7 Ways to Improve Your Marriage in 2018


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If there’s ONE resolution we married couples should strive to make and complete in 2018, it’s to make our marriages stronger. As you may know, my wife and I lead a marriage class at our church. We firmly believe that a strong marriage creates a strong family and that in turn has ripple effects on extended family, friends, and our communities. The very foundation of society at large is the marriage relationship because it all flows from there. Not to mention, it was God’s design, and God’s ways are always the best.

Most of the content for today’s blog comes from Dave Willis at http://www.patheos.com. Dave and his wife Ashley have a very successful marriage ministry that reaches thousands upon thousands of marriages. I use their resources in my class at church. I highly recommend signing up for their e-mails and following them social media.

Dave put together a great list of 7 Ways to Make 2018 The Best Year of Marriage Yet. Much of these tips are common sense and some are things you may not of heard of, but let me share a few of my favorites:

Create some shared goals.

The New Year is usually marked by individual goals, but it’s rewarding to work towards shared goals in partnership with your spouse. The shared encouragement and accountability can also make success more likely than when we do it on our own. Sit down together and create some BIG goals for 2018!

Plan some celebrations.

Once you’ve made your shared goals, plan ahead what you’ll do to celebrate once the goal is reached. This will give you something new to look forward to. For instance, “We’re going to eliminate $1000 in debt, and when we do, we’re getting a babysitter and going out to dinner at our favorite place (and paying cash instead of charging it).”
This requires some logistical planning, but it’s SO worth it…

Plan at least one getaway together without kids (out of town).
The year is wide open so get the calendar out and mark a getaway for you and your spouse with no kids. You can figure out the logistics later. Make it happen. It will give you something to look forward to and it will create some great new memories together. The out of town trip could be a “celebration” to make the achievement of one of your shared goals.

Turn the electronics OFF and spend more real “Face Time” together. 
Create more time together without digital distractions, smart phones and TV’s competing for your attention. Talking with your spouse is always more beneficial than staring at a screen. Block off certain time(s) that will be “unplugged” this year. It will make a huge difference. It might be the simplest goal on this list, but it could also prove to be the most helpful!

Like Dave says, if both you and your spouse COMMIT to these steps and make them a real part of your life, you will be surprised at the results! God bless you and your spouse and here’s to the BEST year yet for your marriage!


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How To Make That Dream Trip a Reality This Year

Italy Trip 1

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Seems like everyone has a bucket list of places they’ve always wanted to visit. For my wife and I, it’s the romance of Italy. Before we were married, I promised her I would take her on that romantic trip to Italy. That was nearly twenty years ago.

What keeps us from taking that “dream trip”? Money is a big factor, and then it’s timing. It never seems like the right time, does it? You don’t have anywhere to leave the kids. Or maybe you are putting the kids through college. Maybe you’re in the middle of a family crisis or a home renovation project. Whatever the reason, that “perfect” time never comes, does it?

Well, nobody said you have to take that dream trip right now, but as we prepare to turn the calendar to 2018, we can start PLANNING that dream right now. I came across a cool article on 8 Ways to Make Your Dream Trip a Reality. Bottom line, you’ve got to plan your work, and then work your plan. As the article says, start employing practical tips like writing down your plan, tell other people, and work out some easy ways to save for it. Maybe you want to start a vacation savings jar, or maybe you can set an automatic transfer for a set amount to come out every two weeks or every month to go to a dedicated “dream trip account.”

There are lots of credit cards that give you things like frequent flier miles or help you defray the cost of lodging by staying in one of their hotels for your dream trip. One we have used to earn miles for past travel is the American Express Delta Skymiles card. If you’ve never had this card, you can receive large sign-up bonus miles when you are approved and spend a certain amount of money on the card (as of 12.29.2017 bonus is 50,000 miles after spending $2000 in the first 3 months plus 10,000 more after spending $1000 more in 6 months. Offer subject to change at any time.) A good way to earn miles if you are a responsible credit card user (i.e. pay off your balance every month). Most major airlines have similar offers for other cards. For lodging, there are loyalty programs where you can earn free nights and they also have partner credit cards with large sign-up bonuses.

Don’t want to sign up for credit cards? There are other ways to earn loyalty points and frequent flier miles such as Delta’s Skymiles Shopping or Dining, For more on earning points without flying, staying or opening a credit card, check out https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/life/earn-frequent-flyer-miles/.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card


Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

You can earn:
Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within the first 3 months. Earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you make an additional $1,000 in purchases within their first 6 months.*Terms Apply

Special Offer Expires: 01/31/2018

Bottom line: Start planning now, and make 2018 the year you FINALLY take that dream trip. Bon Voyage!

**This blog includes affiliate links. All opinions and reviews are my own. I may receive a referral for links. 

The Ultimate Guide To a GREAT Vacation With Your Sweetie


A few years ago, Bill Murray was asked by a bachelor at a bar the famous question….How do you KNOW that the person you love is the one you should spend the rest of your life together with?

His brilliant answer is coming up, but for now, suffice it to say that the answer revolves around taking a trip together. So, WHY do you think he said that? Well, because when you travel with your significant other, the tiniest issue can become a giant all out war.

So, I came across a cool article about traveling with the one you love. I really think if you follow these tips, and the spirit in which they were given, then you won’t return from your trip ready to kill the one you love so dearly.

They listed NINE tips for traveling with the love of your life. I’m going to give you just a couple, and you can get the rest in the link I will provide, along with the great Bill Murray love advice below, but first:

1. Identify the goal of the vacation.
It might sound silly, but this is where a lot of friction happens. One partner wants to spend the day in art museums and eat five-star meals at night, and the other expects to hang around the beach and nosh on fish tacos for three meals in a row. Before the tickets are booked, talk about your expectations for the trip and make sure you’re on the same page. Determine whether the point of your trip is to relax, explore, spend time with family or friends, etc. Once the trip goals are identified, it will make for more agreeable planning of your daily agendas.

2. Make a list of who will bring what.
A little organization goes a long way in reducing headaches, so once you decide why you’re traveling, figure out who’s bringing what. No one wants to spend their first night in a new place tracking down forgotten toiletries or a pricey phone charger. Make a list with your partner and check it twice!

3. Embrace downtime.
For some people, downtime is crucial to a happy trip. This is the proper time to schedule social media check-ins, bury your nose in a great book, or indulge in a power nap. There’s nothing better than a little alone time to reflect and recharge.


And, as promised….