3 Ways to Kickstart Your Stale Marriage

Don't let your marriage sit in neutral. Here are 3 ways to start improving it today!

Almost four years ago, I realized I was a terrible husband. I was lazy, unintentional, unreliable, and more. If not for a chance encounter with a couple who would quickly become my friends and mentors, I have no doubt that I’d be writing about my former marriage by now.

Since then, I’ve spent four years learning and applying as much as I can to improve my relationship and by sharing my favorite lessons learned from the pros, help you improve yours, too, no matter how great your relationship already is!

If you’re new to the site, the best ways to get into my head and take advantage of the research I’ve done (and mistakes I’ve made) already are to pick up my book, Confessions of a Terrible Husband: Lessons Learned from a Lumpy Couch, check out more posts right here, follow me on social channels, or listen to the podcast (It’s on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and more. Just hover over the word “podcast” on the top of any page on the site!).

Although my marriage is much improved, it’s definitely been more of a roller coaster than a rocket ship launching into space. We have ups and downs, like any relationship, although the ups are “uppier” and the downs are less “downish.” Yes, I made those words up. It’s my blog. I can do that. 🙂

We’ve had periods where we make great progress and then weeks or months where things feel a bit stale and need a kickstart.

When that happens, these three things help regain focus, direction, and momentum!

If you want to hear more detail about these, don't miss the podcast episode based on this! You can listen to it right here, or on your preferred podcast app like iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and more!

Change your dinner plans.

It’s no secret that Dan and Joanne Miller were the first marriage mentors who I connected with to help me transform my relationship. Since meeting them, I’ve been very intentional to surround myself with many other men, women, and couples with great marriages so I can learn as much as possible. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

One of the easiest ways to start with this is to just begin making dinner plans with couples you believe have great marriages. Keep it simple. You don’t need any magic words or to ask any specific questions. Just spend more time with people who have relationships like you want to build and less time with people who don’t. You can learn a ton just by being around people with great marriages.

Change your programming with new books, podcasts, or video content.

If you can’t find people with great marriages to spend more time with, find virtual mentors by reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching great video content. If you can do this with your spouse, even better. But if not, that’s okay. Make the first move by consuming content that can help you improve your relationship and applying the lessons you learn.

Before I turned 30, I had read fewer than 10 books for personal growth, and those were all finance and business books. After turning 30, I started reading more business and marketing books. Although my finances looked great and my career was going well, my personal life was pretty . . . well, you know the name of this blog, so that pretty much says it all. 🙂

Now, I’m constantly either reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a video about improving my relationship and then committing to applying at least one thing I learned from the material. My favorite way to do it is through audiobooks, which I can listen to while emptying the dishwasher, cleaning my office, and more. I highly recommend everyone subscribe to Audible where you can get a new book every month. If you aren’t a member yet, you can get a free month and a free book to keep (even if you cancel) by heading here.

However you consume content, direct some of it on a regular basis to improving your relationships, and commit to applying one lesson you learn from each piece of content to put a jolt in your relationship.

Take a guided challenge!

When you’re just starting to intentionally improve your relationship, or if it’s been weeks or months since you last made an intentional effort, one of the easiest and best ways to build positive momentum is to take a guided challenge.

The best part about taking a guided challenge is it takes all the thinking out of improving your relationship! You don’t need to look for a lesson or get anyone’s buy-in. You just follow the instructions.

I’ve made it a point to take at least one challenge every year and each time I take one, my marriage gets a great boost!

This year, I’m taking a FREE 7-day challenge by the Ziglar family (yes, that Ziglar family!) that starts Monday, March 27, 2017, and I’d like to invite you to do it with me.

After taking a deep dive behind the scenes of the free 7-day challenge, I saw three things that made me quickly become more excited about this free challenge than about many paid challenges I’ve seen.

First, it’s only 7 days long. Anyone can stick to a challenge for 7 days.

Second, it touches 7 key areas of family life, including relationship, communication, physical health, work–life integration, community, financial, and—if you’re spiritual in nature—spiritual.

Finally, the challenge is led by seven leading experts on their relevant subject matter.

Get this:

Day 1: Gary Chapman (Relationships)

Day 2: Michael & Gail Hyatt (Communication)

Day 3: Dr. Josh Axe (Physical Health)

Day 4: Tony Dungy (Work–Life Integration)

Day 5: Brian Buffini (Community)

Day 6: Dave Ramsey (Finances)

Day 7: Zig Ziglar’s own children – Cindy, Julie, and Tom (Spirituality).

Needless to say, that’s seven sorts of awesome right there. And each of them shares their best advice for you during the challenge!

I hope you join me in taking the challenge! I liked it so much I agreed to help promote the free challenge for them in addition to taking it myself. It’s totally free to sign up. They also have other great free content there to check out and a paid membership and coaching program if you want to go even deeper, so be sure to check it out.

Are you ready to kickstart your marriage?

How will you do it? Will you change your dinner plans? Will you change your programming? Will you join me in the FREE 7-day challenge? All 3? Something else?

In the comments, share how you’re going to kickstart your relationship.

If you’re going to join me in the Ziglar family challenge, be sure to come back here and share your progress in the comments to this post and look out for more great posts (and a surprise podcast episode) from me!

4 Steps to Relationship Design

Brett Campbell shares a 4-part framework for designing the relationship of your dreams

4-steps-to-relationship-designMany of you know I left my career as a corporate lawyer earlier this year to become a full-time ghostwriter and content coach. Although the point of that transition was to lean into my family life, little did I know how much that process would impact me from a relational perspective….

I started the transition in late 2015 after someone approached me with a manuscript by an accomplished speaker, trainer, and coach, who wanted a professional set of fingers to help him finish it in a way that made sure he served his readers well. She thought I'd be a good fit and a part of his core audience and suggested I accept this as my first big project. So I did.

The book was by Brett Campbell, who had created a 4-part framework for designing business and personal lives that he'd been using with clients and audiences through speaking engagements, live training events, and one-on-one coaching and consultants. His clients and audiences had been seeing great results.

But his challenge was to find a way to translate a message and system that was conveyed effectively on stage or the phone to something that worked well on paper, a completely different animal, and a skill I developed by writing millions of words in a professional and creative setting.

Over the course of working with Brett to ensure his book delivered on the promise to give actionable, effective steps and a new perspective to accomplishing goals far larger than you would imagine are possible, I started quietly applying his system to my personal and business life.

(If you know anything about me, you know that I'm constantly asking myself how I can apply business lessons to my marriage to consistently improve my relationship. Working on this book was no different.)

In the months working with Brett, I became inspired by his 4-part book and personal improvement framework to be even more deliberate with my business and personal life.

Because of that, I asked Brett to come on the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast to share his framework with us and talk with me about using it to improve relationships. Although Brett designed the system for more broad application to your life overall, many of you know that I'm a big proponent of asking how great systems, lessons, or content can apply specifically to improving relationships.

You can listen to the interview right here:

If you prefer, you can also listen (and subscribe) on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Facebook, and more, where you'll see dozens of other episodes and be able to get new ones sent right to your phone!

I'm excited that Brett agreed because our conversation was so much fun and useful for two reasons.

First, it's a great conversation about the substance of his framework and the steps you can take to improve many areas of your life. That alone is awesome.

Second, it's a great peek into how I approach great content to apply it to improving marriages. You can hear me do out loud what I normally do in my head, taking the content and applying it to relationships. You can even hear Brett react to some of that and further that discussion.

Definitely check it out, and if you want to check out Brett's book, he's doing a presale now on his website right here where he's giving away $347 in bonuses if you preorder the book. If you prefer, you can even get the book on Amazon right here. Brett's special preorder page has additional purchase options. Once you buy, send your email to Send or forward your receipt to: bonus@brettcampbell.net and if you buy it on time he'll email you the bonuses. Pretty awesome. I have already been through two of the bonuses and they're awesome.

Remember, one of the most effective ways to consistently improve your marriage is to be consistently searching for new lessons and perspectives on personal improvement and asking yourself how this can apply to the most important areas of your life. If you want to get started doing that, this episode is a great example of how to do that with an even better example of a substantive 4-part framework to help you do it!

When you have a listen, I'd love to hear what resonated with you about the framework or the process we demonstrate about applying content like this to relationships! Be sure to come back and let  me know what jumped out to you in the comments!

Are you moving too fast to be happy?

When the speed of your life can change the happiness in your heart

UPDATE: This post has turned into one of the most popular posts on Confessions of a Terrible Husband! Because of that I took a few minutes to talk about it a bit more on the Confessions of a Terrible Husband Podcast. You can listen to the episode by clicking the play button at the bottom of this post or by visiting any of the listening options linked on the top of the page!

Also, if you're interested in joining my upcoming small group marriage mastermind, be sure to sign up for my email list because I'll be revealing details to the subscribers first! It will be limited to 12 people! Just sign up here on the sidebar, or you can also email me at nick@aterriblehusband.com!

Are you moving too fast to be happy-I did something different yesterday morning that reminded me of the importance of the pace with which we live our lives.

If you want to listen to the story, click the play button at the end of this post where it says “Listen Here.”

If you prefer to read, here's what happened:

My six-year-old son, Pavlos, woke up super early (6am, compared to 7:15 or so).

He was (as he usually is) full of energy.

The house was quiet. My wife and 4-year-old daughter were asleep.

I was up reading.

We normally tell Pavlos when he wakes up to look at the clock and if it is before 7am he can get up, brush his teeth, and get changed, but he then has to get back into bed until at least 7.

He's pretty good with that routine.

At about 6am yesterday, I heard the thud of him jumping out of his bed followed by the pitter patter of his tiny little footsteps going from his bedroom to our bedroom.

For some reason, however, I decided to interrupt his routine yesterday.

“Pavlos,” I yelled.

The footsteps stopped, and then started again, growing louder and louder as he bolted down the stairs.

He turned the corner and, as Zig Ziglar would say, smiled so wide he could eat a banana sideways.

I smiled, too, said good morning, and gave him a big hug and kiss.

He knew I wasn't sending him back to bed, so he asked me if I could help him find his bag of popsicle sticks and some post-it notes because he and his friends had planted jellybeans at school and the kindergarteners kept digging them up.

He wanted to make “flags” to put around the jellybeans so the kindergarteners would know there were plants there that the first graders were wanting to grow into lollipops.

We made flags.

It was such a fun time, with him writing “plants here” nice and neatly on the post-its, me making some, too, and then me reinforcing the post-it notes on the sticks with scotch tape.

When we were done, he gathered his “flags,” put them in a ziplock bag, and stuck the ziplock bag in his backpack.

He was so excited.

I then asked him if he wanted to take a walk with me.

We had never taken a walk before school, and we hadn't taken a walk at all since well before winter.

We both put on the closest gear available, him wearing bright red rain boots, the first coat he could find, and a baseball cap, and me wearing black pajama pants, a white t-shirt, a wool hat, and my winter coat.

We took a 10-15 minute walk to the end of the cul-de-sac and back.

I led him in conversation a bit, but mostly let his mind wander and asked him questions about things that are important to him.

When we got home, he grabbed the post-it notes, again, and ran to the corner of the room.

I got ready for work.

He told me when I get to work to look in my backpack and “dig deep.”

I did.

At the bottom of my backpack was the crumpled post-it note you see right here.

Is your pace limiting your hapiness?I called my wife to let her know about the note because I knew she would find it cute.

She told the kids that I was on the phone and to say hi.

Pavlos yelled in the background:

“Hi Dad! I had a great time with you this morning!”

The sincerity and joy in his voice were obvious.

I melted.

Then I paused.

Then I realized that I sometimes let my mind speed through the day, racing through the minutes and hours like an athlete training to win the next race. I spend the whole day focused on what I need to do next to accomplish a goal I have set for my personal or professional life.

I stick to my routine, wanting to finish my reading goal, have a certain amount of quiet time, or otherwise just continue according to my “plan.”

I spend the whole day focused on what I need to do next to accomplish some personal or business goal months or years out.

Other times, I slow down and realize that I'm already winning, right now, in ways that are way more important than whatever comes next.

How can you slow down today?

What can you interrupt?

What can you say yes to?

How are you already winning in ways that are more important than whatever comes next?

Listen Here:

Is an argument-free marriage possible?

Fawn Weaver shares her story of perspective

Is an agument-free marriage possible-Think back to your last argument with your spouse.

Almost without exception couples who have been married more than ten minutes will have at least one story where a discussion turned into an argument.

They said something they didn't mean.

They focused more on being right than achieving or solving something together.

Or they don't even remember what they were arguing about, but just remember arguing about something.

For some couples, we're talking looking back a matter of hours. Others days, weeks, or months.

But as strange as it seems to terrible husbands like me, some couples have gone years or even decades without arguing.

Get this. They have “conversations” instead.

And not “air quotes” conversations. Actual, productive, calm, respectful conversations to resolve differences in opinions, goals, or plans, for the good of the marriage.

Sure, it's normal to argue. But that doesn't mean it should be accepted as part of “real life.”

Which is why eliminating arguments from my marriage, something we haven't been completely successful at doing yet, is my next big focus on becoming a better husband and creating a marriage worth modeling.

The more I study, it seems as if one secret to having a marriage free from arguments is to have a marriage full of love, respect, and perspective.

Work those three concepts into your mind, body language, and words and you will be well on your way to reducing or eliminating arguments from your marriage.

You will treat “issues” differently. It will become less personal. Less emotional. More conversational.

Don't take it from me, though. You can hear it straight from a great friend of the blog, Fawn Weaver, of the Happy Wives Club, (and the first guest on the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast), who recently shared her story of achieving an argument-free marriage in a Ted Talk.

She also has a brand-new book coming out called The Argument-Free Marriage: 28 Days to Creating the Marriage You've Always Wanted with the Spouse You Already Have, which I encourage you to check out, particularly because of the whole “spouse you already have” angle… because without that things could get pretty awkward over the next 28 days….so….

How does Fawn Weaver – the happy wife from The Happy Wives Club – keep arguments out of her marriage?

As you will see, she doesn't give up her identity. She doesn't give up her opinions. She doesn't give up her hopes or dreams.

Her secret is a heavy dose of perspective. Here's her talk. I'll let her explain. Let me know what you think in the comments.

So what do you think?

Is it possible to have a marriage free from arguments?

Have you been able to reduce or eliminate arguments from your marriage?

What has worked best for you?

And once again, be sure to check out Fawn's book and make the next 28 days the catalyst for an incredible marriage!