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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.

Rekindle intimacy with an over 55 Getaway.

If you're an older couple looking for the best vacation ideas, it all depends on what you want from a vacation. You may be looking to plan a romantic rekindling with your partner, a wellness and mental well-being excursion, or a visit with family or friends. Maybe your kids have all started their own lives, and you and your partner are both retired and have plenty of free time and energy to devote to your relationship. A vacation can help couples experience the good in life, revive their romance and deepen their connection.

 Whatever your reasons for planning a vacation as a senior couple, make sure your trip has many joyful memories and fun adventures. A vacation as a retired couple can be a fantastic way to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect. A beautiful vacation location and change of scenery can inspire couples to take up activities that would foster qualities that initially drew them to one another. Experience the world together and check some destinations off your bucket list.

Traveling together as a senior couple has several positive benefits, from staying active and connected to gaining confidence in yourself and your abilities and rekindling romance.

The importance of rekindling intimacy in a long-term relationship.

These times of rekindling intimacy are critical for the long-term of your relationship. There are times when everyday life causes relationships to feel dull and mundane. Divorce rates are high during retirement years, and all opportunities to inject positivity and focus on your bond are essential for the long haul.

How an over 55+ getaway can help couples reconnect.

A getaway is a perfect time to bond with your partner and will give you a break from the everyday chores at home and inspires positivity. Exploring new places with your partner will help you deepen your bond, learn new things about one another and give you something to look forward to. Being with your partner in a relaxed, fun, and unique environment /culture can increase warm feelings toward them. 

Why over 55 getaways are beneficial for rekindling intimacy.

A. Change of scenery.

 A romantic getaway with your significant other puts you in a better mood, living out a good vibe and contributing to increased happiness. Beautiful views are awe-inspiring and give you a break from the mundane. Couples who use vacation and travel to spend time together help create positive memories and bring new meaning to their relationship. When both of you recall a funny memory from your vacation, it helps in increasing the feelings of intimacy.

B. Reduces stress levels.

Vacation is essential because it helps clear your mind, bring peace, assess your emotional state, and replenish your physical energy. You can plan relaxing activities in nature, by a pool, or sleep in and get room service.

C. Time away from daily responsibilities.

 The routines of daily activities become mundane and add stress. Taking a break from these routines to relax, enjoy and reset is essential. Taking a much-needed time out can refresh and refuel you.

D. Opportunities for new experiences.

 It is so easy to staycation, but stepping out from your hometown is the best you can do to see the world together. Bottom-line is that both of you should experience seeing the world together and experience beautiful scenery, and learn about exciting cultures.

E. Bonding over shared activities.

 Exploring new places with your partner will help you deepen your bond and learn new things about one another. Even if you've been together for decades, seeing your partner or spouse in a new environment or culture will remind you of all the characteristics you love about them and help you reconnect and rekindle the romance.

How to plan an over 55+ getaway.  

Many seniors are willing to spend more and avoid hassles and inconvenience, but it is possible to travel, cut some expenses, and still have some luxuries. Here are some tips about traveling on a budget and still have a great time. As you plan your trip together and plan down time and new and fun activities you like, make sure to include and make time to talk and show affection to each other. Here are some tips for planning travel for seniors.

1. Book in advance on off-seasons.

Save on airfare and lodging. Hopper is an app that helps you find the optimal time to book flights and hotels. There are deals to be had for travel if you look at these sites:




2. Travel Overnight and Find Deals.

You can save on a train or bus ticket and hotel by choosing an overnight route since they are less popular than flights. Find deals with locations that offer senior discounts and vacation packages. Use AAA and AARP cards and credit card/travel rewards to enjoy the benefits of booking your flights, accommodation, and attractions, and redeem the points for free flights, discounts, or cheap hotel stays. Some examples are:

Wyndham Rewards

Delta SkyMiles

3. Know How to Pay.

When traveling outside the country, sometimes it's better to carry cash, or it may be more cost-effective to use ATMs. Avoid paying extra fees by researching your currency exchanges beforehand and notify your bank to prevent any alerts or freezes.

4. Pack light. 

Only pack what's necessary, especially if you're traveling by plane. Avoid fees, lines, and baggage claims by traveling with carry-on only.

5. Bring Your Own Supplies. 

You can save money and bring snacks, food, water bottles, and coffee cups. Try including a nutritious variety of foods (bars, nuts, fruits, veggies, hummus, and yogurt). Try to prepare food and cook when possible.

6. Take Disabilities, Limitations, and Medical needs into Consideration. 

Research and arrange in advance any needed handicap accessibility with airports and hotels etc.

7. Consider other forms of transportation to reduce costs.

Examples of less expensive modes of travel are:

  • Public transportation 
  • Carpooling services.
  • Renting bikes – keep fit and save by cycling.
  • Walking – stay healthy and take time to soak in the area. 
  • Consider going for a road trip.

8. Take Advantage of Free Attractions.

From museums and galleries to zoos, parks and trails, historic sites, and more, every destination has free attractions that you can enjoy. Senior Pass, you can tour the U.S. National Parks.

9. Visit Friends or Family.

10. Make a List of Travel Priorities.

Organize your travel priorities to plan your trips and travel budgets.

11. Find Inexpensive Destinations.

Plenty of affordable destinations allow you to travel on a dime and still enjoy and immerse yourself in a different culture. Research destinations in advance to calculate potential costs, but here are some top cheap travel destinations to get you started: 

  • India
  • Mexico
  • Cambodia
  • Armenia

12. Explore Group Travel. 

Top Three 55+ getaway destinations

The Virgin Islands.

Travel to the Virgin Islands is roaring back as a popular destination after hurricanes and the pandemic. There has been beautification and renovation in many of the resort areas and reefs. 

Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

Mexico's Yucatan peninsula includes Cancún, which offers resorts, malls, soft alabaster sand, and a blue Caribbean Sea. Tulum offers an archaeological site in a walled Maya city of the post-Classic age perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the Caribbean. Playa del Carmen has a famous beach, and Chichén Itzá has ancient monuments and other stone temples and pyramids in the Riviera Maya. These areas will soon be connected by a train through the jungle in late 2023.  

Karnataka, India

Bandipur National Park is known for its Bengal tiger population and safari game drive to see its resident tigers, Asian elephants, leopards, four-horned antelope, golden jackals, and sloth bears. For Americans, much is inexpensive in India due to the lower rupee value. Bangalore has world-class restaurants, art galleries, gardens, and craft beer. The Mysore Palace is just one of the splendid historic residences, temples, and museums in Mysore. Hampi is a UNESCO Site with temples, monolithic sculptures, and boulder-strewn landscapes. 

Vacations for ages 55+ can be a time to spend alone, focus on each other without distractions, and inspire positivity. A 55+ couples’ getaway is a great refresher but may be one of many answers to the disconnection problems where therapy is needed. If you have trouble connecting as a loving couple, consider using Marriage in a Box for helpful suggestions to guidance through the stages of reconnection.

Marriage In a Box is an excellent resource that provides access to the simple tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards and find Marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 5/24/2023

Preparing Your Marriage for Retirement Years

It is essential to share your retirement hopes and dreams and find a future that both of you can be excited about. Many people face the first years together after one, or both spouses have retired as a time of change and are unprepared for the reality of spending so much time together. In addition to adjusting to new schedules, retired spouses may face an identity crisis. 

If either of you derived a large part of your self-esteem and enjoyment from being able to do your jobs well, then you may feel a sense of loss and, in some cases, grief from the career and working life that you are leaving behind. In the face of stresses like these, sometimes marriages falter and fail. Both you and your spouse should continue to pursue your interests. Doing so improves your feelings about yourself and gives you something fresh and new to share.

Discussing retirement as a couple

  • Talk about retirement before it happens and try to agree on a shared retirement vision you both want. 
  • As you go through this adjustment period, share your emotions as you realign expectations, schedules, and interests.
  • Discuss your finances and how you want to manage them post-retirement.
  • It works well when both spouses understand their financial situation and agree upon boundaries to reduce conflicts over money. 
  • Continue to do the activities and interests you have always loved and discuss new activities you may want to do together.

Financial Planning for Retirement

Discuss when you want to retire as a couple and how you can take what you've done individually for retirement and create one solid plan. Anticipate living on a fixed income and talk about how your available funds will change and how to adjust your spending habits accordingly. Align yourselves together in terms of financial goals. Discuss how you want to spend your early, mid, and late retirement years. Consider selecting a financial advisor to maximize your financial freedom.

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship During Retirement

Sharing our thoughts and feelings with our partner will help clarify and strengthen your current and new relationship paths. We all want a partner that continues to grow as we age and take steps to secure that for ourselves. Pursuing some of your interests, maintaining separate friendships, and doing things together is also good.

When considering retirement, many people focus on ensuring their finances are in order and ready to fund the lifestyle they hope to enjoy. While this is important, it's also wise to consider the emotional aspect of this significant life change. Discuss what's important for each of you and how you will accommodate each other. Have a place of personal space to reduce the tension that can come from having to spend a lot of time together within the same house. 

After decades of working for a living, you'll likely experience many emotions when you retire. As with any significant change in life, you'll find different stages as you settle into a new day-to-day reality. Here are five stages you can expect to encounter and suggestions for ways you can help to prepare yourself.

1. Realization

When your retirement date arrives, you will likely feel mixed emotions. It is hard to say goodbye to coworkers, and facing an unknown future may be daunting. Before your retirement date, plan how to fill in all the free hours you suddenly have. 

2. Honeymoon period

In this time frame, retirement feels full of freedom and choice. There's no need to set an alarm or rush out the door and face yet another commute. You may pick up a new hobby, enjoy a holiday, or spend quality time with family and friends.

3. Disenchantment

As the gloss of retirement starts to wear off, you may feel bored, lack direction, and possibly suffer from depression. To avoid things becoming too mundane, make a new plan and find ways to mix things up a bit. Expand your friendship circle, take up a new hobby, or find a fresh challenge.

4. Reorientation 

You may find you're ready to make some adjustments to improve your happiness and fulfillment in retirement. Finding a new challenge, taking on some part-time or consultancy work, volunteering your time, and getting involved in a charity or local initiative. Discuss what you're passionate about and what excites you, and engage in that. Understanding this can help you avoid the sense of loss many people experience when they retire. 

Staying Active and Engaged in Retirement

Planning things to look forward to and ways to stay active in retirement is essential. You can join clubs, church activities, fitness centers, or the YMCA to help you stay fit. As parents, we still nurture adult children in many ways, and as grandchildren enter the picture, discuss how much time you want to spend caregiving. Expectations around who's doing what with household chores are also a hot topic.

It will take time to discuss and develop new mindsets and routines and adjust to economic changes in your marriage at retirement. You may find help from a counselor or therapist to help and support you through this process to adapt and evolve as a couple. A professional can guide you through challenging stages and help you find joy. 

Marriage in a Box provides helpful tips and suggestions on working through this time frame. It is an excellent resource with simple professional marriage tools, coaching, and strategies on the site. You will be able to set goals, earn rewards and check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 5/17/2023

Maintaining Good Health is Important for Your Marriage.

Maintaining good health and caring for yourself and each other is vital for a happy and successful marriage. Physical health is fundamental to a general sense of well-being and impacts your marriage relationship in many ways. Good health and feeling better about yourself go hand in hand, as do sleeping better, having more energy, and having an enhanced sex life. Husbands and wives can care for each other lovingly by encouraging each other to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. They can remind each other of needed health appointments.

We all face health challenges occasionally; spouses are affected when one or the other feel bad physically. Giving each other grace in the tough seasons is essential, but it's also fair to take responsibility for maintaining your health according to your age and stage in life. If you can find an exercise or sport you both enjoy, you can encourage each other in healthy habits while having fun together. Relationships are part of our foundation for health and well-being, and they can come in many forms, including family, friends, colleagues, and intimate partners.

Strategies for Prioritizing Health in Marriage.

The five pillars of balanced health are movement, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and social connection. We can borrow or trade some balance in one area for another, but when we take too much from too many of these fundamentals, we start to see a decline in overall health. 

A. Exercise Together. 

Adults who sit less and do moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain health benefits like:

  • Improved brain health.
  • Weight management.
  • Reduced illness.
  • Strengthened bones and muscles.
  • Enhanced ability to perform everyday activities.

Everyone benefits from physical activity regardless of age, abilities, ethnicity, shape, or size. After a session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, immediate benefits can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp now and as you age. It reduces depression and anxiety and improves sleep. 

Both eating patterns and physical activity routines are critical in weight management. To maintain weight, moderate physical activity up to thirty minutes daily and five times weekly, including dancing, yard work, or walking. People vary in how much physical activity they need to manage weight. 

B.   Eat Healthy.

Your body likes consistency regarding when and what you eat. Eating healthy foods regularly, such as lean meat, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and water to flush and hydrate, will give you the nutrients to support your body's vital functions and balance your mental well-being. Overeating or skipping meals has metabolic consequences that can upset your physical and psychological health. 

C.   Get Enough Sleep.  

The average hours of sleep needed is eight to be alert and healthy. Your body likes a consistent sleep pattern. Many negative symptoms can erupt from an irregular or disrupted sleep cycle, such as fatigue, issues with memory, emotional instability, and moodiness, and even an increase in illnesses. Both you and your partner must be well-rested.

D. Reduce Stress  

Management of stress, both physical and mental, is crucial for balanced health. Physical stress at work and home can lead to overuse injuries, while accumulated mental stressors can affect our emotions and physical health. Anxiety or even perceived stress can drastically alter our cardiovascular and nervous systems. Managing our stressors with exercise, diet, and sleep, alongside other modalities like meditation and breathing exercises, can help balance our stress.

E. Increase Social Connections  

Time spent socially with partners, friends, and family is crucial for more balanced health. Social connection, laughter, and touch release various feel-good hormones like oxytocin and neurotransmitters, reducing blood pressure, anxiety, and feelings of depression. When we spend time together, natural pain-killing chemicals called endorphins are released, producing a sense of happiness and euphoria. 

Managing Health Conditions

Chronic pain is not just the physical "hurt" experienced by people living with it; but the toll it inflicts on their most important relationships. It also creates a challenge in performing daily, social, or work-related activities. It can trigger the development of anxiety, depression, and anger. 

Each of us knows someone dealing with the isolation and loneliness of chronic pain. We have learned from research that loneliness and isolation heighten our risk of almost every disease, both physical and mental, significantly impacting our life satisfaction, self-worth, and life expectancy. Some strategies for managing health conditions, include: 

  • Set goals with your healthcare team.
  • Establish your support system.
  • Simplify your daily medication routine.
  • Use technology to your advantage, phone reminders, etc.
  • Remember that lifestyle changes are essential.

There can't be enough said about maintaining good health and its impact on a happy marriage. You may find help from a counselor or therapist to help and support you through seeking better health as a couple. They can help guide you through the challenging stages of breaking bad health habits and engaging in good ones. 

Marriage in a Box can support you if you need helpful coaching suggestions on working through this. Marriage In a Box is a resource that gives you access to tools and strategies professional marriage counselors use for relationship challenges. Coaching is also available on the site. Check out the kit and sources of information online.

Posted 5/10/2023

Trust and Respect are Essential in Marriage

Webster defines the word "respect" as; prizing, cherishing, and valuing or giving particular attention, consideration, or high esteem. Respecting each other means admiring your partner's abilities, qualities, and achievements and considering their feelings, wishes, and boundaries. Respect for each other also involves avoiding harm to them or interfering with their values, things, and people who are important to them.

Respect and trust are critical factors to having a healthy relationship that will stand over time and the challenges life brings. Respecting yourself and your values, standards, opinions, and boundaries must be foremost. If you do not respect yourself, you will do and say things that invite disrespect from others. It is vital to act in ways that allow your partner to maintain a healthy respect for you.

 A lack of respect is a common reason why many relationships fail. In a relationship, respect can be crucial in accepting each other, communicating openly, and building trust. While the absence of respect can lead to conflict, hurt feelings, and even the destruction of the relationship. Respecting each other's personal needs and opinions improves connection and takes it to a completely different level allowing each of you to feel safe, secure, and loved,

What is Trust?

Webster's definition of trust is the reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone. Trust is a cornerstone of a relationship; without it, the relationship will lack stability, and the couple will be uncomfortable with each other. In a trusting relationship, we feel secure to place our confidence in our partner because they have our best interest and will be loyal. It allows us to express our feelings openly and honestly because our partner is supportive. 

After you feel trust with someone, you will then be able to commit. Building trust comes as we learn about our partners and how predictable they are. If our partners consistently have our best interests at heart, we learn to trust them. As slow as trust builds, it can dissolve just as quickly. Listen with an open mind. Be willing to trust and be authentic and supportive of each other.

What Happens when trust breaks down?

When we don't trust our partners, we exaggerate and discount their negative behaviors. Positives have much less weight than negatives, and we're more likely to question the worth of the relationship constantly. While a breakdown in trust can result from indiscretions by one or both spouses, this is not always the case. Some people need help trusting people and may not trust their partner whether that person is trustworthy.

People with trust issues often employ specific patterns of thinking and acting that complicate relationships. They tend to be Low-trust people who have mistrust that clouds their perceptions.


Mistrust causes:

  •  Trouble communicating.
  • Constant questioning of their partner's motives.
  • Tendency to be highly critical.
  • Overreaction to minor indiscretions. 
  • Refrain from giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Their relationship can be exasperating as they feel punished or criticized for no reason, yet guilty and powerless to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

What is Respect?

The definition of respect, also called esteem, is giving particular consideration and attention to someone with high or special regard. Mutual respect is treating each other thoughtfully and courteously. If you treat your spouse or partner respectfully, you are doing things like:

  • Considering their opinion.
  • Consulting with your spouse before making decisions that affect them.
  • Taking an active interest in your partner's life (work, interests, and daily activities).
  • Negotiating and compromising with your partner about important issues that affect you and other family members.

What Happens When Respect is Absent in the Marriage?

Day-to-day stresses and strains can chip away at respect over time. These issues can cause spouses to:

  • Be Irritable, negative, and disrespectful.
  • Vent frustrations on their partner.
  • Show an inability to resolve or manage conflicts or differences. 

Partners can become increasingly pessimistic and disrespectful to each creating a vicious cycle. Anger and frustration, expressed in negative and blaming ways, can start the process of negative interactions and result in the loss of respect. These are only a few ways that respect can evaporate a marriage or relationship.

Steps to Rebuilding Trust and Respect.

  1. Be Honest.

Do what you said you'd do, be emotionally honest during conversations, and don't forget the negative impact of little white lies. Frequent white lies can quickly erode trust in a relationship.

  1. Make sure Your Words consistently match your actions.

In any meaningful relationship, trust will grow when your words consistently match your actions. Conversely, you'll form a breach if you do one thing and say another. Correcting your actions when they differ from your words can allow trust to develop again. Focus on doing what you say you will do and keeping your promises.

  1. When you do make a mistake, own up to it and apologize.

The inability to admit fault can put you at risk of losing your spouse's confidence. Nobody's perfect, and willingness to admit you messed up plays a big part in building trust as it shows your partner you care about your relationship more than being right. 

  1. Make connecting with your spouse a priority.

Life with little kids can be challenging, and you may need to make time with your partner. Prioritizing a connection is essential in maintaining a sense of trust. If your partner feels distant from you, trusting you will be challenging, even if your intentions are good. Even occasionally connecting amidst the chaos of parenting can restore trust in your relationship.

If you have trouble finding trust and respect as a couple, you should seek counseling. A professional can guide you through the steps to re-establishing trust and respect and help you find joy in your union. Consider using Marriage in a Box if you need helpful advice and suggestions on working through this.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 4/26/2023

How to Get Past that "Stuck" Feeling in Marriage.

You know you're in a slump when you feel stagnant or stuck with your partner. You may feel bored, disconnected, lonely, and lack physical or emotional connection. Like all other relationships, marriages have ups and downs, with periods of closeness and distance that are nothing to fret about. These rough patches are often due to miscommunication, lack of quality time, and differing love languages. It takes both partners in a marriage to address the issues and commit to making the relationship work. 

Potential Causes of Feeling Stuck in a Marriage.

Even strong people in well-matched unions can sometimes feel unhappy. Research suggests it's common for happiness to decline in the initial years of marriage.

Potential causes for this decline in a long-term relationship include:

  • Mismatched sexual or emotional needs.

  • Conflicting values.

  • A communication breakdown.

  • Trust issues.

  • Differing parenting styles.

  • Incompatibility in your personalities or lifestyles.

Despite these difficulties, you may stay in the partnership for several reasons, such as:

  • Concerns about divorce's financial effects.

  • Wanting to maintain a specific lifestyle for your kids.

  • Pressure from your families to stay together.

  • Fear of being alone.

What's more, you may still love and care about your partner deeply, despite your current challenges, and hold on to hope that things will get better. In many partnerships, relationship quality improves for couples who stay together through a challenging period, though this can take some effort on both sides.

Are Your Marriage Problems Workable or Toxic?

Lasting unhappiness in your marriage can affect your emotional and physical health and overall quality of life. It's important to distinguish between workable problems and problems that characterize toxic relationships that would signal you to end the relationship. Characteristics of toxic relationships include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, cheating, lying, and unwillingness to put in the effort.

These problems may not be fixable and could indicate that you should leave the marriage. An unhealthy relationship can become healthy if you and your partner are honest with yourselves and do the challenging emotional work to make changes. 

Ways to Get "Unstuck."

Start Designating Time for a Check-In with Your Spouse.

Addressing communication problems through communication building will look different for every couple; a tried and true solution is regularly taking time out of your day, week, or month to check in with your spouse about their emotions, expectations, and feelings. Effective communication can be embedded into your routine and ensure you and your spouse can express your feelings openly. 

Don't Play the Blame Game. Take Responsibility.

When people are in a relationship rut, there is a tendency to point out what the other person is doing wrong, leading to anger and resentment. It is better to forgive and think about ways to improve your relationship and play a role that will bring energy, hope, and new life into your relationship. Blaming others may make you feel like you have no control over your life and choices.

Remember What It Was Like When You Fell in Love.

Often, the first year of a relationship contains beautiful memories and emotions. As couples work to grow closer to each other emotionally, they often re-discover why they fell in love in the first place. In the early days of a relationship, both partners felt like they mattered to the other. Healing happens when each owns and has empathy for how they have taken the other for granted and have fallen into negative patterns of anger, arguing, conflict, and hurting each other.

Take Steps to Try to Reconnect with Your Spouse.

Life can get hectic, making it easy to take your marriage for granted, so prioritize your relationship by checking in on your partner's feelings. Date nights are another way to focus on your relationship. A date night can be anything from ordering food to be delivered, cooking a meal together, seeing a movie, or eating out. 

Sometimes you need to take things to the next level by taking a long weekend or even a week for some necessary quality time with your spouse that can help you rekindle the romance and sort through some things in a new environment. It doesn't matter what you do; it just matters that you and your partner are spending time together. Quality time is the basis of a good relationship; cultivating this bond will help you feel close to your partner. 

Focus on Changes You Can Make Within to Get Unstuck.

If you don't like the way your marriage is going, take inventory and make changes within since you can't change your spouse by controlling them. Changing yourself will result in a different outcome. Whether or not your spouse changes in response, your future will be happier and more satisfying. What your relationship looks like in the future is not guaranteed, but changing yourself will ensure both you and your connection will be healthier than it is now.

Get Professional Marriage Counseling Help.

 Marriage and couples counseling or coaching can help couples with problems, but it may also help stable, happy couples deepen their bonds and avoid future disasters. Getting out of a stuck place in your marriage is very important. It requires good communication techniques and openness to restore happiness in your marriage and family bond. Consider using Marriage in a Box if you need helpful advice and suggestions on working through this.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 4/19/2023

Fight Fair with Your Spouse

Marriage partners will always have different thoughts, feelings, or values, even if you have much in common. Your differences may create healthy debates over politics, current events, or other situations and keep life interesting. Other times, conflicts may be over things like children, in-laws, tasks, and other everyday occurrences. Things may become heated, but as long as they stay respectful, these can be meaningful learning moments because they teach you valuable communication skills. Anyone in a relationship needs to work on healthy fighting in some capacity.

Be Mindful of Serious Damage to Your Marriage in Arguments.

According to psychologists, relationships fail because of trust issues, unmet expectations, and compatibility, to name a few. Frequent arguing can lead to a troubled relationship and, if handled poorly, could end the relationship altogether. While fighting in a relationship is normal, there are ways to stop and take your conflict with poise and understanding.

It's Not Whether You Win or Lose. 


Challenging each other intellectually with healthy debates helps you identify how your partner communicates. It shows how the other person deals with agreeing to disagree and when you should react or end the conversation. Staying calm shows self-control and an ability to handle a difference of opinion without leading to an argument. Learning some fair fighting rules can help you resolve conflicts or agree to disagree in a healthy, constructive way without hurting your partnership.

Six Rules for Fighting Fair.

1.Make Sure you know what you want from your partner.

Your partner cannot read your mind, so clearly tell them what you need. Whether it's something concrete or emotional, it will let your partner know how to make you happier and prevent future arguments. 

2.    Avoid monopolizing the conversation with a tirade.

It can be unpleasant when someone speaks over you or begins talking about themselves when trying to convey your feelings. Allowing your partner the courtesy to complete their thoughts during any argument is essential to ensure they feel heard, valued, and appreciated. Acknowledge that you understand and respect their point of view and ask them why they think the way they feel before you disagree.

3. Listen to what your partner is upset about before responding.

Look out for the interests of your spouse, as one of the components that can lead to an unfair fight is usually selfishness. The results will contradict the couple's well-being when looking out for their interests rather than their spouse's. It is wise to check your motives before engaging.

To be a good listener, give your partner uninterrupted time to talk. Great listeners are slow to speak, so they take in what their spouse is saying. When your spouse talks, do you listen or begin forming a rebuttal? The other thing great listeners do is ask great questions. Seek to understand by asking questions that lead your spouse to feel heard.

4. Don't drag in the past. Stick to the current issue at hand.

 Don't Bring Up Past Arguments. While building your case with past offenses is tempting, it may remind your spouse of all the areas they failed in the marriage. Fighting fair in marriage involves grace and love in abundance. Choose to stay on topic rather than bring up the past.

5. Attack the issue, not each other.

As spouses, you are on the same team with dreams of facing this world together. Fighting fair in marriage always includes being respectful and considerate. Remember, your goal is resolution. Anger can harden hearts, whereas respect leads to a solution. Don't let your emotions dictate your behavior; maintain a respectful demeanor. If overheated, stop action, take a time out, and agree to return to the game as soon as possible. Often taking a 15-minute break will allow you to continue productively.

6. Remember, the goal is to find an agreeable solution.

Strive to come to mutually beneficial solutions. Negotiate, barter, compromise, sacrifice, and be creative in this process. You may have to let go of things you want, but you can find happiness. Consider being happy over being correct, which will help keep the peace. When you get through a challenging conflict, make sure that you celebrate together! 

Trying to reach a compromise in conflicting situations takes time and effort. It can be challenging to get each other on the same page. Maintaining your marriage and family bond requires skillful communication techniques and a lot of openness. Consider using Marriage in a Box if you need helpful advice and suggestions on working through this.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 4/12/2023

Will a Spring Getaway Help or Harm Your Marriage?

Daily routines like cleaning, running errands, spending time with family, and even date nights can develop a rote quality. The daily routines and stressors of life can dampen romance and connection. Vacations with your partner may be a time of refreshing and a chance to reignite your relationship and spark. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just a weekend away from what has become mundane. A romantic getaway is a time to keep things light and positive. 

Ways a Spring Getaway Can Help Your Marriage

Being in a Beautiful Place Can Create an Opportunity to Reconnect.

Being together in a scenic and serene setting can bring peace and create an opportunity to focus on each other and reconnect on an intimate level. A beautiful vacation location and change of scenery can inspire couples to take up activities that would foster qualities that initially drew them to one another.

Vacation is a Chance for Personal Relaxation.

Couples may find that being on vacation carries no pressure to do anything or be anywhere on time and allows for personal relaxation. Vacation gives couples a break from their routines and fosters relaxing activities, like nature walks, afternoon naps, breakfast in bed, and massage. A vacation can help couples experience the good in life, revive their romance and deepen their connection.

Travel Can ignite Romance and Intimacy.

A positive correlation exists between high relationship satisfaction and using travel to improve romance. These trips together give much-needed time away from stressors and other demands so couples can focus on each other and experience fun and positive energy. Romantic couples' trips together are essential for sparking romance and sexuality more than couples who do not travel together. 

Ways A Spring Getaway Can Harm Your Marriage.

Travel Can Be Stressful and Exhausting.

Some vacations can be very tiring. Going from city to city and place to place with little time to catch your breath can be fun but exhausting. Unfortunately, when tired, we tend to lash out at our partners, and poor sleep leads to more negative interactions with partners, which may fuel more sleeplessness the next night.

Travel increases opportunities for conflict due to increased interdependence.

We may have more conflicts with our partners because we are highly interdependent during travel. What one partner does has a significant effect on the other partner. Couples must negotiate every decision together during the journey. Even daily disputes over how to spend leisure time are common. 

A Getaway Takes You out of Your Routine and Comfort Zone.

Embrace the good and the bad of your partner; you will have some beautiful moments but don't expect everything to be rosy. Every second of your trip will not be glamour and romance because sometimes:

  1. There are delayed flights. 

  2. One or the other may get lost.

  3. There can be frustrations with language.

All these things can kill romance. Travel has an inherent advantage: it constantly adds excitement and novelty to your life. Some level of routine is acceptable, but don't get so caught up in the daily routine and schedule that you forget:

  • spontaneity

  • romance 

  • small loving gestures.

Try to shake things up and consider what that means to you and your partner. 

How To Ensure Your Vacation Is a Happy One.

Make Planning the Vacation Itinerary a Couple's Activity.

It can deepen your intimate connection to ask and listen to each other about your desires for this vacation. Once you know what your partner wants from the holiday, you can create a mutually beneficial plan. Make choosing a destination, lodging, and forming an itinerary part of the fun. Couples should also discuss their expectations for the trip and be specific about how they want to feel when they return home. 

Provide Room for Downtime.

Instead of a packed itinerary, maximize downtime and focus on a relaxing experience with your partner. If you plan too much, you'll focus on adhering to the schedule rather than being present and taking in the experience. Give yourself a chance to feel all the experiences with your partner and create memories while on vacation.

Choose some Activities new to Both of You.

Choosing a new activity for both of you can deepen your emotional connection. Whatever activity you choose, be it ziplining, walking in nature, or a winery tour, ensure it's a new experience for both of you. Free yourself of your daily roles at home and bring in the playful parts of you: the adventurer, the lover, the free spirit.

Spend time talking and listening together.

Couples need to spend time together while on vacation, discussing how to keep the connection alive in their daily lives and renew their commitment. Practice active listening as a couple and plan time to put the phones away. Have an undistracted conversation and practice active listening and mindful presence with each other.

Focus on showing each other love. 

Talk about when you first met and what you loved about each other to remember what attracted you. Take up activities on your vacation that foster the qualities that initially drew you to one another. Take time to hold hands, kiss, and hug without pressure to have sex. Vacation is an excellent way to focus on showing love through the other person's love language or how they show their love (whether it be gifts, acts of service, affirming words, touch, or quality time together).

A couple's getaway is great for refreshing your intimacy and connection. If you continue to have trouble connecting as a loving couple, consider using Marriage in a Box for helpful advice and suggestions to guide you through the stages of reconnecting.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 3/29/2023

Healthy Communication is Essential to a Healthy Marriage

Poor Communication makes Everything more Difficult!

Having quality communication skills can decrease difficulties in your marriage and make things go smoother. So many areas require good communication to solve problems with parenting, finances, and resolving conflicts. Communication is a common problem area cited when seeking counseling. Couples can make great strides in communication by simply evaluating and eliminating the communication habits that hinder healthy conversation in their relationship. Marriages are not without arguments or breakdowns in communication. 

How we communicate about conflicts defines a marriage. Often, the communication stops moving forward and leads to breakdown when criticism, stonewalling, or defensiveness becomes frequent in your dialogues. If your communication skills aren't perfect, you can continually improve them. Since you are married, you probably know how your partner acts during a fight, what sets them off, and what calms them down. Ending an argument before it gets too heated is a good practice.

How You Express your Emotions is an essential part of healthy communication.

The key to communicating effectively in a marriage is active listening which involves intently and mindfully paying attention to your partner.

Some factors in active listening include:

  • your tone of voice

  • written communication or text

  • body language

  • touch

  • silence

Reflective listening helps clarify their partner's feelings, needs, and expectations. This skill allows your partner to feel understood, heard, and valued. Another mistake that leads to misunderstandings is not closing the circle of communication.


One way to do this is through closed loop communication

 It's a 3-step process where:


  • The communicator uses their partner's name to convey what they want to say.

  • The listener gives verbal confirmation that the message is understood.

  • The communicator confirms that the listener understood correctly, closing the communication loop.


Steps for Healthy Communication

1.Acknowledge that there is a problem.

We can learn new behaviors if we admit there is a problem and are willing to put in the time and effort needed. Lowering our ego and pride can help improve communication with our partners.

2.Schedule Time with your partner to discuss your feelings.

It is essential to have a conversation at the right time for both of you. Starting a conversation with your partner when they are tired, angry, or just having a bad day is counterproductive and adds additional pressure. Patience and understanding are minimal at these times and can create a more hostile environment. Starting a meaningful conversation when someone is falling asleep or leaving for work is not recommended either. Choose times when you can contribute the necessary time and patience to discuss and resolve an issue. 

3.Express your needs or wants clearly.

Be specific.

 Be specific when communicating with your spouse. Do not assume they have read your mind or know what you want. When issues come up, be precise, it is not helpful to use broad generalizations.

Avoid mind-reading.

It is frustrating when someone acts like they know what you are thinking better than you do.

4.Express Negative Feelings Constructively.

There will be times when you feel bitter, resentful, disappointed, and disapprove. These negative feelings must be communicated constructively and dealt with for a change to occur. "I feel.." statements are healthy ways to convey negative feelings.

5.Discuss your feelings using "I feel.." statements.

If you believe your feelings are not being taken into consideration by your partner, it may be that you're not expressing yourself constructively. Your partner might have trouble validating your feelings but realize you do not control their reactions. On the other hand, the way you express yourself is solely within your control. Try not to project your feelings through criticism onto your partner when you want to get your point across.

Instead, focus on your feelings about the issue and ask how to find a respectful, mutually satisfactory resolution together. When you talk to your spouse using "I" statements, raise an issue without playing the blame game. Your spouse has room to realize that a problem is important to you without feeling judged or attacked. 

6.Be willing to Listen to their feedback.

Be prepared to hear feedback, as communication is a two-way process. When you share your feelings, your partner will most likely have a reaction they want to share with you too. Set some time aside later so your partner can share their impressions, and you can listen to them this time. 

7.Remember to express your affection for your partner.

Physical closeness with your partner does your heart good. Studies conclude that women who spend short periods of affection with their partner can lower anxiety levels and boost oxytocin to improve overall mental well-being and physical health. It's no surprise, therefore, that physical intimacy fosters healthy communication between spouses.


 Remember to show affection every day. Small gestures like a hug or a quick kiss make you feel more connected to your partner. If you've been arguing a lot due to communication issues, chances are you've distanced yourselves from each other over time. However, as your connection strengthens, you and your partner will begin to show affection in a way that feels natural again.

8. Provide Open Space for each other.

Provide an open safe space, privacy, and a welcoming attitude for the two of you to communicate. Avoid spying and checking your partner's messages to ensure your relationship is free of deceit and doubts, and give loving trust so you can thrive as a couple.

If you have trouble communicating as a loving couple, consider seeking counseling. A professional can guide you through the challenging stages of reconnecting and help you find joy in those small loving gestures over time. Consider using Marriage in a Box if you need helpful advice and suggestions on working through this.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 3/23/2023

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