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The stories of heroism, tenacity, and courage of the American West weren’t just reserved for the cowboy: long before him was the Native American, whose cultural and spiritual diversity, as well as deep-rooted connection to the land, made for a rich...

The stories of heroism, tenacity, and courage of the American West weren’t just reserved for the cowboy: long before him was the Native American, whose cultural and spiritual diversity, as well as deep-rooted connection to the land, revealed an entirely different way of living that Americans are able to admire today. But during the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S.—motivated by its political and economic agendas—had a hostile perspective on its older neighbors, believing them to be inferior and even more, a threat to its plans of westward expansion. Notably during the Gold Rush of the 1800s, these two opposing world views clashed into violence, but in turn, gave birth to legendary Native American war leaders. takes a look at five notable Native Americans who admirably fought for the survival of their culture and land and left a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Geronimo (Department of Defense. (File:Geronimo.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Geronimo (Department of Defense. (File:Geronimo.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)



Geronimo (1829-1909) An Apache leader who fought fiercely against Mexico and the U.S. for expanding into his tribe’s lands (now present-day Arizona), Geronimo began inciting countless raids against the two parties, after his wife and three children were slaughtered by Mexican troops in the mid-1850s. Born as Goyahkla, Geronimo was given his now famous name when he charged into battle amid a flurry of bullets, killing numerous Mexicans with merely a knife to avenge the death of his family. Although how he got the name "Geronimo" is up for debate, white settlers at the time were convinced he was the "worst Indian who ever lived." On September 4, 1886, Geronimo surrendered to U.S. troops, along with his small band of followers. During the remaining years of his life, he converted to Christianity (but was kicked out of his church due to incessant gambling), appeared at fairs, and rode in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in 1905. He also dictated his own memoir, Geronimo’s Story of His Life, in 1906. On his deathbed three years later, Geronimo reportedly told his nephew he regretted surrendering to the U.S. “I should have fought until I was the last man alive," he told him. Geronimo was buried at the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery in Fort Still, Oklahoma.

Sitting Bull (Photo: O.S. Goff/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sitting Bull (Photo: O.S. Goff/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Sitting Bull (1831-1890) As a holy man and tribal chief of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux tribe, Sitting Bull was a symbol of Native American resistance against U.S. government policies. In 1875, after an alliance with various tribes, Sitting Bull had a triumphant vision of defeating U.S. soldiers, and in 1876, his premonition came true: He and his people defeated General Custer’s army in a skirmish, now known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in eastern Montana territory. After leading countless war parties, Sitting Bull and his remaining tribe briefly escaped to Canada but eventually returned to the U.S. and surrendered in 1881 due to lack of resources. He later joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, earning $50 a week, and converted to Catholicism. On December 15, 1890, prodded by Indian agents who feared Sitting Bull was planning an escape with the Ghost Dancers, an emerging Native American religious movement that predicted a quiet end to white expansion, police officers attempted to arrest him. Amid the commotion, the officers ended up fatally shooting Sitting Bull, along with seven of his followers. Although he was originally buried at Fort Yates—the North Dakota reservation where he was killed—in 1953, his family moved his remains near Mobridge, South Dakota, the place of his birth.

The Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota.

The Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota.

Crazy Horse (1840-1877) Leader of the Oglala Lakota peoples, Crazy Horse was a courageous fighter and protector of his tribe’s cultural traditions—so much so, that he refused to let anyone take his photograph. He is known to have played key roles in various battles, chief among them, the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, where he helped Sitting Bull defeat General Custer. Unlike his fellow Lakota leaders, Sitting Bull and Gall, who ended up fleeing to Canada, Crazy Horse remained in the U.S. to fight the American troops, but he eventually surrendered in May of 1877. In September of the same year, Crazy Horse met his end when he left his reservation without permission to take his sick wife back to her parents. Knowing he would be arrested, he initially didn’t resist the officers, but when he discovered they were taking him to a guardhouse (due to rumors he was planning on hatching a rebellion), he fought them and tried to escape. With his arms detained by one soldier, another stabbed his bayonet into the war chief, eventually killing him. Although his parents buried his remains in South Dakota, the exact location of his remains is not known.

Chief Joseph (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)

Chief Joseph (Photo: MPI/Getty Images)


Chief Joseph (1840-1904) While many Native American war leaders and chiefs were known for their combative resistance towards the U.S.'s westward expansion, Chief Joseph, Wallowa leader of the Nez Perce, was known for his concerted efforts to negotiate and live peacefully with his new neighbors. Although his father, Joseph the Elder, had brokered a peaceful land treaty with the U.S. government that extended from Oregon to Idaho, the latter reneged on its agreement. To honor the memory of his father, who died in 1871, Chief Joseph resisted staying within the confines of the Idaho reservation that the government had mandated. In 1877, the threat of a U.S. cavalry attack made him relent, and he began leading his people to the reservation. However, the Nez Perce leader found himself in a difficult situation when some of his young warriors—angry that their homeland had been stolen from them—raided and killed neighboring white settlers; the U.S. cavalry began chasing the group down, and reluctantly, Chief Joseph decided to join the warring band. His tribe’s 1,400 mile march and defense tactics impressed General William Tecumseh Sherman, and from then on, he was known as the “Red Napoleon.” Tired of the bloodshed, Chief Joseph surrendered on October 5, 1877. His emotional surrender speech was etched into the annals of American history, and up until his death, he spoke against the U.S.’s injustice and discrimination against Native Americans. In 1904, he died, according to his doctor, of a “broken heart.”

Red Cloud (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

Red Cloud (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

Red Cloud (1822-1909) Born in what is now North Platte, Nebraska, Red Cloud spent most of his young life at war. The Oglala Lakota Sioux leader’s fighting skills made him one of the most formidable opponents of the U.S. Army, and in 1866-1868, he led a victorious campaign, known as Red Cloud’s War, which resulted in his taking control over Wyoming and southern Montana territory. In fact, fellow Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, played an important role in that battle that led to many U.S. casualties. Red Cloud’s win led to the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868, which gave his tribe ownership of the Black Hills, but these protected expanses of land in South Dakota and Wyoming quickly became encroached upon by white settlers looking for gold. Red Cloud, along with other Native American leaders, traveled to Washington D.C. to persuade President Grant to honor the treaties that were originally agreed upon. Although he didn’t find a peaceful solution, he did not participate in the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, which was led by his fellow tribesmen, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Regardless, Red Cloud continued to travel to Washington D.C. to fight for his people and ended up outliving all the major Sioux leaders. In 1909 he died at the age of 87 and was buried at Pine Ridge Reservation.



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African-American Inventors

African-Americans have faced many obstacles over the course of history, but this hasn't stopped bright, innovative individuals from developing inventions that have changed the world. From the traffic light to the blood bank, here are some famous African-American...

African-Americans have faced many obstacles over the course of history, but this hasn't stopped bright, innovative individuals from developing inventions that have changed the world. From the traffic light to the blood bank, here are some famous African-American inventors.


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Garret Augustus Morgan Garrett Morgan opened up a sewing machine and shoe repair shop in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1907. An innovative mind, he kept busy creating prototypes to solve many everyday problems. One of his first creations was a liquid that straightened fabric—which he later sold as a product for hair straightening.

In 1911, after hearing about the tragic deaths in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Morgan invented a safety hood and smoke protector for firefighters. The hood, which contained a wet sponge to filter out smoke and cool the air, became the precursor to the gas mask. To sell his safety hood, Morgan had to hire a white actor to pretend to be the inventor.


In 1923, Morgan patented another useful invention: A hand-cranked mechanical signal machine for traffic crossing. It would eventually lead to the creation of the traffic light.


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Charles Drew African-American surgeon Charles Drew felt called to the study of medicine after his sister, Elsie, died of Influenza. He excelled in medical school, and became a doctor around the beginning of World War II. Drew was recruited to set up a program for blood storage in Britain, which laid the foundation for the American Red Cross Blood Bank. In 1943, Drew was chosen as the first African-American surgeon to serve as examiner on the American Board of Surgery.


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Lewis Howard Latimer Though Thomas Edison is recognized as the inventor of the light bulb, African-American inventor Lewis Latimer played an important role in its development. In 1881, Latimer patented a method for making carbon filaments, allowing light bulbs to burn for hours instead of minutes. Latimer also drafted the drawings that helped Alexander Graham Bell receive a patent for the telephone.


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George Carruthers Physicist and inventor George Carruthers built his first telescope at age 10, and has spent the rest of his life making important contributions to the study of outer space. Carruthers has developed ways to use ultraviolet imaging in order to view images in deep space that were previously impossible to see. In 1972, Carruthers invented the "Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectograph," the first moon-based observatory. It was used in the Apollo 16 mission. Then, in 1986, one of his inventions captured an image of Hailey's Comet—the first time a comet had ever been pictured from space.


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Elijah McCoy This list wouldn't be complete without The Real McCoy. Elijah McCoy was born in 1844 to parents who fled from slavery in Kentucky, via the Underground Railroad. McCoy was born free in Canada, and moved back to the United States when he was 5. At age 15, he traveled to Edinburgh in Scotland for an apprenticeship, and returned as a mechanical engineer. In Detroit, he took a job as a fireman and oiler for the Michigan Central Railroad, unable to find any other work. At his home workshop, McCoy developed an automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines on trains and ships. McCoy's invention allowed trains to run faster and longer without stopping for maintenance. The invention was so good, it was referred to as "the real McCoy," in order to differentiate it from other pale imitations that popped up on the market.



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42: The Jackie Robinson Story

Just a head’s up that on Friday, the movie 42 comes out. It’s a biography of Jackie Robinson’s life and his utterly game-changing role in integrating baseball in America. If you know anything about this man, you’ll know that Jackie Robinson was arguably the most groundbreaking black athlete in history, and his role both on the field and off changed race relations in sports and society His legend continues today, and I’m so happy to see that his incredible story is being brought to the big screen. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!



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When examining the advancement of the civil rights movement through sports, one must first begin with the people who made change happen. Whether it was a conscious stand or unintentional advocacy, athletes and coaches throughout the past century used their participation in sports to change the racial atmosphere in our country. They moved our nation forward into a new way of thinking, and without them we may not enjoy the relative equality we experience today. Such work was not easy, however; these figures overcame countless obstacles and underwent much suffering to emerge as the heroes they are today. Here’s a look at how they were able to accomplish this, what impact athletes had upon societal views, and why they took these stands in the first place.

Sports are a unique environment because they capture the attention of nearly the entire country. Not to mention, in the first half of the 20th century, sports provided the primary form of national entertainment because television had yet to become a fixture in the American household. Furthermore, unlike television and movies, the men and women that participate in sports are not characters or personalities; the person seen on the court or the field is the same person off of it as well. Add to this the dedicated allegiance a fan feels for their team (a sentiment amplified to a national scale in the case of a citizen cheering on their country in the Olympics), and all of a sudden the sports world becomes a dynamic atmosphere in which citizens are able to invest their time, thoughts, and emotions. This was fine as long as it resembled society- segregated and based upon the ideas of white supremacy. Indeed, sports serves as a microcosm for society, and once civil rights activists recognized this, they were able to use sports as a platform to advocate social change and equality in the entire country.

The best example of tactic is also the most well known: Branch Rickey’s “noble experiment” and the integration of the MLB by Jackie Robinson in 1947. Prior to Robinson’s MLB debut, baseball, which was America’s pastime, was divided between the dominant all-white major leagues and the lesser negro leagues. In other words, it literally resembled American society at the time. Rickey recognized the power of sports and understood that integration in baseball could be the first step toward integration in society. It was extremely difficult to accomplish, and Robinson underwent tremendous suffering and discrimination because of his ground breaking role. But, once Jackie began playing, the stadiums were packed. Whites cheered for him. The same whites who wouldn’t let a negro drink from the same water fountain were now paying money to see a black man perform on the field and represent their team.

This was an absolutely monumental breakthrough, one that could never be underestimated. Almost twenty years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson were sowing the seeds of equality in the hearts of Americans, all under the guise of a hot bat and a few stolen bases. Without Jackie Robinson, nationwide integration doesn’t happen for at least another decade, and white’s attitudes toward blacks remains ignorant and prejudiced. But because of him, America takes one more step toward racial equality, even if it’s only on the baseball field.

Jackie Robinson Shaking Branch Rickey's Hand

Because of his role on a team in America’s most popular sport, Jackie was able to capture the hearts of Americans as a breakout athlete and racial symbol. Meanwhile, other athletes had a tremendous impact on the international stage, whether it was the Olympics or boxing championships. Take, for instance, Jesse Owens. While in Berlin, he served as a representation of American ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality competing against the Nazi ideals of racial supremacy. Because of this stand, American citizens rallied behind him, supporting their athlete from across the ocean. He wasn’t a black man; he was an American. In the end, American patriotism triumphed over discrimination, if only for a short while. Yet upon returning to the United States, Owens was once again treated in a discriminatory manner and bound by the constraints of societal segregation, thus exemplifying the hypocrisy of American attitudes and ideals at the time.

Similarly, Joe Louis was able to become an American hero on the international boxing stage, perhaps never more so than when he defeated Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1938. This boxing matchup captured the same ideals that had been present two years earlier- that of American freedom rising above the beliefs of the Nazi regime. In both cases, American citizens were able to overcome their discriminatory ideologies and view these athletes as men who represented them and their country, as  opposed to black men who should be placed below members of white society. But although they were each responsible for seismic, if fleeting, changes in American racial perceptions, I don’t believe either Owens or Louis sought to advocate racial equality through their participation in sports; rather, they each had a passion and a talent, as well as a desire to serve their country, and what emerged were two acts of American heroism that allowed citizens to step outside of their narrow mindsets of racist beliefs and look upon these two African Americans in a whole new light.

Meanwhile fellow athletes such as Althea Gibson and Fritz Pollard also had tremendous impacts in their respective sports through integration and their individual accomplishments. The more they accomplished, the more mainstream and famous an African American face became in the media, and slowly the public began to warm to these black athletes. It was a step in the right direction, although progress was slow. And as more and more African American athletes began to play professional sports, they were able to not only assimilate racial equality into the mindsets of citizens, but also challenge the fundamental ideas upon which racism was based, which is perhaps the most important influence these notable athletes had upon the civil rights movement. This is because their exceptional performance on the field and the court (examples include Jackie Robinson’s Rookie of the Year Award, Althea Gibson’s Wimbledon Championship, Jack Johnson’s heavyweight title, Wilma Rudolph’s gold medals, and more) proved that blacks were equal to whites, thus challenging the ideals of racial supremacy upon which discrimination was based. This idea- that if blacks were equal on the field, they were equal off it as well- began to infiltrate its way into society, thus beginning the subtle yet definitive shift in the American conscious and allowing civil rights activists and athletes to promote social justice in our country.

Not only did these figures begin to affect the white mindset in our country, but they also had an impact upon their fellow African Americans. Because they were willing to expose themselves to the harsh criticism and segregation of the sports world, many of these athletes became heroic figures that served as role models for blacks across the United States. In a country where few African Americans were able to achieve high profile public positions, sports provided a chance for blacks to emerge as public figures, thus inspiring the rest of the African American community to take a stand for their beliefs as well.


Later in the century, after sports had been integrated and become relatively equal, African American athletes were able to use their place in sports as a platform to speak out on racial and social inequality. This is perhaps best characterized by Muhammad Ali’s outspoken and often controversial public role, as he consistently made brash statements about social justice that gave black athletes, as well as the black community, more of a public voice. This was also exemplified by Arthur Ashe, who said, “I don’t want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments.” Despite a stellar tennis career that earned him a place in the Tennis Hall of Fame, Ashe’s most lasting impact has been the tireless fight he waged against discrimination and inequality throughout his life. More than any other athlete, Arthur Ashe understood the power his status as a high profile athlete gave him, and as a result, he was able to advocate the social change he believed in. In the end, Arthur Ashe was able to not only revolutionize the game of tennis, which up to that point had never seen an African American male star, but the world as well.

Ultimately, black athletes were able to serve as symbols for their fellow African Americans by representing racial equality and changing the role of the African American community in the United States. It began with initial integration, particularly in professional sports, as the greatest barriers to equality fell with the trail blazing efforts of athletes such as Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson. These athletes’ athletic performances then went on to prove to society that blacks were equal to their white counterparts, thus challenging and eventually overthrowing ideas of racial supremacy. They also familiarized the white public with the concept of aligning themselves alongside other African Americans as white fans began to unite behind the black stars of their favorite teams. Finally, athletes began to challenge societal inequalities by speaking out against discrimination and making public calls for social justice, thus changing the way African Americans were viewed both in sports and in society. Ultimately, these individual athletic figures were able to unite across decades to change the face of race relations in the United States and bring about a new atmosphere of innovation and racial equality.



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It seems that boot camps are all the rage these days. I mean, there’s probably a Bootcamp for just about anything. Whether it’s learning a new language or whipping your body into shape, it’s as easy as a google search and a click to find someone willing to sell their knowledge. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for earning a living by parting with some of one’s hard-earned expertise. Particularly when it comes to challenging times in your marriage, it’s important to get as much expert help as possible. However, if you’re struggling to reconcile your bank account and your need for professional assistance, you might need to settle for a relationship boot camp DIY. If you’ve ever been to a marriage boot camp or even a couples’ retreat, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, here are three boot camp lessons you can start practicing today to fortify your marriage and give it a fighting chance.

3 Marriage Bootcamp Lessons You Should Practice Every Day

In this article:

  1. Set aside distraction-free time with each other
  2. Communicate sincerely
  3. Make intimacy a priority

The idea behind a boot camp is to institute some hard-hitting lessons into the psyche to achieve maximum results in record time. Boot camps usually don’t last too long as the intensity they bring isn’t sustainable for the long haul. Depending on the branch, military boot camp training can last anywhere from six to thirteen weeks. However, the idea is that once the intensive training is over, the lessons are so heavily ingrained that participants continue the pattern of behavior naturally. Marriage boot camps, though they differ in delivery, teach a few common principles worthy of daily practice. So, rather than wait for things to start souring in your marriage, allow these principles to be a part of your weekly, if not daily, marriage routine.


Set aside distraction-free time with each other

Distraction-free time? What is that? When you’re a newlywed, this seems like a no-brainer. You can’t get enough of each other. Your spouse is your world and you are all wrapped up in it. But as life moves forward, work, children, and other challenges eat away at your alone time with your spouse minute by minute. The ease with which you spent time with each other at the beginning of your relationship has faded. Now, you struggle just to see each other more than an hour each day.

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In marriage boot camp, you are forced to spend time with each other without distraction. That’s one reason these camps work so well. Now, whether it’s been intentional or not, you can’t avoid each other. You must face your problems and deal with them head-on. Practice this method on a weekly basis in your relationship and watch your relationship blossom rather than wither. What this looks like is different for every relationship. For some, it might be date night. For others, it might be a weekend get-away. Whatever works for your marriage, you must be intentional in making it happen.


Communicate sincerely

Without a doubt, communication is one of the most difficult lessons to learn, even during a marriage boot camp. In fact, there’s usually a trained professional who sits with each couple and help them navigate conversations effectively. However, one thing that can’t be manufactured is sincerity as you communicate. Your partner can sniff out nonsense when it’s being delivered. During boot camp, any attempt at forging sincerity is challenged until the “real” or the truth comes to light.

Though this takes practice to get it just right, it is possible to find your sweet spot of communication with your partner. Communication is a two-way street. It involves both listening and speaking. If you do both with sincerity, you won’t go wrong.


Make intimacy a priority

Probably one of the more fun parts of boot camp is breaking away from the intensity of the day and enjoying the comfort of the night. As you set aside distraction-free time in order to sincerely communicate, your heart opens up to feelings of romance once again. Holding hands, kissing, cuddling and making love are all back on the table. In your day to day life, intimate behavior is a must in order to keep your love for each other alive and growing. By making it a priority, you will continue to water the roots of your relationship making it even more invulnerable to any attack.

Take care of your marriage. Don’t let days and weeks go by without spending one on one time together, communicating sincerely with each other, or being intimate in the ways that make your love grow. By practicing these marriage boot camp principles, you minimize your need for the heavy-duty stuff. Instead, use the money to go on a cruise…which I imagine would be a lot more fun!


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More than 20 years ago, my husband and I were blessed to work in our church’s teen ministry. We wanted to help spiritually guide their thoughts as they attempted to navigate this thing called life. Back then, the challenges they faced were unlike anything even I had dealt with. School pressure, peer pressure, even internal pressure brought a realm of circumstances somewhat unfamiliar to me. In many ways, I didn’t think I could relate. But then I remembered a significant turning point in my own teenage life.

4 Powerful Skills to Help Your Teenager Handle Peer Pressure

In this article:

  1. Firmly refuse negative group behavior
  2. Combat lies with the truth
  3. Walk away when provoked
  4. Communicate effectively with adults

I was an 18-year-old freshman at Michigan State University newly transplanted from my island home of St.Thomas. The only person I knew in the state was an old college friend of my aunt’s. Eager to make friends, I decided to join the school’s track team. One night after practice, my teammates decided to go out to a club. Doesn’t sound like a big deal right? Well, clubbing was not my thing. I simply had no interest. But the pressure from my teammates to be a part of the group along with my internal pressure to avoid being an outcast was powerful. I decided to go.

I reluctantly returned to my dorm room, got ready, and went to join my teammates who were already waiting in the cab. As they waved at me to hurry, I started running down the hall toward them. Every step was like dragging a block of lead and each felt heavier than the last. I got in the cab and off we went. Now, to this day, I think my cab driver was an angel because he started talking about making sure we had the proper ID or we couldn’t get into the club. Apparently, my student ID was insufficient. We had only driven a few blocks away from my dorm and I told him to stop. I got out, sent my teammates off and practically skipped back to my dormitory. I returned to my room that night and vowed never to do anything I don’t want to do ever again.


Firmly refuse negative group behavior

Fast forward 13 years later and I now have the chance to mentor teens facing pressures far worse than going to a club. Peer pressure tactics were a hundred times worse and it was all kids could do to make it through the school day unscathed. Interestingly, regardless of the issue, negative behavior started as the brainchild of one individual and worked its way through a community of students who feared being left out. Sound familiar. Whether it’s 1989, 2009, or 2019 the pressure to be a part of a group is markedly embedded in the minds of teenagers everywhere.

Working in the teen ministry, I realized it didn’t matter if you were a preacher’s kid or the son of the devil. Everyone wants to fit in. Twenty years ago, I served teenagers. Today, I have two teens of my own. Black ones. Male ones. Talk about pressure. Their demographic is constantly under attack. Teach your kids the importance of non-conformity. It gives them a strong sense of self and confidence in their own way of thinking. It won’t be enough to thwart off every negative group behavior, but it’s a great weapon to have in their arsenal when those moments arise.


Combat lies with the truth

One of the reasons kids easily conform is they have nothing else to stand on when faced with peer pressure tactics. If a dominant person says bullying is fun, others conform to that way of thinking because they don’t want to be the one being bullied. Peer pressure instigators usually apply heavy-handed tactics that start with a lie. Well, it’s either a lie or a fear.

  • “No one will like you.”
  • “Don’t be a party-pooper.”
  • “This will be fun.”
  • “You’re the only one…”
  • “You won’t get in trouble.”
  • “Everybody’s doing it.”

Whatever they think will break your resolve, they use it. Arm your kids with answers…truths…to all of these lies. Then teach them how to effectively, and firmly (see point one) refuse to participate under pressure.


Walk away when provoked

As a self thinker, your son or daughter may become a popular target. It’s sometimes hard for group thinkers to believe that someone would willingly remain outside the circle. As a parent of one or more teens, you will have many chances to demonstrate what it means to be patient and to walk away when provoked. Teens test you. If you are going to ask them to be patient and walk away, then you better teach them by example.

They want more than your lip service. When they see you practice what you preach, it makes them a believer. Even though it doesn’t always seem like they’re listening, they are observing.


Communicate effectively with adults

One of the most important elements of tackling peer pressure is teaching our kids how to effectively communicate with the adults in their sphere of influence, particularly you. Sometimes, when they can’t talk to you as a parent, they might seek a surrogate. It’s important to raise them in a village with adults whose values align with your own. Oftentimes, however, teens don’t quite know what to say or how to openly talk about the issues they are dealing with.

This too is a skill that is better off demonstrated than preached. Talk to your kids about age-appropriate issues you are dealing with. Ask their opinion. Get their thoughts on the challenges you face. When you share with them, they are more likely to share with you. If they can effectively communicate with you, their chances of bowing to peer pressure decrease a thousandfold.

As adults, when we are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, we like to say “the struggle is real.” For teens, the “pressure” is real. For me, it was just going to a club. For your teen, it may be drugs, bullying, or sex. But, if you arm them with the right tools, they can make it through these intense years and onto adulthood with fewer scars than most.


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Divorce. It’s the ugly “D” word. In fact, it causes emotions that are the direct antithesis of everything most people feel when they get married: joy, elation, excitement, hope. Rather than these, thoughts of divorce often lead to dread, embarrassment, fear, sadness. We usually don’t toss that word around lightly. At least we shouldn’t. I mean, not for stuff that’s fixable between two people in love. But recently, there’s a Facebook post that’s been making the rounds that has a lot of people talking. Essentially, it tosses out the “D” word as a compelling blowback to husbands who don’t handle a fair share of household and family responsibilities. It’s the answer offered to exhausted wives tired of taking care of babies, brooms, and bootie calls. Meanwhile, hubby is taking care of his “me” time playing golf or, worse yet, in his man cave, at home, “watching the game!” Yeah. We get it. There are some lazy, selfish, husband-wannabes out there. But is divorce a substantive response to a conversation that needs to be had? Let’s talk about it.

I have two teenage boys, 13 and 15. They know how to cook, clean, and take care of me. Why? Because both I and my husband require it of them. To be sure, I married a man whose mother was fierce. She had both a gentle touch and a steely backbone. There was no room for misogynistic ideologies in her presence. And though the world got a hold of him and offered different societal and military perspectives, her training had deep roots.

What’s the point?

Well, for each of you to do your “fair share,” I think there are three Ds that could prove viable first, second and third steps to addressing and eventually working through this issue.

Divorce: Is It the Answer to Lazy Husband Syndrome?

In this article:

  1. Discuss
  2. Decide
  3. Detach

So, that Facebook post hit a lot of nerves and women are all up in arms about ditching these lazy men. The author in some ways equates this laziness to abuse and many women agree. Now, I will neither tell a woman to leave her man nor stay in an abusive relationship.

But, watch out now.

We need to be very careful when we start slinging around the word abuse. There are some women dealing with some harsh, life-threatening realities who might not take too kindly to referring to a lazy husband as an abusive one. That said, let’s take divorce off the table for a minute and see what else is out there.



Here’s the thing. When dealing with what can be considered a “normal” relationship, each couple needs to agree on what rules are in the playbook. By and large, when women end up airing their grievances on the world wide web, they haven’t had a serious sit down with their man. There’s often an unspoken understanding that he does the “man” stuff and she does the “woman” stuff. And, for ages, society has determined what “man” stuff and “woman” stuff is. So, she sits in her rocking chair with her newborn at 2 am crying about her newfound status because she’s accepted the societal norm.

She might try dropping a hint about her struggle which her clueless, and/or possibly lazy, man fails to pick up. When that doesn’t work, she might take the passive-aggressive route to deal with the situation. When that also fails, she’s on social media or in some mom group dragging her man.

Have a real conversation. Sit with your spouse…and your pastor or therapist if necessary. Have a next level discussion about what you each need to bring to the table now that life is changing. Then, take step two.



Now that you’ve had a real discussion, make a decision. As a couple, decide what “fair share” means for your relationship. Don’t fall back on societal norms, whether old or new. Make a plan that you both agree will work for you and then move on to step three.

As a side note, if you can’t reach an agreement, the problem that’s holding your relationship hostage isn’t just a lazy husband. Getting professional help might be necessary if you both want to make your marriage work.



Okay. This is probably going to be the toughest part. Actually, not probably…it is the toughest part. Once you’ve decided as a couple what you will each be responsible for, detach yourself from your spouse’s responsibilities. If he’s got dish duty, walk away from the dirty sink. When the baby starts screaming at 3 am on his watch, let the baby cry. If it’s his turn to bus the kids to soccer, don’t you do it.

I get that you don’t like a dirty house or crying babies. But if you want and asked for change, if you require change, then you should expect it. Just as with my teenage children, if you require it, in a “normal” relationship, it will get done. However, if you’ve gone through steps one and two but refuse to implement step three, you place the rules of your relationship playbook in serious jeopardy. Be patient and walk away.

Things won’t necessarily be perfect. But dragging your man through the social media mud will become a thing of the past. And hopefully, divorce will no longer be on the table.



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No one ever wants to hear bad news about their health. Whether you go to the doctor for a routine visit or you’re forced to see a specialist because of a specific new ailment, most of us desire a positive outcome. But what do you do if you’re suddenly faced with sickness in your marriage? It was July 15, 2018 when my friend Chloe found out she had breast cancer. Though a devastating diagnosis, Chloe credits much of her fighting spirit not only with God, but with her husband Mike. From the very beginning, Mike’s attitude was that they would get through it. Chloe believed him. Married 25 years, they had seen their fair share of trouble. But their relationship had been rooted in Christ for a long time and their faith would have to guide them through this one.

5 Scriptures to Help You Through Sickness in Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. Leave your guilt behind – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  2. Empathize with your spouse – Philippians 1:27
  3. Seek God for yourself – Deuteronomy 4: 29-31
  4. Get the right perspective – Galatians 6:9
  5. Remember your vows – Proverbs 24:10 

So, this is breast cancer awareness month. In some ways, it seems almost flippant to refer to Chloe’s diagnosis as merely “trouble.” I mean, regardless of how far we’ve come with modern science, a cancer diagnosis is still a crushing blow to the psyche. Many of us, self included, would find it a difficult barrier to overcome. For those who are married, it’s comforting to know you have someone by your side to help you through a major sickness in your marriage. At least it should be. Unfortunately, the toll an illness places on a marriage can lead to separation if you have nothing to fall back on. In addition to scriptures that helped sustain Chloe’s faith, here are some verses to help you in the fight when your physical and spiritual walk are put to the test.


Leave Your Guilt Behind – 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s not easy to watch your spouse suffer. Regardless of which spouse you are, the healthy caregiver or the sick partner, each one can feel burdened by the other’s pain. Chloe struggled with the hardship she felt her sickness put on Mike. But she knew if they were going to make it through, she had to come to grips with God’s and Mike’s grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”


Empathize With Your Spouse – Philippians 1:27

One of the things that has helped Mike and Chloe is placing themselves in each other’s shoes. Try to understand what your spouse is facing. Talk to them about their struggle. Then treat them the way you would want to be treated. By showing empathy, you strengthen your bond and your faith through the process.

Philippians 1: 27 – “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”


Seek God for Yourself – Deuteronomy 4:29-31

In order to empathize with your spouse, you must be able to draw strength from your own personal walk with God. Regardless of how strong Mike is in his faith, Chloe knew she couldn’t get through this fight without seeking God out for herself. If you are facing sickness in your marriage, seeking God for yourself is a must.


Deuteronomy 4:29-31 – ” But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”


Get the Right Perspective – Proverbs 24:10

Mike considers it an honor to care for his wife. Chloe recognizes the importance of letting Mike know she needs him. Though they are facing this battle from two different perspectives, staying the course is not a cakewalk. Sickness is emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing on both spouses. But the right perspective is sure to keep you strong.

Proverbs 24:10 – “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!”


Remember Your Vows – Galatians 6:9

I saved this scripture for last because if all else fails, this one shouldn’t. Times of trouble are bound to come. Many times, our vows are the only thing keeping our relationship standing. So when facing sickness in your marriage, remember your commitment to your partner “in sickness and in health.” Remembering your vows improves your chances of not growing weary when times are tough.

Galatians 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

For Mike and Chloe, it’s breast cancer and they are trusting in God and standing firm on their vows. For you and your spouse, it may be something else. No matter what your situation, the right scripture can help you through some of your hardest days. As it says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”


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Marvin Gaye’s smooth voice singing “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You” is one of the most renowned relationship songs out there. Released in 1965, it has helped couples love and last for decades. But what does it mean to be loved, especially in marriage? Of course, that’s the million-dollar question that has a million different answers. I mean, in every relationship, love languages vary. It’s important to demonstrate love according to your spouse’s needs. But there are some universal actions that, regardless of your love language, speak to the heart and give strength to a relationship. So we thought it fitting that with Sweetest Day around the corner, we’d share some tried and true behaviors that not only give you a sweet day but a sweet life with your spouse.

5 Sweetest Day Hacks to Create the Sweetest Life With Your Spouse

In this article:

  1. Write a love letter
  2. Give a “just because” gift
  3. Spend time talking and listening
  4. Be thoughtful
  5. Pray for your spouse

Before we get the ball rolling, let me just say that I’m not trying to sell you on another “holiday.” I get that there are commercialized celebrations (some say this is Valentine’s Day for men) that place unnecessary pressure on relationships that, frankly, can be a nuisance. But our goal here is to help make relationships stronger. So there’s no reason that the things done on Sweetest Day, if you “celebrate” it, can’t be done throughout the year.


Write a love letter

Okay, this may be an archaic piece of advice. In an era where text messages rule and pre-written cards are on the shelves, why bother? But this practice is for more than just the receiver. The sender, or giver, who takes time to actually handwrite the letter will have a moment of clarity that’s hard to come by in everyday life. It gives you the chance to reflect on your relationship, your spouse, and the reasons your life with them is important. Once or twice a year on a day they would least expect it, write a letter to your spouse expressing your love, your gratitude, and your hope for the future.


Give a “just because” gift

Whether it’s for Sweetest Day or any other special occasion, a nice gift is always a good look. But what about those days that are not so “special?” Well, a “gift” doesn’t always have to come wrapped up in a pretty bow. If you know your spouse, you know what makes their heart flutter.

  • Bring breakfast in bed
  • Iron their clothes
  • Buy a special piece of jewelry
  • Get them tickets to their favorite sporting event
  • Offer to take over a chore they normally handle
  • Give them a nice massage

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Whatever “language” moves your spouse’s heart, speak it often in your relationship.


Spend time talking and listening

It’s not unusual in relationships for each partner to enjoy different activities. For instance, while one of you likes watching football, the other is hooked on legal dramas. So it can be easy to find yourselves in different corners of the house on a daily basis. Get up. Leave your corner. Actually take time to talk to your spouse.


Sometimes, my husband and I will just do this. Whether it’s work or play, we will put it to the side, seek each other out, and chat. It’s not an emergency conversation. It’s not about the kids or bills or anything “important.” We just want to be in each other’s presence. Sometimes it’s serious. Most times it’s nothing but laughs. But it’s a necessary element in staying connected in our relationship.

You don’t need to wait for a Sweetest Day date to enjoy time with your spouse. Carve out a few minutes in your day to catch up and spend quality time with each other.


Be thoughtful

When you take time to talk with and listen to your spouse, you actually get a nugget. Take what they say and use it to bless your relationship. Maybe your wife had a hard day at work. Maybe your husband feels stressed about bills. Maybe your wife is craving her favorite icecream. Maybe your husband’s favorite football team is coming to town. It only takes a moment to think of a way to ease a fear or satisfy a desire.

Be thoughtful. Give your wife a foot rub. Plan a romantic night with your man. Buy the ice cream. Get game tickets or, if you can’t afford that, deck out the house in team colors and give him the remote.

What will matter more than the act itself is that you took the time to think about your spouse’s needs. The more you practice this, the easier it will be for them to share their hearts.


Pray for your spouse

This should be an easy one right? I mean, sure you can pray for your spouse on Sweetest Day, but this is definitely one of those “more often than not” hacks. While spending time listening to your spouse, you learn what areas of their life need prayer.

Then you pray. You can pray alone or you can pray together. Either way, pray.

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Sometimes, you should even fast. While being thoughtful is a good thing, it won’t fill every need your spouse has. By turning everything over to God, you let your spouse know you have their back on your knees.

In a few days, October 19th this year, it will be Sweetest Day. Go ahead and make that day special. Get the candy or the cake. Give the sweet gift. Just because it’s commercialized doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. But don’t forget that being sweet toward your spouse isn’t limited to one day a year. Make time throughout the week to give your relationship a little sugar and a little spice. Just like Marvin Gaye, your spouse will be singing…”how sweet it is to be loved by you.”



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Has anyone ever asked you to pray for them and you said you would…and then you forgot? I’ve been there. It’s one of those out of sight, out of mind situations that leave you feeling like crap the next time you see that person. Well, for married couples whose lives are held together by the ever-important third strand, forgetting to pray is not an option. Since we already have an article focusing on husbands covering their marriage in prayer, we thought we’d give the wives an opportunity to cover their husband from spiritual attack.

Wives: 3 Powerful Prayers to Cover Your Husband From Spiritual Attack

Spiritually responsible men pray. It’s a part of their DNA. But, also a part of their DNA, is the habit of trying to fix it all. When challenges hit the family, the husband stands at the ready to defend with his life. But a spiritual attack is no joke and he needs all the help he can get. It’s important to provide cover for three areas most susceptible to weakness: his mind, his health, and his heart.


Pray for his mind

One of the first places the devil hits is the mind. When your husband is doing his best to lead your marriage and protect your home, his mind is his most vulnerable asset. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us how important it is to keep the mind covered in prayer. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, when my husband’s mind comes under spiritual attack, I ask for your protection. I pray that you will help him stay focused on Jesus no matter what comes his way. When times are good, help him to praise you.

When times are bad, help him to praise you. On those days when he doesn’t know what to do to keep our family going, I pray that you help his mind to focus on you as the Giver of all things.

When his mind is under spiritual attack, help him to see You as the Leader of our home. Help him trust you, rely on you, and give his whole mind over to you. Instill faith and remove all doubt from his mind. I pray that he will seek guidance and gain wisdom from your word. Protect his mind from fear, depression, anxiety, pride, laziness, and feeling overwhelmed. Strengthen his mind today. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Pray for his health

The next area often left defenseless when under spiritual attack is his health. As you cover his mind in prayer, remember to also cover his body. This is an area that can have a profound impact on his ability to follow through on his decision to trust God. 3 John 1: 2 gives you a good start. “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”


Prayer: Lord, as my husband goes about his day, I pray you will keep watch over the health of his body. I ask your blessing on all that he consumes. I pray for strength when his body gets tired. In the face of any potential illness, help him to be resilient. And when he grows weak, hold up his arms. Keep him healthy so that he might focus on you. Protect his body from any and every threat. In Jesus’ name. Amen!


Pray for his heart

Of all the things your husband needs prayer for, protecting his heart should be considered one of your greatest priorities. Why? Because when a man loses heart, almost nothing else matters. Proverbs 17:22 says it all: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please protect my husband’s heart. Out of love for us, he gives our family everything he’s got. But please help his heart to stay strong and not grow weary. Give him victories every day to encourage him. Help him persevere in trial and find joy in times of peace. Protect his heart from his fear and in those moments when fear comes anyway, help him to fight through it. Whether in times of battle or times of peace, keep his heart fixed on Jesus. Continue to protect him with the breastplate of righteousness. Let your Holy Spirit flow through him and keep his heart from going astray. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Praying for your husband covers your family from spiritual attack. When he is strong, your marriage and your family is even stronger. Remember, a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Keep God as the head of your relationship and remember he has great plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”


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Halloween is right around the corner. In our family, we don’t exactly “celebrate” this holiday, but we enjoy some of the more fun aspects of the occasion. Aside from the sugar rush, roasting marshmallows by the fire, hoarding candy, and spending time with friends has no downside. But many Christian families are turned off because of what the holiday represents. Without getting too deep, the historical significance of Halloween is rooted in the fear of ghosts, evil spirits, and mayhem. Whether your family goes all in for the holiday or just takes advantage of the social engagement that comes with it, this is a great time of year to pray for our children to be protected from evil spirits and mayhem. Here are five biblically inspired prayers to cover your children from spiritual attack.

5 Biblically Inspired Prayers to Cover Your Children from Spiritual Attack


We all want our children to make wise choices. But before they can do that, they have to be taught how. There are so many things in this world fighting to influence our kids. Deuteronomy 11: 18-21 teaches us how to guide them and what we must do to protect their hearts and minds from bad influences.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV) Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are so many things clamoring for my child’s attention. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to let in and what to keep out. Please give me wisdom to guide my child. And please allow me, second only to you, to be there strongest influence in this world. Help us to have a great relationship so they will hear your word through me and make wise choices. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Once we are able to influence our children, it’s important they learn to believe that God’s word is true. Pray for them to not only listen to God’s word but to believe and do what it says. That kind of belief starts with you.

Mark 11:22-24 (NIV) “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray my child will grow to believe in you. Help me to set a good example of faith that they can follow. I pray they will see you through me. I pray their faith grows stronger every day and they will choose to live like they believe. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Even though we believe, it’s still hard to trust sometimes. Though they are often fearless, pray for your children to have unconditional trust in God.

Philippians 4:6, 19 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, When everything around my child goes crazy and they are tempted to doubt you, I pray they will trust you unconditionally. I pray they will not be afraid or worry. I pray they will rely on you without fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Image and Self Worth

Once our kids enter those teenage years, they are often bombarded with worldly images that draw their attention away from God and onto themselves. Pray for your child to see themselves in the image of God and to love themselves the way God made them. Pray they will value the gifts God has given them and not live their lives in comparison to others.

Psalm 139:13-14 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the child you have blessed me with. I pray they will see themselves in your image. I pray they will embrace every part of who they are and love themselves as much as you love them. I pray that even if they are tempted by the images they see in the world, You will give them the strength to choose to be made and remade into your image every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Living life to the full

When our kids have direction, belief, trust, and a positive self-image, they can’t help but live life to its fullest. Pray that in an effort to live a full life, they will seek ways to serve God and others in the process.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for helping my child to embrace your word. I pray they will seek you, seek ways to serve you, and find ways to serve others. I pray you will grant them success in all they do. In the times when they lose their way, I pray they will pursue you once again and find you. I pray they will hold firmly to your word and never leave you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!


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Perfect marriage? I can already hear all the comments! “There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.” “Perfect marriages don’t exist.” Well, I’m here to tell you that they do. The question is, are you willing to train your spouse in order to get one?

3 Ways to Train Your Spouse for a Perfect Marriage


I love the movie “How to Train Your Dragon.” It’s one of the best-animated films I’ve ever seen. Of course, as much as the digital graphics and cinematography were meant to captivate and delight children, the life messages for young and old can’t be missed. If you haven’t watched it, or if it’s been a while, revisit the movie if your marriage is going through some things. I found a few nuggets that, if taken to heart, can help you and your spouse produce the perfect marriage.


Remember It’s the Two of You Versus the World

In the movie, Hiccup goes against Viking tradition when he befriends rather than destroys his first dragon who he names Toothless. Now, when you are born and raised in a family of dragon slayers, that doesn’t exactly go over well at dinner. The two supposed enemies end up as best friends and must face off friend and foe alike. Marriage is no different. If you want a perfect marriage, you must remember that it’s the two of you against the world. Train your spouse…and yourself to embrace unity in your relationship. In good times, in bad times, in the in-between times, you join hands with your spouse and present a unified front. Period.


Never Leave Your Spouse Behind

In his attempt to kill Toothless at the start of the film, Hiccup inadvertently destroys his left tail rendering him incapable of flying. As their relationship develops, Hiccup thinks of a way to get Toothless back into the air. He builds an artificial tail, straps it to his dragon and they eventually have lift off.

Isn’t that what marriage is like? Things aren’t always great. And sometimes, one of you gets knocked down. But, if you train your spouse…and yourself to have your back no matter what, your marriage will have lift off again in no time.

A perfect marriage is not free of trouble. A perfect marriage is defined by how you treat your spouse when trouble comes. Do you tear down your spouse and leave them incapacitated on the sidelines? Do you take advantage of their weakness in order to make yourself feel better? Or, do you recognize and acknowledge your mistakes and then move heaven and earth to fix it? Train your spouse…and yourself, that when trouble comes you won’t leave each other behind. Period.


Don’t Allow Others to Define Your Relationship

Hiccup almost caught a beatdown from his tribe for joining hands with Toothless. I mean, after all, Toothless was a dragon and they killed dragons, not tamed them. His father, friends, and others did not believe dragons were tamable. They tried to do all they could to turn Hiccup against Toothless and dragons in general. However, Hiccup saw in Toothless what they didn’t. Rather than let them tell him what kind of relationship he would have with the dragon, he showed them the relationship he chose to have.


Your perfect marriage will be defined by you and your spouse and only you and your spouse. There will be plenty of people on the outside looking in and offering their take on your relationship. From the time you say “I do,” train your spouse…and yourself to be ruled only by what you each think of your relationship. If you allow others to define your arguments for you, your relationship suffers. If you give others a foothold on the decisions that need to be made in your marriage, your relationship suffers.

To get the perfect marriage, train your spouse…and yourself, to be the ones to define what that means. Period.

Sure, I get that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. But, all that means is that there is no marriage free of trouble. However, just as Hiccup and Toothless were able to overcome their differences and find meaning in what should have been an impossible relationship, so can you and your partner. Your marriage won’t look like anyone else’s. Your life won’t be like anyone else’s. But to train your spouse…and yourself to have the perfect marriage, you only have to know it’s perfect for the two of you. Period.

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Successful marriage. Everybody wants one. However, you can’t flip through the channels without seeing some “reality” show promoting anything but. Relationships are rife with manufactured tension, intrusive family members, and wannabe friends looking for their 15 minutes of fame. While these shows are not a good look for the ideal marriage relationship, they get one thing right. If your marriage is going to succeed, you have to make sure it survives friends and family.

Successful Marriage: 4 Ways to Ensure Your Marriage Survives Friends and Family

Recently, I wrote an article that caught a lot of flack because I outlined ways to “train” your spouse for a “perfect” marriage.  Some people took issue with the word “train” and some with the word “perfect.” Needless to say, it made for a hearty discussion. As I read some of the comments, I thought, ironically, when our marriages are in the crapper, isn’t this the reason why?

In our communication with our partners, we get so stuck on one word, we fail to get the point. So we run tell that to anyone who’ll listen…well, not anyone. We talk to people who will “take our side.” They feed our negativity, our pride, and the beast determined to kill our relationships.  Before you know it, we can no longer protect the relationship we once held so dear. If you want your marriage to survive friends and family, here are four ways to make that happen.


Keep God as a fence around your relationship

Marriages fail or succeed for different reasons. But most successful marriages have a strong spiritual influence on the relationship. God is often the center and the fence. With God at the center of your relationship, we are more likely to get out of our own way.

  • Harsh words are seasoned with love.
  • Anger is quieted by grace.
  • Pride is broken by humility.
  • Selfishness is overtaken by consideration.

Just as important, with God as the fence, we work hard at keeping negative influences out.

  • Don’t degrade your spouse to anyone, including your mother…or I should say, especially your mother.
  • When your friend is degrading her spouse, don’t join the party.
  • Pray…a lot…before you seek advice.

Don’t invite others into your business

It’s so easy to talk down our spouses when we’re angry. We find the nearest ear and vent our frustrations without regard for how that person will view our partner and our relationship. Actions have consequences. When you tear your partner down, either to or in front of others, those people will view your relationship differently. If they are your friends, they will want to take your side. And to them, taking your side includes demeaning your spouse along with you.

If you want a successful marriage, see point one. Take your frustrations, your fears, your concerns to God first. Then, after you’ve calmed down, speak to your partner with a level head and an open mind. Unless there is abuse, infidelity, or danger, do your best to keep others out.


Discuss issues with each other before anyone else.

To have a successful marriage, this point should be a given. However, oftentimes, we go to our parents or our friends before we go to our spouses to talk about stuff. Those same friends or family members remember all the other problems with our relationship and before you know it, they begin to stoke the fire designed to destroy your marriage.

Fair communication is more than just important in your marriage. It’s necessary. Your marriage thrives on communication. As issues arise in your relationship, talk to each other in a way that pleases God and uplifts your marriage. If things get heated, walk away and come back after you’ve had a good chat with God. In other words, see point one.


When asking for help, make sure it’s unbiased.

Sometimes, things go beyond what you can handle. That’s just the bottom line. You’ve prayed, you’ve talked, yet nothing is getting resolved. You’re unsure of how to move forward. One thing is certain, you want your relationship to work.

Getting counseling from a therapist or pastor is not a bad thing. Look, relationships are tough. Depending on the influences we have around us, it’s harder for some than others. But the moment we bring family and friends into the mix, we’re just making matters worse. Ask for help from people whose only desire is to see your marriage succeed.

So, what’s the bottom line? If you want your marriage to survive your friends and family, don’t invite them into your relationship, and stay out of theirs.



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When it comes to dealing with conflict in marriage, the question is not if you will have conflict but when you will have conflict. After the “I do,” conflict is a necessary part of even healthy marriages because no two people will ever agree on everything. However, many couples begin to “undo” the “I do” because they misinterpret Proverbs 20:3 and make the colossal mistake of avoiding conflict at all cost. For many, it ends up costing them their marriage because they lack conflict resolution skills that won’t undo the “I do.”

Proverbs 20:3 “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.”

This scripture does not mean that you should avoid conflict in your marriage. In fact, conflict is necessary for both partners to have balance and each gets their needs met. What it does warn against is fighting, quarreling and destroying one another with strife.

So, let’s talk about avoiding conflict with an example. I want your input on this far too common marital scenario:

A couple has been married for seven years with two children (ages 2 and 5). The first three years of their marriage were the best. They were able to purchase a new home, secure or maintain employment, go on frequent dates, have fun, and keep things spicy and sexy at home.

However, year three presented some problems after their first child was born because the wife’s role in the marriage changed dramatically. Before kids, she would cook 4 nights a week. She would clean, work a full-time job and pursue her hobbies in her free time.

After having kids, however, she found herself having little to no time to pursue her hobbies. Meanwhile, her husband somehow managed to keep his. He would occasionally “help” with the children but most of the responsibility somehow fell on her. Now, she cooks, cleans, parents, works full-time and maintains her side hustle, gives the kids their baths, helps with homework, prepares their lunch, drops kids off at school/daycare, takes them to the doctor, and the list goes on and on.

It’s year 7 now, and the wife feels as if she has completely lost herself. She loves her children dearly but misses her “me time,” fun times with her friends, and feeling sexy again as a wife. They have not taken a couples only vacation since the kids were born, infrequently date, and center too much of their conversation around household business. She is extremely unhappy, bored, and overwhelmed with her day-to-day life but loves being a wife and mother.


However, she is conflicted about what to do.

Option A: Should she bring up her unhappiness to her husband so that she can get a break? If she does, it may work! Can you imagine going shopping without kids? However, what if her husband resists and it leads to a conflict? She tried saying something earlier and her husband shut her down quickly because his mother raised four kids alone after his father left and “never complained.”


Option B: Should she suck it up, embrace giving up personal needs as a necessary evil of marriage and motherhood, and avoid conflict with her husband?

What would you do?

I am sure this will create spirited debate but if you are asking a professional psychologist for twenty years, I would advise the wife to pick Option A…even though it will lead to conflict. Why?

Quite simply, “Option B” is unsustainable. Both parties in a marriage need “me time” or oxygen to survive. Psalm 25:5 refers to “my cup runneth over” which can be applied to marriage. If the mom is the cup, and her cup is empty, how can she realistically be expected to pour into her husband, children, and work without neglecting herself?

Right. She can’t.

She will eventually become overwhelmed, irritable, depressed and unhappy in the marriage. She has neglected her needs for so long that it has become a way of life; one that robs her of joy and makes her long for the good times when she used to be able to have fun.

The wives who wait to speak up tend to have a high divorce rate once the kids leave for college. Other wives lose their health, put on weight (or lose too much), and let themselves go. This is a problem because the husband often complains about her appearance or even pursues outside attention because his wife is “too busy” for him. Another set of women, eventually snap and blindside their husbands with “the talk” where they reveal how unhappy they have been for years and want separation or divorce.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018: Fix Your Marriage in 2018 with this FREE ONLINE TRAINING

What should she have done? I’m glad you asked. My twenty years experience counseling couples through conflict resolution has taught me she should:

  1. Talk about marital and parenting expectations up front.
  2. Engage in weekly to monthly meetings to assess the “State of the Marriage” so that a bad pattern of marriage does not become a lifestyle.
  3. Initiate conflict in a loving way to discuss necessary changes that will allow both husband and wife to have a fulfilling life.

Sounds good right? The thing is that a lot of professionals will often tell you what to do but neglect training you HOW to do it.

  • What exactly do you say?
  • What if he won’t listen?
  • What if you have mom guilt about having fun away from the kids?

I get it! That’s why I want to show you HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICT IN YOUR MARRIAGE. You see, on the flip side, arguing too much can literally kill your marriage too. I want to help prevent that from happening for you.

There are many solutions for successfully resolving marital conflict. I cover this in a FREE online training I am doing April 3rd at 9 pm on resolving conflict, specifically geared towards Christian marriages. I can record it for you too if you absolutely cannot make this date.

Here’s what happens next…check out this page to register and reserve your seat right now. We did this workshop a few months ago and the training was filled to capacity. So, register now.  You don’t have to spend another night going to bed angry.

Register here.

Here are two scriptures to prepare your mindset that deal with discussing faults, making adjustments, and setting conflict in marriage.

Ephesians 4:2 – Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

BMWK, What do you think? Agree with the Doc or disagree? What would you do? Go ahead, you be the marriage expert and chime in.

By Dr. Alduan Tarrt: Dr. Alduan Tartt is a clinical psychologist with a focus on faith, mental health and relationships of all sorts (single, dating, marriage, family, sports, etc.). Dr. Tartt has a private practice and also speaks frequently at conferences, churches, organizations on improving relationships, families and mental health. Dr. Tartt also hosts radio and television shows and is a frequent guest on major media outlets. Dr. Tartt also counsels other healers and helpers (pastors, ministers, doctors, entertainers) who need to be encouraged, supported and filled up.



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Healthy actions during an argument help married couples during serious disagreements. If we are honest, those of us in one recognized marriage can be difficult. A couple should never lead others to believe that disagreements, inequalities, arguments, and frustration don’t exist in a lifetime commitment. Honestly speaking, sometimes, married people just don’t get along, and there’s evidence to that. There’s no need to put marriage on this pedestal where it’s a bed of roses the moment we say “I do.”

Healthy Actions During An Argument | Having A Good Talk

An Introduction To A Healthy Actions During An Argument

For some, when we disagree, there is snapping, pouting, and even screaming. With the goal being to get a point across, be understood, and occasionally be victorious, some will do whatever is necessary. However, those reactions never benefit our relationship. So, let’s discuss the healthy actions you can take to minimize the drama. The next time you quarrel with your spouse, you must stop, look, listen, and try some healthy actions instead.

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1. Make Sure It Is What You Think It Is

Get a clear understanding of the situation, and examine all of the facts prior to reacting negatively. This can happen as a result of asking clarifying questions.

2. Discuss The Situation With Your Spouse

Don’t pretend whatever it is didn’t happen. The only way to deal with an issue is to acknowledge it exists. If it hurts you, tell your spouse because, more than likely, that wasn’t the intent.

3. Question Your Initial Response First

Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do reasonable, and am I possibly overreacting to the situation?”

4. Before You Respond, Start Off By Telling Your Spouse How Much You Love Him Or Her

Doing this sets the tone of the conversation and opens up both partners to have a healthy discussion.

5. If You Are Still Able To Civilly Communicate And Can Control Your Voice Levels, Take The Conversation To A New Location

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Taking a walk to the backyard, a nearby park, or a restaurant may be helpful. A change of scenery
could positively affect the mood of the situation.

6. Get Over It

Once you have decided this dispute isn’t that big of a deal, move on.

7. Be Honest About Your Contributions

Ask yourself what role you play in the problem as well as the solution.

8. Initiate The Peace By Being The Bigger Person And Apologizing First

My husband taught me this one. He would often take the lead in apologizing and making sure we got back to a happy place. Once I got over myself, I was able to do that too.

9. Look For The Lesson And Apply It

Every challenge is an opportunity to grow. Many of us miss this chance, and the cycle of confusion and conflict repeats.

Here are two scenarios of the same situation, tell me which you think would generate the best response.

“How many times have I told you to pick your socks up off the floor? Plenty! The house looks a mess, you never want to help me, and it just pisses me off! You have to clean up after yourself!”


“Babe, I picked your socks up off the floor in the bathroom. We have to remember our goal of keeping our home tidy, warm, and inviting. It feels good when it’s clean, don’t you think?”

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One of the conversations above will lead to a peaceful discussion or argument of the situation, while the other will immediately put your partner on the defensive. One of these is solution-focused instead of placing blame and belittling, which is the cause of a negative argument. Remember, you get more bees with honey. You must be gentle with your words, even when you’re upset or frustrated.

What other tips can you add to the list of healthy actions during an argument with your spouse? Share them in the comments section!

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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.



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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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