Every family has their bedtime routine. Jammies, brush teeth, bedtime story, or whatever works in your house.

Your children’s bedtime isn’t just the transition from daytime to nighttime. It’s a sacred window that’s perfect for deepening your connection.
Plus, when you and your kiddos know what to expect each night you will both be able to fall asleep more easily and avoid the roller coaster of sleep-related drama.
Ben and I have a GREAT respect for parents and their kiddos’ bedtime routines. At our recent sleepover with our nieces and nephew, 7, 5 and 3-year old twins, we saw first-hand just how tricky it can be. Before bed, do you wear them out and have them jump and dance all over the room? Or do you dim the lights and softened the music so they start to relax? Different things work for different children, it seems. My goal was to just make sure that everyone was alive and unharmed until their parents’ arrival. Nothing impressive. (Maybe the pictures will work during this intro? There’s a video clip, too, if we could find it together.) Continue Reading…

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More and more millennials are putting off marriage until later in life. A big influence on these young adults’ view on marriage is your own example.

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The whole family is together on Thanksgiving, so creating deeper connections is an important part of the day.

Thanksgiving dinner constitutes a lot of different scenarios: small groups, large group, in-home, at a restaurant, in-laws, out-laws, no laws. The questions posed to each other can change according to the dynamics of the people around the table.

What do we hope to gain from asking and answering certain questions of each other? Closeness.

We often say there’s strength in numbers; I believe there’s strength in knowledge. Around the table this Thanksgiving decide ahead of time what outcome you’d like to achieve as you pass questions randomly around to your guests or even write one unique question for each guest’s individual name card.

How Well Do Others See Me? (especially my child)

Let’s start with our children. Earlier this year there was a popular post on Facebook encouraging a parent to sit down with their child and ask them 14 specific questions, and then repost the answers along with the child’s name and age.

So instead of the parent asking questions to the child about that child, the parent asks questions to the child about that parent.

The answers were tender and endearing. Here are some of the questions

  • What is something I always say to you?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What makes me sad?
  • How do I make you laugh?
  • What is your favorite thing about our relationship?
  • What am I really good at?
  • What is something I’m NOT good at?
  • What do you enjoy doing with me?

Continue Reading…

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Dr. Liz Hale shares how improving your sex life will lead to a stronger connection with your spouse.

See the book Come As You Are Dr. Liz mentioned.
See Gottman Institute’s list of 13 things all couples do who have an amazing sex life.

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Finances are a common trigger for argument in any marriage.

Research: Spenders Versus Tightwads

This came from BYU’s Flourishing Families Project which provides a longitudinal, multi-informant, multi-method look at inner-family dynamics.

My favorite headline that emerged from this study:

“Husbands! Stop Thinking your Wife is Bad with Money!”

The study found that for husbands, having a wife who they PERCEIVED as a spender was the highest contributor to financial conflict. For wives, having a husband who PERCEIVED THEM as a spender was the highest contributor for financial conflict. This was seen in couples who had high incomes and low incomes as well as in couples who traditionally spend a great deal and those couples who don’t. The views were completely relative to perception, not reality. Even if and when circumstances change, perceptions often don’t.

Money is loaded with power and meaning that can make can discussions heated and hurtful. Arguments about money aren’t about money. They are about our dreams, our fears, and our inadequacies. Continue Reading…

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