How to have a Connected and Thriving Marriage

I’m leavin on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

Okay, well part of that is true. I am headed out of town, but I will be back super soon. In the meantime, enjoy meeting some of my best bloggy friends.

Here is one of my favorite ladies, she blogs over at Oatmeal Smiles, where she has a beautiful blog full of awesome content. If you haven’t checked her out yet, go now…

Are you back? Well, then, without further ado, I present to you – Georgia!


Hi Tales of Beauty For Ashes readers! My name is Georgia and I blog at Oatmeal Smiles. I originally started blogging when we lived in Africa. When I became a mom my life changed in such a big way! I then started Oatmeal Smiles as a place where I could share how I seek grace in motherhood (Whew! That’s a big one!) and shortcuts in the kitchen.

I really love how Becky shares tips on keeping her marriage strong, so I thought you guys might enjoy some tips my husband and I love and live by.

OatmealSmiles Jacob and Georgia About MeI still remember clearly the first time my husband and I had a big fight.

We were on a bumpy road in Africa surrounded by lush green vegetation.

Our surroundings couldn’t have been more beautiful… and then he said it.

The simple statement that turned our “we-never-fight relationship” into a land mine of unspoken anger and hurt feelings.

“There is only one way to really learn a language.”

I bristled and turned my shoulders imperceptibly away. But my heart turned away completely.

To say I was mad would be an understatement. I was livid and grew silent.

You see, I had already learned another language and had been overseas many years before he had. And here he was totally negating my language learning experience which was different than his “only” way to learn language.

For the first time, my knight in shining armor had a flaw.

It seems silly to look back on, but when you’re in the heat of an exchange the absurdity of the moment doesn’t seem relevant.

Aw marriage. What a sweet time of sanctification!

Despite this story, my husband and I have a vitalized marriage (we have the documentation to prove it!).

Even so, flaws and road blocks hit us all.

Over the years we have learned some techniques to build bridges and bring down walls.

How to Have a Connected and Thriving Marriage

How to Have a Connected and Thriving Marriage

Wendy Longo photography via photopin cc

1.) Play Nice. Always. Our number one rule is that you’re always on the same team, working towards the same goal. We try to never lash out or see the other person as the enemy.

This is harder for me than it is for him. But I try!

2.) Marriage is not 50/50. Marriage is 100/100. Hardest of all, sometimes it’s 100/20. You have to keep giving your very best and serving your spouse even when they really aren’t meeting you half way- or even a quarter of a way.

Your vows don’t say, “I will love you as long as, and as much as, you love me.” Love selflessly even when you get little in return.

Those times when you know you are being less than the best version of yourself and your spouse still serves and loves you selflessly teach you volumes about their character and love, and, more importantly, they draw you closer in to loving them.

3.) R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Love and respect. They really do go hand in hand. Verbal jabs in public and criticism tear anyone down. Make your marriage a criticism-free zone.

Coming from a home where sarcasm was a work of art- this has been a big adjustment for me. But it speaks volumes.

Commenting on that bit of dessert they are eating in front of your friends? Joking about how lazy they are while your family is over?

Make disrespect a no-go, unacceptable zone.

4.) Have accountability.

We don’t live our marriage or our lives in a vacuum. It’s quaint to assume that you will be everything that your spouse needs.

But in reality, you both need accountability outside of the marriage.

We have one or two same-sex friends we meet with weekly as accountability groups. This is a safe place to talk about temptations (whether that be irresponsible spending, laziness, pornography, day dreaming about someone else or simply being snarky or over critical to our spouse).

Did you know that marriages where one or more partner view porn are 3 times more likely to end in divorce?

Having someone who knows your temptation and can help you to fight that is so beneficial to your marriage.

My accountability group helps me see when I’m being unreasonable and difficult. Likewise, my husband’s group encourages him to extend me grace or help him see when he is being unrealistic in expectations.

Also, accountability groups can help your marriage to stay pure, even if it’s in the mental realm.

5.) Kiss. Reach out to one another. Intimacy is important in keeping a marriage alive and vitalized.

According to this NYTimes article couples in sexless marriages are generally less satisfied and more likely to consider divorce. Ouch.

If you and your partner have found a wedge in your intimacy seek help or simply reach out.

There are great resources to help you through this and it needs to be taken seriously. Intimacy is to a couple what water is to a plant.

What marriage tips and advice do you live by?

Have you ever had an absurd argument that got out of control?

Wendy Longo photography via photopin cc


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  1. Theresa AMomInTheMaking says:

    Taking time for fun… we found that we spent tons of “time” together, but it was often working on projects, cleaning, taking care of important things, but we weren’t taking time to just have fun.

    We started putting aside some time in the evening after our son goes to bed to play a board game, look at pictures, or work on a fun project that we usually wouldn’t have time for

    While dating you spend tons of time “dating” and having fun… We had to purposefully make sure we were setting aside this time. But TOTALLY worth it!!

    • Beauty for ashes says:

      Theresa, you are so right. It is hard sometimes to make time to do “Fun” things. Lately, I have been experiencing that with my husband and I taking care of our responsibilities and forgetting to enjoy each other. I love the idea of board games after the kid’s bedtime!

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