If there’s one thing that could use a little of the simplifying, short-cut beauty of life hacks, it’s marriage! Because although every marriage is different, there are some things – some shortcuts to good marriages – that are universal. And it’s those things that our 7 Life Hacks for Marriage will help you master.
At the very least, these marriage life hacks will certainly add a bit more joy to your marriage
Communication in Marriage: Word Pictures
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” the saying goes. So it makes sense thatword pictures can help you communicate more effectively with your husband. In their book, The Language of Love, Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent describe the communication style called “word pictures.”
An “emotional word picture” is defined as “a communication tool that uses a story or object to activate simultaneously the emotions and intellect of a person. In so doing, it causes the person to experience our words, not just hear them.” In simpler language, a word picture can help your husband better understand what you’re trying to say.
So instead of saying to your husband, “You hurt my feelings!” Try a word picture: “Do you remember how you felt when your baseball coach told you you’d never be a good hitter?” (Now your husband can call up those feelings via your word picture.) “That’s how I felt after you told me…”
So get creative for better communication. Here are 7 steps to creating a powerful word picture.
1. Establish a Clear Purpose.
Have clear in your mind what message you want to convey when creating your word picture. Do you want to clarify feelings, move to a deeper level of intimacy, encourage your husband, or lovingly correct him?
2. Carefully Study the Other Person’s Interests.
Know what interests your husband so that you can use an illustration that will best capture his attention.
3. Draw from Four Inexhaustible Wells.
If you are concerned about not being creative enough to form your own word picture, Smalley and Trent suggest four sources of inspiration: nature, everyday objects, imaginary stories, and your own experiences.
4. Rehearse Your Story.
While it’s not practical to write down or practice every word picture you use, Smalley and Trent do recommend thinking through your stories before using them.
5. Pick a Convenient Time without Distractions.
Choose a time to share your word picture with your husband when there aren’t distractions or time constraints. Know your spouse and when he will be most likely to be attentive to you.
6. Try and Try Again.
Smalley and Trent encourage readers to continue this communication method, even if it is not as effective as hoped the first time used.
7. Milk Your Word Picture for All It’s Worth!
Use a basic word picture to bring several levels of feelings to the surface. So use word pictures to reach your husband on a deeper emotional level. If you choose your words, and your word picture, wisely, you could see great results..
10 Ways To Affair Proof Your Marriage
A good friend of mine has been married a long time – almost 35 years. She has some great advice for how to affair proof your marriage. It’s advice her mother shared with her – never say never.
You see, my friend had been talking to her mom about her husband and said, “Oh, John would never have an affair, and I wouldn’t either.”
That’s when her mother told her to never say never about having an affair, not because her mother didn’t believe that her daughter or son-in-law could be faithful, but because she wanted them to be vigilant about protecting their marriage.
So even if you think you have a super strong marriage and that you or your husband aren’t the type to have an affair, take a look at these 10 ways to affair proof your marriage based on ideas from authors Brett and Kate McKay.
1. Avoid temptation.
Many affairs begin when people start talking about their personal pressures and problems with another person besides their spouse. They feel like the other person empathizes and understands them better. This can then lead to a feeling of closeness, which, if left unchecked, can lead to an intimate emotional or physical relationship.
2. Date your husband. Establish a date night and treat this time as sacred by putting it in ink on your calendar.
Try to have at least one date night a month, but aim for two. Make your date something fun and interactive. Studies show that keeping your dates fresh, actually brings back the “butterflies” of your dating days.
3. Stop the pornography.
Pornography destroys people and relationships. Just like the hard drive on your computer, every time a person sees pornography, those images are stored permanently in their mind. Pornography can also create unrealistic expectations for your sexual relationship with your husband. Since pornography can become so addictive and destructive, the best course of action is to avoid it completely.
4. Be thoughtful.
Do nice things for your husband even when you don’t feel like it. Treat him as you would a valued friend and train yourself to focus your thoughts on what he does right. Keep your thoughts away from the “grass is always greener game” where you look at other husbands and other men and imagine that they are so much better than your own husband.
5. Initiate affection.
Studies show that couples who are affectionate with each other stay together. Make an effort to initiate spontaneous affection with your husband. Give him a hug or surprise kiss and say how much you love him. Hold his hand when you’re out together. These small gestures will help strengthen the physical connection that every relationship needs.
6. Have sex regularly.
Couples sometimes stray because their spouse is not meeting their sexual needs. It’s easy to understand how that can happen. Exhaustion, busyness, emotional distance and many other things cause a couple’s sex life to wither. While those might be valid reasons, they must be dealt with. Start by talking to your husband about your sex life and move on from there.
7. Talk some and listen always.
Find some time each day to have meaningful conversations with your husband. If you have children, find a few moments after you put them in bed. Talk about what you did during the day. Discuss what you’ve been thinking about lately. Share your dreams. And be sure to be a good listener by dropping what you are doing, making eye contact, and showing that you are genuinely interested in what he’s saying. The idea is to deepen the bond between you and your husband. It’s harder to withdraw from your spouse when you’ve made such an emotional investment.
8. Meet Each Others Needs.
What is the number one need for most men? Respect. Without it, even your best efforts to be a good wife in other areas might fall short. What about your needs? Before you become bitter at your husband for not meeting them, be sure you’ve clearly let your husband know what your needs are.
9. Don’t Push Him Away.
Most wives really do want a good marriage, but it’s easy to be guilty of these 10 ways to push your husband away. Be aware of the signals you’re sending your husband.
10. Evaluate your vulnerabilities.
Sit down with your spouse and evaluate your vulnerabilities. Some people have jobs where they travel a lot. Being away from home in tempting environments can create challenges. Some have personality traits that open themselves up for infidelity. These traits don’t have to be bad either. For example, you might naturally be an empathetic listener or an affectionate person. There’s nothing wrong with that, but some people may take this attention the wrong way.
Share with us… How do you affair proof your marriage?
It’s no secret that disagreements in marriage can quickly get out of control. The REST approach to handling conflict gives you a way to reach a resolution peacefully and calmly.
10 Compliments for Your Husband
Pop psychology has taught us that women are all about the words and that men could take verbal communication or leave it. But hold up! While men communicate a little differently, they still need affirmation and encouragement, especially from their wives. Here are ten ways you can compliment your husband and strengthen your relationship.
1. Compliment his attractiveness.
Men tell us all the time that the sexual chemistry with their wives is very important. Let him know that he’s still wanted by letting him know when he looks handsome. Trust us, he’s dying to know you still think so.
2. Compliment his work ethic.
Working hard every day to provide for a family is a daunting task. Tell your husband that you appreciate how hard he works and that you’re proud of his professional accomplishments.
3. Compliment his skills as a dad.
It’s easy for moms to spend more time second-guessing and correcting dads in the parenting department than complimenting their contribution. When you see your husband making a positive impact on the kids in big ways or small, say so!
4. Compliment him as a spiritual leader.
Leading the family toward deeper relationships with God is another of the huge responsibilities your husband carries. Even if he’s still growing in this role, thanking him for what he gets right can encourage him to keep growing personally and to lead you and the kids with purpose.
5. Compliment him as an athlete.
There’s a little macho streak in every guy that likes to think he’s still got it on the court, the diamond, or the track. Cheer him on at the company softball game and fill his cup to the brim! (Just don’t let him break out that jersey and letter jacket from ’87.)
6. Compliment his character.
You may be the only person who knows the sacrifices your husband has made to do what’s right, rather than to simply get ahead. By all means, let him know that you notice his character and integrity and that you’re proud of the man he is.
7. Compliment his handiness.
Some guys are handier around the house than others, but deep down, they all want to be the guy who can fix/build/install anything. Even if the sandbox he built for the kids is a little lopsided, thank him for taking the time to make your home a great place to live.
8. Compliment his efforts in extended family relationships.
Believe us. If your husband gets along fairly well with your parents, it’s not without a little bit of effort. Let him know that you notice when he bites his tongue or sits through another Thanksgiving political rant by Uncle Herb without snapping, just for the sake of family unity. After all, he’s really doing it for you.
9. Compliment his personal interests.
Even if hunting or golf hold absolutely no interest for you, it’s nice to still be excited for him when he enjoys a new achievement in his hobby. So when he brings home that trophy after a hunting trip or finally sinks a hole in one, celebrate with him!
10. Compliment the little gestures.
Lucky is the woman who has a husband who’ll brave the cold to deice her windshield on a winter morning or who throws in a load of laundry when he knows she has a busy week at work. Compliment his thoughtfulness, and he’ll likely look for more ways to make your day better.