Category Archives: Marriage

How to a Have a Dynamic Marriage

Early this morning I was reading from the Gospel of Luke and in part of the passage the following words of Jesus were recorded, “And so I tell you, 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.” – Luke 11:9-10

This is an important passage to me and many other Christians. It is Jesus teaching on the subject of persistence in prayer. Here Jesus teaches me to keep asking in prayer…even beyond when I feel like quitting. I’m learning and growing in this principle.

Before That

Even before reading that section of scripture I had already done a Joyce Meyer devotional based on Psalm 17:22 with the title, “A Happy Heart is Good Medicine.” Between the devotional and the passage above I watched two short (less than two minutes each) YouTube Christian motivational videos.

During the Day

While driving to the gym and work I listened to a podcast on how to grow an Internet business from Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden. During a couple of periods of down time I was reading the book, The Answer by John Assaraf. Oh! I almost forgot that I read two blog posts, one from Dan Miller called “Jobs Come and Go – But Beauty and Grace Continue” and “Stop Waiting to Make Perfect Decisions” by Jon Acuff.

A Bit of Sally’s Day

Today Sally spent time reading scriptures. She is also reading a wonderful book by Lysa Terkuerst titled, “Your Best Yes.” Like me she listened to a podcast Jeremy and Jason. She read the same blog posts from Jon Acuff and Dan Miller. Tonight we will take some quiet time together to do a devotional for married couples before we pray and go to sleep.

Both of us are regularly reading, listening to and or watching information that will help us grow personally. In addition we have written down goals and posted things we plan to do together.

What We Talk About

Do you know what we talk about? We talk about the normal things, jobs, money, what to have for dinner, our workouts, errands that must be run and groceries that must be purchased. Do you know what else we talk about? We talk about the exciting things we learned from watching, reading and listening. We talk about goals and dreams and specific plans to accomplish them.

The Result

We have some times where things are a bit down and challenging. But honestly all of the growing and sharing keeps our marriage fresh and new! As you probably already know Sally is my best friend. I love spending time with her, talking and sharing. In addition my greatest periods of growth have occurred because she helps me to move past obstacles. When I am at my weakest times I open my heart and she fills me with encouragement and hope. As she grows and learns she shares what she has discovered to help me grow. Not only our relationship but our finances and business plans are improved because of this continual personal and spiritual growth.

What About You?

Is your marriage a dynamic event? Do you and your spouse share about things you are learning and discovering during your personal times of study and growth? Or perhaps all of your conversations revolve around the mundane daily details of life. Now, those conversations are necessary. Dishes must be done, children must be chauffeured, meals must be made and clothes must be washed. But are you both, individually and as a couple, intentionally growing as you move throughout your days? Are you purposefully seeking out materials that will make you a stronger Christian, better spouse and parent, more efficient in your work or business, and learning better how to help others? If you are then let me applaud you! No kidding…I just applauded you out loud (good thing Sally isn’t here right now, she might think I’m losing it :-)).

It’s Time to Grow

If you aren’t growing and sharing about your growth it’s not hard to change. Start small, read a few passages in the Bible and ask the Lord to help you grow. Read at least 10 minutes a day in a book that will improve some aspect of your life. Instead of listening to sports, music or talk radio as you drive play a podcast or audio book to help you develop. Sit down and come up with a goal you would like to accomplish together and write it down. Take a few minutes at night to read a devotional and pray together. These activities can take an average marriage and turn it into one that is fun, intellectually stimulating, financially improving and spiritually powerful. They can give you the dynamic marriage you crave!

You can do it!

Love you all!

-Troy

Who Are You Talking To?

Earlier today Sally and I were at a dinner following a funeral for the mother of a close friend. At one point I walked up to her talking to another person as Sally said, “There is very little that Troy and I don’t do together.” She is absolutely correct and the reason is that she is not only my wife, she is my best friend.

Best Friends?

Let me ask you a question. Who is your best friend? No, no, no, not the one you tell everyone. Who is REALLY your best friend? Do you know the simple way to tell a person’s best friend? With whom do they voluntarily spend time? Who is their go-to person? That is their best friend, no matter what they say. I pray it is your wife.

What About the Guys?

There is nothing wrong with having friends who are not your spouse. It’s incredibly healthy to have a good group of friends. But here is what isn’t healthy: complaining about your wife to your friends.

The Unjustified Justification

Let me guess what you may be thinking, “When I get together with my friends we all talk about our wives. It’s just what guys do.” Well it’s true that is what many men do. It is very common. If you want an average marriage (or worse) then feel free to keep whining about what your wife does or does not do to everyone but her.

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

-Matthew 18:15

The Better Way

In the above verse Jesus says the first step in conflict resolution is to talk to the person with whom you have the conflict. If there is something in your marriage that is bothering you then go to your wife…not another person. You likely wouldn’t go gossiping nor complaining about your best guy friend to other guys, shouldn’t you show the love of your life even more respect and courtesy?

In Transition

I know this one is a bit hard hitting but it’s an important issue. In television you often see men sitting around putting their wives down. It’s almost a contest to see who has the worst story. You don’t want to be that guy.

Wrap Up

I honestly think you should talk about your wife when she isn’t around. I think you should go out of your way to do so. But it needs to always be uplifting and complimentary. Others need to know how much you love and appreciate her. Especially your children. You want to be a great dad? Tell your kids how much you love their mother! Show them by your actions. Be THAT guy!

Now go talk up your wife.

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

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

 

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

What Can I Do?

This post is going live on December 28, 2014. Late December has a reputation for being the time of year when people make their New Years’ resolutions. Some folks plan to lose weight and get in shape, to stop smoking, to write a book, start a business, draw closer to God or any of several other great changes. I’m a fan of the fact that a new year brings to mind the idea that new things are possible, that what hasn’t worked can be discarded and change is on everyone’s mind.

Recently I began listening to the Confessions of A Terrible Husband podcast, hosted by my friend Nick Pavlidis. I strongly recommend checking out his podcast, great stuff! In Episode 3 Nick interviews John G. Miller, author of several books including QBQ: The Question Behind the Question. During the interview John emphasized the idea of personal accountability in all things, including marriage. One important question John posed stood out to me.

 What Can I Do?

-John G. Miller

 

What Can I Do? A simple question. When my wife and I are on opposite sides of an issue the question should not be, “Why doesn’t she get it?” the question should be, “What can I do to make this better?” When finances are an issue ask the questions, “What can I do to make things easier? What expenses are uniquely mine that I can decrease or eliminate? How can I help in the budgeting process? What can I do to bring in more money? What can I do?”  Don’t ask, “Why won’t the other person or situation change?” instead ask yourself, “What can I do to improve the situation?”

I’m going to quickly bring this back around so that you can get back to your New Years’ festivities.  Let me pose my own question based on John’s.  Ask this question of yourself.

What can I do to show my wife more love?

This question assumes you know what she needs to feel loved. If you don’t know her primary love language then that may not be the case.  Take a quick look back at The Book That Started It All. Of course you could simply ask HER the question, “What can I do that will make you feel more loved?”

If you are looking for a resolution that’s a great one to use for 2015. Find out what makes her feel more loved and resolve to do it every single day. In case you need a regular reminder just put an alarm in your smartphone.  :-)

Now go do what YOU can do to make 2015 the most loving year ever in your marriage!

-Troy

The 1 Reason Marriages Fail or Succeed

How about that for a bold title? In 1000 words or less I’m going to let you in on the only reason marriages fail. Then you can use that knowledge to help your marriage succeed. Is your marriage strong? Is it weak? Happy? Stressed? You’re about to find out why.

The Problem with the World

Most of us, in fact nearly all of us, make a grave mistake in our lives. We give away our power. We assume that we have no control. In the world we are taught that life is about jobs, cars, school, church and other external circumstances. But the truth is that 90% of life is lived within our minds and is under our control. Once you truly get this your life will never be the same.

The Truth about Life

Life is a mental game. It’s an exercise of how our minds interpret the world. A few years ago I was taught a principle that made this very clear. What you believe determines your actions and your actions determine your results. The progression is 1) beliefs 2) actions 3) results. Every aspect of life follows this series of steps.

How We Got Into Trouble

Look around you. Think of your friends and family members. I’ll bet that some of them had a life plan, at least for a time. Do you want to know where it ended? Just after graduation. If their education stopped at high school the plan was, “Get a job that pay the bills and that won’t drive me insane or suck all of the life out of me.”  Most of them failed because they hate their job. If someone went to college the life plan may have a longer term. “Graduate, get a job in my field (or go to graduate school then get a job in my field), and follow that path through life.” Some of them succeeded, but many failed. Why do I say they failed? Because they only had a plan for a career…and even that was lost. They never planned their life.

Drifters

Your life is within your control.  What you do and have can be changed. But if you don’t have what you want in your life, career and marriage what is the reason? You are drifting. You’ve set your autopilot to react to circumstances rather than consciously taking control. You are going through the motions. That wasn’t God’s intention for your life. The words of Jesus in John 10:10 show God’s heart for your life.

John1010

The Solution

There is a simple solution to the drifter issue. You have to change your results in life. But going back to what we have already learned, beliefs determine actions and actions determine results. So to change your results you must first change your beliefs. Whole books have been written on this topic and we won’t get into any more detail here than necessary but let’s make it very clear. When you allow your circumstances to shape your beliefs about what is possible then you will always drift through life. When you decide what your beliefs will be then you control your destiny.

How this Relates to Marriage

If you came out of a home where your parents were happily in love then you likely believe a happy marriage is possible.  If you came from a broken or highly dysfunctional home then your beliefs may have been shaped toward the idea that a happy marriage is either incredibly difficult or impossible.  But how does a simple belief about marriage make a couple happy or unhappy?  Follow the progression.

Actions and Results

If you believe a happy marriage is normal and to be expected then you will take actions consistent with that belief.  You will be kind to your spouse, think the best of them and do what you can to make their life more fulfilled and enjoyable.  If both partners are taking these kinds of actions then wonderful things will happen.  However if you believe marriage is hard or unlikely to last for a lifetime then you’ll take actions consistent with those beliefs.  When your spouse says an unintentionally hurtful word you’ll assume it was meant as an attack rather than an error.  You’ll look for inconsistencies in their behavior and be constantly suspicious. When challenges come you’ll look for a way out rather than a way to repair the relationship.  What you believe about marriage affects whether or not you have a happy and loving union.

In Closing

Beliefs are formed from experiences and learning.  Beliefs can be intentionally changed.  It takes time and a firm commitment.  But you will notice that as you change your beliefs your actions will begin to change, almost without effort. Results will be better than ever before. But it all starts with changing your beliefs.

Challenge

Think over what you believe about marriage or your spouse. Make a list. See if all of your beliefs are healthy. If any are not then pick one each week to change. Repeat to yourself several times a day the healthy equivalent of that belief.  Perhaps your parents often fought and then divorced. You may have a belief that “marriage is hard work and most marriages fail.”  But to change that belief say to yourself at least 10 times per day, every day for the next week, “our marriage is filled with joy and we love each other more every day.”

Give it a shot!

Love you all!

-Troy

The Truth About Divorce

I’m going to lift your spirits…by talking about divorce.  Oh yes I am!

Let me ask you a question.  What percentage of marriages in the United States end in divorce?

I heard what most of you were thinking.  The commonly quoted statistic is 50%.  Based on that number anyone who gets married has a 50/50 chance of making it.  Flip a coin, heads or tails, half of you who are currently married are going to split up.  Based on the 50% statistic.

But is it true?

In a word, no.  Multiple studies have shown that the divorce rate in the United States has never hit the 50% mark.  In fact the highest rate ever actually calculated from raw numbers is 41% based on a New York Times article…and the rate has been declining since 1980.  But even that number isn’t truly accurate.  In fact according to initial research conducted in 2006 on first time marriages, “probably 20 to 25 percent have ended in divorce on average”.  This is from Shaunti Feldhahn and her husband Jeff who have written a book called The Good News About Marriage.  They spent several years pouring through the data related to marriage and divorce.  Apparently the 50% value came from projections based on how the divorce rate was increasing through the 60s and 70s but the 50% never happened.  It’s a myth.

In fact among all marriages for those who regularly attend church the rate is much lower, likely in the teens or single digits.  For couples who pray together frequently the rate is less than 1 in 10,000.

The problem isn’t just that there is a false statistic believed by many, perhaps most married people.  The problem is that believing a 50% divorce statistic leads to a sense of hopelessness.  The idea that no matter what we do then we still only have a 50/50 shot of making it.  But it is simply NOT TRUE.

If you are married or thinking about marriage then your chances of staying married, whether or not you are a Christian, are almost certainly above 60%.  If you are a Christian and so is your spouse then your odds are likely above 80%.  If you pray together regularly your odds are at LEAST 99.99%.  This is the truth!!!

john-8-32-free-bible-verse-desktop-wallpapers

If together you make a commitment to a life-long marriage, you center your relationship on God, you take advantage of resources to grow and nurture your relationship then you WILL have a lifelong marriage.  Furthermore if you know what love really is you can have an incredibly happy marriage.  If you want to improve martial happiness, just click through the HappierHusband archives on the right side of this page and enjoy!

Love you all!

-Troy