This post is part of the 15-minute, 15-Day marriage challenge. Sign up to receive your free PDF of the entire 15-minute, 15-day marriage challenge free!
Today’s challenge is to get your spouse one very small thing he or she needs or would appreciate. The idea here is to think small. We all love the big things, but showing that you pay attention to the little ones lets your spouse know that you hear her needs and desires. Does she need a new toothbrush? A coffee mug? Athletic socks? An ice scraper? Whatever little thing you can afford and know your spouse would like is fair game.
What small gift will you get for your spouse?
Happy New Year! Each month in 2014, we’ll hold a different challenge for the month for you to start building positive habits into your romance routine. The first habit we’re working on this year is consciously spending at least 10 minutes each day with your spouse, no excuses!
You don’t have to have big plans for those 10 minutes yet. What’s most important is that you set aside the time. Write it into your schedule or add it into your phone calendar if you need to. If you don’t see your spouse every day because of work schedules, and for some reason you can’t spend it talking to one another on the phone, then dedicate that 10 minutes to activities to make yourself a better spouse.
If you need help deciding what to do with those 10 minutes, download the 15-minute, 15-day marriage challenge free and you’ll be more than halfway through the month! Yes, I know it is a 15-minute challenge and the instructions say 10, but you can adjust if need be.
You can also download my new book, Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage, for just $2.99 today and get more than 100 ways to use those 10 minutes. The 15-minute Marriage Challenge is included in the book.
Are you in on the challenge? Comment and let us know!
I have been admittedly absent from the blog lately. With work, the kids, the book and some big new developments requiring my time and attention, I decided to use a vacation from my full time job over the holidays to completely shut things down. Maybe not the most traditionally productive use of my time off, but my mind and body needed it. It also gave me some time to focus on my goals for the New Year.
I’m not a big New Year’s Resolution maker. I’m almost always focused on a few over-arching goals for my life, and I don’t reset those once January rolls around. So instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I use words to guide me. The word for 2013 was “Simplify.” I wanted to strip down my life to the basics last year, making sure that I minimized distractions in order to keep my eyes on my priorities.
In 2014, my guiding phrase is “first things first.” I want to make sure that what I claim are my priorities and where I’m prioritizing my time match. To me, the easiest and most logical way to do that is to order my day by taking care of my highest priority activities first. This things that I say are “first” are the first things I plan to do once my eyes open in the morning. I’ve grouped them into categories to help me get my day off to the right start.
Faith How often do you hear, or say, “I put God first.” How often is that reflected in your daily life? I’ve started trying to be more authentic with this over the last month by starting every morning with God. I always prayed in the morning, but instead of just rattling off “thank God for another day,” every morning I make time for devotion and try to take time to just sit and be quiet before rushing off into the rest of my day.
Family This one is harder first thing in the morning. Weekday mornings usually consist of a race to getting out of the front door. A few months ago though, I embarked on a challenge to wake up earlier in the morning. This should give me more time to at least make a good breakfast and to bark less at my kids all morning to get out of the house. My goal is to do one thing to bless my family before we all go our separate ways.
Finances Last year, I started making it a priority to get our financial house in order. I’ve talked in previous posts about how after my layoff a few years ago, we struggled for a while to get our finances where they need to be. Things are leveling out and looking up for 2014, but I want to make sure to keep rolling with the momentum we’ve built. Focusing on new opportunities at work, devoting more energy to my blog and brand, and checking daily that I’m meeting my financial targets are a few of the practical ways that I’ll turn my focus to finances after I’ve taken care of my responsibilities to my faith and my family.
Somewhere in here I plan to put fitness, too. But…more on that tomorrow.
What are your priorities for 2014? Do you have a guiding phrase for the year?
Join us January 6-21 for the new, 15-day, 15-Minute marriage challenge. The challenge is the perfect way to jumpstart reconnecting with your spouse to create a better marriage in the New Year. If you’ve taken the challenge previously, the new challenge gives new, easy, fun ways to connect with your spouse in just 15 minutes a day for 15 days.
If you already have the Making Love in the Microwave book, A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage, you’ll find the challenge there. (You can get it today for the low price of $2.99).
If not, fill out the contact form below and get a free PDF of the challenge. We’ll start the challenge together and send email reminders January 6.
Happy New Year! I look forward to seeing you in January.
Follow the link to sign up and get your free challenge PDF! http://forms.aweber.com/form/14/9778714.htm
I ask this question in the Making Love in the Microwave book, and today I’m asking you. How much time are you investing in your marriage? If you aren’t getting what you need out of it, could it be related to what you’re putting in?
Get Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage today for just $2.99!
Recently while scanning a message board, I came across a question from a husband who was demanding his wife begin seeing a female gynecologist instead of the male she had been seeing. In addition to feeling uncomfortable with another man’s hands in his wife’s lady bits, he was also concerned about reports of women being victimized by male GYNs.
His wife was unresponsive to his request. Her money, her body, her choice of GYN.
To which I said “cheers” in agreement. Granted I may be biased. I have had the same male gynecologist for approaching two decades and my husband dare not stand between me and my gyno.
This has nothing to do with an attraction to my gynecologist or a longing to hop up on the exam table. Quite the contrary. I don’t know his wife personally, but I’m guessing she’s probably among the 100 percent of women who would pick doing anything else in life than being prodded internally with a speculum. But once you find one who can make you feel at least comfortable with the process, much like the right hairdresser, he’s a keeper.
I was surprised however, how many people agreed that his wife should consider switching to a new GYN. I’m always open to discussing issues with my husband, but who I trust with my health is a personal decision, and I extend him the same courtesy that I would expect he give me. I am not a man, but it would seem that if a man feels threatened by the gynecologist. He has insecurity issues that run deeper than a doctor visit.
My thoughts: if I’m the one in stirrups on the table, I should be able to choose whom I think will make me feel the most comfortable.
What are your thoughts? Should the husband have a say about his wife’s choice of gynecologist?
Yesterday I watched a broadcast from Dr. David Jeremiah on Turning Point TV about how often we sacrifice the important things in our lives to make room for the urgent ones. We come up with a list of priorities in our lives, and yet instead of taking actions to move toward our goals, we spend all of our time mired in the “urgent.” At the end of the day, we’re exhausted from putting out fires, and the things we deem important get lost behind the smoke.
I’ve talked about this often on the blog and in the book, how the need to keep doing “stuff,” the inability to prioritize the important over the need to be busy slowly erodes the connection we have with our spouses. I’m more than guilty of it. I can look at my to-do list and say “Yes, look at all this stuff I got done!” but for what? Have I accomplished anything or does being busy and checking items off of a list just make me feel productive, setting me up to chase that same feeling the next day.
Of course, life comes with urgencies. But if we’re constantly living in a state of urgency, constantly focused on the minutiae thrown in front of our faces, we aren’t able to take time to build the foundation that makes a marriage work.
In Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage, I list 10 steps for “Making Time” for your spouse.
Step 1: Determine what “urgent” means in your life and work.
We all have different jobs where urgent has different levels of meaning. “Urgent” for a brain surgeon has a different meaning than “urgent” for a webmaster. I’m not suggesting that your “urgent” be any more or less important as it pertains to your job. I am saying that everything, no matter what your position in life, cannot fall into the category of urgent. Making all things extremely important means that 1) You’re never quite able to prioritize and 2) You’re never quite able to relax.
Today’s challenge is to find a system for determining your top priorities. Simpleology is a free online tool that I use to help me know what I need to keep at the top of my list, what I need to keep on the back burner for now, and what I need to let go of completely. Whatever tools you use, once you set realistic goals in your life and work, you can better determine what activities will drive you closer to those, and what you can wait to do when you get around to it.
Find 9 other ways to get your time back from those sneaky time thieves in Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage. Get it today on Kindle or PDF for just $2.99!
Do you have tools for determining your priorities? What are they?
The Making Love in the Microwave book sale starts today! It’s been a long time coming, but now through December 25, you can download the book for PDF or Kindle for just 2.99 (more than 60% off of the regular price)!
If you’re thinking about buying it, you probably thought, “Hey, I’m busy, I’m married, and I want a better connection with my spouse. Maybe this can help.”
I am happy that you turned to me for that.
But as much as I would love for you to read this book, I’m going to start off by telling you why you should put it down and never look back. I know it sounds weird, but I also know that you are busy, and the last thing I want you saying when you finish reading this is, “There’s time out of my life I’ll never get back!” I don’t want you giving me one star on Amazon and telling the rest of the world why this book was a colossal waste of time. If there’s one thing I’m against, it’s wasting time. Mine and yours.
So to avoid having you publicly shame me, and my months of blood sweat and tears, I’m going to let you know why this book might be a huge waste of your precious time and hard-earned money.
You are looking for a psychotherapist
This is not an extensive research study into the “whys” behind human behavior. That’s not to say that the “whys” aren’t important, but for the purposes of this book, I don’t want us to get stuck in the why and instead focus on the fact that love is in the doing.
Here’s an example: If I gave you the results of research going back to the beginning of mankind about the evolutionary significance of why a man leaves the toilet seat up, how it fills some intrinsic animal need, and why the structure of his hand makes it physically impossible for him to put the toilet seat down, it wouldn’t make a woman any less likely to land in the toilet butt-first when he leaves it up the next time. The understanding doesn’t change the possible solutions: man puts toilet seat down; woman makes it a point to look before sitting. Sure there’s a why, but at the end of the day, what women really want is to stop falling in the toilet, and there’s a simple solution to that. This book might not help you understand why men leave the toilet seat up, but it will help keep you out of the toilet.
You’re Looking for a Celebrity
Sorry. I have no sage millionaire-marriage advice to give. Just every-day, full-time job, nobody-knows-my-name advice. This advice may not work for you if you don’t have the constraints placed on you by everyday life, like working, taking care of babies, limited vacation time, and more limited vacation money. If you are looking for millionaire advice on how to live in millionaire marriages, I don’t have it. If you can’t hire a staff to do all of those everyday-life kinds of things, read on.
You are looking for a secret
Secrets are enticing to us. We all want that one magic thing that will create results, often without a lot of work. We all want to believe that there is this one thing that only a couple of people know that we don’t know that will get us from point A to point Z. Just spend anytime web surfing and you’ll find ancient secrets to everything; banish belly fat, get rid of wrinkles, become a millionaire—for a price.
Here is a secret: There is no secret. In fact, the secret answer to just about any question you can come up with is “work.” If there were a secret to weight loss, Oprah can’t afford it, so why do you think you can get it for $29.99? The secret to losing weight is to eat less and move more. All of the different renderings of the “secret” are just plans: ways to eat less and move more in ways that work for you. That is what I am offering. I’m not giving you a magic wand, I’m not showing you how to not work and still get whatever you want. I am giving you strategies on how to work within the time you have order to get the marital connection you need.
You’re a wuss
Marriage takes work. We’ve heard it many times before. We would never expect to get hired for a receptionist position one day and become CEO of the company the next. When we want to advance and learn more in any area it takes hard work, research, and a willingness to take the good with the bad.
Marriage is the same way. Everything doesn’t click at the altar. You probably will never reach a point in marriage where everything is smooth sailing, but if we continue to acknowledge the learning curve, we can work toward becoming better partners daily.
Marriage is not for chumps! We are talking about trying to make marriage last for a lifetime. Have you ever seen someone successfully do something for their whole life without investing their time and energy into it? Lifetime success doesn’t get built scratching your head on the couch. Lifetime success takes dedication, commitment, and discipline. If you aren’t willing to commit, then close the book and go back to head scratching.
Secondly, I’m going to tell you the truth. Sometimes it will be uncomfortable and it won’t feel good at first. But truth telling is my specialty. If you’re looking for warm, fuzzy lies look elsewhere.
I’ve always believed that there is no real “too much” or “too little” when it comes to how often a couple has sex. It’s on each couple to find their own groove and it’s going to be different for everybody. A couple of times a week may feel like a drought for one couple and look like party time for another, and really, who cares? The two of you are the only people involved, so if it works for you, it doesn’t matter whether it works for anybody else.
But what about when it doesn’t work for both people involved? How can both parties be happy when those opposite drives just don’t match up?
I unfortunately don’t have all of the answers, but I have listed a few tips for dealing with a sex drive discrepancy that will help you avoid the resentment and anger that can result.
Scheduling sex Yes, it sounds boring, but if you truly are on opposite ends of the spectrum, coming up with a schedule that allows you to meet somewhere in the middle may work out better than just waiting for the fireworks to happen. You can always make sure to spice up those scheduled sessions to make things more spontaneous.
Find out the reasons behind the discrepancy Sometimes it may just be that one person naturally desires it more than the other, but if the difference is extremely drastic, maybe there are underlying reasons. Could there be underlying health issues? Is one person stressed or overworked? Are you lacking intimacy in other areas of your marriage? Don’t simply assume a natural tendency when there could be other issues involved.
Engage in other types of physical intimacy Try being physically close with one another in ways that don’t always include intercourse. Holding hands, kissing, touching—maintain your physical connection without always having sex be the end result.
I want to hear from you. How should couples deal with opposite sex drives? Does it default to the lower drive partner? Does the lower drive partner end up having to give in just to satisfy? Do you meet somewhere in the middle? Can a relationship work if both partners have different sex drives?
Looking for a fun way to spice up your sex life? Try XXXopoly – Adult Board Games!