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Marriage communication is one of the most important factors in keeping a peaceful relationship. Somewhere in the world right now, there’s a couple arguing about one of the topics I’ll discuss. And while I can’t answer any of these questions for you, effective communication in marriage and compromise are keys. To know which topics you should discuss with your spouse, read on!

Marriage Communication | What Couples Argue About

1. Can You Still Be Friends with the Opposite Sex?

Some say yes because many friendships are platonic. And, some say no because it’s a setup for infidelity or it’s disrespectful to one’s spouse. What do you think? What are the boundaries?

2. How Much Time Should You Spend with Your Single Friends?

Some will say single friends are nothing but trouble for married people because of the season they’re in and the undue influence. Others will say it doesn’t matter because friendships shouldn’t have to end once someone gets married. What’s the compromise in your mind?

3. Should You Tone Down Your Sexy?

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Some say if I work for it (or bought it), I earned the right to show off all my sexy. Others say when you become a wife or husband, you should tone it down, so as to not get that kind of attention. Y’all tell me…what do you think?

4. Are Conversations with Exes Still Okay?

Some say he or she might be an ex, but now, their relationship is strictly that of friends. Others say once you cross that line, there isn’t any un-crossing it, and being friends with your ex isn’t cool. I’m sure there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but I’m interested in hearing thoughts!

5. Should You Give Your Spouse Access to All Your Social Media Accounts and Passwords to Your Phone?

Some folks think being married is not synonymous with forgoing all privacy, while others say once you’re married, there’s no privacy between spouses. I’m sure you all have some opinions on this one!

6. What Time Do You Consider as Being “Disrespectful” to Come Back Home?

If you have a boys’ or girls’ night out, is there a married person’s curfew? Some say like your mother used to say that “ain’t nothing good happening after midnight in the streets!” Is there a time that coming in after gets to be “disrespectful?”



7. How Much Time Is Too Much Time with Your Boys/Girls?

One of the things that cause lots of arguments and cause marriage communication to break down is when your spouse spends too much time with his/her squad. Well, what’s too much time? What if they still spend appropriate time with you as well. Is it still an issue?

8. Can You Still Go Out of Town Without Your Spouse?

Should you be going on girls’ and guys’ trips without your spouse? Should you be going to social events out of town without your wife or husband by your side? Some say for sure, while others don’t like it. What do you think?

9. How Much Sex Should Be Expected?

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Some people say if you get married, sex should be on the table at any time, while others say it’s unreasonable to expect sex numerous times during a week because of work, kids, responsibilities, and just being tired. How come frequency of sex seems to be such a big issue?

10. Is It Okay to Have a “Work Wife” or “Work Husband?” or Is It Out of Bounds?

Is this kosher or just off limits?

11. How Much About Marital Issues Should You Share with Family or Friends?

Some people think it’s okay to vent to parents, siblings, or friends about strife going on in the marriage, while others say everything that happens in the marriage should stay between the husband and wife “only.” This one causes all kinds of arguments, so what’s the answer?


Learn more about marriage from these four male professionals in this video by

So, these are the 11 controversial topics that consistently come up that require effective marriage communication around the world. And although I didn’t offer up any advice about them, I think they must be discussed. My point is that issues in marriage are more universal than we think, and you aren’t in it alone. Communicating expectations is the key. Each couple may see these things differently, but the compromise will only happen through clear communication!

What other topics can you add to the list above and how would you define effective marriage communication? Share them in the comments section!



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I am always looking for new ways to breathe life into my marriage, and this is why I want to share with you the power of love affirmations. I believe that being comfortable in any part of your life, including your marriage, is a dangerous place to be. Stay out of the danger zone and use positive affirmations in your marriage to rekindle the love.

Love Affirmations to Keep the Fire Burning

In this article:



Marriage Affirmations Keep Spouses from Taking Each Other for Granted

People who “fall out of love” don’t just stop loving each other overnight. It starts because they get comfortable and eventually, take one another for granted. I don’t ever want to look at my husband and wonder who he is or why we’re together. I want this love and the bond we have to last a lifetime. But, I know that it’s going to take unconditional love, prayer, and a powerful commitment to make it happen.


Learning Love Affirmations from “War Room”

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My husband and I recently watched the War Room, and I have to admit that I got checked; actually, we both did. This movie helped me realize that I didn’t have a prayer strategy in place for my marriage, specifically for my husband.

If you’re late to the game like we were, and you haven’t watched this movie, I highly recommend it! It’s a must-watch whether you’re married or not.


Positive Affirmations Rekindle the Love

I am big on reading, writing, and reciting affirmations. I have an affirmations app on my phone that sends me notifications of my favorite ones throughout the day. After watching the movie, I decided to get focused and create a prayer strategy for my husband and our marriage as well as some marriage affirmations. My hope is these affirmations help you as much as I know they’ll help me and my husband.


20 Marriage Affirmations to Elevate Your Relationship

  1. My marriage grows stronger and more loving every single day.
  2. My marriage is built on love, trust, and loyalty.
  3. My spouse is so supportive and helpful and encourages me to follow my dreams.
  4. {Insert name} and I are happier and more in love today than the day we were married.
  5. My spouse loves me unconditionally and their love helps me to be a better person.
  6. My wife/husband is a true blessing in my life and our marriage is a miracle.
  7. My marriage is prayerful, powerful, and passionate.
  8. My marriage is a joy and a gift from God.
  9. I am loyal, devoted, and compassionate every day to {insert name}.
  10. My spouse is one of my greatest blessings, and I will treat them with honor and respect.
  11. My spouse is capable of becoming the person God created them to be.
  12. We strive for greatness in our marriage and will not settle for anything less.
  13. I enjoy falling in love with the same person over and over again as if for the first time.
  14. I attracted the perfect mate who enjoys my presence and I accept him/her wholeheartedly.
  15. I am faithful to my spouse and my spouse is faithful to me.
  16. My marriage is built on a rock-solid foundation that will stand the test of time.
  17. I love my spouse with all of my heart, mind, body, and soul.
  18. I look forward to growing old with my spouse by my side.
  19. My marriage is free from hurt, anger, and lack.
  20. My marriage is full of abundance, love, and compassion.



Love affirmations are an often overlooked part of people’s marriages. We never truly say how much our partners mean to us; not enough, at least. Use these marriage affirmations and set aside some time with your spouse. Communicate with your spouse; talk to him about your concerns, worries, things you want to do, and things that make you happy. You will find that becoming more open with each other will only make your marriage stronger.

BMWK: What are some ways that you renew and reignite the bond you share with your spouse?



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Bad communication can trap you inside an unhappy marriage. Find out what you can do to improve communication in your marriage here!

In this article:

  1. Top Unhappy Marriage Signs
  2. Our Communication Story
  3. Real Talk
  4. The A’s and B’s of the Four C’s
  5. The 20 C’s of Effective Communication in Your Marriage
  6. How to Get Started Improving Communication in Your Marriage
  7. How We Turned It Around in Our Marriage

Overcoming an Unhappy Marriage with Better Communication




Top Unhappy Marriage Signs

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We’ve all been there:

Husband: “Honey, you look beautiful today?”

Wife: “What do you mean, ‘today?’”


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Wife: “Babe, you’re the best!”

Husband: “Best out of whom?”

And so it begins. Poor communication can literally ruin a relationship. It’s one of the unhappy marriage signs you should be wary of. As a wife and mother in a once struggling, blended family, I know.

So, how did we grow from an unspeakably troubled union into the nationally featured and leading voice of African-American relationships and parenting?

First, consider the following analogy:

Communication between a husband and wife is like a river. When you are able to speak freely, openly, and constructively with your spouse, everything flows smoothly.

However, like a river cluttered with debris, our relationships suffer when we avoid the important issues…

…and focus only on the routine matters of life:

  • Dentist appointments
  • Grocery shopping
  • Our kid’s activities

Eventually, with enough pressure, our suppressed emotions, ideas, and thoughts come crashing through that wall. And, like a suddenly broken dam, all hell…

  • Name calling
  • Door Slamming
  • Filthy Language
  • No language

…breaks loose.

Words are flowing again…but it’s not exactly the same peaceful flowing river we previously experienced.

It is like the uncontrollable, white water rapids.

And those rapids can cause damage that will affect your intimacy and closeness with each other.

That’s why it’s important to nip communication issues in the bud before they become raging rapids.

In this article, I’m going to reveal to you the communication-based tips and techniques we used and continue to use in our marriage to be able to have effective communication which resulted in an increased level of intimacy and closeness that we could have never imagined before we got married.


Our Communication Story

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In the early days of our marriage, our communication sucked!

I was a single mother of two who was raised in a two parent home by a couple who has been married for more than forty years.

Lamar was a single man who was raised by his mom.

We entered our marriage with vastly different expectations and clearly distinct styles of communicating.

It wasn’t long before we were having problems effectively expressing our expectations and resolving differences in a healthy way.

And since every attempt at substantive communication was ineffectual, we began to avoid the tough conversations altogether.

We quickly learned: Avoiding the straight talk – those tough conversations – only delayed the inevitable.

When disciplinary issues arose, the fights came with them. When differences in opinion came down, we threw our hands up.

Our communication was barely existent. Our intimacy was in turmoil. Our marriage began to crumble.

We had to find a solution. Fast.



Real Talk

May I be honest with you?

Most of the couples that we talk to say they are having communication problems in their marriages.

In our line of work, we are privileged to speak, either live or via the web, with hundreds (if not thousands) of couples each year. A recent webinar poll revealed this shocking reality:

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And you know what else they said?

We’ve read books and we are trying to do everything right…but my spouse and I are still having problems communicating.

You know what I told them…

You’re not doing enough.

I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.


How to Learn Better Communication

Get our expert-led video training on better communication from the comfort of your own home.

Click here to learn about our BMWK Effective Communication Course! 


The A’s and B’s of the Four C’s

If you’re reading this, and great communication is an issue for you and your spouse, then by now you may have heard of the Four C’s of Effective Communication:

  1. Comprehensiveness – can your message be understood?
  2. Credibility – is your message credible and can it be backed up by data?
  3. Connectivity – can your intended audience connect with your message…does it invoke emotion?
  4. Contagiousness – is your message contagious… and will it stick with your intended audience?

Utilizing this technique may set you on the right path. But it may not get you to your desired destination.

What is that desired destination?
It’s being able to talk to your spouse about anything and everything at any time. Am I right?
You want to have regular conversations with your spouse.
You want to share what’s on your mind: your deepest secrets, your most pressing concerns, and your most embarrassing moments.
You want to argue or disagree with your spouse without it becoming an all-out brawl that leaves you feeling hurt or, even worse, wanting to leave your marriage.
You want to laugh, cry, and be vulnerable with your spouse and feel close enough to sincerely share tender moments.
You want to know that your spouse knows your heart. So that even when you don’t have the right words to say, your spouse knows exactly how you feel at that moment.
At the most basic level, you want to know that your spouse gets you.


The 20 C’s of Effective Communication in Your Marriage

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While talking is important for effective communication, researchers estimate that when a person is discussing what they like or dislike, approximately 60% of that communication is non-verbal.

While what you say is important, so is how you say it, when you say it, and the attitude with which you say it.

And this is how we know that there are so many more components that factor into effective communication in a marriage. In fact, we say there are 20 C’s of Effective Communication in Marriage:

  1. Consideration – you must be considerate of your spouse’s feelings when talking to them.
  2. Control – you should exercise self-control when you are communicating with your spouse. Going “ham” and saying things that you will regret later is not acceptable.
  3. Coordination – when trying to have the tough conversations, it’s important to coordinate with your spouse. When you choose to bring up topics is just as important as how you choose to tell them.
  4. Consciousness – it’s important to be conscious of your verbal and non-verbal cues when communicating with your spouse. Are you saying one thing, but your actions are saying something different?
  5. Concentration – when your spouse is speaking, you should intentionally concentrate on what is being said in an effort to understand rather than on what you are going to say next.
  6. Comfort – you and your spouse should create a safe space to express yourselves without fear of retribution and feel comfortable enough to tell each other anything (good or bad).
  7. Connection – It’s hard to communicate with a person that you are not emotionally connected with. Ensuring emotional connection is important.
  8. Cuddling – physically touching (holding hands, sitting close, touching knees) when you are having conversations with your spouse (especially the tough ones) helps to keep the situation under control.
  9. Calmness – when things get heated, remember to call a time-out until you are able to calm down.
  10. Complaining – yes, that is right…complain. We are not asking you to avoid the tough conversations (as that would build resentment). We are, however, asking you to be mindful in how you address your issues.
  11. Coaching – talking comes naturally for most people, but being able to effectively communicate with your spouse will take extra effort. You will need to practice your communication skills over and over again until they improve.
  12. Caring – you can be the best communicator in the world, but it will mean nothing if you are selfish and if you are manipulative.
  13. Candor – being open, honest, and sincere is the only way to go. A lack of trust can severely hamper communication.
  14. Confidence – believe it or not, a large part of your communication success has to do with mindset. Are you confident that things will improve and get better? Or, are you certain that things will stay the same or get worse? Your thoughts have the ability to influence your actions. If you expect a disagreement, there will probably be one.
  15. Change – you come into marriage with certain expectations and so does your spouse. Therefore, you will need to be flexible and open to adjusting those expectations.
  16. Compromise – when things get tough, are you able to cut a deal? Can you work together to find a solution that works for the both of you?
  17. Choice – you can choose to always address your spouse in a loving way, even during those times when you are not feeling so loving.
  18. Counseling – sometimes you need a qualified 3rd party to help you through the challenges you can’t resolve on your own – therapist, coach, mentor, pastor, or trusted friend or family member.
  19. Commitment – you can’t improve the communication in your marriage on your own. You both have to be committed to the process of understanding each other and working on a communication process that works best for your relationship.
  20. Companionship – this goes hand-in-hand with commitment. One of the joys of being married is the partnership. Your spouse needs to know that you’re on their team, you have their back, and they can come to you with anything.

Wow, that seems like a lot…no wonder people are having communication problems in their marriages.

But, I believe that most people are already doing, or have the capacity to do, more than 80% of the items on the list.

Just think about how you apply the 20 C’s of effective communication in your jobs.
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In our everyday lives, we are able to communicate effectively with people or co-workers. And sometimes we don’t even like those people.

But we do it.

We schedule time to talk about issues (meetings)…

We compromise…

We’re flexible and we make changes…

We remain calm…

We work on solutions…

We’re attentive and we take notes…

We refrain from name calling…

We refrain from neck and eye-rolling (or at least we try to)…

We remain committed even if we hate what we’re being asked to do…

We get up every day, we go to work and try again…

And we do all of this because the alternative to losing our jobs is not desirable to us.

But isn’t the alternative of losing your marriage much worse than losing a job?


How to Get Started Improving Communication in Your Marriage

Most people are not born with an innate ability to effectively communicate with anyone, much less in a marriage.

If you want to have healthy, open and honest communication in your marriage, you will have to work on it.

But, where should you start?

  • First, have honest discussions about the state of communication in your marriage – what works, and what’s not working.
  • Begin to put in the work to identify what needs to be done to ensure each person feels clearly understood.

This doesn’t happen overnight; you will need to be intentional about obtaining the right skills and setting the time aside to work on your unhappy marriage.

This is why we’ve created the BMWK Effective Communication (Online Training) – a five-part training led by BMWK communication expert Emma J. Wallace, M.Ed., LAPC, NCC (includes exercises and worksheets) that will show you how to quickly start changing the communication in your marriage so you can make things better.


How We Turned It Around in Our Marriage

Today, I can tell my spouse anything and I feel confident that we will eventually come to a place of resolution.

I say eventually because we don’t always agree. But I can confidently say that we are always looking for ways to accommodate each other.

I no longer worry about being right…what matters is whether my spouse is OK.

Getting to this point took a lot of work on both of our parts.

Like us, you don’t have to be trapped in an unhappy marriage. By implementing the tools and tips shared by our BMWK Effective Communication (Online Training), you too can learn how to get out of an unhappy marriage and right into a happy one!

And the best part of this is you can receive this training from the comfort and privacy of your own home.



Read more…

The difference between couples who have great communication in relationships and those who can’t seem to talk about anything without fussing and fighting is action. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it is this difference that matters most. You have to work hard to fix what seems to be destroying your relationship through proper communication. To know how to achieve a healthy communication in relationships, read on.

In this article:

  1. Benefits of Healthy Communication in Relationships
  2. Intention
  3. Transparency
  4. Plans
  5. Knowing Each Other
  6. Getting Help

How to Improve Communication in Relationships | 5 Things to Focus On

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on improving communication in your marriage:


Benefits of Healthy Communication in Relationships

Most people don’t come into a marriage knowing how to effectively communicate with their spouse. They haven’t been taught communication skills. In fact, more often than not, they’ve learned how to communicate from the bad examples of relationships they saw growing up.

Couples who recognize that communication is indeed an issue and then seek to intentionally make improvements are reaping the benefits.


What are those benefits?

  • Speaking freely and openly with your spouse.
  • Sharing your most private thoughts in a safe place.
  • Voicing your concerns when issues arise.
  • Knowing that those concerns and issues are being addressed.

1. Intention

Having pure intentions in saving our marriage through communication has helped us work things out. We were intentional by prioritizing communication with each other every day. Regardless of how busy we are, we see to it to communicate regularly. We made this our top priority.


2. Transparency

As a couple, we were transparent and real. We were able to create a safe place to share our thoughts. No judgments. No small things. Every event in our life is a big deal that must be shared with each other. Being transparent with your partner is where trust and communication in relationships go hand-in-hand.


3. Plans

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We learned how to make plans for handling issues when they arise. We weren’t caught off guard when mishaps knocked on our door because we have plans for storms like these. Sure, it wasn’t always easy, but a lack of communication will make it so much harder than it ever was. Communicating with each otherhelped us dodged bullets.


4. Knowing Each Other

Through communication, I got to know my spouse even better. I was able to identify my partner’s likes and dislikes, secret desires and fears, and many other remarkable details. In the long run, these are the things that made me love my spouse more and more each day.


5. Getting Help

We got the help we needed from resources and experts on how to improve our communication. While some couples may think that asking help from others can make them look weak, you have to put your ego aside and talk to people you trust, even professionals. Seek help if this is what can help you improve your communication with your spouse.


Watch this video to know what we did to turn things around in our marriage and improve the communication:

And for every one of these positive actions that we took towards improving communication in relationships, we got one step closer to each other. We got there and you can too. In our BMWK Effective Communication (Online Training),we’ll show you how to master the art of communication in your marriage. Through expert-led instruction, you’ll learn exactly how to have a healthy, open, and honest communication in your marriage.

Do you agree with our ways on how to improve communication in relationships? Tell us in the comments section below!



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We’ve exposed the ugly truth when it comes to conflict resolution strategies, and it’s changing marriages. If you believe good communication is the best conflict resolution to solve ALL of your marital problems, you’re sadly mistaken. We hear from couples all the time that they are doing everything in their power to work on their communication, but things are just not changing in their marriages. If you want to know how to really solve your marriage problems, then read on for some conflict management styles that are more than just communicating with each other.

In this article:

  1. Learning Conflict Resolution
  2. Until You’re Blue in the Face
  3. Taking Our Blinders Off
  4. Forming a United Front
  5. Getting Educated

Using Conflict Resolution Strategies to Fix Your Marital Issues

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on improving communication in your marriage:



Learning Conflict Resolution

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Wondering why communication alone can’t fix your marital problems? That’s because you have to do more than just saying the right words, rephrasing your words so your spouse understands, or picking the right time and place to talk.

If you’re going to solve your marital problems, you have to develop conflict resolution skills by considering the actions below:

  • Focus on conflict resolution strategies.
  • Make sure your actions are lining up with your words.
  • Have consideration for your spouse’s feelings.
  • Have an understanding of your own feelings and needs.
  • Change your mindset and your thought processes.
  • Go beyond the words and understand body language and actions (non-verbal cues).



Until You’re Blue in the Face

Just think about it. You and your spouse could have very strong but different opinions on parenting and discipline, on religion, and on handling the finances. And no matter how many times your spouse explains their point of view (they can talk until they are blue in the face), you are not going to change yours.


This scenario played out so many times in our marriage, especially after we were first married. You see, we have a blended family where I brought two kids into the marriage, and then we quickly had two more kids. Lamar and I did not see eye-to-eye on how to discipline the children. We wanted the same things, but we had very different methods of getting there. And it was causing a lot of strife within our marriage.


Finally, it all came to head one day when we were having a very heated argument over the kids. (A lot of tears were shed.) But thank God on that day, we made a commitment to each other to turn our marriage around. On that day in our bedroom, we decided to do whatever it takes to have the happy marriage we both desired and turned our marriage around by resolving our issues.


1. Taking Our Blinders Off

The first thing we had to do was to admit we had a problem. Seeing that our home isn’t perfect opened our eyes to the truth that we need help. Regardless of your efforts in building a perfect marriage, there are uncontrollable things that come our way. With these, we need to get the help we need. Our friends, family members, and even licensed marriage counselors– these are some of the people who helped us have a better relationship.


2. Forming a United Front

We decided to work together as a team on all things, especially in front of our kids and extended family. What our children see creates a great impact on the understanding. So, we decided to be a team at all times. Doing this helped us get closer to each other.


3. Getting Educated

We didn’t know how to be a blended family, so we got the help we needed from marriage resources and experts. We attended marriage conferences and retreats and we socialized with other married couples. Doing these allowed us to learn from their experiences and we were able to share our story with them as well.


Learn more about how to be a great team as a couple and live a happier life as a married couple by watching this video from us:

Being able to effectively communicate definitely helped us to connect. However, to turn our marriage around, we had to go beyond communication and make some serious changes with the help of these conflict resolution strategies. With these helpful suggestions, may you resolve your marital issues and reduce your conflicts like us and live better with your spouse.

BMWK Family – We want to create a shift in marriages across the globe by helping couples just like you with your marital communication. We’re doing this with our BMWK Effective Communication (Online Training). It’s a self-paced online training that connects couples with expert instruction that will support, equip and encourage healthy verbal and non-verbal communication. And the best part about it is you’ll receive this training from the comfort of your own home as you make your communication better.

Do you have anything else to add to our couples’ conflict resolution strategies? Let us know in the comments section below, BMWK!




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I was at a restaurant not too long ago and saw an older couple. Maybe in their late 70s or early 80s, there was an air of serenity about them that bespoke decades of life and love together. They ate in comfortable silence, but somehow I just felt they were conveying something beyond words. As they walked out holding hands, I couldn’t help but wonder. What’s their secret? We hear often about how difficult marriage can be, so love that lasts a lifetime must have a secret, right?

To find out what the secret sauce might be, I posed the question to a few of my married friends. I got some great responses including communication, respect, honesty, vulnerability, and friendship. But there was one answer that stood out – be intentional.

Let’s give this some thought. Regardless of arena, success is achieved through intentional behavior. It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete, a doctor, a blogger, or an artist. And, marriage is no different.

When your intentions are pure, so too will be your success. Charles F. Glassman

The thing about marriage, though, is that it ebbs and flows in one area in particular – communication. How often do you get into it with your spouse over some misunderstanding, misinformation, misrepresentation, or miscalculation? Typically, all of those “misses” can be traced back to some aspect of failed communication with one or both parties claiming, “I didn’t intend to make you feel that way.”

So, let’s take a look at intentional communication and see where it leads.


In this article:



Intentionally Respectful Communication

Every couple argues. Some have some knock-down drag-outs. Others prefer the passive aggressive method. But to protect the heart and soul of your marriage, it’s important to be respectful when speaking to or otherwise communicating with your spouse. Don’t hit below the belt. Don’t demoralize them. No matter the topic, make it your intention to be respectful.


Intentionally Honest Communication

If you start out with the intention of respecting your spouse and your marriage, then being honest should be less stressful. Honesty gives your partner the opportunity to really know how you think. But when you dip it in some respect, it teaches them to listen to you. The “I just tell it like it is” attitude is nothing more than an excuse to be mean. To have a mature relationship that lasts, it will serve you well to keep Ephesians 4:15 close to the heart and “speak the truth in love.”


Intentionally Vulnerable Communication

This is probably one of the most challenging things to embrace in a marriage. Why? Because society tells a man that being vulnerable means he’s soft. As for a woman, it means she’s being manipulative. However, to the successfully married couple, it means they are allowing their spouse to enter a space where only they and God reside. They then create a bond of trust that they have reason to fight and protect every day.


Intentionally Spiritual Communication

One of the deeper aspects of vulnerability lies in our spiritual selves. I have my own personal relationship with God. My husband has his. But taking the time to share with each other where and how God is moving our hearts is the only way to strengthen our chord of three strands. By being intentional, you and your spouse ensure that God keeps His position at the head of your relationship.


Intentionally Intimate Communication

This one is fairly simple. No one else gets to call you “Babe.” No one else gets to put it on you. No one else gets to send you sensual text messages. No one else gets to talk dirty to you on the phone. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. Your marriage is the only place this form of communication takes place if it’s to last a lifetime. Unless you are hot and ready teenagers with raging hormones, you have to be intentional about it. Period.


Download this infographic now and reference it later.

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Watch and share this video about the tips for a happy marriage:

Now, I don’t know if being intentional is the secret sauce to a happy marriage. In fact, my friend believes that the secret is there is no secret.  One thing is certain. If you intend to have a bad marriage, you will. If you intend to have one that lasts a lifetime, nothing will keep you from it.

BMWK, what do you think is in the secret sauce of a happy marriage?



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One of the most effective ways couples can achieve marital peace is learning the skill of resolving marriage conflict. As you can imagine, two imperfect people will definitely generate disagreement, frustration and, yes, conflict in a relationship. When you marry, you bring your flaws, a little of the past, and a moderate amount of baggage. In that baggage is the hurt others have caused, your un-forgiveness, and the triggers that remind you of just how hard-nosed you have to be.

In this article:

Resolving Marriage Conflict | 3 Ways to Achieve Marital Peace

The natural instinct of most individuals is to defend. When you find yourself in those heated moments, you don’t always know the best way to handle yourself. Typically, during disagreements, tempers flare, harmful words are exchanged, and people shut down.

However, the best option is to first try to defuse the argument. Defuse usually comes as a result of you wanting and needing to do better in the handling of the difficulties that surface in your relationships. It’s really about removing some of the sting by being mindful of the language and behaviors you choose to display. There are several ways to defuse a situation, but a great place to begin is with the following:


Plan Your Words

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When trying to resolve conflict, carefully consider what should happen next with words and actions. Planning the conversation is a critical piece. Knowing what you’re going to say prior to saying it, is an absolute must. In this area, being selective with your words and body language allows you to have better emotional control in that moment.


Learn to Listen

Although there are valid points you want to address in situations like the ones listed above, you must focus on your ability to listen. Listening— really listening—means you set aside your agenda and open yourself up to another point of view.


Practice Power of the Pause

This last method is key to resolving marriage conflict and achieving marital peace because it encourages individuals to take a step back before things get too heated. This necessary pause allows there to be some space between your emotions and actions. Whenever you start to hear something you don’t like or is opposite of your views, it’s important to pause before you simply react.

When emotions take control, you are unable to think as rationally as you would otherwise. You might be more prone to be hurtful. Thinking of the consequences by playing out that whole scenario will provide the awareness needed to maintain control over yourself. The thinking should be, “If I say this, here’s what will happen.” If what will happen is not the intended goal, a different action has to

If you’re yelling, you are no longer listening, nor being listened to.

The bottom line is, if you’re yelling, you are no longer listening, nor being listened to. When you fail to discuss what is on your mind, it only builds up and causes even more hostility later on, and being purposefully hurtful leads to wounds that are hard to heal.

Your goal during conflict is not to win; it’s to get your point across, listen for your partner’s point, and meet up somewhere in the middle with a reasonable solution. The benefit in being the peacemaker is that you have the power to lead the conversation and situation back to a happy space.

How do we forgive those who have hurt us? Watch this video from THE BEAT by Allen Parr:

BMWK, are you ready to effectively defuse your arguments?



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Has your spouse ever ticked you off? I don’t know anyone who can honestly answer “no” to that question. We are all human and being angry (or getting someone else angry) is about as normal as it gets. It’s part of the human experience. But, as you probably know, the people you love most have the greatest capacity to get under your skin. And nothing can make your skin crawl as much as when your spouse ticks you off.

In this article:

  1. Take a time-out
  2. Separate your actions from your emotions
  3. See the Opportunity

3 Things You Should Do When Your Spouse Ticks You Off

Is there something wrong with getting angry with your spouse? Not at all. Anger is a natural and healthy human emotion. Typically we feel anger because we feel like something has happened that just isn’t fair. I know it sounds so basic, but it’s true. We get angry because our spouse doesn’t help with the chores. We get angry because we think our spouse is having an affair. We get angry because our spouse did something they said they would never do. We get angry because our spouse isn’t supporting our dreams in the way we’d like. No matter how you slice it, it’s usually about some type of perceived injustice.

So in our angry moments, can we just flip out on our spouse to get the anger out of our systems? I don’t think so. I mean sure, flipping out may serve as a release and give you momentary satisfaction, but flipping out rarely brings you any closer to resolving the anger you feel and it definitely does nothing for your relationship.

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By now you are probably wondering, so what do I do when my spouse ticks me off? Here are a few suggestions that may help. They aren’t easy fixes so don’t think of them that way. Rather, these are healthy ways to help you manage your anger and defuse a potentially ugly situation. I hope they help.


Take a Time-Out

Do you know why some people give their kids time-outs? Because a time-out gives them an opportunity to calm down and reflect after making a bad judgment call. When you feel like you are angry with your spouse, your best bet is to take some time to calm down and reflect on what your anger is really about. This doesn’t mean you should let your anger stew for a week while your spouse remains in the dark. It just means you should take a moment to breathe, pray and get your mind right before you make your next move.


Separate Action from Your Emotions

Just because you are fuming doesn’t mean you can throw stuff, destroy things and do whatever you want. Your anger is not a free pass to act like a fool (although I know it can be tempting). Letting emotions direct your actions can lead to a lot of regret. Give yourself time to process the anger before you make a decision about how to act on it. You have the right to feel what you feel, but it does not give you the right to do anything you want to do.


See the Opportunity

I know this may sound crazy, but when your spouse ticks you off, it’s actually an opportunity to improve your relationship. Getting ticked off usually means there are some underlying issues that need to be addressed. Don’t brush it under the rug. Use this moment as a chance to calmly address why you are ticked off and determine what can change to help improve the quality of your relationship. Anger is actually the emotion that is most often used as an agent of change, so go for it.

BMWK Family, what do you do when your spouse ticks you off?



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The longer I am married, going on 17 years now, the more I am convinced that tying the knot is not meant for the weak at heart or the weak minded. A good marriage takes the kind of work that requires each individual to be all in…for life. Ask anyone who’s been successfully married for a while and they will tell you that communication is the driving force behind their continued union. Put another way, to change the course of your marriage that’s heading south, openness is not up for debate.

In this article:

  1. Emotional openness
  2. Physical openness
  3. Intellectual openness

While communication is a key aspect of keeping the love strong, it’s important to strengthen one of its most challenging concepts – openness. The quality of your openness with your spouse can make or break your relationship. In fact, the rise or fall of your marriage lies squarely in your ability to grasp real transparency.

3 Reasons Openness Can Change the Course of Your Marriage

In its purest form, communication requires the kind of vulnerability that people fear. When it comes to your spouse, fully letting your hair down, if you will, can seriously make cowards of us all. But it is one of the greatest ways you and your Bae can ensure a lifetime of trust and ultimately love. Even if your relationship seems doomed, there are three ways you can be open with your spouse that has the potential to truly change the course of your marriage.


Emotional Openness

Men and women bring a plethora of life experiences to their union when they decide to get married. The effect these experiences will have in your marriage won’t be easy to determine beforehand. However, you can take preemptive action to prevent a fallout if a negative situation is triggered.


To set your marriage up to win, you must each be willing to vulnerably share the pain you feel and how your partner can help you move forward when you’ve been hurt. Taking the relationship higher will mean taking the conversations deeper. Surface conversations are no longer your friend. Making emotional headway also means you may be ashamed or embarrassed by what you share. This type of transparency is an important catalyst in deepening the trust between you as a couple. As a result, you will be rewarded with a healthier and stronger bond.


Physical Openness

It may seem a bit weird, but physical openness in a relationship can be a big deal if it’s not handled well. We all have insecurities about our bodies. We’re too fat. We’re too skinny. Big forehead. Flat butt. Too short. Too tall. Big nose. Crooked teeth. The list is never-ending.  Unfortunately, our insecurities about our self-image can bring unnecessary tension to the relationship if we fail to be open about them. I don’t mean in a self-deprecating way either. Instead, be open about the physical shortcomings that bother you the most and tell your spouse why.

  • Perhaps you were teased as a kid about your nose.
  • Maybe you’ve always carried a little more fat than you’d like
  • Or, maybe the jokes about your teeth are the reason you now refuse to smile

Whatever it may be, revealing your physical insecurities helps your spouse know one more way to encourage you. As that happens, you will learn to set aside any doubts you have about how they see you and you learn to love yourself even more.


Intellectual Openness

Sharing your mind and your way of thinking is an incredible bridge builder in a relationship. By giving your partner the opportunity to know how you think, you can open the door to communication and understanding even wider. To change the course of your marriage, understanding you intellectually serves many purposes:

  • You become easier to approach
  • It removes the guessing game from the relationship
  • It gives you both a chance to affirm and reaffirm your compatibility
  • Conversations are way more fun

The ability to talk to each other intelligently leads to a deeper understanding of the heart. When you know the things that are most important to your spouse’s heart, you can develop and implement ways to serve it, encourage it, and protect it.

No one said that marriage would be easy. But to make it great, openness is a must. No matter where your relationship is today, you can give it a fighting chance by laying your heart, mind, and body on the table and trust your spouse to take care of it all.

BMWK, are you ready to really be open with your spouse?



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The relationship between my wife and I was a long distance one for our entire courting and engagement season. There is good news and bad news about being in a long distance relationship. The good news is you are forced to learn how to communicate. The bad news is you only see each other every so often. But, because of the distance, conversation starters came somewhat easy. I will say the strongest area of our marriage now is communication, which is a direct result of the hours spent on phone calls, face time, and Skype.

Now that we are married we still continue to use some of the methods that helped us achieve that great level of open communication.

21 Conversation Starters to Help Couples Struggling to Communicate

In this article:

  1. The importance of communication in marriage
  2. Conversation starters to get your marriage moving

The Importance of Communication in Marriage

Many people have different ideas about what is most important in a marriage. For some couples, it may be intimacy. Another couple might say finances. While still another might say spirituality. Oddly, while true, all of the above include a dire need for proper communication.

Intimacy requires communication. What couples do with their money requires communication. The spiritual health of marriage requires communication. Unfortunately, many couples are unsure of how to talk about these topics. Well, we’ve got some conversation starters that might help.

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Conversation Starters to Get Your Marriage Moving

Here are 21 discussion questions you and your significant other can use to help strike up a good conversation.

  1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  2. Describe your family growing up with one word, Why?
  3. Which year did you have the best birthday? Why?
  4. What are you passionate about?
  5. What makes you angry? Why?
  6. How do you handle stress?
  7. What was your lowest point in life?
  8. What’s a highlight in your life?
  9. What do you consider as self-care?
  10. What is your current status with God?
  11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  12. When you hear the word fun what comes to mind?
  13. If you were stranded on an island what 5 items would you have with you?
  14. If you could get paid to study a topic what would it be?
  15. What lessons did you learn from your previous relationships?
  16. Name 3 words would you use to describe life right now?
  17. What is your favorite day of the week? Why?
  18. What makes you unique?
  19. What are you fearful of?
  20. Do you have any family traditions you want to continue doing?
  21. Who are you closest to in your family?

These discussion questions are a great diving board into some awesome conversation that is sure to help you learn more about one another. Don’t give surface answers, but try to dig deep to give an answer that helps not only your significant other but also yourself.]


BMWK, What are some other conversation starters you and your significant other use? 



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Quite a few of the conversations and comments that surface as a result of the articles posted here on BMWK typically focus on something a spouse is or isn’t doing. This, of course, always leaves one spouse feeling frustrated and challenged on how to not only discuss it but also repair it. A number of couples struggle with knowing how to properly discuss the trials that arise in their relationships. In fact, talking about what’s bothering you in your relationship is almost an art form.

5 Easy Tips for Talking About What’s Bothering You In Your Relationship

In this article:

    1. Be true to yourself
    2. Speak the way you desire to be spoken to
    3. Recognize the desired outcome
    4. Express what you are feeling
    5. Clarity is key

There have been several comments from individuals who are at their wit’s end and almost to a point where walking away is an option. It is usually a spouse who feels they have given, sacrificed and done everything necessary to make their relationship work but their partner hasn’t put forth any of the work needed. My question always becomes what conversations or actions have transpired or need to occur (on the part of both partners) to generate the transformation they hope to see.

Addressing the problems in a marriage is no easy feat. Here are 5 tips to get you started.


Be True to Yourself

Your spouse isn’t perfect, but neither are you. As such, it is always best to start a difficult conversation by confessing any negative behaviors you’ve contributed. Take an honest assessment of your faults and be prepared to make any necessary changes.


 Speak to your partner the same way you want to be spoken to.

Think about how you best receive information. Now think about how your spouse best receives information. Ask yourself questions like:

  1. When is my partner the most responsive?”
  2. “What causes them to shut down?”
  3. “What makes my mate feel comfortable enough to hear me out completely?”

Most People tend to stop listening to a person they feel is always blaming them for something. Discussions always work best when there isn’t finger pointing.


Recognize the desired outcome.

What would you like to happen as a result of your conversation with your spouse? If your hope is that your mate has a clearer understanding of your needs, determine the best way for you to deliver that information. Is it through a letter or during a heart-to-heart conversation? It is helpful to work backwards so to speak. Remember, the point is to be talking about what’s bothering you in your relationship. If you know the goal, it’s easier to line your actions to match that goal.

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Express why the situation has affected you the way it has.

Our partners are more likely to take action if they are able to understand the concern a certain situation or challenge has on us. The only way they will know is if we tell them. In a trusted partnership it is okay to be completely vulnerable. Allow your mate to fully enter your world. Sharing your feelings and most personal thoughts and emotions provides that needed insight.


Enter into the conversation with clarity.

Forget what you think will happen, even if it may have been how things have turned out in the past. Expect a positive result. In order to do that you must make sure you have no hidden agendas. When you begin talking about what’s bothering you in your relationship, it’s so that you can be vulnerable and clear about what your needs are.

Relationships, marriages in particular, do not come with a manual. There isn’t a right or wrong way to have a relationship. There is, however, an effective way to communicate. Whenever we feel like we are putting more effort into our relationship than our spouse we must talk about. If we feel like our mate takes us for granted or never listens to us, we must talk about it. In addition to talking we must make sure we are actively listening as well. Keep in mind positive communication works both ways.

BMWK, what would you add to this list? How have you discussed the challenges in your relationship with your spouse?



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It would take an entire book in itself to touch on every different communication style. If you Google different communication personality types, you’ll find a range of categories you can fall into that vary based on the system used or who came up with it. However, there are a few things that affect assertive communication in your marriage. They can also influence your communication style so it’s important to understand what they are when trying to communicate with your spouse clearly.

5 Ways to Strengthen Assertive Communication in Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. Compliant and Non-Compliant
  2. Communicate intentionally and often
  3. Provide a safe place for a compliant spouse
  4. Compliant spouse – Speak up!
  5. Talk about your marriage
  6. Learn your spouse’s cues

Compliant and Non-Compliant

Some people are people pleasers. Their main goal is to avoid conflict. They want to do what they can to make and keep others happy. They rarely utlize assertive communication skills. These people are more compliant with others around them. Others are not. They don’t mind confrontation. They don’t hesitate in speaking their minds, and their opinion can come regardless of how the other person feels.

Most people don’t fall at the extreme ends of the spectrum and their traits will lie somewhere in the middle, but whether you are opposites or two of the same, the personality types can cause balance when they work, and challenges when they don’t.

When you have a marriage with someone who aims to please and someone who does not, the compliant spouse may go along to keep the peace. If the non-compliant spouse is not adept at reading the other spouse’s signals, and the compliant spouse doesn’t get skilled speaking up, the more assertive spouse will more often than not get his or her way. The compliant spouse doesn’t speak up; meanwhile, the other spouse thinks that everything is great and running smoothly.

This type of set up can breed resentment in both the compliant spouse and the non-compliant spouse. Sometimes the compliant spouse may hold it all in until she blows up, confusing the one on the receiving end. If you fall into this category, there are a few things you need to remember to keep communication running smoothly:


Communicate intentionally and often

This is important if one person in the relationship is more hesitant to speak his or her mind. Assertive communication takes practice. So, giving your spouse consistent time and a safe space to communicate is important. This ensures that his voice is not only heard but given equal weight.


Providing a safe space for the compliant spouse

The pleaser’s main hesitation is the possibility of confrontation. Make sure if you’re on the non-pleasing side that you are able to hear and listen without interrupting. Additionally, provide a comfortable space for your spouse to express him or herself. Don’t assume everything is fine and don’t make the complaint spouse feel like he or she is shot down for having opinions.

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Compliant spouse—speak up

You are not being fair to the other person by not being open. Making your voice heard is a part of being honest. Omitting information isn’t far away from telling a lie. Your marriage needs your voice, so make sure you use it. Assertive communication doesn’t have to be aggressive. It just has to be.

But what if your personalities don’t lie on opposite ends? What if you’re both the same? If you are both compliant, you have a tendency to shy away from the issues. Problems in the marriage may not be confronted or resolved at all if you don’t communicate often.


Regularly take time talk about your marriage

You may want to have a few focus areas that you touch on regularly since it might not be natural to talk about conflict immediately.

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Learn to read each other’s cues

Over time, it becomes easier to tell when your partner isn’t spilling what is on her mind. If she looks like she’s holding back, ask. Understand that holding it in is only hurting your marriage. Maybe it seems that keeping things conflict-free is always the solution, but if you aren’t advocating for yourself, you stop advocating for your marriage.

Don’t be afraid to face the conflict. Disagreements are a natural part of any relationship and are necessary for relationship growth. And what if neither of you is compliant? The challenge for two non-pleasers won’t be that you have difficulty saying what’s on your mind. Your challenge when the systems go awry is that you will have a more difficult time coming to an agreement. You may have to put in a little more work to agree and will benefit from conflict management. The following tips will be
important to you in being able to communicate with each other without fighting:

  • Know who you are and be honest about it – Some people are clear that they are assertive when it comes to getting their way; others aren’t as clear on where they stand. Once you know that you both share similar traits when it comes to being non-pleasers, it will be easier to manage your communications challenges.
  • Know that sometimes, one of you will have to submit – Ideally, every disagreement would be solved by each spouse coming to a mutually agreeable solution that leaves everyone equally happy. But this is the real world. At times compromise will take more on the part of one person. There will be points where one of you may have to give up a little more to get along.

Communication is at the heart of everything we do in marriage. Whether it’s through daily interactions or through managing disagreements, our successes and failures in marriage hinge upon what and how we’re communicating to our spouses with our words and our actions.

BMWK, are you using assertive communication to keep your marriage flowing positively? 



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I wish we lived in a world where everyone is happily married, but in real life, I know that is far from true. Many people are unhappily married and the reasons why are plentiful. Some unhappy marriages can turn into happy ones if both parties are willing to put in the work. Others will fail even if measures are taken to save what once was. Sadly, in some cases, divorce is imminent.

Whether you believe life is complicated, or simply that people complicate life, one fact remains true: Determining what to do about a failing marriage is never simple. A decision about ending a marriage that you hoped would last your whole life is complicated stuff.

6 Critical Questions to Ask Before You Think About Divorce

In this article:

  1. How was our relationship before marriage
  2. Am I in danger?
  3. Is there unresolved hurt?
  4. Am I struggling with forgiveness?
  5. Would my life be better if we’re apart?
  6. Am I staying only for the kids?

So what makes a marriage bad? There is no way to answer this because it’s such a personal matter. Some marriages are bad because they were never right to begin with. Some turn bad because a painful experience wasn’t managed well.

And then, of course, you have issues like mistrust, infidelity, financial problems, loss of passion, and growing apart. There is a long list of issues that can leave someone feeling like the marriage they have is just not what they want for their life anymore.

The toughest question to answer is, what do I do about my bad marriage?  Because, the final decision is never easy. Should you walk away from your marriage? Do you need a break? Will therapy help? What about prayer? So many things to consider, so many options to choose from. Indeed, feeling like you’re in a bad marriage can be quite complicated.

I firmly believe that so many people walk away from marriages without really trying to work things out. Now, it’s that you should stay no matter what because I do not believe that’s true. I take marriage vows very seriously, but I also realize that some relationships just won’t last—no matter what.

So if you are in what you consider a bad marriage, here are a few critical questions you should ponder before you decide to leave or stay. The answers to these questions can help you truly determine what your next step should be.

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1. Was our relationship a happy and healthy union prior to marriage?

Many marriages get off to a bad start and it’s often because the marriage never should have occurred. It’s a sad truth that people get married for the wrong reasons all the time. So ask yourself what your relationship looked like prior to marriage.

If it was always a challenge, maybe your problem lies in the fact that you married the wrong person. However, if you can remember being really happy together, and in a really healthy place, maybe what you have is worth holding on to if you seek the right help.


2. Am I in danger?

If you truly believe staying with your partner puts you and your children in danger, you have to remember that your safety comes first. Never compromise your safety in the name of love. If you need help with leaving an unsafe situation contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.


3. Is there a painful experience we never worked through?

Maybe one of you lost a loved one, maybe you experienced a miscarriage together, or maybe you are dealing with infidelity. And these are just some of the painful experiences couples go through together.

Ask yourself if you can think of a painful experience that truly left a lasting imprint on your marriage, and things just haven’t been the same since. Marriages can deteriorate over time when something painful happens and the pain behind it is never addressed or managed. Ignoring pain doesn’t make it go away; it simply allows the pain to linger and grow.


4. Am I struggling with forgiveness?

We’ve heard it time and time again, yet so many of us refuse to embrace the undeniable truth: Forgiveness is not about the person who wronged you; it’s about YOU. Are you unable to forgive your spouse for something? Are the pain and resentment associated with it eating away at you? You have to show yourself some tenderness and develop the ability to forgive.

Things may seem bad in your marriage, but if the inability to forgive is at the root of it, please know that being unable to forgive will leave you damaged whether you stay with your spouse or not.


5. Do I truly think my life would be better without my spouse?

This is a simple question, but the answer can offer a whole lot of insight and direction. Give it some serious thought before you make any decisions about your union.


6. Am I only thinking about staying because of the kids?

Kids are incredibly intuitive and staying in an unhappy marriage only because you think it’s best for the kids just won’t turn out well. What’s best for your kids is to have happy, healthy parents.

BMWK family, what questions do you think should be asked before staying in a bad marriage?



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I usually receive really honest feedback from the articles I write for BMWK. I respond whenever I receive one of those “how can this help me now” comments from someone who thinks divorce is their only choice. When your marriage is in trouble, divorce is the nuclear option but there are many questions that should be asked before you hit that button.

Ask these 20 Questions When Your Marriage is in Trouble

In this article:

  1. The importance of a self-check
  2. Ask these 20 questions first

I usually ask: do they both want a divorce and what have they tried already to save their marriage? They’re important questions because sometimes couples don’t want a divorce, they just can’t think of other options.


The importance of a self-check

What I’ve learned in my own marriage and in coaching other couples is, there is always a point or an action right before the marriage takes a turn for the worse.

Sometimes couples can catch it; other times, couples see it but continue to head down the path of relationship destruction because they don’t quite know how to get back on track.

Make another attempt to return to the course. Whether you’ve reached that point in your journey or have passed it, I’m imploring you to give your marriage a chance.

What I’m asking of you will call for strength, patience and an emotionally-draining discussion(s) with your spouse.

So prior to having any conversation about the challenges in your relationship, you must prepare yourself beforehand.


Do a self-check first. Then, decide what you’d like the outcome of the talk to be. Next, consider what role you contributed to arriving in this place and what changes you are willing to make to improve the marriage.


It’s Time For 20 Questions

Once you’ve done that and are ready to have this discussion with your partner, here are some questions you may want to ask your spouse:

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  1. Are you happy? Why or Why Not?
  2. Can we pray over our marriage?
  3. When do you think our marriage changed?
  4. Why do you think our marriage changed?
  5. How do you think we arrived here?
  6. Am I the spouse you thought I’d be? Why or why not?
  7. Have I changed in your opinion? If so, what do you think has changed most?
  8. Do you think you’ve changed? If so, what do you think has changed most?
  9. Do you think enough sacrifices are being made from both of us? Why or why not?
  10. What sacrifices do you think I’ve made for the marriage?
  11. Are there sacrifices do you think you’ve made for the marriage?
  12. What vision did you have for our marriage?
  13. What do you think is preventing that vision from happening?
  14. How have I played a role in us being in this space?
  15. What role do you think you play in us being in this space?
  16. Do you still want this marriage, why or why not?
  17. Are you willing to help me in fighting for our marriage?
  18. Have we done everything possible to save our marriage?
  19. Divorce isn’t the only option for our marriage, what solutions do you think we can come up with together to get back to our happy place?
  20. What are you willing to do to help save us?

Naturally, these 20 questions are just the beginning of the journey to get your marriage back on track. Find and use resources by professionals and organizations that specialize in coaching and counseling troubled couples. If your marriage is in trouble, don’t let it be one of the statistics. Fight for it and encourage your spouse to do the same.

BMWK: what additional questions do you think couples should ask to help save their marriage?



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You might be thinking your spouse doesn’t like being questioned. The truth is, not very many of us do. Each individual has their own communication style,including the way they listen, respond and process information. The majority of us have trouble processing information that arrives via nagging, negative energy or even too many questions.

10 Very Specific Questions to Ask Your Spouse

    1. Delivery is important
    2. Questions to ask often

One of the negative ideas I usually coach couples on avoiding, is nagging. Putting pressure on your spouse to communicate with you more, share what they are feeling, or even the handling of the household responsibilities could be overwhelming to both of you. Although we desire for the things in our marriage to be exactly as we planned, it won’t always work out exactly that way. Occasionally, when we bring certain tasks to our spouse, we may not receive our desired result.


Delivery is important

It’s usually in the delivery and type of wording being used. The ask is often in the negative.

  • “Can’t you clean up after yourself”?”
  • “Why won’t you communicate with me?”
  • “Why didn’t you share that with me?”

Of course, we’re asking these questions, as negative as they may be, to gain a better understanding of our spouse. But when an idea is presented to most people in this mode of delivery, they automatically become defensive and fight back. The answer will usually include “because you always…” At that point, the conversation takes a turn for the worse and the couple is off track.


Questions to ask often

In order to stay on track, more often, we should continue to question our spouse. However, there is a certain way and specific questions we should be asking our spouse, pretty often. Here are a few:

  1. Are you happy?
  2. What do you need?
  3. What is needed to make this the best marriage possible?
  4. How can I show I love you even more?
  5. What do you love about our marriage?
  6. What areas need some improvement in our marriage?
  7. How can I be a better spouse/partner to you?
  8. What would you like more of in our marriage?
  9. How can I support you better?
  10. How can I relieve any of the stress or pressure you may be feeling?

Most couples don’t consider the strategy that’s needed to have effective communication. We learn something new when we listen and share. As we communicate with our spouse, we should be listening to gain insight. Every discussion provides an opportunity not only to connect but to also really get to know the person we married. Asking the right questions more often will eliminate most of the negative that surfaces in our relationships.

BMWK, what questions would you add to this list?


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Marriage is absolutely wonderful.  It’s also incredibly hard.  No matter how much you love your spouse, there will be rough patches—moments that you are struggling to survive.  It’s inevitable.  Any couple that tells you things are always rosy either hasn’t been married very long, or they are lying.

Is Your Marriage Struggling Because You Won’t Let Go?

  1. Struggling to hold on
  2. All about letting go

Struggling to hold on

When you face challenges in your marriage, there should always be an attempt, by both parties, to make things right.  Maybe you need counseling, or maybe you just need some time, but giving up when things get hard shouldn’t be your impulse.  Efforts to restore things have to be made before you walk away from a commitment you made before God (great efforts).

But once the effort has been made and you both decide that this thing you have is worth fighting for, how does it serve your marriage if you can’t let go of the wrongdoing.  Are you really fighting for your partnership if you continue to relive whatever caused the initial damage?

TNMMaleConcernedStressedSad.jpg 294w, 390w" alt="" width="600" height="400" />

I am not implying that working through something as serious as cheating, for instance, is easy.  However, I am saying that if you take the time to work on your marriage and you decide to forgive your spouse (if there is a need for forgiveness depending on what’s going on in your marriage), things will never truly work out if you continue to live in the past.  Your marriage will never be repaired if you aren’t able to let go.


All about letting go

When you can’t let go and you continue to bring up an old grievance, you are simply communicating that you are not over it – that you are still angry and hurt.

There is nothing wrong with being angry and hurt.  It’s a normal emotion. But if you plan to be angry and hurt forever, never truly moving past what happened, your marriage is destined to fail.

Letting go is not easy. It’s very hard to do.  But once you choose to put in the work to improve your marriage, you are also choosing to eventually let go (and by eventually, I don’t mean 3 years later).


This idea of letting go is not just about the big stuff either.  It’s about those everyday things  (the kids, chores, expectations) that can cause a rift in your marriage and work through those things without later bringing them up all the time.

When you are unwilling to let go, it causes just as much damage as an unwillingness to work through your issues in the first place.  They go hand in hand because you really haven’t worked through anything if you are having any lingering emotions that cause you to relive what went wrong. Put in the work, choose to forgive, and let it go.  It’s the only way to strengthen your union.

BMWK: Is there something in your marriage that you need to let go of?



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We know communication is vital to any relationship. Communication is the heart of the human connection. It can be verbal, or it can be nonverbal. Either way, rest assured, communication exists whether you are saying anything or not. It is the pathway by which we get to know one another better. Our likes and dislikes, joys and sorrows, similarities and differences are all shared through communication. But, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are communication levels that must be considered, especially when it involves intimacy in your relationship.

Practice These 5 Communication Levels to Boost the Intimacy in Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. 5 Levels of Intimacy in Communication
  2. Intimacy in Communication is Progressive

So how does communication become intimate? Well, there are five communication levels with true intimacy being the fifth level. We move from one level to the next. Once we reach level five we move back and forth at will.


5 Levels of Intimacy in Communication

Level One: Superficial Talk
This includes talking about surface or cosmetic ideas like the weather and the news.

Level Two: Sharing Facts
This includes talking about clear-cut information—things such as I need to go to the garage today. My tire went flat.

Level Three: Stating Opinions
This includes sharing personal opinions. When conversation reaches this level, vulnerability enters the picture.

Level Four: Sharing Feelings
This includes talking about deeper feelings. Vulnerability is now a big part of the communication process. Opening up and sharing your true feeling with another exposes your heart.

Level Five: Sharing Needs
This includes an openness to share even your deepest needs and concerns. Once you reach this level of communication, your heart is open and vulnerable; and it’s okay with you. Here you’re willing to share your hearts desires big and small because you know you’re in a safe place. The two of you are on the same team.


Intimacy in communication is progressive

Intimacy in communication happens over time. This is the main reason couples just starting out spend so much time on the phone. Conversation seems endless and exciting. You can talk to one another for hours. The world is calm and beautiful when you’re in touch with each other.

Communication does take two people being in touch. Every word spoken, every gesture made speaks something to your partner. The way this information is received and reciprocated will determine how quickly you move from one level of communication to the next.

Going from talking about the weather to giving your opinion on a television show to sharing your feeling to sharing your needs and desires—all this is a very vulnerable move into intimacy. When you are vulnerable, your defenses are down because you trust your mate will bring good and not harm. This is the reason for such devastation when you are wounded or hurt.

With broken trust or even hurt feelings, the level of intimacy in communication moves right back to level one and you must start over again. Think about it, when you feel violated by your partner, communication goes back to level one or two. You state facts – the kids need to be picked up. The doctor called. We are out of bread. Restore trust and thus restore the intimate level of communication.

Intimacy in communication is beautiful and needed in strong healthy relationships. It takes two people who are willing to move through the process together. They must be willing. You will see it, and experience the spirit of agreement between you. Once you reach level five, you will never want to go back. It is fulfilling to open yourself up to another and know they have your best interest at heart.

BMWK, where are you in your level of intimacy in communication?



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Have you wondered, in the heat of a battle, what you were really fighting about? When it comes to conflict in your marriage, it’s not usually the surface issue you’re discussing. The inner work begins the moment you are able to go beneath the surface and uncover what it is that really bothers you about what’s happening.

6 Behaviors to Avoid When Dealing With Conflict in Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. The effect of conversations in the raw
  2. Avoid these six things
  3. How to make your marriage work

The effect of conversations in the raw

Have you ever just wanted to react to your partner without thinking about it first and with no regard to what the results might be, even if you knew better? You’re not alone.

When someone pisses you off, it’s normal for your instincts to kick in and cause you to become defensive and argumentative. But having effective conflict management tools under your belt equips you for the inevitable.

Your wife might drive you crazy, or your husband can get on your very last nerve. It happens to all of us at some point, but how you handle those emotions is paramount to the health of your relationship.

In my frequent conversations about relationships, I often hear a variety of excuses and arguments about what’s going wrong, but something I heard recently stuck with me. Someone admitted that they didn’t know how to fight in their marriage. They purposely hurt one another when they disagree, and it leaves them both wanting to walk away.

This observation was so real, and although I rarely hear it, I found it to be a true statement for so many couples. While I keep bringing up creating marital peace, it isn’t always as easy as it seems.


Avoid these six things

My husband suggests that the best time to make an emotional decision is when you’re not emotional. He says you have to decide, when things are good, how to handle arguments.


It is inevitable that in a relationship you will not always see eye-to-eye on every subject. There will be conflict in your marriage. Half of the battle in overcoming disputes is knowing how to have one in the first place. Again, with peace being the target, there are a few things to avoid when you are experiencing conflict:

  • Yelling to get your point across works for no one, ever.
  • Shutting down and keeping quiet will prevent you from achieving peace.
  • Intentionally saying words that are hurtful can cause more long-term pain than we think.
  • Not being fully present, open, or aware of your partner’s thoughts and feelings.
  • Not taking responsibility for your part in the conflict.
  • Having a closed mind.

How to make your marriage work

In order to make a marriage work, you have to start making decisions that lead to solutions, not create more problems. You have to decide that, when conflicts arise, you will be the water and not the gasoline, completely focused on defusing the situation and creating peace. You must also be clear on what happens as a result of being the gasoline; tempers flare, the conflict grows and can ultimately consume the relationship over time.

I promise that if you take the water route instead, you won’t regret it. You will be doing exactly what is needed to reduce drama and build a healthy partnership. No, it isn’t easy, but, in the end, it does pay off.

BMWK, are you ready to defuse conflict and make your marriage work?



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How do you know that unresolved pain has taken over and your marriage is suffering? It’s not very difficult. The most important part of making this assessment is the ability for you and your spouse to be completely honest with yourselves.

10 Signs Unresolved Pain is Taking a Toll on Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. How unresolved pain shows up
  2. 10 signs unresolved pain is taking over your marriage

How unresolved pain shows up

A couple needs to acknowledge not just how they feel about the pain they are experiencing, but how their feelings are being manifested in their behavior.

Another problem that many couples face is the gap that exists between how your spouse really feels, and how you think your spouse feels. Managing pain is a very unique experience, and unless someone tells you where he or she is in the process, you truly cannot determine where that person stands based on his or her behavior.

Although painful experiences seem to show up out of nowhere and slap you in the face, they actually do more than that. They find a way to become a part of your being, and then the pain settles in and becomes a part of the fabric of your marriage. How can you tell this is happening?

TNMCoupleArgueAngryListen.jpg 294w, 390w" alt="" width="600" height="400" />


10 signs unresolved pain is taking over your marriage

Here are a few signs that the pain is taking a serious toll and your marriage is suffering because of it.

  1. The pain is the first thing on your mind in the morning and the last thing on your mind before bed.
  2. You find yourself annoyed with your spouse because of how he or she is managing the pain.
  3. You feel like your spouse is distant and is not supporting you during your time of need.
  4. It’s beginning to feel like the pain will always be there.
  5. You can’t recall the last time you had a joyful experience with your spouse.
  6. It feels like your marriage is “falling apart.”
  7. The idea of working through the pain is starting to feel like too much.
  8. You are angry with your spouse.
  9. You are angry with yourself.
  10. Depression symptoms have become more evident in either you or your spouse.

If any of the items listed above ring true for you, it means that your marriage is suffering as a result of a painful experience, or maybe even more than one painful experience. Acknowledging that this damage is taking place is half of the battle. The other half, of course, is determining what you can do to repair the damage and develop the skills you and your spouse need to strengthen your marriage and not only get back to where you were but become a stronger unit than you’ve ever been.


BMWK, are you ready to acknowledge if your marriage is suffering?



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In a recent article, I offered up five ways a wife can show respect to her husband. Well, now, it’s the men’s turn. As it stands, respect is a two-way street. However, the respect from man to woman has somewhat of a different feel. As previously quoted from Ephesians 5:33, a husband “must love his wife as he loves himself.” When you say to a man “respect your wife,” you’re asking him to bring Ephesians 5:33 alive. Ultimately, that love shows up in a variety of ways. As Aretha might say, here are five ways to R-E-S-P-E-C-T your wife:

Husbands: 5 Ways to R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Wife

In this article:

  1. Lead her up
  2. Size her up
  3. Build her up
  4. Talk her up
  5. Pray her up

Lead her up

One of the most important ways to lead your wife in a relationship is to humble out when you’re wrong. The popular belief that admitting one’s fault is a sign of weakness is absolutely not true. Personally, I count it as a strength of character when a person in authority can own up to his or her mistakes and humble out. Similarly in marriage, when you humble yourself and admit your mistakes to your wife, you convey how much you respect her.

When the head of the family honestly and willingly takes responsibility for his mistakes, whether done intentionally or not, he demonstrates how much he values and respects his relationship with his wife.


Size her up

What wife doesn’t like to be gawked at by her husband? A great sign of respect to a woman is when her man appreciates her sexy. Making your wife feel admired for her appearance is a way to demonstrate respect. In an odd way, you further solidify the trust in your marriage as she sees your admiration as a contributing fact to your fidelity. She feels you only have eyes for her because your actions say so. You make her feel adored, secured and respected and even more so in public places.

TNMCoupleKissIntimate.jpg 294w, 390w" alt="" width="600" height="400" />


Build her up

Paying full attention to what your wife has to say and putting away any form of distraction during a meaningful conversation with her shows how important what she has to say means to you. If you respect her, you will also try not to cut her off during conversations. You will give her room to express her thoughts. This ensures her that you understand her and respect her opinions, ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Additionally, making time for your wife consistently no matter how busy your schedule shows that she comes first, everything else is secondary. This action backs up your words of how much you love and cherish her as commanded by God. By taking the time to build her up as a priority in your relationship, you effectively strengthen the bond you formed when you said: “I do.”


Talk her up

There are times in a marriage when misunderstandings arise and the temptation to say nasty things about her behavior is strong. But speaking ill of her in the presence of family members, friends, or acquaintances is great sign of disrespect. It doesn’t matter if it was done in her absence. Complaining and making bad jokes about her simply shows how low you place her. No matter the level of misunderstanding you have, public affirmation of your wife depicts her importance to you and your respect for her.


Pray her up

This is simple. Your wife needs your prayers. She needs you to fight for her spiritually because yes, she gets weary. Take her dreams, her fears, her wants, and her needs to God on her behalf. Your relationship will grow so much stronger because there is a respect she will feel knowing you don’t see her as weak and needy, but human. When you have given her everything you have to give, prayer lets her know you respect her enough to give her even more.

There’s no doubt that the respect a man has for his wife is tied up in how much he loves her. Still, according to Ephesians 5:33, that’s exactly what God intended.

BMWK husbands, are you ready to respect your wife?



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