A Busy Couple's Guide to a Great Marriage

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20 July 2014 ~ 2 Comments

A Question for Our Readers

Hey Everyone!

If you’re a regular blog reader, you may have noticed that I kind of dropped off of the face of the earth after my tearful end-of-pregnancy break down back in April. We welcomed our new little boy to the world on May 8, and I’ve taken the weeks since then just to sit back and focus on being his mom.

He's stolen my heart! And a lot of my time...

He’s stolen my heart! And a lot of my time…

As I head back to work at my full-time job, I’ve been thinking about the future of Making Love in the Microwave, and it’s time to make some adjustments. Before making any changes, I wanted to ask you a simple question:

What’s your biggest frustration with being able to feel connected to your spouse?

If you’ll take a moment to think about it and write me an answer, either below in the comments or by using the contact form I promise to read and consider it.

Here’s why:

I want this blog to help you. I want it to change your life. I want you to count down the days until we publish our next post. And that means focusing on YOUR needs. So, please, take a moment and let me know what’s bothering you. It’ll be a huge help to me.

Thanks!

Aja

22 April 2014 ~ 3 Comments

I Cried Real Office Tears

Woman Crying

If you’re a regular blog reader, you may have noticed that I’ve been on a little bit of a hiatus for the last couple of weeks. I haven’t abandoned the blog and run screaming into the night. But I have given myself a little time for a mental health break. With a new baby coming in less than two weeks and still working full time I had to look around for a moment and say to myself “you’re doing too much,” and then act accordingly.

Although I’m an advocate of making sure you take care of you and aren’t constantly running until your body forces you to drop, I’ll admit that I didn’t rest willingly this time. My bit of time off came after a day off real office tears.

How I ended up in tears at work on a Monday morning started with the Saturday before. Following my baby shower,  my five-year-old son threw up all night long. I spent all Saturday night and Sunday morning stripping sheets, wiping down mattresses, cleaning floors, and starting the whole process over again…and again.

By mid-day Sunday the barf-fest had ended, but I also realized that I hadn’t felt the baby inside move since around 5 a.m. that morning, at all.

Lying on my side, I gulped down cold water, usually a sure-fire way to get the baby moving. Nothing. And then the contractions started. Painful contractions. I called my doctor who told me to head to labor and delivery.

After hours in L&D everything checked out, so I could get home and back to not sleeping at night.

On Monday morning I woke up and briefly considered staying home from work and then decided against it in the midst of our busiest season. I dragged myself out of bed prepping myself for my morning, which would include getting the kids to school, and a doctor’s appointment before heading into the office.

All of it would have to wait for a few minutes though, because in my inability to bend all the way down in cleaning up throw up the day before, I had missed a spot, which my daughter kindly informed me of as I exited the shower. I still haven’t decided whether cleaning up fresh throw up or dried throw up is the more enjoyable task.

After making sure that my home was finally vomit-free, I woke up my son, whose first words were: “I peed in the bed.”

Again I strip the sheets for probably the 79th time in 48 hours. Get him in and out of the tub, hand him his uniform and tell him to get dressed.

In the meantime, I go downstairs to make the lunches that I didn’t make the night before while I was in labor and delivery and make lunch and breakfast.  And in the brief moment that I let my mind wander, I remember that I didn’t submit a blog post that was due the day before.

“Crap!!” I yell to no one in particular.

I head back upstairs to tell my son breakfast is ready and to hurry up because we’re running late.

He’s asleep. In his underwear.

“Logan!!! Wake up! You’re not going to have time to eat now!”

“But I’m hungry.” Pouting.

The cat meows. I stifle a scream.

I throw him in his clothes. He eats half of his breakfast and we head out the door just in time to get him to school early and my daughter to school late. As I’m driving my daughter to school she says “I’m probably going to be really late for school once the baby comes.” Which is exactly what I needed to hear, before she got out of the car without responding to my goodbye.

I resist the urge to yell out of the window at how rude she is. I don’t have the energy to be embarrassing. I get to the doctor’s office and sit and wait for an hour for an appointment that lasts all of eight minutes.

Finally I make it to work, the contractions strengthening with every step as I make my way up the stairs to my office.

I sit at my desk and see the emails that have come in over the weekend, bold and needing responses. And that’s when the tears come. Sitting at my desk I cried big, fat baby tears without bothering to close my office door.

It wasn’t the first day I’ve had a hectic morning, it wasn’t the worst, and it won’t be the last, but it was a moment that I realized that now might be a good time to take it easy, or at least easier. Life is about to get better, but busier, Making Love in the Microwave is about to get harder, so in this brief moment, I plan to take a deep breath before my life needs to expand to make room for another life in it.

So if you see me sparingly over the next week or so, I am not gone, just preparing and breathing. In the interim, I would love to hear from some of you. If you have a great date to share, story about your marriage, quick tip, or anything else, I would love to see it and share it as a guest post on the blog. Please contact me or email aja@makingloveinthemicrowave.com.

16 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

There Are No Prerequisites for Happiness

Life doesn’t give us any pre-requisites for choosing happiness. We can choose love and choose happiness through the little things each and every day.

How have you chosen happiness in your life today in spite of your circumstances? 

04 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Best of the Marriage Web: #ReadLove Edition

Jigsaw Heart

In honor of this month’s #ReadLove challenge, I’m posting the tweets that about marriage that made me smile this week. Here are my top 10:


MarriageConcierge™
 ‏@MarryConcierge 
 Apr 1

“Remember to always tell me you love me but also show me that you really care, by your actions” Love is an ACTION verb! #Marriage

 

Heavenly Angel Wives ‏@bramant1  Mar 31

“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. #marriage

 

Justin & Megan ‏@_DoNot_Disturb  Mar 31

What can I do right now – today – to BE loving even if I don’t FEEL loved? http://donotdisturbblog.com/2014/03/31/here-and-now/ … #Marriage #Healing

 

Together for Life ‏@tog4life  Mar 31

Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first ~ Frederick B. Wilcox #marriage

 

Love. Work. Repeat. ‏@loveworkrepeat  Mar 29

Success in #marriage doesn’t just come from finding the right mate but also from being the right mate! http://ow.ly/i/52fgB 

 

MarriageDance ‏@marriagedance  Mar 29

“A happy #marriage does not depend on the right circumstances or the perfect person.” @LesParrott http://shar.es/B2GRg 

 

The Pure Bed™ ‏@ThePureBed  Mar 29

Her head on my shoulder, she wraps her arm around my waist. After years of #marriage, she still loves to be near me. #ThatsSexy

 

Jared Ensminger ‏@jaredensminger  14m

Excited for the days when I never have to “visiting my fiancé” again! #marriage #ftw #58DaysToGo

 

Lori Ferguson ‏@Ready2Encourage  4h

Sacrifice is a beautiful part of #marriage. The beauty shows up only after time – are you watching?

 

paulbaloche ‏@paulbaloche  Mar 28

27 years goes faster than you think. So don’t blink. Happy Anniversary baby! #marriage http://instagram.com/p/mGXJsxjxiM/ 

 

 

03 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

How to Spring Clean Your Marriage

How to spring clean your marriag

How to spring clean your marriag

For Lent, I decided to embark upon a journey of de-cluttering my home through the 40 bags, 40 days challenge at White House Black Shutters. To be honest, I felt like I was pretty good at keeping clutter at bay, but as I’ve focused on getting rid of one bag of clutter each day, it’s brought to light how much I was still holding onto, and how much better my home looks and feels now that it’s gone.

Seriously, it’s been transformational. After Easter, I’ll share some pics of everything we’ve been able to do since the beginning of March. As we’ve gotten rid of a lot of the unnecessary junk, we’ve cleared the way for being able to focus on some of the little projects that we hadn’t gotten around to because of all of the clutter in the way.

I’ve also managed to uncover a number of  pretty special things that had gotten shoved into a box, forgotten about and buried: art work that we purchased on our honeymoon, photos and picture frames that we’ve bought over the years, memorabilia from my oldest daughter’s baby years that was mixed in with years-old mail. It’s like going on an archaeological dig in my own closets and storage spaces, and as messy as it’s been to go through, I’m happy with the space we’ve created and excited by what I’ll find next.

Maybe you’ve started spring cleaning in your house, too.

But what about your marriage? How clutter free is your heart? Is cleaning up your love life long overdue? Is there a bunch of “stuff” between you and your spouse? There’s no time like the present to start spring cleaning.

April’s love challenge is to read something positive every day about marriage. Hopefully this will start the cleaning process by replacing some of the negative thoughts you have about your relationship with the positive.

To take your spring marriage cleaning a bit further, ask yourself a few questions to help you get started:

What issues have you swept under the rug and left there? Address your issues the right way with a fight plan.

Do you have things that you haven’t forgiven that are weighing your heart down every day? Throw Away the Past to Let Go of the Pain.

Do you have past loves or inappropriate relationships that you continue to keep in your circle? Clear Your House of Temptation 

Have you placed distance between you and your spouse by putting other activities in place of your marital connection? Re-start your connection with a simple date night. 

Try some of the activities above to get started with your spring cleaning. You’ll be amazed once you start dusting things off how quickly you’ll uncover the beauty waiting underneath of it all.

Get help spring cleaning your marriage! From Friday, April 4 through Tuesday, April 8 2014 you can download Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage for only 99 cents.

02 April 2014 ~ 1 Comment

April Love Challenge: Read Love

April Love Challenge

April Love Challenge

 

This month’s love challenge is to encourage yourself by reading a positive message about marriage each day. Recognize it or not, we are bombarded with negative information about marriage and relationships on a daily basis. To counteract the potentially damaging messages that threaten your happy home every day, you have to be pro-active in replacing them with the positive.

Are you in on the challenge? Comment and let us know! Don’t forget to share what you’re reading throughout the month on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #ReadLove. One challenge participant will win a small token of our appreciation.

Need a place to get started? Download Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage for just $2.99 today!

 

 

19 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

5 TV Shows I Can Watch With My Spouse

Bored couple watching TV

Bored couple watching TV

As my husband and I watch the whole The Wire series again from season one, I realize something that I’ve been ignoring for a long time.

We are in desperate need of a new TV show to watch together.

There are only a few television shows that fall into the category of watchable for the both of us. I’m typically tuned into a) criminal investigations like Snapped or The First 48 b)repeats of 90s sitcoms c) the occasional bad reality show.

Meanwhile, the only channel he really needs is the NFL network which he watches every day whether it’s football season or not. He veers off occasionally to fit in a network airing of The Godfather or Bad Boys, and then heads right back to football.

The Wire  was the last show that we actually looked forward to watching together each week, and the last season of that aired in 2008. Since then we’ve bought the series on DVD and watched it from the beginning God knows how many times. Every time I watch it feels like the first time, but one of these days it will probably start to get old.

Outside of that, our mutual television interests include series that are just acceptable for both of us:

Law and Order SVU When in doubt, the elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit is there to save the day. If nothing else, this show is always consistent, and it’s pretty much always on. Although I don’t think they’ve ever fully recovered from the loss of my favorite television character with unresolved anger management issues, Detective Stabler, having to kind of guess “Who done it” (because if there’s a famous cameo, it’s always that guy) keeps us entertained for an hour.

Modern Family We’ve just started watching this show in syndication on USA. I wasn’t interested in it, and didn’t think he would like it, but when it’s good, it’s good, and we love it on the nights that we just need a laugh. My only issue is that I’m a bigger fan of the early episodes and for some reason it starts to lose me once Gloria has the baby, so there are only so many episodes that I want to watch.

Being Mary Jane So this is a show that I like and my husband begrudgingly (but not really because he likes it to but doesn’t want to admit it) watches. It’s chock full of lady drama which is why he probably wouldn’t call himself a fan, but when I’m watching it he sits next to me and doesn’t make me turn the channel.

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Hubs loves to cook, so he watches this show for inspiration, and I love to eat so I watch it for the food porn. We don’t catch it all the time, but when we do it’s always a win-win

Martin We watch Martin when nothing else is on because for us it doesn’t stop being an oldie but goodie. We’ve probably seen every episode 89 times and we still laugh like it’s the first time with most of them.

But we still don’t have a show that we both look forward to, and there was something fun about getting mutually excited to see what was next (and the occasional cheating that either of us would do by watching the episode ahead of time) and none of the recent shows have brought with them that Wire magic.

So what do you suggest? Is there a show that you and your spouse enjoy watching that we should check out? Please comment with your suggestions!

(P.S.—not if your suggestion is scandal. I just can’t get into it!)

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17 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

What Five-Year-Olds Can Teach Us About Confidence

What 5 Year Olds Can Teach Us About Confidence

My five-year-old has a level of confidence that sometimes I wish I could capture and bottle for myself. If you ever need to learn how to give yourself affirmations, just listen to the sentences he uses about himself on any given day.

“I’m going to be an artist someday. I’m the best artist ever.”

“I’m the fastest runner in the world.”

“I look awesome.”

Mind you, he has no proof of his running skill, art mastery or model-like appearance, other than his mom saying stuff like ‘who’s the cutest boy in the world!’ (…yeah I still do that). It’s just that at the age of five, he doesn’t have any reason to believe that he can’t do or be or look however he wants. In his little life, he’s had few experiences that would contradict his beliefs. Nothing has made him believe that he either can’t be something right now, or can’t be something someday.

I don’t know when that belief ends, but I know it doesn’t last long. Even at 14 I can tell that my daughter has a loose grip on what she believes she’s good at, and that she has let go of a few things she deems impossible.

And at 34? For most people my age, we’ve seen enough and experienced enough that we’ve determined where we’ll succeed and where we’ll fail; where we shrink and where we flourish. Our confidence is solid in some places, and non-existent in others, and in return, we’ve shrunk down a universe of possibilities to a tiny world that consists of only those we can see and feel.  The thinking has gone from “you can be anything!” to “you maybe can be like 3 or 4 things.”

Being guided by experience is important. Knowing my limitations is why, unlike my 5-year-old, I know that jumping off of the back of the couch is generally a bad idea. But sometimes I define myself by those moments that told me “you can’t.” At times I have completely thought myself out of something I wanted because somewhere along the way I learned that I wasn’t good enough.

But what about when the decisions we’ve made about ourselves are wrong? How many times have we seen someone running a marathon who once thought she could barely run around the block? How often have we tried something we’ve always been afraid of to later say “that wasn’t so bad after all?”

For me, I learned early on that I wasn’t organized, and for a long time counted myself out of anything that required a lot of time management or organization skill. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago when I got serious about writing that I decided to push past that belief. In order to manage my family, my full time job, my blog and my freelance writing business, organization has to be at the root. And I’m doing a pretty good job of managing it all, if I do say so myself.

Today’s challenge is to recapture a little bit of that 5-year-old confidence. How did you feel about your abilities before the world told you otherwise? What was possible? Pick one thing, whether it’s baking a cake or running a 5k, that you’ve told yourself that you can’t do or that you aren’t good and decide that you will try it again with the confidence that you will succeed. You’ll probably end up surprising yourself along the way.

What “impossible” task will you try to achieve?

14 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Best of the Marriage Web, Week of March 9

Jigsaw Heart

I’ve fallen off the wagon with my weekly round-ups, but this week I’m back to posting some of my marriage faves from around the web! Lots of good ones…

Happy marriage, defined by the Happy Wives Club 

How can Christians keep from having all the babies? Sex Within Marriage puts the options out there

This couple gets real and talks separation and marriage fitness. MarriageMax

One Extraordinary Marriage  gives six reasons to get cozy and cuddle up with your spouse.

Greet with a kiss, talk money early and many more Marriage Secrets from Women Who Know.

Zombie marriage? It may be better for you than you think. About Marriage

An Olsen gets engaged two weeks after her sister. This one didn’t play Michelle Tanner! The Cut 

Read or written anything marriage-related this week? Share in the comments!

13 March 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Why You Need to Ask Your Wife Out on a Date

 

ask your wife out on a date
Image credit: shotsstudio / 123RF Stock Photo

Before we got married, just like many couples my husband (then boyfriend) and I used to go out all the time. Sometimes it would be a mutually-planned night out with friends, sometimes we would both be out doing our own thing and meet up,  but most of the time he would call me and say “hey what are you doing tonight” and come pick me up and take me somewhere.

Then we got married. And had a baby. And then I got pregnant again which is my current situation. And although we still go out, the plans for going out usually go something like this.

Me: Let’s do something this weekend.

Him: Ok, what do you want to do.

Me: I’ll think about it (*gets caught up in 100 other activities, forgets about it, doesn’t find a babysitter, ends up renting a Redbox movie or going to Applebees)

On the surface, my husband asking “what do you want to do” isn’t wrong. It’s considerate, right? He’s willing to do whatever I feel like doing, which should be a good thing.

But I miss the days when he was the one who sometimes initiated and planned our outings. As a wife and mother I feel like I spend a lot of time managing less-than-exciting activities. So when it comes to the fun stuff, sometimes I don’t feel like planning. Sometimes just like all those years ago, I just want to sit back and be dated. I want to go out on a date that I don’t have to plan. I want to show up, dressed and ready to be driven.

So when he asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I asked for just that. Well, maybe not in those words…

“I want to go out on a date! I want to feel like a real girl! Not a baby house.”

So from childcare to dessert, he made that happen. And that made me smile this week.

For all of my husbands out there, if you haven’t done it in a while, or aren’t in the habit of doing it, plan a date with your wife. You don’t have to do it all of the time, but there is something that even after years of marriage feels good about being dated. Not the “we can do whatever you feel like doing” dating, but the “I planned this because I like going out with you” kind of dating. Because deep down, even after babies, difficulties and everything else, we’re still the girls you met however long ago, and it feels nice to be reminded of that.

So pick a date within the next month, tell her to put it on her calendar, and start putting your plans into place.

Men, do you plan dates with your wives? Women do your husbands plan dates or do you do most of the planning?