I just bought a new office desk decor.
It reads, “Never Stop Dreaming.”
2020 was a challenging year for many.
And as it happens, difficulties interfere with our ability to dream. They drive us into “survival mode.”
But you and I were not created to live in survival mode all the time. We are creatures of new desires and possibilities. We’re dreamers.
So as we start the year, I want to pose a question: What are you dreaming for your marriage? What do you want to develop in your relationship?
For a long time, I remember starting the year feeling more interested in a healthy marriage than my husband.
I had a sense of urgency for solving our newlywed problems. I wanted to talk about the hard things without feeling like we were walking on eggshells. I wanted fast answers to lingering angsts.
But my husband had other preferences: like focusing on what was working, rather than being consumed with what was not working. Space to think over issues without feeling hounded for change.
We both needed to learn how to approach our differences in a way that didn’t leave us worse off.
How to improve communication in marriage
Late last year, I ran a reader survey, and a top area of interest was how to improve communication in marriage.
It wasn’t the first time communication problems ranked first. I see the same need bubble to the surface every time I run a reader survey.
My marriage issues plus years of helping wives improve communication in marriage led me to write my communication course, which launched last year.
I really wanted to create a tool to help couples communicate in a way that unites them, solves problems, and gets dinner fixed on time. (Or am I the only one who dislikes cooking when upset??)
If you are starting this year wanting to improve communication in marriage, but you don’t know where to start anymore (because you’ve tried it all), let me help you.
In the course, we talk about Values, Mindsets, Triggers, Compassion, Passivity, Taking responsibility, Emotional dumping, Deposits vs. withdrawals, Boundaries, and much much more.
One of my favorite lessons to write and teach is the lesson on Triggers. In the lesson, I talk about the mechanics of marriage triggers: why we feel the way we feel, why we do what we do, and how to change from “reaction” to “response.”
Because nobody likes to act out (most healthy people don’t anyway). But exactly how do you put on the breaks on “gut-reaction” and engage the “adult” part of yourself, when you are sorely triggered?
Well, I coach you through the step-by-step process, complete with worksheets, so you know exactly how to apply the process to your marriage and see gains right away!
The Triggers lesson ties up together with another lesson on Boundaries, another favorite lesson to write. Favorite because I had no clue what limits were when I was a newlywed.
I took responsibility for everything, including my husband’s behavior and feelings. Suffice it to say; it was a rough first couple of years. Not because my husband was awful – he’s always worked on being nice, even when he’s upset! – but because I was trying to manipulate him.
Anyway, How to Navigate Conflict in Marriage is my most comprehensive resource on communication yet. I loved creating it because it’s the tool I wished I had when my husband and I couldn’t communicate healthily.
I am excited to have many women sign up: here’s what one had to say after taking the course with her husband (yes, you can take the course with your spouse!)
I was blessed to have my husband join me in the course. It’s our first marriage course since we got married nine years ago. God has used the course to show us where we need to grow and mature. We have learned how to handle conflict in a way that doesn’t throw the relationship out of the window.
We were able to talk about specific problems we’ve been having. The difference this time was that we were calmer about it: We talked without going after each other. I know there are glorious days ahead of us in our marriage because we’re now equipped. Mrs A, wife.
New Year Ministry Updates
I have been blogging for over ten years now. Towards the end of last year, I felt all those ten years…and then some. I was burning out.
So I took a break from public ministry for one and half months. (If you have been wondering why I haven’t been on social media, your inbox, or this blog, that’s why.)
I am now back and ready to continue helping you develop a strong foundation for your marriage through my blogs, emails, social media, and resources.
Moving forward, I want to maintain some healthy boundaries with my work. (Burnout isn’t fun.)
So you’ll continue to see Ashley, my regular contributor, write for us once a month. I absolutely love the wisdom and perspective she brings! So look out for her upcoming posts, including one on how to navigate the grief of infertility and miscarriage as a couple.
I will be blogging once a month as well. And continue to send you my weekly marriage tips straight to your inbox (the best way to hear from me every week is to sign up for my marriage tips!)
This year, I hope to create some content in video form as well as write (more like, finish) one book and one course.
Encouragement for the year
Many of us began 2021 with trepidation. I was mulling over David’s Psalm 23, particularly verse 4 where he wrote,
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Psalm 23: 4 ESV.
Elsewhere and concerning hardships, Paul wrote,
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
I love these two texts because while they seem to “guarantee” difficulties, they also reveal a Spirit-led resilience – a belief in God that isn’t swayed by our circumstances – that we can all develop as Christians.
So as we start this year, my hope is not so much in having rosy times. But in knowing the One who holds all my days, both rosy and not-so-rosy.
I am praying for better days, of course, days of healing, love for one another, care for our neighbor, connection, and joy in marriages.
But I also know we can have healing, love, and connection, despite the hard times.
My prayer for you is to keep dreaming. Place your hope in God, not people, or marriage. Focus on the Eternal, Self-existent God who is our King and our Maker.
Well, that’s all from me today!
It’s your turn! What are you dreaming about in 2021? Do you have a word for the year? A focus scripture? An encouraging thought for other wives? Share in comments, and let’s encourage one another!