10 Simple Things Newlyweds Can Do To Have A Great Marriage

Being newlyweds is one of the most exciting and fun times of one’s life. The first year is filled with lots of learning, many adjustments and hopefully happy memories. 

Still being in the newlywed stage myself I understand the challenges other newlyweds may face. After talking to other newlyweds and those past this stage I have curated 10 Simple Things Newlyweds Can Do to Have a Great Marriage. Keep reading if you’re a newlywed or are looking for advice to share with a newlywed couple.

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My Husband Bought Me Donuts and I Cried…

My husband bought me donuts and I cried.

Maybe it’s because I’m hormonal. Even though I’m six months postpartum.

I cried because of his kindness.
These six donuts were around $20.
These were not ordinary donuts. They were locally made foodie, novelty, bakery donuts.

That we drove 20 minutes to get at a chic downtown shop.

I didn’t find out the price until later that day when he casually mentioned that he wanted to tell me something about the donuts.

Continue reading “My Husband Bought Me Donuts and I Cried…”

Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot Book Review

What is one topic you wish the church talked more openly about?

Perhaps it’s sex?

In Sex Jesus and the Conversations the Church Forgot Mo Isom goes beyond the lies and misinformation we've learned about sex.

In her new book Sex Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot Forgot Mo Isom goes beyond the standard chat of don’t do this until you’re married or don’t look at porn or don’t dress a certain way.

Why can’t we have an open, judgment-free conversation on sex?

Let’s celebrate the act God created for our enjoyment

And stop shaming people into ‘purity’

Instead let’s look at sex with a view of the gospel and tell people that no matter what your past, or what you’ve done or has been done to you that you have inherent worth.

That you were created by a King who loves you and wants to give you an abundant Life.

Continue reading “Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot Book Review”

Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage

Unmet Expectations Lead to Dissatisfaction

A lot of the time life can feel unfair. Part of this feeling comes from expectations in marriage being unmet. I certainly expected my present circumstances to be different. I thought I’d work before having a baby, that I’d be in my own home, that I’d live near my family and friends. However, that’s not how life turned out. At times I feel jaded, sad and to be honest angry. I want control of my life.

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with this idea of control over my life. It doesn’t seem fair at times that the expectations of my current reality are unmet. I want to call the shots and know where my future is headed.

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Loving My ADD Husband

My husband was diagnosed with ADD as a child.

As a result, he found it difficult to focus in a traditional school setting. The decision was made to homeschool him. He thrived being able to complete his schoolwork in the morning and expound his boundless energy playing the rest of the day.

His ADD wasn’t a bad thing it just required a few adjustments and some understanding of how his environment can help him thrive or struggle.

Although with age and maturity he has outgrown a lot of his ADD tendencies at times I can see evidence of it.

For example, he doesn’t like to sit still for long periods of time. Often he will pace the room while we’re having a serious conversation or start tapping rhythms with his fingers (he’s a drummer) when bored.

At other times he can be highly sensitive both emotionally and physically. I have to be aware of how I share something that’s bothering me in order to not be overbearing or insensitive to his feelings. On the physical side, he doesn’t always like to be touched while my love language is physical touch. He is also sensitive to the feel of certain fabrics and prefers very soft fabrics over anything rough, satiny or overly smooth.

Change for him provokes a lot of anxiety. Starting a new job, moving, me being 39 weeks pregnant are all things he is constantly concerned about.

He goes through phases of being very dedicated to certain hobbies or activities. Not to an extreme or unhealthy level but with a strong desire to be successful. Usually, this habit manifests through various types of games, sports or his cars.

His dedication also extends to me, family and friends. He makes connecting with others a priority. Whether it’s a text throughout the day or driving long distances, relationships are important to him.

Finally, he has incredible attention to detail and is skilled at spatial orientation. He can at times be a perfectionist, while I could care less if something is less than perfect. He is also a confident AZ licensed driver.

I may not understand all the aspects of his ADD but I can appreciate all the ways it makes him a great husband.

For starters, I’m happy being a homebody but he gets bored if we never go out. He encourages me to be more social and introduces me to active things we can do together like working out, going for walks or seeing a sporting event.

I also appreciate his go-go-go approach to life because it allows him to be a tireless provider when he has to work 12-hour shifts.

How He Helps me be a Better Person

Secondly, he has taught me to be a better communicator. At times I can be too brash or dramatic in expressing myself. Instead, I’m learning to state the facts, not get caught up in emotion and to have more empathy when needed.

Furthermore, although I don’t like seeing him worry or feel anxious about things I appreciate his deep care and concern for my wellbeing and our growing family. I know I can count on him to take care of us. Even if for him, that means starting a new, more challenging job while his wife is very pregnant and having to relocate soon after the baby comes.

Finally, when my husband commits to a task he’s all in and he will do his very best to achieve a good outcome. For example, I have never questioned his dedication or commitment to me. Every day he affirms his love for me. He’s the one who makes sure we resolve conflicts. He stresses the importance of our relationship with Christ over our relationship with each other. He prays for us, for me and for our life together. He encourages me in my pursuits. He stands up for me in front of others. He’s certainly not perfect but I know his commitment to our marriage does not waver.

Perhaps at one time, his ADD was seen as an obstacle to succeeding academically or otherwise. I don’t see his ADD as a flaw or hurdle to overcome. Instead, I see it as a gift that has made him into the most amazing, caring, sensitive, driven and talented husband and soon to be father.

I hope that our baby girl can learn these same incredible traits from her daddy.


My husband was diagnosed with ADD as a child. I don't see his ADD as a flaw or hurdle to overcome. Instead, I see it as a gift that has made him into the most amazing, caring, sensitive, driven and talented husband and soon to be father.

4 Unexpected Ways Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

DZZYes, your husband does want to make you happy!

You may have just read that title and thought “Courtney what are you talking about? You don’t know my husband, all he wants to do is irritate me.” Yes, I don’t know your specific situation, but I do know that if we change how we perceive our circumstances it can affect our relationships profoundly.

4 Unexpected Ways Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

My husband isn’t perfect either. He leaves his dirty clothes on the floor even though the hamper is positioned for his exclusive convenience. Sometimes he makes annoying comments or is on his phone too much. We all have our quirks and no one is perfect. I do a lot of things that he doesn’t like either. This is expected in marriage because we tend to marry our opposites in terms of personality. Which research suggests is not a negative but rather having the same attitudes and values has a bigger impact on relational success.

Back to happiness and our husbands, if we look at the big picture of our relationship most of the time our husband’s goal is to make us happy. This was kind of an epiphany when I discovered this because it changed the way I saw my husband’s overall behaviour. As a result, I started seeing his actions as more favourable towards me.

His Career Choices

Career changes and choices can be a touchy subject, especially when it involves moving. If you can openly talk as a couple about how each of you feels and why you feel this way it can lead to a depth of understanding. In the beginning, it may feel like your husband is not on your side and wants to change everything. In the end, you realize these decisions are not easy for him either and the ultimate reason why he’s choosing this is to provide the best life he can for your family.

Honestly, as a female whose role is not to be the provider but rather the helper and support to her husband I will never understand the great burden my husband bears in his effort to provide. With this perspective, I can display more empathy in how I relate to my husband when he wants to pursue a new or different job. I realize his motive behind his choice is far from selfish.

For some, your husband’s work may look different. Perhaps he works long hours or even two jobs. I remember when I was younger my dad ran his own business during the day as an onsite truck mechanic and exhaust fabricator then at night he drove a septic truck. I would cry because I hardly ever saw my dad. Thankfully that time was only for a season and he was able to switch jobs. He chose to work that much because he had a family to care for and he was trying his best to give us a secure and happy life. At the time it wasn’t easy for us but looking back I can see his motivation was in the right place.

The Small Things

Career choices and changes are certainly a major area where males strive to make their wives and families happy. Husbands also try to provide happiness in smaller things. For example, maybe your husband surprises you with a large tea at 6 in the morning because he was thinking of you. The timing wasn’t ideal and he woke you up, but his intention was to make your day and show he cares about you.

If we can reframe how we perceive this interaction and affirm our husband’s intentions instead of tearing down their sometimes fragile self-esteem. We can encourage them to keep doing nice, thoughtful things for us (isn’t that what we all want?).

Whereas if we react in a negative or condescending way that takes aim at his pride he is likely to feel insulted and less motivated to repeat a behaviour meant to please you. Even if you didn’t want to have tea at 6 am it’s still important to genuinely thank your husband for thinking of you and being so sweet.

Treating You

Another way husbands try to make us happy is by treating us. One way they demonstrate this is by taking us out to dinner. Although I’m perfectly happy making food at home, I really appreciate it when my husband suggests we go out for dinner. I realize this is a rare treat and he wants to make our time together extra special.

Furthermore, husbands want to see their wives well dressed, with nice makeup and hair. At times the level of aesthetic desired by the wife isn’t always feasible. For example getting your hair done every six weeks or your nails. Sometimes though your hubby may spend some extra money and take you shopping. It might make the budget a little tight but to him seeing you smile is worth it.

As wives when our husbands make this extra effort to treat us it is so important we express how much we appreciate it. For him spending money, might put on more pressure to provide and if we are ungrateful he might think “what’s the point of doing nice things for her?”.

When He Gives in to You

This one may seem a little more obvious, nonetheless, it’s important to recognize that when your husband purposely chooses to put your preferences over his he is doing it to demonstrate his love and to see you happy.

A few ways my husband has demonstrated this is by going to see Beauty and the Beast with me, ordering pizza when I didn’t feel like cooking, giving me 20-second hugs (he knows that’s my love language even if it isn’t always his), letting me choose the restaurant. I know these are small examples but it’s really the insignificant things that add up to make a fulfilling relationship.


You may have heard the phrase that “Marriage wasn’t designed to make us happy but to make us holy”, while I agree with the overall sentiment of that statement. I do think God intended for us to receive great joy in being in a relationship with others. Happiness can be defined in different ways as I noted above. It can be a self-sacrificing gesture, a desire to make someone smile or to simply the daily effort put into a relationship. Overall if we can remember that our husband desires to see us happy we can avoid a lot of negative and unfounded thoughts.

What are some ways your husband tries to make you happy?

Enough with Cliquey Church Social Groups: Why we Need to be Intentional in Creating Community at Church

A few weeks ago we were visiting a couple from our church who have a young baby. As we were talking a sad reality came to light. It seems that social connections at church are largely determined by the presence of children or one’s marital status.

Not until this couple had a child did some of the other women in her age group begin taking an interest in her. Perhaps this was because they couldn’t find any commonalities other than being of the same faith, age, gender or also being married. Maybe they were too preoccupied talking about their children they forget about other conversation topics. Whatever the reason it’s unfortunate that one has to be a mother to be noticed by those in her same demographic.

This occurs not only on a female to female basis but on a couple level. A couple may be married in their mid 20’s and not have any children. At the same time there is another couple around the same age who do have children but beyond a cordial acquaintance level these couples will never really hit it off. Perhaps the couple with children want to prioritize making friends with other families so their children will have friends or maybe they feel that beyond being married they have nothing in common with the other couple.

Dating couples and individuals also face the same kind of dismissive attempts at friendship. Based on the fact that they are not in the exact same stage of life despite being the same age. As a result, they are disqualified from interacting on deeper than acquaintance level.

How Does This Cliquey Behaviour Begin?

Most times it starts when an individual moves from being single to the highly idealized state of being a boyfriend or girlfriend.

As soon as a couple starts dating they “need” couple friends. So little by little, they decrease the amount of time they spend with their single friends. Or soon after a couple gets married suddenly all the married people have something super in common with them and start to notice them. The downside to these seemingly natural but isolating behaviors is that people who are not married, don’t have children or who are single get stigmatized. For example, if by a certain age you haven’t reached the right level in your social circle people start to ask questions, make judgments or just exclude you.Maybe you don’t get invited to board game night because you’re not part of a couple. Or certain jokes go over your head because you don’t have a spouse to identify with. Yes, these interactions hurt even if they are not intentional. A more detrimental outcome of segregation by life stage is when it involves ministry.

Take, for example, Sunday School.

In some churches that I have attended Sunday School is divided for the adults into classes based on life stage. First, there is the Young Adult (college and career) class, followed by the young married class and so on. One can only move up when they reach the proverbial achievement of marriage.

I have so many thoughts about this… Yes, marriage is good but why are we making it something that grants exclusive access to a Sunday School class? What are we saying to those not married? That they aren’t spiritual enough to move on? It feels like marriage is inherently demonstrated to be a gift given to those who are more spiritual than the single person.

Yes, marriage is good but why are we making it something that grants exclusive access to a Sunday School class? What are we saying to those not married? That they aren’t spiritual enough to move on? It feels like marriage is inherently demonstrated to be a gift given to those who are more spiritual than the single person.

What about the individual who is still waiting to be married or who is content being single or the single parent? Where do they go for Sunday School? Church of all places should be an inclusive environment. Additionally, singleness should not be made to look down upon. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul commends being single because one has more time to devote to serving God over being divided by caring for a spouse and serving God.

Real Talk: I Struggle in Not Being Cliquey

Before I go on, I want to note that I am by no means perfect in this area of not being cliquey. I understand why it happens. Especially being an introvert. I like to interact with my same group of friends or people I know because it’s easy and I don’t have to be brave and talk to new people. Also as I have gone from being single to dating to married my availability to see people have changed. It’s a lot harder now than when it was just me to schedule plans. I have to coordinate my time with my husband plus I don’t live close to my friends. As a result, it takes a lot more effort to maintain friendships.

At the same, I still try to be intentional about being friends with people my age despite if they are married or have children. Although I do have to admit since becoming pregnant I’ve tried to get to know more moms at church. I now volunteer in the nursery and am slowly acquainting myself with the families that have children. Prior to being pregnant, this wasn’t a priority for me. I do understand there is comfort in the company of those who share similar life experiences. This can be a great opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you. At the same time, it’s not fair to isolate those who are not going through the same stage of life as you. Yes, it might be easier to relate to a married couple on some levels than a single person. However, I never want to define myself so narrowly that I’m just a wife or mom. I’m still Courtney, a person with unique interests and gifts and I want to cultivate friendships with a variety of people.

Why Do We Stay in our Safe Groups Instead of Reaching Out?

Why is it so easy to just get stuck in our safe little cliques instead of reaching out and being a genuine friend to all ages and life stages. A major reason is that it takes effort.

Reaching out requires intentionality. If a new mom is spending most of her time in the nursery she’s not going to have as many opportunities to get to know the women who don’t have children. That is totally understandable, being intentionality should go both ways. Although it may seem intimidating for a single person to reach out to someone who is married and has children. One reason is that they might seem too busy to talk to or they don’t know what to talk to them about.

My encouragement would be to just start by saying hi. People like what they are familiar with. The more you say hi to someone or smile or ask how they’re doing they’re going to associate positive thoughts towards you. Over time they may reciprocate the interest. One simple way I try to do this is by saying good morning to people in the church. Over time they have gotten to know my name and will now talk to me after church. Although I may never become super close with any of these people they still show an interest in me and ask how I’m doing. Plus, it’s just one simple way to get to know people I may never had the chance to get acquainted with.

One person who is a great example to me of being friendly to everyone is my husband. He will literally talk to everyone in our church from little toddlers to elderly couples. He can always find something to have a conversation about. His example has continually impacted me to reach out of my comfort zone and make more of an effort to talk to people.

How Can We Make Church More Inclusive?

First, we can structure ministry so that every person feels that there is a place where they belong despite their marital status or ability to have children. Perhaps having adult Sunday School classes by topic or age would be more helpful. People want to interact with those outside their age groups and genders. Although at times it is helpful to have a ministry that specifically reaches a certain group such as women or men or singles. It’s important to give people options and make sure everyone feels they have a place in the church.

Furthermore, as people, we need to be intentional with getting to know others in the church and to step out of our comfort zones. An easy way to do this is to get involved at church. Whether as a greeter, on the worship team, in children’s ministry or through hospitality there are so many options for everyone’s unique gift or talent. This can also take the pressure off of having to start conversations with people. When serving alongside others you’re likely to get to know them and their family just through your constant interaction. Plus you have a task to accomplish so things are less awkward than standing around and talking during coffee hour.

If you’re hesitant about getting involved or don’t know which ministry is right for you, I would first pray about an opportunity and then seek out those who are already serving in that capacity and ask how to get involved. Even if they don’t need help at the moment, let them know you’re willing to fill in if they ever need extra help. People really appreciate when others are willing to pitch in.

Overall let’s purpose to make church less about ourselves and staying comfortable and more about reaching out to others and helping them feel included, wanted and loved. Remember all it takes is a simple “good morning” to show someone you care about them.

Enough with Cliquey Church Social Groups

 


Favourite’s Friday >>> Java with Juli

Happy FriYay!

Today’s favourite is a podcast and ministry I have followed since it’s inception. One of the founders Dr. Juli Slattery used to host the Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast before God called her to start the ministry of Authentic Intimacy. Java with Juli is a part of Authentic Intimacy. This ministry is all about sexMore specifically sexual discipleship. The ladies behind Authentic Intimacy apply God’s truth to all areas of sexuality-whether you’re married, single, divorced, widowed, dating or engaged they cover all topics. I love the honesty of these women but more importantly how they don’t compromise on God’s word. Everything that their ministry stands for is filtered through the truth of the Bible.

Perhaps you may have heard of the book 50 Shades of Grey or seen the movie? Dr. Juli and her friend Dannah Gresh wrote a book called Pulling Back the Shades in response to the 50 Shades series and the church’s lack of guidance on the topic. If you’re curious about whether you can be sexual and spiritual definitely give this book a read!

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Now onto the podcast! This is one of my all-time favourite podcasts, I even got Michael to listen to an episode with me and he commented how he enjoyed the honesty and straightforwardness of the hosts. Each Monday a Javi with Juli episode is released online. A topic is tackled either about sex or other tricky topics the church may not be discussing openly. What I enjoy about each episode are the tough questions that are tackled such as: what role do psychology and therapists have within the church (Episode 146)? For example aren’t pastors supposed to counsel their flock? Being a clinical psychologist and a Christian Dr. Juli was able to offer her opinion on the topic while a pastor also weighed in. The hosts don’t always agree 100% on the issues they discuss, in the end, the listener must decide for themselves where the answer lies. I enjoy being challenged in my beliefs and encouraged to seek God’s word for answers to tough questions.

A few other notable episodes are:

#110 How to find your identity in Jesus

#116 How to love your husband with your whole heart

#117 How your sex life is connected to your spiritual life

#124 Why you need to address pornography in your marriage and home

#132 Honest answers to your questions about sex

Grab your coffee and tune in to Java with Juli! You will not regret it  <3


 

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