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Crisis is Coming: Communication Helps Us Get Through

A few days ago, I wrote about external and internal crises in marriage. I referenced a quote I heard once:

In life you’re either coming out of a crisis, in a crisis, or heading into one.

With this in mind, there are ways we can prepare and maybe even avert some crises in our marriages.

Communication

I’ve been married for thirteen. I’ve been a pastor for twelve years. Keelie and I have been marriage bloggers for about two years. Ok, mostly Keelie, but I’ve been along for the ride! Here’s what I’ve learned – the number one thing, the big secret, the master key. Are you ready?

Communicate, Communicate, COMMUNICATE!

Too many marriages hit internal crisis because of a lack of communication. For some, these crises spell the end. For others, they result in a life of unfulfilling or even miserable marriage. Either way, poor communication brings disaster to any relationship.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “We talk all the time!” Yeah, but do you communicate? There’s a difference.

Think of it this way – You have this great song you want to share with your friend, so you give them a CD with the song on it. Remember CD’s? Your friend is glad you’re sharing with them, but only owns a record player.

record-player-349840_960_720You know what you’re giving your friend. The CD has the song on it. But your friend will never hear it. “But but but, they’re both round and spin in a device to make sounds come out!” Right, but the one device can’t decode the other devices recording. They don’t communicate the same way. They come from different times. They’re based on different principles. They were designed by different people.

It’s time for both of you to get smartphones and start Facebook messaging some Spotify links!

In marriage, like all relationships, one of you is a record player and the other is a CD player. Maybe you come from different times. Maybe you have different priorities. Maybe you were raised differently. You have to do more than just talk. It’s time to upgrade your communication.

Be intentional about our communication.

Talk, yes. But think about how you talk. What does your wife say when she’s mad? What does your husband do when he feels rejected? Communication happens in our words, our actions, our body language, and more! Take note of these things, and discuss them.

Be proactive in your communication.

Instead of assuming that you both understand each other, ask questions. Have you ever told your spouse what you meant when you said that one thing? Try it sometime, you might be surprised what they thought you meant.

Communicate your expectations, hurts, forgiveness, etc. Did your last date not go as you hoped it would? Tell your spouse! Did something they said wound you seriously? Say so! Don’t leave things unsaid.

Communication and Crisis

In the midst of crisis, it is essential to properly communicate. When there’s already conflict, tension, and hurt, the confusion of miscommunication only makes things worse. It can prolong and even worsen whatever problem is affecting the marriage.

The good news is that proper communication in marriage can help protect us from internal crisis. Many crises are the result of poor communication. Being intentional and proactive can stave off massive conflicts and ongoing bitterness that can erupt into marriage-threatening situations. It can keep unmet expectations from piling up. It can keep hurts from going unaddressed.

We can’t prevent all crises from coming. But we can help guard against the ones caused by poor habits of communicating with our spouses.

Upgrade Your Communication Love Hope Adventure

We’re Making Changes Around Here + My Upcoming Trip to New York!

We are making changes around here

If you caught me on Periscope or Facebook LIVE today, then you will have heard my announcement about some changes that Austin and I are making. Due to some recent job changes on his part, he is going to have more time to weigh in on the discussions that happen here at Love Hope Adventure.

Austin is Going to Write More!

I’m very excited that Austin will be able to work with me more on the marriage topics that we address. For many years, God has given us a ministry to hurting couples. I’m so thankful that we are having a chance to expand that even more here on the blog.

Send Us Your Questions

If you didn’t know already- you can always write in to us at Keelie@lovehopeadventure.com. If you have questions for Austin, just address them to him. Also, if you want to share something with us and you are on our newsletter, you can always hit the reply button and your message will come straight to us.

Each week, you guys send notes in to me that truly bless me. I’ve been so encouraged that many of you have had your marriages changed in a positive way on account of what I write. That is why Austin and I have felt it to be even more important at this time that he come and share on the blog. As a couples, we should be teaching other couples about marriage and intimacy.

I’m Going to New York

New York City Skyline

In just a few weeks, I’m headed to New York to work an event with one of my clients. I’m super excited to visit there and be a part of the Media and The City where I will watch other ladies develop their brands. They will be featured on a television series called, Brand It”.

(I can’t wait to show you pictures and go live while in New York!)

This is just one of the ways I’ve seen my freelance business grow this year. Due to the fact that my work has increased so much, Austin will be helping me out with different aspects of the writing business. We are going to be working together in many ways over the next few months as we figure out if this arrangement can work for us financially.

I’m really hoping that with our experience as a couple that works together, we can serve as encouragement to other business owners that work with their spouse.

Thanks so much for your encouragement and continued support of Austin and I. We appreciate you for reading along and sharing your comments with us.

Crisis is Coming: The Sources

Conflict is Coming The Sources

It’s been said that in life you’re either in a crisis, coming out of one, or heading into one.

Now there’s a happy start to your day! Now, I’m not suggesting you live in constant fear of crisis in your marriage. Quite the opposite! However, it is helpful and healthy to be aware that crisis can and will happen. With this in mind, it can be beneficial to identify where crises in our marriages can come from so we have a better chance of seeing them coming.

External Crisis

There are devastating situations in life that can hit our families and marriages that have nothing to do with our actions or choices.  Sudden job loss can cause all kinds of insecurity and financial problems. Illness or other catastrophic health problems can blindside us. This can put financial emotional strain on a family.  A death in the family not only brings with is grief but can sometimes can re-open wounds in extended family relationships.

These crises can strike without warning, and there’s not much we can do to prevent them 100%. We can try to lessen the chances of them happening, or prepare for them to mitigate the harm they cause. Make good health decisions, get life insurance, save up for emergencies.

We can also prepare our relationships for these unforeseen tragedies. Make it a point to establish a team approach to the family dynamic. When crisis hits, make sure your family is used to defaulting to supporting each other and facing problems as a united group instead of blaming and fighting each other.

Internal Crisis

Internal conflict

Other problems can arise in marriage which are a result of our actions or choices. Bitterness grows until it erupts. Expectations go unmet and unspoken for too long. Conflicts go unresolved and the same fights keep getting rehashed.

When we aren’t intentional about our marriage relationship, problems can mushroom. If we aren’t self-aware of our weaknesses as a couple, we’re going to be shocked when that weakness finally starts taking its toll. There are ways to guard against these internal crises before they hit. It may even be possible to avoid some of them altogether, or at least keep them from being devastating to the relationship. We’ll look at some of these potential helps in a later article. Be sure to keep an eye out!

Check out this other post I wrote last week.

Different Flavors of Sex

The Different Flavors of Sex

The Different Intimate Moods

I was talking with a friend the other day, and I used a phrase that caught him off guard. I said something with him about having funny sex.

Do you think that being intimate has to always be serious? Or have you ever considered that there are different flavors of physical intimacy?

I write more about this over at our sister site today. Be sure to check it out.

Different Flavors of Sex

The Different Flavors of Sex

5 Ways to Flirt With Your Spouse

5 Ways to Flirt With your Spouse

I think it is important to flirt with your spouse on a regular basis. When I say flirting, I mean catching the attention of your lover and letting them know they have your attention. Even if it is only for a brief moment, the rest of the world goes away and it is just the two of you.

To me, there is a difference between flirting and foreplay. I think that flirting can certainly lead to foreplay, but I wouldn’t consider these two things to be the same.

Flirting is something that you and your spouse can do while out in public or during the day as a way of connecting.

Talk About Your Ideas of Flirting

This may seem like it will take the fun out of it, but you need to have conversations about flirting. It is important that both of you understand the gestures of the other person. Otherwise, you are going to misinterpret the flirting and send the signal that you aren’t interested in reciprocating to your partner.

For example, I’ve had many women tell me that their husband will grab their chest or butt. To the women, it sends the signal, “I only want you for sex”. What the husband is actually trying to communicate is that she has captured his attention and he is letting her know it. Yes, he does want sex, but that isn’t the only reason for the grabbing.

This is why it is really helpful to talk to each other about flirting. Ask your spouse what they do to flirt with you. Also, share with them the things you do to flirt with them. This will save a lot of hurt feelings and miscommunication.
Here are some of my ideas for flirting-

Touch Them

Touching them is a great way to get their attention. You could-

  • Pinch their butt
  • Hold their hand
  • Kiss their neck
  • Rub across their shoulders
  • Put your arm around them

To communicate your intentions even more, look at them with a smile when you do.

Flirt with your spouse

Send a Text

Send your spouse a flirty text when they are away from you. It can be a simple message telling them you think they are hot. You can snap a quick picture of you holding a note that says, “I love you”.

Stop and Smile at Them Until They See You

Stop what you are doing and look at your spouse until they see you. You don’t even have to say a word to them. Just smile and let them know that they have caught your attention.

Wink, Blow a Kiss, or Mouth I Love You

If you are across a room from your spouse, get their attention and wink at them. You could blow a kiss or mouth the words, “I love you”. It is a simple gesture, but will help you both feel warm inside.

Use Code Words or Whisper in Each Other’s Ears

Whisper those words I love to hear

A great way to flirt in public is to have code words that you and your spouse use to flirt. You can say these words softly in conversation or whisper them in their ear. The two of you will be able to laugh and have a moment without the rest of the world getting in on it.

I hope that you incorporate flirting into your marriage. It is so helpful to add this into your connections so that you can become more intimate.

Want change in your marriage? It starts with this.

Want to Change Your Marriage It Starts With This

I just love sitting in church on Sunday mornings while Austin preaches. He always shares such truth from the scripture. While I listen, God speaks to me and I often receive inspiration from Him about what to write.

This past week, Austin was in James 3:1-12, where it talks about the taming your tongue. It likens the tongue to a small rudder that steers a massive ship. In proportion, the rudder is small, but controls the direction of the ship.

It also talks about the tongue being like an ember that sets a forest ablaze. A seemingly insignificant spark has the ability to cause mass destruction.

If you can control your tongue, then you will control your whole body. When you don’t have control over yourself, you bring harm to you, others, and ultimately- Christ, Himself.

Control Your Tongue

Want Change in Your Marriage? Control Your Tongue.

Oh- I know what you want me to say. You want me to tell you that your actions are justified and that your attitudes are right…that it is really your spouse that needs to change. Nope.

If you are being unkind to them or disrespectful- you’re wrong. If they are doing the same things to you- they’re wrong. You’re both wrong.

Want to see change in your marriage? Tame your tongue and control yourself. Honestly, if you want to see a change in any area of your life- get control of yourself.

You Are Responsible For Yourself.

I’ve never read anywhere in the Bible that tell us it is our responsibility to take control of someone else. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We are told over and over to gain control of ourselves. We are responsible for our action, our words, and our motives.

We are told that God looks at our hearts. He knows our intentions, whether they are for good or harm. We are accountable to Him for everything we do. There is no excuse for your poor behavior, even if your spouse is doing the same thing.

It’s Not About a List of Things You Can’t Say. It’s a heart matter.

It's a heat matter

If you know me in real life, then you’ll know that I’m not one to use traditional cuss words. It’s not who I am. What’s funny to me about cussing is this- who decided those words were off limits?

Depending on the country you are in, there are different sets of words that would be considered cussing. I can use those words from other countries and have no idea what I’m saying.

It goes to show you that is has nothing to do with a list of words you can’t say. Rather- it is a matter of the heart.

Are you using your words to praise God one moment, and then hurt one of His children the next? In James 3, he says that should never be!

Are You Building Up Your Spouse or Tearing Them Down?

Do you build your spouse up with your words or tear them down? Are you encouraging them- or dragging them down?

How many conversations do you have about your spouse that are negative? Are you bashing them to your friends or family? There is a difference between telling a trusted friend about an issue you are having with your spouse then talking badly about them.

Are you always bringing up their past mistakes to them? Do you imply that their good efforts are not enough?

There are so many ways to use your words to tear your spouse down, without ever using a single cuss word.

Control Yourself. Change Your Marriage.

Change has to start with one of you. Since you can’t change them, change yourself. Austin and I have gotten in these cycles before. One of us says something that hurts the other, and the hurt person lashes out, causing a cycle of pain to start.

For change to happen, you have to control yourself. You aren’t showing control when you explode on your spouse. The words you use can either build up or destroy your marriage.

Changing Your Words Will Change Your Attitude.

Changing your words will change your attitude

If you are full of negative speech, you will have a negative attitude. When you don’t bridle your tongue and allow negativity to spew, it affects you. Use your tongue to uplift others and it will change your attitude.

A stinking attitude will kill your marriage. When you start thinking that what you have isn’t good enough- you’ll believe that there is something better out there. Pretty soon, you’ll have yourself convinced that if only your spouse was different, then your marriage would be better.

The truth is this- there is no perfect relationship out there. If you and your spouse divorce or separate, there isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get along any better with someone else.

Controlling your speech has everything to do with bringing positive change in your marriage.

My Honest Review of Melt Massage

Melt massage review

Keelie wrote a little while back about some last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas, and hinted at her gift for me. She bought a Melt Massage e-course and learned some basic massage techniques. After the kids were down for the night, she set up a little massage pallet and invited me over.

Learning the techniques

The e-course comes in the form of several short videos. Each video covers a basic technique and builds on the previous videos.

Keelie went over some of the videos in advance. However, she didn’t really have time to memorize it all and become an immediate expert. As a result, she decided to pull up the videos as she was giving the massage.

Tone

First, I could listen to Denis read the phone book for an hour every day. He not only has a great accent, but he also just has this soothing voice. He has a calm confidence that’s perfect for the subject matter he’s teaching.

Format

The bite-sized videos focus on just one or two things each. This is perfect for beginners like us. At the end of each video, you feel like you’ve really learned something and can start doing it right away. As you can imagine, a second viewing can be helpful. Having the short videos helps you hop back to catch that one thing you want to see again.

Content

Denis not only presents the material well in tone and format, he just has good content! He immediately corrected some widely-held misunderstandings about massage. He emphasizes the right approaches. He also teaches hand techniques so you don’t wear out right away.

Feeling the techniques

Yeah, yeah, yeah – learning. Great, lovely. But what did it feel like?

AH-MAY-ZIIING!

I’ll admit, my feedback on the videos is only partial. This is because I spent a good portion of our session as a useless lump on the blanket in the floor. Just about as soon as Keelie began on my neck, I knew it was a good purchase.

At the beginning, I was watching the videos along with her and giving her feedback, “up a bit, squeeze like this, there ya go.”  After a few minutes, all my feedback turned into “uhng, mmhmmm, yahhhhhh.”

It didn’t take her long to get the main concepts down pat, and it just kept getting better after that. She started getting the hang of transitioning from one technique to another and improving each individual technique.

Overall Impressions

I’d say the Melt Massage e-course was a hit for us! It’s geared as an intimate massage course and delivers in every way. It’s user friendly. It’s perfect for beginners. And it’s effective. Best of all, it turns out to be a gift for both of you! Now that Keelie has access, I get to learn the techniques to use for her as well.

If you’re looking for a good gift for your spouse, I highly recommend this course. It’s versatile enough that it would be great for birthdays, anniversary, Mother’s or Father’s Day, or even Christmas.

Massage Oils Recommended

oil-1370569_1920

Sweet Almond Oil

Apricot Oil

Grape Seed Oil

To learn more about the massage program or purchase go to the Melt Massage Website.  http://couplesmassagecourses.com/couples-massage-videos/?afdeet=50

Tell Your Husband He is Attractive and Accept When He Says You Are

Tell your spouse he is attractive and believe him when he tells you the same

A few months ago, I had a chance to speak with a local women’s group about marriage. Now, if you didn’t know, I am the sex talk lady, so I didn’t shy away from that subject whatsoever. In fact, they knew when they invited me that a running theme would be about physical intimacy.

Tell Your Husband He is Attractive

One of the things I shared with the group really hit home with them. I challenged them to tell their husbands something that they really liked about their physical appearance. I think that we ladies can forget that our men need to be re-affirmed about their appearance.

Believe Your Spouse When They Compliment You

Also, I challenged them to accept their husband’s compliments of them regarding the way they look.

Many women exhaled deeply and I saw the look on their faces when I said that to them. This is a very hard thing to do!

It’s not just hard for women to accept their husband’s love for their body, but it is the same way for men also. There is so much pressure to look sexy or hot the way we see in ads or in magazines…way too much pressure.

The truth is, your spouse loves the way you look and if they are willing to share that with you, then you shouldn’t insult them by shooing away their compliment.

This goes for any compliment they give you, not just about your appearance. When your spouse shares that they like something about you, you insult them when you downplay the compliment.

I’m totally guilty of doing this myself! I’ve worked very hard to stop driving that wedge between Austin and myself.

All of us struggle with body image issues and insecurities. I challenge you to start believing your spouse and allow their opinion to fuel your confidence.

Here are a few articles that I wrote to help you feel better about the way you look.

How to Feel Beautiful Series

Helping Your Husband Feel Attractive

What a Couple Can Do To Feel Attractive Together