Wednesday, September 28, 2011

120 Day Challenge - Phase One, Marriage

Several months ago, I started reading this book entitled "It Starts at Home" by Kurt Brunner and Steve Stroope.  After finishing the first section titled, "Intentional Couples".  This chapter talks specifically marriage; how to redefine love, release expectations, refine communication, reboot forgiveness, and reignite intimacy.  There are some really great truths surrounding each of those 5 "R"'s that will help strengthen your relationship with your spouse.

At the end of the section the authors presented a 120 day challenge. First, they ask you to think back over the last 120 days and gave a list of 8 things to mark off if you have done them during that time frame. There is also a grading scale.  I will admit, that based on their scale, my marriage would receive a "D" which is kinda close to failing but, take it into perspective.  This little quiz is pretty specific and not about your overall marriage; more about what are you doing intentionally within your marriage to make it stronger.  Life gets busy, doesn't it? 

The next section is the actual challenge. The author lists 7 different ways to accept the challenge (or you can come up with your own) but the point is to choose one thing and do it completely (or intentionally) for the next 120 days.  I chose to add a date nights.  At several points in our marriage, we would have weekly date nights, normally on Friday, and for a long time we took turns planning them so that the other person was surprised.  Kids, time, jobs, money - those things kind of put date night on hold.  Periodically we would do something but it was hit or miss.  Starting in September, I have been working on planning 2-3 date nights a month.  In my plan, I'm trying to do one thing very specifically as a family of four (kids can be part of dates too!), one at home date and, if at all possible, one "out on the town" date.  Earlier this month, my parents had the kids for a weekend so we did two things 1) We went out to dinner with some great friends.  This wasn't a "just us" date, but it was so enjoyable to sit and have dinner with some adults that we truly enjoy hanging out with - something we seldom get to do due to our schedules.  2) Since our friends treated us, we actually got to go out to dinner on Saturday evening with the money we had planned for Friday :-)   Sometimes, it is nice to eat out without kids! .   On a recent Friday evening, we took the kids and headed to the park - talk about family fun!  We laughed, ran through playground stuff, tried not to throw-up while Josh rode the merry-go-round (uuggg!) and just had fun being kids with our kids!  Finally, I am in the midst of planning a movie date night at home .. .but that will get pushed to October because we have run out of free Friday or Saturday evenings in September!!  But that's ok.  The whole point is that I am being intentional with my planning.  As month one (or the first 30 days) comes to an end, I feel like I have done something more than what we were doing so that is a good thing!  Now, on to October!

This is really a great book so far.  I'm just started reading the chapter on being Parents but am not in a rush, I want to finish the marriage 120 day challenge prior to beginning the parenting challenge anyway.  (And FYI - the last section is on being Grandparents - so this is a book for any age!)

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving . . . that I got to go scrapbooking for the majority of the day on Tuesday.  I got a lot done and got a break from my normal, every day routine.

I'm loving . . .rainy days . . or nights.  I would love a rainy day, actually, but I'll settle for listening to the rain in the evening.

I'm loving . . . my new hair . . three colors . .. something new for me but so much fun!

I'm loving . . . that my fantasy team is doing so well :-)  I'm such a proud owner!

I'm loving. . . that both of my boys make very funny facial expressions - they are getting funnier by the day!

What are you loving today?