Monthly Archives: October 2011

Oct 18

Being Fat and Lazy is Hurting Our Families

By Dustin | Time Management

How many times have you heard this expression?

You don’t have anything if you don’t have your health?

I’ve heard it thousands of times, and I’ve experienced first hand just how true it is in my own family.  Yet, SO MANY individuals, married couples and families continue to live in a way that seems to totally disregard this truth.  And there may be no bigger issue facing our marriages!

Let’s face it, we all know that we should be living a healthy lifestyle.  Yet, the sad is reality is that most people simply don’t.

This is particularly frustrating when it’s parents setting a poor example for their children, or worse yet, directly leading them to a life of obesity, diabetes and other chronic health issues.

Consider These Facts

  • 68% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight & 34% are OBESE
  • 20% of CHILDREN ages 6-11 are OBESE
  • Only 35% of American adults engage in regular physical activity
  • 50 million Americans suffer from SLEEP problems & half these folks cite stress as the reason.
  • 75% of Americans experience symptoms related to STRESS in a given month
  • Americans now spend spend more money on FAST FOOD than on higher education, personal computers, computer software or new cars.

Basically, the McDonald’s mindset is taking over our culture while

So What Can We Do About It?

It starts with each of us personally taking responsibility to improve our lifestyle and lead our families.

To make this a reality, we need the proper tools that fit the busy lives that we lead.  I co-created a site called Fit Marriage, and there are a plethora of exercise and nutrition resources and tools available there.

We have literally helped thousands of people get fit, stay fit and enjoy their family lives with renewed vigor.  I can’t describe how fulfilling it’s been to touch marriages and families through the gift of improved health.

Earlier this year, we released our super-popular Thrive90 Fitness program.  This program put our training approach into action, and it’s already helped hundreds of busy couples get slim, strong and full of energy.

It’s been awesome, but it hasn’t been enough. Our community, which includes many of my friends here at Engaged Marriage, continues to tell us over and over that you need something different, something new, something that gets to the core issues holding you back from the fit lifestyle you desire.

So Here’s What I’m Coming To…

It’s Time to Share It ALL & Revolutionize Lives

Here’s the deal.

Fitness tools are good, and there are countless exercise and diet programs in the world.  The people who use the good ones get amazing results, as we’ve seen with Thrive90.

The problem is most busy couples and on-the-go parents DON’T USE THEM.

The time has come for a holistic AND simple solution to lead busy families toward the fit and healthy lifestyle they crave.

I have literally received hundreds (probably thousands) of requests from busy couples and parents like you asking for help with:

  • Finding Time
  • Getting & Staying Motivated
  • Simplified Exercise & Nutrition (that just works for busy families)
  • Community, Accountability & Coaching

These requests come (in that order) every single time we ask our readers at Fit Marriage and clients what they struggle with most when it comes to their fitness.  NO ONE IS ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES!

Tony and I are on a mission to empower families and make a healthy, fit lifestyle a happy reality in the lives of everyone that wants it.

To be effective, this has to go beyond sets and reps or diet plans.  It must be holistic and specifically created to meet your needs as busy couples and parents.

I’m Making a FREE Resource Kit for You, IF You’re Interested in This New Approach to Family-First Fitness

I’ve been really humbled by the buzz surrounding my last blog post at Fit Marriage.  There was some confusion about exactly what I was considering, but it’s clear that the BIG idea here resonated with many.  There has been A LOT of interest in this holistic fitness system that we are POTENTIALLY developing.

But to test the waters…I’m making a value packed, 100% free “Fit & Busy Life Resource Kit” for you.

IF you’re serious about getting on-board and leading yourself and your family toward a fit lifestyle.

Here is what the free “Fit & Busy Life Resource Kit” may include:

  • A recorded interview of my story with how I got started with these techniques, the keys I learned from Tony and other fitness experts that finally made our family’s fit lifestyle “click” for good, and why this new approach has the power to fuel even the busiest family life.
  • A workout that demonstrates exactly the type of exercise routine you can use to achieve maximum fitness results in less than 30 minutes per session – at home and with your family, if you choose.
  • The “Getting Control of Your Time” primer that I personally developed to get super busy individuals moving forward with the confidence and mindset they need to achieve their fit lifestyle.

But Here’s the Catch

Because I’m a helpless perfectionist and will inevitably blow this thing way out of proportion…

…I want to get a list of everyone who is interested in a fit lifestyle and having this free “Fit & Busy Life Resource Kit.”

So Here’s What I Want You to Do

I’m making a list of everyone potentially interested in getting our free resource kit AND getting in at the start of all this.

Anyway, if you’re interested, then: (1) enter your email address below, and when it’s completed I’ll send it to you at the email address you list below (leaving a comment below with any suggestions on what you’d like to get from the kit would also help). If you already signed up for this over at Fit Marriage, there’s no need to do so again.


If you don’t want the free “Fit & Busy Life Resource Kit” then no worries. I just didn’t want our community here at Engaged Marriage to miss out on something that is so near and dear to my heart.

Here for you,

Dustin Riechmann

Oct 14

Win Hearts, Not Arguments

By Dustin | Communication

In his book, ‘How to have a beautiful mind’ author Edward De bono explains how one of the characteristics of a beautiful mind is that it carries on with a conversation for acquiring something meaningful in the end, with the hope of gaining some knowledge and not just for the sake of winning the argument.

Same rule applies to relationships.

Always be more focused on understanding your partner and not on simply pulling him down.

Carrying on with the argument with the intent of winning eventually wastes a lot of time and energy without any gain and, in the end, both you and your partner will lose.

Studies have proven that the biggest source of conflict in any relationship is ego – the urge to win over the partner.  We are made to be competitive and to look at everything as a test, as a battle to be won and we believe that is how we achieve perfection.

Winning makes us feel secure, strong and safe. But for any relationship, this attitude is disastrous.

Constant conflicts that result in humiliation and hostility finally lead to distance – emotional and physical distance from the partner and thus a relationship becomes totally void of communication!

Every couple knows the dire results of defeating your partner, but still many engage in it. Why?

Some believe that if they hit first, they will be able to avert the shame and bully that they would otherwise experience. They feel that it is the only way to survive in a competitive, argumentative marriage. They think they have just two options – be a hammer or a dust bin and they obviously choose to be the attacker.

There are ways to break this cycle.

With conscious efforts and mutual understanding, a couple can avoid such arguments and in turn convert any discussion into a healthy conversation that results in resolution.

1)      Remember winning means losing – while arguing, always remember that attempts to win actually mean you are losing.

Any victory that leads to long-term damage to your partner’s esteem or harms your marriage is your loss.  Your ultimate gain is a successful, happy marriage.

2)      Become a good listener – this will not only help you in marriage but also in your professional life.

Good listeners are usually more dependable and they are able to understand things better. If your partner shows resentment, listen to him. Understand what he feels so oppressed about and later with mutual co-operation, try to sort things out.

3)       Develop an atmosphere of trust – When your partner complains, you may not always like hearing him out.  You may completely disagree with him or your ears may simply shout out at the cacophony, but still it is advisable to lend an empathetic and compassionate ear to him.

Instead of simply imagining that you are sure what he is going to say, do a reflective thinking and hear him.  With this approach, an atmosphere of trust and open communication is created which gives a solid foundation to the marriage.

4)      Reflect back on your actions and words – It may be true that your partner keeps complaining, but there is likely some ground to his complaints. It is always better to do introspection in peace.

If any of your particular habits or words miff him, it is better to not repeat it to avoid any difference.

For example, my husband would get peeved up if I mentioned few things or talked about few people. I could not understand his logic of discomfort, but after having understood him better, I decided to never talk about them. Reason – he was not comfortable with it. His comfort is supreme for me and hence, I changed my way and maintained peace.

5)      In times of disagreement, think of long term effects – I had quit my lucrative day job to settle down peacefully in my marriage at a far off, isolated island. It was okay for a while, but slowly I started feeling disoriented. I missed my work and in the frustration, I started complaining about everything.  I would nag at my hubby for almost everything.

One day my hubby very politely told me, ‘dear, if you keep arguing with me like this, I will stop telling you things. And then I will shrink into my shell and never be able to open up with you’.

That day, for the first time, I realized the grim consequences of my nagging and that very moment, I stopped complaining. Thinking of long-term results keeps one focused on making the relationship work and thus helps in keeping unnecessary altercations at bay.

Being understood is the basis of any relationship. Understand your partner, good or bad, and set the base for a rock solid companionship.

Note: This guest post was written by Surabhi Surendra of Womantics

(photo source)
Oct 05

How to Talk to Your Partner About What You Don’t Like Without Starting World War III

By Dustin | Communication

Note: This is a guest post by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Ashley Arn.

When you’re married, it’s inevitable that some things your partner does, or doesn’t do, will drive you nuts.

It would be great if we could love everything our partner does, but it just won’t happen.

Truthfully, if our partner did every single thing we wanted, it would be great at first, but then even that would become annoying!

I absolutely adore my husband and am simultaneously extremely annoyed by some of the things he does at times. Some things about our partner are bound to get on our nerves, but how we talk about these things makes all the difference.

What do most people do in these types of situations?

Most of us either don’t talk to our partner about what we don’t like and get resentful or we talk to our partner in a very blaming and non-helpful way.

Today, I’ll show you how you can talk to your partner about anything that’s bothering you without starting World War III in your household.  Throughout the article, I will use he and she interchangeably because both men and women could benefit from learning these strategies!

Step 1: Separate Your Partner from What He Does

Often, when we don’t like something our partner is doing, we criticize him as a person.  Instead of telling him you don’t like that he leaves his dirty dishes on the counter, you tell him he’s selfish and uncaring.

It may sound like this:

“You’re so selfish!”

“You’re a jerk!”

“You don’t care about what I want!”

“You always do that.”

The key to talking to your partner about what you don’t like is to separate your partner’s behavior from who she is as a person.

We all make mistakes and do stupid things.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be categorized based on all of the stupid things I’ve done.  Your husband will at times in your marriage act selfish, uncaring, etc.  I know I haven’t been a loving saint to my husband every minute of every day.  We are all mistake-prone human beings.

The beauty of life is that acting selfish once in awhile doesn’t make us selfish to the core.  If your wife is yelling at you it doesn’t make her a “yeller” at heart.

I often counsel parents and one of the biggest things I see is children feeling like a failure because they failed a test or didn’t make the team.

When the parents are able to separate their child from the child’s problematic behavior, it gives the child room to make mistakes and still have a sense of self worth.

In fact, these parents can be more harsh on the unwanted behavior as long as they are still valuing the child overall and the same applies to your marriage.

You can actually voice your concerns more strongly if you focus on what your partner is doing and not who your partner is as a person.

Don’t turn your partner into a bad person for making mistakes or for doing something you don’t like.

Instead, do just the opposite!

Step 2: Give ‘em a Good Reputation

Start the conversation by telling your partner what you like about her as a person or her behaviors in other areas.  Give your partner desirable labels and a good reputation to live up to.

For Example:

“I know you really care about me and our family.  You work so hard all day and I am really grateful.”

“You show me love in many ways and I appreciate how you make our children laugh.”

You married this woman remember?  What do you love about her?  What attracted you to her?  What little things does she do that you maybe take for granted?

My husband cleans our cat box every day without fail and I tell him all the time how much that means to me.  (I’m sure it means a lot to our cats, Sassy and Buzi too, but they just can’t seem to thank him for it, so I make sure I do.)

So, anytime you’re going to talk with your partner about something you’d like changed, start by reassuring her you’re okay as a couple.  Tell her you love her and give her a good reputation overall.

Step 3: State What You Don’t Like by Sharing Your Observations

When something is bothering you, stick to sharing only what you’ve observed your partner DOING.  Focus on your partner’s visible, indisputable behaviors.  This is not the time to criticize or mind read her insides (intentions, desires, thoughts, feelings).

Stick to talking about what you can see or hear.  Beginning this way helps to avoid defensiveness and blaming.

For Example:

“You’ve been coming home hours later than before.”

“You leave your socks on the floor right where I have to walk over them”

“When I wash the dishes you tell me I don’t clean them right and ask why can’t I remember how to do them in a harsh tone of voice.”

“You’ve been spending more time with your friends during times we would’ve spent together before.”

“When I talk to you after work you look off into the distance and don’t ask about my day.”

“You’re checking your phone frequently during our time together.”

Step 4: Share Your Story Tentatively and Vulnerably

Next, you want to tentatively and vulnerably tell the other person the story that’s been playing in your mind about these observations.  Be careful not to become defensive or blame the other person here.

You just want to tell them the assumptions you’ve been making based on your observations.  Use “I” statements while expressing how you’ve been feeling about these observations.

Remember, this is your story about what has been happening.  It is not a fact!  Present your story as one of many possible explanations or stories for what you’ve been observing.


“After noticing you’ve been spending more time with your friends and being on your phone during our alone time, I’ve been feeling sick to my stomach and beginning to wonder if you still love me.  I can’t seem to get this out of my head.”

Step 5: Genuinely Seek to Learn Your Partner’s Story

After sharing your observations and feelings about the situation, genuinely ask the other person to express her story or views of the situation.

It’s important to stay curious and want to learn your partner’s point of view rather than be right or win an argument.


“I’d really like to hear your opinion on this.  Could you please share it with me?”

“I want to know how you see the situation.”

“Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, I really want to hear your thoughts and feelings.”

“Am I totally off here?  Can you help me understand what’s been going on?”

Step 6: Share Doing Wants

“Doing Wants” are what you would specifically like to see your partner doing. Tell your partner what you would like to see them do or say. “Doing Wants” are not used to tell your partner to change his insides (intentions, thoughts, feelings).

This is like the famous line “I want you to WANT to do the dishes”.   That won’t work.  Just tell him you want him to do the dishes.

Again stick to what you want them to specifically DO that you could see or hear.

So, if you’re thinking “I want my partner to give me more attention” then get specific. What would giving you more attention look like to you? How can your partner DO “more attention”? Then let your partner know these specific actions.


“When I come home from work, I would like it if you would shut off the television, give me a kiss and say something like “any ideas for dinner honey” in a loving tone of voice.”

One important thing to remember is that “Doing Wants” are merely requests. You are telling your partner what you like and what works for you. That doesn’t necessarily mean she will be able to, or even want to, do it.  “Doing Wants” are best delivered in with a non-demanding and loving attitude.

Step 7: Catch Your Partner in the Act with Doing Praise

Look for moments when you can catch your partner DOING something you appreciate. Look for mundane, taken for granted actions to praise your partner for.

Tell your partner that you noticed and really liked it that she cleaned the cat box or made a delicious dinner, instead of just expecting it.

Most importantly, if you catch your partner in the act of one of your “Doing Wants”, let him know you noticed and appreciate it, even if it wasn’t perfect.

Wrap-Up: Overcome Relationship Difficulties by focusing on DOING

Remember, when you have relationship difficulties, take your target off your partner’s back and put it on his specific actions that you’d like to see change.

  1. Separate Your Partner from What he Does
  2. Give ‘em a Good Reputation
  3. State What You Don’t Like by Sharing Your Observations
  4. Share Your Story Tentatively and Vulnerably
  5. Genuinely Seek to Learn Your Partner’s Story
  6. Share Doing Wants
  7. Catch Your Partner in the Act with Doing Praise


Ashley Arn is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and she provides Relationship Advice and Counseling to Professionals.   Get Free Relationship Tips and access to “25 Shocking Habits that could be Sabotaging Your Relationships.” at

(photo source)