Happy New Year!
This year, one of my goals is to get even more vulnerable, real and raw with you about my own marriage so you can see exactly how to apply the tools I’m giving you each week.
When Moe and I were struggling so badly last year, I started analyzing our arguments and conflict cycles. What were the commonalities? What could I change, even if he didn’t? The answer was in myself. I had no boundaries. Someone once asked me if it meant that your marriage was unhealthy if you had to have boundaries. On the contrary! The healthiest marriages have strong boundaries and strong consequences! That’s what keeps them healthy!
There are so many factors that create the need for boundaries and often, boundaries are thought to be rules for what someone else can or can’t do. This is also false. Boundaries are there for your guidance, your safety and your mental, physical and emotional health. They are there to build and keep trust. Additionally, they do not have the word “YOU” in them; that’s an ultimatum.
Here are some ideas of boundaries and what they sound like as well as a few consequences that may need to be put in place if those boundaries are crossed. This may help your marriage become even stronger this year. *fingers crossed*
1. All communication with co-workers of the opposite sex are sent through work e-mail.
2. Phones are unlocked or passcodes are shared at all times and phones are open for your spouse to check at any time.
3. Any communication sent to someone else must have the same level of integrity as if the spouse were standing next to me, reading it as I sent it.
Hopefully you don’t feel the need to check your spouse’s phone but sadly, more and more spouses are feeling the need to do so. It’s easy to fall into the trap of reaching out to someone else through social media or text messaging for validation, comfort and emotional connection when they’re hurt or rejected by their spouse. However, that lacks integrity and isn’t the job for someone else. It’s your job to open up and have the self-awareness, courage and vulnerability to ask for what you need. It’s the job of your spouse to let go of their pride and provide what you need in that moment.
4. Boundaries around technology time. Such as: No phones at the dinner table. Consequences could look like whoever brings their phone to the table has to do the dishes or cook the next meal. Phones are set on Do Not Disturb or Sleep mode at a specific time. Mine is 9 PM. This is when our oldest goes to bed and all the time after that before Moe and I go to bed is dedicated solely to us as a couple. No phones in the bedroom. Did you know that 10% of people check their phones during sex and 35% report checking it right after? Talk about a massive mood killer!
5. One meal a day will be eaten together.
6. We will spend 20 minutes a day alone together without distraction to reconnect our marriage and refuel our souls.
7. We will get help with our persistent issues.
8. We will go on a trip, just the two of us, at least once a year.
9. We will change our fight styles to be assertive, healthy and calm.
10. Passive aggressive behavior does not communicate that there is a problem. Conflict will only be responded to when communicated assertively.
11. We will not be spending time with people who drain us of energy.
12. We will leave if conversations aren’t healthy for us or our children.
13. We will use effective time management so that all work is done between a set number of hours.
14. Our priorities are God, Spouse, Children, Job, everything else, in that order, every time.
15. I will not be in a marriage where I am lied to, manipulated, yelled at, hit, gaslit or disrespected.
16. Both of our names will be on all bank accounts.
A lot of these don’t have consequences listed because the consequence is a natural one. If you don’t have at least one meal together a day or your time together is less than 20 minutes, the consequence is disconnection. If your fight styles don’t change, you keep repeating patterns of toxic behavior. If you don’t calendar the trip together, it won’t happen, and you will keep trying to run on an empty cup. If your partner won’t get help, get help for yourself. If neither of you get the help you need, the tools aren’t learned, emotions aren’t released and nothing changes. See the pattern here?
It’s important to remember that when boundaries are set, there may be pushback. Expect it and also stand firm in the boundary that you set. When people throw a tantrum over a boundary you set, they are demonstrating why the boundary needed to be set in the first place. Also, don’t assume that your partner knows what your boundaries are if you don’t communicate them. “You should just know” is the biggest line of garbage I’ve ever heard in a marriage. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. Differences in familial culture, geographic locations and culture, information they have that you don’t, or you have that they don’t, these factors and more make up many reasons why you have to communicate. Assumptions are a main reason why marriages start to break down.
I had to explain a lot of the boundaries I had around texting, time out with friends, money, and priorities because of cultural differences Moe and I had when we got married. I made a boat load of assumptions that seemed like common sense to me but because of those cultural differences, they didn’t make sense at all to him. The boundaries I set told Moe what I would and wouldn’t put up with, be a part of or have in my marriage. Another boundary I have is that I will not turn your pants right side out or check pockets. I am not wasting half my life doing these things. So, natural consequences…Moe’s had his air pods washed twice and is currently missing one because he left them in his pockets. #notsorry
Many of these boundaries also work with your kids and keep you from running on empty and getting resentful because of it. But that’s another blog post for another day.
Until then, have a great weekend and check out my Instagram if you want to follow us through Egypt for the next 2 weeks! @divorce.proof.marriage
What’s new in 2023?
I am not doing group coaching anymore. All of my group coaching programs have gone into the vault. I’m focusing solely on 1:1 coaching for couples, husbands, wives, and individuals wanting life and purpose coaching.
I have 4 open spaces for couples coaching starting January 20. Want to know what others are saying? Look below for a review from one wife who just graduated my program. She and her husband started last January. He was a closet alcoholic; they’d fought about the same hot topics for 13 years with no resolution. They were sick and tired of each other, their marriage and where they were in life. One year later, he’s been sober for 10 months. They laugh together, are prioritizing date nights, and genuinely enjoy each other’s company again. She tells her story below. If you’re on the fence, now is definitely the time to jump! Payment plans are always available.
If you’re struggling as an individual and just can’t get to where you want to be, I have two open spaces for life coaching. Reply to this email and let me know what you’re struggling with, where you want to go, and we can chat about what it will look like to get you there. Payment plans are always available for this too.
Women’s bible study starts Feb 4! This will be once a week, free and probably in the evening. Designed to be used in conjunction with her new book, Becoming MomStrong, this 6-week Bible Study from Heidi St. John will help busy mothers learn to trust God with their deepest parenting questions. Each week you’ll find personal stories, Scripture reflections, Bible verses, and prayer prompts to help train you and your child’s hearts to discern truth and develop godly character. Reply to this email if you’d like to sign up for more information on that.
If you are in aviation- mark your calendars for April 19-21! That’s going to be the 2nd annual aviation summit! If you are in aviation and have a topic you’d like to speak on or a product you’d like to donate for our giveaways, reply to this email and let me know what you’ve got!