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For community:

February is the month of LOOOVE and this edition of newsletter is dedicated to all things relationship.  

Remember when you were childless?  Ok, that didn’t come out right. Let me start over; I love my son and motherhood is, without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to me.  I didn’t know what life was until my son entered this world and I mean that with every ounce of earnestness. What I meant to say was, remember when you were childless in the context of your relationship with your significant other.  In particular, think about how often you went on dates, did something romantic or had a deep conversation with them?  

Now, if you can sincerely tell me that those types of activities occur just as frequently NOW as they did pre-kids, PLEASE PLEASE contact me and tell me your secret.  Heck, you’re doing something VERY unique. Capitalize on it! Write a book! Make a vlog! Teach me! The truth is, having children can be super tough on a relationship especially in this day and age.  We (men and women) are working harder than ever. In 1960 20% of mothers worked. Now, about 70% of families have dual working parents. Further, and true for both men and women, most of us work more than 40 hours per week (1).  Additionally, we are parenting harder than ever.  This article from the NYT’s says it all in the title alone:  The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting.

In other words, we have a TON of pull on our attention and it’s so easy to overlook how necessary it is to prioritize our relationship with our significant other.  After time, this leads to feeling disconnected from the most important person in your life, to the person you chose to partner with for life. Further, there will come a time when your children are adults and you find yourself alone in a big house with that person you chose all those years ago.  Hopefully, this person is not a stranger.

Marriage - an endless sleepover with your favorite weirdo

I recently polled some of my Momma friends as to how they prioritize their relationships and got some great thoughts:

  1. One of my friends, full time working Mom of two boys (4 and 2), has a date night with her husband WEEKLY.  First, to the Momma’s who have small kiddos, let this sync in for a second. Second, to the parents whose kiddos are older, close your eyes and picture your life with toddlers.  Now, we all should appreciate just how amazing an achievement this is. This couple also does an annual vacation without kids! She says “No better gift for the kids than happy parents who love each other, so it’s really for them.”  I just think that this is an amazing philosophy and I am so impressed that they’ve implemented this into their lives. #relationshipgoals
  2. Another member of the ThriveCommunity described how she and her husband share a dessert and watch a TV show together each night.  I’ll just leave this little fact here: a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who indulged on a piece of chocolate every day enjoyed a more active sex life than those who didn’t.  
  3. Additionally, another ThriveFriend and her husband do a quick devotion together each day.  She says “it’s a quick connection and something special for us to look forward to”. I especially loved this because it illustrates that connecting with your partner doesn’t need to be this big over the top hoopla!  I pulled some well reviewed daily devotion books if you want to try to implement this!
    1. One Question a Day for You & Me:  Daily Reflections for Couples
    2. Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Couples
    3. The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional

For a challenge:

Now, to those of you who want to jump start a re-prioritization strategy for your relationship, look no further!  I have come up with a super fun 28 day romance and re-prioritization challenge. The challenge will formally start on February 1 (but feel free to start it anytime).  Each day, you and your partner will be challenged with a quick task that is designed to help you reconnect and eventually re-prioritize your relationship altogether.  Don’t stress if you can’t complete all 28 days.  Do your best!  

I hope you enjoy this challenge!  ThriveDaddy and I will be participating right alongside you (Full Disclosure:  We are due to have a baby this month so we’re going to participate alongside you as much as humanly possible)!

Connect with me on Instagram and post with the hashtag #ThriveRomance to tell me how it’s going!

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

For thinking:

I recently read an article entitled “A Projection Exercise for Couples” that really gave me a lot to consider.

First, what does the word “projection” mean.  If you skip over the definitions about movie projections and financial forecast projections you arrive at this definition:

pro·jec·tion

/prəˈjekSH(ə)n/

noun

noun: projection; plural noun: projections

the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another person.

In relationships of any kind — relationships with coworkers, family members or significant others — it’s critical to understand what emotions or ideas you are transferring to a situation.  Moreover, being conscious of your own projections can go a long way in stifling what could turn into a heated argument.

This article uses art as a basis to illustrate how bias derived from our own experiences leads us to make certain assumptions.  It then directs you to do a quick exercise individually and compare answers with your significant other. Next, after considering your individual responses to the exercise, each participant immediately gets a glimpse of what they might be projecting to others.  As a result of going through this exercise, you’ve opened up a platform for dialogue with your significant other.

Read the full article here

It’s a deep and powerful feature of our minds that we quickly interpret what’s happening in a situation, on the basis of a few slight clues. But, without realizing it, we also sometimes smuggle in ideas which are more to do with us than with what’s actually happening.

For a laugh:

“My wife, Mary, and I have been married for forty-seven years, and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce; murder, yes, but divorce, never.”

Marriage isn’t all fun and games.  After all, it takes work and satisfaction in marriage ebs and flows.  A key ingredient in a successful marriage? A little humor:

HuffPo posted an article that included 31 tweets about married life. These tweets are both hilarious and relatable.  Here’s a teaser of a few but all 31 are hilarious.

 

Read more here

For showing love:

LOVE your relationship

A ThriveRevive right here!  It’s time to focus on your love relationships and I’ve got 4 tips that will help you strengthen your relationship with your significant other!

Read More Here

For reading:

Top Reads for Relationship Improvement in 2019

  1. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” By Gary D Chapman
    1. It’s a classic for a reason.  We all prefer to show love and prefer to receive love in different ways.  Consequently, it’s important to understand your preferences AND your S.O.’s preferences.  
  2. 47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are” By Marko Petkovic
    1. For starters, I just love a good list.  The format of this book makes it easy to pick up and put down.  Further, it addresses a variety of relationship stages from new relationships to old.  
  3. 20 Ways to Date Your Spouse
    1. Like I said, I love a list!

For tech:

Does your relationship need a little revival?  If so, gone are the days where therapy was your only option!  There are a TON of apps out there that range from broad topics like relationship therapy in general to narrowly focused topics like sex-life improvement:

  1. A calendar:  Ok; This isn’t an app but if you aren’t using a shared calendar with your S.O. I’m really not sure how much longer you guys have left… (Joke — sort of).  To start, a shared calendar is an invaluable tool to use to schedule date nights. Since our goal this year is to go on a date twice a month, ThriveDaddy and I are using our calendar to pencil in our dinner reservations.  No excuses! Next, it takes the pressure off trying to remember when someone is going to be late, needs to leave the house early on morning or has a work trip scheduled. In general, a shared calendar goes a long way in reducing conflict that arises from everyone being so dang busy.  Side Note: Just use a google or outlook calendar. I really don’t see a benefit in using a paid service here.
  2. Kindu – For an improved sex-life:  If you didn’t take your sex-life for granted prior to having children you must be some sort of super-powered psychic.  For one, this app is packed with a ton of features; it just feels like there is something for everyone and every relationship need within it.  For example, if you’re shy about suggesting an idea to your S.O. there is a double blind match feature which means your S.O. only sees ideas you both approved of.  
  3. Couple -Relationship App for Two – This app allows you to share your life with just the two of you.  It’s a sort of electronic memory book on crack!  You can also share real time messages with cute little features suck as stickers and drawings.

Here’s some other buzz that caught my attention this week:

Incoming Congresswomen Are Forming a ‘Moms in the House’ Caucus – Leading by example and trying to make work-life integration happen!  Love this!

They Should’ve Warned Me – This is a beautifully written essay on what people SHOULD warn you about when you become a mother.  It is NOT what you’re thinking.  Grab a box of tissues.

 

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25 Comments

  1. Gwendolyb January 21, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Great collection of resources for parents!! Spending time prioritizing your marriage is so important because once the kids are grown and moved out, it’s just the two of you!

    Reply
    1. Rachael Marini January 21, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Seems like a world away but I suspect it will go fast

      Reply
  2. Danielle January 21, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    I always love your round ups and this one is particularly great! Thanks for sharing all of this amazing information!!! I can’t wait to start your challenge! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Nikki Turner-Chaplin January 22, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Some interesting thoughts on projection – it’s so easy to do!

    Reply
  4. Nero N January 22, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Great plan for the month! Maybe i’ll try this one day when I have someone.

    Reply
  5. Scott J DeNicola January 22, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Great roundups you’ve put together. Form the male perspective my wife and I have always tried to have some nights that are just ours. When our kids were younger (they’re 19 and 15 now) we used to schedule adult time (what we considered times when we weren’t speaking in gibberish kid language) It’s important to connect when your kids are young. If you don’t your kids will grow up and you will realize you have nothing with your spouse.

    Reply
  6. Kari Chairez January 22, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Love this! We’ve been married for 5 years now. Even though we are well in to our 30’s, we haven’t had children yet. We struggle NOW to get in a date night every week. I know there will never be a “right time”, but once we can get into a groove in our relationship will be a better time for sure!

    Reply
  7. Lisa January 22, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Marriage takes time, energy and patience. It doesn’t always feel easy, because it isn’t. But, it’s always worth it. The 5 Love Languages is one of the books I am always telling people to read. I think it helps you love people better in general. And, they even have one for the 5 love languages for your kids!

    Reply
  8. Mary January 22, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Excellent read! My husband and I are in the thick of it right now with two under three, and it’s so hard to find any time to connect.

    Reply
  9. Andrea (2oddravens) January 22, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    What a great read! We don’t have children yet, but we both work full-time jobs while running a business that supports other businesses. Things get a bit hectic which can definitely be problematic, but we try our best to make time for each other. Some things from the post will definitely be implemented sooner rather than later.

    Reply
    1. Rachael Marini January 22, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      Happy to hear that! Small changes and small focus really goes a long way!

      Reply
  10. Hannah January 22, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    The tweets had me laughing out loud! 😂 I also loved the 5 love languages book by Gary Chapman. I haven’t read it in a few years, maybe I’ll read it again to refresh my memory!

    Reply
    1. Rachael Marini January 22, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      I thought the tweets were quite funny too!!

      Reply
  11. Elizabeth | Tiredmom Supermom January 22, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Love this post! My husband and I get out together once a year. We have been together for 8 years and our marriage is really strong. I think the partnership of raising the kids keeps us really close. We also make sure to do sweet things for each other on a daily basis, so that really helps with the closeness. It’s just not always possible to get out on a “date’ with kids.

    Reply
  12. Megan McC January 22, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Stellar ideas. Real relationships take time, patiences, communication and an openness to new ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  13. Amelia January 22, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    I agree that a key ingredient in a successful marriage is a little humor! My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years now, and now that we’ve got a couple of toddlers running around, married life is not what it used to be, but we still try to have fun!

    Reply
  14. Live Learn better January 23, 2019 at 6:27 am

    I had a great laugh with the married couple of 47 years with no option of divorce, but murder been on the table all the time???
    I want to be like them when I grow up!

    Reply
  15. Tracy @ CLeland Clan January 23, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Love this list of resources. I totally agree with making time for each other when the kids are young. Before you know it, they will be out of the house.

    Reply
  16. Diana Narcisse January 23, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I am not married and I am 35 and divorced and I really adored this. The connection you have with your spouse is the most important. Also, I great sense of humor helps as well.

    Reply
  17. Ingrid January 25, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    I like how you try to have us to focus on re- prioritization of our marriage relationship. We have been thinking of having more devotions together.

    Reply

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