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Written by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, the Marriage in a Box blog shares insights into common relationship struggles, gives ideas for moving beyond the roadblocks, and helps you find your path to happiness – both individually and within your relationship.

Harvest Your Children’s Interest in Veggies With These 6 Tips

Vegetables are central to a healthy, balanced diet. They are the source of so much life for our planet, but it can be tough to get children interested in them. Whether you want to build an interest in growing produce or simply want your kids to eat a little better, encouraging them to explore vegetables is a hearty first step. Use these fun tips to help your family grow a health interest in veggies:

 

Grow Your Own Garden

Want a fun activity that doubles as a stress-relieving hobby? Plant an edible garden with your kids! If you have a little room in your backyard, you can easily build raised boxes to bring your vegetable garden together. Take your kids to a local nursery and pick out some seeds or plants together. Go for veggies you know you’ll eat but don’t be afraid to plant a few items, like pumpkins and gourds, that will make holidays fun. Get some kid-friendly garden tools and have your children help plant and care for your new garden. Don’t have a big backyard? You can still plant a few veggies in containers to get growing together.

Pick Some Vegetables Together 

 If you don’t have time to tend to your own garden, you can still find ways to enjoy the process of picking produce with your family. Many areas have a community garden, where you can work for a small portion of time in exchange for fresh food. This gives your family a chance to enjoy a garden without having to take care of it alone. Make it a point to take your kids out often and have some fun while you give back to your neighborhood. Can’t find a community garden? Try taking the kids to a local farm, where you can pick veggies and visit with animals all at once.

 Have Them Help at a Farmers Market

 Farmers markets are a great way to have a day of family fun and a wonderful way to support your local economy. You can find all sorts of local produce, plants and crafts to choose from. Get your children to help pick some fresh finds for your family. Make a scavenger hunt out of it and have your kids help you find unusual-looking vegetables. Talk to the growers themselves so that your children have a chance to connect with the people who are growing their food. Once you have your purchases in hand, take your family out for a picnic or cook a delicious vegetarian meal together, using the fresh ingredients.

 Jazz Up Your Veggie Dishes

 Getting kids excited to grow and pick veggies is easy, but getting them to eat it can be a different story. Instead of serving basic vegetables dishes, try finding recipes that will make vegetables more enjoyable for little ones. Serve veggies as part of bigger dishes, such as pizza or macaroni. Cauliflower makes a delicious pizza crust that’s healthy, and most kids will never know the difference. You can also try cutting veggies into fun shapes or serving them with healthy dressings your kids love. Encouraging a love for fresh food now will help your children stay healthier as they grow into adults.

 Teach Them the Science Behind Growing Food

 Children can be so fascinated by science, so use that to your advantage when it comes to vegetables. Your kids can craft a simple science project using seeds, or you can really spark their interest by using a potato to power light bulbs. Plan an afternoon or two of science-centered fun using produce. Be sure to set up a space for things to get messy and follow safety tips to prevent injuries. Using vegetables to power science fun gets your kids interested in healthy foods while also building their knowledge of science. You’ll also have a lot of fun, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Pair Their Diet with Multivitamins

There are plenty of fun and educational ways to encourage your children to eat more veggies, but there may still be times when they just aren’t eating enough of them. That’s where multivitamins come in; while vegetables are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals, multivitamins are a necessary go-to when your children are lacking in specific nutrients. Multivitamins also promote better digestion, and some products also contain probiotics, which improve your kids’ gut health. While there are different types of multivitamins on the market, your kids may find it easier to take the chewable variety.

Encouraging your kids’ interest in vegetables is a wonderful way to have fun as a family. You can grow your own produce, pick it up from local farmers or find ways to enjoy it at home. Don’t forget to also teach them the importance of multivitamins, which should be taken when they’re not getting enough veggies. Sow the seeds for a healthy life in your children.

Posted 7/21/2019

Vacations To Rejuvenate Your Marriage

A Couples retreat is an excellent way of jump-starting your marriage and rekindling the love in your relationship. It gives you both a chance to take time away from your normal routine, schedule and daily responsibilities to spend some quality alone time with each other and reestablish a connection. No kids, no work, no errands to run, no house chores—just time together to share new experiences, pamper yourselves, and remind you of what attracted you to each other.

  1. Experience the Great Outdoors

Firelight Camps

Located on the grounds of LA Tourelle Resort & Spa in Ithaca, NY, Firelight camps offers an outdoor camping experience in a plush, tented room complete with lanterns, mesh screens and rustic furniture, a comfortable bed and a bath house. The Camp features trail maps, complimentary cocktails, two restaurants on the grounds, and a camp canteen for trail hiking kits and snacks.

Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa

Located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this rustic resort is nestled amidst the Grand Teton Mountains with breathtaking views. Rustic western suites offer private fireplaces, full kitchens and whirlpool tubs. Guests can enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, a full service Spa, delicious western cuisine, and access to ski slopes and hiking trails. .

  1. Take a wellness retreat

Xianlani

Xinalani in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is only accessible by boat and offers all-inclusive couples retreats with accommodations in an Eco-Chic Casita Suite with an amazing ocean view, private terrace that opens to a jungle view with hammock and plunge pool, private bathroom, king-size, pillow-top mattress, gorgeous mosquito netting, hot water, and A/C. The retreat includes food and beverages, yoga classes, complimentary use of kayaks and SUPs, transportation, two massages, and one romantic dinner. 

Red Mountain Resort

Red Mountain Resort in St. Georges, Utah is a combination of adventure and wellness. Every retreat package includes a deluxe room with three healthy meals per day, guided hiking and biking, and yoga and fitness classes. Spa services with over 50 different types of massages are also available. Serious nature lovers can also book customized adventures to Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks or simply walk a quarter-mile down the round to Snow Canyon State Park.

  1. Pamper Yourselves in Romantic Luxury

Tranquility Bay Beach house Resort

Located in Marathon in the Florida Keys, Tranquility Bay Beach house is a 12-acre waterfront resort with tropical two and three bedroom Victorian suites. Suites features gourmet kitchens, bedrooms with French doors that open to wide porches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Guests can enjoy any watersport imaginable or just bask in the sun on the private beach or swimming pool.

Wentworth Mansion

Located in Charlestown, South Carolina, the Wentworth takes you back to the Old South with luxury mansions, Horse-drawn carriages, antebellum architecture, Spanish moss-draped tress, and cobblestone walks. Luxurious rooms decorated with antique furniture, crystal chandeliers, and 4 poster beds also feature spacious bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and outside process. Guests can enjoy the historic Battery, antiques and art galleries, on-site spa, fine dining, and complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

Posted 7/17/2019

Add Some Adventures Into Your Marriage

Add Some Adventures  Into Your Marriage

If you have been married for a while, there have probably been times when passion, excitement and adventure just aren’t there. The routine of daily life and the hectic demands of work have allowed relationship boredom to creep in. A happy married life and loving feelings go hand in hand, so fun and adventure are basic requirements. Adventure is not an optional extra. Either we add it back in or risk losing our marriage.  Three things you need to have fun together:

  1. Plan for time together in advance.

Think about ways you can manage your family’s schedule and create spaces in your life to have time, every now and then, to enjoy an adventure with your husband. It could be an annual trip, or a weekend getaway or just a day together. Arrange in advance for a babysitter or a week at Grandma’s. Make a reservation or registration (if that is required).

  1. Budget for Adventure and Fun.

What ever you decide to do together, it will likely require some amount of money. Just like you budget for groceries or anything else, set aside a certain amount for “marriage fun”.  Your marriage is important, so it is worth investing in.

  1. Keep an Open Mind

Planning and budget for your fun times together as a couple should not be just one spouse’s responsibility. It should be something you do and agree on together.

Here are a few ideas to add some adventure into your marriage.

Explore your town like tourists. Go on a bike tour, stay overnight in a local hotel and enjoy some “hotel sex” and a longer break from your day-to-day responsibilities.

Be kids again. Go to a zoo, fair, or amusement park. Ride the rides – try one that scares you just a bit! Play games, eat “fair food,” and just have fun.

Learn something new together like photography, dancing, kayaking, anything new that the two of you might both enjoy. Try something that’s a bit out of your comfort zone.

 

Do something scary. Skydive on a random Saturday morning or hike that really steep cliff. Play a game of laser tag or go to a super scary movie.

Travel to an out of town or out of country destination. When you are on the road, you can be someone else. Travel gives you permission to do something crazy that you would never dream of doing at home, like white water rafting or jumping out of a plane. When you come home you can take the parts of that person you became while traveling and put it into your every day life.

Posted 7/10/2019

Little Things That Can Break Your Marriage

A small comment, a thing that is forgotten, or an inconsiderate act can become a big argument. Often the big fights are about a lot of small things that have added up such as a forgotten anniversary, being late, dirty socks left on the floor, and so on. If not dealt with, we can let the irritations caused by these small things build up over time until they become a focal point for much deeper feelings, such as being taken for granted or ignored. Here are the top 5.

Decision Making

Most partners expect to make big decisions together, such as  whether or not to buy a house, a car, or a career change. What about the small decisions such as where to go for dinner, whether or not to invite someone over, etc.? If one partner has to make all of the decisions all of the time, then the other partner is being the lazy partner in the relationship. Over time, that gets old and leads to resentment.

 

Doing Your Share

Doing your share of the housework is part of being reliable. If you’re not holding up your end of your responsibilities, your spouse could quickly feel like they can’t count on you to do other things. Eventually, they will begin to feel taken advantage of, and the relationship will sour.

Complaints

Some people are incessant naggers or complainers; however, most of us only complain when something really irritates us. How hard is it to pick up your dirty socks or underwear and put them in the laundry basket? Why can’t you put on makeup once in a while, even if you aren’t going anywhere? When our spouses register a complaint to us, they are looking for us to take some action to change that behavior. Don’t let those complaints build up until your spouse finally explodes. Acknowledge the complaint and take some action or talk it out.

Friendship

A good spouse is someone who can also be a good friend. After years of marriage, you should be able to read your partner’s moods enough to know if they are down or happy. Make an effort to communicate and respond to them. When your husband or wife is upset, do your best to comfort them. Did your spouse recently get a promotion at work, or perhaps even reach their goal weight after months of hard work?  Your partner needs to know that you take pride in his or her accomplishments and are supportive of them.

 

Important Dates

Not everyone is good at remembering specific details in a relationship, but you need to make an effort to remember anniversaries, birthdays, Valentines day, etc. People tend to build up expectations when a significant date nears. If it comes and goes with no acknowledgment from you, it is the same as if you had slapped them in the face. While you don’t have to have an over the top gift, you do need to do something to “celebrate” the date. Make them a special dinner. Put together a collage of photos of special things you did together. Anything that shows your spouse how much you care about them will do.

Posted 6/30/2019

15 Easy Ways To Show Your Spouse Love

Contrary to popular opinion, the best ways to show your spouse that you love them aren’t extravagant gifts or expensive vacations. Often the little things make a person feel most loved. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion. Here are 15 simple ways to show your partner you love them:

  1. Give them your undivided attention. Giving your partner your undivided attention when he or she is talking to you, just like you did when you were first dating, shows you care.
  1. Make time for your partner. Return their texts, phone calls, or social media posts, and let them know they’re a priority.
  1. Hug your partner.  Hugging and pressing our heart and stomachs together helps to calm down our nervous systems.
  1. Tell your spouse why they’re amazing. Verbalize and communicate why you love your partner because it has a much more profound and meaningful impact than saying I love you.
  1. Cheer for your partner.  Support your partner and allow them to hear you compliment them.
  1. Accept what your spouse offers. When one partner always gives and the other receives, it creates a relational imbalance.  Be sure to accept and appreciate everything they give you.
  1. Share words of appreciation. Send a little love note or a text during the day just because you care.
  1. Ask For Advice. You may not always need your spouse’s help to make a decision, but it shows that you put value in what they have to say and you want them to be a part of what you’re doing.
  1. Engage in Activities They Like. Make an effort to at least try and appreciate some of the things they love, even if you’re not the biggest fan. It will show that you’re taking an interest.
  1. Do Your Part. What makes your spouse take notice of you is when they step in and do one or more of your tasks.
  1. Daily Welcome. When your spouse walks through the door, drop whatever you are doing and go and greet them with a kiss or a hug and kind word. It lets them know they’re important to you, and you are glad they are home.
  1. Give them some space. Allowing each other time to pursue separate passions or rejuvenate makes it all the more special when you get back together.
  1. Dream a Little Together. We all need dreams to connect us to our past and provide hope for the future. Take some time now and then to express and listen to each other’s dreams.
  1. Say it with food. Incorporate your partner’s favorite meal or dessert into your weekly menu.
  1. Physical love. Hug, kiss, and touch more. Hold hands. Surprise your spouse with an embrace or a kiss on the cheek or neck. Spoon on the couch while watching a favorite show. 

Posted 6/20/2019

Quality Time Is The Way To Bond Your Marriage

Couples often complain about losing the passion in their relationship after years of marriage. That is because they started taking each other for granted,  and no longer go out of their way to do things that they used to do together. Spending quality time together is important to keep your bond secure. When so much of life together becomes all about finances, jobs, childcare, etc., spending quality time together becomes even more crucial.

4 TIPS TO MAKE QUALITY TIME IN YOUR MARRIAGE

  1. Be selfless, not selfish.  It is easy to make selfish choices when your time is limited. By intentionally choosing to be selfless, you create quality time with your spouse by showing them how much you care.
  2. Study your spouse. You can always something new to discover about your spouse, no matter how many years you have been married. Make it a habit to study them and see what makes them happy.
  3. Make it a priority to get involved in your spouse’s interests. You know that hobby your spouse enjoys that you could care less about? Make it a point to take an interest in your spouse’s hobbies, even if they don’t interest you Not only will this create an even deeper bond between you and your spouse, but it will build more trust and intimacy as you took the time to take a new interest in them and what they love.
  4. Set firm boundaries on your time. You are busy during the day, but it is essential to eliminate those things that can steal your time away from you. For some people that could be social media for others, it may be watching television or talking on the phone. Whatever your “time stealer” is, set very firm boundaries to be sure that it is not robbing the quality time that is meant to be spent with your spouse.

 It’s important to understand that just because you are married doesn’t mean you don’t need to continue scheduling time to spend together.

Posted 6/14/2019

Honor in Marriage

What does honor look like in a couple’s daily life? It means waking up in the morning and deciding that our mate is the most valuable person on earth to us. It is deciding that we will look after our mate's needs before we worry about ours. Honoring our mate on a daily level is all about priority.

These four elements are what make honor possible for a couple. They are the driving force to a healthier, more exciting marriage.

  1. Treat Your Spouse With Care

I collect antiques and have learned that they require cautious and tender handling because of how precious and valuable they are. In a similar way, we are to treat our spouse tenderly. Tender in the way that we speak to them. Tender in the way that we look after them. Tender in the way that we speak about them to others. When we do so, we are showing honor to the one we value the most.

  1. Value their unique qualities

It can be easy to get frustrated with what our spouse doesn’t do well. In fact, we can create a running list in our mind of the things that we wish they would do better.

Instead, make the concerted effort to focus on what they do well. Tell them the good things that you see. Reaffirm to them what you believe they can do and accomplish. Recognize the things that they can do better than you.

  1. Look to their interests

In a dishonoring marriage, spouses look to their own interests. They’re fighting for control. They are maneuvering to have the best for themselves. We should honor one another above ourselves. That means having an attitude that seeks the best first for our spouse. A simple question to ask yourself is, “Am I looking out for myself in this situation, or am I considering what’s best for my spouse?”

  1. Make an Active Commitment to Your Marriage

To honor means to assign a value to something.

When I don’t make time to spend with my husband or I don’t participate in conversations or listen to him, in essence, I’m expressing to my husband that his needs are not important to me and that whatever I’m doing instead is more important than him.

Posted 5/30/2019

Restablish Mutual Respect In Your Marriage

There is an emotional connection that occurs when couples like, admire and respect each other. They talk to each other. They laugh together. When they speak to others about their partner they tend to brag about how great they are. Some couples stop talking, laughing and admiring each other and the emotional bond becomes frayed. 

Though difficult, it is possible to restore respect. If you once cared for the person or held them in high regard, it is possible to return to this state if you choose to. 

  1. Regaining respect is a choice

You have to want to regain the respect you once had for your partner. You might prefer to justify your reactions rather than to be the one who rises above the anger. To make the shift, you first have to consciously and genuinely choose to find your way back to respect. The angrier you are, the harder this will be.

  1. Understand what respect is and is not

To respect is to understand that the other person is not you, not an extension of you, not a reflection of you, not your toy, not your pet, not your product. In a relationship of respect, your task is to understand the other person as a unique individual and learn how to mesh your needs with his or hers and help that person achieve what he or she wants to achieve.  Your task is not to control the other person or try to change him or her in a direction that you desire but he or she does not. 

  1. Respect each other’s efforts.

The biggest way to show respect is to support and appreciate each other’s efforts. Compliment and thank your partner. We all like to be praised for the efforts and gifts we bring to the relationship, even if it is our role. This restores respect because being noticed and valued is important.

  1. Listen with compassion

We all need someone to hear us vent and express our feelings from time to time. Listening to your partner when they're speaking is one of the most essential signs of respect within a relationship. Be there for each other if one of you is having a difficult or tough time. Listen without trying to fix the problem. 

Listen with the intention to recall what you once appreciated about your partner, to feel his or her goodness and love, and to reconnect with the relationship you once had. Remember the person is doing the best he or she can, working through humanity’s struggles just like you.

  1. Respect each other’s opinion, viewpoints and feelings

Decisions that affect you will often affect each other. The first step on respecting your partner’s opinion is to ask for it. When you involve your partner you are demonstrating respect and honoring their value.

Disagreements are normal and healthy in a marriage. Vicious personal attacks at your spouse’s character or personality are not! You can disagree without belittling or hurting someone. Everyone has a right to their own feelings and viewpoint and all feelings are valid. For respect to be present you need to validate each other’s feelings and point of view, even if you do not agree.

Start treating your spouse how you would like to be treated and respect will return to your marriage.

 

Posted 5/23/2019

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