Rotten Kid or Rotten Parent? A paradigm shift.

So who’s the rotten one?

A. The kid you’ve seen in the grocery store who wants everything on the shelf and who’s terrorizing the store, throwing the crazy tantrum and crying all the way through?

Or….

B. The mother to that kid who’s finally lost it and is red in the face and shaking her finger at her child while her voice elevates and threats of spankings or harsh words of anger and frustration are spewing from her lips?

We’ve all had a bad day, so a one time event is not the topic of this post. What is, is consistent behavior like this. So, what’s the issue? Is is nature or nurture? The eternal psychological debate right? (for all of those psychology majors out there.)

Sadly I see this a lot, too often for my liking really, and it breaks my heart. I’ve been in the mother’s shoes and can empathize with her and her frustration.  After all, who knows what kind of day she’s had before coming to the store, not to mention all the other issues and challenges that life presents mothers; so in many ways I can completely understand her reaction.

I also feel great pain in my heart as I watch the child shutter in humiliation and fear as this all takes place.  I can’t help but imagine what their day-to-day life might be like in such an environment. I worry about how they might be treated at home if their mother is willing to treat them like this in public.  I think many of us have probably been on both sides of this situation, both as an observer and participant.

I’m not going to say that either party is in the right and even the brightest psychologists will debate this to some extent. I try to avoid jumping to conclusions and be slow to judge, giving both the parent and child the benefit of the doubt. What I can say is, based on my own experiences, observations, and research is this:

Of the two parties, one has more experience in life, has greater understanding of how things work, and has or should have, more patience than the other. Don’t get mad at me yet though…. read on.

I am one to believe that while all of us are born with different personalities and traits, we aren’t born as evil creatures with the single purpose of ruining our parent’s lives (although I know some moms would even seriously debate this right as I write this :) ).  However, our role as a parent is to teach.

Here’s my what I’d like to get across. By shifting my perspective on this issue, I have noticed a great change as a parent. Here’s what we can do:

1.  Recognize that it is more likely that we are inherently bad as parents than we are inherently bad as children. In other words, instead of accepting that our children are rotten, we need to accept the possibility that our children misbehave because we have failed to teach them correct principles. To some degree, the behavior of our children is a direct reflection of the principles we’ve taught them or have failed to teach them.  It is our job to accept that, analyze the situation, recognize the problem, and search for solutions to teach effectively and remedy the situation.

2. To do so, we can swallow some bitter “pride” serum and accept our weakness. Don’t fret, our weaknesses can become strengths. (Ether 12:27). It is our job to work at becoming a better teacher and by doing so, we can become better parents. As we do, we’ll see the behavior of our children change for the better, and this will encourage us to continue in this upward trend. We will become happier parents and our children will be happier. Together we can have a happy life:) You see….. Happy Family…= … Happy Life!

3. The third element needed to accomplish this is patience. If we expect our children to be patient, then we must be able to be patient with them. We must remember, we need to be patient with our children the same way we’d like heaven to be patient with us as discussed in my earlier post “Becoming the Best Parent.” Change doesn’t take place for any of us over time and seeing change may take some time, but consistent effort is key.

I hope you’ll share both your frustrations and success in this regard. Please share with me how you’ve been able to address these situations and offer and suggestions you might have to help others.

Thanks again and best wishes!

CLB

 

 

 

15 Secrets to a Happy Family-Week 6

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Secret #6

Happy Families Limit Their After School Activities and Enjoy Being Together

 

If you want to be happy as a family then you must spend time together and it should be enjoyable:)

  • Most children today are over-scheduled and are usually being driven by their chauffeur mother all over town to their various sports and activities. This is not a recipe for a Happy Family. Although it is important to have our children learning and growing, we need to make sure they aren’t too busy. No after-school activities is an extreme and too many activities is the other extreme, but some where in the middle is where we should aim.  Try creating your own after-school activities as a family such as rollerblading, bike riding, or swimming. They need to have time at home to interact with their siblings.  If your kids grow up not knowing how to play every sport, they will still be great. The most valuable lessons in life are taught when the family is together. 

 

  • Parents must be an example by showing their children how much they want to be with them. Every time you see your family, after being away from them, be excited and happy to see them. Make sure they can feel the joy you have as you interact with them.

 

  • I recently read something that taught me a very valuable lesson. I learned that every time you are impatient with your children it is because they are interrupting something you are doing. I hadn’t even recognized how true that is until I started paying attention to it. Try it yourself and you will see. Notice how easy it is to be patient with your children when you aren’t working on anything? If we put more attention into enjoying time with our children, then we wouldn’t be so annoyed with them when they talk to us or ask us something.

 

  • Encourage each member of the family to treat each other with Kindness, Respect, and Love. Happy Families truly up lift and encourage each other. There will be more joy in your home as your family ENJOYS doing things together.

 

Challenge of the Week:

Schedule a specific time for your family to be together and focus the time on everyone just simply ENJOYING each other. Lots of smiles and love!

 

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15 Secrets to a Happy Family-Week 5

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Secret #5

 

Happy Families have One-on-One Bonding Times

Although spending time together as a family is the key to being happy, I’ve learned that it is so important to give yourself to each member of your family for one-on-one bonding time. Not only does your spouse need that time, but also each child needs it. In our busy lives, the only way we can be sure to take One-on-One time is to PLAN.  We must sit down each week and plan these times, “Who, Where, and When.”

One-on-One in Marriage:

Plan a time to be alone with your spouse with no distractions…….. children, phones/electronics, or work. Take this time to discuss issues or concerns you may have. Take this alone time as a married couple to talk and plan your future together.  This communication will build and strengthen your marriage. It will help you face challenges in your family. You will have more love and respect of each other and feel a great unity. Building strength in a marriage will create a sense of security for your children. ”The greatest thing you can do for your children is love your spouse.” 

One-on-One with Children:

The most important part to giving your child one-on-one time, is to give your whole self.  This means you completely put away everything else going on in your life and just listen. You should let your child talk to you and only give advice when they ask for it. One-on-One time with a child can be a date, a visit, a teaching moment, or anytime when your just together. Sit down with each child and let them plan what they will do with their One-on-One time with you.  The key to making the most of this One-on-One time is to make sure that there is a sense of unconditional love and respect that can not be changed. I often hear the saying “Children don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

My Experience:

Last week my daughter had to go into the hospital and go under anesthesia to get some dental work done.  I was a little nervous but I trusted that everything would be alright.  As I sat with my daughter in the play room, just her and I, waiting for the doctors to come get us, I felt so much love for her. I was sad that I hadn’t taken more time to be alone with her to just talk and play together. I decided at that moment, that I would try harder to plan more of these One-on-One times with her and with each member of my family. 

Challenge of the Week

Sit down as a family and plan a specific One-on-One time with your spouse and with each child. Do whatever is necessary to make sure these plans are carried out. Write it on your calendar, find a babysitter, reschedule appointments, etc. Share your experience with us.


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15 Secrets to a Happy Family-Week 4

 

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Secret # 4

 

Happy Families Keep Their Voices Down

 

I love this one! Sometimes it can be so hard to keep your voice down when your kids are testing your patience. From my experience, my children are much more responsible and well-behaved when I keep my voice down and handle the situation the right way.

When you yell at your kids, it shows that you are out of control. That loss of control can have many negative effects. Don’t let your children think they are too much for you to handle. Do whatever you can to bring a peaceful environment into your home.

 

Here are a few things that might help….

 

  • Have the Right Perspective:  Each member of your family is equally a Child of God and we are all working together towards the same goals. No one is better or more important and each of us can learn from each other.

 

  • Listen More!! Sometimes children are misbehaving because they need to be heard. They want your attention. Take time to let them talk while you listen.

 

  • Pray for Help: Whenever you are feeling annoyed, impatient, or frustrated with a family member, pray to have more understanding and to feel more love for that person. From my experience, the problem is resolved so quickly when we are showing more love for each other.

 

  • Give Yourself Time to Think: Whenever you feel like you just can’t handle the situation and your ready to raise your voice, simply ask everyone kindly to please go to their rooms. This way everyone can think about the situation for a little. When the heat has gone down and you’ve had time to think, then everyone can come together again and discuss the problem.

 

  • Be an Example: Have you ever seen your child repeat something that you had said and your realizing you probably shouldn’t have said it? Our children can teach us how to be better examples! If we watch the way they act or treat others, we can see what they are learning from our behavior at home. We need to show our children the “right way” to communicate with others.

 

  • Discuss Marriage Problems in Secret: Whenever you and your spouse have a disagreement, discuss it away from the children. Never argue in front of them.

 

You can find more help on keeping your voice down in two of my previous posts,

Learning to Control Your Emotions and Parenting With Love.

 

And we can never forget the wonderful quote by David O. McKay…..

“There should be no yelling in the home unless there is a fire.”

 

Challenge of the Week:

Create a “peaceful environment” in your home and work on keeping your voice down, unless there is a fire of course ;) And be an example to your children.

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Examples of a Family Mission Statement

examples of FMS

Have you followed the steps in Secret # 3 to start your family mission statement yet? Here are a few examples of family missions statements that can help you get yours started. Remember that you are writing YOUR families statement and it doesn’t have to be anything like these examples, but I hope they can help you!

Example # 1

Our family mission:
To love each other…..
To help each other…..
To believe in each other….
To wisely use our time, talents, and resources to bless others…..
To worship together…..
Forever.

Example # 2

Our family mission:
To always be kind,respectful, and supportive of each other,
To be honest and open with each other,
To keep a spiritual feeling in the home,
To love each other unconditionally,
To be responsible to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life,
To make this house a place we want to come home to.

Example # 3

Our home will be a place where are family, friends, and guests find joy, comfort, peace and happiness. We will seek to create a clean and orderly environment that is livable and comfortable. We will exercise wisdom in what we choose to eat, read, see, and do at home. We want to teach our children to love learn, laugh, and to work and develop their unique talents.

Example # 4

Our Family mission is to:
Value honesty with ourselves and others.
Create an environment where each of us can find support and encouragement in achieving our life’s goals.
Respect and accept each person’s unique personality and talents.
Promote a loving, kind, and happy atmosphere.
Support family endeavors that better society.
Maintain patience through understanding.
Always resolve conflicts with each other rather than harboring anger.
Promote the realization of life’s treasures.

 

I hope these examples will help your family as you begin writing your own.  Good Luck!

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Examples taken from “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven R. Covey

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15 Secrets to a Happy Family-Week 3

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Secret #3

 

Happy Families have a “Family Mission Statement”

A Family Mission Statement is a unified expression of what your family wants to become, and a framework of the principles you want to live by. It defines your family’s goals and objectives and explains what your family is “all about.” Your statement should reflect your hopes, values, and beliefs.

The purpose of a creating a mission statement is the same as writing a script before performing a play, or creating a flight plan before taking off in a plane. Most of us know in our minds what constitutes a dream family but few of us have a written plan as to how we’ll get there or what path we need to be on along the way. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail, and we cannot afford to fail as families. In order to stay on the course, you must know your destination; and to ensure you arrive at your desired destination, you must plan the course that will lead you there. Having the framework in place will serve as motivation and will provide hope during times of challenge and doubt.  

One of the greatest things about having a family mission statement is that it serves as a reminder to the family that each member is a part of the same team, working towards the same goals. Too often we unintentionally create a “mom/dad VS. the kids” environment, and our children begin to feel that their input has little or no value to the family. Because of this, they feel a weak desire to contribute to the well being of the family, or to serve others, and to be their best selves. Having a mission statement reminds our children that we are on the same side, wanting the very best for each other. They may not always see it that way, but with a family mission statement in place, they will catch that vision and begin to understand.

Here are four steps to help you create your Family’s Mission Statement:

1. Have a Destination:

The first step to creating a family mission statement is to discuss as a family your direction and destination. You must know where you are headed and where you want to be in the end. Discuss the principles and values that matter most. 

2. Brainstorm as a Family:

As a family, begin discussing ideas of what your family is all about and what things are important to be remembered. It is very important that all children are included in this discussion. The children are a very vital part in the creation of this statement. If they feel they have contributed to the formulation of the mission statement they will want to live by it and help others do so as well. This doesn’t have to be anything formal and it shouldn’t be pushed on them. Start out by just bringing up questions at the dinner table such as “what kind of family do we want to be?” “What kinds of things do we want to do/accomplish as individuals and as a family?” “What kind of feeling do we want to have in our home?” “How do we expect to be treated and treat others?” “What are key principles of happiness & success?”

Here are a few things to remember……

  • Let everyone, including all the children, share their ideas.
  • Listen closely to each child and repeat their words to make sure you understand correctly what they are trying to say.
  • Write down the ideas during the discussion.

3. Begin the rough draft:

In writing your family mission statement, it is important to remember that this is only a draft. The family will need to read through it, think about it, live by it, discuss it and make changes, until everyone has come to an agreement.  The whole family must believe in it and be ready to commit to it.

4. Use it often

Take the time to read through your family mission statement at family home evening or at family planning meetings each week. Think about framing it up in your house somewhere so everyone can see it often. Discuss together how well you are doing and what corrections need to be made in order to stay on the course. Make this statement your family’s Constitution.

If you create your statement based on principles, values, and unconditional love, your children will develop greater trust in you and in the principles and values you’ve included in the mission statement.   As they are involved in the formation of the vision and values that will guide them, lead them, and be used to measure their progress, they will be more committed to living by them and contributing to the family to reach the final destination. 

Challenge of the Week:

Follow the steps above and begin creating YOUR Family Mission Statement.  

I have had so much fun asking my daughters questions and getting their ideas and I know you will too! 

 

Want an example of a Family Mission Statement to help guide you?  You’re in luck! I will be sharing some examples later this week so don’t forget to subscribe or check back  :)

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15 Secrets to a Happy Family-Week 2

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Secret # 2

Happy Families Eat Dinner Together!

 

We all have to eat, right? And, a family that eats together, stays together….. ;)

 

At the dinner table we replenish our bodies with the nutrients necessary to develop properly, regain our energy, and to be healthy and happy. Might I suggest using this time, to not only feed our bodies, but to also feed our minds, our spirit, our emotions, and to develop socially. Each of these aspects of our life need replenishing and renewal just as our bodies do, and the dinner table is a great place to make that happen.

 

I offer below only a few examples and ideas for making dinner time a key ingredient to be a healthy, happy, and successful family. If you’re not at the table together already, then maybe you’ll be inspired to do so after this read.

  

1.  Feeding our minds

Being united around the dinner table is a great setting to teach and learn. Aside from it being a great time to teach table manners and proper nutrition, we can learn and share so many other things together that will make a world of difference.

 

For example, by discussing our daily activities with others and reflecting on the important things we’ve learned during the day, our minds will commit these lessons to our long-term memory. This will allow us to build upon these lessons in the days and weeks to come.  By encouraging others to do so, we can help them experience these same benefits and help develop good habits. You can make this fun by giving each person only two minutes to share something they learned on a specific topic and go around for everyone to take a turn. Examples might include priorities, organization, procrastination, service, time management, kindness etc. The list goes on and on. Choose principles that need to be worked on.

 

Also, this is a great time to take a metaphorical trip around the globe (without leaving your home of course) and introduce culture and the arts by playing and discussing a piece of music, art, or history. Or, choose an ethnic meal, such as Italian, and talk about that country’s culture and people.  

 

2.  Feeding our spirit and nurturing our emotions.

Many families typically renew spiritually by praying before they eat. Consider also renewing spiritual by discussing spiritual impressions you have felt throughout the day, or sharing something you read in the scriptures or sharing how you may have felt. Perhaps this would be a good time to note and share a tender mercy of the Lord. Talk about family spiritual goals and discuss your progress or ways to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. Talk about the challenges you’ve faced during the day and ask others for their advice on how to handle them or overcome them. This time and place should be one where our children feel they have a sense of importance, confidence, and value. Where their ideas are encouraged and valued and where they have a voice to be heard. It is here where their weakened confidence can be re-built and their stress and anxiety relieved. They should feel ready to face another brutal day in a tough world after having been at your dinner table.

 

3. Developing Socially.

Sitting together and enjoying each other’s company around the dinner table is the perfect way for families to socialize and communicate with one another. You should laugh together, relax together, learn to trust each other, and most importantly, learn to love each other. We can learn and teach the key communication skills to listen, share, ask questions, and be funny. The dinner table gives us the perfect setting and opportunity to create such an environment and develop essential social skills.

 

The Alter:

Dr. Steven Covey wrote, “If the mealtime is meaningful and fun and well prepared, the family table becomes more of an altar than an eating counter.”

 

It was at the altar where the Lord asked his children of the Old Testament to bring the best they had to offer and where he accepted their sacrifice. It is also at the altar where he seals/binds us as families for time and eternity. The altar has always been a place where sacred and special things take place. How great then to establish a dinner table altar. 

 

My Personal Experience.

As I reflect back on my childhood, I can recall many great memories around my family’s dinner table. I can remember so many discussions that became life-changing events for me that took place at that table. It was at the dinner table where I did my homework and school projects and where I recovered from a long day at school enjoying after-school snacks. It’s where we would gather together as a family to eat dinner and play games. As a family we discussed the events of the day and shared the things we learned. We would usually end up telling jokes, laughing, and just having a great time together. Because of these traditions and experiences, it is to this day one of my favorite places to be; at my parent’s house, sitting as a family around the table, talking, laughing, eating, and playing games.

 

I realize planning and preparing family dinners is a major task that takes careful thought and lots of effort. However, if everyone in the family will do their part in the preparation and clean up, it doesn’t have to be such a burden. With a little effort, it is possible to organize meaningful dinners that will make a big difference in our lives and will strengthen our families.

 

Challenge of the Week:

Try and have at least four meaningful families dinners this week. Avoid the television or other electronic distractions during this time. Schedule in a way as to avoid “eating and running.”

 

Make a list of a few things your family could work on to have more meaningful family dinners and put the list on the fridge. When dinnertime rolls around, glance through the list and decide what your family needs for the day. Don’t forget to come back here to tell us how it went. 

 

P.s. SixSister’sStuff.com has put together the World’s Largest Family Dinner, which will take place this week. Check it out HERE

 

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup

My sister shared this recipe with me and it is so easy.  Takes about 30 minutes to make and tastes delicious!

 

Ingredients

1 green bell pepper (chopped)

1/2 onion (chopped)

1/2 cup salsa

3 cooked chicken breasts (shredded or diced)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

 

Directions

Saute peppers and onions.  Add all ingredients together in a large saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips.

 

 

Looking for more fun family recipes?

creamychickenalfredoCreamy Chicken Alfredo

husbandsdelightCream Cheese Lasagna

Trio Blend Pasta SaladTrio Blend Pasta Salad

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Love is a Verb!

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So, after sharing the first secret on Monday in my new blog series called “15 Secrets to a Happy Family,” I read something that I have to share. It goes perfectly with Secret #1.  So I’m adding this post as Secret 1, Part 2 :) Click the link above to view Part 1.

I seriously love Steven R. Covey. I’ve been reading his book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families” and continue to be impressed by his ability to see things so clearly.  He is so brilliant and he understands so perfectly what it takes to create a Happy Family.  Yesterday, after I posted my first secret on “Always Put Your Marriage First,” I came across this section of Dr. Covey’s book entitled:

“Love Is a Verb.”

Under this section, Dr. Covey shares a story about a friend who claims he doesn’t “love” his wife anymore.  Covey’s response to his friend was; “Then love her. Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of “love,” the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.” Wow. 

So, LOVE as a verb means action. We must put effort into a relationship in order to feel LOVE. Isn’t that SO powerful?! I just love that! 

Unfortunately, “Hollywood has scripted us to believe that ‘love’ is simply a feeling. Relationships are disposable. Marriage and family are matters of contract and convenience rather than commitment and integrity.” 

We assume that when the feeling we had when we first married our “soul mate” doesn’t swell within us any more, that it must be time to move on and to look for love again with someone else. Life and the world beat up on us and this fragile relationship. Just as the shiny rings we wear fade with time, so can love, but only if we fail to keep it polished. Often a good polish requires some effort and sacrifice to get the rings to shine again. And so it is with our marriage.  

M. Scott Peck said; “Love is an act of will–namely an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love, we choose to love.” (Taken from ”The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families“).

So, adding to Secret #1: “Always Put Your Marriage First,” I hope we can remember to always choose to LOVE! We chose to love once, we just need to continue to make this choice. To be truly happy, we must be willing to polish the ring, even when it takes sacrifice and effort. Know that your marriage, just like the ring, can and will shine the way it did when you first put it on. 

So, choose who you love, and love who you choose! :)

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15 Secrets to a Happy Family: A Blog Series

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          I am starting a new series on my blog called “15 Secrets to a Happy Family.”  I am so excited to share these simple secrets because I know that we can all learn something from them that will bring more happiness into our homes.  Every Monday I will share one new Secret. My hope is that each week we will work on these Secrets, and eventually make each one of them a habit.

Secret #1

 

Happy Families Always Put Their Marriage First

Why?

  • It is so important that parents are unified together in all they do.
  • This is especially important in their approach to parenting and when making decisions for the family. 
  • Children are paying attention and learning from our actions.

How.

  • Show respect for each other by speaking kindly and serving one another.
  • When your children ask you a question, say: “let’s see what mom/dad thinks about this.”
  • Make sure you your children see how much you love your spouse.
  • Never say unkind things about your spouse to your children.
  • Make it a priority to spend time one-on-one with your  spouse,  to nurture and strengthen your relationship. ( For lots of great ideas on how to do this, check out DatingDivas.com )

Growing up, my mom and dad always put each other first before any of the children. My dad would often make sure my mom got what she wanted by giving her the best of what was available. He would make sure she got dessert first or got to choose what we’d make for dinner. He always did this in a cute and respectful way to us, and by doing so, I could see how much he respected and loved her. Observing my parent’s love for each other taught me what true love is, and that understanding has benefited me throughout my entire life.

 

This week’s challenge:

Find ways to put your marriage first throughout the entire week.

After you’ve done so, comment back and share your successes, failures and any insights that others can benefit from.

To check out my next post…Week1:Part2, “Love is a Verb!” Click Here

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