Category Archives for "General"

May 22

Announcing the Giveaway Winners & A Sex Challenge!

By Dustin | General

I hope everyone is enjoying a great weekend with your families.  We have a busy weekend planned as usual, including our first family trip of the year to Busch Stadium on Sunday afternoon to watch our favorite St. Louis Cardinals in action.  I’m sure it will be a lot of fun, but we’ll have to see how we hold up to the sunny, hot and oh-so-humid weather in the afternoon…especially Bethany who is now around 8 months pregnant. 🙂

I am excited to share with you the winners of our Get Rich Slowly giveaways this week!  I chose each one based on how many entries they had using a random selection from Random.org.  Here’s the rundown:

Michelle won a copy of You Need A Budget which will help her and her husband meet their financial goal of “staying out of debt as they start adding to their family.”  If you haven’t read my review of YNAB, please take a minute to do so and check this software out for yourself.  I truly love it!

Lesley won a copy of Your Money: The Missing Manual by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.  If you haven’t joined us there yet, please come over and see what 415+ folks are doing as an engaged Facebook community!

Amy won a copy of The Total Money Makeover as part of our first (of many) exclusive giveaways for those signed up for the Marriage Time newsletter.  Join us there for some unique content, personal interaction and of course some Marriage Mojo!

I really want to thank everyone who participated in these giveaways all week.  It has been an incredible week as many friends from Get Rich Slowly have joined our community after clicking over from my guest post there.  I also really enjoyed hearing all of your financial goals on the YNAB post, and all of the kind comments left on the Facebook page and sent via email really made my week special.

The 7 Days of Sex Challenge from ONE Extraordinary Marriage

I also wanted to call your attention to an awesome challenge being put together by my friends and partners in marriage improvement Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo at ONE Extraordinary Marriage.  Please check out their announcement post and consider signing up for the 7 Days of Sex Challenge!

Tony and I recently had a fun discussion about date nights, and he recorded it to share as a prize for one of the many giveaways they’re doing for the challenge.  I was honored to add my time and thoughts as a sponsor of this great challenge where they seek to help couples fire up the intimacy in their marriages.

Check it out…and Go Cards!

Mar 06

New Here? Welcome to Engaged Marriage!

By Dustin | General

Engaged Marriage continues to grow through the enthusiasm of our community and the willingness of ultra-cool folks to support and share our message.  Today, I am beyond excited to let you know that one of my online heroes, Darren Rowse, is featuring a guest post I wrote on Problogger.  Please take a few minutes to head there and read “7 Tips to Keep Your Family On-Board for Your Blogging Journey.”

With growth comes new readers, so I put together this post (which will become a permanent “tab” at the top of site) to give a quick overview of what we do here at Engaged Marriage.

Who Is Writing This and What’s This Site All About?Happy Days in Cancun

First of all, my name is Dustin Riechmann and I created Engaged Marriage.  That’s me pretending to be strong in the picture.  That’s actually not a photo of Illinois where I live.  It’s Cancun, Mexico where we vacationed for a week in August 2009.

This is sort of relevant because it was during that vacation that the idea for this site started stirring in my mind.  My wife thought it was just some sort of delirium brought on by too much cheap tequila, but it turns out that the idea stuck.

I would really encourage you to spend a few minutes reading the About page since it provides the best overview of what this site is, well, all about.

In a nutshell, a central theme of the posts here at Engaged Marriage is candid and practical advice that you can learn and put into action without a huge time commitment.  Alongside the “action items,” you’ll find healthy doses of motivation in the form of humor, personal stories and spiritual reflections.

This site is not a “typical” marriage resource like many books and even some other blogs.  I’m not a PhD or a counselor. And I’m not here to fix serious problems or provide therapy.  This site is for those that have good (or at least pretty good) marriages and want to make the most of it.

I’m living the crazy life of a husband and father with all of the demands that come with it.  I understand it’s a very real struggle to find time to devote to improving your married life.  I know how it feels to struggle to even keep up with the everyday requirements that we face as couples in the earlier years of our marriage. I know it’s hard.  But I also know that it’s totally worth it.

Here Is Some Suggested Reading

The best way to see if Engaged Marriage resonates with you is to read some of the posts here.  You can browse all of the posts if you’d like, but I’d suggest you begin by checking out a few of these:

Fight Fair! 6 Simple Conflict Resolution Skills for Your Marriage

Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just Be a Couple

I Love My Wife Enough to Shop at Wal-Mart

Help! What Are Your Top Parenting Tips?

How Does Natural Family Planning Benefit Marriage?

Write an Awesome Romantic Love Letter: The Simple “5R” Approach

Should Married Couples Have Joint or Separate Bank Accounts?

How Marriage Helped Make Me a Christian

Love Everyday: Thoughts On Loving Amidst the Chaos of Life (an awesome and totally FREE collaborative e-book)

I’m Digging This Place, Now What?

If you think you’d fit in here and enjoy reading more stuff from me and some talented guest-posters, I’d strongly encourage you to sign up to have new posts sent to you (for free) to read at your convenience.  You can have these delivered right to your Email or RSS news feed reader.  You can read more about these options at our Don’t Miss a Thing page.

Aside from the blog, you can connect with me and other great members of our community on the Engaged Marriage Facebook page and on Twitter.

And always feel free to contact me at any time.  I love to receive feedback, suggestions, questions and proposals for high-quality and original guest posts.

Welcome to our community!  We are happy you are here.

Jan 07

Guess Who’s a New Monthly Columnist at Simple Marriage?

By Dustin | General

This guy. 🙂

I am excited to announce that Corey at Simple Marriage has graciously asked me to join his team as a monthly columnist. Simple Marriage is one of my favorite sites, and I’m confident it’s a place Engaged Marriage readers will enjoy and feel at home.  Corey is an excellent writer, a devout Christian and an all-around awesome proponent of great marriages…through simplicity.

I will providing monthly posts on the topic of Careers & Money.  This is an area where I have a lot of interest and passion, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to spread the word about the power of pursuing work that you love, living with a plan and achieving family financial freedom.  It’s a vital part of having an extraordinary marriage.

I would really appreciate it if you could take a minute to visit Simple Marriage and read the announcement post. It would mean a great deal to me if you could show your support in this way, and we would both love to hear from you in the comments section.  Feel free to share your thoughts here or there about topics you’d like to see covered in the area of Careers & Money (I have two places to write about it now).  While you’re there, also check out the rest of the Simple Marriage writing team.

Welcome to the Readers of Simple Marriage !

If you are a visitor from Simple Marriage, I would like to welcome you to Engaged Marriage and say Thank You for taking the time to come over for a look.  While you are here, I’d encourage you to check out the “About” page to get a feel for the motivation behind the site, and please take a look around and check out some posts.

If you like what you see, please Don’t Miss a Thing! and take a moment to sign up to get updates by email or subscribe via RSS. I also love to interact with new friends through the Engaged Marriage Facebook Page.

The mission of Engaged Marriage basically boils down to this: I want to help good people achieve the extraordinary in marriage and in life!

As a starting point, I recommend checking out these posts to get a flavor for the content here:

Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just be a Couple

Write an Awesome Romantic Love Letter: The Simple “5R” Approach

37 Family Things to Do at Home on a Rainy Sunday

Fight Fair! 6 Simple Conflict Resolution Skills for Your Marriage

How Does Natural Family Planning Benefit Marriage?

Thanks again to Corey for this opportunity, and thank you all for your continued support of Engaged Marriage and the pursuit of Extraordinary Marriages.

Jan 01

Some Old Posts for the New Year

By Dustin | General

Reflections on Engaged Marriage 2009As we change the calendar and welcome 2010, I spent some time reflecting back on all of the incredibly good things that have happened through my creation of Engaged Marriage around four months ago.  I have thanked you guys in the past for all of the awesome progress you’ve brought to this blog as we’ve reached some major milestones together.

Well, please accept my sincere thanks once again because you have been such a vital part of spreading the message that Extraordinary Marriages are possible, and we shouldn’t settle for “normal” when it comes to the most important relationship in our life.  Many of you have become my friends, and I am confident that you’ve imparted more wisdom on me than I’ve shared in return.  Thank you!

A Few of My Favorite Posts

As we start unfolding the New Year, I thought it would be fun to take a few minutes and look back through the 63 posts I have published since my initial Welcome message back on August 21st along with the nearly 620 comments you’ve shared in return.  By the way, you can do the same at anytime by clicking on the “Browse Posts” tab at the top of the page, which lists every post by category and the number of comments you’ve graced it with.

Of course, the Top Ten (most viewed) posts are always highlighted under the “Greatest Hits” at the bottom of the page.  While these are the most popular posts, they aren’t necessarily my personal favorites.  Some of my earliest posts didn’t get any attention, but I still think they’re pretty cool.

So, here’s my list of the lesser-read but still my favorite posts from 2009 (all four months of it :)):

Here’s wishing everyone an incredible, marriage-building 2010!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments to this post.  What was your favorite post(s) from Engaged Marriage in 2009?

Photo by Optical illusion
Dec 10

You Guys Are Simply Awesome!

By Dustin | General

The Top 10 Marriage Blogs of 2009 from themarryblogger.comTo all of the readers of Engaged Marriage: Thank You!

I am really excited to announce that Engaged Marriage was recently selected as a Top Ten Marriage Blog in a contest hosted by Stu at The Marry Blogger.  In fact, we were voted as the #1 Marriage Blog overall!

This ranking was based solely on the nominations that were submitted during the contest period.  In total, 16 blogs were represented by more than 100 submissions.  That means that you, the loyal and enthusiastic readers of Engaged Marriage, earned this accolade for our site.  I will proudly display the Top Ten “badge” in the sidebar in honor of your continued support.

I am truly amazed by the strong show of support.  I’m pretty sure that Engaged Marriage was the “youngest” blog represented.  Yet, after only 3 1/2 months in existence, we have created a community here that is enthusiastic about spreading the message and mission of supporting Extraordinary Marriages…it’s simply awesome!

I would also like to encourage you to visit Stu’s site and see the entire Top Ten list.  There are some fantastic sites included and many that I hope to collaborate with in the future.  And please spend some time checking out The Marry Blogger.  Stu has an awesome site and some excellent info to share with all of us!

And That’s Not All!

While I am heaping praise on you all, I wanted to share some other milestones that we have reached recently.  I have been really excited by the continued growth in readership.  In the three-plus months since its inception, approximately 7,000 people have visited the site, and the best single day last week welcomed nearly 250 visitors.

It’s pretty incredible to realize that the site’s pages have been viewed nearly 15,000 times in the short time that it’s been around, and the majority of those were within the last month.  I hope I can someday look back at this post with the same amazement as I feel now when I read my post celebrating our first 1,000 pageviews after about our first month.

If you like numbers, I have some more cool information to share about the members of our growing community:

  • The 53 previous posts have a total of 349 comments at the moment
  • Folks from 81 different countries have visited the site
  • Visitors have found Engaged Marriage through 235 different online sources
  • Engaged Marriage has over 2,300 followers on Twitter
  • Our Facebook page has 160 Fans with more joining in each day
  • Approximately 200 people have subscribed to receive automatic updates on new posts via either email or an RSS reader

I love numbers (I’m an engineer after all), and seeing the progress we are making in reaching a growing audience is certainly rewarding.  However, what really makes all of the hard work I put into this blog worth it is the very real connection I’ve established with many of you.

Through our interactions in comments, private emails and various social media platforms, I really feel connected to a larger community of great people who share my belief in the idea of extraordinary marriages.  And not only do you believe, but you are proactively pursuing it and helping myself and others along the way.  That’s what this thing is all about!

How Can You Become More Involved?

If you wish to join us in building an enthusiastic and supportive community, I would kindly ask you to consider taking one of the following actions.  They are all easily reversible if you decide this proactive and positive action thing is not for you, though I don’t suspect that will be a problem!

  • Sign up for Free E-mail Updates so you can read new posts in your inbox at your convenience.
  • Subscribe to the RSS Feed so you can read new posts in your Google reader or another platform.
  • Become a “fan” on the Engaged Marriage Facebook page to interact and receive updates on the latest happenings & behind-the-scenes news.
  • Follow Engaged Marriage on Twitter where I have frequent conversations with so many great people from around the world.
  • Tell your friends, family and co-workers about the site and invite them to pay us a quick visit.  In the first days of the site, a couple of enthusiastic readers sent emails to their friends with a link to the site and another shared it on her Facebook page (thanks Jaycie 🙂 ).  This has a bigger impact than you’d think, and that initial show of support laid the groundwork for the community that has emerged since.  Could you do the same?

Once again, thank you for you incredible support & for being part of the Engaged Marriage community!

Dec 02

Are You Ready for Something Extraordinary?

By Dustin | General

Extraordinary Life NetworkAs a reader of Engaged Marriage, you have demonstrated an interest in striving for something greater for your relationships and your marriage.  You understand the importance of being proactive, and you are actively seeking to get more from your life.  You are not normal.  You are not ordinary.  You are Extraordinary!

Extraordinary Readers Deserve Extraordinary Blogs

I am very excited to announce today the creation of a unique blog network that is aimed at helping you reach your goals and get out of the rut of a “normal” life.  I could not be more proud of the partners that have agreed to team with me to provide the information, resources and motivation needed to reach new levels of excellence in our lives.

Our team was hand selected with the specific goal of assembling a group of writers that address all of the critical areas of life.  Under the banner of our network, you will find high-quality and practical advice to help you achieve excellence in your relationships, your family, your finances, your career and everything that matters the most to you in life.

This team is known as The Extraordinary Life Network.

I have a provided a brief overview of each member and their awesome sites below as an introduction.  Please note that we have a created a hub page for our network as a central resource, so it is always easy to stay up-to-date as new posts are published by our members.  I will have a logo in the sidebar so you can always click over and check out what’s new.

To make things even easier, I encourage you to subscribe to each site individually or as a group so you never miss any of the great advice that is offered.

Let’s meet the team!

1. Enemy of Debt

Brad Chaffee provides motivational money management to inspire financial discipline at Enemy of Debt. Brad is committed to providing fantastic personal finance advice from a practical, down-to-earth perspective. He is a fellow Dave Ramsey fan, and he is a strong proponent of breaking the chains and achieving freedom from debt. You will love Brad’s enthusiasm and energy!

Here are a couple of Brad’s articles that you might enjoy:

“Financial Independence” Ceremonial Speech

The Day I Killed My Credit Card

2. Mama Notes

Samantha Mellen is a wife and loving stay-at-home-mom. Mama Notes is a parenting resource and a journal of Samantha’s experiences during motherhood. Samantha’s site is also the home to the Body After Baby challenge that supports women in their effort to get fit and healthy again after having children. Samantha is living the life of fulfilling motherhood and enthusiastically shares her insights with her many readers…now from the beautiful state of Alaska!

Here are a couple of Samantha’s articles that you might enjoy:

8 Tips for Moms to Function at Your Best

Are You Talking to Your Kids Enough?

3. My Super-Charged Life

Jeff Nickles specializes in living life to the fullest by addressing life with education at My Super Charged Life. Not traditional education, but inspirational self-education that will provide you with new insights and the motivation you need to live an extraordinary life everyday.  Jeff has graciously allowed me to post on his site several times, and I can tell you that his readers (like Jeff) are an amazing bunch of motivated folks!

Here are a couple of Jeff’s articles that you might enjoy:

Smart Living: A Deep Look Into Living Life to the Fullest

17 Good Habits For A Successful Life

4. The Wisdom Journal

Ron Haynes is a successful blogger who helps his readers at The Wisdom Journal to make wise choices, improve their finances and achieve a better life. Ron is a humble guy who will try to tell you that he is not wise, and that he simply wants you to learn from his life experiences. I think you’ll agree with me that Ron is a great guy who does in fact share incredible wisdom with his readers.

Here are a couple of Ron’s articles that you might enjoy:

Insurance Potholes – Where Are the Gaps In Your Coverage?

10 Critical Money Management Skills Your Children Need You To Teach Them

5. Engaged Marriage

Rounding out the group is the new kid on the block, yours truly, Dustin Riechmann. I created Engaged Marriage because I saw an incredible need for practical information aimed at achieving excellence in marriage. From marriage preparation to an awesome family life, this site exists to provide candid advice to today’s active couples.

You can read more about the motivation behind Engaged Marriage on my About page, and please check out these articles for a sample of the content you’ll find here:

Take 15 Minutes Each Day to Just be a Couple

Fight Fair! 6 Simple Conflict Resolution Skills for Your Marriage

How Does Natural Family Planning Benefit Marriage?

Join Us and Achieve the Extraordinary in Your Life!

I am humbled and super excited to be part of such an exceptional group of writers and all-around good people.  I trust that you will find The Extraordinary Life Network to be a valuable resource and a community where you will feel at home.

Please take a few minutes to visit our member sites, leave a comment to say hello and sign up to receive free updates as new posts are published.  And please leave a comment on this post to let us know what you think of our new network and share your thoughts for what you would like to see from us as a group.

Welcome to our family!

Nov 25

What Are You Thankful For?

By Dustin | General , Spirituality

What are you thankful for?

As I reflected a bit on my “I am Thankful for Sexuality” post and the great comments you have shared there, I couldn’t help but wonder what each of you is thankful for as we officially enter the holiday season.

So, take a moment to think about your life as it stands today.  Think particularly about your relationships and all of the ways (good and bad) they have changed since last year at this time.

What are YOU thankful for in your life?

Please take a minute and put your thoughts in the comments to this post.  Let’s all rejoice together at the many blessings that we have been given.

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for being part of such a positive, growing community here at Engaged Marriage!

Photo by floodllama
Nov 22

Who Reads Engaged Marriage, Anyway?

By Dustin | General

Who Reads Engaged Marriage?

I have really enjoyed seeing the results of the Help Engaged Marriage Grow Up the Right Way survey come in over the past few weeks.  To date, a total of 74 responses were received, and I really appreciate it!  Please note that the survey closes at 100 responses, so if you would like to add your thoughts there is still time.

I love writing the posts here at Engaged Marriage, and I am proud that virtually everything you read is original content.  Most posts are written by me (Dustin), while we are occasionally treated to a guest post from a like-minded person with some valuable advice to share.  By the way, if you have something you would like to share, please send me a message using the Contact form at the top of the page.

Who Reads This Stuff?

As much as I enjoy writing, it can be tough at times to know my audience and feel connected to you.  It turns out this is pretty important when you are creating posts about marriage, sex, romance, money, etc.  Everything here at Engaged Marriage is intended to reach you on a personal level and help you achieve the extraordinary in marriage and in life.  It helps to know a bit about you when trying to meet this high standard.

This is where the survey idea came into play.  I thought if I could get a few of the readers to share a little about themselves and their preferences for the site, I could make Engaged Marriage a better place for all of us.

I hope that the survey served this purpose (and continues to do so with your continued input).  I want to give you a brief summary of the results, so you can see who your fellow readers are and what they think.  Let’s see if this matches your own thoughts and preferences.

The Survey Results in a Nutshell

  • 75% of the respondents are female.  Based on the proportion of comments and the feedback I’ve received via other platforms (email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), this was not a real shocker for me.  I am a bit disappointed that the men in cyberspace are not investing time learning to improve their marriages to the same degree that the ladies are, and I’d love to draw more guys to balance this out.  I’d love to hear your ideas on how we can get more manly-men interested in visiting the site.
  • The engineer in me loves the results of the question “How long have you been married?“.  As shown in the screen shot below, the graph is a pretty stellar bell curve (normal distribution) with the greatest number saying they’ve been married for 3-5 years.  I always figured the target audience were those married 0-5 years, and this is generally true.  I love that we have numerous single people and those married more than 21+ years actively involved here!

How long married

  • What types of posts would you like to read More of? Here’s the top 5 results in order:
  1. Communication
  2. Romance
  3. Children/Parenting
  4. Sex & Family Planning
  5. Finances & Careers
  • What types of posts would you like to read Less of? Here’s the top 5 results in order:
  1. Book & Product Reviews
  2. Marriage Preparation
  3. Individual Fulfillment
  4. Finances & Careers
  5. Links to Interesting Reads

I thought it was interesting that “Links to Interesting Reads” was chosen by 25% of respondents for a topic they wanted MORE of and also 25% for something they wanted LESS of. 🙂

  • Which topic for an e-book (short electronic book) would interest you the MOST? The results here were quite conclusive!  By a margin of nearly 3-to-1, you chose “15 Minutes to an Extraordinary Marriage: Why You Need Time Each Day to “Just Be a Couple” & How to Find It” as your top choice.  Also popular were the topics on Fitness, Natural Family Planning, Sex from the Soul, and Money & Marriage.

I would really like to start working on developing an E-book soon.  If you have specific thoughts on this topic, I would love to hear from you!

  • I only received a few requests for specific post topics.  Also, almost all of the suggestions for improvement were to write more posts!  I take this as a very nice compliment, and I am doing my best to keep the quality content coming while balancing my own marriage, family, a full-time career and a few hobbies thrown in.  Rest assured that I will do my very best to keep Engaged Marriage a place you want to visit frequently!

Let’s Build a Community

Like I mentioned above, it can be tough to write meaningful posts when your only feedback comes from reading your own words back to yourself.  In order to help all of us get the most out of this site, I’d really love to form a community at Engaged Marriage.

To do your part, I’d simply ask that you leave comments on the posts that you read, sign up for E-Mail updates or an RSS subscription, follow me and interact on Twitter, and become a “fan” of the Engaged Marriage page on Facebook.  I really see the Facebook page as a fantastic place for us all to interact.

Right now, please leave a comment to this post to say what you agree or disagree with from the survey results.  Let me know what you would like to see from Engaged Marriage in the future.  And, of course, you can still take the survey yourself until it reaches 100 respondents.

Thank you!

Photo by Marco Bellucci

Nov 19

Vote for Your Favorite Marriage Blog!

By Dustin | General

Marriage Blog

My cyber-buddy and fellow marriage supporter Stu at The Marry Blogger is composing a list of the Top 10 Marriage Blogs, and I would love it if you can help.

How to Nominate your Favorite Marriage Blog:

1. Click here to post your nomination.
2. One vote per person…if you have more than one, only the first will be counted.
3. Include the URL of the blog.
4. Give a reason for your choice.
5. Pass the word on to other Marriage Blog readers/bloggers so they can vote too; you can contact your friends via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, carrier pigeon, etc. (here is a link to use: http://j.mp/top10marriage).
6. Your nomination must be received by December 2, 2009.

Thank you for helping out with this. Of course, I would love it if you voted for Engaged Marriage, but I won’t be offended if you choose a blog that you enjoy a bit more.

I think there is a real need for this kind of list, and I really look forward to seeing which websites get recommended and what readers enjoy about each. Remember, you have to click over to The Marry Blogger to post your nomination.

Thanks!

Photo by √oхέƒx™

Oct 30

I Need Your Help! Help Engaged Marriage “Grow Up” the Right Way.

By Dustin | General

I am both humbled and excited by the interest that has been shown in Engaged Marriage.  The quick growth of this website is so affirming because it demonstrates that many couples want to be proactive and achieve the extraordinary in their marriage.  There is so much more to life than getting by with a “normal” marriage, and you guys are spreading the word that Engaged Marriage is something like-minded couples should check out as a resource to help achieve excellence in our married lives.  Thank You!

While the comments left on many posts provide some insight, I know they represent a very small portion of the readership of this site.  I really want to have a better idea of your interests.  This will enable the content and resources offered here to best match your desires and needs.

So, how can you help?  Please take TWO MINUTES and fill out a few questions on a survey that I have prepared.  It’s anonymous, quick and easy.  Just click below and you’re almost done!

Click Here to take the Engaged Marriage survey

If you want to “reveal” any of your answers, please leave a comment below or check in over at the Facebook Fan Page for Engaged Marriage.

Thanks for your participation and continued support of Extraordinary Marriages!