Our new theme this month is Flourishing in Marriage. How perfect with Valentines Day right around the corner! Today we had a panel of our Mentor Moms and husbands to answer questions and share with us words of wisdom. Many thanks to Bob and Linda, Jeanine, Bob and Pat, and Alli for your thoughtful answers and guidance!
Tips from our panel for keeping your marriage fresh and new:
–Look at each other when talking so it’s clear you’re listening. Really engage with the other person during the conversation, don’t just passively listen.
–Don’t get too engrossed in the children that you forget about each other.
–Make time for date nights at least once a month.
–Sometimes men want to fix things, whereas women might just want someone to listen and care. Try to understand your communication differences and needs.
–Show love in the little things. For example, put notes in spouse’s lunch, light a candle with dinner, fill spouse’s coffee cup.
–Find humor and fun even in stressful times. Plan getaways with just your spouse without the kids.
–Treat your spouse like you treat your friends. Speak with respect, say thank you, give compliments, put spouse’s needs ahead of your own (at least sometimes!).
–Consider strict bedtimes for kids so you have time together in the evenings. Just being in the same room is great even if not doing the same activity.
–In times of conflict, remember you made a commitment to your spouse and need to work to honor it. Often conflict can be around money, so be on the same page with spending, especially on big ticket items. Don’t spend the whole paycheck, try to budget and save.
–Be available to listen if your spouse wants to talk. Your home is a sanctuary, some spouses want to discuss work and stressors at home, some don’t.
–Bob H mentioned that he learned 9/10 consider their wife to be their best friend, whereas 1/10 women consider their husband their best friend. Men sometimes don’t have the same community as women do for support and friendship.
–Share bedtime duties with kids. Have one on one time for each parent with the kids. Make sure each spouse has time to pursue his/her own goals and interests so they maintain their identity.
–Bring your faith into the home – do devotions with kids, pray with them, have meaningful discussions at the dinner table, take kids to church.
–All marriages go through challenges. The grass is usually not greener on the other side! As Bob O says, “There’s always somebody worse out there!” Push through the times of conflict as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to try counseling.
–Teach by your example – kids and spouses can learn this way. Live the way you tell your kids, show your faith and love. Be forgiving, generous and loving; work together to teach this to your children.