Monthly Archives: August 2009

Aug 31

Marriage and Great Communication: Ageless Advice from Aged Couples

By Dustin | Communication

Marriage and Communication

Have you ever attended a wedding reception where they have a dance for married couples and the D.J. makes the couples sit down based on the length of their marriage?  First, the newlyweds are gone, then the 5-year whippersnappers, then the measly 10-year marriages, then 20, 30, 40…and then it gets interesting.

Once you get into the 50-year plus range of marriage, you are dealing with some major geriatric wonders.  I mean these people have not only lived for 70, 80 or even 90 years, but they have survived more than a half a century of marriage…with the same person.

My wife and I have been to a lot of weddings over the course of our relationship, and I can honestly say that I have grown to appreciate the “Anniversary Dance” more and more through the years.  No, it’s not the music, which is generally pretty lame so as to keep pace with said geriatric wonders, it’s the candid marriage advice that the winning couple is asked to give to the newly married bride and groom after the dance (and before they’re allowed to sit down and rest).

Ageless Advice

Almost invariably, the man answers the request for the best advice they have to offer with something along the lines of “Do what she says” or “Listen to her and you won’t get hurt” or some other short quip that old men tell best.

The woman usually seems just a bit embarrassed by the attention and the need to speak into a microphone, but with a quick gaze into the eyes of her long-time husband (who at this point is really feeling the ache in his knees and badly wants to sit down) she gives her advice.

And from my experience, the elder bride sums up her marriage advice with something similar to “Don’t go to bed angry” or “Always communicate well with each other.”

There you have the golden marriage advice that holds true for every generation: Great Communication makes a Great Marriage. Take a look at all of the blog categories listed on the sidebar of this website (these will continue to grow as I fill in the blanks with new posts): Finances, Sex, Spirituality, Children, Marriage Preparation, Household Management, Individual Fulfillment and Romance.  These are the major issues facing our marriages, and every critical topic requires solid communication for success.

Stay tuned for a variety of posts and great resources related to having awesome and open communication in your marriage.  In the meantime, remember that the first rule is that communication is a two-sided coin that requires both effective talking and excellent listening.  Even after 50-plus years of marriage, those old, happy couples that we can all admire still remember Rule #1 and recognize its timeless value.

Photo courtesy of maveric2003
Aug 28

Marriage, Sex and Family Planning

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

Family Planning and Children

If there is one subject related to marriage that I love to talk about, it’s sex! 🙂 Don’t worry (or be disappointed depending on how warped your mind may be), I am not referring to anything dirty or inappropriate here.  Instead, I am talking about how healthy sexuality should play a key role in a vibrant and successful marriage.

Of course, it is difficult to talk about sexuality and marriage without also discussing the issue of family planning and decisions related to bringing children into this world.  Good news!  I also have a passion for this subject and feel like I can offer a great deal of practical and hopefully comforting advice on this topic.

It just so happens that my wife and I are regular presenters on the topic of Sexuality and Family Planning in the marriage preparation class offered by our church. In fact, it was our involvement in this program, along with our interaction with many engaged and married couples, that inspired the creation of the Engaged Marriage blog and website.

You will find a lot of valuable resources related to having a healthy sexual relationship and finding the right family planning approach for your marriage in this category.  In particular, I hope to shed some light and spread the word about the family planning method that my wife and I have chosen: Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Whether for practical, moral, health, religious, financial or other reasons, many couples are not comfortable with their current forms of family planning.  This was an issue that we struggled with for the first four years of our marriage until we were blessed to discover (through a rather interesting journey) the practice of Natural Family Planning. I can hardly wait to share both the benefits and challenges of NFP, especially the fantastic positive effect it was had on our marriage and our overall relationship.  However, I am told that blog posts are best left shorter and sweeter, so I will save that for another day (but soon).

Before I wrap up this introductory post on Marriage, Sex and Family Planning, I did want to alert you to keep an eye out for what I feel will be a unique review of a product we have decided to use, the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor.  While we have successfully used Natural Family Planning for more than four years now to both quickly conceive and effectively space-out our two children, we feel like adding this monitor to our “toolbox” may help add another level of quality and effectiveness (especially since we are thinking of trying for Baby #3 soon).

I plan to purchase one of these from Amazon (based on their price and shipping offers) in the next few days, so we can start trying it out so stay tuned for updates.  If you are interested in reading more about this monitor or possibly purchasing one, you can click on the links for the MonitorClearblue Easy Fertility Monitor, the SticksClearblue Easy Fertility Monitor Sticks or the Monitor and Test Sticks Combo Package.

Photo courtesy of christine [cbszeto]

Aug 24

Marriage & Finances

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Money and Careers

Do you and your spouse or fiance ever have disagreements about your finances? Of course you do. It is only natural that we would have some differences of opinion regarding our spending decisions, especially when you are combining households and dealing with all of the other life changes that accompany marriage.

However, it is important to recognize that money fights and financial difficulties are widely regarded to be one of the leading causes of marriage problems and are often cited as a main reason for divorce.

It is vitally important that your marriage include a solid financial plan! The good news is that it is actually pretty easy to make smart decisions about money and set your marriage up for financial success. This is one of my favorite topics, so you can look forward to plenty of information about having a great career, buying a home, budgeting, becoming debt free, investing, giving, retirement savings, planning for college funds, buying a car, spending wisely, increasing your income and much more.

I have read many great (and not so great) books and free online articles on these subjects, and I love checking out useful forums and podcasts. So you can also expect some honest reviews that cut through the B.S. and show you where you can find the best tools to master this important aspect of your marriage.

Stay tuned for tons of useful posts that will give you the knowledge and resources you need to have a “million-dollar marriage”!

Photo by Rob Lee

Aug 22

The Big Issues Facing a New Marriage

By Dustin | General

New Marriage Advice

For many couples, it may be hard to imagine a more stressful time than those that we must face in our last years as poor single souls. Not only are you dealing with inconsiderate roommates, final exams, part-time work and the need to juggle a variety of critical social activities (sports, parties, beer drinking, movie watching, video games, etc.), you also have to plan the most romantic wedding proposal in history (for the guys) or the grandest wedding ceremony and reception ever celebrated in Western civilization.

Let’s not even talk about the trials of selecting the perfect wedding dress or honeymoon location, and don’t even mention the matrix that has to be evaluated to pick the right wedding attendants. And who can find a quality wedding photographer and a worthy cake decorator with a mere two years of notice? Talk about stress!

I’ll bet that those with a few years of marriage under your belt probably read these two paragraphs with a guilty grin. At the time, these seemed like real problems that demanded our full mental and emotional capacities. If we can only get through the wedding day and rock the honeymoon, life will be practically stress-free.

Not so much. Married life is awesome and lacks comparison to any life event for the sustained joy it brings (save perhaps the birth of your own children, but we’ll get to that). However, marriage brings about a LOT of new stressors and critical issues that you must deal with as a new couple.

Money, Careers, Sex & Family Planning, Household Management, Communication, Romance, Children, Individual Fulfillment, Spirituality. Yeah, these are kind of a big deal. Fortunately, if you are reading this, you have found what is emerging as a valuable resource to guide you from marriage preparation through those critical first several years of your marriage. Stick with Engaged Marriage as we address these issues and many others, and together we will try to get this whole awesome marriage thing figured out.

Photo courtesy of Missus L

Aug 21

Welcome to Engaged Marriage!

By Dustin | General

Some marriage humor

From marriage preparation to life with a full family of your own, the mission of Engaged Marriage is to provide candid and practical marriage advice for today’s active couples. I am psyched to bring this content to the world through what I hope will be an interactive and valuable resource for couples at all stages of marriage.

With more than eight years of (mostly) wedded bliss under my own belt and a diverse set of trials experienced with friends and family, I feel like I have some real-world experience to offer. Throw in several years as an instructor in formal marriage preparation classes and the role of confidant to some close friends struggling with their relationships, and I am about as close to an actual expert as you may get from a normal guy living the same circumstances in his own life.

In particular, I hope the advice, tips and discussions that you find at Engaged Marriage will inspire and instruct you to become fully engaged in your own marriage. My wife and I have shared the life of a struggling young couple and lived to tell about it.

Now I am excited to tell you about it and provide you with tools and a constant source of information to help you make your marriage awesome!

Photo courtesy of C.P.Storm