10 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

10 Ways To Strengthen Your Marriage – #5

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#5 – Communicate Regularly

The President of the United States couldn’t do his job without communicating with his staff.  A football team can’t succeed without communicating with each other and the head coach.  A pilot can’t fly a jumbo jet safely without communicating with air traffic control.  A manager regularly communicates with his or her team. So why is that so many married couples fail to communicate when it’s essential for success?

A husband and wife must communicate with each other daily and do so in a way that is constructive, effective and courteous.  So many couples get in the habit of shutting down when conflict presents itself or begin to use harsh words that hurt the other spouse. Those married couples that have kids find that it is even more important to display positive forms of communication as kids pick up on every action and often times mirror the behavior.

To successfully communicate, each spouse must learn to actively listen to the other. Passive listening shows the other person that there is no value in what he or she is saying and that there are other things that are more important.  Actively listening is crucial in resolving disputes, making critical decisions and showing the other spouse that they are important.  One way to practice active listening is to turn off distractions and focus only on the discussion. Another way is to repeat back what the other person said to make sure full comprehension has been obtained.  A third way to practice active listening is to compliment and affirm what is being said.  Simple phrases such as,”That’s a great point!” go a long way in maintaining healthy communication.

Be cautious of using “I” or “You” statements.  They can come across as needy and harsh. Rephrase the way you are expressing needs.  By saying “I want you to” or “You need to” we are coming across as giving orders.  When asking a partner to do something, phrase it in a way that shows respect and appreciation.  Say “thank you!”

Married couples who regularly practice communication will find that being open and transparent about everything is the best way to stay happy and productive.   Hiding things and not telling the whole story is a breeding ground for failure and divorce.  Be open, be honest and be courteous!  It’s one of the best ways to strengthen your marriage!  Best of luck to all of you!

 

Dear Kids

Dear Kids, Volume 8

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Dear Kids,

Here we are again at the end of another long week!  Carlee, you worked so hard on your book recommendation last night and took it to school today.  I am so proud at the way you are reading and writing!  Cason, you are doing such a great job with your math.  I know it’s tough.  I had a hard time with math when I was in school, but I use it every day at work so keep working very hard.  Chad, you are doing so well in your kindergarten class.  I’m so blessed to be able to have a little time with you every day to put you on the bus.  It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but it’s time that I look forward to every day and really enjoy.  I hope you remember this picture forever!

You also had special time with mommy yesterday.  For being so sweet during the week, you got to go to Toys R’Us and pick out some LEGOs.  You were so excited about them and have been playing with them ever since!

Cooper, you’ve had a fun week.  You are getting into EVERYTHING and it is so cute!  You have figured out light switches and are about to figure out door knobs – time for safety knobs!  You got into Mimi’s potty yesterday and made a big mess all over the floor – haha!

This weekend will be fun!  Carlee,  you are going to tea on Saturday with mommy while Cason has his basketball practice.  Cason, you have your 2nd game of the season on Sunday!  Go blue team!  I know you will do well!

I’m looking forward to our weekend together!

Love,

Daddy

 

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10 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

10 Ways To Strengthen Your Marriage – #4

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#4 -Talk About Finances Together

Married couples often get divorced over money issues and many times it is because they are not being open and honest about money.  The best way to prevent a downhill spiral is to talk regularly about finances with each other and make financial decisions together. My wife and I recently purchased Quicken to track our income and spending so that we have a transparent view of everything coming in and everything going out. There shouldn’t be any surprises.

Make Time To Talk About Money Weekly

Set a time and day each week to sit down together and talk about the week’s projected spending as well as anything unexpected that may transpire. Put together a comprehensive budget and be as detailed as possible.  Software really makes this a breeze! I recommend Quicken for this.   By understanding your daily and weekly cash flow couples can better prepare for the unexpected as well as create a nest egg for their family’s future.

Have An Emergency Fund

Have a plan in place for the unexpected events such as car repair, home repair, medical bills, etc.  Many experts recommend setting aside 3 months’ worth of income as a safety cushion.  Working in the financial industry, I can tell you with certainty not having this safety cushion has caused people to fall behind on bills when the unexpected injury or issues occur.  If the unexpected happens and there is no safety net, contact your creditors immediately and work out payment arrangements. Don’t wait and don’t ignore their phone calls or letters. The sooner your respond and resolve the debt, the less impact it will have on your credit score.

Save Money For the Long Haul

Save money together. Open a joint savings account and make a decision together as to how much money is going into the count every month. Pretend the account is not accessible for regular daily bills or expenses.  Make it difficult to withdraw the money unless absolutely necessary.  A financial planner or banker can help you build a savings plan that will grow and be beneficial.  If each of you have a 401K it is crucial to contribute to it and at the maximum amount the employer will match. It is a sacrifice but when retirement day comes it will be very worthwhile and rewarding.

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10 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

10 Ways To Strengthen Your Marriage – #3

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#3 – Pray together daily

10 Ways To Strengthen Your Marriage - #3

It is important for a husband and wife to pray that God continue to strengthen the bond of marriage and that He remain the focal point of not only the marriage but the family. Husbands and wives should pray together every day for God’s guidance and protection.   This intimate time between husband and wife is critical in the success of the marriage.  A marriage without Christ cannot stand.

God created marriage and intended it to be a holy union.  Where the two are joined together as one so are they joined together with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God wants us to give back to Him, and one of the ways a married couple can give back is to thank God for his blessings, for what His Son did for us and for bringing us together as a couple.

Matthew 19:4-5:

“He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’?”

Many couples find it difficult to pray together and have a hard time finding the words to say. Thankfully, we Catholics have many prayers already prepared for us.  The Holy Rosary is a great prayer that can not only be prayed individually, but together as a couple, or even as a family.

There is also the Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

A Married Couple’s Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O most Sacred Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, dwell in our hearts and be our King; grant us by Your grace to love each other truly and chastely, even as You have loved Your spotless Bride, the Church, and have given Yourself up for her.

Bestow upon us that mutual love and Christian forbearance which are so highly acceptable in Your sight, and a mutual patience in bearing each other’s defects; for we are certain that no living creature is free from them. Do not permit even the slightest defect to mar that full and gentle harmony of spirit, the foundation of the mutual assistance in the many and varied hardships of life, that is the end for which woman was created and united inseparably to her husband.

O Lord God, grant that between us there may reign a perpetual holy rivalry toward a life perfectly Christian, by virtue of which there may shine forth more and more clearly the divine image of Your mystic union with Your Holy Church, as You have deigned to imprint it upon us on the auspicious day of our being made one.

Grant, we beseech You, that our good example of Christian living may serve as a powerful inspiration to our children to conform their own lives to Your holy law; and finally, after this exile may we ascend into heaven, where by the help of Your grace, for which we earnestly pray, we may merit to be joined with our children forever and praise and bless You through everlasting ages, Amen.

And also the Prayer of Husband and Wife:

O God, we want to live our life together with you and always to continue it with you. Help us never to hurt and never to grieve each other. Help us to share all our works, all our hopes, all our dreams, all our successes, all our failures, all our joys and all our sorrows. Help us to have no secrets from each other so that we may be truly one. Keep us always true to each other, and grant that all the years ahead may draw us ever closer to each other. Grant that nothing may ever come between us and nothing may ever make us ever drift apart. And as we live with each other, help us to live with you, so that our love may grow perfect in your love, for you are the God whose name is love. This we ask for your love’s sake. Amen

 

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