076 – Why I Stopped Trying To Fix My Marriage

And why you should stop also

Welcome to episode 76 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss why I stopped trying to fix my marriage.

Why I Stopped Trying To Fix My Marriage

Every marriage has struggles and challenges. Every spouse would like to make changes to the relationship and the other spouse. We spend tremendous effort to make changes and fix our marriage. But maybe we’re doing it all wrong. Maybe we should just stopy trying to fix our marriage.

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5 Techniques To Overcome Offenses In Marriage

If you are offended, that’s your problem

Have you been offended by your spouse? I know; you need me to qualify that question a bit. Okay. Have you been offended by your spouse this week? Offenses in marriage can be a harsh reality. This article will describe 5 techniques to overcome offenses in marriage.

5 Techniques To Overcome Offenses In Marriage

It is often the case that those we love the most hurt us the most. The pain we feel when offended by a spouse in usually magnified as a byproduct of the love and devotion we have for them. A harsh word that offends us will hurt very differently if it comes from a coworker, for instance. Our spouse can use the exact same word and it hurts so much more.

I pride myself on having thick skin and being difficult to offend. When introduced to new people, they will often ask me if I prefer to be called Michael or Mike. My response is always the same. “Either is fine with me, I’ve been called much worse than both.” You just don’t navigate the basketball court, football field, baseball diamond, and US Marine Corps without receiving a little disparaging name calling.

From a 6’6” center that outweighed me by fifty pounds to drill instructors that enjoy emphasizing the impact of their words by pounding the brim of the campaign cover against your forehead, I’ve received many offensive comments. But none hurt like offensive comments that come from my wife. Those quickly penetrate the thick skin and erode my inner manhood.

When offended by our spouse, we experience heightened levels of reaction to the offense. Anger boils to the point of eruption. Emotions swirl to the point of hysterics. Pain lingers to the point of isolation or depression.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s look at five techniques to overcome those times we are offended by our spouse.

075 – Clear Communication In Marriage

Clear communication makes marriage much easier

Welcome to episode 75 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss good, clear communication in marriage.

Clear Communication in Marriage

Clear communication will greatly increase the success of your marriage. Clear communication never involves anger or harsh words, but it always includes open and honest discussion. Today’s podcast will give you key elements to clear communication in your marriage.

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10 Imperatives To Make Your Wife Feel Beautiful

It is your responsibility to make her feel beautiful

The advertisement industry is incredibly adept at playing upon two primal flaws in men and women. Advertisement is laced with seductive images of female models that have been professionally photographed and edited. The images play on the visual nature of men and beauty insecurities of women. While these ads may sale product, it does nothing for a woman’s image of herself. This article will focus on ways to make your wife feel beautiful.

10 Imperatives To Make Your Wife Feel Beautiful

Female beauty has very little to do with glamorous photo opportunities. An experienced user of Photoshop can make any image appealing to the eye – especially the male eye. Beauty encompasses so much more than outward appearance. This is why we use statements to describe women like “beautiful inside and out.” This is also why you occasionally see the super model that is transparent enough to admit their insecurities about their self-image.

Whether we husbands recognize it or not, fact is our wives struggle with their self-image on some level and some point in time. When that happens to our wives, it is our responsibility to make them feel beautiful. It isn’t the responsibility of her girlfriends. It isn’t the responsibility of the children. We certainly don’t want to give general society the responsibility to make her feel beautiful. We own the responsibility.

So how can we make our wife feel beautiful? Let’s consider these ten imperatives as our personal challenge and strive to make our wife feel like the beauty queen she is.

074 – Misconceptions About Marriage

Other marriages aren’t always what they seem

Welcome to episode 74 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss a few misconceptions about marriage.

Misconceptions About Marriage

Marriages are very rarely what they appear to be. Looking in on a marriage from the outside, it is easy to establish the wrong perceptions of a marriage. Today, we will dispell a few common misconceptions of marriage.

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1. Stop comparing your marriage to your perception of other marriages.
2. Acknowledge your struggles and work together to resolve them.
3. Take special note of those times filled with marital joy.
4. Read 5 Steps To A Successful Marriage

My Failure As A Dad

As if I just have one

We recently spent a week on the beach for our annual family vacation. I enjoy the break from the normal rigors of life for obvious reasons. But I also enjoy the retrospective time such a vacation provides for me. Unfortunately, this retrospective time pointed out my failure as a dad.

My Failure As A Dad

I go into every family vacation with a personal goal to say yes to almost any request from my children or wife. When one of the kids say, “hey dad, we want to bury you in the sand.” My answer is yes. “Dad, can we go get ice cream tonight?” Yes. Thankfully, my family doesn’t abuse this goal of mine by making outlandish requests.

You might ask why this personal goal is so important during our vacation time. Well, it’s because I recognize one of my largest failures as a dad. I say no to my children way too often. Back home and during the typical work week, I receive various requests from my children. “Dad, come play basketball with me.” “Dad, do you want to play Xbox with me?” “Dad, can we go to the grocery store? I really want some milk.”

“No” is often my response. Now I don’t usually respond with such a harsh and short response. It usually sounds something more like, “buddy, maybe in a minute. I’m really tired right now.” Or “Sweetie, I really need to work on this blog article right now.” Softening the response in this way seems to soothe my conscience. But it is still equally disheartening to my children.

So what do I do about this failure? How can I change it?

Recognize my failure

Each time I decline to spend time with or do something special with one of my children, I’ll telling that child something else is more important. Remember, they are just asking for my time and energy in these requests. There are appropriate times to say no. “Hey dad, can I get a pet rattlesnake?” Um, no! But when a legitimate request to play basketball with my son comes my way, I must recognize if I decline he now thinks I have something more important than basketball with him. And if I decline his similar requests on a consistent basis, his perception shifts to the notion I have more important things in my life than him.

The purpose of recognizing my failure isn’t to beat myself up. It is simply meant to be an acknowledgement of the impact my rejection has on my children. All too often, this impact isn’t even recognized by us dads. It is only through recognition that we can begin to change our no into a yes.

Examine my motives

At times, there are legitimate reasons that I have to decline a child’s request for my time. I recall one time my son wanted to play basketball but I was suffering from serious back pain. I couldn’t play basketball with him due to the pain. Other times I’m truly busy with something else at the moment. In these cases, it is okay if I decline their requests (as long as I explain properly – see next section of this article).

On the other hand, occasionally I will decline a child’s request simply because I’m tired. Or maybe I’m watching something on the television. It could even be that I’m writing a blog article. And other times they may be asking me to do something I really don’t like doing. After examining my motives, I have to face the fact being tired, watching television, or writing are just excuses. Those things are not more important than time with my children.

Say yes or explain

So obviously if I say yes to my child’s request for my time, the problem is solved. But in those cases I find myself saying no, I must force myself to explain to my child why I’m saying no. Too often we dads just brush these requests aside with a simple “not right now”, “give me a minute”, or “maybe later buddy.” No explanation is given.

But when I force myself to explain my reasons to my child, excuses are quickly identified. Consider again the basketball request from my son. “Dad, will you come outside to play basketball with me?” Now imagine my attempt to look into my son’s eyes and explain to him “Son, I can’t play basketball with you right now because I’m watching the news on television.” Having to say it our loud and to my son forces me to recognize that my son is much more important than watching the news. Besides, the news will just be more of the same tomorrow.

Change my language

What started as my failure can now become a raging success. Simply because I chose to recognize my failure, examine the problem, and take action to resolve it. It would only remain a failure if I do nothing about it. Now that I’ve worked to resolve the issue, I think I’ll go back and change the title of this article to “My Success As A Dad.”

Oh, and by the way, I did have to say no to one of my children’s requests while we were on vacation. They ask me to ride on some ridiculous sling shot contraption that flings you half way to the moon. My initial response to their requests was “sure, I’ll ride it.” But then I saw it. While I maintained my response of yes they could ride it, I wisely decided this was a legitimate time for me to decline to spend time with my children. Check out the video from my Facebook page below.

1) Examine your motives for decline requests from your children
2) Force yourself to say yes or explain why you are saying no
3) Enjoy more time well spent with your children
4) Tell me some of the things you do with your children in the comments below

073 – 5 Keys To Forgiveness In Marriage

Forgiveness is crucial for a successful marriage

Welcome to episode 73 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss 5 keys to forgiveness in marriage.

5 Keys To Forgiveness In Marriage

It is inevitable that anger, disappointment, or hurt will occur in a marriage. Therefore, forgiveness is crucial for a successful marriage. Forgiveness is the fast track to restoration of the marriage relationship.

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We Had A Perfect Marriage, Then THIS Happened

Misconceptions you have about marriage

Over my years of mentoring men on marriage and parenting, many have had the thought, but only a few have had the courage to say it out loud. “That’s easy for you to say, you have a perfect marriage.” To which I quickly respond, “dude, you have no idea how screwed up my marriage is. I don’t have a perfect marriage.”

Perfect Marriage

I hope this comes as no surprise to you. My marriage is just like every other marriage on the planet – flawed. In many cases, I don’t offer advice based on some gnostic wisdom, but rather based on learning from my own mistakes.

Jennifer and I had a perfect marriage. It lasted about ninety minutes. The image you see above was taken by our wedding photographer as we left our wedding reception. Up until this point, we had a perfect marriage. We survived the stress of the post ceremony photos. We managed the overwhelming crowd as we mingled during the reception. We even soldiered on through the barrage of birdseed as we left the reception. But then it happened.

The photo above was taken immediately after we got into our car to leave the reception. It was taken just before Jennifer and I looked at one another and simultaneously asked, “where are the keys?” Each of us thought the other was in charge of having the keys for our ceremonial drive away at the end of our wedding reception. What ensued next was the first argument of our young marriage. Our perfection lasted all of ninety minutes.

I had expectations of Jennifer – that she had the keys. Jennifer had expectations of me – that I had the keys. Both of us were disappointed in our expectations of each other and thus our first argument as a married couple followed. This brief spat was also captured in photo, but I’ve decided against sharing that photo in order to make my point regarding your misconceptions of other marriages. Let’s explore those misconceptions.

What I hope my kids know about American Independence Day

Happy Birthday America

I remember it as if it were this morning. I stood at the foot of my bunk in the squad bay that would be my home for the next three months. Drill Instructors swarmed throughout the squad bay until suddenly one stood nose to nose with me. Red-faced, veins bulging, screaming, and spraying he ‘politely’ posed a question.  “Recruit Tanner, why did you join the Marine Corps?” With as much courage as I could muster, I yelled back, “to serve and give back to my country, sir.”

Indepedence Day

It probably seems trite, but I meant it. I happen to believe America is the greatest nation in the history of the world. I truly wanted to give back to this nation in some humble way.

It isn’t the government, the capitalistic economy, the Founding Fathers, or even the great people that make America great. Not to get political, but this nation isn’t made great by any presidential candidate. This nation is made great through the blessings of God. I believe God is willing to bless this nation because we’ve traditionally held firm to the strong belief in the principles of the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The real meaning of Independence Day tends to get lost among all the activities of the holiday.

072 – Best Way To Get Your Teenager To Talk

Utilizing the most influential 15 minutes of your teenager’s day

Welcome to episode 72 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss overcoming the communication barriers that prevents meaningful conversation between parent and teenager.

Best Way To Get Your Teenager To Talk

Few teenagers are forthcoming with verbose answers to questions posed by their parents. In today’s podcast, I share the secret of the most influential fifteen minutes in your teenager’s day. Utilizing these precious few minutes can result in deeply meaningful conversation with your teenager.

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