From Spectator to Participant – Tips to Grow Your Marriage with Hubby

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How would you rate the health of your marriage? Now check with your husband for his perspective.  My husband’s cup is always overflowing and mine tends to be half full.  Today I’m continuing with the series Life is too valuable to merely be a spectator, shape up and become a participant. We’re looking at the H in SHAPE.

 

Husband – Growing in the Relationship with your Husband.

  • Keep romance alive – Couples should not just date to get married rather they should get married to date. Make dating each other a priority.  Do you want to know WHY?   Never stop having fun together.
  • Communicate Daily – Set aside a daily time to talk so as not to become isolated. Communication means both talking and active listening.  Listen with the intent to understand and not just to reply. When our girls were young, Jon would call to let me know he was headed home which was a “cue” to get the girls settled so we can have time to catch up.  The girls and I would pick up toys and find a video to watch or books to read.  They excitedly would run out to greet daddy and then would watch a 30-minute video so Jon and I could catch up face to face.  We would also call or email each other during the day. Even when Jon travels, which was over 100 days last year, we will talk daily. Are you struggling with good communication? Last night I watched a brilliant Ted Talk 10 ways to have a better conversation.
  • Ladies, respect your husband as our love is not enough – Men would rather be alone and unloved than feel inadequate and disrespected according to research by Shaunti Feldhahn in For Women Only.  Emerson Eggerichs wrote Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs  which I highly encourage couples to read.  I’d been married for 20 years to a wonderful man that I thought I was respecting. I never realized, however, how many little things I said and did that made him feel so belittled. (And he certainly didn’t know how to share that with me!) It wasn’t until we were at a counseling session and had to share ways we thought we had offended each other, yikes!!!  I remember praying that God would reveal the many ways I had hurt or offended Jon. I was shocked when the word disrespect came to mind so I asked God how I had disrespected Jon and, let’s just say, it wasn’t a short list.  I can vividly see myself asking Jon to forgive me for being disrespectful. He sat shocked but then as I shared how I felt I had disrespected him, he began to weep.  I share this only because it was a turning point in our marriage. Are you questioning if you truly respect your husband? Ask him what respect looks like and be ready to listen.
  • Be covenant keepers, AKA committed – Eliminate the word DIVORCE from your vocabulary as it plants seeds for potential marriage failure as well as causing stress, anxiety, worry, and fear that the other person may just pack up and leave. Marriage only survives the difficult times when divorce is not an option. Have the attitude that FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
  • Invest in your marriage – A good marriage is worth the investment of time and money. Don’t be naïve thinking a few weeks of pre-marital counseling prior to marriage is all you need; continue to be teachable. Need ideas on investing in your marriage? (otherwise known as  fireproofing your marriage)  I’ve been married 30 years and I still have much to learn.  Jon and I attend a marriage conference every 2-3 years such as A Weekend to Remember, Art of Marriage, or a seminar like Love and Respect, or do a book study, or bible study with a community group. Find an older couple whose marriage you admire and ask if they would meet with you. How about a marriage cruise?  Family Life Today will be hosting their 5th year of Love Like You Mean It, Marriage Cruise  You will hear some of the best speakers and experts  on marriage. Jon and I went three years ago and truly recommend it.  A good marriage is worth the investment of time & $$$. Seek professional help when needed. The Center for Relational Care, in Austin, Texas, has great counselors and incredible marriage intensives which are costly but not nearly as costly as a failed marriage and attorney fees. Jon and I use CRC occasionally for a tune up like we did 10 years ago when we unexpectantly went through many changes (turning 40, loss of a job, selling our dream home to start a company, Jon working 60+ hour work weeks, a new baby and home schooling, insurmountable debt, etc.).

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  • Hard times will come – So be prepared & unified. Persevering through the struggles can bring you closer together than you were before. I often tell others that when you are in the midst of a storm you are so busy trying to stay afloat that you don’t remember the calmness of where you came from and often you can’t see the rainbow just on the other side.  Keeping a gratitude journal will help your remember God’s previous faithfulness to you.
  • Appreciate your man – It’s a hard world out there and our husbands need to know that we believe in their abilities.  Show and tell your husband how much you love and appreciate all he does.
  • Have sex!!! – Men spell love S-E-X. Plus, intimacy brings couples together better than anything.

 Go out and enjoy your man.  Does any one idea resonate with you? How will you grow your marriage?

Marriage Resources – Ministries, Blogs, Books, & More

Jon and I have worked hard to have a good marriage.  Many years ago we were challenged by a question asked, “Do others get a glimpse of Christ when they see your marriage?” We purposed to invested in our marriage over the years and thankfully the benefits have been tremendous. We will continue to invest as being proactive verses reactive is more effective.

Marriages are constantly under attack as there is the potential for so much good to come from marriage. It’s the foundation of our society and the first institution established by God. What happens in our marriages usually filters down to the rest of our lives and it greatly influences and impacts our children so invest in something that can positively impact future generations.

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Consider: preventative maintenance is less costly than legal fees. Don’t let pride or your ego get in the way of asking for help. Godly counsel with accountability is invaluable.


Local Resources in Austin 


Great Commandment David & Teresa Ferguson

  • Intimate Encounters (book)
  • Never Alone (Devotional)
  • The Pursuit of Intimacy

Together in Texas provides free relationship workshops for singles, couples, parents, and teen. By attending you can receive the needed certificate to wave the fee of $60 for your marriage license.

Center for Relational Care (Counseling, Consulting, and Training) Jon and I have personal experience here. Back in 2008 we sough help and had great results.

Intensives Jon and I did an intensive in June 2009 and it was life changing for us.

The Austin Stone Counseling Center  provides gospel counseling.

Hyde Park Counseling Center offers biblically based solutions.

Chris Thurman Ph.D. Chris is a Psychologist, gifted biblical counselor and author.  I have gleaned much wisdom from his teachings and books.

  • The Lies We Believe
  • The Truths We Must Believe
  • If Christ Were Your Counselor
  • Self-Help or Self Destruction
  • The Pursuit of Intimacy

Gloo is a downloadable app for your phone to help strengthen your relationships through shared content. Try code 8c91

This Marriage advice from a divorced man is truly insightful


Various Ministries I’ve turn to for wisdom and biblical insight


Family Life Today

  • Listen to past broadcast (FREE)
  • Be sure to sign up for their FREE daily couples devotion on-line and romance tips for husbands
  • Weekend to Remember Conferences are two-and-a-half day weekend getaways held at hotels and resorts around the US. Jon and I have attended 4-5 of them here in Austin, Houston and in San Diego.
  • I Still Do Conference are practical, one-day marriage events where couples can invest and strengthen their marriage.  We’ve attended 2-3 of these in the past and I am so grateful that FLT is again providing them.
  • Love Like You Mean It Cruise is a five-day cruise loaded with top notch Christian authors and speaker as well as musicians.  This year The Austin Stone’s Jimmy McNeal is one of the performers.  Jon and I did the cruise back in 2012 and highly recommend it.

BOOKS

  • Staying Close: Stopping the Natural Drift Toward Isolation in Marriage
  • Moments with You, Daily Devotion
  • Moments Together For Couples is a wonderful devotion we give our married couples.

Focus on the Family

  • What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women
  • Listen to their past or recent broadcast.

Love and Respect Dr. Emerson Eggerich

10 Great Dates by David and Claudia Arp

  • No Time For Sex – The Arps share five secrets to help time-deprived lovers recapture a five-star love life, including tips for boosting energy and finding time away from the kids. Intimate, frank, and down-to-earth practical, this book is a must for today’s harried married couples.
  • The Connected Family

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott  Subscribe to their weekly devotion and get The Ultimate Guide to Crazy Good Sex for FREE!

America’s Family Coaches Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg

  • The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women
  • Serving Love workbook
  • 40 Unforgettable Dates With Your Mate

Bienvenu Counseling Services

  • Married Happily Ever After?
  • Conflict Resolution tapes
  • Golf and Marriage

Smalley Institute with Dr. Gary Smalley

Shaunti Feldhahn

Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Today OnePlace.com is the leading provider of Christian audio content on the Internet. Here’s what that means for you:

  • Listen to your favorite Christian broadcasters, such as James Dobson, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, Dr. David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and many more any time, at your convenience!
  • Browse the list of ministry programs offered.
  • Listen live to your choice of several Christian radio stations.
  • Choose to listen by specific topics or hear many compelling answers to frequently asked questions.

Blogs on Marriage



Our Favorite Videos and Audios:



A Few Other Books to Read



Assessment Tools


  • For over thirty years, PREPARE/ENRICH has led the way in helping couples explore and strengthen their relationships.
  • Relational Needs Assessment this assessment can also be done using the Gloo App. which does the scoring and keeps your top three relational needs recorded.
  • Emotional Needs Questionnaire designed to help you determine your most important emotional needs and evaluate your spouse’s effectiveness in meeting those needs.
  • Discover your Love Language 
  • Personality Test Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typological approach to personality.  
  • Personality Plus Test Although people are unique, Florence Littauer suggests they fall under one of four personality types. These are choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic.

Bottom line, there are so, so many resources available if you are interested and seek to invest in your marriage.  I have listed most of what Jon and I have personally benefited from.  Please share any resources that have been particularly beneficial to you and let me know why. I plan to update this list quarterly and will add to your suggestions.

Blessings!