So a disclaimer up front: our amazing content partner Sheila, from To Love, Honor, and Vacuum spends a lot of this post referencing a product she’s promoting. 1) We aren’t making a dime off this product. 2) This post has such great, practical advice we simply had to run it. Hope you enjoy it like we did!
Want a new marriage by tomorrow? Or at least a new dynamic and a new freedom and purpose in your relationship?
Maybe all it takes is a little bit of attention in the right direction to fix a problem, get rid of something that’s holding you back, or figure out where you’re going!
This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, because (affiliate link ahead!) the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is on sale–but just for 5 days. It’s a collection of 129 online products, including ebooks, videos, courses, audios, printables, and more, worth $3,687.47. And it’s yours for just $29.97. But only until Monday at midnight!
Every year the Ultimate Bundles people put together ALL NEW bundles, with resources that haven’t been included before. And there are even physical bonuses that will arrive right at your door, worth more than you’ll pay for the bundle itself. They have resources to help you with time management, meal prep, parenting, marriage, faith, finances–even working from home.
What I love about the bundles is that I can skim through and find a few things that make all the difference to me. Because there’s so much, there are things that will meet you right where you’re at.
And so I made a challenge for myself.
I looked through the bundle (because I’m an affiliate I get access to it early) and I thought: If I wanted to improve the dynamic in my marriage, what projects in this bundle could I do TONIGHT? Things that you could put in place right now that will get you headed on a new route?
So I put together this list! Often when we think about improving our marriage we think of communication and resolving conflict. But I think often the reason that we get in conflict in the first place is that we aren’t intentional with the two resources that matter most: our time and our money. Get these things under control, and a lot of those conflicts will evaporate!
I don’t know where you’re at in your marriage right now, but I know one of these exercises will apply to you. Here are some ideas:
Tasks to Help You Feel Less Frazzled
1. Create an Evening and Morning Routine (from The Essentials: 7 Projects to Sane-ify your life)
Do you know why we often get ticked off at our spouses? Because we spend so much time running around after everyone else we feel put upon, and then when they want to spend time with us it’s an imposition. What if, instead, you could create time in your morning routine to do things that nurture you–and start the day well?
But what about ending the day? I’ve written before about how one of the best things we can do for our marriage is to go to bed at the same time–with a bedtime routine! Seriously, if you want to have more sex, two basic things are required: you need to be in bed, and your spouse ALSO needs to be in the bed. Oh, and you need to both be awake, too!
The Essentials ecourse takes you through 7 projects to “sane-ify” your life, and creating your morning and evening routines is one of them. And it’s easier than you think. She takes you through a process to choose 5 things to do in the morning and 5 things to do in the evening to help you focus. Do this project together–and make new routines together.
Less Frazzle = More Sizzle in your marriage!
2. Talk About Can You Afford for someone to Stay at Home? (from You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom on One Income)
In August of 1994 I was on a subway ride in Toronto, heading for work. I was praying not to throw up. I spent most of my life praying TO throw up (because I felt so sick being pregnant), but on the subway, for those 25 minutes with no bathroom in sight, my prayers switched.
In the middle of those prayers, I realized something. I don’t actually need to be doing this. If we cut back on expenses, and if I tried to get some contract work from home, I could spend my days next to a toilet with a cold cloth on my head. When Rebecca came into the world a few months later, I realized I never wanted to go back to an actual 9-5 job (though I have always worked to some extent from home).
We simply would have been too frazzled to have a two-job household. I know for some people it’s not financially possible to have a parent stay at home. But have you ever wondered if you could–or if your husband could? Have you ever wondered if one of you could switch to part-time? Having someone at home can seriously reduce a lot of stress, and I honestly think it’s the best thing we ever did both for our marriage and our family.
You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom on One Income takes you through an evaluation process to see whether you can afford to stay at home–along with suggesting a myriad of ways to save money and even earn money from home! (and the Bundle has a section of 10 Work at Home products worth $1302.99 to help you earn money from home!)Maybe this is a discussion worth having with your spouse tonight.
Tasks to Help You Feel More Purposeful
3. Plan a Year of Couple Dates (from The Ultimate Bundles Date Night Kit)
This is the one Keith and I are doing tonight! (I’ll post pictures on Facebook later!) I’ve been wanting to be more purposeful in planning our dates ahead of time and making sure that we spend some intentional time together doing special things, rather than just Netflix binges. The Date Night Kit has printables to plan your dates, and then tells you how to put your manilla envelopes together so every month you pick a new date! And they have lots of links to different date night ideas, some that are free and some that cost some money.
4. Figure out Your Family Culture–and Plan Family Meetings (from Family Culture: Building A Strong Family Identity)
Do you guys know who you are as a couple? As a family? What makes you unique?
When we DON’T know, we can feel like we’re spinning our wheels and growing apart. When we do know, then we can feel like we’re on the same team! It helps you feel closer, even when life gets busy.
Go through this exercise tonight where you figure out the values that are important to you, create a family motto, and even think through traditions that you want to implement.
5. Set a Goal for Your Family (from Dreams By Design 2018 Planner)
Often we get upset at each other because we each have a different picture of where we should be heading as a family, and we’ve never communicated our intention.
These goal printables help you Set a goal, then ask—what steps do we need to get there? What habits do we need to put in place to meet that goal? When will these habits take place?
I was talking to someone yesterday who had a hard time saving money because of her husband’s spending on alcohol and cigarettes every month. But if they were to do a goal planning night, where they realized they wanted to buy a house in the next two years, then those budget talks would be much more productive! Instead of just getting mad at him, they could turn the conversation towards “how can we save for a downpayment?”
6. Talk About Your Dream Lifestyle (from The 15 Minute Marriage Makeover)
This is slightly different from setting goals. This exercise helps you figure out what you actually want your family to feel like–and then you can have those conversations that can be more difficult about what habits we have right now that we may need to get rid of. If your husband is playing a lot of video games, for instance, and you’ve found it difficult to talk about it, maybe having this discussion about what you want your family to feel like is a more productive way of addressing the issue. Or if you just spend too much time on social media, or the house is always chaotic, this is a way to address those things without the blaming.
So let’s work backwards. Don’t start with—what are we doing wrong right now? Start instead with where do we want to be? Then you can decide how to get there–and those conversations about bad habits will be much easier.
15 Minute Marriage Makeover gives you 15-minute projects you do over 31 days to help turn your marriage around. And they’re so practical! Creating your dream lifestyle is just one of the exercises, but it’s one I think can bear the most fruit.
Tasks To Help You Feel More Responsible
7. Have an Emergency Budget Meeting (from The Real Life Budget Planner)
One of the biggest causes of divorce is fights over money.
Maybe you’ve tried to set a budget, but you’re just not sticking to it–or your spouse isn’t sticking to it. Don’t let that situation go. Be proactive, and plan an emergency budget meeting! That’s one of the exercises in the Real Life Budget Planner, and you’re taken step by step in how to have that meeting.
The rules: Be Committed: Must be committed to resolving the issues and taking action in order to “reset” your budget. Be in Observation Mode: No judging allowed. This includes yourself, your spouse, or your situation. Be Progress Orientated: Focus on the progress that you’ve made.
8. Figure Out Your Net Worth (from How to Make a Budget Work for You)
Part of getting a handle on your finances isn’t just setting a budget (though there are 11 finance resources in the Homemaking Bundle, totalling $221.92). It’s also getting a snapshot of where you are right now.
I love the exercises in How to Make a Budget Work for You where she takes you through figuring out your net worth. She tells you to figure out your assets—anything that you could sell for more than $100. And include even things that you can’t touch right now, like RRSPs or 401ks or savings bonds! Then she asks you to rate how important each one is to you on a scale of 1 to 5, and also whether that asset is going up or down in value. This helps you to see whether you’re putting your money into worthwhile things, and whether you can sell things in a pinch. (After doing this exercise I realized I have a coin collection I put together when I was 13 that is going down in value that I have to sell now! It’s going to help pay for our missions trip to Kenya this summer).
Then, of course, you add up your debts and figure out where you are.
Tasks to Help You Feel More Confident
9. Plan Your Spring Wardrobe (from The Big Book of Outfit Formulas)
As my regular readers know, I’m a big proponent of “fighting the frump”. I think that when we put an effort into our appearance, it’s not about vanity as much as it is showing that we respect ourselves. And one of the biggest things I’ve learned this year is how to put an outfit together, so you actually look put together, instead of looking like you just threw things on.
The Big Book of Outfit Formulas lets you “shop” your closet to give inspiration to how to create outfits. And there are two other outfit resources in the bundle, including an ecourse you can take!
10. Declutter Your Husband’s Clothes (from 31 Days to an Everyday Clean Home)
Here’s one that my husband SO appreciates. Women are pretty good at weeding out our closets. Men don’t tend to go through their clothes. And a lot of men don’t know how to put an outfit together (some do, some don’t!). My husband’s default is pants and a shirt, because he doesn’t feel comfortable choosing a tie and/or sweater to go with it.
What about spending an evening decluttering his clothes, and then organizing them into outfits? I hang shirts with their ties now, and even put shirts with the right colour pants. But one of the easiest ways to make sure your husband looks sharp, and to help him feel confident, is to get rid of the clothes that he doesn’t need anymore! How does he feel when he wears this? Does this need to be replaced? Toss the stuff he doesn’t need, and organize the stuff he’ll wear.
Decluttering clothes is one of the exercises in 31 Days to an Everyday Clean Home!
There you go–10 exercises you can do tonight to change the dynamic and feel of your marriage. Feel more confident, less frazzled, more responsible, more on the same page. Just pick the one that works for you!