4 Ways to Keep our Marriages Healthy

This September my husband and I will be married for 18 years. We have a son entering high school in the Fall and our “baby” just lost his first tooth.  The saying, “the days are long but the years are short” is usually used in reference to parenthood. It rings true of marriage as well. It seems like only a short time ago I was walking down the aisle to “The Church’s One Foundation.”

I was weeding in our flower bed this morning and reflecting on how marriage is like a garden bed. Our garden beds need constant tending in order to flourish, and so do our marriages.

Keep our marriages healthy

Weeds are a given.

No matter how much you mulch, any gardener knows, weeds will be growing right next to your beautiful flowers or vegetable garden.  Marriage is between two human beings who are imperfect, and in the garden bed of marriage, weeds are to be expected. They can come in the form of attitudes of our hearts and unhealthy habits that form as we live together. One that is so easy to form – is the attitude of indifference, neglecting to invest in our marriage as we once did.

Weeds need to be recognized, then pulled out.

Every time I weed my garden beds, I always hesitate before pulling some of them. There are a few weeds that are obvious to me – I can recognize them in an instant. But there are some weeds that look like flowers. I find myself quickly thinking back to what perennials I planted in that bed – “is this a weed? Should I pull it?”

As married couples, we need to be able to recognize the unhealthy habits that may have formed in our marriage and pull them out before they grow huge and take root. Some of our habits and attitudes in marriage may have been around so long, that we wonder if they’re a weed or not. I can take baby weeds out with two fingers, but the weeds that have taken root take two hands and some serious effort to pull out.

Weeds can be kept at bay.

There are ways to slow weeds from growing – putting paper down in between your plants, followed by putting some kind of mulch on top of that. The years that I don’t mulch, the weeds grow huge very quickly. I always regret not taking the time to put a thick layer of mulch on.

4 Ways to Keep our Marriages Healthy

  1. Time together. It is way too easy to “do your own thing” after finally getting the kids in bed. One of the best pieces of marital advice we got was to spend at least 5 minutes talking to your spouse after your children are in bed. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but that quick check in is important.
  2. Weekly date nights. This doesn’t have to be expensive, or even out of the house. You can have a special meal or dessert together after your children are in bed. You can watch a movie together and snuggle. Just designate time to do something special that the two of you can enjoy together.
  3. Regular times away without the kids. My husband and I try to go away at least once a year, usually for our anniversary. It’s a time to reset, refocus on each other, and spend uninterrupted time talking, listening, and dreaming.
  4. Community and Accountability One of the best ways to see our weeds, when we may be blind to them, is through living in community and sharing our lives with others. This is an area that my husband and I know we need more of and we are slowly taking steps to invite others into our lives.

Making Marriage Matter

This past week I’ve been participating in my friend Leah’s 5 to Thrive Marriage challenge. It’s been a great way for me to spend 5 minutes a day to pause and reflect on my husband and what I love about him in different areas. It’s only 5 minutes or less, but it’s helped me to slow down and appreciate him in a renewed way.

One way the challenge has affected me is that I intentionally planned a lunch date and walk with him on my day off. I’m usually preoccupied with my list of “to do’s” and anxious to “get things done.” Participating in this challenge helped me to refocus and put that time with my hubby as THE most important thing on my to do list.

Challenges like these help me to focus on the flowers rather than the weeds in my marriage.

Leah is offering a Making Marriage Matter 28 day e-course. I highly recommend it for those newly married or for those like me, who have been married for much longer. Click the link or the picture below to find out more:

Making Marriage Matter

What ways do you keep your garden bed of marriage healthy? I’d love to know in the comments!

This post will be shared at these awesome link ups.

 

 

How to Clean Your Oven Naturally

I’m still slowly doing some spring cleaning around the house – long neglected areas that really need a deep cleaning. One of the handful of things I wanted to accomplish this Spring was a deep clean of our oven. It desperately needed it! This is my step by step process of how to clean your oven naturally without chemicals.

How to clean your oven without chemicals

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. Thank you for your support in this way!

I have to first start this post by apologizing to anyone who has used our oven in the past several years. When I finally saw the true state of our oven, I was embarrassed by how long my “slob vision” kept me from seeing how desperately it needed cleaning.

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3 Simple Ways to Add Mindfulness to your Day

As a mom of three boys in three different schools who also works part-time outside of the home and blogs weekly, I know what it means to feel busy and frazzled. As a mom who is trying to be present, loving, and intentional, I know the importance of slowing down and being mindful. Here are 3 simple ways I am adding mindfulness to my day, and how you can too.

Simple ways to add mindfulness to your day

3 Simple Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Day

I recently wrote on the secret to start living mindfully today. What was the secret? To breathe…not just breathe, but to breathe in a particular way. I think breathing deeply and purposefully is the first step to add mindfulness to your day, but I’m not including that in this list.

The three simple and practical suggestions I want to make fall under the two categories of:

Counter the urge to be productive all. the. time.

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5 Helpful Tips on How to Travel on a Budget

My sisters, mom, and I recently traveled to the Grand Canyon. It was a trip that was on my mom’s “bucket list” for years. This is actually the first time in several years that we’ve taken a trip together as a family. Here are a few things I learned about how to travel on a budget when you’re traveling with others who may not be on a budget.

5 helpful tips on how to travel on a budget

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The Perfect Long Weekend at the Grand Canyon (and beyond)

The Grand Canyon is one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World and a destination that a lot of people have visited. Most people we spoke with before our trip, however, only drove to the edge and didn’t necessarily venture into the canyon. When people found out we were going to be there for 4 days, they said we wouldn’t be able to spend 4 days in the Grand Canyon alone. Here’s our experience of a perfect long weekend trip to the Grand Canyon and the surrounding cities.

The perfect long weekend at the Grand Canyon and Beyond

Day 1 in Phoenix, AZ

My mom and two sisters all flew into Phoenix, AZ and rented a car to drive the 3 hours to the Grand Canyon.  We were hungry travelers and the rental car employee suggested eating at Carolina’s Mexican Food. After my sisters “Yelped” it (is that a verb, because if it isn’t, it should be. There was a lot of “yelping” going on that weekend) and approved, we went. It was great – close by, hearty portions, reasonable prices, and delicious. It’s kind of a hole in the wall, but don’t let the exterior deter you from going.

We stayed at the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn because all of the other lodging within the Grand Canyon was full. It was probably about a 10 minute drive in to the Grand Canyon. We only tried the food at the bar downstairs that first night, but we were not impressed. We would recommend going to Wendy’s or McDonalds instead of eating at the hotel premises for a quick bite.

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