Marital Monday: Pick and Choose Your Battles

The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook”

~ William James

Recently, I was reading an article interviewing married couples who had been married for a number of years. They were asked questions about how they met, how they knew they found “the one”, and some others. What stood out to me was the repetitive answer to this question, “What advice would you give to other couples?”  Although each couple was interviewed independently from the other couples many of them gave the same advice. That advice was to pick and choose your battles.

Pick and choose your battles.

PICK and CHOOSE your battles.

What does that mean? Are we supposed to just accept things in our marriage that we don’t like? When our spouse does something that hurts our feelings are we just supposed to sit quietly and let it happen over and over?

No.

It simply means not everything is worth fussing over. If you want a harmonious home you can not nit pick every thing that your spouse does. For example, Rick (my husband) does not care to sit and watch commercials. I learned this early on. If a commercial comes on he will change the channel to watch something else while mentally timing when the program we are watching should be back on at which point he will change the channel back. I on the other hand will just sit and wait till the commercials are over.  I am not of fan of the switching back and forth but am I going to complain about it every time he does it? What would that do but annoy him which in turn will cause me to become annoyed at his annoyance. Why go through all of that? Instead, I just sit and watch whatever he changes the channel to since he always turns back in time for our program to come back on.  Does he complain every time I leave tea wrappers on the counter (which is pretty often)? No. He picks them up and throws them away.

You have to pick and choose your battles. Not everything should be a complaint. As a woman I think I can say honestly that we are more prone to nag than men. Ladies I know you are rolling your eyes at me now but it is true. You know it is. Men, you can stop nodding in agreement, lol.

Ladies, whether you know it or not your husband tunes you out after a while when you complain about everything he does that might cause you both warranted and unwarranted frustration. So when there is a serious issue that is bothering you he is not taking it as seriously because to him you are just nagging again. Try to stop nit picking over the little things and only bring to his attention when you have a genuine concern. He will be more apt to listen and resolve the issue because he will not see it as you just complaining like you always do.  Husbands, if you are a nit picker the same applies to you. Give it a try and see the results. You will find a more harmonious marriage.

So in years to come if my husband and I are ever being interviewed and the question is asked of what advice would I give other married couples. I think I would give the same response.

Pick and choose your battles.

~Tricia

MARITAL MONDAY: Try to be a Better Spouse

I can not believe it is December 29, 2014.  Where has this year gone? Did you make any resolutions this year? I usually do not.  But for this new year I think I am going to make some marital resolutions. Not things for my husband and I to do together but things that I could do to make me a better wife.

I think I am a pretty good wife already and I hope my husband would agree, lol.  However, there is always room for improvement. There are always ways that you can be better spouse.  From communicating better to bringing home flowers just because. It goes for both husbands and wives.

You know your spouse! You know what you do that puts a smile on their face. You also know what you do that makes them frown. So try to make them smile more and frown less. If you are having a hard time coming up with something simply think of ways you can help alleviate some of the things that cause your spouse stress. I am sure your spouse would appreciate whatever you come up with.

If you choose to you can share your resolutions with your spouse, but I do not think it is necessary. I don’t plan to share mine. I should not have to tell my husband how I intend to be a better wife.  This is something that has to be shown.  I am so excited for 2015. I firmly believe that the best is yet to come for myself, my marriage, our family, and this blog.

I pray many blessings are showered upon you all in this new year!

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Our Love Story

Christmastime has always been my favorite time of the year. I love it for many reasons. For one, I am a huge fan of Christmas songs, the Jackson 5 Christmas Album may just be my favorite. I also remember when I was younger I had a audio tape of Orson Wells narrating A Christmas Carol which I would begin listening to every July playing it as I feel asleep in bed. I loved that cassette…lol

This season continues to be my favorite for another reason. It was during this time of the year that I met my husband. I wanted to take time and share with you our love story.

It was the Monday before Thanksgiving when I received an email from a mutual friend of ours.  Here are a couple of excerpts:

Hi Patricia
Hoping all is well. I am not trying to get in your business. I have someone I would like to introduce you to if you are not seeing som
eone.  He is a very nice , christian young man. ……… He is here visiting them and flys between here and New York quite often for his work……..College graduate, good character , has a sense of humor , family oriented and just a very, very nice person.  I have known him for quite some time now and saw him at church Sunday. I did mention to him that I would like to introduce him to someone I thought was beautiful inside and outside. “YES YOU”

He will be here for the rest of the week and will fly back here in December for the holidays and Church services New Years Eve.

If you are interested let me know. He gave me his number because I did not want to give him yours without talking to you first.”

Little did I know then that this email would change my life. After going back and forth a couple of times I took his number and allowed her to pass my number to him.

I. CALLED. FIRST….lol.  I called him the day after Thanksgiving secretly hoping he would be busy and I could just leave a message. Thankfully that is what happened.

On Sunday my phone rings and on the other end is this deep voice asking for me. It was Rick.  I can’t say either of us were blown away by the first conversation. He talked about his work (which I had a hard time following) for a good part of the conversation. If you ask him he says he felt like he was being interviewed. Even though we both felt the conversation was a little dull we somehow stayed on the phone for a couple of hours.

We emailed a couple of times through the week and he called again the next Sunday. I just remember at the end of that conversation I told him he did not have to wait a week before calling me again. And he didn’t. We emailed and talked constantly. His voice became the first and the last I heard everyday.  Having the month to communicate before meeting allowed us to truly get to know each other. I was really starting to fall in love.

So moving on…. He came back into town for Christmas. I went to pick him up from the airport. We had exchanged photos about a week or two prior so I knew who to look for. I remember standing at the gate feeling so nervous. When I saw him all the nerves left and I felt like I had known him forever. He was at his parents’ home for two weeks and we were about to see each other every day (except Christmas).  During this time we even met one each other’s parents, lol.

I know it sounds cliche` but I knew he was “the one.”

How did I know you ask? I know because it was effortless. I was not trying to be who I thought he wanted me to be. And he was not being who he thought I wanted him to be. We were just being ourselves which allowed us to fall in love naturally.

After the two weeks were up and he had to go back home we were committed to seeing where our relationship could go. I flew out to see him for a weekend. He flew back when my grandfather passed away. I was working at a school at the time and my birthday was during the Spring break which worked out great and allowed me to fly down for the whole week. It was the best week ever!  I had never felt like that before. We had already exchanged ‘I love yous’ which was a big thing for both of us.  I was head over heels! I still am!

In June he popped the question.  I will save that story for another time, but I will tell you it involved the rain, a rat, and loud rowdy kids….lol. We got married the following April. It was such a magical day. I am beyond grateful that his voice is still the first and last that I hear each day.

What is your love story? When was the last time you thought about it?  I know everyday life gets in the way and many pages in the story of your life together have been written since. But ever now and then it is important to go back to the first page and see how the book started.

 

~Tricia

 

Marital Monday: I Just Can’t Live Like This Anymore

This past Saturday morning while my husband, the kids, and I were laying in bed, I was looking for something to do. I saw that Disney Live was in town so we got up, got dressed and bought some tickets online and off we went. Never once did I think I would find inspiration for my Marital Monday post at Disney Live.

We were settled in our seats waiting for the show to start when the people seating directly behind us sat in their seats. It was a young couple, I’d say early 30’s, with a little 2 year old girl (I overheard her mother mention her age).  Anyway they sit down and I feel their tense energy. Something had occurred prior to them sitting because I heard them bickering and the wife told her husband if he was going to be like that it would have been better if he stayed home.  I felt uncomfortable. I tried to focus on my kids and did not notice that the husband left and the wife’s sister and niece joined the wife in the row behind us.

The woman starts to tell her sister how upset she is. She said that while in the lobby their daughter was acting up doing what normal 2 year-old children do when her husband told her that she (the wife) needs to discipline the little girl better since she is home with her during the day.  She went on to complain that he is always so negative.  Apparently on Thanksgiving when they were with her family he was nice and pleasant but when they went to see his family he was being an “Ass”.

I am really feeling uncomfortable now because she is crying. WHO CRIES AT DISNEY LIVE?! She had to know that the woman (me) sitting about 2 1/2  feet in front of her could hear her conversation. She was not whispering and there were 2 seats between her and her sister that she had to talk over. I think her sister felt uncomfortable too. She was not expecting this conversation when she sat down. She asked if her brother-in-law was always like that and her sister said yes.

THEN. SHE. SAID. IT!  Between the cries she said “I just can’t live like this anymore.”

Thankfully in my years of marriage and prayerfully in the years to come I have never felt that feeling.  But many couples have. That is the purpose of this post. I want to encourage you to pray for the marriages of those around you. Things may look great between a couple on the exterior but on the interior the marriage is falling apart. Pray for the strength of your friends’ marriages, your siblings’ marriages, even your parents marriage. I have known of couples that raised and married off their children and came to realize that they “could no longer live like this.” It happens.  I have even noticed it with neighbors. There is a house on my street where 2 years ago there were two cars in the driveway and now there is only one, because for whatever reason the couple separated.

But most importantly pray for your own marriage. Do not take your union or your spouse for granted. If you are having trying times communicate effectively and positively to promote an effective and positive outcome.

And please avoid saying things you don’t really mean, that you will only regret and your spouse will never forget!

Thank you for faithfully reading my Marital Mondays.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: 10 Biblical Rules For a Happy Marriage

 

  1. Never bring up mistakes of the past.
    Stop criticizing others or it will come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).
  2. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
    And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? (Mark 8:36)
  3. Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.
    And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry (Ephesians 4:26).
  4. At least once a day, try to say something complimentary to your spouse.
    Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).
  5. Never meet without an affectionate welcome.
    Kiss me again and again, your love is sweeter than wine (Song of Solomon 1:2).
  6. “For richer or poorer” – rejoice in every moment that God has given you together.
    A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate (Proverbs 15:17).
  7. If you have a choice between making yourself or your mate look good, choose your mate.
    Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them (Proverbs 3:27).
  8. If they’re breathing, your mate will eventually offend you. Learn to forgive.
    I am warning you, if another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him. Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him (Luke 17:3,4).
  9. Don’t use faith, the Bible, or God as a hammer.
    God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it (John 3:17).
  10. Let love be your guidepost.
    Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged (1 Cor. 13:4,5).

**Courtesy of CBN.com**

Marital Monday: Conflict Resolution!!

 

I am a Social Worker. Have I told you that? Well, currently I am a stay at home mom of 2 but, being a Social Worker is one of those things that you just don’t stop being. When I met my husband I was working as a School Social Worker. As a SSW part of my job was to mediate conflict resolution between students. If students were getting into it they would come to my office and I would pull out my beautifully laminated cards that had the steps for conflict resolution.marriage cartoon

Fast forward to present day. Where the heck are those cards?  You would have think that conflict is easily resolved between my husband and
I because of my astute knowledge of conflict resolution. After all, I have been trained to listen to others and assess emotional needs. NOT!

Here is how conflict is has been resolved between us. I raise my voice.  He walks away or shuts down.  Rick, that’s my husband, told me very early on that he does not argue. I don’t see my self as an arguer so I thought I understood what he meant. Then one day I got upset about something and raised my voice. He did not raise his back and simply walked away. He reminded me that he does not argue. Even when I don’t raise my voice and bring up an issue I have he tends to shut down because he does not like conflict. I totally respect and appreciate this trait because a memory our children will not have when they grow up is that of quarrelsome parents. However, this is not an effective way to communicate. Neither of our ways are.

I should not raise my voice to my husband and he should not avoid addressing an issue. So what do we do. I thought about it and remembered the steps to good ole’ conflict resolution.

  1. STOP – Just stop! Before the conflict gets any worse. If you feel like there is a issue that has the potential to turn heated, just stop. Cool off. You have a much better chance of talking it over if you just take a couple of deep breaths. This is what my husband does which makes perfect sense. The only problem is, is that this is the only step he takes.
  2. SPEAK – Take turns talking about what the issue is. Calmly. Talk about what would make each of you happy. With students I would encourage the use of “I” messages. Some examples are: “I feel….” or I did not like…..”. Just start with “I”.
  3. REPEAT – Repeat what it is you heard one another say to avoid any misunderstandings.
  4. APOLOGIZE – Take ownership for your part in the conflict and apologize sincerely.
  5. THINK – Now that you both know what the other wants, how can you meet your spouse’s needs regarding the situation? What would be a positive outcome to ensure you are both satisfied? Decide on a solution together. Try writing down the solution as a reminder of what it is you have agreed to do.
  6. FORGIVE – In marital terms this would be “kiss and make up”. Forgive whatever it is your spouse apologized for.  This is your friend, lover, confidant, soul mate, etc. You should be able to resolve your issues and forgive one another.
  7. PRAY – I just added this one. Pray together about the resolution that you both just went through.  Pray that your solutions will be effective and cause a positive change within your marriage.

No marriage is without conflict. It is how you choose to handle the conflict that determines how big it grows. Don’t just yell and don’t just walk away. Address it in an effective way. If this is what our children are being taught to do in schools then this should be what we are modeling for them at home.

~Tricia

Steps For A Perfect Date Night

date nightWhen was the last time you and your spouse had a date night? You have to make the time to have them in your marriage. Dating should not stop once you get married. Here are some quick “Date Night” tips.

  1. SET A DATE – Spur of the moment dates can be great but try picking out a date in advance. When you set a date, it gives you something to look forward to. Sit down together and pull out your calendars. See what works best for the both of you. Then, pull out the red lipstick and put a heart around it. Make it stand out on your calendar so that every time you look at it you see that bright read heart. I guarantee it will make you smile every time you see it.
  2. GET A RELIABLE BABYSITTER – This is not the time to experiment with a sitter. For this date you want the kids to go with the grandparents or an aunt, someone that is reliable. You don’t want to get a call that day from the sitter saying they can not make it. Make it with someone the kids are comfortable with and will look forward to staying with….for the whole night!!!! Yes! The WHOLE night! This way if you want to spend the night out with your spouse you can and not feel rushed to get back to the kids. Enjoy, and have fun!
  3. PICK OUT YOUR OUTFIT – Don’t just wait for the day to come to figure out what you are going to wear. Look through your closet and decide what look you want to go for. Hey, it may even give you an excuse to buy something new. This is for both husbands and wives. When we have a wedding or an event to go to, my husband plans in advance what he is going to wear. I want him to put in that same kind of thought to go out with me. It makes your spouse feel extra special.
  4. PDA (Public Displays of Affection) – While your out be affectionate. Hold hands. Give kisses, Give little butt slaps. Just don’t walk around like this…… Couple walking with hands in back pocketsI have never been a fan of this, lol.I’m not saying to make out and make those around you uncomfortable. Just give each other little reminders that you still find your spouse to be the most irresistible person in the world.

and finally….

  1. SEAL THE DEAL – This is the love of your life. You just had an amazing night out and you come home to an empty house. You have been gazing at each other all night in your fine outfits, showing affection. Your hormones are racing. At this point you should be headed to the bedroom…..or the living room…. or the kitchen… (this is why i said to have the kids spend the night away…lol). Feel free to do whatever you choose where ever you want because you have the house to yourself. Just have a GREAT night!!

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Talk More Text Less

Do you and your spouse text throughout the day? My husband and I do every now and then. It is usually when I call him and he is unavailable to speak, he will shoot me a quick text to let me know why he couldn’t pick up.  Other than that we don’t usually exchange texts back and forth.

However, there are some couples that text throughout the day and then in the evening when they are together they barely speak, sitting on opposite sides of the couch with phones in hand.

Communicate!!! Talk!!!! Listen!!!!

I know at times I find us on opposite sides of the couch with phones in hand. And it is a sad sight. What is even worse is if we are in bed and both on our phones, him playing Candy Crush and me checking my site stats. This used to occur but I am proud to say as of late it is rare for us to be sitting in bed on our phones.

Communicate!!! Talk!!! Listen!!!

If you find that in your marriage you are texting more and talking less that is something that needs to change. You and your spouse should make time to just talk. Without children interrupting. Just the two of you.  Turn of the television and just talk. How about you try playing a game. A fun game to play is “2 Truths and a Lie.” Each person takes a turn and makes three statements about themselves, one of which is lie. The other person has to guess which is a lie. Now I am not trying to pull a bunch of skeletons out of your closets. It is just supposed to be fun facts.  You may be married but there should always be things you can learn about one another.  You might be surprised how much you enjoy talking and laughing. Yes laughing, when was the last time you sat and laughed with your spouse? Not because of something on TV, or in the presence of others. Just you two.

 

Communicate!!! Talk!!! Listen!!! Laugh!!!

If you don’t want to play a game just ask each other questions. This book is a good one just ask each other questions and listen to the responses. I hold a Masters in Social Work so asking questions is my thing. However, my husband always says it feel like therapy (but I know he secretly enjoys it, lol).   Whatever you do just make sure you are talking more and texting less.

 

 

~Tricia

The Crumbs

Recently I came across this blog First Fruits or Leftovers? at darbydugger.com. This article is simply asking the question, “Does your husband get your best?”.

The writer asks the following questions:

  • Do I dress up more for the women at Bible study than I do for my husband?
  • Am I more grace-filled with my children or my spouse?
  • Who sees my smile the most: the stranger on the street or the man I share a bed with?
  • The majority of my thoughts, my prayers, my time, and my energy are directed at whom?
  • At the end of the day, do I have time to blog but don’t have time to initiate great sex?

I must admit as I sat here and asked myself these questions and came to the conclusion that my husband is getting my leftovers. For instance, when my husband leaves for work I am in PJs and have just gotten out of bed. After he leaves I get dressed to take the kids to whatever is on the agenda for the day. My outfit is usually a nice top, jeans and boots. However, by the time my husband comes home I am in sweats and totally undone. Why do I get dressed for strangers, yet my husband does not get to enjoy dressed up Tricia? He is totally getting my leftovers.

The smile question, same thing. I am all smiles at the library and play dates but in the evening I am straight faced Ms. Serious Pants. Makes no sense. And I am not even going to talk about that last question…lol.

Instead of thiswpid-2014-10-27-21.27.28.jpg.jpeg

He is getting

wpid-2014-10-27-21.26.15.jpg.jpeg

Okay, so it may not be that bad, but you get the point. If I am giving him anything other than my first fruits then it is not fair to him or our marriage. I want his first fruits and not his leftovers so it is only right that I give what I expect to receive. I promise to work on this and update you on how I am doing.

Is your spouse getting your first fruits or leftovers.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Take Notes

I enjoy observing older couples or couples married for years. I have been married for 5 years so I feel there is always something to learn about marriage. The following two situations are ones that I have recently observed and took mental notes on.

Situation 1:

A few years ago my cousin got married in Florida. My husband and I flew down to attend and my mother flew down as well. It is very rare for my parents not to travel together. Usually when you see one, you see the other. They have been married for 42 years now and that is just the way it has always been.

My mother stayed with us for the two nights. At one point while we were sitting watching TV on the first night she got up and said she was going to get an orange. She got her orange, peeled it and then offered half to my husband and I. Both of us declined and she just stood there for a minute then she sighed and said,

“I miss your father, he always eats the other half of the orange.”

I was very moved by this so I took a mental note. I noted her sincerity, her love, and her appreciation for her husband in his absence. You could really see that she missed him. That is the kind of love I am looking to have as my marriage grows. I thought it was sweet.

I look forward to sharing fruit with my husband, I just have to figure out which one because he is not a fan of oranges.

Situation 2:

The other week while I was waiting for my car to get an oil change there was another woman waiting also. She was an older woman just sitting doing a crossword puzzle. Then her phone rang and this is the gist of the conversation I heard.

“Hey Baby…..just waiting for the car to get done…..I am going to make some matzo balls and chicken for you and leave it on the counter…..I love too….bye honey.”

After she hung up I told her that sounded good (I have a thing for matzo balls, in case you didn’t pick up on that in Check Please). She smiled and told me that she didn’t like it but her husband loves when she makes that dish. I don’t know if I felt inspired or encouraged, but it was something. You can tell they have been married for a while so I decided to take a mental note. I noted her confidence, her usage of endearing terms and her voice level while speaking to her husband. It was obvious that the spark is still there between them just by overhearing her verbal communication.

So next time you see a more seasoned couple take mental notes keeping in mind that no marriage is perfect and what works for one couple may not work for another. Just use what you observe as a guide. Years from now you never now what young couple might be observing your marriage and taking mental notes.

~Tricia