Forgiving Your Spouse 

“To err is human, to forgive is divine.” These are words penned by Alexander Pope on “Essay on Criticism.” This is a true statement but seems to be often forgotten in the marriage relationship. Whether it’s holding on to hurtful words, a disrespectful action, or the resurfacing of past wrongs, a unwillingness to forgive can create a wall between husband and wife.  
Instead of dealing with these problems directly, they are worn as a badge of resentment eventually leading to bitterness. The other spouse may not even know that this ticking time bomb exists or he/she may have already apologized. The result of this is a hard and callused heart that questions the marriage altogether.    

Withholding forgiveness is like having ivy growing on the base of a house which slowly creeps along the walls and eventually takes over the whole house. Similarly, an unforgiving spirit will slowly affect a couple’s interaction, communication, and eventually the marriage. This is usually a slow fade as one of the spouses makes a conscious decision to hold on to the baggage of past hurts. Although this affects the spouse who probably does not know what’s going on, it also affects the person withholding forgiveness creating an emotional toll. This emotional toll can manifest itself physically.  


Scripture is very clear, in Mathew 6:14-15, about the fact that we are to forgive so that we in turn may be forgiven by our Heavenly Father:

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  

Therefore friends, it definitely is divine to forgive. It not only can save one from physical ailments, it can also help save the “woness” of your marriage.  

What are steps that a spouse can take to reach a point where forgiveness is possible? Stay tuned for my next post.

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5 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Strong With Kids- #3: Date Night

Just picture this scenario: working from 8 AM to 6 PM, t-ball or soccer practice at 6:30 p.m. Another child has ballet at 5 PM. Dinner at 8 PM. Homework at 9 PM. Shower and off to bed by 10 PM. But wait, the kitchen still needs to be cleaned and there may be some work to be done in preparation for the next day at work for husband or wife or both.  
This is a loaded schedule and there’s hardly any opportunity for communication other than orchestrating the movement and activities of the kids. In some households this may occur at least four days a week and for some, this may also occur during the weekends. In some households this may occur at least eight months out of the year, with different activities or sports. How do the husband and wife team get a break from all this?  Well, the unfortunate answer is sometimes they don’t.   
This leads us to the third way of keeping your marriage strong with kids. That would be the all-important date night. The importance of date nights cannot be overstated. A couple needs time to get connected or re-connected without the interruptions of hearing, “momma!”, “I need help,” or “my brother hit me.” A couple that is to remain “won” must recharge themselves by spending time with each other. A dinner at Ruth Chris’ is probably not the most practical idea but outings such as bowling, a movie and dinner, or a quick getaway. Obviously you may have to plan on a sitter or bribe a family member.  

Again, the idea is not to spend loads of money. The idea is to spend time as you did before you got married. This reminds the couple of why they enjoy each other and why the became “won.”

5 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Strong With Kids 

It is not uncommon in a marriage for the communication and the relationship itself to take a back seat to a child. It’s natural for husband and wife to shift their attention from each other to the child. However, this can be done to the detriment of the marriage relationship if the couple who became “won” is not careful.
  
This can especially be challenging for blended families, where a relationship has to develop with step kids. But for any family, one of most lasting gifts a husband and wife can give to the kids is to model a strong marriage. This was written by Carol Ummel Lindquist, PhD, author of “Happily Married with Kids: it’s not just a Fairy Tale.” Dr. Lindquist wrote, 

The irony is that a strong relationship with your partner is one of the best things you and your husband can do for your kids.”

In light of this, I wanted to list 5 things that keep your marriage strong when kids are part of the family.  I will list these separately over a few days.  Stay tuned.

Signs That Your Marriage Is In Danger: Last Sign

“Mom, he just doesn’t understand the way I feel. He constantly talks down to me.” “Hey dad, we just can’t get along. She expects too much. Should I call it quits?” 

If these are the questions either husband or wife are asking, and if these are the people from whom they are seeking answers- their parents- then there may be a good chance that their marriage could be in danger. The fifth sign that a marriage could be in trouble is if either person involves parents in their marital problems.
Marital problems will happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when. They are not fun and can a temporary break in fellowship. But these problems belong to the married individuals, not the respective parents. Scripture is clear that a husband is to “leave and cleave,” Genesis 2:24. And this means that the individuals are cleaving to become “won.” 

Involving others in arguments will most certainly breakdown communication. This has the potential of making the husband or wife feel that trust was betrayed and getting that back is an uphill process.       

If there’s a significant problem that can’t be worked out, a neutral third party such as a pastor or counselor is always the best way to go. What’s needed in these situations is someone who will speak truth an life into the situation, not someone who will pick sides.  

So there you have it, 5 signs that a marriage may be in trouble. Do you have any other signs to add?

5 Reasons Daddy-Daughter Dates Are Important 

I recently had a wonderful date with my beautiful, fun loving daughter. With my work and her school and extracurricular activities, it can be challenging to find time for these. But they are so very important. We didn’t do anything extravagant. We bowled for two rounds and had dinner at one of her favorite spots.
  
Although our bowling scores were embarrassing, we had great conversation and bonding time. Dinner time is just as enjoyable. We’ve done this before but it’s a new experience now that my baby girl is 16.  Having said that, I’d like to go into five reasons why daddy daughter dates are so important.

1. Reminding my daughter that she can talk to me

   Being a parent means that I’m in a position of authority not friendship. However, I also want my daughter to feel comfortable enough to open up to me about any problems or issues without worrying about being scolded or judged. Dates give us this opportunity.

2. Reminding my daughter that she is special 

   Young girls want approval and want to feel special. If I make my daughter feel special she won’t have seek in other places for acceptance.

3. Setting Standard for future dates

   By giving my princess an example of how should be treated, she will have a pattern of what’s acceptable and not acceptable treatment in future dates. She will then learn not to settle anything less than a gentleman.

4. Having Fun

     Daddy-daughter dates are a great opportunity to just get wild, loose and have lots of fun. We were probably by far the worst bowlers at the joint. But our jokes and trash talking made up for our lack of skill. 

 
5. Developing memories 
     Daddy daughter dates give my daughter memories that she will treasure for a lifetime. These can be a source of peace and joy in times of sadness or distress. The talks and wisdom nuggets can come in handy. 

So there you have some very good reasons to have daddy-daughter dates. The important thing is not what’s done, but just to do it. Because sooner or later someone else will be taking her on dates.  

5 things a wife wants to hear from her husband 

 So if your reading this, you probably read my wonderfully brilliant, kind and loving husband’s post https://twobecomingwon.com/2016/01/31/5-things-husbands-want-to-hear-from-their-wives/.   So we, the we being us “two becoming won”, decided it was only fitting that I write the same article from a wife’s view. 
 But first let me talk to the guys out there… If you’re reading this and thinking , “But I’m just not a ‘words’ kind of guy”.. that’s ok. And as a matter of fact ladies, I’m going to tell you the same. This may be a list of things a wife wants to hear, but I’m giving you permission to abide by the old saying “Actions speak louder than words” So as we go through this list, think of ways you can, well, show the words!

1) I love you

Seems pretty common and simple right? But for sure, as years, bills, kids and careers pile on, the most simple and basic words that spurred your life together into motion is either forgotten, assumed or presumed. So for this one, I’m going to break my own rule right off the back! My husband expresses his love for me through numerous acts of service. But nothing beats the butterflies I feel, when he stops the world and stirs such a deep sense of security as when holds me in his arms and says three little words, I LOVE YOU.

  
2) What I love about you

In one of our favorite movies, Jerry McGuire, there is a scene where Dorothy asks Jerry “Why do you love me?” To me, this is the same as asking what is it about me that you hold in high regard. It’s important to a wife that her husband not only tell her he loves her, but to tell her what it is that he loves about her. Her smile, how hard she works, be it in the house, with the kids or in her career… Hearing her husband acknowledge and actively recognize her positive attributes, contributions and qualities lets her know that he pays attention to her. 

3) I Appreciate You

Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated and us wives are no different. I get it, life can get busy and we all go into auto drive in our daily grind. For Rob and I, we do a lovely little automated dance in the morning: I cook our breakfast and make lunches while he makes coffee and unloads the dishwasher. We weave and move around each other like the most precisely choreographed super hero fight scene. It would be very easy for him to eat his breakfast and lunch without a second thought and I myself don’t do any of the above looking for a pat on the head. It’s what makes our lives work. But it does warm my heart, to hear him tell me that he appreciates me and the extra time and effort I take for him and our family.

4) I Hear You

Now, this may come as a surprise to some of you reading this, but every once and a while us wives may have an opinion on a few things, a complaint, maybe even a dilemma or two that we’ll bring to our husbands. Now here is the thing, we aren’t necessarily looking for a solution as much as we are just looking for an understanding ear. We don’t want to know how to fix it, or what to do about it, all a wife wants to know is that her husband is not only listening but sympathizes with her and understand her viewpoint and how she feels, even if he may disagree. This is a sign of respect, validation, and recognition.

5) You are Beautiful

Yeah, sounds rather cliché and maybe even shallow. But before marriage, during the dating stage, the wife’s now husband told her a time or two that she was, in fact beautiful. Wives as women have many admirable, dare I say beautiful attributes beyond outward beauty; we are smart, strong, kind, passionate and we love to have each one of those recognized by our husband (and husbands are more than welcomed to mention some of those in the “What do you love about me”? category). But every wife wants to know that her husband still finds her beautiful in every sense of the word.

So there it is. These five things, all in all, are expressions of love that are not only good for a wife to hear but good for the husband to remember and therefore, good for the marriage. If you think I left anything out or there is something you wives would like to hear form you husbands I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment.

5 Things Husbands Want To Hear from Their Wives

Communication is vital to the lifeline of any relationship. This couldn’t be more true of the marriage relationship. Oftentimes problems occur not because of what was said but because of what isn’t said.  This can be just as important for husbands as it is for wives.

I know this may come as a surprise, but men often times have a hard exterior which houses a fragile ego. I know that sometimes my ego has been bruised by something my wife did not say or something I wish she had said.  
Therefore, I wanted to list the top five things that most husbands want to hear their wives say:

1. Husbands want to know that their wives want them. This is different from needing. Sure, as men we want to be needed, but NOT all the time. (Truth is, we want to be needy…but that’s another story). A man wants to hear that his wife wants his opinion or his help.

2. Husbands also like to hear that they are important. Ladies, you may not even have to say it. But if a woman asks her husband for his opinion on even a trivial matter, he will feel important.

3. Another important thing that husbands like to hear from their wives is that she will follow him. As men, we want to lead and knowing that your wife is following you makes us feel like a good leader.

4. Husbands also need to know that their wives believe in them. This makes men feel like they can accomplish anything.  

5. And one of the most important things that husbands need to hear from their wives is that they’ve done a good job. Whether it’s a home project or fixing a car, before any criticism is given, please, please, for the love: tell your husband he’s done good. This will build him up and allow him to deal with any constructive opinions.  

Try these 5 things and I guarantee that it will pay dividends in your marriage relationship.