Want to improve your marriage? Purchase Dale’s latest book and start moving towards a better relationship today!!
“This book has given me ideas to improve my marriage!!” -Amazon Reviewer
Want to improve your marriage? Purchase Dale’s latest book and start moving towards a better relationship today!!
Let’s say that you just found out you’re spouse has done something wrong and it’s pretty drastic. He or she has cheated or went against his word on something you both agreed upon. You are deeply pained. What is her reaction and where does it take you and your relationship?
You address the issue with your spouse and he/she could have one of two reactions. First, he could admit to his error and you can both begin the process of healing. It’s not easy to do but you are thankful that he sees his place in the matter and is willing to take responsibility. The other path he could take is this; turning the tables. Where once you were angry because he did something wrong, you suddenly feel guilty. You’re not sure why this is but before you know it, you find yourself apologizing and working to sooth his now upset emotional state. Later, you think, “what just happened?”
Like a crying child caught with chocolate brownie all over her face, your spouse has turned the tide of blame away from her (where it belongs) and on to you. By making you angry and confused, she transfers the blame. Her threats of leaving or other behaviors frighten you and you relent. You are now the one apologizing and asking her to be happy again. What have you done? Accepted the responsibility for something that is clearly not your fault.
Well, maybe you are doing something. No one is perfect. Think about it and listen to what she tells you. Later, when you are calm, consider what she says and work to make necessary changes. We all could be better spouses. However, this does not mean you should take the blame for something that is clearly her fault. While your lack of attention towards her may be the reason she had an affair, you did not choose the affair. She chose to do what she did and no amount of blaming can change this. Promise to do better. Promise to be a more attentive spouse, but do not carry the burden that says you are the cause of the infraction.
What’s going on with your spouse? Well, he/she is selfish and childish. He can’t handle the negative feelings that go along with guilt so he “flips the script” and suddenly he’s the victim because you brought the subject up. You are hurting him. Why would you do this? This shows immaturity and a lack of character on his/her part and this behavior can be very detrimental to the marriage.
What else is happening? Your spouse is angry with himself and suddenly you are the object of his anger. While anger can be a natural expression of guilt, it isn’t necessarily a healthy one as an angry mind is often a clouded mind. By choosing anger, he isn’t choosing the best method to solve the problem and fix what should be fixed. Instead, he blows up, blames you and hopes you’ll just forget about it because the experience he just caused was so uncomfortable. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t forget about it. Misbehavior on the part of your husband or wife at this level could be a sign that you need counseling. If he continues to transfer the burden of guilt on to you, you’ll eventually get tired and calloused towards his behavior. Rather than growing closer, you are growing apart.
There is one area where you are at fault here. You allowed this to happen. When you know you are right (and you better be abundantly sure on this) stand your ground and force him or her to accept their responsibility. Otherwise, you’ll continue to be a parent wiping the chocolate brownie off the face of a guilty child.
As the school year’s end gets closer and closer, many students will be getting awards for their achievements. Honor roll, good attendance, high school, and athletics are just a few. Awards are good. They encourage students to do their best and to strive for greater heights in the future. I remember my first trophy. It meant the world to me that I had done something that warranted recognition. For some, participation trophies are necessary because doing one’s best takes a lot of effort regardless of the outcome. I remember football being such a sport. We all got trophies and to account for all the running this heavy boy did, I should have received two trophies.
In the home there are also small doses of recognition that encourage children to work, participate and consider positive behavior. We do this though giving money, more TV time and at my house it’s chocolate. I believe my 5 year old girl would clean every toilet in our house for a good piece of chocolate. Again, these rewards are good. Children will never see the value of cleaning their closets now because it will make them a better person later in life, but they do see the value in getting something in return right now.
What you give your child (and when) is up to each parent. However, there are some things that children should just be expected to do and there are categories in which children should get something because they may not see the big picture. A balance must be struck wherein the child learns just what is expected and what he gets rewarded for because maybe the act requires a little more effort.
Things the child should just be expected to do. Things like speaking respectfully and being nice to his sister should just be done. This is a mistake on the parents part if you constantly reward your child. You are teaching your child that everything he does gets rewarded and he is partially controlling your behavior rather than the other way around. Good behavior is its own reward.
What should your child be rewarded for doing? Maybe you are encouraging them to start or stop a habit. By giving them an expectation and a reward at the end, you can help them find the motivation to do better. Small events wherein he/she shows they are growing up. As potty training gets easier and easier, you should recognize this and praise the child. Maybe not with something tangible, but emotional recognition goes a long way. For older children, driving for a week or a month and not getting into an accident. By recognizing this small accomplishment you show that you’ve noticed their responsible behavior. Sometimes we are too busy speaking about the negative to notice the positive.
Helping around the house with things that aren’t a normal part of their regular chores. Your child may get an allowance each week for completing their chores, but what about cleaning out the garage? That’s not done regularly but you sure could use the help and you know that to your son or daughter, nothing could be more boring. One thing to consider is what your child’s specific needs are. Does he/she need a lesson in humility? Don’t pay them anything. Does he/she need a lesson that a good job gets rewarded? Promise to pay them and then promise a little extra if certain guidelines are met.
However you treat your child when it comes to rewards, make sure you are leading your child down a path of good character. By teaching them about lessons involving work, you are leaving the world hopefully a little better than you found it.
GET MY LATEST BOOK AT AMAZON
It is a scenario that I regularly see in my office. Spouse A has cheated on spouse B because he/she wasn’t participating in the marriage. Then, spouse B hurries to fix what has been wrong for 10, 20 or even 30 years, but many times, spouse A believe this effort is too little, too late. What has happened? Spouse B kept hitting the snooze button on their wake-up call. Here are some signs that your spouse wants to improve the marriage; typically through counseling.
He/she says, “I want to improve the marriage. We should seek counseling.” This is pretty straight forward. It might not be this nice, but it will typically be a blatant statement that he or she isn’t happy and wants things to change. Has your spouse said anything like this?
Your spouse spends time on other activities rather than the marriage. Your marriage is no longer fulfilling so other hobbies must be pursued in order for your spouse to get the daily recommended allowance of enrichment. This might be a personal activity or it might be another individual. In either case, it’s not with you like it should be.
Your spouse isn’t happy when he/she is around you. It is a cliche that marriages are to be unhappy prisons of barren loneliness. Well, after 16.5 years of increasing marital bliss, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can learn to be happy with your spouse. You should be happy.
You aren’t happy when you are around your spouse. You may be ignoring your wife or husband because of his or her behavior. This too can be fixed through counseling or even a pursuit of your own self-improvement.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Fix what’s wrong in your marriage, now.
What does it mean to be a man? Sadly, many don’t know. Our society desperately needs strong men. We need men who love their children and adore their wives limitlessly. Unfortunately, to many men, their ideal status is beer and TV. Give me a break.
The latest generation of boys to have started families was raised on video games and the negative father stereotype. The concept of getting drunk on the weekends was not a staple for college movies, it was what you did. Drug use is expected and a condescending view of women is typical.
We need a manly revival. One that expects men to do things differently. To live as their fathers and great-grandfathers did in many respects. If you are not doing the following three things, you are not a man.
First, do you put the wants and needs of your family second to your own? This is the trait of a good leader. A problem I see in marriages is that the man is constantly working to defend his selfish actions. Rarely do I see a man working to make excuses because he was acting in the best interest of his family.
Second, are you working to improve yourself in a variety of ways? By staying where you are, don’t expect your children to excel. Don’t expect to live up to your dreams and don’t expect your wife to admire you very much.
Finally, are you working to be an example to those around you or are you playing to the lowest common denominator in the room? Nothing says, “I have morals” like a man who says no to things he disagrees with and works to make things better in ways that he appreciates.
If you don’t know what it means to be a man, read, read read. Discover yourself and you will reap the rewards.
After you create other human beings, it gives you a certain sense of power. Of course you didn’t do it alone, especially the 9 month part, but there your child is; a creation that you helped bring into this world. It is truly one of nature’s wonders and if you are committed to raising the children properly, you gain certain superpowers.
First, you care about your kids, a lot and you will do anything to protect them. God blessed men with an immense propensity for danger. When you pair this with children that a man loves, the words, “your burning house is about to collapse” means nothing if the children are inside. Which brings us to our next superpower; strength.
Men who have daughters especially know this. Regardless of the size of the arrogant zit-faced teen that may enter your home, his perceived strength is nothing in comparison to what fuels your desire for justice in light of your little girl. This is also a reference to emotional strength because you must be there for her when she comes home crying. She may go to mom, but the strength you possess will also help her get through any difficulty.
Finally, I have a level of ESP that can only come from exposure to gamma radiation or in having children. Walk into a room or down a store aisle, I can predict with extreme accuracy the things my children will want to touch, hit each other with or knock over. This may seem like paranoia, but allow your predictions to come true a few times and you’ll see it for the superpower that it is.
By exercising these powers, and others, I’m sure I’ve forgotten, you can show your kids you truly love them.
We must invest in our families, but too many of us do other things besides build the relationships with our children or with our spouses. We spend time at work and all too often doing things we want to do which typically doesn’t involve family activity.
The story is told of a man who wanted to be successful so he met up with a guru and asked, “how can I be successful?” The guru told him to walk out into the ocean. The two men walked way out until it was up to their necks. The guru then held the man’s head underwater and asked him when he let him up what he wanted more than anything else when he was under water. He said, “I wanted to breathe.” The guru then said, “when you want to be successful as bad as you wanted to breathe, you’ll be a success.” How bad do you want to have a happy family?
Too many of us want to watch football more than we want to spend time with our family. We’d rather work in the yard, look at our phones or watch whatever is on TV. How we spend our time shows what we value. Do you value your family or whatever it is you do at the end of your day? Your actions speak louder than your words and your kids notice. Your spouse does too.
Men often struggle with just what to say to their wives. We tell them we love them but somehow this isn’t good enough. We tell them good morning and this doesn’t work either. “What’s going on?” men lament with a frustrated tone.
Think of Valentine’s Day. Saying the stuff you are just supposed to say or that you say everyday is like presenting her with a little candy heart. It’s nice, cute and is made of sugar, but it’s not that impressive. She wants the candy hearts. They are expected. You know that you’ll see them starting sometime in January and they will be everywhere. Well, what she wants every now and then is a Dove chocolate bar. I am speaking metaphorically of course. On occasion she wants you to stop what you’re doing, have her stop what she is doing and reveal to her your innermost thoughts regarding her. This takes a bit of planning, but you’re good at that. Jack Nicholson does it best in this scene from As Good As It Gets.
You might not be Jack, (my wife is thankful I’m not) so what can you say? Keep in mind that these just get you started. If she suspects that you’re response to her is canned, she’ll appreciate the effort, but it’ll be a Hershey’s Kiss, not a full Dove bar like you’re shooting for. Do this right and just wait’ll she gets a load of you.
Speaking to your wife’s heart is how you can connect with her emotionally. It could be just what your relationship needs.
When parents are seen having a tough time with their kids, many people without kids ask, “why would anyone want to have them?” Believe me, parents have asked the same thing, but even when you get a date night, the kids are sorely missed. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, here’s why I think people have kids.
First, it’s proliferation of the species. We are mammals and there’s a basic need inside of us to procreate. Something about sustaining life on earth. However, beyond being an animalistic tendency, there’s the payoff of something outliving our mortal time here. Through use, we can make the world a better place. This is why we want our kids to be better than we were.
Second, we get a glimpse of God’s unending love. Reading it in scripture is one thing but by bringing our own offspring into the world and being repeatedly asked for forgiveness, we see what it is that our heavenly father must go through. Some things just can’t be communicated. They must be experienced.
Finally, it can be a very enriching part of your marriage. While it won’t fix things that may be broken, it can certainly make a good marriage even stronger. Children begin with the most intimate part of a marriage and it grows from there.
I love the above picture. It’s a reminder of how things change and of how people can believe they are so right about something yet be so wrong.
The picture is from the Tour De France, sometime in the 1920s. Back when smoking was considered healthy, this made perfect sense, but now we know better. Unfortunately, many have died discovering this fact for themselves. The same can be said for our marriages. We know there are better ways but we don’t take the time to consider them or look for how we can improve. Instead, we continue to have a marriage where we aren’t fulfilled.
What are some areas in your marriage that you need to improve? The following are pretty typical.
Learn to communicate better and while this is a standard answer, it is one that continues to be proven over and over again. Couples know how to yell at one another but they don’t know how to listen. They know how to complain about what’s not happening, but they don’t know how to ask for what they want.
Meet the needs of your spouse. Don’t know what they are? He/she probably doesn’t either. Willard F. Harley’s book does a great job of outlining how this issue can be resolved in your marriage. When needs aren’t being met, spouses often look elsewhere.
Learn to spend time with your spouse and enjoy it. If your daily routine does not involve regular time spent with your each other, a real change must occur. While you might not spend every night enraptured by one another, sitting close on the couch will go along way to communicate love and affection.
Life is made up of the little things and the little things must be done right.