Ideas on Building a Stronger, Better Marriage

Our company was fortunate to have Joe Beam the marriage guru come speak to us the other day. He’s a great speaker and had some very inspiring things to say. My wife and I went through Joe’s Family Dynamics class back in 2007. Now after 17 years of marriage, that class was one of the best things we’ve done.

Let’s face it. Marriage is tough. Some people see marriage as 50/50 give and take, but I see it as 100/100. You give 100% of yourself, and if things go well, your spouse gives you 100% of themselves back to you. Marriage is built on putting the other persons needs before your own. If that sounds a little idealistic, its because it is. I like to believe that I’m a great husband and put my wife first in everything, but in truth. I’m pretty selfish.

I’m very active and driven. My wife is very passive. We’re opposites. I prefer to always be doing something.  She prefers a much slower pace, but with six kids, slow isn’t in our vocabulary. Overtime, all kinds of things can build up in a marriage that need to be flushed out. Unfortunately, many times couples fail to surface and discuss the real issues. My wife and I are very laid back when it comes to conflict. You could say we avoid conflict. I don’t go around looking for conflict, but I deal with it when I need to. My wife with her sweet gentle spirit, prefers to avoid conflict. This is what drove us to seek some outside perspective on our marriage.

Earlier this year, we made the commitment to see a marriage counselor, and boy are we seeing a marriage counselor. Averaging 1 visit every 3 weeks for almost 20 weeks. So how did we go from not seeing a marriage counselor at all in 17 years to deciding to see one so frequently? Well, that’s a very good question.

Essentially, we were stuck. Stuck with frustrations. Stuck with problems we hadn’t solved. Stuck with communications issues since I was okay with conflict, but it shuts my wife down. The list goes on. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.

After a few visits, we saw a few small things you could call marital wins. Not big things, but just enough to make us think it was worth our time and money. Now being 20 weeks on the other side of our first marital counseling visit, I think it’s been money well spent. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my wife, and my kids. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re headed in the right direction.

If you’re stuck maritally, you might try a marriage counselor…but find a good one.

Other marriage resources

Book: When a Man Loves a Woman

Book: When a Woman Loves a Man

when a man loves a woman when a woman loves a man

3 Recently Read Books

I’ve recently tried to step up my reading. In doing so, I’ve been able to finish 3 books in the past week. Now, don’t think too much of me. If you were able to see my backlog of reading material, well, let’s just say any positive impression of my past weeks achievement would evaporate instantly. However, these 3 books are worthy of mentioning, and the fact that they are all very different subject matter made the past week very refreshing for me.

#1 When a Man Loves a Woman by James Ford Jr. – a short read that will help any husband or would be husband become the man his wife has always desired. I recommend this book to any husband who wants to make the most out of his marriage and is up to the challenge of becoming the man his wife has always dreamed about. It’s not rocket science, but reading this may make you realize how far short you have fallen of the man you should be.

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#2 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith – a simple yet challenging and inspiring book about making the most of your life. Redeeming each and every day. I wish I could say there’s a simple 7 step plan to this book to take away, but every page of the book is challenging you about your view on life and not wasting it. Every day is a gift. I was particularly inspired by how Robert listed men throughout history and the number of days they lived. The things they accomplished with their lives were amazing. I’ve been inspired, and hope to use the rest of my days to their fullest.

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#3 The CIO Playbook by Nicholas R. Colisto – a wonderful read for anyone aspiring to attain or who has already attained a high level technology leadership role. A very thorough covering of the CIO role.

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My Romantic Dream Vacation

Lately I’ve been trying to “up” my romance playbook. Sadly, I think I’ve settled into a nice 12 year married family rut. With 5 kids I guess that’s easy to do. Juggle work. Juggle home. Something has to give right? In my effort to rediscover the white knight that my wife thought she married, I’ve been doing a little brainstorming. I’ve relied on the weekly date night a little too long.

One of tools I’m looking to add to my arsenal is the weekend trip with the wife. We’ve done the bed and breakfast thing as well as a day trip down the Natchez Trace. Now I’m looking to up that with some other relatively inexpensive weekends. On my short list are…

Resources
Travel + Leisure

A Little History
Boston

New York – Ivy Terrace
New York – Abingdon
New York – Casablanca Hotel

Santa Rosa, FL – Water Color Resort
Yellowstone
Lodging


Dream Trip
If I recall correctly, I first became aware of Bora Bora after watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Now I’m just waiting to find a way to get there. 🙂

Bora Bora Lagoon
Four Seasons Bora Bora

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Christmas and the Kids

Tonight was one for the books. My wife was out, and I got the kids for the evening. All 4 kids that is.

While some families put their Christmas tree up during Thanksgiving, we’re just now getting around to it, and boy were those kids excited. Let me just say coordinating an 8 year, 5 year, and 3 year old on erecting a Christmas tree while bathing and putting a 1 year old to bed is not an easy task.

As a professional, budgeting time and getting tasks done is easy compared with spending time with 4 children. Unfortunately, I often find myself carrying over my work habits into my family life. This can form the habit of turning almost everything into a task. I found this can sometimes prevent me from really slowing down to enjoy my children. Honestly, its something I’m working towards improving. Tonight thank God, I think I did a good job on the fathering gig.

We turned on the Christmas music, pulled out the tree, the ornaments and cleaned up the house. 2 hours later a few ornaments were broken, the tree was up, and the lights were on! Finally, it was time to put the kids to bed…and to all a good night. 😉