Five Fab Fun Fall Date Ideas

Ah the Crisp Fall Air is here! And so its time to get out and enjoy all the fall has to offer! Here are my favorite fall date ideas!

Ah the crisp fall air is finally here (well if you don’t live in the Hawaiian Tropics, that is!) But for the rest of the world we are in the land of pumpkin spice everything and warm cinnamon apples! Some of my favorite flavors are found at home in the fall. I love sweaters, boots, flannel shirts and jeans!

So if you’re loving this fall weather as much as I am then what a better time to get out with your loved one to spend some time together!

Here are some fun Fall Date Ideas to get you up off the couch and out around town!

  1. Bon Fire: Now this might be a group date idea, but it is one of my favorites for the fall. When it’s a bit chilly in the air there isn’t a better way to spend a night under the stars than with a bon fire. Plus, I mean S’mores and warm Apple Cider!! You can’t get better than that!
  2. Pumpkin Patch: Who else loves carving pumpkins?? One year I got so in to it during a competition I actually hurt my hand to the point of needing physical therapy! But hey our cookie monster pumpkin was definitely a hit! But carving a pumpkin starts with a fun trip the pumpkin patch! Dress up and make sure to get some cute photos while you’re there!
  3. A Haunted House: Adrenaline rushes when we are with our loved ones can help us feel more connected! So head on over to the local haunted house for a good spook! And if you get a bit shakey, that’s when you grab your hubby’s hand!
  4. Apple Picking: My hubby eats more apples than most and I love to cook with apples! So picking fresh apples can be a fun way to get outside now that the heat has subsided some! Plus all the apple orchards I’ve ever been too have really yummy apple donuts (one of my favorite kinds of donuts!)
  5. Corn Maze: If you like an adventure getting outside and wandering through a corn maze can be just the ticket!

What are some of your favorite fall date ideas? Let me know in the comments!

If you loved these ideas, then be sure to check out my summer date ideas too!

Ah the Crisp Fall Air is here! And so its time to get out and enjoy all the fall has to offer! Here are my favorite fall date ideas!

Baby Proofing Your Marriage

Becoming a parent is a huge shift in your marriage! But it shouldn't detract from the intimacy between you and your spouse!

We’ve all heard it said that your marriage is more important after you have children, not less. Yet, there has been a huge shift in parenting over the last several years in which we are always putting our children first.

The reason our marriages matter more after children is because our marriage is a model of what healthy relationships look like. And parenting children is so much easier when you are a team. And being a co-parenting team is much easier when you have a solid spousal relationship. Always remember that before you were a mom and dad, you were a husband and wife.

While I was working in the Chaplain’s office at Ft. Benning I read And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives by John Gottman. I liked it so much that it’s a book I highly recommend to all parents and parents to be (I even list it on my resource page!)

I value Gottman’s insights on marriage and so I really took some of his principles to heart in preparation for when we had our own kids. And it sure is coming in handy now! Gottman has Six Steps for Maintaining Romance After Children. Who doesn’t want to keep that spark alive? Nobody goes into having children intending to neglect their marriage. But during the new born phase so much of a new parents’ life begins to revolve around the new baby. The new baby’s eating schedule, sleeping schedule. And suddenly the intimacy and closeness between husband and wife begins to decrease. It just happens.

Maintaining the same level of romance and intimacy takes a lot of work. Here are just a few of the steps he recommends for maintaining Intimacy and Romance in your marriage:

  • Soften how you bring up a problem
  • The importance of repair
  • Accepting influence
  • Savoring your friendship
  • Giving Grace

Giving Grace

It is not about avoiding problems that may come up as new parents, but finding positive strategies to manage the problems as they occur. Tensions can begin to run high in the first few months home with a new baby. Neither parent is particularly experienced or confident in their parenting abilities. This insecurity can make emotions run high. New moms have a surge of hormones to top it all off making them even more prone to being emotional. Lack of sleep also contributes to the rise in tensions in the home. Nobody can function at their best when they are being awoken every two to four hours.

So small events may turn into larger disruptions than might be normal. When this happens remember to give yourself grace. And to give your partner grace.

Giving your partner grace can be more difficult for new moms. New moms may not see how the transition for their partner is as difficult for dad as it is for mom. New moms, especially those who nurse are now the primary source of survival for a new born and are often still struggling with postpartum symptoms. But both new Mom and Dad need grace during the transition into parenthood. Grace can help promote intimacy in your marriage because it will prevent harboring resentment. Resentment prevents intimacy because it allows there to be separation within the marriage. Resentment can build up walls. Walls up = no intimacy.

Importance of Repair

Because tensions run high during the transition from a two person family to a three person family, repair attempts are so important. Why? Because we may often hurt our spouse’s feelings. Making and accepting repair attempts is more telling of relationship satisfaction than how many arguments a couple has. But it is not enough for one person to constantly be making repair attempts; the other must accept them. By accepting the repair attempt you are coming back together and creating more intimacy. When you reject your partner’s repair attempt you are putting up a wall between you. This prevents intimacy from growing in your marriage.

Savoring Your Friendship

Remember what brought ya’ll together as a couple to begin with. Most likely it has something to do with a friendship that was cultivated. During the postpartum period sexual intimacy is off the table. So finding old ways to create intimacy is important. At the beginning of your relationship, most likely sex was no the element of your relationship that created intimacy. Most often intimacy is created through friendship which leads to a more sexually intimate relationship. Get back to basics and by spending time together you can help maintain levels of intimacy in your relationship. While you may not be able to find time to get away and spend one on one time with your spouse, spending time together as a new family can help you maintain your friendship. It is a way to create new memories and experiences together.

This is just a way to start maintaining intimacy in your relationship after the newest addition has arrived. If you are looking for more information check out Gottman’s book And Baby Makes Three. He has such relevant information for new parents!

Becoming a parent is a huge shift in your marriage! But it shouldn't detract from the intimacy between you and your spouse!

Summer Date Night Ideas

Summer is a great time to get out and explore the area more with the longer days!

It is officially summer time. In the south that means sweltering temperatures and ridiculous humidity! But the days are so long that you still have hours of daylight even after you get off work! Despite the heat there couldn’t be a better time to get out and explore! Plus what goes better with the heat than Ice cream! So to help get your creative juices flowing (because we have had nothing but endless date nights living in a hotel without a kitchen) I am giving you my list of top 10 summer date ideas so you and your honey can break up the monotony of netflix and chill.

  1.  Ice Cream dates! What could be more fun than sharing a banana split, and if you have kids this would be a great time for a family date if you can’t find a sitter. Some of my favorite summertime memories with my family was going out after dinner and getting an extra large banana split and the four of us sharing. Feel like taking a walk too, grab it in a cone or a milkshake to-go and explore the local park!
  2. Summer time can be a great time to explore your local parks, the flowers are blooming and the grass is green for a nice picnic lunch! Just make sure to bring lots of cold beverages to stay cool!
  3. A sand castle building contest- Do ya’ll live near a beach? If so pack up the buckets and shovels and challenge each other to a sand castle building competition! Take pictures and find a judge
  4. Put-Put! few things can be as fun as finding a great put put course and giving it a whirl!
  5. TO beat the heat hit try checking out a local museum. I recently visited the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame with my parents in Cleveland, Ohio. While I am not the biggest rock n roll fan, and I didn’t know a lot about it, and some areas were not very exciting for me, I learned so much about music and music history, which was pretty cool. You never know what you might learn when you venture out!

So there you have it, 5 Summer Date Night Ideas for when you are stuck, and just need a push out the door!

Summer is a great time to get out and explore the area more with the longer days!

Growing Closer to your Spouse: Learning from Each Other

When we come into a marriage we have our set of unique experiences we bring. We can either let these differences get between us or we can learn from each other and grow closer together

We all know military life comes with lots of moving. But in some ways I feel like an old pro at that! No I am not a military brat, but I did move around quite a bit as a kid. I can’t count on two hands the number of houses I lived in before I went off to college, and in the three years since I have graduated college I have lived in as many houses! I know crazy! So I totally get the feeling of never having deep roots or feeling like you can settle all the way into a home because you know you are going to be packing up and moving soon. My hubby grew up in the same house his whole life. His parents have been in that house for 30+ years! Talk about different childhood experiences!

Where his roots went deep, mine went wide! Home became much more generalized in my mind. It was the people I was with and the experiences I was having. During my senior year of high school after my parents had already moved, rather than the house I was staying in, my church became home to me. Later it was another’s house and their family completely took me in! So, you see I made a home out of the community I was surrounded with! It was the same when we were overseas, but I was really young then and much more outgoing!

His roots run deep. He had grown up in a two-stop light town (he says he remembers when they put the second one in!) He still hangs out with the two guys he has been friends with since he was a toddler! When we moved him here to GA, he didn’t know how to pack boxes or a car efficiently. He never had to! I am a master of it! I fit an entire kitchen’s worth of items, plus bedding and bathroom necessities into the trunk of my mini SUV! He struggles more to be away from home, because he hasn’t had as many experiences outside the state of SC. It is all he has ever known.

Neither one of us are right or wrong to have a different root system. It’s a by-product of how we are raised! Many couples face these kinds of differences. We have had vastly different childhoods. So, we can empathize with how the other is feeling, but we can never truly understand what the other went through and learned because of those experiences. This is part of the reason that nearly 60% of a couple’s problems are unsolvable (other contributors are differences in belief systems and gender differences).

This is where we get to learn from our spouses! Learning something from our spouses is one of the greatest ways to connect even deeper. Not only do we get to learn more about their interest or skills, we get to spend time together. And even more it gives us greater appreciation for their perspective on life. Although my husband says he prefers to stay out of the way while I am packing, when he helps me, we learn together the best way to make all our stuff fit then he can gain a deeper understanding of my experiences. Also, now when he moves by himself he will have some tips for how to do it himself. And we get to spend time together, which in military life we all know is to be cherished! Especially with a separation looming on the horizon.

In marriage, we are called to separate from our families and cleave to each other, becoming one. This is hard to do when we don’t understand each other. I mean typically before we get married we date, talk about common interests and get to know each other. But marriage means doing so on an even deeper level, something we could never accomplish while we are dating. As we learn from one another we grow even closer together, losing ourselves in each other (not to mean we cease being our own person). This also means that we can’t hang onto ideas just because they are something our parents did. We have to find ways to be together, be our own family. We do this by seeking understanding, and appreciate their view, and then possibly find a new way of doing things together.

If we appreciate our spouses more, than we will have less time to criticize our spouses. Criticism is one of the roots of issues that can lead to divorce. It can lead to contempt for our spouses, which is the leading cause of divorce. Learning from your spouse can be a way to divorce proof your marriage! And who doesn’t want that! Nobody’s goal in marriage is to set out to fail. But we do have to work to succeed. We can’t expect our marriages to work if we are not working on our marriages. There is always room for improvement, even in the best of marriages.

You can teach and learn anything from your spouse from a hobby, a religion, a culture, an area of interest like history, or a skill! I have learned a lot about football, especially Carolina Gamecock football! I have also learned a lot about history and (unfortunately) some grammar!

What Have you learned from your spouse?

When we come into a marriage we have our set of unique experiences we bring. We can either let these differences get between us or we can learn from each other and grow closer together

Rebuilding Trust in your Relationships when its been Broken + FREEBIE: Honesty Contract

When trust is broken, it can be hard to believe it can ever be restored! Here are some proven ways to restore trust in your relationships + Freebie: Honesty Contract!

Think about those relationships in your life both past and present that you have felt most secure in. I’d be willing to bet big money that trust was an important component to that relationship. There is not a single type of relationship that does not benefit and thrive off of trust: romantic, parenting, friendships, and work/employee relationships. And one relationship where trust is most essential is your marriage.


I have seen many couples or even just individuals come in struggling in their marriages because somewhere trust was broken- someone had an affair, or was thought to have had an affair, one partner had been repeatedly hurt by the other, maybe there are control tactics being employed, pornography, or addiction plaguing the relationship.

And all of them sought counseling with the main goal to rebuild trust in their marriages. Some were successful, some were not. More than half of all marriages are interrupted by an affair, but not all marriages are ended because of it. It is possible to rebuild trust, but it is difficult and requires determination and the constant decision to love your spouse throughout the process, for both members of the couple!

Trust is something that is hard to explain. And it is an absolute- you either trust someone or not, there is no degrees of trust. Without trust in our relationships we feel insecure and out of control. Especially if there was trust originally and it was blatantly broken by someone’s actions. Some people, like me, readily trust most people until given a reason to distrust them. This can be a double edged sword in that is has burned me a few times, but it works for me, where I am constantly meeting new people. Other people are slow to trust, letting it build as the person proves themselves to be trustworthy.

Actions that breed trust are ones full of honesty, transparency, and integrity obviously; but others include being thoughtful and caring, taking a genuine interest in someone else for no personal gain.  Based on my experiences from working with couples, the three most asked questions when they come in looking for hope are:

  1. Can trust be restored?
  2. Whose responsibility is it to restore broken trust?
  3. And how can we rebuild trust in our relationship?

Trust Can Absolutely Be Rebuilt

Here are the answers I give my clients when they come in. Yes! Trust absolutely can be restored. It is hard work, and can often be discouraging because it takes a long time to rebuild, it may have grown quickly in the beginning, but it can take seconds to break and years to rebuild. So stay the path, even when it’s hard, and choose to love your spouse everyday despite not trusting them, and slowly but surely the trust will come back, but don’t rush it and stay positive when you can. The work might not always seem fair. While I can tell you that its possible if you work hard, only you in your relationship can decide if that hard work is worth it.

It Takes Two to Tango

Ok, so now we know it’s possible, but who is responsible? Some people might tell me I am wrong, but I believe it is necessary for both people to restore trust. Remember, it takes two people to tango in the good times and bad. So this is where it might see a little unfair to the “victim.” You are just as responsible for re-establishing trust as the “perpetrator” Both people have to be willing to set aside their price and dedicate themselves FULLY to making it work between them again.

It Takes Hard Work

And finally, the way to rebuild trust is simple, but time consuming. Both people have to be 100% committed to be 100% honest and transparent with each other. Sharing passwords to all accounts, possibly deleting social media accounts, share itineraries for each day, allow GPS tracking through cell phones so you can check each other’s location. Checking in regularly throughout the day and then being able to check their GPS and let the partners know that they are actually going where they are saying they are going. While this may seem invasive at first, if you have nothing to hide then there really shouldn’t be any reason to be put out by it. It may be drastic, but it can go a long way in restoring trust.

Dr. Willard Harley, a marriage counselor, wrote a book Surviving an Affair. He has three policies that he as all his clients subscribe to when they are seeking to rebuild their marriage. 1. Policy of Radical Honesty; 2. Policy of Joint Agreement; 3. Policy of undivided attention. He views these as all-encompassing and necessary for affair recovery. And while he is talking directly about affair recovery, the same principles are important for restoring trust – addictions, control, and hurt.

Teamwork is Crucial

Regardless of why you need to build trust in your relationships and marriage, these are some great places to start. I know it’s hard. I have been in broken relationships where trust is lost. And I’ve walked the painful road of affair recovery and addiction recovery with many couples. But be encouraged by the knowledge that it is possible and knowing you’re not alone.

I would say if you’re struggling with issues around trust I would recommend checking out the resources on my page; but also consider seeing a counselor. We aren’t here to judge you, but are here to help you explore and find answers. And if you do decide to seek out a counselor I would encourage you to lean into it all the way. Counseling is what you make it. It can be an awesome experience if you let it.

With that said I know many people won’t ever seek out help, which is one of the reasons I love this blog and many others that address relational wellness and mental health! So if you don’t want to seek counseling to help rebuild your relationship, here is an Honesty Contract that can be used as an agreement between you and your spouse to maintain radical honest and follow through on the policy of joint agreement. And as you find yourself being more and more honest with each other over time, trust will be rebuilt.

Rebuilding trust in your relationships can be extremely difficult and often feel impossible, but with some hard work and dedication you can rebuild that bridge and find your way back to each other

For those who have experienced a breach in trust in your relationship, what did you do?

 

Finding Yourself Somewhere you Never Expected to be: Being a Stay at Home Wife

Finding yourself somewhere you never expected to be. For me that is being a stay at home wife!

Have you ever found yourself somewhere you never planned to be? That is me right now. I always envision myself being a stay at home mom, when the time came. My mom was home with us till I was in the 8th grade; and I loved it as a kid! But I never envisioned myself as a stay at home wife. I always envisioned myself working towards a career for a few years before I turned to being a SAHM. Yet, here I am! Master’s degree in hand, in a state I can’t get a license in (For full story check out this post!) So I am a stay at home wife.

I know what some people might say about this. Some will call me lazy, unmotivated, free loader, and probably some worse things. Some might even be jealous that I don’t have that extra stress, pressure, and responsibility of a job AND kids. But it’s ok! It’s not like I sit at home all day napping and binge watching Netflix. Ok, you caught me, Netflix is on, but I am most likely doing something productive at the same time. In some ways this has been challenging for me. I am not working towards a career at the same rate my friends are; working in their field, gaining experience, and making contacts. This is the first time since I was like 16 that I don’t have a job and earning my own money! Sometimes I might even be a little jealous of them. Here are some of the blessings I have received and lessons I have learned being in a place I never expected to be!

I had time to spend with my Hubby

If I was working on my career, I would probably still be in South Carolina, separated from my husband because he would still be here in Georgia no matter what I chose to do. I wouldn’t have made some of the best friends I’ve made. And even though I am not working towards my career or counseling license, I have had doors open to me in the Army as a service provider through the Chaplains. But the best blessing is that these months have given my hubby and I wonderful adventures and opportunities to connect. If I had stayed in South Carolina to work on my counseling license we would have ended up spending two years apart as we are now facing a yearlong unaccompanied assignment. It makes me even more grateful for the time we have had together over the last few months!

Growing my faith to a Mustard Seed

It has also given me the opportunity to grow in my relationship with God. If I was working full time I wouldn’t have the flexible schedule to attend a weekly Bible study, as stuff for military spouses only seem to take place during the day when people with full time traditional careers are in the office. This has been awesome for me! Not only to grow in my faith but I have made friends and come closer to others during my time here.

Growing my Community

I have had the opportunity to meet other Army wives and families; and I have had time to spend connecting with them. Some have become mentors and friends as I am learning to navigate the complexities and weirdness Army life. I’d be lost without them. Some ladies I’ve met that are here and work full time have told me they feel like they are missing out because they don’t have the time to make those relationships. Also they typically are not working in their field. I know I am blessed to have this luxury of staying home. So I have worked to make the most of it!

Blogging on my Blogging Progress

I have had the time to start and grow this blog. At first it was a way to fill my empty time. I never expected to get so into it. So much so that I’ve creates social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Bloglovin). I am intentional about writing and engaging with other bloggers in multiple different niches as I figure out and learn how to grow my own community. And it has definitely been incorporated into my Vision of Future for 2017. Adventures of a Young Wife has turned into more than I imagined and I am so excited to continue it as we go about our newest adventures.

Health has been a major focus

And finally it has given me the opportunity to work on my health physically. I am not perfect here by any means I mean just remember my hiking story (find it here). But having the ability to not have to get up and immediately crank it out before being at work at 8am or after I get off at 5pm. I can add it to my morning routine in a stress free way which makes me more likely to actually see it through. Even though sometimes puppy snuggles win out!

In the end…

But look at all these wonderful things! I could never have imagined this life. All though out college and grad school I never dreamed my life would take a path like this; but, I wouldn’t change a thing. And I get to do the one thing I love most, love my hubby in person for the next 7 months before he leaves and support him always. I know you don’t read my blog to just find out about my life, well some of you might, like my mom.

But I am hoping that by sharing my experiences with you that you can learn something too. For me, being a stay at home wife is a major shift in plans. I don’t know what that major shift for you is – maybe it’s getting married, having a baby, losing your job, or a loved one; whatever that unexpected life shift is for you remember that good things can come from it. If only you allow yourself to be open. I could have been sulky and sullen and stayed on my couch and I wouldn’t have gained anything but I worked hard and put myself out there! And I am so glad I did, and you will be too!

What unexpected situations have you found yourself in that turned out great?

My story of how I found myself somewhere I never expected to be. My life as a stay at home wife and how I made the best of the situation

TO THE SPOUSE WHO IS ALSO A STUDENT…

An open letter to all spouses who are also students. From someone who has been there and made it through

An open letter to all spouses, military or not, that are in another phase of life, being a student, all while being married. Often we think we go to school, we graduate, we find a job and we get married. Sometimes it works that way, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you go back to school. But as all of us students know school can be all consuming, and can prevent us from being the spouse we were maybe before school or what we desire to be. But know that its ok, and no matter what its ok.

See my open letter to the spouse who is also a student, from one who has been there and made it to the other side.

What advice would you share??

Too Young to be Married they Said

Too Young to b Married they said, But I have loved every bit of our life!

I was 23 when we got married, my husband was 22. Now at almost 25, still many of my friends are not married. Leading up to the wedding, I can’t count how many times I heard, “you are too young to be getting married.” Most were  just incredulous that I am now an adult. But, really did think we were too young to get married. “Why rush?” they would say?  I never thought I was in a rush. This was just how life was progressing for us. After all, my parents were my age when they got married. We had both graduated from college, I was finishing up graduate school, he was about to leave for Fort Benning. Although let’s be real, the military did not make it easy to slow down either. So what was I to do with all these well intended people that might as well been saying, you’re making a huge mistake. But here I am just after our first wedding anniversary and I can’t imagine this being a mistake.

I have always been told that I am one of those people that are easily swayed by what people say. I like for others to think well of me, I constantly worry about what people might or might not be saying about me. So I was a bit surprised at myself that I couldn’t find any anxiety in me when people would tell me I was too young. Maybe it’s because all the anxiety I could muster at the time was being thrown at my school work. Or maybe it’s because I finally realized that despite what people said about me and our relationship it wasn’t going to affect me. Why wait if I knew this was the person I wanted to spend my life with? What did it matter to Joe Schmoe when I got married? That’s right, it doesn’t.

So here is what I have learned about marrying young!

1.We can’t compare ourselves to the other people around you!

Just because we are doing something different doesn’t make me right and them wrong. When we compare ourselves to others we often find ourselves in discontent. Like the saying “You do You” We have to do what works for us. Most of my friends who are in relationships are content to wait for a while before getting married, due to being in the military, that wasn’t going to work for us or else I couldn’t move with him. But marriage works for us!

2.We get to experience so much together!

I have a friend who is almost 30 and celebrated her 1st wedding anniversary a few weeks before B and I did! When we talk she always wishes they had met earlier and were married younger so they could have had that time together. I will be 25 when we celebrate our 2nd anniversary! We have so much to do together!

3.Less comparison between partners!

While my marriage was not my first relationship it was really my first adult relationship. I don’t get caught in the trap of comparing B to past boyfriends or relationships. And neither does he! It makes our lives so much smoother!

4.Regardless of how old we are; we get to spend our lives together!

No matter how old or young you are when you get married, the best part is getting to spend all my life with B! We get to do all the parts of having a family, being a family, and building a family. We get to adventure and make new memories, we get to have all the experiences, we get the highs and lows of being together.

As I reflect on age and marriage, to me maturity is more important than age. Age is a number that might not reflect a lot! But having a mature spirit, forgiving and gracious and a loving heart is all that is needed to make the marriage work, a lifelong commitment to one another, I made that commitment at 23! And I couldn’t be more happy with how my life is!

Too young to be married they told me, but I have loved every minute and wouldn't change it!

My Review of Hot Holy & Humorous by J. Parker

My Review of Hot Holy & Humorous by J. Parker - Why I recommend it to all my clients struggling with intimacy in their marriage

(In case ya’ll didn’t know or haven’t explored my website fully, I have a Resource tab on my blog! Click here to check it out! On the resource page I have listed several areas of interest that I regularly address with on the blog: Marriage, parenting, military life, and mental health and wellness. Under each category I have several books that I have read and had great success sharing with my clients in those areas. (I would like to say that I was not compensated in anyway to promote any of these books. I paid for all of them with my own funds and have read each other them.) I decided that over the next few weeks I am going to do a Book Review of some of my favorites! And since Valentine’s Day is fast approaching I thought I would start with J. Parker’s book, Hot, Holy, & Humorous.

Our culture is full of opinions about sex, sexuality, and what healthy sexuality is or isn’t. But so often we turn to sources like Google, Cosmo, or any other number of sources on the internet, maybe even pornography (another topic for another day); and as would be expected none of these sources account for Godly sexuality. So where is a girl to turn when trying to better her marriage and her relationship with Christ if we can’t trust the world around us. I have read a couple of books written from a Christian perspective on healthy, Godly sexuality. The first is Sheet Music by Dr. Leman and the second is Hot, Holy, & Humorous by J. Parker. I wanted to touch on the subject of Sex because it is a necessary component to a great and satisfied marriage. Leading up to Valentine’s Day as we all prepare to celebrate our love relationships is the perfect time to think about such things too. J. Parker’s book because it is a quick, easy, funny, but extremely informative book that definitely made an impact on me and my marriage. So without Further ado…
Hot, Holy, & Humorous is a wonderful resource for all married, Christian women. Whether you are satisfied or unsatisfied with your sex life, J. Parker can help you feel more confident and knowledgeable in the bedroom. PLUS, no guy is going to be upset that you want to improve that area of your life! Hot, Holy, & Humorous is informative and insightful, while still maintaining integrity, which if you read Cosmo, is not always a given when discussing sexuality. The topics she covers are: preparing body and mind for sex, kissing, initiating sex, when sex hurts, oral sex, hand jobs, mismatched sex drives, and orgasms. So many areas in which women struggle or want improvement on. Parker makes seeking this help safe and free from judgment.
Parker not only provides practical advice, but gives a daily dose of humor as she does so. In graduate school I had to take a sexuality counseling class, while informative I rarely found resources through that class I thought would be helpful in the lives of my clients. The text book was full of sexual disorders, STIs, contraceptive methods, positions, and sexual orientation and gender expression. As this was the last class I had in my curriculum I knew I was heading to a military installation and that I was going to be working with Army couples mostly if I was to find a job (I am now a volunteer counseling intern with the Family Life Chaplain). Working through a Chaplain organization not all my clients are religious, but many are Christian and want resources that mirror that path. So very little I was learning in class was going to be helpful to my population of interest. So I was in desperate need of resources regarding sexuality for Christian married couples. I am so glad I found Hot. Holy, and Humorous. It’s a short and affordable resource that I feel confident referring to my clients for any variety of areas that they may want improvement on.
This book is written by a real woman, for real women who want help in any area of their sexual relationship with their husband. Its comical and informative. J. Parker also writes a blog by the same name, she answers questions about sexuality and other areas of intimacy. Before I found her book I was following her blog. You can check her blog out Here. Find her on Facebook and Twitter! So as I end I want to leave you with this quote from J. Parker: “If you want that deep connection with your husband, you have to open yourself up. You need to trust him with your heart and with your body.

How to Embrace Conflict in your Relationship and Come out Stronger

How to embrace conflict in your relationship and come out stronger

A week or so ago I wrote a post about why we need to stop husband bashing as a way of maintaining fondness and admiration for them. The is one of Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. When counseling couples, this is one of the main books and works that I draw on because his advice is well backed by science and research, and it works. I thought I would draw out one of his other principles for a successful marriage today: Solving solvable problems.

Many of the problems we face in our relationship are things we simply cannot change. We cannot change our personalities, they are pretty well set. Nor can we change extraneous circumstances, they are outside our control. We can’t change our extended family; we are pretty much just stuck with them. However, we can change how we relate to one another, and that can make all the difference when you and your spouse are trying to solve a problem. Remember, in a marriage you are a team, and you either win together or lose together; if one person ever walks away feeling like they lost, then both people lost. So practicing (and I choose this word specifically) practical conflict resolution skills can help you and your partner solve the solvable problems and overcome the non-solvable problems.

While Gottman’s unique approach to marriage counseling doesn’t focus solely on communication skills as more traditional models might. Rather he uses softening startups, making and receiving repair attempts, soothing yourself and your spouse, compromise, and tolerating each other’s faults. Now I am sure you are familiar with the last two or three components, but, the first two I think are the most important, so that is where I am going to focus.

Softening Startups

I am going to be the first to admit that I am not great at this; I tend to get very defensive, very quickly. However, I notice a radical difference in my husband’s response to me when I am soft and when I am defensive. Nothing can be resolved when one or both partners are in a defensive mode, this very quickly leads to arguments. We can’t avoid difficult conversations for fear of creating conflict either. Avoiding conflict will not bring us closer to our spouses, rather it will drive a wedge in between us making us feel ever more distant.

That is why we need to use soft startups when we know we are broaching a difficult subjects. Softening means no accusations. “Why didn’t you do…”; “How come you can never do….” Instead say, “I would really appreciate if you could help me do…”, “I really could use an extra set of hands on this project.” Often we feel underappreciated or a lack of help from our spouses simply because we haven’t asked for their help. They can’t read our minds, it is not a sign of disrespect, more of ignorance. When we use I-statements and avoid blaming our spouses we are more likely to get the response we desire, they come and help us. Be polite, this is important, as we are more likely to oblige someone who is polite, rather than demanding.

Making repair attempts

Gottman has said it is not the number of fights a couple has that impacts relationship satisfaction, rather it is how well a couple can reconnect after the argument. This is the idea behind making and receiving repair attempts. Couples have to practice both, it is not enough for one person to continually make repair attempts if the other partner makes not effort to receive and accept them.

A repair attempt can take many forms, but it is a way of turning toward your spouse (one of Gottman’s 7 Principles) after an argument. Repair attempts can be humorous jokes to break the tension after a fight, an apology, validating your partner’s emotions, and showing empathy. These can be done in the moment, during an argument. However, we are stubborn creatures, or at least I am! And often, we do not make repair attempts at the time because we feel justified in our position.

Repair attempts can also be made later: apologize, tell your spouse you love him, and make sincere efforts to let them know you are sorry. And well we’ve all heard that making up is the best part of fighting… if you know what I mean!
Not only do you need to make repair attempts, but you also need to be able to accept them when your spouse makes them! This requires being mature, and to stop dwelling on the argument and accept their apology. Give up your stubbornness, as hard as I know it is, believe me! If you want to know how well you are making and receiving repair attempts in your relationship, go to The Gottman Institute Blog and use the questionnaire and see how you rate.

How We Can Grow Closer

These tools can help make conflict within the marriage (which is inevitable, I don’t care how much you love each other, at some point there will be conflict). Remember, don’t avoid conflict in attempt to keep peace. It will only drive a wedge in between you and your spouse. If you soften your approach to complaints, it will lessen your partner’s defensiveness. Then you will be more likely to be able to solve your problems.

Remember, not all conflicts can be solved. There will always be gender differences, personality clashes, family members we don’t get along with. So try to come to compromises with those issues. Solve the ones you can so your relationship is not plagued with insolvable and solvable problems! I highly recommend reading Gottman’s Book. It is full of questionnaires and assessments that can be used to monitor how you are behaving in your relationship.

What are some of your conflict resolution strategies??

Conflict is a natural part of relationships! But it doesn't have break them! Here are some ways to embrace conflict in your relationship and come out stronger on the other side.

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