Tag: marriage

Insulate Your Marriage from Stress

Insulate Your Marriage from Stress

insulate your marriage from stress

I grew up hearing that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. I always found this confusing because barely anyone I knew was divorced, nor were their parents. It turns out that the fifty percent number was statistically accurate in 1980 and when you analyze the trends it has dropped since. The current numbers of divorce are dropping specifically with millennials as more couples choose to live together rather than marry. Regardless of whether you choose to marry or cohabitate your coupling in the coaching world will experience significant stress. Today we’re going to talk about ways to insulate your marriage from stress which can lead to divorce.

Paying Attention to the Data

Time Magazine reports: “In 2018, 15% of folks ages 25 to 34 lived with an unmarried partner, up from 12% a decade earlier. More Americans under 25 cohabit with a partner (9%) than are married to one (7%). Two decades ago, those figures weren’t even close: 5% were cohabiting and 14% were married.”

While divorce rates are dropping, experts have further analyzed the data of marriages which have ended and thanks to the U.S. Census we know that employment is a factor in the divorce rate.

We know that high-stress jobs have higher divorce rates. Of course, this is likely not a surprise to you. But I’m going to break down a few details from an analysis Zippia conducted on the U.S. Census.

The Top 21 Jobs at Risk of Divorce Include:

  • The list features military positions in the 1st, 4th, and 7th positions on the list of the top 21 jobs at risk of divorce essentially naming all military positions. The reasons speculated for divorce included the time spent apart, the stress of the job, the job required moving, and the load the spouse carries during deployment.
  • Listed 20th is a Laborer and Freight Handler. The analysis is that these positions work more than eight hours in one shift and even overnight, for low salaries.
  • Number 18 is those who complete computer and other electronic machine repairs. The analysis noted some of these workers put in over 50 hours per week, and field technicians often travel to complete repairs.
  • Probation officers were listed 15th. The observation offered was that since probation officers spend a majority of their time with people who have difficult personalities and are required to work overtime documenting and evaluating their interactions the combination leaves them stressed and exhausted.
  • Number 14 listed Administrative Services Managers noting these workers juggle a lot daily. Administrators are the supervisors required to document everything, deal with budgets, goals, long term plans and they also are expected to handle problems as they arise. Ultimately, they are accountable for everything that happens.
  • Medical Assistants were listed 12th. I’m including this because it was noted the in the medical field medical assistants are low in the medical hierarchy. Their job is very demanding with long hours and low pay.

I’m not sure if you have the same alarms going off in your head that I had in mine as I read this list, but if jobs with long hours and low pay are at high risk of divorce I think we need to be realistic that coaches should be somewhere on this list.

Think about the tension points when it comes to why your husband does what he does. The vast majority of coaches take pay cuts to stay in the profession. What other job do you know of where someone with a masters degree willingly makes $10,000 a year with no benefits and often no contract?

Long hours for little pay often require that additional income streams are left to the spouse to contribute. This makes coaching a family commitment. And that is something that isn’t easily understood by those outside the profession.

To drive home the point, one list of Professionals Prone to Burnout lists Teachers as 4th.

Not All Advice is Helpful

The first thing we need to understand is that we cannot avoid the wounds divorce brings by avoiding marriage. Couples who live together for extended periods of time experience deep hurt if they separate as well.

There are a lot of well-meaning people you will encounter who have little to zero understanding of the pressures your husband faces on a daily basis nor how that impacts your marriage.

Coaches wives seek advice of me often asking how to communicate properly to family that they can’t attend their cousin’s wedding on that Saturday in October because they need to be present at their husband’s football game. They also ask for help in explaining why they can’t ask their husband to quit his job even though it means moving far from family.

I have no doubt that these families believe their advice and requests are reasonable. But we all need to learn to discern helpful and applicable advice from that which is offered without a full understanding of the impact following it would cause.

When Solomon was anointed king he asked for wisdom and God made him the wisest man in the world and with that the ability to discern and judge the truth. (1 Kings 3:11)

Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs for his children and explains where wisdom comes from. Proverbs 2:6-11 says:

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

Finding Helpful Advice

The coaching life is challenging. There is value in finding a few couples that have been in coaching for several years to resource when situations come up.

Think about it this way, when you get pregnant or have your first child if the only people you glean advice from are single without kids or haven’t raised children in 20-25 years you are likely to miss out on some important perspectives.

This doesn’t mean that you must follow every piece of advice you receive. Pray, ask God for discernment. Talk about it as a couple and decide what works best for you.

If you cannot connect with a coaching couple, consider reaching out to FCA, InterVarsity, or a pastoral couple. One of my most impactful mentors was the wife of a Young Life area director, the other a youth pastor. Ministry lives are not that different than coaching in many ways.

In addition to finding mentor couples, you must continue to invest in your marriage. I’ve gathered resources in a previous post I’ll link here.

Actions to Insulate Your Marriage

  • Stay aware and attentive to the realities of your spouse’s job stress factors.
  • Stay attentive to the stages of burnout.
  • Find wise mentors who have experience in the same or similar life situations.
  • Pray for discernment to filter through advice.
  • Keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse.
  • Invest in your marriage with resources designed specifically for your career choice.

Insulating your marriage from the stresses that could lead to divorce requires an active participation in your relationship. Thankfully, there are many who have gone before you who are available to cheer you on and encourage you in your journey if you ask for help.

Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

Ways to Invest in Your Marriage

actionable suggestions 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 Languages has developed an app to help you remember to love your spouse within the content they prefer. Check out Love Nudge to not only help to remember your spouse’s love languages, 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 to 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

Your Best Investment

Your Best Investment

The Best Investment

This weekend I began my yearly post Christmas purge of our home. Having the extra motivation thanks to Marie Kondo on Netflix and an amazing find at our local Dollar Tree I was ready to tackle organizing our closet for the first time in our almost two years of living here.

I’d also spent a good amount of time helping our boys purge their areas due in part to our oldest son getting a new bed and needing to rearrange his room coupled with the fact that our sons are growing at a rapid pace and it’s challenging to keep them in clothes that fit these days.

I moved on to our bathroom and finally suggested to Ordell he take advantage of my motivation and help me get his drawers and shelves organized as well. He agreed, and then paused.

“Are you pregnant? Or are we moving? I’m just trying to make sense of what is happening right now.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle, but the truth is, my motivations were not coming from pregnancy or the anticipation of a move. I was doing what I always do in January and February. But for the first time in our 17 plus years of marriage he was around to observe my routine.

This isn’t the first thing Ordell has learned about me in the past year. He’s learned my routines are different than he assumed and even the TV shows I watch are more varied.

We’ve had to figure out a new normal for our family too. What does it look like to have Dad home by 6 every night? What does it look like to have weekends free from obligations other than those we choose 8 months of the year?

We’ve had to learn to let each other a little further into our spaces. And the willingness to do so has been the best investment for our marriage so far.

One of the things we accepted coaching college football was that we would need to learn to prioritize quality of time over quantity of time. With very few days to sleep in, bum around the house, and have long, spontaneous conversations we found a rhythm that worked but left little space for opportunities to learn about each other’s preferences through observation.

As we embrace our new normal I’m learning that the best investment I can make is to embrace the mundane days.

Here’s How I’m Embracing the Mundane:

  • I’m learning to take opportunities like errands to chat and explore our community.
  • I’m inviting Ordell to join me in my routines such as meal prep, and long summer walks.
  • I’m learning to do what I do today instead of trying to avoid interrupting other’s routines.
  • I’m taking the time to turn the alarm clock off and embrace the empty days on the calendar and enjoy the ability to be spontaneous.

The best investment we can make in our current season of life is to seize the time we have to learn more about each other instead of trying to keep things the way they have always been.

Seventeen years of marriage may seem like a strange time to learn about the mundane parts of each other’s lives, but right now I’m thankful for our new normal. Our foundation is stronger for this investment and in the long run, that’s worth disrupting routines isn’t it?

Join Us in June!

Join Us in June!

FCA

Last June, Ordell and I attended the 3rd annual Coaches Marriage Getaway hosted by the Illini Land FCA. The last FCA couples retreat we attended was in 2005 I wasn’t sure how applicable the sessions would be since we are now entering that “seasoned” marriage phase and much of the coaching life has been wrestled through. Still, a night away from the kids plus a chance to meet people in our new community and local FCA was a huge draw.

The getaway was just shy of 24 hours long. We checked-in to the hotel and chatted with a few people before dinner at 6 pm and our first session. It was clear our FCA hosts structured the weekend to create space for couples to spend time together, as well as encouragement. After dinner and a quick host introduction, we were sent out for the night.

Ordell and I ordered coffee at a place around the corner from the hotel, found a booth and pulled up 36 Questions to Bring You Closer on my phone. We did not need to check our watches to relieve the babysitter, so we took our time answering questions we rarely take the time to ask otherwise.

The next morning, we began with 7:30 breakfast and 4 sessions. First, testimony from a local D1 basketball coach and his wife. They talked about recent life challenges and highlighted the things that had carried them through the stress. I appreciated their transparency and reminders of how to bloom where God plants us.ILLINILAND FCA

Our main speakers, Tim and Anne Rulo, did an excellent job. Anne is a licensed marriage and family counselor, Tim, a football coach. They presented principles to focus on in both the marriage and coaching relationships. They focused on practical things in the coaching life as well as communication techniques.

My favorite session was on apology languages. This was new information to Ordell and me, and we know we will use it in our marriage communication as well as with our kids and team. At the end of this session, we were given 30 minutes and 4 questions to discuss on a walk. Again, space for connection was carved out. There is something special that happens when you are given the assignment to ask and answer hard questions. It creates space to be vulnerable with each other.

I can’t think of a better way to enter football season (which for us now runs June-November) than to begin by taking the time to focus on God and our marriage. To walk away with new communication tools is a huge bonus. 17 years into our marriage we are still learning and growing both as individuals and together thanks to FCA.

We’re looking forward to attending this year as well! We can’t wait to hear from Tim and Anne again. Will you join us? You can check out the details and register HERE!

FCA Marriage Getawa
Check out some of our amazing group!

**Pictures used with permission

***no affiliate links! Just a fan! 😉

Silver Holloware and Anniversary 16

Silver Holloware and Anniversary 16

Thoughts from the Sidelines

Dear Ordell,

According to the Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide year, 16 is Silver Holloware. This seems fitting considering we seem to loose multiple forks with each recent move.

Reflecting on the last year our marriage it’s hard to believe so much has happened in just 365 days. Even harder to believe is that although neither of us could have predicted where we would be living, nor even both of our jobs transitioning, we’ve embraced things together so well it has been the smoothest transition so far.

This year marks the sale of our first home (finally), moving back to the Midwest, and the year we no longer have single digit children in our house. We’ve never been healthier physically, emotionally, spiritually nor as a married couple.

Our roles are ever-shifting as the boy’s needs change, as job demands change, and as we figure out our strengths and limits. I love watching your relationship with Elijah and Levi deepen. As they take on new challenges you are there with them reminding them to be courageous, and they are listening.

I love seeing you put into practice at home all the thing we’ve heard you say on the football field the last decade and I love seeing our sons respond.

We are figuring out another new normal these days, and yet our home has a calmness to it that I haven’t felt in years. I know it is in large part because that is the tempo and tone you strive for.

There is something solid about silver that seems so fitting for year 16. When tarnish build-up is removed a beautiful shine appears. There is no doubt of the sturdiness of silver. It will last, regardless of the shape, it is formed into. A dish, bowl, knife or fork will function as it is created to do. And right now I can’t think of a better symbol for year 16 of marriage.

Year 16

Friday Five: Date Night

Friday Five: Date Night

When our boys were younger Ordell and I were fully committed to date night. We were blessed to have a few college students who wanted to hang with our boys. This allowed us to enjoy inexpensive dates weekly.

Now that our kids are older and much more independent the need for dates has slipped lower on our weekly priority list, although our commitment to uninterrupted time together hasn’t.

In this season of life, my Five Favorite Dates include:

Taking a walk: I’m loving this mild winter! We are lucky to have a great walking trail close to our house. Three miles can be walked in under an hour, but allow for a great time together. One bonus of walking with Ordell is that he often walks quicker than I do, so my pace has increased easily! This has been an almost year-round option for time together several times a week.

Watching a movie at home: We have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu. We don’t get to see a lot of movies during the fall with football season taking up much of our weekends. This makes for a great spring of catching up on all the best movies from the past few years. RedBox Codes are also a great option for cheap movie viewing! The best part about watching at home is we can start the movie whenever we want.

Going out for coffee: My favorite way to extend our walk is to head for coffee afterward at the local coffee shop. Breakfast is my favorite type of meal to eat and that is in part because coffee is such a great part of that. 🙂 Coffee shops are also our go to when we drop the boys at karate class. An uninterrupted hour in the evenings after dinner is always a nice way to finish the day.

Double Dating: Heading out for lunch or dinner is fun anytime. In this season I find that grabbing time with friends is best done over a meal. I’m so thankful for the people God has placed in our life both near and far. Laughing together, catching up on life and all that happens in a few months can easily take up more than a dinner.

Traveling: Heading out of town, getting to see different parts of the country as well as explore unknown towns is one of the parts of our life I enjoy the most. We’ve had some great meals in new to us restaurants as well as found cool decorations and clothing in local shops. Each location we travel to as a family or couple we purchase a Christmas ornament. Our tree is full of fun memories from our trips. Traveling, for me, includes the best dates!

I’m linking up with Mrs Disciple for #FridayFive. Join us and tell us what your favorite dates are!

 

Keeping Love Alive in Football Season

Keeping Love Alive in Football Season

keeping love alive

If you have a spouse that travels for work you might find yourself feeling disconnected at times. Additionally, if your spouse works 15 hour days all week leading up to the travel, well, I think you might have a spouse that coaches!

Like most teams around the country about half the games will be played in other states this year. Trips include heading to Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Although I’ll travel to some of the games, others I’ll stay home and cheer at the computer screen.

I’ve found a few things that help us stay connected over the years amongst the craziness of the season. Some have been implemented at the advice of others, some are what connect us because our personalities are what they are.

  1. Date Night. It doesn’t matter if this is actually a breakfast or lunch out when the boys are is school, a late night Red Box movie or an actual traditional date. The point is intentional time away from the office and other people. When we’ve felt like two ships passing in the sea it often circles back to the need for a date.
  2. Snacks. Bus trips can get long, and gas station food at stops can not only get boring, but expensive. I’ve found that spending some time making up a personalize trail mix or even buying some favorite snacks in the store is always appreciated.
  3. Notes. Any card store will find the sweetest cards about being apart from a loved one. I’ve dropped a card strategically into the suitcase after it’s been packed to find upon arrival more than once. When road trips are back to back, this can be a nice way to remind my coach weekends apart are never my preference.
  4. Clearing the calendar. Although this one isn’t always possible, I’ve found that protecting our Sundays by saying no to extra activities can go a long way towards keeping our relationship a priority. Busyness can be the death of any relationship, especially one that needs time. By keeping Sundays more low key, we have time to rest and recuperate for the next crazy week.
  5. Being present. This might mean watching the game to talk about it later or traveling along riding the bus with the team. It’s never about what is said, merely the physical reminder that I’m here to support you.

 

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I’m linking up with Mrs. Disciple for #FridayFive!

Anniversary 15

Anniversary 15

Anniversary 15

I’ve never been good at long-term plans. I had no idea what year 15 would look like when we said our “I do’s”.  Because of that, I can’t say I’m surprised by the most recent chapter of our adventure, still, I find myself pausing to soak in the reality of our current state more often than I imagine most do.

This year’s highlights include:

  • another move (closer to campus)
  • watching both our boys get baptized
  • a much-needed beach vacation
  • work successes and disappointments for both of us
  • a new car (we said goodbye to the car purchased a few months before the wedding!)
  • settling into a church
  • ministry joys
  • transitions that drew us closer to each other
  • the realization we continue to learn about ourselves and each other

In the coming months, we will experience another football season, middle school with Elijah and many other things I’m not aware of.  We will practice communication skills, do our best to serve each other and chase God through it all.  If it is possible to have a routine in the unknown then I think we are in that cycle.  We will encounter challenges, we will experience successes, and we will have our times of just cruising through the weeks.  Here’s the thing, though, the we is not a question or a dream. It’s an expectation.  It’s the routine in our 15 years entering the unknown.

This trust and intimacy of the “confident we” is the result of battles won when giving up was the easier option.  I do not for a second take the blessing of “we” for granted and I know you don’t either.  It’s because we don’t take the last 15 for granted the expectation of tackling the next 15 together feels like a given to me.

Thank you for the opportunity to adventure together, I have no doubt my life is richer for it!

Marriage and Dating

Marriage and Dating

Book Reviews

I’m linking marriage and dating resources for you to bookmark and checkout.

9 Steps to Defeating Isolation In Your Marriage I’m all about an action plan in life, whether you see that as being a “control freak” or “obsessive planner” one of the things that makes my heart ache is watching people walk through life refusing to look ahead because they have things all figured out.  “Every marriage, no matter how good, needs a plan to defeat isolation and to bring about intimacy. Isolation is like a terminal virus that invades your marriage, silently, slowly, and painlessly at first. By the time many couples become aware of its insidious effects, it can be too late.”

103 words of affirmation every husband wants to hear “From the man’s perspective, if his woman doesn’t believe in him . . . isn’t fanatically committed to his potential, it doesn’t much matter what others think. He’s already living in Thoreau’s muse, a diminished man.”  Solid reminder here, so important.

8 most annoying habits of modern dating echos conversations I have monthly with college students these days.  “The Internet changed everything, but especially dating. Not only could you meet someone online, even communicating became a breeze thanks to texting, commenting, swiping and any other form of courtship that requires four seconds of moving your thumbs in-between YouTube video viewings.”

5 Types of People You Should Marry had me nodding along the whole time. “When it comes to relationships, so many people are waiting for that magical moment. But whether or not that magical moment even exists, it can’t be trusted, because it’s not “confirmation”—it’s feelings.”

The Secret of Contentment  “I am three months into my marriage, three months into a new job, and have lived three months in a new city. I am already restless.”