4 Things Forgiveness is Not

how to forgive often in your marriageLove requires risk. If you’re in a relationship, you will get hurt. And when you get hurt, you must learn to forgive. But how do you do it? What does it look like? Why is it so important?

Well, I’m glad you asked. I had way too much to say on this topic so I divided it into two posts for your reading sanity. There are a lot of wrong ideas floating around on what it means to forgive. My hope is to help you understand what it is and what it is not so that forgiveness will become a powerful discipline in your life. In fact, your health and the health of your relationships depend on it.

So first, let’s take a look at what forgiveness is notContinue reading

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7 Ways to Correctly Apologize in Your Marriage

How to apologize correctlyMost of the apologies that come out of our mouth are bad ones. If you ever stop to listen, our go-to apologies sound something like this:

“I’m sorry, ok?” so get off my back.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were so sensitive” this is your issue.

“I’m sorry if you were offended” because I didn’t really do anything.

“I understand that mistakes were made” but they sure weren’t mine.

“I’m sorry but you…” my behavior is your fault. 

Guilty as charged. How about you? Making mistakes is just part of being human. But when you are confronted, what kind of message are you sending? Are you apologizing completely? Or is your sorry just a quick attempt to escape the conflict altogether?

A bad apology can create just as much conflict and hurt as the original offense. If you don’t do it effectively, your apology can lose its value over time. Don’t let your words become meaningless. Get good at the “I’m sorrys” and stay fit in your marriage! Continue reading

Why Fessing Up is Good for Your Marriage

confess your mess and stay humble in marriageThe word confess sounds intimidating, but it’s really not. In fact, all my relationships – including my marriage – depend on it. And so do yours.

Too often the idea of sharing our dirty laundry with others makes us feel nervous, unsafe, and too vulnerable. So we put on a good face and keep the bad stuff hidden from sight. Continue reading

4 Successful Ways to Listen to Your Spouse

4 successful ways to listen to your spouseI thought I was a great listener. Then I got married.

Funny how marriage has a way of exposing your shortcomings and bad habits. What about you? Do you listen well?

Here are a few of the telltale signs you might be struggling:

  • You interrupt when your spouse is still speaking.
  • You finish your spouse’s sentences.
  • When confronted, you are quick to defend your position.
  • You explain yourself ad nauseam.
  • You give an answer before hearing the speaker out.
  • In a conflict, you focus more on how to fix your own hurt than that of your spouse.
  • You look for loopholes in your spouse’s argument so you can point out where he/she is wrong.
  • You get easily distracted by your own thoughts in a conversation.
  • You find yourself tuning out when the topic of conversation is boring.
  • You get “emotionally hooked” on certain words you find hurtful or offensive.

Truth be told, I do all of these. It’s embarrassing to admit but I commit at least one of these on a regular basis. Continue reading

How to Stay Fit in Your Marriage

how to stay fit in your marriage

If January was the health month, then February is the month of love. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and soon many of our thoughts will be consumed with showing love to our closest friends and family.

This year, I am focusing on getting healthy physically, spiritually, and relationally. I plan to devote a large portion of my blog posts to these particular topics! February is just another good reminder of the importance of relationships. The next few weeks you will see a multi-post series on 4 exercises that will help you stay fit in your marriage.

I am writing this series on marriage because I need it. And maybe you need it too. I’ll be honest; I learn best from my own shortcomings and failures. And just when I think I’ve got this thing figured out, I get another dose of reality that leaves me humbled. But the best part about community is that we can learn and grow together. So join me these next couples weeks as I share the vital lessons I am learning from my own marriage.

If you’re not married, check out my earlier post on Finding Mr. Right: 10 insights from those who are married.

Don’t Be Surprised

Being healthy takes work. And lots of it. Marriage is no different. A good marriage is not something you automatically start out with on your wedding day. It’s something that is carefully and intentionally crafted over time.

Marriage is hard. So don’t be surprised when you hit some bumps along the way. The race is long and the road can be rocky. You may not be able to avoid the tough times, but you can prepare for them. Continue reading

7 Tips for Understanding Your Strong-Willed Spouse

7 tips for understanding your strong-willed spouse

After reading the article, “Parenting Your Strong-Willed Child” circling social media, I couldn’t resist writing this post. Insightful and practical, I quietly snickered as I read through the characteristics of a “difficult” and willful child. As my parents can attest to, this article accurately described a picture of my childhood. My parents would joke that all they had to do was look at my sister when she was in trouble and she would cry. Me on the other hand? My parents would look at me and I would boldly stare right back at them.

As the article explains, strong-willed children are difficult to parent because they have their own ideas and ways of doing things and don’t like being told what to do. However, if parents can guide their strong spirit and “resist the impulse to ‘break their will’, strong-willed kids often become leaders.”

This was great advice for parents. But what happens when that strong-willed child grows up? Parenting is one thing. Being married to a strong-willed spouse is quite another. Continue reading