Top 10 Turning Points in Your Marriage

by | Apr 2, 2019 | Uncategorized | 27 comments

Turning Points in Marriage: How Small Decisions Affect Intimacy
Merchandise is Here!

Our lives are really the sum total of small decisions, made on a daily basis. And that means that small decisions can be turning points in your marriage.

In April, we’re going to look at practical, nitty gritty things we can do to help our marriages improve and build our intimacy. I want to frame this conversation today by looking at how small decisions can actually shape our marriages, either for good or for bad.

Before we do that, though, let’s go back to first principles. What is it that we’re aiming for in marriage?

Can I suggest that it’s that feeling that you are fully known, and still fully accepted and loved? It’s real intimacy. It’s feeling as if you can share things with each other, and that you really know each other. It’s feeling that you’re a team.

Our daily decisions can either move us closer towards intimacy, or further away from intimacy. It’s our decisions in the smaller things that add up more significantly than any one big conflict that we’re having.

So let me give a list of 10 small things that can become turning points in our marriage. Of course there are others–I’m only suggesting these to get us all noticing the trend, and starting to ask the question: “Am I moving towards my spouse, or away from my spouse?” Let’s get to it!

Turning Points in Marriage: How Small Decisions Affect Intimacy and Emotional Oneness

1. Your spouse is heading for bed, but you’re in the middle of something.

Do you turn off the computer or video game, stop the homework, put down the book, and follow your spouse? Or do you keep doing what you’re doing?

Snuggling in bed at the end of the day is one of the best times to feel like you’re one. It’s a natural time to say a quick prayer before you go to sleep. It’s a natural time to chat about what may be going on tomorrow, or anything  you’re thinking about. And, of course, it’s a natural time to make love (sex is far more likely to happen if you’re in bed at the same time, after all! And since most sex happens when it’s not particularly planned, then increasing the amount of time when it’s possible to happen really does help!).

One of the biggest differences between marriages today versus a generation ago is that couples no longer go to bed together. That works against intimacy.

2. Dinner’s ready. Where do you eat it?

Do you sit at a table, together, and talk about your day? Or do you turn on the TV and eat without talking?

Especially when you have children, eating together as a family is so important. That’s when you discover what’s going on in people’s lives. It’s a natural time to check in. And it’s one of the few regular times the family will all be together.

When you’re still childless, maybe you like to watch a show while eating, but you talk at other times, and that’s perhaps okay. But eating together is special, and it’s one of the few times that we naturally have to touch base when we’re not rushed, when we’re not stressed, and when we can just enjoy being together. If you don’t have a lot of those times throughout the day, don’t miss this one.

3. You have some exciting news! Whom do you tell?

When something good happens, who is the first person you want to tell? Is it a friend? Your mom? Or is it your spouse? Even if you may want to call your mom, make it a habit to always tell your spouse first. This communicates both to your spouse, but also to YOU, that your spouse is your first priority. And that does matter.

One other thing: Some of us may get good news and not feel the need to share it  (introverts may want to ponder it first). Remember that it communicates volumes to your spouse to share almost immediately. That says, “I couldn’t truly enjoy this without you.” It’s a way of saying, “you matter.’

4. You’re upset at your spouse and you need to vent. Whom do you call?

Many years ago, I attended a wedding where the mother of the bride told me, “they won’t last long. He won’t be good to her.” And that statement became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Their marriage was a joining of two immature people, but that didn’t mean that it was doomed. However, the wife was so enmeshed with her mom that every time she was mad about anything, she’d phone her mom for advice. Instead of working things out with her husband, she’d vent to her mom. And her mom would often inflame the situation.

I am very close to my girls. I talk to them daily–and in Rebecca’s case, who works for me, multiple times a day. In many ways they’re my best friends. And yet I know nothing about the state of their marriage other than what I can observe. They just don’t tell me about marriage problems. I remember once Katie mentioned something in passing that Connor and Becca had gone through years earlier, and I hadn’t known it (to Katie’s surprise). But they had worked it out without me, which is how it should be.

Everybody needs a good mentor couple and a good friend to talk to, whose judgment you respect. But if you’re in the habit of venting to everyone, and especially parents, it can take away from the need to actually work at something with your spouse, and it can break trust with your spouse.

5. You think, “It’s easier to just do this myself than to try to explain it.”

There’s a complex errand you have to run–pick up something for a birthday present, plus a card, plus some ingredients to make a housewarming present. Your husband is already going out. Do you tell him what you need, or do you just get it yourself?

Lots of times we have that fleeting thought–is this something he can do for me?–but then we realize how long it would take to explain. And so we just do it anyway.

It’s like what Rebecca and Connor were discussing on the podcast last week about the mental load of the household. It can become so heavy to carry everything, and when you do that for long enough, you can get very resentful. And yet, at the same time, sometimes we back ourselves into that role because we don’t share what needs to be done. If you find yourself consistently choosing to just do things rather than explain things, then you could be setting yourself up for a mountain of resentment in future years. 

6. You make love, but your spouse touches you in a way that feels really awkward and not very pleasurable.

For many couples, this is the story of the honeymoon. But the women say little, because she’s not sure what it’s supposed to feel like, and she doesn’t want to make demands. It seems selfish. However, sex is supposed to feel good for you, too! The more you have sex without it feeling good for you, the more you solidify the idea in your own mind that “sex is for him, not me.” That’s going to make you feel used. It’s going to build resentment. And it’s going to rob you of what you were made to feel! But if you speak up immediately, in a kind way, it isn’t being critical. It’s just sharing information that he’d likely love to have. And then you can learn this together, and build intimacy. You don’t want to be in the position 10 years into marriage when you finally want to say something, but it would be like saying, “you’ve been doing it wrong the whole time!”

Feeling sexually disconnected?

Like you’ve lost your groove?

Like you’re on two different planets when it comes to sex in your marriage? 

31 Days to Great Sex can help you talk through what’s gone wrong and try some new things to figure out how to make it RIGHT!

 

7. It’s Sunday morning, and your spouse doesn’t really want to go to church.

Do you quietly just get up and go anyway, leaving it up to your spouse whether or not he or she comes along? Do you get the kids ready for church and go anyway?

I hope so. As soon as we start thinking of church as optional, it’s far less likely that we’ll go regularly. When we don’t go regularly, we won’t see people who we need to be our Christian community.

Now, if your church isn’t really a Christian community, then find a new church! But meeting together has to be a habit. And it’s all too easy to break that habit.

8. You realize at the end of the month that you’re going further into debt.

The first time you realize that your finances in trouble, what do you do? Do you ask to sit down and do a budget together, or do you decide that he’s taking care of the finances, and you don’t want to criticize? Or is it even that you’d prefer not to know, because it stresses you out?

Money is one of the biggest things couples fight about. But it’s also one of the biggest things that can grow intimacy, if you do it well. You can make a game plan together. You can have goals that you meet together. But you can’t do that if you don’t first talk about it and take it seriously.

Financial Turning Points in Marriage

9. You get a job offer, but it would interfere with your spouse’s career or education plans.

It’s a job you’d love to take! But what’s your first thought? Is it about how this job will help you (singular), or is it about how this job will affect you (plural)? We need to stop thinking about “me” when it comes to work and we need to start thinking about “us”. Ask, “in our situation, whose plans need to take precedence right now? Who is the least flexible? Whose job/education does it make the most sense for us to plan our lives around?” A marriage can’t survive well with two people aiming towards their own career goals with no thoughts of the other person. You need to think as a team, even if that means that you have to sacrifice.

10. Your spouse says or does something in passing that hurts you.

Maybe he (or she) was inconsiderate. Maybe your feelings were hurt, you felt disrespected, you felt taken for granted. Maybe you felt insulted, or that your spouse doesn’t really honour you or love you. What do you do?

In many ways, this is the most important turning point. When you are hurt, what do you do with that hurt? Do you keep it inside, or do you share it?

Most of us keep it inside, deciding that we just need to deal with it. This is a big mistake, for two reasons. First, chances are your spouse never meant to communicate “I don’t respect you”, “I don’t love you,” or “I take you for granted.” In most cases, it’s a misunderstanding of the significance of the exchange. He may not have bought you a birthday card because nobody did cards in his family (it’s a waste of money and it hurts the environment, they said!), while everyone in your family growing up did cards–and wrote paragraphs of how much they loved you each year (it’s a way of putting our feelings down in writing!). Talking about it allows us to hear their heart and believe the best.

But even beyond that, when we don’t share how we feel, then we grow apart, not together. When your husband doesn’t understand how his actions affect you, then he’ll likely keep doing things that are even more blatant to you that show his disregard–even though that’s not what he meant. And the resentment will grow.

On the other hand, if you speak up right away, before it’s a big deal, your husband will learn more about how you tick and can choose to do things differently. We’ll be looking at this a lot this month–about how smart couples sweat the small stuff.

There you go–10 turning points in marriage.

Like I said, these aren’t exhaustive. There are many other split second decisions that we make that either move us towards intimacy or move us away from intimacy. So form good habits, and stick to them. Prioritize each other. Spend natural time together. These are the sorts of things that impact your marriage far more than big decisions or big things. And they do matter.

What do you think? Which of those 10 is the hardest for you? Or did I miss a #11? Let me know in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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27 Comments

  1. Becky

    I think that all of these are valid points for sure. For me, the first one is the hardest in practice. We have young kids, and often the time after they go to bed is the only time I get to do some of the activities that give me the chance to do the introvert recharging that I need. I’m also naturally more of a night person than he is. So then we end up in situations like last night, where he’s laying in bed watching hockey, and I’m sitting in our walk in closet working on a sewing project because that’s where my machine is. I try not to do that every night, but if I didn’t work on my hobbies at all, I think it would actually make our marriage harder because I honestly get cranky when I don’t get to do something creative for awhile! It’s hard to find the balance when your kids are all at the age where they need such constant supervision that time to yourself during the day (especially for a hobby that involves sharp things) is out of the question.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      I think that the going to bed at the same time means when you’re going to SLEEP. 🙂 I like to crochet and sit in bed at night while I watch a show but when I’m going to sleep, that’s when I call Connor and say “Do you want to go to bed?” If he’s lying in bed watching hockey, then that’s not your cuddly time, anyway. As long as you’re making time for snuggling and talking at the end of the day, you don’t always need to physically be in bed whenever your spouse is physically in bed 🙂

      Reply
  2. Heidi

    I feel like my husband and I need to work on so many of these. #10 especially relates to me. I’ve been feeling sad lately because I don’t feel like I can talk to my husband. I don’t feel like we are good friends. I’m very much a “don’t make waves” type of person. So when my husband speaks to me in a rude and critical way I need some ideas of what to say right then. I feel like I need to stop rude talk immediately, because bringing it up later with the “I feel hurt when you…” is too late and I’ve been hurt and stewing about it for hours and he thinks everything is great. I freeze and don’t know what to say instead of speaking up for myself or the kids. For example, what do I say when he says, “What are you doing?!?” in a rude way about something I’m doing right then?

    It would be great if there were a whole post (and maybe there is somewhere) on this. I realize that because I am a don’t make waves type of person I need to speak up and change by sharing and talking more because when I keep it in I end up exploding or just feeling depressed. I’ve been praying to know what to say to my husband and when I read your post today it did make me realize our marriage is at a turning point. Thank you for writing about something that pricked my heart and will hopefully move us to change things.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This is a great question, Heidi! And maybe it does need a whole post. I’ll copy and paste this into my file and save it for later, because you are DEFINITELY not the only one in this situation!

      Reply
      • CRod

        That would be a post I’d benefit from also! I also have a hard time speaking up about things. It doesn’t help that in the past, when I have confronted my husband, he has gotten very upset and angry at me. Then he turns situations around so that it seems that I’m the one who is in the wrong?! I have been dealing with this for years and years and I’m just to the point where I don’t say or bring up anything…

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s really concerning. I’m sorry. I will write about it soon!

          Reply
    • EM

      Hi Heidi! I’m so sorry you are going through this. I felt like that for most of our 15 years of marriage, and even though I know my husband is a good guy, his harshness had really worn away at the intimacy of our marriage. I always felt like I was a kid in trouble and I hated that dynamic. I FINALLY went to counseling this year and she told me to ready Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend. Holy game changer!!! I highly recommend it. The next time he got upset with me (the kids’ messy game closet) I calmly said, “You may not talk to me like that. If this is really important to you, you can come find me and talk to me when you’re calm.”
      And I walked away. Well guess what? He cleaned it up himself, then came and found me and apologized for his temper. I only had to call him out one more time, and he hasn’t been harsh with me in 3 months! I never thought this was possible. And the intimacy in our marriage is better than ever. We are having deep conversations and I feel like he is my “safe place” again. So don’t give up hope. God really can heal these hurts. But sometimes we have to let our husbands feel the consequences of their actions instead of absorbing all of the negativity ourselves.

      Reply
      • EM

        PS – I’m afraid I made that sound a little too easy. I had to do a lot of soul searching to figure out why I was so afraid of upsetting other people, and there was about a month there where every time we talked I was crying! But it has been incredibly worth it. I’ll be praying for you.

        Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, EM, isn’t that wonderful? I’m going to use your comment as the “comment” section on my podcast. It’s so important. I love it!

        Reply
        • EM

          Thank you Sheila! Your blog is a big reason I finally found the courage to go to counseling, even though he wouldn’t come with me. We are now leading a group for newlyweds at our church. I hope you know what a huge impact you are making in the lives of so many.

          Reply
    • D D

      Hi Heidi, I have struggled with the same thing. I’ve been married 5 years and find it very hard to stand up for myself. Only in the last year have I been able to do it. My husband can be very harsh and mean with his words. I HATE confrontation and refused to do or say anything that would ruffle feathers for years. Now when he says something harshly I tell him, The words you are saying are true. (They usually are for us) But you do not need to use that tone, there are much kinder ways to say it.
      For me I had to realize how much I had let fear rule my life. After God showed me that and set me free from it I was able to stand up for myself better. Also realizing that he was being verbally abusive, processing it and learning to heal had a huge impact on me. Things are so much better now. I’m a stronger person mentally and emotionally. I don’t mentally cower when he gets upset anymore. I speak the truth with love and kindness. And sometimes the truth hurts.
      Keep praying! You are the daughter of the King of Kings and He doesn’t want you to be living like this. Dig deep into the scriptures, pray scriptures over yourself, husband and family. They are SO powerful! Psalm 141:3 has helped me a lot. And 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 Ezekiel 11:19,20 Jeremiah 23:29 Isaiah 25:12 Colossians 4:6. I encourage you to read them in the amplified version.

      Reply
  3. Bethany

    On the job offer one, I think that it would be very important in that case to make sure that is something you are discussing and not just settling in your head. The “we are a team, big picture planning” stuff I think (and I feel like this is what you would say too) should always be something that both people are engaged with. I say this because it’s really easy for me to just decide in my own introverted head that “obviously it’s my husband’s stuff that’s most important” rather than hashing it out together. Having decided that together, then you really do need to pull together to accomplish your joint life goals, and not be pulling in two separate directions.

    Point 10 has been super key for us too. We have made it a point since the beginning to discuss everything (my husband was super big on me telling him any time something was up, because he knew he would not “just pick up on it” – he’s very wise.)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Really good thoughts on the job offer thing, Bethany! I think this is where goal setting as a couple is so important. You need to know what you’re aiming for. It’s super hard to compromise sometimes, but when we have an “us” mentality, it’s much easier to do.

      And it sounds like your husband is awesome! We need to speak up. We’ll never build intimacy otherwise.

      Reply
  4. endlesscleaner

    I really liked this one. 1, 5 and 8 really hit home. We dont sleep together right now but my hope is that we will in the future. One thing that actually worries me is , what do I do if I am not sleepy? I dont like to sleep. For me its the most pointless part of my life. When my wife goes to bed now I go with her and sometimes rub her feet while she and the kids fall asleep. Then I go and do chores. How do you balance that? When there are chores to be done and you dont want to sleep until they are done?

    I have been thinking a lot about 5 since the podcast last week and also what you wrote yesterday. I need to learn to let go of some things. I realize that just as I do with God I only see myself as someone to love if I do something. If I dont do anything then I am not worth loving. Its a sad realization and something I really need to deal with.

    Number 8 is so difficult. I dont know what to do with my wife. We are in a big debt becaus eof her and she keeps spending. Even if we talk. Yesterday she got angry at me because I forgot to give her a bill that came to her. Its a lot of money and she knows it but I think she doesnt want to feel that its her fault. If I even mention that I dont like her spending money and that we are in debt because of that she feels sad and gets upset. I dont know what to do. She wont accept it but I think she is a shopaholic. I love her and I know this is my fault too. I have a difficult time to say no to her. Specially when I am hoping that her being happy will lead to sex (its immature and dumb I know). But I dont know what to do anymore. I feel bad but I cant say much because I feel guilty for making her upset. I dont know what to do.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Wow, you really are carrying so much! That doesn’t sound healthy, and I am afraid that you won’t be able to keep functioning like this with all of this stress (and so little sleep). I think it would be a very good idea to read a book like Boundaries and to see a counsellor and start talking about some of this. As for money, you simply have to have that conversation, and push at it, even if it’s uncomfortable, because you can’t keep going into debt. Will she get mad? Maybe. But she is the one doing something wrong, and she needs to listen and change her behaviour for the good of the family. That will only happen when you make it clear that things can’t continue this way. Before you do that, though, it’s important to figure out some of your own issues. Why are you bending over backwards so much when she does little in return? Why do you think that it’s acceptable for you to do so much work in the family and carry such a heavy burden, when she shows so little care for you? Those are important questions, and likely relate to how you feel about your worth.

      I’d also suggest reading Leslie Vernick’s book How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong. It gets to a lot of the heart issues, and helps us sort out how to make sure that our priorities are right–that we’re not idolizing the marriage; that we’re not doing anything vindictive; that we’re simply trying to work towards our spouse’s best and to glorify God. I hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Kate

        Dude, Sheila gave you the perfect answer, please heed her advice. You need to also get a backbone because you come off as a beta male. I know that sounds harsh but when there is a mess in a marriage being a coward only exasperates the situation. Put your foot down NOW or else when things get worse you will be FORCED to put your foot down but by then it will be to late. I send my condolence, i know it’s hard.

        Reply
      • Endless cleaner

        As Katie says I need to man up. I just don’t know how. I have been a people pleaser my whole life. I have tried to deal with it but it’s difficult with a wife that is very strong willed. We have talked about this and I thought that letting us hit some rock bottom would help her see and while some things have improved she still spends too much.
        I guess the reason I want to do everything is because I feel like I have too. The word says that I need to love my wife and we shouldn’t expect much back. Many marriage bloggers say it too. So I try to not expect much. The other day my wife thanked me for all I do and that she felt loved and she asked if I did the same. I mean I feel loved but I can’t say I feel that she does something extra. I wish I could have told her that I would like her to engage in sex a little more. That I wish she could do an effort to connect in that way or at least take time for us. But what was I supposed to say. Ruin the moment with that? So I just said yes. She is a wonderful woman but a little self-centered.
        As you can read I also struggle with low self-esteem. Being a bad husband is my biggest fear. I hear so many women leaving their husbands because they didn’t do enough and etc. And that’s scares me so I rather do everything than fee that I was a bad husband that she can leave some days. I know I sound like a crazy person but I really struggle with these things.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I hear you about the insecurity.

          Let me challenge you with this, though. You say that you’re to love your wife. What, though, is the definition of love? Is it not to want the best for someone?

          And what is the best for someone? It’s when they look more and more like Jesus, everyday (Romans 8:29). We are to love our spouses in such a way that we point them to Jesus. If we enable selfishness, we’re ultimately not being loving.

          Does that make sense?

          Again, it may really help to talk with a counsellor about this. It sounds like you’ve been going through so much for quite a long time, and there’s a lot to unravel. And pray hard, that Jesus will show you what love looks like. Remember that goodness is a fruit of the spirit, and goodness means being GOOD, not being NICE. They are different. Jesus was being good when He overturned the money changers’ tables. I do hope that helps!

          Reply
    • Katie/unmowngrass

      Thanks for sharing your story.
      I wonder, what is your wife’s love language? From what you’ve written I might hazard a guess that it’s gifts. She will be shopping a lot to fill some void, or as a distraction from something she doesn’t want to face. She knows she’s overspending. I expect she fears that she’s letting you down. That you’ll be angry with her. Perhaps she’s stopped thinking that she’s valuable to you at all. Or to anyone. She may feel like she’s losing her identity to motherhood. And that she’s doing that badly and letting the children down too. And it’s all driving her to panic. So she buys herself a present to cheer herself up, and perhaps to remind herself of who she still is as an individual.
      But other people may have handled the same issues in a different way, and your wife is going shopping. Which is what made me say that it sounds like her love language is gifts. Physical items that mean something to her, and more importantly, a share of the family resources specifically directed towards her happiness. It sounds like it’s the only thing giving her any sense of value, unfortunately.

      Now this is only a hypothesis, but if I’m right so far, then I expect that, were your wife to begin to feel valuable from other ways, then the overspending would stop, or at least, slow down. (Lack of discipline with money is a different issue, that you can tackle later, but I’m talking more like, “oh shoot, I overspent on groceries so I can’t afford to put petrol in the car”, rather than actively adding to debt.) Of course it’s only a suggestion, but if you were to start bringing gifts for your wife, thoughtful gifts; small ones, but frequently; then my opinion is that she will stop buying them for herself and spending so much money in the process. And she will truly feel a lot happier.
      I realise it may be counter-intuitive, because in light of the overspending you perhaps want to hoard all of the money, and you don’t want to give the idea of “rewarding” bad behaviour, but, isn’t that grace? Not being treated the way we deserve? More to the point, what do you have to lose by giving it a try? 🙂

      Reply
  5. Steve

    #11: Be quick to forgive, and if you have allowed resentment and bitterness to grow in your life and marriage, run to the Lord and ask Him to remove it at the root.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Love it! Great one.

      Reply
  6. ThePhilZone

    I personally differentiate between different types of passing comments that may be hurtful. A seemingly innocent passing comment that causes immediate hurt on the spot is brought up, dealt with and we are both better off and closer for the conversation. This would be a small type of thing. A passing comment that triggers passed hurt about a deeper personal or relational issue may be just as accidental but the pain is deeper and often taken more personally, at least for me. This is where I sometimes retreat and gather my thoughts. I almost always let this go because I know my wife would never personally say anything to hurt me or visa versa. The issue is with me and the internal conflict resolution begins. Fortunately for us, we rarely say anything hurtful to or about each other. You learn over time what these things are and out of love, keep the thoughts and words uplifting and beautiful!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s awesome! And you’re right–in a good marriage you do learn over time. And it’s okay to take a minute to process things before you say anything. The only downside with not doing so immediately is that sometimes you get into a discussion that’s more along the lines of “I never said that.” “Yes, you did.” Rather than just getting to the hurt, you debate whether it happened. And that can be kind of counterproductive!

      Reply
  7. Angela

    #10 is the hardest for me. I learned the hard way that this can break down a marriage and even creates the illusion to my spouse that everything is okay when it’s not. When I explode he is very confused and feels I lied to him because I chose not to say anything about it. The hardest part is figuring out which small stuff to bring up and which to let go. I am particular about a lot of things, and fear that I will become a nagging wife or a mother wife (he didn’t marry me to get a second mom!). I just have no idea where the line is and want to know the difference between being respectful, talking it out and being demeaning or degrading to him. I don’t want that either. Anything you write in that post would be helpful I have no doubt, as I am still learning how to bring up the small stuff.

    Reply
  8. Misty S

    Hey. A question about #2, where you eat. We eat the evening meal together (my husband & I & our 4 kids, plus my single bro-in-law who lives next door), as well as most weekend meals. But although we might start out happy, most meals degenerate into fussing at the kids (ages 6, 7, 11, 12) to stop talking and finish eating. My bro-in-law and sometimes my husband “withdraw” by looking at their phones (often distracting the kids even more), and sometimes I just get fed up and start on the dishes. (OK, the sink is only a metre from the table, so I’m still very much attentive to the kids.) They, I think,are just “being kids,”repeating the same joke 10 times, 101 comments of school trivia, with the result that our simple meal lasts longer than a 7-course banquet… And mom &dad don’t talk to avoid stimulating more silliness. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely! Try guided conversations. Everyone has to share the best thing that happened to them, or the worst thing that happened to them. And everybody has to listen. Or else play something like a trivia game (we did that a lot!). But the big thing is to have conversations that EVERYONE can be a part of. That helps a lot!

      Reply
  9. Mandula

    This is such a great post, thank you for writing it!
    We have been married for two years, and I think we are pretty good with some of these points, but I feel completely desperate about the job thing… I’m 21 years old, just starting my career in a quite competitive field, and my husband is very supportive even in less successful periods, and I’m really grateful for that. The thing is though that I feel like he looks at my job as more like a hobby that I can easily sacrifice for his big, important, real job. He works a lot, and he loves what he’s doing and I’m happy that he’s happy, it’s just that he’s making decisions to benefit his career with seemingly no consideration for my work or life in general. We moved to a different city for his job when we got married which made my life quite a lot harder with all the commuting and what not, but I could manage, and it was a decision we made more-or-less together. But now he wants to move to a different country… I’ve tried to talk to him countless times, I told him that I really don’t want to leave everything behind, even if it’s only for 3-4 years (that is very much not “only” for me); that I think we should ask God if He really wants us to go there, because I do not see that right now; that I would have to leave my little career-seedlings behind and they would die – he says it’s a great time to have babies so that I can restart working when/if we come back – but then I’d have to have babies with no family or friends around me with doctors whose language I don’t speak; that moms often get isolated when they are raising young babies even if they are in a familiar environment, now try that with the very introverted me in a foreign country; even if our church members expressed doubts about this plan, and asked him if he ever considered my opinion (or asked it for that matter), but he just shrugs and says I’ll have to deal with it. Do I really have to?

    Reply

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