Category Archives for "Marriage"

In marriage, money issues are one of the biggest conflicts! Here’s how to keep money from ruining your marriage. #2 might surprise you… great marriage advice here from the experts!

3 Ways to Keep Money from Ruining Your Marriage

It’s no secret that money issues are one of the biggest conflicts for many married couples. In fact, money and money fights are a major cause of divorce.

While life events like job loss can put huge strain on any marriage, most married couples’ money fights can be traced to issues around everyday money habits, such as overspending, debt and budgeting.

In fact, noted financial adviser Dave Ramsey states, “You can’t have a great relationship until you can communicate and agree about money.”

In marriage, money issues are one of the biggest conflicts! Here’s how to keep money from ruining your marriage. #2 might surprise you… great marriage advice here from the experts!

I agree with that wholeheartedly. My husband and I have a strong marriage and we fight very little about money.

We’re not perfect (and neither is our marriage), but I credit our our lack of money fights to three powerful money habits we began from day one of our marriage.

And that’s what I want to share with you in this post.

Friend, if you and your spouse argue regularly over money issues in your marriage, I want to demonstrate how these three simple money truths can truly be revolutionary to your marital health!

Of course money arguments still happen from time to time for any couple, but truly, if you and your spouse can implement these three money practices, you can dramatically reduce your marriage fights about money.

Principle #1: Don’t Get Separate Accounts

When we get married, we become one. That’s a no-brainer, especially in Christian marriage, right?

So then why do so many of us married couples insist on living separate “money lives” by having separate financial accounts?

For many of us, I think it’s about control. Before we got married we answered to no one but ourselves. Our money was our money. Having separate accounts continues to allow for (at least some) control of the money.

But here’s the danger: Separate accounts often leads to secrets.

Now wait, you say. I may have a separate checking account but I’m not doing anything devious with it!

That may be true. But as Rachel Cruze notes in her excellent book Love Your Life, Not Theirs, the “that’s yours and this is mine” mindset can be quite destructive in a relationship because, first, it takes away the notion of accountability.

When all of our family spending is out in the open, Cruze shares, it is incredibly vulnerable for husbands and wives. But, in the long run, that vulnerability can only build marital trust.

Cruze states in Love Your Life, Not Theirs: “Keeping your accounts separate is one of the most effective ways to completely wreck your financial life–and maybe even your marriage.”

I agree. However, yes, my husband and I have found that having joint accounts provides much-needed accountability (which we’ll talk about more in a minute); but honestly, this truth also has helped my husband and I solidify the concept of our combined incomes as “our money” despite the discrepancy in our individual salary contributions.

We don’t see earned dollars as “my money” or “his money” because it all flows into one source and it all has one purpose–to support our family and to be a blessing to others.

Principle #2: Manage the Emotional Side of Spending

Money is one of those places in marriage where there are many opportunities to be downright petty and childish, right?

I’m telling you, money can bring out the best in us (or the worst). If we’re not careful, we can develop a spirit of what Cruze calls “competitive spending.”

Picture this: Your husband’s laptop computer suddenly breaks down and it’s instantly clear that he needs a new one. You’d been eyeing a new laptop for yourself but you’d both agreed to hold off on purchasing it because you’d planned to spend that money on an anniversary getaway.

But now, this surprise laptop break down requires that your family not only purchase him that gorgeous new laptop, but that you cancel that much-longed-for anniversary trip.

Have you ever experienced a similar situation (and felt even a little bit angry and resentful about it)?

I know I have. It doesn’t seem fair that he gets the new computer when you were the one who really wanted it. And it’s a doubly whammy that the impromptu laptop purchase caused a forfeit of your vacation.

It’s enough to cause loads of anger and resentment between spouses (and perhaps a few “justified” shopping trips to the mall armed with a credit card as “revenge”).

Money causes our emotions to flare! It can be incredibly difficult, but to keep money from destroying our marriage, we have to remove the emotion behind it and see the truth our spending.

What keeps me grounded is, again, focusing on seeing our money as a unified provision for our family. “My” salary didn’t buy his new computer; “our” income did. And I know that if I had been the one who had a computer break down, my husband still would have agreed to purchase a new computer instead of take that anniversary vacation.

We’ve got to stay vigilant about identifying and talking through the emotions behind our financial choices so that they don’t slowly sabotage our marital relationship.

Principle #3: Agree on a Financial Plan and Stay Accountable

In your marriage, are you a spender or a saver? In his financial books, courses and online resources, Dave Ramsey calls these two competing money personalities in marriage the “nerds” and the “free spirits” (I like that!).

The “nerds” are the financial planners who love making budgets (and who has an affinity for spreadsheets).

The “free spirits,” on the other hand, enjoy spending money as they like and hate the idea of being accountable to a budget.

In his insightful best seller The Total Money Makeover, Ramsey says that, in most typical marriages one spouse is the nerd and the other is the free spirit (opposites do attract).

But my marriage, I’d classify both my husband and I as nerds (but with just enough free spirit in us to get us in trouble)!

That’s why my husband and I are convinced that a financial plan is such an essential part of a strong marriage. If either of us didn’t have a budget and a plan for our money, yes, we’d be a bit stir-crazy (nerds can be like that); but more importantly, without a financial plan and accountability, we’d have just enough wiggle room for impulse purchases that could really get us into trouble.

How can you make a strong financial plan? It’s easier than you think, and honestly, one of the best investments in your marriage! Be sure to check out the incredible resources in the next section (these have truly changed our family’s life)!

But first, I want to speak about accountability because this is where we still get tripped up sometimes (as do many married couples).

Having combined accounts is a huge first step. Next, I’d also suggest regularly checking in with each other regarding the spending. Dave Ramsey’s free EveryDollar app is an incredible resource for tracking everyday expenditures on your smart phone.

I’d also say that there’s no substitute for regularly talking through monthly expenses together. I am the one who literally pays the bills, but I share a detailed report with my husband each month of where we are financially (and how it relates to our budget) so that both of us stay accountable and on track.

3 Must-Have Resources for Managing Money in Marriage

I can’t stress enough how valuable these financial resources have been in our family! Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover book and Financial Peace University have literally changed our family’s finances from the inside out (we went from being over $100,000 in debt to now being debt-free except our mortgage).

Rachel Cruze’s Love Your Life, Not Theirs book also is a fantastic resource for married couples looking for solid tips about how to handle money in marriage.

And for help with everyday budgeting and accountability, I’d highly recommend EveryDollar! There is both a free and paid version of this financial software and app (the paid version downloads your monthly transactions automatically) and you can set up a budget in about 10 minutes or less.

Best of all, your financial info is available on both your mobile and desktop devices, which makes money management incredibly simple. Learn more here.

Here’s to stronger marriages and less fighting about money!

FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ramsey Solutions.

Other Posts on Money in Marriage

#1 Reason Why You’re Stuck in the Debt Cycle

Money Tight? Here’s 10 Ways to Stretch Your Budget

 

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In marriage, money issues are one of the biggest conflicts! Here’s how to keep money from ruining your marriage. #2 might surprise you… great marriage advice here from the experts!

You want to read the Bible with your spouse. But life is so darn busy! How in the world can it happen? These 7 tips (and 10 amazing devotional resources!) will make all the difference. Couples devotions aren't just for married couples without kids!

Yes, Busy Couples CAN Have Time for Bible Study (Our 7 Tips)

For years, my husband and I wanted to regularly read the Bible together.

But we had no idea where to start.

The biggest issue was time.

We’d maybe read the Bible together and there, but if we got off our planned routine, then suddenly all that guilt set in.

After a while I think we just gave up trying, believing that a regular devotional time together was a “someday” item: you know, someday when the kids were gone and we “weren’t so busy.”

Is it possible for every couple to have this regular time of spiritual intimacy—even those wading through the exhilarating-but-exhausting parenting and career-building years?

YES.

I want to share how, yes, you can make couples devotions a regular part of your marriage.

There’s a few essential tips (plus some great marriage devotions!) that will make all the difference!

You want to read the Bible with your spouse. But life is so darn busy! How in the world can it happen? These 7 tips (and 10 amazing devotional resources!) will make all the difference. Couples devotions aren't just for married couples without kids!

Our couple Bible time together became habitual (and powerful) when we finally said—with humble, teachable hearts—“Jesus, we know you want us to be spending time with you together on a daily basis. Show us how to do this within our crazy life.”

This meant that we didn’t commit ourselves to following a strict regimen.

Or to never missing a day. Or to doing it only at a specific time of day.

We’ve kept it open and yet still kept it a priority, continually asking God for wisdom on how to make each day work.

Instead of locking ourselves into a schedule–and tacking on all that guilt when the schedule would fail–we simply kept it a priority and sought creative ways to make it happen within that season.

In fact, we take advantage of seasonal times like Easter to seek spiritual renewal for our marriage.

Right now we’re going through the “We Choose Rebirth” Marriage study and devotional inside the Christ-Centered Easter Marriage Resources.

In only minutes a day, this simple-yet-powerful study allows us to connect deeply with each other and God. The “Just Between Us” questions gently allow us to take a quick “check-up” of the big areas of our marriage and encourage closeness and communication.

Again, it’s only a 12-day study, so it’s totally do-able!

I also love that the Christ-Centered Easter Marriage Resources includes a 12-day prayer challenge. We all know that prayer is important, but this is a great way to start a new habit of prayer for each other.

We’re also looking forward to our post-study date night (the Christ-Centered Marriage Resources includes date night questions)!

We’re loving it! I would highly recommend it for any marriage in any season. Check it out here.

 

 

 

But there’s so much more I want to share!

Check out these 7 tips for making daily devotions a habit…

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Should wives tell their husbands EVERYTHING? I started asking 4 questions to determine what to share with my husband... We had way less fighting after this...

Marriage Issues: When to Keep Silent and When to Share with Your Spouse

Marriage is about being fully honest and upfront with each other, right? When we say “I do” we promise to be faithful and to share everything.

And yet, after almost sixteen years of marriage, I’m convinced more than ever of this: There are some things we should not share with our spouse.

Should wives tell their husbands EVERYTHING? I started asking 4 questions to determine what to share with my husband... We had way less fighting after this...

Yes, you read that right. Some things do not need to be shared. At all.

Instead I’ve learned that God only wants me to share those things with my husband that intend to build up our marriage.

I know, I know… I hear your questions:

  • What if I’m hurting and he needs to know about it?
  • What if I see red flags in our marriage that we need to deal with?
  • How can we still have an open and honest marriage if we don’t share everything?

Now, before you throw the tomatoes, hear me out.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t share about troubling issues. I’m not suggesting that you allow things to build up or to fester between you and your spouse. 

Instead, I’m suggesting we ask four important questions before the words come flying out: if we should share; why we should share; when we should share; and how we should share. 

In short, I’m suggesting that we have a filter in place that ensures we share in a respectful, appropriate way that honors the relationship.

We seem to have this filter in place for our closest friendships and even in how we speak to our own children. We think twice about what should be shared before we share it.

And yet, so often, we wives seem to think we have carte blanche when it comes to sharing every last detail with our husbands. We want them to know how we feel, and we want them to know it now. But really, is this wise?

I didn’t have this filter in the early years of our marriage. And my careless words (spoken simply because I felt my husband needed to know everything on my mind) damaged our relationship instead of causing the closeness I was hoping for.

I’ve seen it happen in too many of my friends’ marriages too. I’ve seen the damage done and heard the regret.

You see, in many cases these “too honest” conversations don’t solve the issue but instead add unnecessary pain that has to be dealt with later. We think we’re making things better by spilling every emotion on our heart, but truly, we’re not.

Instead, what if we developed a common-sense, godly filter that helps us determine if, why, when and how we should share with our spouses? Having a filter like this has saved my marriage from much pain and trouble, and that’s what I want to help you develop in this post. 

Again, let’s be perfectly clear: I’m not saying that we shouldn’t feel free to speak our minds in marriage. And please hear that I’m not saying we should ever hide huge issues in our heart, especially if they are emotional seeds that could bloom into huge weeds that could potentially cause division or even divorce. 

Instead, I’m just encouraging all of us to share cautiously, prayerfully and with God’s wisdom guiding us as to what to say and when to say it.

When I’m faced with a tough issue in my marriage, I let these four key questions guide my response.

Should You Share About This With Your Spouse? 4 Critical Questions to Ask

#1: The “If” Question: “Have I prayed about this? If so, is God telling me it’s time to share?”

I am a fiery, passionate person who can go from tears of joy to tears of anger in a matter of a few minutes. That’s why I had to learn early on in my marriage not to blindly trust my emotions. Instead, in the heat of the moment, I take a few minutes to pour my heart out to God and then I listen to what He wants me to do next.

At first, it was really hard to know (and to trust) God’s response. It’s taken time (and trial and error), but I’ve learned to hear His voice over the roar of my emotions.

However, during those times when I’m not sure what God is saying, I err on the side of waiting to share with my husband.

Honestly, waiting is always more frustrating because we want our spouse to know what we’re feeling right now, regardless! But I’ve quickly learned the immense power of letting God help me work through the heart of the feelings so that the emotions are tempered, controlled and channeled into productive helpful words. Conversations with my spouse always, always go better when I’ve taken this simple step.

Waiting has also helped me determine the root of the issue (which leads us into the second question).

#2: The “Why” Question: “Why would I share this with my husband? What’s my purpose in sharing?”

This is a critical question! After praying through my emotions, there are many times I discover that what I’m feeling really is my issue (and needs to be worked out between God and me). Gulp, right?

Keep in mind that even if you realize it’s a issue you need to work out on your own you can still speak to your spouse about it. However, that issue would be shared in a different way: It would be from a “I’m-dealing-with-this-and-I’d-love-your-encouragement” way instead of “This-is-your-fault-and-you-need-to-fix-it” mentality. The first option invites your spouse to support you, while the second option points fingers and casts blame.

For example, my husband is extremely introverted and cautious with his emotions, and I used to get angry at him (quite often) that he wouldn’t share or talk more. My husband has definitely opened up and become much more social in the 16 years we’ve been married, but there are times where I still have to tell myself, “Stop expecting (a specific behavior) from him because that’s not who God naturally made him to be.” I can’t tell you how many times my unrealistic expectations about my husband have stolen my joy.

Of course I’ve shared about this issue with him, but do I share with him every single time it bothers me? No. Instead, I bring those emotions to God and ask for His help in sorting them out. I remind myself that my way of responding to a specific situation isn’t necessarily better. So I ask God to help me love and accept my husband just as he is right now. Read more about this ongoing struggle for me here.

The next question also helps determine the best timing on sharing about tough issues.

#3: The “When” Question: “When is the best time to share this information?”

We all have ongoing issues with our spouse where little is solved by talking about it over and over.

That’s why sometimes the best solution is to pray fervently behind the scenes for change (for both of us) and then wait for God to work.

I don’t say this from a hopeless, “the situation-will-never-change-so-why-bring-it-up” mentality, but instead as an acceptance that, at this point, this is the reality of the situation and talking about it probably won’t change much. I share more here about how to handle the incredibly intense feelings of anger, disappointment, and frustration we feel with ongoing marriage issues.

But again, should we never bring up these ongoing issues? Are we doomed to just suffer in silence and allow bitterness to take root?

No. I do believe God wants us to heartily work through our ongoing issues. However, we need to first sort out the root cause, and the “when to share” needs to be guided by God’s direction.

How can you do your part to effectively share with your spouse about tough issues? The last question can help determine a plan.

#4: The “How” Question: “How can I share my concerns in a way that is helpful and uplifting to my spouse?”

No one likes to be confronted on tough issues. But there are ways to share that can establish a healthy open dialogue for both sides.

First and foremost, as they say in boxing, “Keep it clean.” Remember these 10 ground rules for fighting fair in marriage.

This isn’t the time for re-hashing old issues that have been settled, or for all fingers to point your spouse as the sole person responsible for the problem. Instead, approach the issue as “Here’s what I’m seeing and here’s my part in it. I want you to know that I am feeling hurt, and I wonder how you feel about it too.”

Sometimes you need help in knowing how to start the conversation, especially when it’s a difficult one. I’ve compiled a list of 17 marriage conversation starters that you can download here).

Proverbs 14:1, Proverbs 17:27, Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 3:13 also provide incredible wisdom and practical insight.

 

Friend, the next time you’re facing a big issue in your marriage, I pray you’ll take the time to walk through these four simple questions so that you too can deal with the problem in an effective, Christ-honoring way.

Let’s share our hearts with our husbands, but only share in a way that promotes healing and martial closeness.

Other Posts on Marriage:

17 Conversation Starters for Everyday Marriage Issues (Plus Free Cheat Sheet)

10 Ground Rules for Fighting Fair in Marriage

Real Help for Ongoing Marriage Issues That Drive You Crazy

Are Unrealistic Expectations Ruining Your Marriage?

Is Your Marriage Headed for Trouble? 5 Signs to Look For

How did Valentine's Day sneak up so fast?! Do you know what you're getting your husband this year for Valentine's Day? Yeah, me either. But good news! Here are 27 of the best gifts for husbands on Valentine's Day! Check out each of these awesome Valentine gift ideas for him and be inspired!

30 Best Gifts to Give Your Husband on Valentine’s Day

How did Valentine’s Day sneak up so fast?! Do you know what you’re getting your husband this year for Valentine’s Day? Yeah, me either.

But good news! I’ve gathered some of the best Valentine’s Day gift ideas, awesome ideas for Valentine’s Dates and even fun ways to send Valentine’s love notes!

I’m going to be referring to these lists for my Valentine’s Day gifts this year, and thought you’d like to take a peek too!

How did Valentine's Day sneak up so fast?! Do you know what you're getting your husband this year for Valentine's Day? Yeah, me either. But good news! Here are 27 of the best gifts for husbands on Valentine's Day! Check out each of these awesome Valentine gift ideas for him and be inspired!

Just click on the links below to go straight to each of the lists:

or just click “read more” at the bottom of the page to go to the next list!

Check out each of these awesome Valentine gift ideas for him and get your hubby something he’ll love!

Let’s start with some awesome (but easy!) Valentine’s day gifts for him!

LOVE! Great list of awesome romantic movies to share with your husband or wife! Perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, at home date nights or any time you want to watch a romantic movie with your spouse! Are your favorites here too?

54 Romantic Movies to Share with Your Spouse

Planning an at-home date night? Or maybe you just want to watch a romantic movie with your spouse?

Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, or just because it’s been a while since you and your husband have spent time alone together, dinner and a movie (from the comfort of your couch!) are a fun way to spend an evening.

But maybe you’re burnt out on the same old movies and you’re looking for something fresh and new (or to rediscover a romantic movie you haven’t seen for a while).

I totally get it, and that’s why I’m here to help!

Here are 54 of our favorite romantic movies. We’ve watched many of these over and over and hope you enjoy them too!LOVE! Great list of awesome romantic movies to share with your husband or wife! Perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, at home date nights or any time you want to watch a romantic movie with your spouse! Are your favorites here too?

My Disclaimer…

P.S. There’s a wide range of movies represented here (everything from classics to musicals to rom-coms), and each family has their own standard for what is and is not appropriate to watch.

Although these movies are fairly clean, they are still intended for adult viewing (and not kids). Some movies may have content you could potentially find questionable (such as Titanic, Jerry Maguire, 50 First Dates, The Holiday, Top Gun, The Wedding Singer, When Harry Met Sally, Moulin Rouge, or others).

If you aren’t familiar with a particular movie title, please learn more about it before you watch it. You may look at these titles and decide that they’re outside the boundaries of what you’d deem appropriate; or perhaps you plan to skip through certain scenes (like we do); or perhaps it’s no big deal to you at all.

Either way, please don’t send me hate mail regarding the movie selections here since it’s impossible to choose a list of movies that every couple would deem appropriate. 🙂 Thank you. 🙂

54 Romantic Movies for At-Home Dates

Here are our favorite romantic movies (not in any particular order).

P.S. Did you know that with Amazon Prime you can stream a ton of movies for free (including several of these) as part of your membership. Of course there’s other benefits too, such as free second-day shipping on most items.

If you aren’t already a Prime member, you can get a free 30-Day trial of Amazon Prime here.

Enjoy!
And don’t forget about Amazon Prime! Get a free 30-Day trial of Amazon Prime here.

Other Related Posts You’ll Enjoy:

65 Incredible Resources for Better Sex in Christian Marriage

130 Ways to Say I Love You to Your Spouse

18 Fun & Easy Ways to Flirt with Your Husband Today

26 Ways Busy Parents Can Have More Date Nights

27 Best Gifts to Give Your Husband

Sometimes things just don’t feel right in my marriage… and I usually realize that there’s some unresolved emotions we need to talk about. Ever feel that way too? Here are 17 conversation starters you can use to discuss those everyday marriage issues.

17 Conversation Starters for Everyday Marriage Issues (Free Cheat Sheet!)

Ever had those times in marriage where you can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong?

You’re not facing one of those huge marital issues we all fear. You just feel… unsettled. Unbalanced. Like you’re sitting in a three-legged chair.

And honestly you have no idea where the emotions are coming from.

My husband and I have a strong, solid marriage and let me confess that there have been several times we’ve experienced this.

Sometimes things just don’t feel right in my marriage… and I usually realize that there’s some unresolved emotions we need to talk about. Ever feel that way too? Here are 17 conversation starters you can use to discuss those everyday marriage issues.

We’ve learned that this uneasy feeling usually means that there’s some unresolved emotions hanging out below the surface.

Not that you’re intentionally hiding big secrets from each other, but it’s clear that there are things that you could share that would help you understand each other more and make your relationship better.

Honestly, I’ve learned to see these feelings as a blessing because give us the opportunity to remove any walls or negativity that may be forming between us.

Don’t you want to deal with these little issues when they are in their infancy and not when they’ve had time to simmer and ferment inside (and then become a huge marital issue)? Me too!

How can we dig out these deep emotions? What do we even say when we’re not even sure what we’re feeling?

I’d like to suggest these 17 conversation prompts to help you and your spouse access some of these deeper emotions.

These conversation prompts will help you:

  • break through the walls that may be forming between you
  • have a starting point for tough topics
  • continue to communicate about ongoing marriage issues
  • give ideas of what to say when you don’t know what to say (especially if you or your spouse has a hard time accessing emotions)
  • make your marriage stronger on all levels
  • bring greater emotional intimacy and connection
  • deepen your marriage friendship and give you the closeness you desire

I’m so excited to share these with you and to help you keep your marriage strong, vibrant and thriving!

I know they can really help you because they’ve really helped my husband and I!

Click NEXT to see these 17 powerful conversation starters!

PLUS… you’ll be able to download the FREE cheat sheet!

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Are your marital arguments unproductive? After a fight with your spouse are you more angry than ever? Try these 10 Ground Rules for Fighting Fair… these totally help us.

10 Ground Rules for Fighting Fair in Marriage

Fights. Arguments. “Intense discussions.” Whatever you call them in your marriage, they’re rarely pleasant.

However, I want to ask you—is your communication productive during these tense moments?

What I mean is that, most of the time after a fight, do you sense that your feelings have been heard, new ways of behavior have been mentioned, and healing has begun?

(Note that I said “most of the time.” And also notice that I didn’t ask you if life was perfect afterward but, instead, if some sort of progress—even the tiniest step—had been made.)

Most of the time, my husband and I don’t end an argument unless we feel like we’ve resolved some issues, but honestly, sometimes our fights are incredibly unproductive (and we decide to quit talking before we do more damage).

Are your marital arguments unproductive? After a fight with your spouse are you more angry than ever? Try these 10 Ground Rules for Fighting Fair… these totally help us.

As I look back over the years at these conversations, I’ve recognized that during these times we fell into one (or more) of these traps:

  • believing that the situation is hopeless
  • attacking the other person without fair warning
  • forgetting that we’re on the same team
  • not staying on the topic
  • not praying before, during and/or after the conversation
  • thinking that the other person is fully to blame for the issue
  • expecting the other person to change first
  • being unwilling to change unless the other person does
  • expecting the change to come immediately
  • seeking our own pleasure instead of what’s best for us as a whole

Sometimes we also started a fight at the wrong time of day (late at night is not the best time for us!) or started a discussion that we couldn’t adequately finish (because kids were around, because one of us had to leave for work, etc).

Ultimately, my husband and I have unproductive and frustrating conversations because we’ve broken (at least one of) the 10 big ground rules we’ve established for our marriage.

I can honestly say that when we remember these 10 rules we have much more effective conversations, and change happens in our marriage.

Friend, I want to share these ground rules so that you can have better communication with your spouse too! 

Give these “fighting fair” ground rules a try the next time you and your spouse need to have one of those “intense discussions.”

Our 10 Ground Rules for Fighting Fair

1) Accept where you are. 

It’s OK that things aren’t perfect. Every marriage has issues that need to be worked on!

Accept the current state of your emotions and those of your spouse. Believe this truth: “We’re starting here and with grace, a listening heart (and God’s help) we can make things better.” Have faith that things may not change overnight, but that hope is possible.

2) Talk before you share.

No one likes to feel like their cornered and attacked out of the blue. And that can easily happen when we go to our spouse and suddenly start sharing deep emotions (or probing him or her with questions), all in the name of feeling “closer.”

My husband and I find it helpful to give each other a heads up about a big conversation we need to have. Something along the lines of, “Hey honey, can we chat later today about some stuff in our relationship?”

3) Look for your part in the problem. 

I had a college professor who said, “In marriage, both parties plays a role in the happiness or unhappiness of the relationship.” Very true. It’s easy to blame the other person as the “reason” for the issue. And sometimes it’s true that one person is more “at fault” than another.

Excluding situations where abuse is present, both a husband and wife play a part in the state of the marriage (the good and the bad). It can go a long way in a conversation to first recognize and apologize for your part instead of just instantly placing blame.

4) Location and timing are everything.

Pick a time where there are no kids around or phones that will buzz. Find a place where you can speak privately and you both feel safe. For us, that’s our master bedroom (read more about how to make your bedroom a sanctuary for your marriage here). (TK—LINK).

5) Make it a safe place to share.

If you’re not sure that you can talk about these things without accusation, condemnation or pointing fingers, consider having a third party (like a counselor) present to keep the peace. Or, if it’s more comfortable, it might make sense to use a journal to ask your spouse questions or write emotions down.

6) Pray, pray, pray.

Pray before you even choose to have the conversation. Pray right before the conversation. And in those moments when you’re incredibly frustrated, pray for in-the-moment wisdom on how to handle the emotions.

7) Stay on topic.

This isn’t a time to dredge up old fights or to even cover a lot of issues at once. Pick one or two things and stay focused. Do your best to not veer off on rabbit trails or other areas of tension.

8) Remember that resolution is the goal (not just airing your needs).

Make the focus about growing closer, not just about airing your needs. Consider how your spouse may be feeling. Really listen to his or her feedback. The goal isn’t to be “right” or “wrong,” but for each of you to share honestly so that these issues won’t keep you separated.

9) View the issue as “we” not “me.”

When our partner is hurting emotionally, we’ve got to view the problem as something we work to solve together. The Bible describes marriage as becoming “one flesh,” and so when one hurts, both hurt. We can’t belittle the emotions or concerns but instead ask, “How can I help you through this? What part do I play in the problem, and how can I help solve it?”

10) Time for change (and tons of grace) must rule.

Realize that one conversation may not change everything. Growth is a process, and once we understand the deeper emotions behind the circumstances, we have to give our spouses time and space to slowly make the changes. This can be oh-so-hard (it’s the hardest part for me!!), but it’s the incredibly important grace side of marriage.

Agree to check in from time to time to discuss the issues if they can’t be solved right away.

 

Marriage fights are never easy, but these critical conversations can be productive and even times of blessing for our marriage if we work together to keep these 10 “fighting fair” boundaries in place.

Are there some tough issues you need to discuss with your spouse? Give these 10 ground rules a try.

Your Turn:

What other “fighting fair” ground rules have you found effective in your marriage?

Which of these do you and your spouse tend to violate the most?

Let’s share about it in the comments!

 

Other Posts on Marital Communication:

The 15 Minute Habit That Will Change Your Marriage

This one intentional habit has kept our marriage thriving even in the busiest seasons. It's a simple change that will bring the closeness--and real, heartfelt connection--that you're craving from your spouse. If you're married, don't miss this!

 

16 Fun & Easy Ways to Flirt with Your Husband Today

Flirting--which is just really a way to keep your marriage fun--is so much more than just an invite to romance. I believe flirting with your husband is the best way to keep friendship and fun the focus of your marriage! Check out these 16 fun and easy tips (plus lots of great resources and ideas) on how to flirt with your husband today!

 

130 Creative Ways to Say I Love You to Your Spouse

Whoa—you won’t believe the sheer number of ideas in this resource! SO MANY great ways to EASILY show your husband or wife how much your love them! Every married person needs to read this… great jumpstart for any marriage!

 

When You’re Waiting for the Miracle in Your Marriage

Are you waiting for your husband to give you that one thing that you're sure will fill your soul in the ways you so desperately need? I completely understand. I found myself in this place recently, and I want to share my story about what I'm learning. I want to share with you, friend, how waiting for the miracle often brings the miracle we’re so earnestly seeking. Read this inspiring story!

 

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You know date nights can really strengthen your marriage. But how in the world do you make them happen? Discover the 6 most common reasons why couples don’t plan more date nights, and learn 26 amazingly creative ways to solve them! This post will give you the tools and ideas you need to REALISTICALLY add date nights as a regular part of your marriage! If you’ve been stumped about how to make date nights really happen, you’ve GOT to read this post!

26 Ways Busy Parents Can Have More Date Nights

You’ve heard it over and over again: Date nights are an important part of keeping a marriage strong and vibrant.

But, like me, you live in the real world, right?

You live in the world of limited time, tons of distractions, and of hectic work schedules.

You live in the world of kids who have constant needs and of unexpected expenses.

And date nights? Well, they’re one of those things you aspire to as a couple, but maybe you’re convinced that date nights are just not practical for this stage of life.

Your lives are focused around raising babies, growing a career, and honestly, just trying to make ends meet. You’re not sure you can squeeze one more thing into that insane schedule.

I live in this world too. My husband and I have four kids (that we homeschool), plus we both have work-at-home careers. Time is our most valuable commodity as we work together to parent, encourage, and let’s face it–shuffle–our four kiddos to all their activities.  We live on a budget and work very hard to make every dollar stretch.

And yet, date nights have been a regular part of our marriage for our entire 15 years together.

I share that to say that we get it.

We understand the reasons why regular date nights are difficult. We deal with the same obstacles that other couples face.

You know date nights can really strengthen your marriage. But how in the world do you make them happen? Discover the 6 most common reasons why couples don’t plan more date nights, and learn 26 amazingly creative ways to solve them! This post will give you the tools and ideas you need to REALISTICALLY add date nights as a regular part of your marriage! If you’ve been stumped about how to make date nights really happen, you’ve GOT to read this post!

However, there are a few simple mindsets we’ve adopted about date nights. We keep our definition of a date night flexible, adjust the type of date nights to fit our family’s current lifestyle, and we simply choose to make it a regular part of our family’s rhythm (more on that in a minute).

But most importantly, we’ve discovered 26 powerful-yet-simple solutions for the 6 biggest obstacles that keep busy couples like you and me from experiencing the marriage-revitalizing power of date nights.

And I can’t wait to share with you our secrets in this post!

Friend, I get it that planning regular date nights can be a challenge. I’m not here to add guilt. Truly.

Instead I want to talk about those common issues and give you some utterly simple-yet-revolutionary solutions that work!

You’ll love how regular date nights with your spouse will:

  • bring you the added closeness you’re longing for
  • grow your relationship in new and powerful ways
  • give you a fun chance to escape and unwind together; and
  • offer the opportunity to enjoy life more as a couple!

Ready to get started and to (finally!) discover realistic ways to add date nights to the regular rhythm of your marriage?

I think you’ll find yourself relating to each of these common “why we don’t have a date night” reasons.

Reason #1 is probably the biggest issue for most couples… (click next to see it, and to discover how we’ve solved it on our marriage).

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Do you have a sanctuary in your home for you and your husband? A place to talk about the tough issues? Somewhere where you can close the door and be real with each other? Creating a restful master bedroom retreat isn’t about spending thousands of dollars on creating a designer’s showcase. Instead, it’s about asking, “what kind of atmosphere do you want to encourage in your marriage?” Every single couple needs a place like this. Here’s how to create a restful master bedroom retreat for your marriage!

How to Transform Your Master Bedroom Into a Restful Retreat for Your Marriage

Last Sunday afternoon I sat on the bed with my husband in our master bedroom, my eyes filled with tears of disappointment and desperation.

It had been a long, long week with one of our kids, and despite my best attempts to respond in love to this child’s harsh words (which sprang from his out-of-control tween hormones), I’d dealt with way too many outbursts and disrespectful words to feel anywhere close to sane.

I was exhausted from the marathon of helping this child transition well through this phase, and downright depressed at the thought of knowing that my husband was about to get on a plane the next morning (leaving me to face this trial alone).

With the door locked and the kids distracted in another room, I bared my heart about this issue to my husband. He listened, we prayed, and we talked some more.

When the door to our bedroom finally re-opened, life wasn’t perfect: He still was leaving in the morning and my son was, in fact, picking a fight with his sibling in the other room (good times).

But our time alone together in our master bedroom reaffirmed our stance on this matter and reminded me of some of the things I’m most grateful for in our marriage: a choice to listen to each other during the hard moments; a willingness to seek wise counsel on these tough issues; and an ongoing promise to pray for each other.

Do you have a sanctuary in your home for you and your husband? A place to talk about the tough issues? Somewhere where you can close the door and be real with each other? Creating a restful master bedroom retreat isn’t about spending thousands of dollars on creating a designer’s showcase. Instead, it’s about asking, “what kind of atmosphere do you want to encourage in your marriage?” Every single couple needs a place like this. Here’s how to create a restful master bedroom retreat for your marriage!

As I stepped out of the room, I walked back into the chaos a little bit stronger. My confidence had returned and I was reminded that our family was strong enough to weather this.

It also made me glad that my husband and I had a sanctuary—an imperfect but rest-filled place just for us—in which to retreat during these difficult moments.

What a Master Bedroom Sanctuary Is (and Isn’t)

Do you have a place like this for you and your husband?

A place to talk about the tough issues? Somewhere where you can close the door and be real with each other?

Creating a restful master bedroom retreat isn’t about spending thousands of dollars on creating a designer’s showcase.

Instead, it’s about asking a few critical questions and including a handful of essential elements in your master bedroom space.

You too can have a wonderful refuge for you and your spouse to enjoy, and I want to show you how!

Let’s talk about how–through a few simple steps!–you can create a restful place in your home where your marriage can grow and flourish.

Together, let’s discover your perfect master bedroom sanctuary for your marriage!

Click “next” to learn how every couple–yes, even you and your husband!–can have a stronger, better marriage by simply creating this amazingly restful place.

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Everyday we hear gut-wrenching stories of marriages--and families--falling apart. None of us want this for our marriage! For the health of your marriage (or that of a friend) check out this biblically based list of 5 warning signs of a marriage that may be headed for trouble.

Is Your Marriage Headed for Trouble? 5 Signs to Look For

Everyday we hear gut-wrenching stories of marriages–and families–falling apart.

These are so hard to hear, aren’t they? Perhaps you too have shed tears with a close friend or family member who has faced separation or divorce.

We listen to these heartbreaking stories and think, “Please don’t let that happen to my marriage, God.”

While every marriage is different (and it would be impossible and arrogant to assume that every marriage follows a particular pattern) many of these broken marriages share similar trouble spots–certain mindsets or habits that have slowly eroded the bond.

By examining the ways the Bible encourages husbands and wives to act in marriage, we can identify 5 mindsets or habits that signal that a marriage might be headed for trouble.

 Everyday we hear gut-wrenching stories of marriages--and families--falling apart. None of us want this for our marriage! For the health of your marriage (or that of a friend) check out this biblically based list of 5 warning signs of a marriage that may be headed for trouble.

In my own marriage, I know that when I start practicing some of these unhealthy mindsets, my marriage suffers and there’s a noticeable tension. How about you?

For the health of your marriage, I encourage you to read through this list with an open and honest heart.

I also want to give you honest, heartfelt encouragement, along with next-step resources that can really help!

Does your marriage show any of these signs…?

(Click NEXT to see the list)

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