Being asked to give that talk on nurturing friendship in marriage was a kick in the pants in the best way. A I did research, pondered inspired and inspiring comments, and searched for materials to use I realized that although Ashley and I have a really good relationship it can still be so much better. And why wouldn’t I want an even beter relationship with my wife? That’s like turning down happiness just because I’m too lazy, or I’m satisfied with the amount of happiness and satisfaction we already have. DUH!! So I kept on investigating all kinds of different resources and now I think that I’d like to share some of them with whoever reads this blog. I’ve found them really useful, or I anticipate they may be really useful to others. If you have any books, blogs, podcasts, sites, organizations, etc., that you have found useful please comment at the bottom and we can keep this list going and going.
- The Mormon Channel’s Gospel Solutions for Families Podcast. This is such a wonderful resource. The podcasts are discussions between church leaders about how their families and other successful families deal with certain challenges that confront many of us today, and how to incorporate the gospel into family life to grow closer together. The discussions are led by Matthew O. Richardson, Second Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency. Some of the really profound and interesting podcasts that made me stop and think about my relationship with Ashley were Strengthening Marriage and Families Through Traditions, Foundational Principles of Marriage, The Family: A Proclamation to the World, and Building Your Marriage which is really a pair of discussions about how to leave and cleave effectively. I would be really interested in hearing comments about that last one since I’m always wondering how my friends who are married and living in a parent’s basement leave and cleave to their spouses effectively.
- The Dating Divas. This website is chalk full of cute ideas for dates, for reminders about tender feelings, and ways to constantly nourish your relationship in creative and cute ways. I’ve been gleaning ideas from here for the last several weeks which has been great since I’m gone to Nanton half the week. I’ve left a jar of candy with short reminders of why I love Ashley on them, one for every day I’ll be gone. We did a treasure hunt game where before I left I hid a certain number of chocolate kisses around the house. We devised a score reward system where if Ashley found so many of the chocolates by the time I got back she would get this prize or that prize. The grand prize if she found every single one was a day together in Calgary, with a romantic dressy dinner to end up the evening. She found all of them of course, and I’m so glad she did! If you know of any really nice restaurants in Calgary that I could take Ashley to, let me know. It’s been great to find an idea that I think she’ll like and then plan out how to do it. Thinking about Ashley all day is a great way to spend the day and it makes it so great when I finally get back home.
- Laura Brotherson’s website, StrengtheningMarriage.com. Obviously sex is a key part of marriage, but there’s so much mis-education, mis-information, and mystification that it was really wonderful to find Laura’s materials. She has written a book that I’m in the middle of reading with Ashley right now, called “And They Were Not Ashamed“. The first two chapters of the book are spent dealing with the fact that most of the information readily available about sex is buried in smut, wrong, or unreliable; in our tee that because there is so much focus on what a problem premarital sexual behaviour is often marital sex is ignored. Laura’s blog, interviews, book, and articles are clear, no nonsense, smut free resources to learn more about wholesome marital sex. There’s just so much to know. In one of her podcasts she cites a statistic that something like 60-70% of marriages experience extended periods of sexual frustrations or dysfunction, so I’m sure that most people could use a reliable source to really excel at that part of marriage. The best part is that this book is a great starting point because she cites so many other reliable authors and books that you can continue your reading for a long time to become an expert. Anyways, I can’t say enough about the things that she has made available, I think that they are invaluable, and most of them are free. I very strongly recommend getting the book if you want to have a better sex life in your present marriage, your future marriage, or you want to explain sex well to your kids. If you’ve read And They Were Not Ashamed already what did you think about the things that Laura presented in it?
Well, those are three things that I’ve been looking at, among others. I really hope that you take a little while to investigate all of them because a marriage can always be better. In just these few weeks these resources have helped me understand marriage a little better, determine to strengthen my marriage, and provided concrete ways for me to do just that.