Monthly Archives: January 2015

1 Moment in Time?

On the Happier Husband blog you’ll see a lot of posts about ways to improve your marriages in short amounts of time.  This includes asking one question, listening to your wife, praying together, and spending less than 60 seconds in a hug. Each of these and many other activities that take 5 minutes or less can add great value to your marriage.

The Bad News

You can do everything listed in the posts linked above and still have a failed marriage. In fact you can probably do 60, 70 or even 80% of the things I have blogged about and yet not have the happy marriage you desire. It’s not that these won’t help, they absolutely will IF you don’t miss the critical ingredient.

A True Story

Did you know I used to work in a roller skating rink? No kidding. I started out as a DJ then moved up to floor guard. I skated backward and forward without effort. I could stop on a dime, do 180s and be instantly moving in the opposite direction at a rapid clip. I could shoot the duck, leap over obstacles (including trusting friends who would lie on the floor while I jumped over them), outflank people who were misbehaving, and catch up to and pass pretty much anyone on the floor. Yep, I was a rink rat. But I didn’t start out with those skills. At first I could barely stand well enough to get from one carpet covered column to the next. Then I couldn’t shoot the duck for more then 10-15 seconds. It took weeks to get the hang of skating backwards. Plus I ran into a LOT of walls (and some people) while mastering a dead stop or quick turn at high speed. How did I go from non-skater to skating master? I skated every chance I could. If the rink was open I was there. Hours and hours for weeks on end working on the basics in order to improve. I didn’t try to do the advanced moves right away because I wasn’t ready for them. It was daily effort over time that took me to roller skating glory!

Bridging the Gap

I probably should tie the “Bad News” section together with the bragging about roller skating. Let me explain why doing most of what I write in this blog won’t work without a critical ingredient. A single hug can change how you feel for the moment or perhaps even for a day. Praying with your wife tonight will be good for both your spirits for tonight. Paying attention to and following your wife’s advice on an issue will validate her for a few days or even a week. Asking yourself “What can I do to show my wife more love?” will help you to love her more for now. But what about next time?

What have you done for me lately?
-Janet Jackson

How to Properly Use Quick Marriage Hacks for a Happier Marriage

A great marriage is not built on a single event. No wedding, no matter the expense or beauty of the occasion can long sustain a marriage. No single counseling session, no “I love you” uttered once in the past, no one time prayer together or any other single thing can give you a happy marriage. A happy marriage is built on one moment in time…repeated every day for the rest of your lives.

The Power of Consistency

Your marriage requires daily maintenance. The hugs, the words of love, the prayers offered up together must happen on a VERY regular basis. Just like only feeding your body once a month will lead to certain death by starvation, only occasionally feeding your marriage will lead to a miserable life together and possibly one or both of you seeking the nourishment of love elsewhere. Consistent acts of service and love to each other are the ways to make a happy marriage. Just as God is faithful to show us His love through His Word and Spirit so should we consistently show our spouses our love through our words and actions. Make sure that not a day goes by that she has to miss out on your love. Shower her with affection and care, hold her, touch her, listen to her, speak lovingly to her and serve her every day. Every single day.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
-Galatians 6:9

Now go love her today and every today for the rest of your lives together.

Love you all!

-Troy

Choose Wisely

You really have two options in life. No one gets away from these two options and you’ll deal with the tug of war between them every day of your life. I know what you are thinking. You think it’s good vs. evil. Perhaps it’s morality vs. immorality. Those are certainly things you’ll deal with frequently but I’m talking about two options that are both more subtle and more basic.

The Results of the Wrong Option

Before we get into the specifics of the options let’s talk about what happens if you go with the wrong one. If you choose poorly you will have a disconnected marriage or will experience the pain of divorce, possibly more than once. You will spend your life in a job that you despise just to pay the bills with no hope of anything else. You will either never have a relationship with God, will have one and fall away or always be on the surface with Him and wonder why you can’t go deeper. You will be overweight, out of shape and experience chronic diseases associated with those physical states of being. In short you will have a miserable existence, life a life of little consequence and come to the end of your life filled with regret. All for a single reason. You chose poorly.

The Results of the Correct Option

If you choose wisely you will have a happy and dynamic marriage. You will discover your passions in life and follow a path that allows you to meet your family’s needs while loving how you spend your days. You will enjoy frequent time with God and His people while continually growing closer to Him and serving others. You will eat in a healthy fashion but not be too stringent, enjoying the occasional indulgence as a result of your hard work. You’ll be physically fit, constantly pushing your body and feeling great. You’ll look and seem 10, 20 or even 30 years younger than your actual age. When the end of life nears you will be surrounded by those who love you and be ok knowing that you are about to meet the One who has been your first love for many years. All for a single reason. You chose wisely.

A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one.
-Ecclesiastes 10:2

A Bit of an Aside

This is the Happier Husband blog. The purpose is to help other couples find the kind of happiness that Sally and I have enjoyed for well over two decades. To show you the example of how God has led us down this path of almost unbelievable joy. Our lives are not perfect but it doesn’t matter. We have an amazing relationship because we have often chosen wisely. In some areas we have struggled. Not our relationship but other areas…because in some areas we have at times chosen poorly. But we recognize that and know the way to decrease and perhaps even remove some of those struggles. We know how to choose wisely.

Don’t Underestimate the Options

By now you are likely wondering VERY much about these two options. One of which leads to great misery and the other leads to great joy. The options are almost too basic to really understand the power they hold. But once you see the difference, once you trace them into the future in your mind, you will see why this is critical every single day for the rest of your life.

The Options

There are only two options and here they are, make sure you choose wisely. You can change or you can remain the same. That’s it. If you decide to remain the same you will never grow closer to your spouse. You will never remove the habits and behaviors that hold you back. You will never be able to be closer to God. You will stay in the same job, the same unhealthy eating patterns and the same lack of physical activity. Eventually people will grow and you will be left behind. BUT if you choose to change, if you choose to change daily, even hourly and minute by minute the world opens up to you. You will read, listen and learn. You will grow and discover more and better ways to love your spouse. You will seek God and His word; you will draw closer to Him and feel His power in your life. If you choose to change you will still feel fear but you will take the leap! You will stay in the job for the time it takes to complete what you know is your part then you will leave without regret. The people you leave behind will be better for having been a part of your life. You will be filled with joy and a zest for life along with the excitement of never knowing exactly what will happen next, but ready to change to meet the future head on.

This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
-Joshua 1:9

The Challenge

This won’t be easy. The momentum of accumulated years of staying the same will do their best to hold you back. But remember you aren’t tied down with chains or ropes, but rather with a thousand tiny threads. With every change you make a thread breaks. It gets a little easier. Your freedom was lost by choosing over and over to remain the same. Your freedom will be won by choosing over and over to make a change. Every time you are at a crossroad, when there is a decision to be made you must give yourself permission to change. Embrace the fact that life won’t wait for you to grow and that you must change to get reach your God-given destiny. If you truly want the life God has for you; the abundant life that Jesus promised then you have to do one simple thing, change.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
-John 10:10

Love you all!

-Troy

Rooting for the Home Team

A few days ago I wrote on the topic of working out your financial plan together. Because fighting about money has been repeatedly shown to be one of the main problems in marriage it was important to cover that topic. However working on a budget is one small part of marital interaction in life.

Working Together

One of my favorite aspects of being married is working towards a common goal. Last year Sally and I trained for and ran both a 10K race and a Warrior Dash (both were even more fun because our son and his fiancé ran with us, although they were not engaged at the time). The joy of sharing a goal makes the process of moving toward that goal much easier. But this post isn’t about swimming through mud or leaping over fire. Which we all did at the Warrior Dash. :-)

Going Through the Motions

Have you ever seen a Harlem Globetrotters game? Usually they play against their travelling opponents the Washington Generals. It’s a known fact that the Globetrotters almost never lose to the Generals and the games are mostly about trick plays, buckets of confetti and amazing ball handling. The Generals play every game fully expecting to lose and so they are just going through the motions to get through it.

I’m Tired Of…

Recently I was having a challenging week. You know the type, there are several things that have to be done, few of them are pleasant and you just want to get through it…like the Washington Generals. I lamented to my lovely bride, “I just wish this week were over.” Then she said an incredibly powerful reply that stopped me in my tracks and caused me to quickly refocus. There were less than 10 words but they contained a great amount of meaning. Here they are: “I’m tired of wishing my life away.” Then it hit me, I was allowing the difficult weeks to take me off track from our common goals. I was using tiredness and my attitude as excuses to keep me from playing for the team that week. I wasn’t pressing on as I should have been doing.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:13-14

When It Really Matters

It’s not terribly difficult to lean in when things are going great and you are in the zone. But during the difficult times, when you are exhausted and frustrated, when all you want to do is lie down and sleep, that’s when it matters. When you’d rather go to bed than write the blog post. When you’d rather complain about your job than make a change. When you’d rather just take another drink than call for help. These are the times when what you do makes all of the difference.

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
-Matthew 7:7-8

How Things Changed

After Sally made the statement, “I’m tired of wishing my life away, “ I had to reevaluate my attitude and behavior. It helped with the push to planning the budget but it did much more than that. It forced me to remember that I can slack off and go through the motions. I can wish away those moments and hours and days that contain things I don’t enjoy. But if I do then I’ll have lost that time…forever. So I am taking my own advice. I’m not only getting engaged, I’m staying engaged. I’ll be changing what we can change and improving my attitude about what can not be changed or what is only temporary. I challenge you to do the same.

I’m trying an experiment to change my attitude. The results at this point are very promising. Perhaps at some point I’ll include what I’m doing in a future post.

What are methods you use to bring yourself back to a great attitude? Drop a reply in the comments!

I love you all!

-Troy

Do the Hard Thing…You’ll Be Glad You Did

I feel I should preface this post with a note. It is different than a lot of what you have seen at HappierHusband. But sometimes you have to shake things up.

Did You Know?

Did you know that most people live paycheck to paycheck? I’m sure you did. Did you know that the median household income in the United States for 2009-2013 was $53,046? For a family of four (two children and two adults) that is almost $30,000 above the United States poverty level.

False Guilt

If you make more than $10,000 in your household per year then you are wealthier than most of the people in the world. You are RICH! Rolling in the bucks! You can buy pretty much anything you like because you make more money than billions of other people! (That was sarcasm, just in case you didn’t catch it.) Don’t fall for it. The truth is although you probably DO make more money than most people in the world you live in a part of the world where you pay more for products and services as well. Just because you make $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 or more you should not feel guilt for someone who lives in a different country but makes enough money to take care of their own family. I recently was speaking to a friend who lived in Asia for 8 months. She was lamenting the fact that when she returned to the US some items cost 4 times what they paid while they were out of the country. If you have enough money for safety, for shelter, for putting a little into savings and for helping others, then you are doing well…no matter the exact amount. Note that I didn’t mention tithing in that list. We shouldn’t count our tithe as income to be considered, as it is a gift back to God for His goodness to us.

A Personal Question

If you had a look at our family’s tax returns you’d say we are doing ok. But are we doing as well as we should be doing? I don’t mean should we be making millions of dollars per year (although there is nothing wrong with that as long as the money is used in accordance with God’s will and Biblical principles), I mean are we doing as well as we should with what God has provided? In other words are we being good stewards?

Why Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck

I’m convinced there is a simple reason why so many American families find themselves under crushing debt loads and always living near the edge of financial ruin. A very simple reason. We don’t have a lack of money; we have a lack of a money plan. There is a cost to not having a plan for our finances and it’s not just a cost to us.

Imagine With Me

Imagine being able to anonymously send $1,000 to a family in your church that you know is in need.

Imagine being able to commit $30 per month to supporting a child in poverty in another country.

Imagine being able to plan and enjoy a cruise or a trip to Orlando with your family…and to bring along your child’s best friend at your expense.

Imagine taking an annual mission trip to the same place each year and making great relationships with the people in that area and bringing them to Jesus.

Imagine.

Counting the Cost

Do you know how much each of those imaginings would cost? Of course the first two are simple, but even the others are only a few thousand dollars. Now, I hear what you are probably thinking. “ONLY a few thousand dollars? Is he nuts? If I had a few thousand extra dollars I would be able to pay my way out of this mess!” My friend, you do have a few thousand dollars to spare…and so do I. They are wrapped up in going out to dinner every Sunday and buying clothes when we already have more than we wear. Those thousands of dollars are in a hundred little things we buy or waste over the course of each year. Maybe it’s time for a change.

The Simple Solution

There is a simple solution. It has three steps. But it also has a cost. The cost is self-discipline.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

-Hebrews 12:11 NLT

Here are the steps: 1) Make a budget where you spend less than you take in. 2) Pay down your debts with the excess. 3) Stick to it.

There are many ways to make a budget; Dave Ramsey has an entire course used in many churches dedicated to it, Financial Peace University. If you don’t have the option to take the course then buy Dave’s book The Total Money Makeover. Right now he is offering a $33 deal on the entire Destroy Debt 2015 bundle. Those aren’t affiliate links, I won’t make a dime if you buy them but I just want you to know they are out there. If you can’t afford the books check with your pastor or local library.

Closing Thoughts

I want to be very clear. This should not be taken as license for one person in a marriage to control or overpower the other person’s ability to spend money. This must be a process worked out between the two of you where you both agree that steps need to be taken and changes need to be made. But like all critical aspects of marriage this process needs to be bathed in prayer and mutually supportive.

Life is tough, but if you are tough on yourself it will be infinitely easier on you.

-Zig Ziglar

If you commit to this path of self discipline then you’ll be happier in the long run. There will be challenges and unexpected expenses. There may be times when you blow it and have to jump back on. But imagine the satisfaction of know you are using the resources God has loaned to you in a way that is pleasing to Him and in a way that will allow you to live with less stress and to help others in need.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

-Matthew 22:37-40

Love you all!

-Troy

Take Counsel

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

-Proverbs 31:10-12 ESV

I am an idea guy. Ideas come to me all the time for various ways to solve different issues. It’s not bragging, trust me. It’s not bragging because although I have plenty of ideas I have in the past lacked in the implementation department. That’s not going to be the case anymore because I have decided to become engaged.

A True Story

Recently through reading a book and getting some information from the author’s website I came up with a FANTASTIC idea. A plan to show people who are servers in restaurants specific techniques to get WAY more tips. I have the experience and always brought in more tips than average when I was a waiter. I thought I had a method of implementation from the author of the book. I discussed it with my wife and over the next few days I tried to come up with ways to pull it all together.

A Few Days Later

Sally came up to me after a few days and reminded me of the fact that as a part of the meeting with the CFO we signed up for an online class on Internet Marketing. In that class were very specific steps that ran in perfect alignment with the idea to help wait staff. Had I followed the method of implementation I received directly from the author’s website (which wasn’t a bad plan) I would have limited the reach and potential number of people to be helped to our local geographic area. By implementing her plan of action it would allow us to touch many more lives no matter where the people lived.

That’s Not the Point

The point of this post isn’t about the idea. The point isn’t even about the differences between my original plan and her MUCH better plan. Here is the point; no matter the idea, plan, or thought make sure you run it past your wife. She is an intelligent, thoughtful and unique child of God. Her perspective will be different from yours. You can and should sometimes seek counsel from others as well, but seeking counsel from your wife is most important for reason. Because you are married she has a highly vested interest in what you will be doing. Unlike a friend who may be collaterally affected by your plans and ideas she will be all in!

Wrapping It Up

Your spouse is not just your physical and spiritual partner. She is your financial and business partner. Think of your marriage as a company every once in a while. You and your spouse are the board of directors. Each member of the board needs access to the information and should be valued to give their input. You are intelligent and capable, so is she. Get her thoughts and input. Discuss your ideas together and then a few days later come back together after both of you have had time to consider options and allowed your wonderful God-given minds to come up with new thoughts. Then make your firm plans.

A Couple of Final Thoughts

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

-Proverbs 12:15

Trying to come up with solutions to your problems alone is not the best method. Taking in another point of view from someone who loves you will not only give more ideas but will also create a support structure as you move forward.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

-Galatians 6:2

Now go tell your wife all your crazy dreams.

Love you all!

-Troy

 

 

 

 

 

One For The Ladies

As you know, this is the HappierHusband blog. The focus generally narrows to how a husband can have a happier marriage by doing what it takes to make his wife happy, stop fighting, be the spiritual leader, ignore commonly held misconceptions and take responsibility.

I’m Not Completely Dense

Based on various interactions it’s become apparent that we have a high percentage of female readers. Hi ladies! So I decided to do a post that is just for the ladies. So guys, you can sit back and let this one go. Read it if you like, but perhaps you should just go see who is playing on ESPN.

A Quick Caveat

Alright, now that we’ve cleared the men out let me drop in this caveat. Depending on the primary love language of your husband the action step that will be presented later in this post may be a bit unusual for the two of you. In short, your mileage may vary and one size fits most. However the “most” will be a VERY high percentage (likely over 97%) so just give it a shot. Can’t hurt and it might help.

The Problem

Did you know that every man is trying to look manly? In the 70s it was called ‘macho’ but the result is the same. Men usually don’t care to look weak, but rather put forth the image that they can handle what whatever comes up without any outside influence. I call this the “I don’t need any stinking directions” problem. I could spend several blog posts hitting this from multiple areas but I’m going to focus on just one.

Related Cool Science Stuff

Have you ever heard of cortisol and oxytocin? Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal gland and plays an important part in many bodily functions. Glucose and blood pressure regulation, insulin management, the immune system and response to inflammation are all affected by cortisol. But cortisol has a bad reputation. It is known as the “stress hormone” because it is released when we are in real or perceived danger. It is part of our “fight or flight” reaction. In the right situations this is important and valuable. However our lives are filled with hurry and stress causing cortisol to be released far too often and to not be well controlled. Over time too much cortisol has extremely negative effects including decreases in muscle tissue and bone density, impaired thyroid function, lower mental performance, high blood pressure, lower immunity, decreased response to inflammation, slower healing of wounds and increased abdominal fat. Of course this can lead to issues with heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol and many other health problems.

More Related Cool Science Stuff

Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the brain and secreted by the pituitary gland. In contrast to cortisol oxytocin plays a role in childbearing, breastfeeding, and behaviors such as trust, relaxation and mental stability. Oxytocin also has been shown to help men who are in monogamous relationships to remain faithful.

The bottom line is that we really need to decrease or control cortisol and increase brain produced oxytocin.

How Do We Make This Happen?

I’ll bet you’re wondering how the cool science is related. Also how to we pull off making more of the good stuff and control the bad. Get ready ladies. It’s free, simple, and you’ll love the answer.

Untapped Power

Have you ever noticed that after a hug from a friend you simply feel better? Do you wonder why people hug during times of grief or after returning from a period of absence? Of course there are the social standards that define these as important and appropriate times for physical contact. However they also allow for a physiological response designed by the Lord Himself. When you are involved in a welcome touch with a loved one your adrenal gland decreases cortisol release and your pituitary gland increases the release of oxytocin. In short, whether you are the person initiating the touch or the recipient your stress decreases and your relaxation increases. This has been proven in multiple studies.

Biblical Support

In Matthew 19:13 Jesus laid hands on the children. In Mark 5:23, Matthew 8:3 and Matthew 8:15 Jesus used His power to heal people through touch.

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. – Matthew 8:3

Repeatedly in both the Old and New Testaments we are told to hold on to God, to hold His right hand, to not stop the laying on of hands. Why is this so important? Because God designed us to enjoy healing, comfort, strength and peace in the touch of another that we trust.

The Plan of Action

Thanks to the design of God science has now caught up with a simple fact: touch brings healing to the body, mind and soul. Holding hands, hugging, physical intimacy (within the bounds of marriage) and many other forms of touch have these same benefits. Physiological changes in the miraculous bodies that God created react in amazing ways to touches of love and kindness. Why did I say this post is for the ladies? It’s for a single reason. You are more likely to initiate this process than your husband. I’ll simply ask you this. At least three times per day embrace your husband. Not a perfunctory hug, but a deep hug, lasting several seconds. Take the time to snuggle in and allow your brain to change the chemical balance of your (and his) bloodstreams. Trust me; you can really feel it when it happens. Don’t let him get out of the hug too quickly; make sure he relaxes into it as well. If he balks just let him know you need to feel his touch. It’ll make him more than willing. The physical benefits of better health and potentially longer life can be realized by this simple change. You’ll both be happier for the rest of the day and maintaining this habit it can dramatically improve your overall feelings of peace, comfort, safety and love.

Love you all!

-Troy

 

Get Engaged

A few days ago our youngest child asked his girlfriend of two years (who has been his best friend for five years) to marry him. So as to not kill you with suspense she said “Yes.” Now they are engaged. It’s a commitment to marry that person, to spend the rest of your life with them. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…you know the deal. I have to say that Sally and I could not be more pleased! She is a wonderful woman of God and they love the Lord and each other dearly. It’s a great event and to be celebrated. Eventually they will be married and carry out a lifetime commitment.

This Section Has a Point

Did you ever have an epiphany? You know, a moment of incredible clarity that just took almost all of the aspects of your present existence and brought them together into one great, glorious and shining whole. That happened to me recently. I learned two things from this particular epiphany. 1) Epiphanies are not always meant to show you something pretty. 2) I apparently quit everything without finishing.

The Revelation to (not) Saint Troy

Well, I don’t quit everything, because if that were true I would not be qualified to write this blog. More specifically I apparently have a habit of self-sabotage that causes me to get terribly excited about a new life direction, I go crazy learning about it for anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 years, put in a little action, then give up. It’s great fun.  You should try it sometime. Oh, wait. Based on stories from friends you may have already tried it. How sad for you (and me).

Confirmation of the Problem

This doesn’t necessarily manifest itself the same way for every person. Let’s walk through some examples and see if any ring true. Did you ever get on a weight loss plan and quit without reaching your goal? Or reach your goal and then gain some (or all) of the weight back? Perhaps you have a half written book. Did you start college or a post-graduate degree and it remains unfinished? Is there part of a jigsaw puzzle on your ping pong table next to the clean folded towels? If I looked in your garage would there be random pieces of wood that were once supposed to be a new deck or even an end table? Yep, you have the disease as well.

A Small Out

Let me ease things for you a bit. Some projects are not supposed to be finished. There are occasions where Sally and I started something and got a little bit in and knew it just wasn’t for us. There were other times when things went well for a while and then God moved things in another direction. When these kinds of events happen then it’s ok to cut your losses, learn the lesson and move on. IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a license to give up on your marriage. I’m strictly talking about other areas here. But for areas where we need to cross the finish line there has to be a way to make it happen and to do so consistently.

It’s Time for Us to Get Engaged

The simple solution is to get engaged. To fully commit to the end goal. Recently Jon Acuff wrote a blog post titled The 4 types of non-fiction books. (And which kind to read more of in 2015.) I recommend you check it out…after finishing this post of course. :-) In the blog Jon indicates there are four types of non-fiction books (hence the title). I won’t steal all of Jon’s thunder, but the 4th type is “The books you engage with.” What the article revealed to me (which I already knew deep down) is that I have a couple of shelves filled with fantastic books, but I haven’t really engaged with any of them.

My Engagement Commitment

I’ve made a commitment to fully engage with one of these books and have already enjoyed wonderful communication with the author. A New York Times Best-Selling author I might add. Sometimes if you reach out they will respond. But if you don’t ask the answer will always be no. The author appreciated my story and commitment so much that he sent me a free copy of his brand new book. FYI if you are looking for a way to find your life’s passion in work then I highly recommend purchasing a copy of the book yourself, it is 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. Make sure you get the 10th Anniversary Edition. Love it and Dan’s podcast. Plus he and his wife of 47 years, Joanne, were recently featured on Episode 5 of the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast.

Wrapping It Up

The issue of being fully engaged can be related to any area of life and marriage. Recently a friend mentioned to me that he needed to pray with his wife more. That is certainly a great place to get engaged. In fact it’s so important I admitted my own failure in that specific area before I got engaged in it. Take a little time to look over your life. Find areas that are taking valuable time away from your spouse and family. Cut them loose and let them go. Then find areas that could help those relationships grow. Just focus on one or two. Then take one simple step. Commit to getting fully engaged.

Love you all!

-Troy

Keep Up the Good Work

If you were to look on one of my bookshelves or in one of my two different eBook apps you would find three primary types of books.

  1. Bibles and other books about growing closer to God and others.
  2. Fiction and sci-fi (a very small number since the purge of early 2014).
  3. Personal and business growth.

Bible reading is part of my daily routine along with reading for personal, relationship, and or business growth. On a side note if you’d like more detail on my daily routine check out the post What I Do.

A Short Note

Sometimes I get a little parental on this blog. I throw out recommendations and statistics, platitudes and methods. I do that for the same reason a father gives instructions to his children…for them to have better lives and relationships. My claim does not consist of being a better husband than anyone else, but rather to take what God has blessed Sally and me with and pass it on to others.

A Sense of Accomplishment

Considering that this is the first post of 2015 I wanted to change the tone a bit. I’m still going to give an instruction and suggestion, but I think you’ll enjoy them. I’d like you to take a look back at 2014. Consider your relationship with your spouse. List one or two things that went well, really well in your marriage last year. Spend a few minutes as you share some prayer time together to celebrate these accomplishments! Thank the Lord for His work between the two of you in 2014. Also don’t forget to be excited about things you did to improve your marriage.

Looking Forward

This next step is optional, but highly recommended. As you considered your marital relationship in 2014 it is likely you noticed an area or two that you would like to improve. One challenge of being a man is that we don’t always notice places of potential relationship improvement. Talk to your spouse and ask for honest suggestions. See if you can determine how to make these changes. Perhaps commit to reading a book on a specific marriage topic, subscribing to a podcast related to marriage, going on a marriage retreat, scheduling a regular date night or seeing a counselor for some more challenging issues. Never forget the option to ask another couple who has walked a similar path for their input.

In Summary

Celebrate your accomplishments from 2014 and consider areas to make your marriage even better in 2015! One last suggestion, think about taking what you have learned in your marriage and passing it on to another couple. This not only affirms the power of God in your marriage but may help them as well.

Go celebrate your marriage!

-Troy

Why I Care About Football…and Knitting

I’m a little bit of an athlete. Five or six days a week you’ll find me at the gym lifting weights, doing ab work or running many miles. This year I plan to do a half marathon and am in the middle of a training program. But I’m really not into watching sports.

My Football Confession

As I sit right now there is a football game on the television. It’s not just any football game; it’s the Cotton Bowl with Michigan State vs Baylor. Yeah, I had to Google it as I haven’t really been focused on which bowl game was on. Considering that I’m currently less than 30 miles from the MSU campus it’s the appropriate game to have on TV. I really only watch football two times during the year, 1) Superbowl Sunday – snacks and commercials baby! 2) Any time I’m with Sally’s extended family.  Here is the deal, I know enough about football and the terms and rules to participate as a fan watching the game. But it really holds no great interest for me.

Why I Care About Football

Today happens to be New Year’s Day and the people in Sally’s family are BIG Michigan State fans. So am I. Not because I really love MSU, but rather because I want to support their point of view and be part of the experience. I care about football because they care about football. Am I being dishonest? No, because I’m happy to admit it’s not my thing. (FYI I just yelled “DRAT!” at the television.  Baylor scored…yep, I’m participating. :-)) It is of interest to them so it is of interest to me…when we are together.

What Does This Have to Do With Knitting?

Some time ago my lovely wife took up knitting. It’s a hobby that allows her to express her creative side. Frankly it saved us a bunch of money this most recent Christmas because she knitted several gifts. She often asks me while she is making a scarf whether or not I like it. We go shopping together for yarn and she asks my opinion on colors of yarn for particular people. I throw in my thoughts and genuinely try to help.

Why I Care About Knitting

My wife enjoys knitting. It brings her joy. Do I knit? Nope. Is knitting something I would like to take up as a hobby myself? Not in the least. But do I appreciate her skills? Absolutely! Do I complain when we are at Michael’s? Never? Why not? Two reasons: 1) She enjoys it so I do as well. 2) I want to share as many experiences with her as possible. It still amazes me that she can take a ball of yarn and 45 minutes later be holding a scarf that she created! Seriously. I don’t have that type of talent.

What is the Point?

Two of the aspects of every healthy relationship in life are shared interests and supporting each other. If your spouse has something they truly enjoy and or deeply care about and you ignore or disregard it then they will often feel that as personal rejection. Like it or not people take their hobbies very seriously. A little bit of support or encouragement can go a long way in drawing closer together in the relationship. Pay attention, participate and learn to enjoy the process.  Who knows, you may find yourself really getting into it. I have a brother in law who started knitting with his wife and now together they produce all kinds of handmade projects that are sold to support university students who are going on mission trips.

One Small Warning

Remember there is a difference between having even a small amount of honest interest and feigning interest. No pretending!  She’ll see right through it. Take the time to get a little bit involved. Make a decision to give it a shot. She’ll appreciate your sincere effort. Never forget the point, you want to grow closer to her. Sharing an interest that is important to her can be a great way to make that happen.

“…I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

– 1 Corinthians 9:22b

Now go out there and enjoy each other!

-Troy