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Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

When a good portion of your life is spent serving other people in the public eye it’s important to take time out to invest your energy in your marriage too. Although coaches, pastors, parachurch ministers, and military members serve their communities in different capacities there are several similarities which makes the list I’m highlighting below relevant for everyone to consider.

While it’s important for everyone to spend time nurturing their marriage relationship, there are additional elements to consider when you spend a considerable amount of time apart due to work travel and when your weekends are shaped by your spouse’s job because when you learn to operate without each other it takes intentional effort to continue to commit to your partnership.

Here are 8 Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

Every Day Investments

Make the effort to really understand yourself. Your likes, dislikes, and the experiences that inform your views. There are hundreds of personality tests available. I have found the most informative test for us is the Enneagram.

Additionally, the Five Love Langages has developed an app to help you remember to love your spouse within the content they prefer. Check out Love Nudge to not only helpful to remember your spouses love langages, but you can add prompts to act. Knowledge is great, but investing in relationships requires active participation.

Overnight Retreats

A Weekend to Remember

Couples attend Weekend to Remember when they’re interested in investing in their marriage and intentionally moving towards oneness. Weekend to Remember states they “help you understand God’s blueprint for marriage so you can create a legacy of greatness.”

They also report “Our attendees say their relationships improved on average from a 4/10 to an 8/10 after one weekend.”

ONE Marriage Conference

This conference is sold out for 2019, but they are selling online passes meaning you can view this conference from the comfort of your home for $25. This year’s speakers are Craig & Amy Groeschel and Jentezen and Charise Franklin is the Senior Pastor of Free Chapel (the conference hosts).

Local Churches

It’s likely that there are churches in your area offering marriage focused events. Whether it’s a day, weekend, or small group it’s worth checking out what is happening locally. Many churches also offer ongoing marriage mentoring.

Coaching Specific Conferences

Coaches Time Out

“CTO exists to serve coaches and spouses through annual weekend conferences in multiple cities across the nation. Our hope is to change the culture of sports by ministering to the hearts of Coaches so that they can minister to the hearts of their athletes.” Check their website for this year’s conferences. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

I’ve written about our local Marriage Getaway before. If you are looking for support from people who understand the unique challenges of the coaching life you need look no further than your local FCA Chapter. Their Marriage Getaway events are designed to create opportunities to reconnect after the craziness of the season.

Military Specific Conferences

Operation We Are Here lists several conferences for military families. They also suggest that active duty members ask their chaplain for upcoming opportunities. This list also includes scholarship information!

Weekend to Remember – Military Focused

A wife watches in anticipation for her uniformed husband to walk from the jet-bridge through the gate. She waits eagerly to be in his arms again. It’s been a long year. She wonders what it will be like to be together again?in-person. Will it be like starting over?

Marriage has both ups and downs, joys and struggles. But for military families, we understand that your marriage looks different. Deployment, uncertainty, and constant transition add strain and stress to your relationship.

This is why Cru Military and FamilyLife have teamed up to plan special military-friendly Weekend to Remember getaways. The unique military culture requires a unique ministry.

Ministry Families

Ed Seltzer created an extensive list of spaces for ministry families to rest and retreat to help avoid burnout. You can check it out here.

Pastors Wives Thriving has also created an extensive resource list.

Don’t Forget Date Night!

I’ll be honest, when I’m feeling the crunch in my weekly schedule or our budget (or both!) it’s tempting to cancel date night altogether and plow through the weeks. But we’ve learned the hard way that when we don’t prioritize dates it becomes too easy too quickly to fall into the routine of living life in our own lanes.

Scheduling a block of time on the calendar for each other weekly is important. Whether you head out for a walk or dinner isn’t the point. The best way to invest in your marriage is to take time to intentionally focus on your spouse on a regular basis. Quality over quantity time is key to healthy communication in your marriage.

Looking for more options? Check out this great list from TheologyDegrees.org

Avoid Your Biggest Regret

Avoid Your Biggest Regret

While I’ve never met someone who faces death and wishes they spent more time working, I have met many women who confess they feel like they have had to adjust their dreams later in life. I’ve heard repeatedly from stay-at-home-moms whose children are entering school or leaving for college that they regret their decision to put their dreams on hold while the raised young families.

Every time it breaks my heart to listen to women ponder the what ifs. And while it’s always important to remember that raising our children is one of the most important responsibilities we are given in life, it’s just as important to consider that as women we are able to pursue two things at the same time.

How to Avoid Your Biggest Regret

One of my passions in life is sharing life experiences so others can learn from mistakes rather than repeat them. Thankfully, I’ve spent my life surrounded by women who modeled different ways to pursue parenting, marriage and a personal life calling.

I’ve learned lessons from observation, mentoring, and personal trial and error. Pursuing your dreams is rarely easy when we position ourselves to obey God’s calling on our life we don’t always have the luxury of choosing the timeline.

Inquire and Obey

One thing we observe in Scripture about David is that when he was in sync with God he never took a step without pausing to inquire of the Lord regarding his next actions. Not only do we see that David asked God for direction, but we see that God consistently responded with clear direction for the next step.

Now let’s be clear here. God was not laying out a 10 point plan every time David inquired. He simply gave him the next steps. While there are several examples, let’s take a minute to review 2 Samuel 5:17-24.

  • V. 19David asks if he should battle the Philistines. God says yes.
  • V. 22 The Philistines return, so David again inquires and God provides a battle plan.

But here’s the most important thing to understand about David’s choice to inquire: Every time David asked the Lord for directions he obeyed. He made the decision before he inquired to obey and that is a beautiful example of surrender.

Accept You May Fail

No one is perfect yet many of us avoid pursuing a dream or calling out of fear of failure. Accept you may fail! Understand that you may experience several reroutings. You will let someone down. Your words will hurt someone at some point (likely unintentionally). You will have to apologize and you will have to back up and learn from a mistake.

But you know what? You will be better for every failure you experience. So accept that at some point you may fail and that you will be okay.

Know Yourself

One of the most frustrating comments I hear when conflicts arise is “well, that’s just who they are, they aren’t going to change.” You see, it’s a choice not to change, and when we are unwilling to consider how our personalities are impacting our calling we fail everyone, especially ourselves.

We are each created with an individual personality, tendencies, and preferences that are shaped in part by our life experiences. While there are thousands of personality tests available to help us understand how we view life, it takes work to understand the why behind our wiring.

For me, it was the layering of tests such as DISC and StrengthsFinder and extensive study of the Enneagram that has allowed me to understand why my natural tendencies as well as how others view my responses.

The best part of this hard work to understand myself better is that the more I know about how God has wired me, the clearer my calling becomes.

Tell Someone About Your Dreams

I remember sitting with a coach’s wife who had a very specific passion area. She had decided that there was absolutely no way that she would fulfill her passion living in the tiny town where we currently resided.

Once she finally expressed her frustration outloud it took less than a week to connect her with another woman in town doing exactly what she wanted to do. They now work together.

While it won’t always be that easy, there are other benefits to telling someone else what about your dreams.

  • Outside perspectives can help shape and sharpen your vision
  • You will create accountability
  • You will open the door to future opportunities
  • You may find a kindred spirit with whom to partner

Set a Goal

I’m a Powersheets fan, but they certainly aren’t necessary to set a SMART goal.

It doesn’t matter what the goal is, the point is that you are taking a step towards your dream. Your goal may be to read a book within your niche. Great! You are learning more about your dream. You may set a goal to connect with people within the industry you want to work. Awesome!

Each SMART goal you set is another step toward pursuing your dream and every step towards your dream is a step away from regret. One thing to remember about any goal is that you need to consider your season of life. Be realistic, it will set you up for success.

Prioritize

Setting a goal often requires you to say no to something. This is okay because as you prioritze pursuing your dreams you protect your calendar from busy work that will take time away from your dreams.

I’ve found that the best way for me to figure out what to say yes and no to requires me to evaluate each choice through my priority filter.

  • God
  • Husband
  • Kids
  • Work
  • Writing

With this list I can quickly determine whether I need to say no or consider saying yes. For example, our date night is Wednesday nights so if I’m asked to do something on a Wednesday that conflict with date night the answer is no.

Here’s the thing to know about prioritizing. Sometimes we end up saying yes to something that temporarily reorders our list. For example, when I head to a writing conference that is out of town it may seem like I’m choosing writing over other things, but the amount of time spent at the conference is minimal compared to the rest of the month.

Trust God’s Timing

When we are in the midst of a stressful season of life it’s hard to remember that we are exactly where God has us for an important reason. But when we begin each step of pursuing our dreams with first inquiring we can have faith that God is with us.

Life is always about balance and I’m the first to admit I rarely get this right, but what I know for sure is that we are created for a unique purpose. God has a plan for your life. So before you determine you need to wait to pursue your dreams pause and inquire. It may be that this is the year to take the next step!

Share Four Somethings January 2019

Share Four Somethings 2019

Something Loved

It’s been a crazy month in our house! Every January I take some time to purge and reorganize after the holidays, but this year with a little extra motivation from Marie Kondo on Netflix and an awesome set of organizing containers from Dollar Tree I’m feeling more organized than ever!

Something Said

I wrote a letter to our Seniors over at Friday Night Wives. Here’s a preview:

Dear Seniors,

Can you believe your last season on our team is over? It’s hard to put into words all the emotions of that last game, that last time stepping onto the field or court as a player for your school. Regardless of this year’s record, we both know it doesn’t reflect how hard you’ve worked the last four years. It’s impossible for two numbers with a dash in between to even attempt to reveal all the time, physical pain, exhaustion, frustration, excitement, exhilaration, and commitment of your athletic career.

When all is said and done, wins and losses are not what define a team. And while I trust you will remember some stats from your time here and the energy of game day, I want you to remember more from your time with us.

Seniors, here’s what I really want you to remember:

You will find yourself in team situations for the rest of your life. The camaraderie you share with your teammates is important. There is a brotherhood on a sports team that is like no other, but that way you treat a good teammate translates well to how you interact with co-workers and family members.

Something Learned

Going gluten-free has required a lot of label reading and figuring out where gluten is hiding. I love this image from Dr. Axe. It has helped me learn that a lot of foods have maltodextrin even though they are labeled gluten-free and maltodextrin makes me foggy headed. A benefit of eliminating this one ingredient is a 5lb drop in weight the first week and steady weight loss since.

Something Read

One of the hardest things for me in the Powersheets Prep process is creating goals that are SMART and also narrow enough to complete without me feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes the best way to push past a road block is to consider other’s perspectives. Lara Casey wrote a great blog article How to Get Unstuck with Your Goals and it was just the perspective I needed.

I’m linking up with Heather Gerwing for Share Four Somethings.