Seven Strategies that Saved My Marriage

BY: - 9 Mar '17 | Marriage

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I’m going to be totally honest with you: sometimes, I am annoyed when folks say they want a marriage like mine and Don’s. What they don’t know is that we experienced many ups and downs in our marriage. The ‘downs’ seemed to last forever. We’ve experienced the difficulties of blending a family, numerous periods of unemployment, a child going to jail, alcoholism and an emotional affair with someone other than each other, just to name a few.  It has not been pretty.

I am thankful those days are behind us. We are very intentional now to work together to ensure our marriage is one based on love, mutual respect, service and of course, God.

During the rough times, I prayed for strategies to save my marriage. I know for a fact, that these helped us stay together. My prayer is that you find them to be useful. I believe they will have a positive impact on your marriage if you start right now.

If you are engaged, take notes, print this out and get to practicing these strategies. Trust me, I wish I knew these seven things before I got married.

Prayer

I did not know that my marriage would literally have me praying like a nun. When I couldn’t call my girlfriends, I had to call on the Lord. The funny thing is that God brought a prayer partner into my life within my first three weeks of marriage. He knew I was going to need reinforcements. When you hit those rough patches, prayer will help you stay sane and calm. Most times, I prayed to keep from cursing Don out. I’m thankful I learned to dig deep and trust God to work on my marriage.

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Forgiveness

This is a biggie. If you cannot forgive and forget, you will not have a healthy marriage. You cannot allow your mama, your sisters or your girlfriends to influence your decision to not forgive your husband. They will have you divorced and lonely. Once, my husband cursed me out in front of my kids. At that moment, I told myself that when he went to bed, I was out the door. God showed me, during prayer that hurt people, hurt people. The minute I absorbed that truth, I began to love my husband through his hurt. I forgave him for his words. They no longer had the power to hurt me and I am glad to say it’s been years since he’s cursed.

Listening

Yes, ladies, we must listen. Even if he is redundant, listen to him. Even if you could care less about what he has to say, listen to him. If you don’t, there is some woman at his job, the gym and even church that will give him her undivided attention. That happened to us. My husband even blurted out one day, that they listen to him and that’s why he couldn’t share anything with me. He said this to hurt me. I dug deep and used it to grow me. I decided right there to listen to everything he said. He thanked me recently for just listening to him without judgment and without trying to fix him. And I am not saying that if you don’t listen to your spouse, then it’s an excuse for them to find someone else who will.  But I am saying that you should take time to listen to your spouse and show that you genuinely care about what they are saying.

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Letter Writing

I know this seems old school, however it works. At one point in our marriage, I could not have a civil conversation with my husband. I looked for a way to communicate my concerns and to share my heart with him without all the arguing. I would write letters and in the middle of the night, I would leave them on his steering wheel. This opened the door for healthy dialogue.

Counseling

I suggested counseling numerous times. He refused just as many times. I told him that if he really loved me and the kids, he would at least go to hear what they had to say. The first few times we went to marriage counseling were a disaster. We argued more. (We went to 4 different people.) I asked him to go to sessions by himself. He told me I  also needed to go to. We decided to get individual counseling and it was great. He was eager to share with me what he learned and so was I. We both were given tools by “our people” that made communication more effective. We still go about once a year to get a “tune up”.

Dating Each Other

After we mastered the above-mentioned strategies, we started dating again. We chose to go out without the kids. We chose to go to concerts, 70s parties, etc. We basically fell in love with going out with each other. Dating each other helped us to have fun. My husband got to see how cool I was. I got to dress up and look sexy for my man. At the end of the night, we were fired up and ready for action.

Intimacy

Intimacy and sex are so important to marriage. For years, I would tell my husband that he focused way too much on being intimate with me. It wasn’t until I heard the Rick James in concert and he sung, “Give It to Me Baby”, that the light bulb came on. The woman he was singing about was me. I decided to enjoy being intimate my husband. I recently shared that I wasted so many years not enjoying it. That was the dumbest thing I could have ever done. Now that we are in our 40s, I enjoy it more than I could have imagined. I now understand that I am my husband’s Sexual Healing.

My prayer is that these seven strategies help you save your marriage. It takes effort on your part. Change won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Stay consistent and trust God.

BMWK – please share the strategies that you use to strengthen your marriage.

About the author

Tanya Barnett wrote 15 articles on this blog.

Tanya Barnett is a relationship strategist, speaker and the “Real” Wife Coach. She is the author of Being a Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew, Before I Said, I Do”. She founded the Real Wife Movement™, where she equips single and married women with tools to create strong marriages and families. She is also the founder of Forever Free Books, a mobile literacy nonprofit, which delivers free books and story time to low income children in their neighborhoods and communities. She is a marathoner, triathlete and a serious book lover. She and her husband, Don, have 3 awesome kids.

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5 Things Couples Can Do to Prepare for a Major Life Transition

BY: - 10 Mar '17 | Marriage

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If there is once thing I know for sure, it’s the fact that every couple has to experience change. Even if your relationship is happy and healthy, change will occur. It’s inevitable.

But change is not a bad thing. Change is a natural part of life. What determines your level of happiness and success is not your ability to avoid change, but your ability to manage it. What do you do when the unexpected happens? How do you handle major life transitions?

I am currently preparing to transition from being the mother of two to being a mother of three. Preparing for life as a family of five is exciting. It’s also a little scary. But my husband and I refuse to let this new addition catch us off guard. We know that we have to take steps to prepare. And yes, we know that we can’t prepare for every possibly scenario. But we also know that the more prepared we are, the easier this transition will be for all five of us.

Whether it’s joining two families, divorce, a new child, a major move, financial challenges, or any other transition you face, you have to do your best to be prepared. That preparation will allow you to manage change in the healthiest possible way.

Here are five things couples can do to prepare for major life transitions.

Ask for help.

We live in a very individualist society. Everyone wants to handle their own business and do things alone. But we were not designed to do this thing called life all alone. And we especially need help when we are preparing for a transition. Whether you are in need of emotional support or the type of support that comes in the form of childcare, meals, or physical labor, do not hesitate to turn to the people you love and trust for the support you need. It will help ease any major transition and that is a blessing you can’t ignore.

Improve your communication skills.

Nothing makes life easier to manage with your spouse than effective communication. You can’t make assumptions and you have to be able to talk about your fears, anxieties, and concerns openly. You also need to be able to express your hopes and dreams. When that line of communication remains open and you are able to stay on the same page, it makes all the difference in your ability to face a major life transition as a unit.

Do your research

Although this isn’t possible with unexpected events, we often do have the opportunity to research and prepare for many of the transitions in our lives. When you are able to research options and possibilities, you certainly should. The more information you have, the more prepared you are to make the best decisions for yourselves and your family. A well-informed decision is often your best decision.

A well-informed decision is often your best decision.

Be flexible

You have to be flexible as a unit if you want to manage change and transitions without losing your minds. Flexibility may seem trivial, but it really is a skill you need to work on. If you get so stuck on things being a certain way, you really don’t give yourself the space to explore different possibilities that may very well work for your family. Sure, you can’t bend on everything, but you should try your best to develop the ability to be flexible when it’s needed.

Have a plan

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, right? Well there is definitely some truth to it. If you know your family is about to face a transition, plan for it. Talk things out and put a plan in place. You may have to make adjustments along the way, but being prepared allows you to handle a transition with focus and grace, and that’s a beautiful thing.

BMWK family, how does your family prepare for major transitions?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 496 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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