Plan your evening. Then get up and have a remarkable day. Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful? I’ve been having difficulty with my days – most have been disjointed and unproductive. Can you relate?
Some of my disjointed-ness might be attributed to our nomadic lifestyle. We’re sleeping in different beds two or three times a week, and shlepping our stuff from house-sitting, back to the RV, and then onto taking care of dogs at another house. Don’t misunderstand me – I LOVE our experiences. I’m having such fun with soaking in a hot-tub and looking up at the blue sky at one house-sit, (along with cooking in a real oven, and having a washer/dryer at hand!) and loving on two big dogs at the other house-sit.
I thought all this moving about was messing with my productivity during the day – it’s not!
It occurred to me – it’s not so much what I’m doing during the day that’s the big problem – it’s my evenings!
- Rob and I are indulging in multiple episodes of Big Bang Theory on video.
- I’m not watching the time – and go to bed much too late – with my head full of computer or TV stuff
- Instagram, twitter and other social media are sucking me in and it’s mindless
The evenings are being eaten up by stupid, mindless stuff. Worse yet, none of what I’m doing is preparing me for the day ahead. After an evening of messing-about, I don’t sleep well. And then the next day begins and I’m already at a disadvantage. (sigh) And this doesn’t help Rob or me or anyone else. At all.
Once I came to the realization that the evenings were the problem, I wanted to do something about it! I came across a course called, “Make Over Your Evenings” to plan your evening – and read Crystal Paine’s description:
A Successful Day Begins the Night Before…
It’s time to stop sleep-walking through life and wake up to the amazing excitement and fulfillment that comes when you follow my simple plan to Make Over Your Evenings.
I decided to invest in her course. 14 Days. 14 Videos. A 59-page digital workbook. It seemed like a do-able investment for a reasonable investment to plan your evening…
And I’ve been working through it.
Plan Your Evening
At first I believed the course would be like making a list and following that list. But it’s so much more. Crystal started off by encouraging me to think about why I want a change… the prompt included these questions:
- What is the most frustrating thing in my life right now?
- What is one area that, if changed, would make the biggest impact?
- What am I struggling with most right now?
- What drew me to consider starting this course in the frst place?
- At the end of this course, if I only changed one thing, what one thing would make the biggest difference in my life?
Over the 14 days she had me looking at my calendar, facing my flaws (my greatest is procrastination, if you didn’t already know), deciding how to prep for the day ahead, priortizing what’s really important, and more.
14 Days of doing things differently in the evening has resulted in remarkable days!
(At the end of this post I have some photos of what Rob and I have been working on! It’s a brand new experience!)
What does my planned evening look like?
Your evenings will look different than mine – especially if you have growing children at home! But here’s a little insight into how I’ve changed my evening, despite our nomadic lifestyle:
- I no longer join Rob for his nightly Big Bang episode(s) – they weren’t meeting my needs
- we pray together before we both are in bed, because he goes to bed after I do.
- the computer is shut down by 8PM & I read before bed – things that will help my mind settle for sleep
- deciding the priorities for the next day, including making sure we have breakfast planned
- and more that makes for a better sleep, and a remarkable day ahead
Is it all working well? No. I still struggle with procrastinating, and the time still gets away with me. But it’s only been a few weeks.
And you know what’s different… ?
I have a PLAN!
I think that’s the biggest benefit for me after going through this course – I have a plan to have a better evening. I really, truly understand the deeper reason why I need a plan for my evenings – and that keeps me focused.
No matter where I’m going to sleep (in our little-house-on-wheels, or in a hotel, or taking care of someone’s dogs/home while they’re away), I have a plan for my evening that will start the next day well – wherever I am. Remarkable.
I need more remarkable days in my life… don’t you?
Check out Crystal Paine’s 14-day course to plan your evening, “Make Over Your Evenings” to learn more!
Yes. I am an affiliate for this course to plan your evening. At no cost to you, I’ll receive a commission if you purchase. I became an affilitate because this product is working for me. It has value – with a 59-page workbook, worksheets included, and videos that are to-the-point. (I’m not a fan of fluff.)
I’ve been sharing what I’m learning with Rob, and it’s one reason we’ve decided to change how we pray in the evening (the timing and intention). Though this course isn’t designed to change your family’s evening – just yours – it’ll have a positive impact on everyone in your family, including your spouse!
What have we been doing since January?
How have our days been remarkable? Well – we’ve been stepping out in faith… even though we’re not pretty TV people… and we’ve been making videos! For you! Mid-marriage Encouragement Videos. To learn more, go to our Patreon page! We will be posting one video every week.
The first part of each video is scripted – and short, usually around 25 seconds. The second half of each video is longer (up to 5 minutes), where we discuss the concept and provide insights and suggestions to challenge you and your spouse to lead a meaningful life! We have 30 videos in the works. We record at YourLocalStudio in front of a green-screen. Then I chose a background (suggestions from Instagram were for us to be in the kitchen!). I’m learning to edit using Premier Pro, including adding in background music and transitions!
Yes. Our days have been remarkable! 😉 Stay tuned for the release of the first Mid-Marriage Encouragement Video on Tuesday, February 21, 2017!
Do you have a plan for your evenings?
What do your remarkable days look like?
Ideas lift conversations. ( I’m so thankful that we have learned how to do more than “hallway talk” – it’s not always easy, but we keep working at it!)
When you and your spouse are together, what kind of conversations do you have?
- Do you confirm the appointment the dog has at the vets on Saturday? Do you inquire on what’s for supper tomorrow? Do you inform your spouse that you need your dry cleaning picked up before Monday? That’s called “Hallway Talk” and/or “Reporter Talk”.
- OR… Do you share what you think about the latest political gaff? Do you seek to convince your spouse on your opinion of what the company/church/community will do next? This can be called “Intellectual Talk”.
- OR… Do you unburden yourself to your spouse about how you’re feeling? Maybe you’re heartbroken over a friend’s troubles… or worried about how your supervisor’s actions will impact your job. This is called “Emotional Talk“.
- OR… Does your conversation fill each other with satisfaction? Do your ideas lift your conversations to greater intimacy with each other? This is called “Loving, Genuine Truth Talk”.
Read more about these 5 Levels of Communication authored by Gary Chapman here.
Ideas lift conversations and enrich marriages.
Ideas – where do you start?
Sometimes we get into conversational ruts. ( No worries – It happens to Rob and me too.) And getting out those ruts can take a bit of work.
Sometimes we’re too preoccupied with a work challenge, or a financial burden, or a health scare to dig into ideas which prompt us to think differently and possibly disagree with each other. (Only in the friendliest of ways, of course.) That’s OK.
However, I’m going to suggest that even in the most sleep deprived, stressful states, taking a break and talking about ideas will lift you and your spouse up – ideas lift conversations. And with a healthy and loving conversation, you’ll find your connection with your spouse enriched. Yes. Even during those nasty, crushing events in life. They will pass. Keep enriching your marriage all the way through them.
Where do you go to find ideas to talk about? Which ideas lift conversations?
First – consider ideas that are “honest but not condemning, open but not demanding.” Ideas that allow each of you “the freedom to think differently and feel differently.”
When you’re looking for ideas to talk about, consider:
- What are you reading that sparks ideas? I’ve been re-reading the The Screwtape Letters. And just today Rob shared an article on Loyalty (which is one of our 3 differentiating values.) These two items are introducing great conversations.
- What are you watching that generates ideas? Don’t limit yourself to numbing sitcoms or reality TV… use the power of the internet to your advantage! Have you heard of TedTalks? I’m constantly amazed by all the concepts… this one on procrastination makes us laugh and cringe at the same time!
- Who are you spending time with? Look to build relationships with friends who are different than you are – who might share some similarities, but also complement you and your spouse. We have friends who are gifted at making us laugh, and we can have deep converations with… That’s such a beautiful gift. (Rob and I are kinda boring – so they make us feel a little less boring!) Where can you find these people? I’m going to suggest serving – giving back… Where are you and your spouse serving? At church? In a non-profit? In your community? Reach out today, and ask how you and your spouse can contribute in the areas you’re already involved in… and then inititate conversations with those you meet!
Great conversations start with an idea – and they grow when discussed with open hearted people – can you be that kind of person?
Affirm your spouse’s ideas!
Never reject an idea that your spouse brings up in conversation – ideas are sparks – they will light up your converation.
Embrace your spouse’s ideas – play a conversational back and forth tennis game. Stretch, push, reach… oh, you’ll have fun!
Books and Activities to Spark Ideas…
Love Does – Bob Goff
You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream – Holley Gerth
Unlimited Grokker Videos for 14 Days
(These are affiliate links – we receive a small amount – with no cost to you. You’ll be helping us continue our mission to encourage husbands and wives to lead meaninful lives.) Linking with #thankful Thursdays. and Messy Marriage
Procrastination drains our ability to take action, regardless of our good intentions. Prayer can be the answer! Use prayer to defeat procrastination.
Habit of No Action = Procrastination
How can you use prayer to defeat the poison of procrastination?
I’ve explored the idea over at Worshipful Living in a guest post… go ahead and click the link below to check it out!
You know there are 9 reasons we all procrastinate, right?
- we fear failure – or success
- we don’t know where to start or how to finish,
- we’re bored, – we’re striving for perfect,
- we’re saving our energy for something else (otherwise known as laziness),
- we’re too tired,
- we’re rebelling,
- we don’t have the motivation to keep going,
- and we’re distracted by a million other things.\
In the guest post at Worshipful Living I explore ways prayer will work for all these reasons we procrastinate in our marriage.
Use Prayer to Defeat Procrastination at Worshipful Living!
Take a look at the post over at Worshipful Living
Available on Amazon
A kiss can be a bridge between husband and wife.
Perhaps you haven’t been intimate with your spouse in a long time, for whatever reason. I realize this happens for some of us. And it’s painful – emotionally and physically.
There is hope. And you can still feel loved.
Try a kiss.
Just one. At first. What are you waiting for?
Begin finding a renewed intimacy with your spouse through a kiss. A simple kiss, a lingering kiss. And don’t expect anything else. Just enjoy.
Maybe you need more encouragement?
Robert and I haven’t been called to write about sex in marriage, but we have online friends who write to this need from a Christian perspective. A healthy sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is so important.
Don’t procrastinate – now is a good time to renew your sexual intimacy with your spouse.
Have courage. Be encouraged. Learn and Grow.
Take a look at these wonderful people, who will provide valuable insights to sexual intimacy in marriage.
(Click on the title to go to their websites.)
For most of my marriage, I was so busy loving my kids, my colleagues, the oppressed, and myself that I forgot to be loving my husband. After 20+ years of stubbornness, selfishness, sexual gatekeeping, and discontent, I started to change how I behaved toward my husband. After action came feeling. After all the years of being a poster child for how not to be a wife, I’ve reached a deeper level of intimacy with my husband, emotionally and physically. In refusing my husband sexually, I was denying him my love.
Maybe you’re a wife who’s like I was. Maybe you know that you want to change and just don’t know how. Maybe you know something isn’t working and have no idea what to do. Maybe you’re being told that you’re sinning and are panicking because you need to make a heart change. This blog is for you. I crawled out of the pit of sexual refusal and control and am learning to dance with desire. As I reformed my wifely self, I faced hard truths. I hurt my husband deeply. But now I am the Forgiven Wife. If you are a wife whose husband is sexually unhappy, let me walk with you for a while.
Chris will encourage you as you figure out how to take some steps to move toward improved intimacy in your own marriage. http://forgivenwife.com
OysterBed7 has two focuses.
One is for the wife of a hurting marriage where sex is a major source of contention.
The other focus is the wife who knows that she has a low sex drive.
Both, a hurting marriage and a low-libido wife, need to know that there is hope.
Miserable marriages and low-libidos do not have to be permanent conditions.
Bonny writes in an informative and gentle way to help marriages. Apples, ladies? I always learn something new when I read her posts. Check out her resource: Unlock Your Libido – 52 week sex drive transformation. http://oysterbed7.com
My mission is to reclaim sexuality for our marriages as God intended. Thus, my tag line: Sex & Marriage by God’s Design. I wholeheartedly believe that sex is a significant part, and perk, of a godly marriage. I want to help others experience the best sexual intimacy in their marriage they can have, and that comes through believing, pursuing, and experiencing sex as God created it to be.
J writes about sex in marriage with a tongue-in-cheek humor. She says: “It feels good (hot); it honors God (holy); and it’s playful or even funny at times (humorous). Also, I like to add my own brand of humor to posts when the subject matter allows.” http://hotholyhumorous.com
The more I speak with women, the more I hear a common thread — sex is a big issue in many marriages.
I am simply a Christian wife with a heart to offer hope, encouragement and resources on this sensitive topic. I am like a lot of you, in that I juggle a full life.I am a wife, a mother, a friend, a family member…and the days seem to fly by a bit too fast. It’s crazy!
In talking with women, I soon discovered that many felt isolated in the frustrations and struggles they faced with sexual intimacy. They were hungry for a safe setting where another wife would speak compassionately and authentically… and answer their questions.
It’s a call on my heart from God to come alongside women, find ways to strengthen and nurture marriage, and shed light on the great Christian resources available.
Julie writes about sex because she treasures how tender, sacred, endearing and fun it can be. Her book, “Pursuit of Passion” was written to help you experience all the wonder, pleasure and joy that God designed your sexual intimacy to provide. http://intimacyinmarriage.com
The goal at Sex Within Marriage.com is to help Christian spouses in two ways: 1) to dispel the stigma often associated with talking about sex within the Christian context, and 2) to use that new freedom to discuss sex within marriage, facilitating positive change in their Christian marriage in order to further glorify God.
Jay Dee writes candidly about sex in marriage. He’s “just a guy with 14 years of marriage under his belt, who has been both in a sexless marriage and sex-every-night marriage, both with the same wife, and a passion for figuring out why things are the way they are.” http://sexwithinmarriage.com
Being a generous husband requires being a student of your wife – knowing her, learning what blesses her, what comforts her, what turns her on, what makes her feel secure, and so much more. I will discuss all areas of marriage, and the wondrous complexities of the female mind.
Be forewarned we talk about sex from time to time. There is no nudity or profanity, but some of it is not going to get past a strict work-place filter. Most sexual posts are done on Saturday, but there are exceptions.
Paul writes about being a generous husband in all areas of marriage. He’s open and real about sex in marriage, and has been writing/blogging since 2001. He also writes at the The XY Code and The Marriage Bed.
Yup. That’s probably the most we’ll ever write about the area of sex in marriage. Maybe. 😉 Check out the resources above, and learn – grow – enjoy!
Sex in marriage is wonderful! It’s the 20 year warm up!
Don’t procrastinate – don’t put off having a great sexual intimacy in your marriage even one more day! It might not be easy – or quick. It’s worth it. You have an entire future ahead of you – make it count in every area. Learn and Grow. NOW is the time.
- you don’t need to know everything to do something!
- you won’t be perfect – there’s no such thing as perfect!
- you might make mistakes – that’s OK – fail forward!
- try something new – start outside the bedroom!
- too tired? Take a look at ways to rest & rejunvinate together!
- get rid of the distractions – focus!
- sex in your marriage is important – it has value!
- look at your spouse with a new view: a selfless love
Fun Work – what is that?
“It’ll be Fun!” My husband knows me well – he’ll often entice me to an activity or task all wrapped up in a coating of fun. Yes. After 32 years of marriage, Robert knows what’ll motivate me. And I’ve learned to identify my barriers to a task, and he fills in to negate them. So “it” will be fun!
The Value of Fun in Work and Marriage
As a differentiating value, Fun means
activities that are enjoyable or amusing; playfulness; or therapeutic refreshment.
I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to you if I share that there isn’t much fun in some work. Taxes. Cleaning out the garage. Some work is just that. Work. However, as a husband and wife who want to embrace the value of fun in their work and marriage, then attitude is the muscle that needs to be exercised. Marriage is a lot of work. Why shouldn’t it be fun work?
(Note: I was going to make a list of all the things in marriage that are work and put it here – but I decided that wouldn’t be much fun… 😉 I’m guessing you can think up your own list if you need to.)
Can you be playful with your spouse as you work? Can you feel refreshed as the work gets done? Sometimes our attitude is the barrier…
Stuff needs to get done – even in a meaningful life as husband and wife. However, if you get the mundane work done with an attitude of playfulness and build in refreshment, then you can keep fun in the work!
5 Ways to Be Playful Even if the Work Needs to be Done
- Play energetic music. The most mundane work can be fun with the right music playing! Wear headphones if it’s not appropriate for the environment you’re working in – just start the music at the same time as your spouse, and you’ll be movin’ and boppin’ on the same beat!
- Dress the part. Yes – I’m serious! Cleaning is much more fun if you put a bandana around your head, roll up your shirt sleeves and play the part. Dance with the broom as you sweep… (You get the idea, right?)
- Use a board game as a marker of getting things done. Think of Snakes and Ladders – every time you get part of the work done (you’ve already determined the way-points), then you get a chance to roll the dice and move your piece. If the game isn’t done before the work is done, then you get to finish the game as part of the fun!
- Take photos – use funny expressions – kiss! and smile! It’s been proven that smiling changes mood.
- Listen to comedians. (Or tell your own jokes.) SiriusXM Satellite Radio has comedy channel options. Try the library to see which CDs they have of your favorite comedians. (Sometimes you can request that the library purchase some, if they don’t have what you’re looking for.) Or invest in some of your own CDs – or digital downloads. There are lots available in whatever fashion you and your spouse find funny. (Rob and I like Bill Engval.)
5 Ways to Build in Refreshment During the Work That Needs to be Done
- Break to stretch. In fact – you can even do some stretches together! Or try a bit of Tai Chi.
- Drink! (No – not that kind of drinking… or maybe. 😉 ) Staying hydrated keeps your head in the game and feeling refreshed. Be fun and make different flavors of iced tea, or mix up a smoothy… or enjoy popsicles…
- Kiss! Oh, come on – what’s not refreshing about a nice kiss, part way through the work?
- Nap. Grab a 10-20 minute nap to refresh yourself during the work. Here are some more benefits to power naps in a post on Health Ambition.
- Break to be alone or connect – according to how you build energy. Extroverts: phone someone and say hello! Introverts: find some solitude to reflect.
Fun Work is Possible!
Just get your attitude muscle flexing, and you can mix in playfulness, and refreshment into the work, making it fun work!
Are you avoiding the work? Why?
You might be procrastinating to avoid the work that needs to get done… Maybe you don’t know where to start – or you think someone else should be doing that work.
There are nine reasons we all procrastinate. (There’s a book about moving past that procrastination problem, if you’re interested.) If you know which of the nine reasons is stopping you from getting the work done, then it’s easier to remove the barrier.
Here’s an illustration – it’s pretty simple, and kind of silly, but it’s real. Maybe you wouldn’t find this a problem… Think of something you’re avoiding doing, if it helps.
Robert’s shirt needs a button sewn on. This usually isn’t much fun as a task by itself… and I’ve been procrastinating. Rob would really like to wear his shirt. (And yes, he does know how to sew on his own button, but I offered and I’d like to do something nice for him.)
Yes – I know how to sew on a button, so lack of knowledge isn’t the procrastination problem. Maybe I’ve been been hoarding my energy for something else? (Otherwise known as laziness.) But, after consideration, the real procrastination problem is that I don’t have the button – the washing machine ate it.
Rob removed the barrier for me by suggesting I use the button at the top collar, which he never buttons up. And then he suggested we watch a movie together and I can do it while I’m enjoying the movie.
See? No more procrastination and Fun Work.
Move past procrastination, and add in some fun.
If you’re stuck, or avoiding the work you need to get done – first decide why you’re avoiding it, then add in some fun. Anything is possible if you work together.
As a husband and wife you’re a team… Encourage each other!