Monthly Archives: April 2010

Apr 30

Check This Out: Better Parenting

By Dustin | Check This Out

Better ParentingThis post is the second in a series called “Check This Out.” The purpose of these posts is to introduce you to other great blogs and online resources that can help you achieve the extraordinary in your marriage and family life.  Enjoy!

In this edition of “Check This Out,” I’m really privileged to introduce you to a fairly new site that I feel is going to be highly successful.  The site is called Better Parenting and, as the name suggests, it focuses on helping you become a better parent.

Better Parenting is headed up by a great guy with a cool name: Eppie Vojt.  Although Eppie certainly contributes, it is a multi-author site, so a variety of perspectives are provided on a wide range of topics, including marriage, family finances, pregnancy and of course parenting itself.

There are a lot of great parenting sites out there, but Better Parenting caught my eye with its great-looking design and the depth of content that’s been provided there in a relatively short time.  I am also a big fan of the site’s mission and approach to giving real-world, practical advice from those that are living the experiences they write about (sound familiar? 🙂 )

In Eppie’s words:

Better Parenting was founded on the belief that you don’t need a PhD to be an amazing parent, and that we can all benefit from the shared knowledge of regular, everyday moms and dads. You’ll find practical tips to help you parent better as well as inspirational stories to pick you up when the task seems tough.

In fact, I believe so strongly in what Eppie’s doing with Better Parenting that he has recently joined our blog network at the Extraordinary Life Network.  We are excited to add such a great site to our mix of high-quality resources, and I personally look forward to working with Better Parenting extensively in the future.

If you’d like a sample of the great articles featured at Better Parenting, I’d encourage you to check these out for starters:

You can also find Better Parenting (@BetterParenting) on Twitter, and they invite writing contributions in you’re interested in spreading your own parenting knowledge!

Let Us Know What You Think!

After you’ve had a chance to check it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Better Parenting and our expanded Extraordinary Life Network.

Please give a shout out in the comments!

Apr 27

Marriage as a Competitive Sport

By Dustin | Communication

Marriage and CompetitionEditor’s Note: This is a guest post by Susan Mallery.  I’m excited to help Susan kick-off a guest writing tour on a series of relationship and marriage sites in support of her latest novel (details below).

Susan is a best-selling romance/fiction writer and a strong supporter of marriage and our efforts here at Engaged Marriage.  Please welcome her and her fans to our community!

Everyone’s gone to dinner with a couple who just don’t seem to like each other.

As you fidget uncomfortably, Mr. Mean complains that his wife washed a red sweater with the whites, then he flashes his pink socks. Mrs. Mean snaps back that if he worked harder, they could afford new socks. They pretend the character slams are all in good fun, but you can hear the vein of bitterness beneath their words.

Worse, you can feel that bitter energy in the room. Spend time with Mr. and Mrs. Mean, and your soul shrivels a little more with every minute.

What Happened to This Couple?

The Means didn’t start out that way. Like most couples, they were giddily in love on their wedding day. So where did they go wrong?

Somewhere along the way, marriage became a competitive sport for this couple. He forgets her birthday, so she “forgets” his on purpose to teach him a lesson. He makes dinner, then figures it’s her job to do the dishes alone, even though he knows she had a tough day at work. She fails to fill up the car, so he deliberately leaves the toilet seat up, which he knows drives her crazy… and then she withholds sex.

They each focus on what their partner is not doing or not giving to them, and they try to balance the scales through retribution or neglect. Couples get into a downward spiral by deducting a point for every slight, intentional or accidental.

Then begins the name calling or a more subtle form of undercutting, such as making the other look foolish in front of their friends. One dig here, another there, and eventually all that acid causes love to erode away.

Let the Games Begin!

Looking at marriage as a competition is not the problem; the problem is the method of keeping score. We need to apply new math. Take the “subtract” key off the calculator, and marriage becomes a fun, positive game of one-upsmanship.

Here’s how the score keeping works:

  • Undesirable behaviors: 0 points

He folded the towels wrong, even though she’s taught him the “right” way several times. Under the old rules of score keeping, she would chastise him. Under the new rules, this is not a big deal. Zero points. She can refold the towels if it’s important to her, or she can start folding towels his way. It’s not worth wasting any negative energy on such trivial matters. Remember, no subtracting!

  • Desirable behaviors: 1 point

Each partner should be on the lookout at all times for opportunities to award and reward – award points, and reward the effort to earn those points. The reward can be as simple as a warm smile or a kiss on the cheek, or as elaborate as one wants to make it. The point is to notice the good things your spouse does for you, and then try to top them. It couldn’t be simpler. Try to do more for your spouse than your spouse does for you.

In other words, try to ignore everything you don’t like and focus on everything you do like about the wonderful person you married. When you stop deducting points for perceived wrongs, everybody wins the Marriage Game!

Please read Susan’s opening comment below and join in the conversation!

Photo by no lurvin here.


Susan MallerySusan Mallery knows a thing or two about love that lasts forever. As the New York Times bestselling author of funny, sexy romance and women’s fiction novels, Susan believes that happy endings are possible for couples who treat each other with love and respect, and who approach life with a sense of humor. Visit Susan online at

Her latest book, Chasing Perfect, is the first book of her new series of Fool’s Gold romances. Fool’s Gold is a charming California wine country town. The town has everything – breathtaking scenery, tree-lined streets, world-class resorts, friendly neighbors… Everything, that is, except enough men. Fool’s Gold is suffering from a man shortage, and no one knows why. Go to to read a free excerpt, meet the people, send an e-postcard, and download some fabulous freebies such as a puppet knitting pattern and a cookbook filled with delicious family recipes.

Apr 25

The Best Kept Secret About Mind-Blowing Sex

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

The Best Kept Secret About Mind-Blowing SexDo you know how to have sex?

I’m going to assume the answer is yes.  After all, on the surface, sex is a simple act of “Insert Tab A into Slot B.”

And if you listen to the incessant messages thrown at us by our sex-obsessed culture, there’s not a lot more to it.

Sure, the Internet is full of information about sexual techniques and supposed “secrets” to amazing sex.  There’s certainly no shortage of advice out there on how to get the woman of your dreams into bed and drive your man crazy in the sack.

However, these messages always leave out the real secret to an incredible sex life.

Sure Sex is Fun…

Sex is one of the most physically enjoyable activities that we can experience, and God designed it that way for our benefit.

After all, God wants us to have great sex!

The key though is to not limit your thoughts on sex to the obvious physical pleasure that it provides.  That’s certainly how our society treats sex, and it’s easy to see this limited view all around us.

Just look at any funny movie, popular magazine cover or any mainstream “relationship” website.

Every headline will center around one general idea: Sex is simply an activity and a form of recreation.

It’s all about how many times we have sex, how many different people we can hook up with and how intense we can make our next orgasm.

And this focus is not limited to some free-lovin’ approach to single life.

The vast majority of mainstream sex resources for married couples also approach the topic from the standpoint of making the act happen more often and with better technique.

I think we’d all agree that having sex with our spouse more often and in a physically satisfying way is great, but is that all there is to it?

…But It’s So Much More Than That

So are you ready for the big secret that never makes it into the headlines of Cosmo or the plot lines of a Judd Apatow flick?

Sex is not just an activity, it’s the most intimate form of communication.

Take a moment to read that line again and think about how it applies to your marriage and your sex life.

  • Do you treat your intimate time with your spouse as a time to communicate?
  • Do you feel what your partner is feeling when you make love?
  • Does sex reinforce the deep connection between you and allow you to express your love in a way that only the sexual union between a husband and wife provides?

Embrace The Gift

When you approach sex as the deepest form of communication with your spouse, it takes away the limits that our culture has placed on this Gift from God.

Sex is not reserved for “perfect” days when you are both “in the right mood.”  Instead, sex can be a perfect way to connect and express your feelings, even if they are feelings of stress, uncertainty or even disappointment.

Sex is not just for fun.  When we relegate it to another form of simple recreation, it falls back into the mix with other “fun things” and behind “important duties” such as chores, work, or a good night’s sleep.

Sex is much more important to your marriage than a load of laundry, and it should be treated with the awe and respect that it deserves as an amazing means to unity and closeness in your relationship.

Break free of the limits that our society likes to put on sex.  Tell your spouse how you’re feeling and receive their response openly, gratefully and with passion.

But remember that you don’t have to use words to have an incredible conversation…

Here’s the Next Best Step to Mind-Blowing Sex!

As busy married couples, we know that healthy intimacy is SO important to our relationships. Heck, a great sex life makes our whole family happier.

Intimacy Reignited was created to help you rekindle the intimacy in your marriage and create a lifestyle that encourages more and better sex.

Intimacy ReignitedJoin Dustin and guest expert Alisa DiLorenzo to learn the exact steps you can take starting today to make it happen.

When you invest in this one-of-a-kind resource, you’ll get the practical, action-oriented help you need to enjoy better intimacy and a reinvigorated sex life with your spouse.

Plus, you’ll get several amazing bonus resources to take your marriage to the next level.


Photo by Stoichiometry
Apr 23

The Five Relationships You Have With Your Husband

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Roles in Marriage

Whether we admit it or not, we all wear several hats in our lives.

It doesn’t mean we’re fake or a “poser,” it’s just that different situations call for different versions of us.

There’s the hat we wear at work when we’re taking care to contribute our ideas and relay our professionalism and the hat that we put on when we are spending time with friends and letting loose.

There are also the times when we are empathetic and vulnerable.

The reason we wear these different hats is so we can adjust to our environment and the people that we surround ourselves with.

Human beings innately want to have relationships and get along with and be accepted by other human beings.

Think about it.  What’s the worst punishment for prisoners?  What can be even worse then being in prison? Solitary confinement!

Being alone is the punishment for people who are already being punished…and it sucks!  Be sure not to be alone in your marriage by identifying and getting comfortable with the different roles you play in your husband’s life.

The Top Five “Roles” in Marriage

Below are the top five roles that are predominant in every marriage.  As you read them, think about what beliefs and behaviors could win you an Oscar in the “Movie of your Marriage.”

1. The Business Partner- I’m sure you’ve heard that a Marriage is like a business. This idea is notorious for creeping into some married couples bedrooms because it can sometimes bring monotony or a planned or scheduled feeling to the marriage.

The good news is that you can choose to be a Fortune 500 wife and use creativity and enthusiasm to get the job done, as opposed to being a hobby business that eventually gets boring and redundant.

2. The Muse- This is the role where you get to be the inspiration that drives your husband to be all that he can be.

Some important things you can do as a good Muse are accentuate his positive attributes by complimenting him frequently, be his cheerleader even he gets thrown off his game and, most importantly, get into his world by showing interest in his passions.

3. The Lover- I LOVE the lover! After being married for 2 or 20 years, the role of the lover takes a choice to make it great!

For this role, it’s worth investing in books, classes, games, teleseminars or anything else that teaches you new skills and tricks to keep your partner on his toes.

4. The Mother of His Children– Being the mother of a man’s child is one of the best gifts you can give your husband. Now he has two reasons to look out for you and protect you.

One because he loves you so much his head is in the clouds around you and two you need to be there for his children to be the best mom they could ever have.

5. The Voyeur– Sometimes you will need to sit back and watch what happens in your husband’s life and not say a word. The beauty of being in a healthy relationship is giving one another the space to be your own individual and make your own mistakes.

It can be difficult because sometimes we think we know better and can save them from their not-so-great choices, but just being there when things don’t turn out the way he thought can bring you closer than if you start to take on the part of mommy… which is a role you NEVER want to play in the adventure of marriage.

Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be the best you to your honey!

What different “roles” do you play in your marriage?  Are there roles that you wish your spouse (or fiance) would play a bit better? 🙂

Photo by smoorenburg


Cory Honickman is Los Angeles’s top Marriage Educator and the creative visionary behind “Reinventing Marriage, Commitment For Modern Emotionally Intelligent Couples”. Cory has coached and consulted to countless singles and couples that now declare that they’ll never have an unsupervised relationship again!

Through interactive multi media programs and systems, private intensives and platinum membership communities, couples can customize their marriage in a way that brings out the best in both of them and empowers them to make smart decisions. When couples want their personalized happily ever after, they call Cory Honickman, whose mission is to decrease the staggering divorce rates that exist worldwide. For more information, go to or call 888-378-5675.

Apr 20

The Grass is Always Greener…and I Don’t Give a Damn!

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

The Grass is Always GreenerWe’ve all heard the expression “The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side” throughout our lives, and I actually find it to be a useful mantra whenever I start feeling sorry for myself.  It is so easy to lose sight of our blessings and develop a jaded perspective, particularly when we’re faced with examples of the situations we do not find ourselves in.

I was (again) reading Your Life. Live it. Love it. recently, and a particular chapter really resonated with me.  A passage called “The Grass is Always Greener Right Under Your Feet” serves as an awesome reminder of just how powerful our own perspective can be when it comes to our happiness.

My life is full of examples of “what ifs” and “if onlys” and I’d like to share a few with you to see if you can relate.  I’ll take a peer over into my world from the perspective of someone with beautiful, free, single, wealthy, independent and uninhibited grass.

And then I’ll tell you why I don’t give a damn about their green grass!

Marriage is Hard

I got married when I was young and straight out of college.  If I wouldn’t have tied myself down, I could have spent the last nine years living an independent and free lifestyle.  I could have experienced relationships with many different women, spent a lot of fun times with my buddies and probably improved my golf game considerably.

I could have traveled extensively and experienced all that the world has to offer.  Incredible opportunities for wealth and entrepreneurial success would have been mine for the taking, and I could have taken part in all of the amazing adventures that I have only read about in books.

Kids are Expensive

I have two small children and one on the way.  The sacrifices that my children require in time and loss of independence are really incalculable.  The constant pressure and burden of providing for their every need is really stressful, and it makes it very difficult to care for myself and experience any truly free time.

My kids also cost a lot of money.  Their childcare costs alone would allow me to live in a house that costs more than twice my current home.  If I didn’t have the ongoing expenses associated with their food, clothing, entertainment and activities, I would have amassed a very nice nest egg by now.  And I’d be driving a sweet ride that didn’t require car seats.

Responsible Adulthood is Confining

I have a lot of stress in my life that is caused by all of the things I choose to do as a “responsible adult.”  Aside from spending a lot of time with my wife and children, I have a full-time professional career, a growing blog (about marriage of all things), church activities, community service and commitments of time to my extended family and friends.

If I instead lived at home with my parents and spent my time doing only the things that I enjoy, I would have an incredibly flexible and stress-free lifestyle.  I could drink beer and play video games late into the night, and I’d be able to take a trip to Vegas or go on a ski trip in the Rockies at the drop of a hat.

I would have the life that poor schmucks with a 9-to-5, a mortgage and tee-ball coaching duties can only dream about.

If only…I’d have a great life!

I Don’t Give a Damn About That Grass

I love my life.

When you peer over a proverbial fence and look at my yard with a judging eye, you’re likely to see some rough patches, some areas that have been neglected for lack of time and several crazy kids running around making a lot of noise.  My property isn’t as large as some, and it has some fences around it that may make others feel a bit trapped.

But it’s my grass, and it represents all that makes life so precious in my world.

  • That free and independent lifestyle would not have fulfilled me and given me unconditional love for the last nine years.
  • That big house would feel really empty without happy children and a beautiful wife inside.
  • Those trips around the world would be worthless within a life that has no meaning.

The grass will always look greener on the other side…and I don’t give a damn.

Instead, I thank God for every beautiful blade of grass that I find on our side of the fence.

Can you relate?

What part of your “lawn” do you love even though others may view it as weeds?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Photo by Geoff Penaluna
Apr 17

Check This Out: ONE Extraordinary Marriage

By Dustin | Check This Out

This post is the first in a new series called “Check This Out.”  The purpose of these posts is to introduce you to other great blogs and online resources that can help you achieve the extraordinary in your marriage.  I am particularly excited to highlight fellow marriage proponents who you may not be aware of (yet).  Enjoy!

In this inaugural edition of “Check This Out,” I’m excited to introduce you to a site called ONE Extraordinary Marriage.  The site is authored by husband and wife duo Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo.  You may recognize Tony and Alisa as contributors to the Love Everyday project.

I think it’s safe to say that a primary topic you’ll find discussed at ONE is intimacy and sexuality.  The DiLorenzo’s are fellow Christians, and they do everything with class.  The ability to handle such a delicate topic in a high-quality way is one of the things that sets ONE Extraordinary Marriage apart in a growing selection of great relationship blogs.

Another unique thing about this site is the fantastic Podcast component.  Tony and Alisa take to the microphones each week to deliver a quality podcast on a given topic.  Their most recent show focused on the topic of how we communicate through touch.

If you’d like a sample of the great articles featured at ONE, I’d encourage you to check these out:

It’s Not Talking Dirty, It’s Talking  Clearly

40 Days to a Mind Blowing Marriage (the post that started it all, I believe)

You can also find Tony (@oneonfire) and Alisa (@alisadilorenzo) on Twitter, and ONE Extraordinary Marriage on Facebook.

Let Us Know What You Think!

I’m curious to hear what you think of the “Check This Out” feature in general.  And, if you have a chance to check it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts on ONE Extraordinary Marriage as well.

Please give a shout out in the comments!

Apr 15

Don’t Feed the Swans…Or the Haters!

By Dustin | Communication

Good Communication in Marriage

I had two very different experiences last weekend that gave me a very valuable reminder of the importance of good communication.  As you will see, neither unfortunate event had anything to do with marriage, but I think they both hold lessons that we should keep in mind in our married lives.

Swan Attack!

After enjoying a wonderful day of free family activities, we decided to close things out by stopping at a local park to feed the ducks.  We had some old bread and two eager little kids.

Things started off well enough.  As we approached the pond, we had a couple of geese, some white ducks and some gorgeous mallard ducks swimming eagerly in our direction.  And then there was the big swan.

In hindsight, I should have been a bit more cautious about that damn swan.  This thing was big, and it quickly made its way to the front of the breadline, hanging out just on the edge of the water.  We made sure the big bird was well-fed, not that we had much choice as he was aggressively snatching every piece of bread that he could gobble up.


In the blink of an eye (and seemingly in slow motion), the swan was charging out the water and ran into my 3-year-old daughter.  It knocked her to the ground and hissed in her face like she had just talked bad about its swan-mother.  She was terrified, my wife was freaking out a bit, my 5-year-old son was already running back toward the car, and I was instantly caught up in a primal flight-or-fight response.

I started beating this swan in the head with my bread bag while my pregnant wife was carrying my screaming daughter back up the hill.  It was not amused or intimidated by my actions.  I eventually threw the bag at its big, ugly face and joined my family back at the minivan.

Fortunately, my daughter was fine, although “big ducks” are not on her favorites list at the moment.  And everyone had a great laugh at my expense when I went back to the pond to get the plastic bread bag that I had left behind (I didn’t want the non-evil birds to choke on it).  After a long stare-down and some aggressive posturing by both of us, I eventually emerged (running) with the plastic bag in hand.

Lesson Learned: Always carry a video camera.  I have no doubt that my retrieval would have made me a star on YouTube even without the footage of the initial swan attack/defense.

Marriage Lesson Learned: Pay attention to non-verbal communication.  In hindsight, I should have picked up on the devil-swan’s bad attitude and kept my family away.  Tune in to your spouse’s non-spoken cues and you’ll greatly improve your interactions.  But don’t hit them with bread bags.

If You Support Organized Religion, You Are Ignorant (Apparently)

I usually have nothing but awesome conversations on Twitter, and people are generally very helpful and supportive of each other there.  Well, over the weekend, I had my first really negative experience.

An “A-list” blogger and respected internet business person decided to use his platform of 40,000+ Twitter followers to attack first the Catholic Church and then organized religion in general.  I let his first tweet go by and just gritted my teeth a bit.  But after his second asinine statement, I just had to reply to express my disgust.

He responded to me with more barbs and a heated discussion followed.  I let my temper flare a bit and used some choice words that I now regret (a little).  The end result was that this self-professed social media maven blocked me from his account and deleted all of the tweets from our little discussion.  Apparently, he didn’t want his vitriol thoughts to be seen by the world…

I hope you can tell from this blog, my comment responses and my usual interactions in social media that I usually take the high road.  This guy really got me riled, and I lost my head a bit in the process.  I also doubt I’ll be allowed to guest post on his big blog anytime soon. 🙂

Lesson Learned:  When you peer into a crack on the surface, you may just find that those you respect are not who you thought they were.  Religious beliefs aside, this guy obviously has a massive ego to feel like he has a right and a platform to talk down to his “followers” and blast their beliefs with the idea that he is going to change their religious convictions.  And it seems to me that a true social media mogul wouldn’t need to hide from his statements by blocking users and deleting his messages.

Marriage Lesson Learned:  Don’t get dragged into the mud when a pig wants to wrestle.  I let this guy push my buttons, and I ended up losing my cool and behaving poorly.  As much as he wasn’t going to change my mind, I wasn’t going to change his either so our entire exchange was futile.  In your marriage, remember that the point of conflict resolution (fighting) isn’t to hurt each other or to “win” but to resolve the issue at hand.

A Final Thought on Sadistic Swans and Blogger Bullies

When you pay attention to the interactions you have each day, I’d bet that you can find all kinds of valuable lessons that you can apply to your marriage.  I am a firm believer that we can take what we learn from a bad situation and use it to improve our lives.

Please remember not to get too close to hateful, mean-spirited animals that think they own the place in which they stand.  And watch out for those swans, too.

Photo by by aussiegall
Apr 13

Announcing the Marriage Time Newsletter and Marriage Mojo Guide!

By Dustin | Time Management

You spoke and I listened.

When I asked you about the biggest constraint in your marriage, the overwhelming response was TIME.  I can definitely relate, and a lack of time would top my list of frustrations in my own marriage and life in general.  Fortunately, my wife and I have learned many valuable lessons related to finding and making the best use of our time, and I am learning more each day.

I was inspired by your responses and our own experiences, and I started thinking of effective ways to help address this extremely important issue.  Today, I get to share with you an awesome new resource that I am offering totally free of charge.

I am very excited to announce the launch of the Marriage Time Newsletter!  Simply put, if you want to maximize your marital happiness in minimal time, you’ll love this newsletter.  You can learn all the details right here, or you can go ahead and sign up below for FREE.  I promise you won’t regret it, and if you do, unsubscribing is as easy as a single click of the mouse.

A Free Bonus to Kick Things Off!

I think the newsletter is going to be awesome, and it will be the type of thing that I’d personally enjoy receiving.

However, to sweeten this free deal even further, I went ahead and developed a course that you’ll automatically receive when you sign up.  Enter your name and email below, and you’ll gain instant access to a series of exclusive emails that I like to call “Marriage Mojo: 7 Simple Steps to Romance for Insanely Busy Couples.

I think the name speaks for itself, but if you’d like to read more, just click right here to get the scoop.

Thank you in advance for signing up to join me to learn how to better manage your time and discover how to best use the time you have to bring greater success, happiness and satisfaction to your married life!

(If you can’t see the sign-up form, please click here.)

P.S. Many readers have previously entered their email address to receive updates whenever new posts are added to the blog.  This is not the same service!  You’ll need to enter your name and email above to receive the newsletter and free mini-course.  If you want the blog updates, those will still be offered as well and you can get them right here.

I’d love it if you shared this news with your friends on Twitter and Facebook as well and encouraged them to join us.  Our community improves with each new member.

And if you have specific questions or issues you’d like addressed in the newsletter, please let me know below.  We’ll also have regular Q&A available as part of the newsletter…thanks for your continued support!

Apr 10

Top 10 Posts of 2010 (so far)

By Dustin | Link Round-Up

Thanks to your support, the community here at Engaged Marriage continues to grow.  In particular, a lot of new folks have started reading over the past few months.  As I was looking back over the most-read posts for the first quarter of 2010, I thought it would be fun to highlight the Top Ten so everyone can see if there was anything that they missed.

Top Ten Posts in Q1 2010

  1. Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?
  2. Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps: A Real Path to Family Financial Freedom
  3. Our Debt-Free Marriage: How We Paid Off $54,500 in the Name of Freedom
  4. 37 Family Things to Do at Home on a Rainy Sunday
  5. Write an Awesome Romantic Love Letter: The Simple “5R” Approach
  6. How Does Natural Family Planning Benefit Marriage?
  7. Love Everyday – Thoughts on Loving Amidst the Chaos of Life
  8. Fight Fair! 6 Simple Conflict Resolution Skills for Your Marriage
  9. 10 Awesome Gifts for Married Couples
  10. I Love My Wife Enough to Shop at Wal-Mart

As you may know, I am a proud member of a wonderful blog network known as the Extraordinary Life Network.  Please check out the top posts from each of the member sites over this same period:

Enemy of Debt: Great Financial Advice From The In-Flight Safety Handbook

Mama Notes: Rain Gutter Bookshelves

My Super-Charged Life: Attitude for Success: Design a Better Life

The Wisdom Journal: 26 Ways To Make Extra Money While Keeping Your Day Job

Thank you again for your continued support of this site!  If you haven’t already joined us on Facebook or Twitter, I encourage you to check out the conversations going on there.  I’ll be announcing some special Facebook-Fan-Only giveaways real soon, so make sure you become a fan and don’t miss out!

So, what was your favorite post so far in 2010?

Apr 08

How to Get Your Spouse to Talk to You: 7 Tips for Engagement

By Dustin | Communication

How to Get Your Spouse to Talk to You- 7 (1)Do you sometimes have trouble getting your spouse to talk to you?  Or really listen to what you have to say?

It’s amazing how often I hear from couples who struggle simply because they “don’t talk anymore.”

If you’re struggling with this issue, I hope you will find these tips helpful for establishing healthy two-way communication in your marriage.  Even if it’s not a major problem, I think we can all improve in this all-important area!

And if you’re looking to really ramp up your communication, I highly recommend you check out our most popular resource on this topic – How to Communicate Your Way to a Better Marriage (Talking Optional).

7 Tips to Get Your Spouse Engaged

1. Be the Spouse You Desire

The first step to getting your spouse to treat you the way you desire is to model for them what that looks like.  You can’t directly control their actions, but you can control your own.

If you want them to be interested in what you have to say, be engaging and show how much you care about them.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of only reciprocating, but when you take that approach you both lose.  Try your best to “suck it up” and be the spouse that you want to be married to.

It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason.

2. Speak Their Language

In general, wives crave empathy and husbands crave respect.  Do your best to communicate in a way that fulfills your spouse on their terms.

I highly recommend that you read The Five Love Languages and apply the principles that you learn as a way to connect in a way that your wife or husband will respond to the best.  Speak their love language!

3. Don’t Shut Down

When you are not getting what you want, it is so easy to simply recoil and exact some “revenge” on your spouse by withdrawing.

This is not productive, and it will only degrade your communication further.  If you haven’t read the great  post by Stephanie Baffone called “What’s the Secret to a Happy Marriage?“, I highly recommend that you check it out and be conscious to avoid the unhealthy communication patterns that she highlights.

Remember, it starts with you.

4. Establish Expectations

Once you’ve gotten your own mind set in the right place, it’s vital that you let your spouse know in clear terms what you need from them.

Find some quiet time, turn off the television and tell your spouse that you really need to talk.  Sit down face-to-face, take their hands in yours, look them in the eye and really impress upon them how very important this is to you.

Don’t assume that your husband (or wife) really understands how deeply concerned you are about their lack of communication.

Tell them.

5. Don’t Expect a Mind Reader

After you’ve been married for a while, it is so easy to fall into patterns.  This is especially true in the area of communication where you develop expectations that your spouse knows what you are thinking and how you’d like them to interact with you.

Take a few minutes to read “Attention Ladies: Your Husband Cannot Read Your Mind!” and take this message to heart.

With guys in particular, you cannot assume that we know what you want…trust me. 🙂

6. Set Aside the Time to Talk

If you want to have a healthy marriage with extraordinary communication, you have to make it a priority.

This requires time, although it isn’t as difficult as it may sound.  Check out our manifesto on the topic “Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just be a Couple” and start setting aside a little time each day for the two of you to simply interact…without all of the distractions we all face in our busy family lives.

If you’re looking for some really easy, but very meaningful, ways to open up the conversation and feel reconnected in as little as 15 minutes, I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of 15 Minute Marriage Makeover.

7. Affirm, Affirm, Affirm

Make it a point to let your spouse know about the things they do that you like!  There is no better way to encourage the behaviors you enjoy than by using positive reinforcement.

My wife and I try to make it a point to tell each other one little thing each day that we liked.  This could be as simple as saying thank you for an encouraging text message or sharing how cool you thought it was that they spent time playing with the kids outside while you prepared dinner in a quiet kitchen.

A little affirmation goes a long way!

Give It a Shot

If you take these tips to heart and implement them with passion, I am confident that you can make great strides in your marital communication.  I realize that some issues run deep, and if you have serious problems or a total lack of respect in your marriage, I would strongly advise you to seek professional counseling.

For those of you who simply feel like your spouse needs a kick in the pants, I’d encourage you to take the first step and try engaging them by taking these actions for a week.

I’d love to hear if you are able to make progress toward a more fulfilling, and conversational, marriage.

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Communication is the core of any good relationship. And it’s especially vital to communicate well within your marriage.

Communication WorkshopYour relationship has matured and so has your need for quality communication – the way you interact in the morning, the way you argue, the decisions you make with your kids and the “feeling” you give off to the household when you get home from work are all important forms of communication.

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