Wednesday, November 18, 2015

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage: Building Intimacy, Not Walls

Close. Closer. Closest possible. Intimacy is part of the whole ‘two becoming one’ mystery that exists in marriage. Yes, sex is piece of intimacy, but not the whole. It’s deeper than physical desire, and aligns itself more along the lines of a fierce loyalty, connection, a one-ness.
I’d argue as women, we crave intimacy more than the physical attraction and desires in marriage. It’s that ‘thing’ that makes us feel safe and connected knowing no matter what, it’s ‘til death do us part.
Over time, and through the obstacles of life, intimacy can become a challenge, but take heart ladies. We get to choose intimacy, just like we often choose to build walls. Sometimes we enter marriage with walls already built, or perhaps life has built some for us after marriage. Whatever the case, choose to build intimacy, and not walls. In fact, the closer we become to our hubby, those walls tumble.
Here are a handful of ways we’ve found handy in our marriage.

1: Holding hands:
Touch means so much, and I’m not talking the sexual kind. Yes, sex is a VERY important part of marriage, but there needs to be more physical contact going on that just the Ooh-la-la kind. Several studies confirm the power of positive touch such as hand holding, hugs, and cuddles. That doesn’t surprise me since we often find Jesus using touch in the Bible to heal and comfort. So grab your hubby’s hand and hold tight! Not too tight though…that would be a negative touch, ha. J
2: Playing & Laughing Together:
Wrestle. Tickle. Go for a walk. Hike. Bust out a board game. Watch silly videos on youtube (one of our favs). Find ways to play and laugh with your spouse. Life is filled with stress, even marital stress. If we find ways to laugh with our spouse, and play with our spouse, it helps us to grow closer and build intimacy instead of building walls to divide. Besides, laughter and having a playful spirit is such good medicine prescribed to us by God.
3: Bedtime chats:
Spend some time at night chatting with your spouse about the day. About hopes, dreams, goals. Not about money. Not about a heated topics. Asks questions to get to know your spouse better. What interests them, and why? Just talk and keep the conversation positive.
4: Date nights:
I’ve heard it said by many older couples that it’s ‘cheaper to hire a babysitter, than to pay for a divorce,’ meaning it’s better to invest in time alone with your spouse than to let your marriage fall apart.
Totally agree. However, being a military family for many years, finding a babysitter we could trust was often a challenge. Eventually, we found couples at church and on base we were able to connect with and swap childcare, but until then, our date nights/days/mornings/afternoons (whenever we made time), had to be creative, often simple, and budget friendly. Nothing wrong with simple, and nothing wrong with eating off a dollar menu on a date night, or staying home parked on the couch in front of a Netflix TV series when the kids are in bed. The key is to spend alone time with your hubby.
5: Praying together.
Oh, this is a big one, and something that can be challenging at first. My prayers are personal, often done alone when everyone is still sleeping, and frankly, I don’t wanna share them or my prayer time. BUT, we’re building intimacy, not walls, and who best to help us knock down walls and bond us closer together than God?
Think of marriage as a triangle, with God at the top. The closer you grow to God, the closer you grow together.
Don’t know where to start in this praying together venture?
How about over dinner? Bless more than just the food.
How about with the kids, and make it a family prayer in the morning, before school, at dinner or bedtime? How about grabbing hubby’s hand after bedtime chat, and asking to say a prayer. Nothing huge or elaborate. A simple ‘Thank you God for my spouse,’ is a good way to begin. Then go from there, asking God to help your prayer-life grow.

If hubby won’t pray, or doesn’t pray, don’t let that discourage your prayers. Grab your Bible, and keep praying for others, for him, for your family, for yourself. Prayers work, and all are answered, most often in ways we don’t expect, and in a time frame we would’ve never expected –spanning even years.

Hang in there!

Have any other suggestions to help build intimacy in marriage? Want to share something from experience? Feel free to comment below. J

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Military Family Appreciation Month! And Give-Away!

True story: A sour faced woman once told me that military wives, and families, should never complain about the 'military life' because they knew what they were getting themselves into.

I'm pretty sure I heard everyone reading this say 'Oh no she didn't,' while waiving a hand in the air, especially if you're a military family member. I resist the urge to dismantle this particular woman's argument on this blog post, however, one word from her soap box message stood out to me in a positive way: complain.

So, I smiled and made sure steam wasn't coming from my ears, said a prayer, and responded. "Most military families don't complain. In fact, they're the strongest people I know. They carry on when life gets hard, and don't quit."

That shut her up. :)

In my mind, I see the faces of my military friends, and family. We've laughed, cried, shared meals together, and helped one another when in need.  And while I love my 'civilian' friends dearly, there's a bond amongst the military that simply cannot be ignored, only appreciated, and honored.

November is Military Family Appreciation Month, and I'm excited to honor you and your family!

Thank you for the sacrifices you make for this nation. Thank you for the sacrifices you make for your spouse's career, often putting your own dreams on hold for the bigger picture.

Thank you for going where you're ordered. It's not easy moving duty station to duty station at a moments notice, or even if you have months to prepare. Packing, planning, deciding to live on base or off, locating schools, church shopping, and finding new friends takes time, prayer, and a lot of perseverance.

Oh, and you have perseverance. The military family knows all about persevering. Deployments, last minute order changes, late nights, unexpected TDY, continuing with family schedules even if a little one comes down with a cold. They persevere through it all, while help taking care of each other.

The military family also understands the value of family, and friendship, knowing all to well the fragility of life. With this in mind, many use their days off and leave time to visit relatives, forsaking family vacations of their own. They celebrate life with each military gathering, mandatory fun event (lol), FRG (Family Readiness Group) meeting, and ball.

So here's to you, Military Family! We pray for you! We love you! We appreciate you! Keep at it, and don't give up!

It's my pleasure to offer this prize give-away to one military family! If you're a military family enter to win. Anyone not affiliated with the military, please share this post with military friends and family. Yes, non-military folk may enter to win, but I do ask that in the event you win, please gift this prize to a military family.

Prize Includes;
  • $5 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Stress Away Bath Soak
  • Free eBook Code for The Wounded Warrior's Wife
  • Prayers for our Nation booklet
  • 365 Devotions from America
  • Notebook
  • Popcorn & Movie for a Family Night!