1. Open the car door
  2. Offer to carry stuff
  3. Pull or give her the chair
  4. Do or schedule the car maintenance
  5. Plan the romantic dates
  1. Say thank  you after each chivalrous acts
  2. Show gratitude by doing something that he loves – i.e. an unforgettable lovemaking
  3. Thank him in public settings
  4. Don’t let yourself go after the wedding day
  5. Tell him how special his chivalry acts make you feel

 

Although chivalry might be a medieval custom, it does not have to be outdated in your marriage. Use it to woo your spouse. Use it to keep the courtship alive. Promote chivalry daily. I can promise you, you won’t regret it.

 

Question: How do you keep chivalry alive in your marriage?

 

Thank you for reading

 

 

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