Tag: marriage

Mistakes Wives Make

Mistakes Wives Make

In our previous article, Ryan wrote 10 Mistakes Husbands Make, so we decided to follow it up with this article discussing the most common mistakes made by wives.

Here are the top 5 mistakes wives make:






There aren't any! That's right... wives don't make mistakes.

Anything that goes wrong in a marriage is clearly the fault of the husband!

Just kidding.

We work with couples all the time, and we see a few issues over and over again. These are not true of all wives, of course, but they are the most common ones we see.

Lack of Communication

Many times, wives think they're communicating just fine, but when we dig down deeper we find bitterness, resentment, grudges, and unexpressed issues. A wife will tell us a whole litany of things that are going wrong in her marriage, but when we ask if she's talked to her husband about it, she looks like a deer in the headlights. Sometimes she's talked so much about the issue with everyone except her husband she doesn't even realize she hasn't talked to him.

Ladies, we absolutely have to get good at talking to our husbands. 

When an issue arises, we need to be lovingly honest and tell him.

If he doesn't hear it the first time, tell him again. And again. And again, until he hears it, understands it, and acts on it. Do not stop communicating.

I'm not talking about nagging him. Nagging is not an effective form of communication. The sound of nagging is like nails on a chalkboard. Instead, sit down with your husband without distractions, and be direct about whatever the issue is. Be kind, respectful, and polite, but be honest and direct.

Afterward, show grace and let it go. 

Lack of Respect

Men need respect, even in the middle of a time when they have screwed up big time. In fact, that's probably a time when they need it most. In those instances, your husband is probably already doubting himself and needs to be built up. Men need respect like women need unconditional love. If you don't believe me, there's a whole book about it called Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. All couples should read that book.

Nothing good gets accomplished when wives treat their husbands with disrespect.

Screaming at him, embarrassing him in public, telling his secrets, scolding him, treating him like a child, or questioning his abilities all show disrespect. None of those things will make your marriage better and could tear it apart instead.

Your husband probably married you because of the way you made him feel about himself. Back when you were just dating, you probably made him feel like the king of your life. He relies so much on you for his self-worth, so be gentle and respectful.

Your words are powerful. Use them wisely.

Lack of Interest

Many wives get so busy with children or with their careers that their marriage gets put on the backburner. Obviously, this isn't just the fault of the wife, and husbands can be just as guilty, but it's definitely an issue we see in couples we've worked with. Most times, it's not intentional.

Let's face it, ladies... we're busy.

We're busy driving kids around. We're busy paying bills. We're busy writing books and baking cakes and doing laundry. We're busy with work and with church and with volunteering. By the end of the day, we're completely exhausted.

If we aren't careful, our busy-ness can translate into lack of interest in our husbands.

Husbands and wives alike need to make their marriage a priority. Your marriage is important, so you need to intentionally make time for it.

Schedule a date night or a weekend getaway. Go for lunch together on a weekday. Fill a thermos with coffee, go for a drive, and have a coffee break with some beautiful scenery. Show your spouse you care by spending time together.

Time = Love. 

Turn it Around

If any of these issues resonate with you, turn it around. Identify the areas in your marriage that need improvement, discuss them honestly with your spouse, and then make the necessary corrections. It's never too late to make your marriage everything you want it to be.

10 Mistakes Husbands Make

10 Mistakes Husbands Make

It's better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.


There are times in my marriage when I think everything is going great when it actually isn't. I don't always pick up on the signals my wife, Carrie, sends out. At times I can be really dense. Over the years, though, I've learned to be straightforward and ask Carrie what I can do better. I've also learned that there are a few common mistakes to avoid.

Here are ten common errors husbands commit:

1. We procrastinate on the "Honey-Do" List. There is always something that needs to be done, and we can always find a reason to put things off another day. The problem is that each day that passes, regardless of the excuse we use, is like adding a vile of nitroglycerin to the situation. The longer you leave it in the sun the more unstable it gets until the explosion eventually takes place.

2. We have been busy all week and spend zero quality time together when the call comes in to play a round of golf with the guys. We justify the time away in our minds and go. When we get home we wonder why our wife is on kid-overload and wants to cash in our life insurance policy. Duh.

3. We refuse to change a diaper, saying, "That's woman’s work." If you decide to say that, run for the hills because that three-pound mass of "woman’s work" will be coming at your head.

4. Too much time on sports or video games. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to relax and enjoy these things. There is a problem when your family takes a backseat to your sporting event or you are taking every free moment to join your buddies to play the latest online game. Your family matters more than the Stanley Cup. I promise.

5. Making private things public. How many times have you said something and as it leaves your mouth you look at your wife's fake smile and know you just messed up big time? We used to have a sign in our hockey locker room that said, "What is said here, stays here." It's the same within your home. There are just some things you should keep between you and your spouse. It's a respect issue.

6. Not taking an active role in the kids' up-bringing. Our wives should not be the only ones actively involved in the lives of our children. As Dads we need to lead our homes and help shape our children into the adults God wants them to be. Parenting requires a team effort, so be sure to play your part.

7. Pretending to listen. Ahh, the selective listening muscle we develop so well! Ever see a guy drooling on himself watching a TV program while his wife is trying to talk to him? Guys, when we tell our wives we can focus on both her and that show, we are only fooling ourselves. We miss out on a great deal when we don’t actively listen to our wife. It will tick her off. Big time.

8. Making a major purchase without discussing it with our wives first. Need I really say more here? When I was working in the car business, I saw the macho man come in like he is the boss and buy the car without talking to his wife first. The results are not pretty. Although he may talk a good game when he is not around her, we all know what will happen when he gets home with the new ride. If you don't believe me, go ahead and buy the most enormous big-screen TV with money she has set aside for the kids' school clothes and supplies. See how she responds. Good luck with that.

9. Trying to be funny in public by attaching wives to jokes. This is an especially nasty one, guys. No wife feels loved by someone who makes her look like a fool in public. This one cuts deep, guys, and is a huge no-no. Never, ever make your wife the butt of a joke.

10. We stop dating our wives. With all of the responsibilities we have to deal with each day, we get caught up in the details and stop making the time to date each other. This is like throwing a bucket of water on a fire. We have to keep working on the romance and reminding ourselves what we love about each other to keep the fire burning. We can easily let the demands from life (and children) take over. We could end up missing out on some great years. I have a motto that I have followed for quite a few years: "Happy Wife, Happy Life." If your wife isn't happy, no one in the house is happy. Spend time with her and treat her like she is special. She is.

I am not perfect, but I do continue to work on these things because when Carrie feels loved, respected, and appreciated, all is well in the Sharpe household. Chances are, if the better choice for me is to live in the corner of an attic, I have messed things up and I am reaping the harvest of bad decisions like I have mentioned above. You may think that verse I mentioned at the beginning of this article is a warning to wives about their attitudes, but I also know that my behavior (whether good or bad) can influence Carrie's attitude.

What things can you do today to be a better husband to your wife? If any of the pitfalls I mentioned struck a cord with you, I challenge you to make the necessary changes to improve your marriage. Marriage is a journey, and it is worth the time and effort we put into it.


To read the corresponding article, Mistakes Wives Make, click here.


How to Apologize to Your Spouse

How to Apologize to Your Spouse

When I was younger, I was not big on apologies (unless, of course, the apology came from someone else). I rarely thought I was wrong about anything, and an apology would somehow equal defeat. Unfortunately, my relationships suffered as a result.

The older I got, the more I realized the need to admit wrongdoing. This became especially apparent once I was married. I realized that an apology was not so much a symbol of defeat as a way to restore a relationship. If I have hurt someone in some way, I need to apologize. An apology does not necessarily mean that I "lose" something; rather, I gain something.

By apologizing, I gain restoration of a relationship.

Do you find it difficult to apologize?

It isn't always easy to apologize. We're prideful people, and it's tough to admit when we're wrong. Remember Fonzie on Happy Days? Even he found it tough to admit when he was wrong.

It was funny for Fonzie, but if we want strong relationships, we have to be willing to admit our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. This is especially true in marriage.

Your spouse is your greatest ally on this planet, so keeping that relationship strong is vital. If anything causes strife in marriage, it is worth resolving as quickly as possible. An apology is the way to do just that.

Admittedly, I am not always right. It kind of hurts just saying that. But, it's true. No one is right all the time. We all screw stuff up. We hurt people's feelings. We say things we shouldn't. When we do, we need to apologize.

Here's how to apologize to your spouse in the most effective way:

1. Swallow your pride. Pride is ugly, and it will cause you to be stubborn and full of yourself. Pride will tell you that you are right and don't need to apologize. Recognize and banish those thoughts and tendencies. Marriage is a union of two people who have become a team. There is no room for strife in that team. When you mess up, be quick to admit it, and throw your pride to the wayside. Approach your spouse with humility, and don't make excuses for yourself.

2. Admit your wrongdoing. Don't be Fonzie. Be straightforward and state exactly what you did wrong. Say it out loud in detail. Your spouse needs to know that you fully understand what you are apologizing for. 

3. Say, "I'm sorry." Actually say the words. Telling your spouse "I'm sorry" signals that you feel regret for your actions or words. Even if you believe you are right in the situation, you can at least apologize for hurting your spouse's feelings or for arguing.

4. Express a plan to fix the situation. Sometimes you'll need to take steps to rectify the situation. Other times you'll need to share a plan to make sure your wrongdoing will not occur again. Either way, verbalize your intentions so your spouse knows you're serious and can see how you will change.

5. Be patient. Your spouse may not accept your apology immediately. While it's important for both spouses to show grace and give the benefit of the doubt, understand that it may be difficult for your spouse to do that right away. Don't explode if your spouse needs some time or is angry. Give your spouse the time and space they need to work through your apology.

We all make mistakes and do things we wish we hadn't. We need to get good at apologizing if we want our marriages to remain strong. Humility and willingness to rectify a bad situation will go a long way toward restoring your relationships.

You Need Date Nights

You Need Date Nights

If you are married or are in a significant relationship with someone, you need date nights on a consistent basis. Every couple does. There is no possible way to grow your relationship or keep it strong if you aren't spending quality time together.

Lounging on the couch together while drooling on yourselves in front of the television is not quality time, by the way.

I know you're busy, exhausted, and have other things to do. I get it. I really do. We have five kids, I homeschool them, I work from home, and Ryan works a full-time sales job. We struggle to schedule date nights, too. At times money gets tight, and we don't want to spend it on date nights.

But we understand that date nights are vital to the health of our marriage, so we make sure they get scheduled as often as possible. Date nights don't have to break the bank, either. 

Date nights are necessary because they give us a chance to get out of the house and away from our usual routine. They get us away from interruptions like phones, work, and children. Date nights motivate us to de-stress and give us the opportunity to fall in love all over again. They force us to focus on each other and talk about issues, ideas, goals, and dreams. Date nights provide a great opportunity to communicate with each other.

As Communication Consultants, Ryan and I work with couples all around the world. We host Marriage Communication Masterminds that give us the opportunity to chat with couples about marriage communication topics like listening, speaking clearly, appreciating differences, and conflict resolution. We listen and learn more about each couple and help them strategize a gameplan to improve their communication and strengthen their relationship. Through our discussions with couples, the number one problem we find is that most couples are not intentionally spending enough quality time together. Everything else falls apart when there is not enough quality time.

It's impossible to communicate effectively if you're not spending quality time together with your spouse or significant other.

Luckily that's a problem that is easy to solve. Simply start scheduling date nights together on a regular basis.

We recommend weekly date nights, or biweekly dates at the very least. The dates can take place away from home, or they can happen in the home after the kids go to bed. It's best to get out of the house, though, because when we're home we're tempted to do dishes, laundry, deal with children, or get distracted by other household issues. Even taking a walk alone together after dinner can be a nice date night.

Date nights don't have to be formal or fancy. Our favorite ones are simple and cheap (or even free). For example, one of our favorite date nights consists of sitting on the porch alone after the kids go to bed. We light candles, drink coffee, and talk. It's peaceful and gives us the opportunity to spend time together. We share stories, reminisce, and chat about important topics. That kind of date night doesn't take much planning and doesn't cost much at all.

If money is an issue, inexpensive date nights like our porch dates are easy to plan. Anything that gets you out of the house or focusing on each other can be a date night. If paying a babysitter is an issue, many teenagers are willing to babysit for small fees. Some couples even swap babysitting with other couples so everyone gets a date night. Our porch date nights don't require a babysitter because we're at home; we just wait until the kids are in bed.

Whatever is preventing you from having regular date nights can be solved. Date nights are important enough to find solutions to your problems. Intentional quality time and communication with your spouse or significant other is necessary to grow a stronger relationship. If that relationship is important to you, you need date nights.


You Need Date Nights
Keeping Your Marriage Strong When One of You Travels

Keeping Your Marriage Strong When One of You Travels

Travel is required for most jobs at some point, so inevitably there will be a time when either you or your spouse is out of town for work. Marriage is challenging enough when you're able to spend lots of time together, and that challenge only increases when you have to spend time apart. Ryan and I travel pretty often, so we have discovered several ways to keep our marriage strong. You and your spouse will need to determine what will work for you.

If either of you must travel, try these suggestions to keep your marriage strong:

1. Write each other love notes. Ryan often leaves secret notes for me to find while he's gone. He leaves them in my vitamin box, in my purse, on my dashboard, or even in my dresser drawer. These are just quick little notes saying "I love you," or "I hope you have a great day today." You can put similar notes in your spouse's suitcase or briefcase when they travel, too. Finding the notes from Ryan makes me feel closer to him when we're apart, and it's nice to know he took the time to write them. It shows me that he cares.

2. Spend time together, even when you're apart. With all the technology that exists these days, there is no reason not to be in contact with each other during travel. Send text messages or Facebook messages often. Call each other when you have a few free minutes, and be sure to FaceTime or Skype with each other before bed. Even when travel separates you, there are countless ways to spend time together.

3. Avoid questionable situations. When you're apart, don't put yourself in situations that disrespect your spouse and marriage. It is unwise to get drunk at a bar when you're out of town without your spouse. It goes without saying that you'd be asking for trouble in a situation like that, but other scenarios should probably be avoided as well. Ryan doesn't drive to a work event alone with a woman. He also won't have dinner alone with a woman, even for work. He believes that would be disrespectful to me, and it might give the wrong idea to an onlooker. He drives and eats separately, or in a group that includes both men and women. I follow the same standards when we're apart as well. It's not that we don't trust each other (we do), but we like to avoid even the appearance that something questionable might be happening. A marriage that isn't as strong as ours might not even survive situations like the ones I described.

4. Be helpful at home when you return. Since the spouse who didn't travel has been holding down the fort in your absence, it's important that you do more once you get home. Unpack your suitcase, throw in a few loads of laundry, and help out with the housework and kids. Your spouse will need a break, so make sure that happens. Catch up on anything that needs to be done.

5. Go on a date night with your spouse. When the trip is over, make sure you schedule a date night together. It's a great way to reconnect with each other and chat about anything that happened while you were apart. If you have kids, plan a separate time to do something special with them.

6. Travel with your spouse whenever you can. Traveling together is so fun, and it's a great way to make memories and focus on each other. If one of you is traveling for work, maybe it's possible for both of you to go. Ryan and I do this quite often. If he needs to travel for work, I go with him whenever I can. I stay in the hotel while he's working during the day (or I shop, sightsee, or relax in a coffee shop), and then we have dinner together and go out at night when he's finished with work. We have found this to be a great way to keep our marriage strong and still accomplish the necessary travel.

The main thing is to keep your marriage the most important thing in your mind and heart when you are away from your spouse. Physical distance does not have to create problems if you are intentional about making your marriage a priority. Try a few of our suggestions, and figure out what will work best for you and your spouse. Do you have other ideas? Leave us a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!

Diffusing Disagreements in Marriage: Fill the Tank

Diffusing Disagreements in Marriage: Fill the Tank

We loaded our five children into our minivan for a family trip. After everyone was buckled, we backed out of our driveway and noticed that our gas tank indicator showed "140 miles to empty."

Our destination was 141 miles away.

I suggested to my husband, Ryan, that we stop to fill up at the closest gas station on our way, which is 12 miles from our house. Ryan disagreed and thought we should wait to fill up until closer to our final destination.

I prefer to have a full gas tank before starting a trip. I don't like to watch the miles tick down and wonder if we'll be able to find a gas station when our tank is close to empty. Ryan would rather wait until later to fill up because we might find a lower gas price at a gas station closer to our destination.

Who is right?

I'd like to say that we calmly came to a quick solution to our disagreement. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Instead, we spent the entire 12 miles to the closest station arguing about it, all with the kids witnessing our every word.

That 12 miles felt like it took days. 

Eventually, Ryan relented. He pulled into the gas station and got out to pump the gas. I think he even slammed his door as he got out (but that might just be my interpretation). He was only outside for a couple seconds, and then he got back in the car and started it. He muttered under his breath, "I forgot my wallet, and we have to go back home to get it."

Silence ensued until our oldest son, Maguire, piped up and stated, "Wow, Dad, it's a good thing we didn't drive all the way and then get gas like you wanted to."

I'd like to say that I did not revel in the feeling of "being right" for a little while, but that would be a lie. 

Thankfully Ryan laughed, apologized for being stubborn, and agreed with Maguire that he was happier to find out this close to home that he didn't have his wallet with him. I apologized, too. We talked, and everyone laughed the whole way back to our house to retrieve the wallet. 

It turned out comical, but we could have done better.

Husbands and wives are generally very different people. Physical differences aside, husbands and wives often have very different personalities. They look at the world from different perspectives. They solve problems in different ways. These differences can make for amazing teamwork, but they can also lead to serious disagreements.

Ryan is very detail-oriented and likes to map out a plan before doing anything. In hindsight, he says that getting gas at our nearby station was not in his original plan, so he became inflexible. He struggles when his plans are disrupted. On that day, my idea to get gas closer to home was the disruption of his plan.

I like to have gas in the tank before a trip so I don't have to think about any of the details during the trip. I hate details and plans, so I get them out of the way before I can have fun. In hindsight, I realize his plan was equally valid (minus the wallet situation), and might have even saved us money.

Neither of us was right, and neither of us was wrong. We just had a difference of opinion. We disagreed. We argued about it because we are both stubborn and wanted to get our own way. Instead of arguing, we both should have shown some humility and grace. Then we could have discussed our options and made a decision we could both live with. We both need to be more flexible. We both need to compromise more. We are real people who often get this right, but at times we obviously don't.

Disagreements will always occur. Diffusing them takes love, understanding of different personalities, and a willingness to compromise. Love demands that we fight our individual need to be right, and work together as a team instead. We need to build each other up in order to truly fill the tank. 


Diffusing Disagreements in Marriage: Fill the Tank
Roadblocks to Good Communication

Roadblocks to Good Communication

Communication roadblocks can appear in many, many forms, and they seem to reappear in different forms throughout our lives. They can involve fear, lies, gossip, discouragement, exaggeration, nastiness, fighting, and even the total opposite-- the silent treatment. All of these communication issues become roadblocks to us moving forward in our most important relationships. Some are more obvious than others, but all of them need to be dealt with. We can build others up with our words or tear them down. Communication roadblocks need to be resolved quickly.

Once I saw on Pinterest a sign that said, “Before You Speak, THINK.”
Each letter of “think” stands for something. THINK stands for:

Is it True?

Is it Helpful?

Is it Inspiring?

Is it Necessary?

Is it Kind?

Basically, if what we want to say doesn’t meet that criteria, it probably doesn’t need to be said. If we hold our speech to those standards, we would get into far less trouble and experience fewer roadblocks. We would build each other up rather than tear each other down.

Think about it... If something you’re about to say is not true, or you aren’t sure whether it’s true or not, don’t say it. This one is first because this one can sure cause the most harm. There is nothing worse than spreading false information.

If what you’re about to say isn’t helpful, don’t say it. Words that aren’t helpful can be harmful. It could be gossip. It could be a complaint. Complaining is never helpful; offering a solution to a problem while offering to help, however, is helpful.

If what you’re about to say isn’t inspiring, don’t say it. This one goes to whether what you’re about to say will build someone up or tear them down. It’s a big deal because once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back. Most negative things we say don’t need to be said. And even when we have an issue we need to confront someone with, we can say it with love and build them up rather than be nasty.

If what you’re about to say isn’t necessary, don’t say it. Do you really NEED to say it? Are you really the one who needs to say it? Does the other person really need to hear it? If it isn’t necessary, don’t say it. Just because I don’t like your jeans, doesn’t mean it’s necessary for me to tell you. It’s not my job to point out everyone’s misdeed. So if it isn’t necessary, don’t say it.

Lastly, if what you’re about to say isn’t kind, don’t say it. Nasty critiques are not kind. Our speech, even when we’re presenting an issue to someone, can be kind, especially if we pray through it or think it through BEFORE we say it. There are so many things in the heat of the moment that I want to say, but when I pause to consider them I realize they aren’t kind. Making myself feel better by saying them anyway will only make me feel good in the moment. I’ll regret it later, and I might ruin a relationship at the same time.

If you have a communication roadblock, the easiest way to fix it is to utilize emotional control. When our emotions go crazy, we say things we should not. The best thing is to pause before we speak, especially when we’re angry, embarrassed, or caught off-guard. A good statement is, “I’m going to have to consider that and talk to you about it later.” Admit you are upset and need a little time to cool off first. What we say in the heat of the moment usually doesn’t turn out well. We end up looking nasty and immature. Other people become afraid of our reactions. That is especially true in marriage, and with our kids. We could all learn to tame our tongues a little more and use our words for good rather than evil. Print this out and stick it somewhere that it will be helpful for you, like on your bathroom mirror, fridge, or on your desk at the office: