While in Cabo, we had the privilege of eating dinner with Coach Mike Wade & his beautiful gem of a wife, Dr. Deb. We loved hearing their story and getting to know them better. Even in the short time we spent with them, it was obvious they are both full of wisdom and model the type of marriage Jonathan and I hope to have.
Dr. Deb is a former school teacher and a licensed psychologist. She just recently stepped away from her practice, but spent many years working with couples and families through counseling. We were blessed to hear her train on “Building Champion Marriages & Families” & I was so excited to bring back what I learned. Does that not speak incredible volumes about the integrity of this company that they see the importance of training on marriage?? I love it. And people think we just ‘sell vitamins.’ Ha!
The first thing we noticed when Dr. Deb went on stage to begin training was…. her arms. Ha! Jonathan leaned over and said “Man, she’s ripped.” I laughed because I was thinking the exact same thing. (What can we say? She’s a product of the products. And we both appreciate ripped arms. And I’m just sayin….I wanna look like that when I’m a grandma!)
But beyond the surface level, she blew us away when she spoke & we have no doubt she added so much value to every couple in the room- including us. I asked for permission afterwards to share on the blog (because y’all know I am all about sharing what I learn) and she gave me the go ahead, so here it is my friends. Enjoy!!
(Seriously, aren’t they adorable?)
#1 SPARK: One of the number one reasons couples come to counseling is because they’ve lost their “spark.” Do something daily to spark your marriage. Schedule 3-4 date nights a month. Make sure you kiss/hug/touch/talk to your spouse the first 5-10 minutes in the morning and the first 5-10 minutes when you get home from work. Treat your spouse like you did when you were dating until it becomes a habit. Find ways to keep the flame burning.
#2 BAGGAGE: Do not live in the past, bringing up previous mistakes, arguments, issues, etc. We all have “baggage” and it’s meant to be in the past. Enjoy the present, focus on positive memories from the past, and dream together in excitement for the future. Guard your heart daily so you don’t add more baggage to the relationship. Learn to say “I’m sorry” and be quick to forgive.
#3 BOUNDARIES: Lots of marriages are ending in divorce over FB. Be VERY cautious with social media. Never, ever be alone with someone of the apposite sex for any reason. Be careful with touch (side hugs are better than full frontal) and how much you talk. It’s not okay to assume you’re a naturally chatty or flirty person- be respectful of your spouse at all times. Be careful what you allow into your home (entertainment), hearts, & minds. Choose other relationships carefully. Be aware of how you spend your time. Eat meals TOGETHER (no electronics allowed).
#4 INVEST: Invest time into each other and into your marriage. Devote intentional time- at least 3-4 date nights a month. Have FUN! Fun is the glue that holds people together. Take turns planning date nights. Seek wisdom. Invest in yourself as well to keep growing and becoming a better wife/husband for your spouse.
#5 THE DEEP END: Work on getting beyond surface level and into the ‘deep end’ of your relationship. This is a richer aspect where you are more connected (on many levels) to one another than anyone or anything else. As time goes on in our marriage, it should become a deeper bond. Ask thought provoking questions and really get to know each other.
#6 ICEBERG: We tend to focus on the surface level and fight over silly issues, when in fact there are usually much deeper issues to address. Couples typically have the same conflict over and over because they never address what’s under the surface. Be real & vulnerable. Let your spouse know what’s really bothering you (because it’s probably not really about the fact that he leaves his socks on the floor).
#7 BAD MATH: Marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. If you’re not giving 100% effort 100% of the time, you’re not going to get that back. Serve your spouse the way you’d like to be served; extend grace the way you’d like to receive grace; speak to them the way you’d like to be spoken to. The golden rule applies in marriage. Also, back to the baggage thing…Multiplying fractions leads to more fractions. It takes two WHOLE people to successfully multiply (have children) and end with more whole numbers. If you or your spouse are broken, work on healing and resolving those issues ASAP.
#8 BANISH: What takes away the security in your marriage? BANISH anything that does. Busy schedules can be an issue. Even seemingly positive things (like hobbies) can come between a marriage, so be aware of how you spend your time and make conscious effort to keep your spouse first (second only to a relationship with the Lord). Take time to model a loving relationship in front of your children. How else will they learn what a solid relationship looks like? (They certainly aren’t getting it from the media!) Kiss each other! Hug often! Flirt (with your spouse)! Be the kind of wife you want your son to marry and the kind of wife you want your daughter to be (& vice versa for the fellas). It’s probably not a surprise that one of the #1 times for divorce is empty nest. Why? Couples devote all of their time and energy into their children and forget why they fell in love in the first place. That’s why the “deep end” is so important.
#9 DIFFERENCES: Shocker of the century- men and women are DIFFERENT. We have different thoughts, wants, needs, etc. The differences are meant to bring out the best in one another and compliment each other, so the most efficient way to have our differences work to our advantage is through COMMUNICATION. Communication skills take time and effort to develop. Learn how to communicate with your spouse. That means putting down the phone & turning off the laptop and television to really connect and LISTEN. Learn to appreciate your spouse’s differences. (For example, Jonathan is an AWESOME problem solver. One of my strengths is “maximizer” and I do not like to slow down long enough to solve problems. I LOVE that he fills in that gap for me and I need to make sure he knows how much I appreciate that about him.)
#10 DEPOSITS PAY DIVIDENDS: Use your words to build one another up. Discover your spouse’s love language and put it into action. Do something every single day to let your spouse know you care.
#11 INTIMACY: This means both emotional and physical intimacy. This is a gift between you and your spouse that should be freely given. Intimacy is key and part of the special bond between husband and wife. (FYI: Do NOT Google “intimacy” to try to find a picture. Take my word for it.)
#12 BLACK & WHITE: Kids want black & white. There is way too much “grey” in our society today & that is confusing, so establish concrete expectations and boundaries for your children. Have unsinkable standards. Be consistent. Communicate with your children. Deep down, kids do not want parents to be their friends. Be the parent.
Thank you for your words of wisdom, Dr. Deb!
P.S. I have to throw this out there. Mike & Deb have a single 34 year old son….and seeing as how I have somewhat of a reputation for match-making, I figured I’d throw it out there for all the single ladies! He lives in Tallahassee, FL….I have no doubt is a champion in life based on who his parents are….and know that you would never have an issue with in-laws because Coach & Dr. Deb are the bomb! (I’ll see if she can hook me up with a picture.) Hey, ya never know, right? Any single ladies in the house??