Monthly Archives: February 2013

Feb 20

Using Your Unique Gifts for a Stronger Marriage

By Dustin | Spirituality

Using Your Unique Gifts for a Stronger MarriageA happy marriage requires a lot of different skills.

From clear communication and empathy to more mundane tasks like budgeting and cleaning the house, leading a family really does involve a long list of talents and abilities.

It can be a bit overwhelming to consider all that’s required of us on a weekly or even a daily basis.  There’s so much to do!

The Beauty of Partnership

The great news is that we’re blessed as married couples with a teammate.

There’s a good chance that your spouse complements you and lightens your individual load considerably.

But have you ever taken a moment to consider just what’s involved or been proactive to discuss whether you’re split of the responsibilities makes the most sense?

In the midst of the daily grind and the chaos that sometimes comes with raising a family, it’s really easy to lose sight of what your husband or wife brings to the table.  And sometimes we end up taking on roles by default and never pausing to think about why.

My family was sitting in church a few weeks ago listening to the readings, and this passage from Corinthians really got me thinking:

Brothers and sisters:

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;

there are different forms of service but the same Lord;

there are different workings but the same God

who produces all of them in everyone.

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit

is given for some benefit.

To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;

to another, the expression of knowledge according to the

same Spirit;

to another, faith by the same Spirit;

to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;

to another, mighty deeds;

to another, prophecy;

to another, discernment of spirits;

to another, varieties of tongues;

to another, interpretation of tongues.

But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,

distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Of course, this was written to speak about our spiritual gifts, but I think we’re all blessed with gifts and abilities that can make a really practical difference in our marriages.

Talk About Your Strengths & Adjust Accordingly

In our household, we’ve modified our roles over time, especially as circumstances have changed (becoming parents changed everything!).

However, Bethany and I have always tried to be really aware of our individual strengths and use them to manage our household the best way we can.

A few examples – I’m the “nerd” who has a knack for managing our finances and planning ahead for change.  Bethany is an amazing caretaker who feels real pride from an orderly household.  I’m great at getting physical and wrestling with the kids, while she has remarkable patience when it comes to reading stories or settling their arguments.

There will always be the “stuff” of life to contend with (no one feels particularly fulfilled cleaning toilets), but there are many aspects in your marriage where identifying your strengths and deciding proactively who is best suited to handle big tasks will come in handy.

One book (among several) that we love to recommend to engaged or newly married couples is StrengthsFinder 2.0.  It’s a self-assessment guide that will help you discover or reinforce you innate strengths.

Another helpful tool that will guide you to the areas that “fill your love tank” and make you feel fulfilled is The Five Love Languages.

Take some time this week to discuss all those areas that are needed to make your home run smoothly, consider each of your strengths, and plan how to execute accordingly.

God has blessed you and your spouse with many talents – be sure you’re blessing each other by putting them to good use!

Feb 15

Should You Only Preach to Your Choir?

By Dustin | Spirituality

There are millions of people in the world who don’t believe in marriage.

There are billions who don’t believe all the same things about marriage that you believe.  I may even be one of them.  Hopefully, your spouse is not.Preach the Gospel at All Times

I know that most people in the world, in the United States, in my town and probably even in my own family don’t feel the exact same way about marriage as I do.

As a member of the Engaged Marriage community, there’s a good chance you do share some key beliefs with me:

  • Marriage is good
  • Marriage can be an absolute blessing to our lives
  • Marriage requires work, education, motivation and resources to be extraordinary (that’s what this site is all about)

We have some common ground that enables you to enjoy the 300+ posts here, and it allows me to really enjoy writing them to share with you.

Should We Share with Those Who Believe Differently?

As an advocate for healthy, happy marriages, I’m often presented with opportunities to share my expertise with others.

This can be through speaking to groups that already largely share my beliefs.  It can be through writing on this blog or publications where I know the response will be lots of nice comments applauding my views.

This is pretty easy and provides a great ego boost.  Preaching to the choir is a pretty nice gig.

However, there are times when the opportunity comes to share advice with a hostile crowd, or at least an audience that has beliefs that are quite different from my own.

This is much tougher and can be exhausting – so is it worth it?

A Recent Reader Email that Questioned My Judgement & My Beliefs

Last week, I sent an email to our wonderful Marriage Time subscribers to share an opportunity to sign up for an awesome free online relationship event where I’m speaking.

(It’s called the Art of Love, and you can still register right here.  I’m speaking on Sunday 2/17)

I promptly received an email back from a long-time subscriber:

Hi Dustin,

I wanted to take a minute and ask, as a Catholic, why you are participating in this? The email sounded intriguing so I clicked on the link. When I got near the bottom of the page, there was a circle stating that relationships come in all forms and that this organization/seminar proudly supports LGBT.

Knowing that, even though I’m sure there will be valuable information presented, I cannot support it. With you participating in it, it is confusing to your Catholic supporters; and perhaps other Christian denominations as well who do not support same-sex marriage.

I have to say I wasn’t all that surprised to get this response.  After all, I’m a devout Christian, and I certainly don’t keep my Catholic beliefs to myself.

It only took me about five minutes to respond with these thoughts:

This is a fantastic question!

You’re correct that I’m Catholic, I support traditional marriage and I don’t support same-sex marriage.  So why would I participate in a seminar that does support it?

It’s my opinion that we best get our message heard when we are willing to venture into areas that don’t necessarily agree with our views.  If I restricted my writing and speaking to groups that agree with me, I feel like I’m missing a huge opportunity to spread the good word about all that traditional marriage can be and the goodness of Christianity in general.

A prime example is the writing I’ve done on a site called Your Tango.  Their content can be quite racy with lots of articles on sex outside of marriage and some posts promoting the gay lifestyle.  However, I’ve written there numerous times, including a post about Why I Believe in Natural Family Planning.

This was definitely stepping foot into “enemy” territory and it incited quite a reaction.  However, I felt it was important to set the record straight on NFP, and it required me to go to their turf to do so.

For the Art of Love, I’m on a panel with two other men who are popular relationship writers.  I suspect I’ll be the only one talking about traditional marriage and probably even defending it at times in this setting.  I’m OK with that, and I feel like it’s part of my calling as a promoter of healthy, happy marriages in a culture that too often rejects that idea.

In a nutshell, I am firm in my beliefs.  But I am happy to share them and spread them within forums that don’t consist entirely of people who agree with me or the Catholic Church.

I hope that helps, and it is an excellent question.  It may even be worth a blog post to discuss!

The reader said she was very appreciative of my response and understood my perspective.

What Do You Think?

The fact is I’m confronted with these kinds of decisions on a regular basis.

I feel like I’m doing the right thing by branching out to share my message, yet there are always those who are quick to judge your motivations.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

  • If you are trying to make the world a better place by educating and hopefully inspiring others to live a married life they love, should you limit your message to venues that match up with your beliefs?
  • Is it a violation of your beliefs to travel into “hostile turf” to share your expertise or story?
  • Do you think it’s fruitless to try and share information with those that very well may be close-minded to hearing it?

That last point is particularly important to Bethany and me.

We regularly present on the topic of Natural Family Planning to groups that didn’t sign up to hear that particular information (usually as part of a marriage preparation workshop).  Our hope isn’t to necessarily convert folks to our way of thinking, but we implore them to hear us out and keep an open mind since they might learn something new.

I think an open mind is a wonderful gift.  What do you think? 

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts or experiences on this topic.

Feb 05

Date Night Giveaway!

By Dustin | Romance

Vday GiveawayI have a great giveaway to share with you that could make your next Date Night a real hit!

The good folks at Fandango are going to give one lucky Engaged Marriage winner $80 worth of date night goodness.

Get the details below and make sure you enter for your chance to win!

The Giveaway & Fandango’s Valentine’s Movie Guide

Fandango will help make your Valentine’s Movie Date Night a hit!

Check out their Valentine’s Movie Guide for tips on the perfect movie to see – whether you want to get romantic or have a fun night out with the girls (or guys)!

VDayGuide

Spoil your sweetie with a Valentine’ Day gift card from Fandango.  Fandango will make sure you get your movie tickets…the kiss is up to you!

One (1) winner will receive:

  • $30 Fandango gift card
  • $50 Visa gift card

How to Enter to Win

Let’s make it really simple to enter while adding value for the rest of the EM community.  Just do the following:

1. Click one of the sharing buttons to the left (Pin it, Like it or Tweet it) to share this giveaway

2. Leave a comment below that answers this question – What’s the Favorite Date You’ve Shared with Your Spouse?

That’s it!

I will select one commenter at random to win the prize.  This contest ends Sunday February 10th at 10:00 p.m. CST.

Thanks again to Fandango for sponsoring this giveaway, and I can’t wait to hear about your favorite date!

Feb 04

The Romantic Marriage Book Bundle!

By Dustin | Book & Product Reviews

Marriage E-Book Bundle for $7.40

As a member of the Engaged Marriage community, there’s a good chance you like the idea of taking your marriage to the next level.

And if you’re reading this post, then you can…well…read.

Great news!  My friend Mandi from Bundle of the Week has put together an awesome package of 5 top marriage e-books.

I’m proud to have 15 Minute Marriage Makeover included in such fine company.

Click here to go pick up the bundle or check out the line-up of books below.

The Marriage E-book Bundle

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this week’s bundle is packed full of resources to strengthen your marriage!

Whether you’ve been married for 6 months or 25 years, you’re sure to find something new and fresh in this collection from top Christian marriage authors and bloggers. Get all 5 ebooks for only $7.40 (a savings of over 80%) for one week only.

15-Minute Marriage Makeover by Dustin Riechmann
15-Minute Marriage Makeover is more than an ebook; it’s a plan designed to refresh your relationship, add sizzle to your sex life and bring more happiness to your marriage. And all of that in just 15 minutes a day!

The exercises in this book focus on the four pillars of  a happy marriage — communication, romance, intimacy and finances — with time management tools, mini lessons, couple time tasks and a weekly date night to review the topic of the week.

A Simple Marriage by Corey Allan, PhD
Written to help you experience more in your marriage, A Simple Marriage: The Path to Experiencing More in Marriage and Life is a compilation of Corey Allan’s experience as a husband and counselor.

Not only will it show you the foundational principles that are present in every marriage and an understanding of where you currently are in your relationship, but it also provides the encouragement, tools and steps to help you invest in your marriage today, whether your spouse is interested in participating or not.

Stripped Down by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo
In Stripped Down: 13 Keys to Unlocking Intimacy in Your Marriage, this husband and wife duo show you how to create a solid marital foundation by placing God at the center of your relationship, establish family boundaries, improve communication, make your bedroom a sanctuary, have fun together and much more.

With frank conversation and practical advice, this ebook will walk you through exercises to invest in intimacy and reconnect with your spouse.

Entangled by Amy Bennett
Through her own story, Amy gives readers an honest, detailed look into an emotional affair and how God restored her marriage.

In Entangled: Recognizing Your Emotional Affair & Restoring Your Marriage, she shares what an emotional affair looks like, how to get out of one and — most importantly — how God can meet your deepest need for the love you’re seeking.

The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Marla Taviano
With Marla’s candid humor, The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky clues guys in to the way their wives operate and gives them practical suggestions for being husbands their women want to make love to.

Although it’s written primarily to men, The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky provides insight for both men and women into what makes their other half tick and how to achieve a fulfilling sex life.

The Marriage bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 2/11. Get yours today at www.engagedmarriage.com/bundle