10 Ways to Love Your Spouse

We really like the 10 ways to show real love to your spouse:

  1. Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18).
  2. Speak without accusing (James 1:19).
  3. Give without holding back (Proverbs 21:26).
  4. Pray without ceasing (Colossians 1:9).
  5. Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1).
  6. Share without pretending (Ephesians 4:15).
  7. Enjoy without complaining (Philippians 2:14).
  8. Trust without wavering (Corinthians 13:7).
  9. Forgive without punishing (Colossians 3:13).
  10. Promise without forgetting (Proverbs 13:12).

And here’s a handy reminder image you can save or share:

10 ways to love

10 Steps to Conflict Resolution: fight in such a way to strengthen your marriage!

Every couple experiences disagreements; it’s how the disagreements are handled that determines the quality and happiness of your relationship.

Watch as marriage mentors Andy and Katy Gillis share the 10 Steps to Conflict Resolution that anyone can use as a model to fight in such a way that it STRENGTHENS the relationship, instead of weakening it:

Get the accompanying Couple Worksheet “10 Steps to Conflict Resolution” – yet another great tool to strengthen your relationship!

The 10 Steps to Conflict Resolution:

1. Set a time and place for discussion.
Time to focus on one another, and the issue at hand, without interruption.

2. Define the problem.
Be as open, honest, and specific as possible.
Don’t bring any hurts, scars, or emotional baggage into the conversation.

3. List the ways you each contribute to the problem.
Keep short accounts, no finger-pointing. Give grace.

4. List past attempts to resolve the issue that were not successful.
Don’t use finger-pointing phrases such as “you always” and “you never.”

5. Brainstorm.
What are some new solutions to try?

6. Discuss and evaluate the possible solutions.
Remember that the goal is to resolve the problem so you both win.

7. Agree on one solution to try.
Be as specific as possible.

8. Agree how you will each work toward the solution.
Stay focused on the issue; don’t go off on tangents.

9. Set up another meeting to review and discuss the progress.
Ask: What worked? What didn’t work? What needs to be changed?

10. Praise your partner for their contribution to the progress.
Encourage, uplift, and support your spouse.

We hope you find these ideas helpful as you strengthen your relationship with your partner!

Want more tools to enhance your marriage?  Join our email list to receive all of our new couple worksheets by clicking here.

*Andy and Katy Gillis are the hosts of the Real Marriage LIVE show Sundays at 9 pm, EST.  Visit their Facebook page to tune in and gain fresh strategies to make your relationship even better!

Know a couple who’d like to see this?  Share it!

Conflict Resolution: learn how you and your spouse tend to deal with conflict.

Every couple experiences conflict, and – let’s face it – every couple has problems!

The question is: How do you tend to view, treat, and communicate with your spouse when you’re tackling tough problems?

And, how does your spouse tend to deal?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you work as a team when tackling issues, instead of occasional enemies!

Watch as Andy and Katy Gillis take you through an exercise that will help you identify how each of you handles conflict so you can better work together and you both can win:

Of course!) we’ve got an amazing couple worksheet for you, that you can download here: Conflict Resolution Worksheet

We’ve found that every couple has a unique dynamic, and no one is “naturally good” at resolving conflict, because conflict resolution is a skill.

Thankfully, it’s a skill we can all learn and get even better at 🙂

Resolving conflict leads to growth, positive change, and even deeper intimacy in your relationship…and so we’re talking about it on the show this week!

Visit our Facebook Page this Sunday night @9 PM EST for the LIVE Real Marriage show.

Be sure to subscribe to our email list to receive all of our new couple worksheets to add to your marriage toolkit.

Know a couple who’d love to see this?  Share it!

Assertiveness and Active Listening: How to Ask for What You Want in Your Marriage.

Great communication creates a healthy, happy marriage.

Two communication skills we can become even better, at are:

  1. Assertiveness, and
  2. Active listening.

Assertiveness is asking for what you want and the ability to express your feelings.

Active listening is letting your spouse know that you understand them…not only what they are saying, but how they are feeling.

The couples who get this right enjoy a much happier marriage!

Watch as Andy and Katy Gillis take their couples through the steps to develop and deepen their Assertiveness and Active Listening skills in this marriage enrichment video:

Bottom line is: when each person knows that they can share their request and feelings without fear of judgment or criticism, and that their spouse listens and understands how they feel, intimacy is increased.

Assertiveness and Active Listening skills will help you become a Power Couple! 

SNAG THE FREE TOOL: Subscribe to our email list to receive the “Assertiveness and Active Listening” worksheet, and all of our new couple tools.

Know a friend who needs to see this?  Share it.

*Andy and Katy host the Real Marriage Facebook LIVE show, every Sunday night.  Visit their Facebook Page to tune in or watch their latest show!

Your Marriage is Part of God’s Plan

Don’t view your marriage from a worldly point of view; it’s much more than that. See your marriage as an important part of God’s plan for your life.

“I’m not sure of God’s plan for my life,” may be the initial thought, and if that’s true for you, we want to encourage you:

God’s plan for your life is multi-faceted, but we believe it always includes being a good steward of the gifts He’s already given you. So if you are married, part of your calling is to be the best husband or wife you can be for your spouse.

Strengths and Growth Areas in Your Marriage

“Strengths develop by working through issues.”

Being married for 11 years now, we know that’s right!

Do you feel that you and your spouse:
– Share feelings and understand each other?
– Appreciate each other’s personality and habits?
– Feel good about sexual intimacy and affection?
– Agree on how to share decision-making and responsibilities?

Even if a relationship is good, it can always get better, and last week’s show provided an excellent opportunity for growth!

Watch as we dive into 9 key couple areas and show you how to discover which ones are strengths, and which ones are growth areas in your own relationship:

No matter where you are in your relationship – if you’re dating, engaged, newlywed, married a while, or empty-nesters – you can use this tool to strengthen your relationship and enjoy deeper intimacy with your spouse.

The benefit from knowing your unique strength and growth areas is awareness.  If you know how your spouse feels about each area, and you define how you feel about that same area, you are able to come together and have a conversation about the differences.

Once you can discuss it, you can put a plan of action together for how you will help make the growth area a strength in your marriage.

One important point to consider is that most couples will have different answers, and different is not bad – it’s just different.

The goal is to become aware of how you both feel, communicate about it, and then work to grow into an even better team.

Snag the tool here: Strength and Growth Areas Worksheet 

Subscribe: join our email list to receive the all of our couple tools and worksheets!

Watch the live show: Andy and Katy Gillis host the Real Marriage FB LIVE Show every Sunday night at 9 pm EST.  Visit their Facebook page to tune in and to watch their latest shows.

Marriage Expectations

What are Marriage expectations?

It’s when you expect your spouse to be, think, or behave a certain way.

Or, when you expect your relationship to be a certain way.

It can look like this:

  • My partner’s interest in sex will be the same as mine.
  • My spouse is partially responsible for my happiness.
  • Its better to keep silent about something that is bothering me than to cause unnecessary problems in our relationship.
  • Things will get better if we _______ (pay off debt, have a baby, get through these next few months).

Watch this helpful video on what to do with Marriage Expectations:

Facts about expectations:

  • You will be happy or disappointed based on how your expectations match up to the reality of your marriage.
  • All married couples start out hoping for the best and expecting that their spouse will feel the same way about certain things as they do.
  • Problems arise when these expectations are not met.
  • Every disappointment involves an unmet expectation.

Our story:

We had a rough start to our marriage with our own set of expectations –

I (Katy) had this idea that, once we got married, we would have this happy little Christian family where Andy would be the spiritual leader in our home.  Problem was, I never brought this up to Andy, yet I expected him to take us to church, pray at dinner, etc.

At the time, Andy was not an active Christian and not on board with my plans.  I would (helpfully!) nag him, and he would get annoyed.  It became a serious tension point between us – I became self-righteous and disappointed, while Andy was blindsided by my expectations and had no idea what to do about it.

It was only when I felt God saying to me “Katy, get out of my way.” that I realized I should be focusing on my own relationship with God and not Andy’s. Slowly, I began to release Andy from my expectations and as I gave my selfish ambitions up to God, He filled my bucket with exactly what I needed.  Eventually I had absolutely no expectations for Andy to be, do, or act any way.

And shortly after that, Andy started his own journey towards God that has blossomed into his own incredible legacy.  Today, Andy is a powerful man of God and I am thankful every day that I got out of God’s way!

Andy here! My expectations on Katy were a bit simpler; all I needed was someone to do my laundry, cook, and clean!  No, really – my mom did all of those things around our home while growing up, and as soon as Katy moved in I expected her to step right in. Problem was, I never asked her to do them; I expected her to.  We never talked about chores…but they had to be done, right?  They can easily become a tension point in a relationship!

Big or small, an expectation is unfair to the other person, and what Katy and I want to encourage you to do is COMMUNICATE your needs to one another and then replace “expectations” with “requests” and move from “duty” to “serving one another in love.”

We all have needs and expectations – what do we do with them?

  1. First step – acknowledge your own set of marriage expectations.
  2. Second step – release your spouse, and yourself, from ALL expectations.
  3. Third step – apologize to your spouse. Explain that you love and appreciate them for who they are, not who you wish them to be.
  4. Giving to meet their needs.

If you’re both giving to meet the other’s needs, your needs will be met.

Talk about this as a couple.

Use the Sunday Night Meeting Agenda and the Marriage Expectations Worksheet as a guide (two free downloadable marriage tools; click here to subscribe to our private email list to receive them).

We hope this post inspires you to continue creating a marriage where giving to each other (not receiving!) is the goal every day.

But wait…what if your needs aren’t being met?

We know that expectations come from needs that need to be met; some of them your spouse is naturally the perfect person for the job.

So what do you do when your spouse is unwilling to have a conversation about marriage expectations, or doesn’t seem to care about the needs that you have?

Or you may even feel like you’re the only one working to make things better, or that your spouse isn’t pulling their weight.  That can be frustrating, we know from personal experience.

When you’ve got challenges in your marriage, the first thing you can do is pray about it.

1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your cares on him, because he cares for you.”

When you release your spouse from expectations, just cast them right on God.  Bring your needs to him.  He has a plan for your life, and it is good.  Casting your cares to him allows him to work freely in your life.

God may have a different timeline and plan than you imagine, but he will come through.

Do you have a question?  Comment?  Idea for our live Real Marriage show?

Comment below or send us a private email, we’d love to hear from you: realmarriagementors@gmail.com

 

 

I feel like I’m the only one trying to make our marriage work

“I feel like I’m the only one trying to make our marriage work.”

This is a comment we receive quite often, and the solution is not “one size fits all,” because each marriage is the unique partnership between two people. It’s tough when you feel like your spouse is not “pulling their weight” or even willing to work on your marriage at all.

However, we’ve found that even when there are great challenges in the relationship, the other person usually DOES want to make things better, regardless of whether they say so or act like it.

Most of the time they don’t know how to move forward, or may not feel comfortable talking about the subject with their partner because of the tension it brings (why start a conversation when you think it might end badly?)

No matter how good we are, we can always get better.

How you approach your partner, how you treat them, and the expectations you hold them to all play a part in how they will respond to your request to “work on the marriage” along with you.

Tune into the Real Marriage show this Sunday at 9 pm EST for “Marriage Expectations”

Learn how to become aware, and then release one another, of any unmet expectations that may be keeping you from growing together.

Know a couple who needs to see this? Share it.

“Unmet expectations” can be a huge barrier to intimacy in your marriage.

The “Sunday Night Meeting.”

The #1 Killer of marriage is poor communication.

Good communication is not something we’re born with, but a skill that can be learned and developed over time, and communicating better in your marriage will help you grow closer as a couple.

Our favorite marriage communication tool: the Sunday Night Meeting!

“The Sunday Night Meeting” is where you set aside time each week to reconnect as a couple.  It inspires communication, support, connection, and all of that will deepen intimacy…which is always a good thing!

This video clip (from our live Real Marriage show) explains how to have a Sunday Night Meeting with your spouse:

PS – as shown in the video, we created a handy “Sunday Night Meeting” Agenda that we send every one of our email subscribers, and would love to send to you to use as a guide! Click here to join the Real Marriage email list and you’ll receive the Sunday Night Meeting Agenda in your inbox!

The Story behind the Sunday Night Meeting:

A few years into our marriage, Andy and I (Katy) hired a business coach to help us with one of our businesses.  She encouraged us to meet once a week with our team to talk about what’s going on in the business, talk about the week, and outsource and collaborate on various projects to work as a more effective team.  It was sure to bring about serious growth and increase productivity (what a great idea!).

That night, while lying in bed about to drift into dreamland, I had an aha-moment inspired by that great business advice:

“Andy!” I said as I nudged his arm with my elbow, “Have you noticed that we’ve been together for 4 years now, and we argue about the same things we argued about from the beginning?” without hesitation he answered “Yes, I’ve been thinking the same thing! We have been investing so much into growing our careers and business, but we haven’t grown our marriage much at all.”  Ouch!

Life as a young couple was a bit hectic and fast-paced, so one of the things we decided to begin doing was to meet once a week to reconnect as a couple. 

We call it “The Sunday Night Meeting,” and we’ve been doing it ever since.

Not a date – although those are fun, too – but a actual meeting.

Marriage is a partnership…a husband and wife, a team.  Just like great teams meet regularly, so could we if we wished to build a great marriage!

So a “Sunday Night Meeting” was added to our schedule, and the appointment kept.

The goal of our Sunday Night Meeting:

For a couple to communicate on two key areas:

  1. What is going on in our life this week?
  2. How is our marriage?

The Benefits?

We felt the love after our very first meeting, and have been doing them ever since!

I (Katy) felt more connected to Andy as I shared my schedule with him and he offered to help me with some of the items on it (for example, on the day of my doctor’s visit, he cooked dinner.)  And I felt like I could support him better (for example, praying for him if he had a big meeting at work.)

Andy feels the same benefits, and ads: “Knowing what’s going on each week has let me see more opportunities to grow our marriage, and I feel more connected to Katy.”

I love it when Andy asks “What would you like me to do to better our marriage this week?” What a gift to have that question asked, and be able to answer it!

Our marriage has grown tremendously over the years of hosting our Sunday Night Meetings, and now in our premarital and marriage ministry work at Real Marriage we encourage every one of our couples to use or create a similar “Marriage Check-In” like the Sunday Night Meeting that will help them communicate and work even better as a team.

We would love to know if you meet with your spouse, and what benefits you’ve received through doing so.  Join the conversation on our Facebook Page or post a quick comment below.

 

What is Real Marriage All About?

Jen writes: “Hey Katy. I saw you are doing some marriage thing on Facebook. What’s that all about?”

Jen, thank you for your message – I’m so glad you asked!

My husband, Andy Gillis, and I are absolutely passionate about marriage – and not just our own 😉. Truth is, we’ve dedicated the last 6 years to helping couples build healthy marriages – by facilitating premarital and marriage mentoring programs and leading married community groups at North Point Ministries.

It’s been such an honor to walk with our couples, watching them grow as individuals AND grow together as a solid and happily married team.

When we moved to Florida a few months ago, we had to leave our church and the marriage ministry work behind. But we knew we wanted to continue that work, and through some brainstorming we came up with the idea to host a weekly live show, using the Facebook Live platform available on Facebook Pages.

This opportunity is very exciting for us, because we are now able to connect with, inspire, encourage, and support couples, anywhere they are in the world!

Previously, when we’d share about our marriage programs, we would receive comments like: “Wow! I wish you two lived in my city so my husband/wife and I could go through your program!” or “We’d love to have this available at our church!” Location was a huge barrier.

Excitedly – with the launch of Real Marriage, we have created a way to connect with and serve people all over the world, and THAT is downright awesome!

On our Real Marriage Facebook Live show (Sundays @ 9:00 EST), Andy and I will share the very same ideas and strategies we’ve taken our couples through that has made a significant impact on their lives.

We’ve learned that great marriages don’t just happen; it takes a willingness to show up, be real, know, and be known by each other…and it’s extremely helpful to have a road map to follow and another couple to help show the way. That’s what we’ll be doing on the Real Marriage show.

We’ll discuss key topics such as Communication, Stress, Finances, Spiritual Beliefs, Intimacy, Family, Relationship Roles, Personal Styles and Habits, Sex, Conflict Resolution, Personal Goals, and more. We talk real-life application that anyone can use to create an even healthier relationship with their partner. Investing a small amount of time every week to grow one’s most important relationship is such a gift, and we’re hoping to facilitating great conversations and inspire positive outcomes for everyone who attends our show!

Real Marriage is for dating, engaged, and married couples – or individuals at any stage, really – who wish to build their relationship skills and gather new ideas and strategies to build a healthier bond with their mate (or future mate!).

We’re delighted to host our Real Marriage LIVE show on Sundays at 9pm EST on our Real Marriage Facebook Page!

Thank you for your question and for giving me the opportunity to share the work that we get to do! I hope to see you checking in on the show