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Project: Happily Ever After. {Giveaway!}

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Project: Happily Ever After. {Giveaway!}

I admit when the email popped up in my inbox, I was almost ready to hit delete.

Send me a marriage book?
Are they implying my marriage wasn't working?

But I replied, received the book a few days later and devoured it within days.

Here's the deal, I do think that J and I have a good marriage, in fact most days I think we have a great marriage.

But I think I spend more time and energy focusing on being a good mom than I do a wife, and I don't think I'm alone. I want to be a good wife.

Sometimes I think I am, othertimes I know I'm not.

There are days that we, like most married couples, wake up and we're off all day and I'm on him for leaving his breakfast dishes on the counter and he's on me for doing the naggity nag thing. And then I'm irritated he didn't answer his cell phone for the 347th time and he's irritated with me for having an attitude.

Then there are the days he comes home from work and he's tired from working all day and I'm tired from mothering all day and anything either of us do or say is going to annoy the other.

Neither of us are perfect. I can be bossy and overly sensitive and have high expectations and sometimes that drives the guy crazy! He can be forgetful and work late one too many nights and sleep through a train wreck in the middle of the night and sometimes that drives me crazy!

Last Saturday morning, one of our children was up way, way, way too early. Both of us were tired, crabby with said child which then led us to being crabby with each other. The typical molehills of getting ready and getting out the door for T's basketball game turned into mountains and so we drove silently seething at each other to basketball about things that really don't matter.

This April, we'll have been married for seven years {!} and we are happier and more in love today than we were then. And in the end we have way more great days than bad, off and icky days, but that doesn't mean there aren't bad days and that there isn't work involved.

The work is the letting go, caring less about meaningless things, knowing when to speak up and when to just let it roll. The work is into giving our marriage to God, praying over it, reminding each other of His word. The work is in the giving of grace {even when you want to point out mistakes!} and knowing when you need a moment. The work is in the communicating and the scheduling and the coordinating of who will be where, when and how we'll make it work.

Author Alissa Bowman bravely shares her marriage story in her new book Project: Happily Ever After Saving Your Marriage When the Fairytale Falters. She spent four months, doing everything she could to save a marriage that many {friends, colleagues, even her mom} had written off as hopeless. She shares tips and details of what she needed to do and the work her and her husband had to do from being a couple on the verge of divorce to a couple renewing their vows at the end. She writes with refreshing honesty. The kind of honesty that needs to be out there more because I am certain there are other couples in a place that she was in.

She writes about how she originally pinned it all on her husband, that it was his fault their marriage wasn't working and all of his issues. And then realizes that she plays a part in all of this too. It takes two. {This is usually the case, no?} 

They share with each other all the qualities they love about each other and realize they still very much love each other and she especially needed to get her mind and heart on that path again.

Her writing had me laughing many, many times. J would usually peak over and ask what I was reading and what was so funny and he too, found the humor in her stories, typical marriage issues and her advice.

Alissa would like to give one of YOU a copy of her book that just hit bookshelves this month. Maybe you are looking for something just like this, maybe your marriage is on cloud nine and you just think it'd be a fun read. {It is a super easy quick beach read!} Maybe you've got a friend or family member who you think would love the book or maybe you'd like to give it as a wedding gift. Whatever works.

To enter to win your own copy, please leave a comment sharing some marriage advice you have. {Even if you're not married, you can share some advice you've heard or given! I'm excited to read these!}

Contest ends Wednesday Feb. 2 at 8pm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For each time you vent to you friends about your husband/wife, tell 3 positive stories.

Stacy R

January 26, 2011 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Kaye said...

Remember, even friends who aren't married can have sound advice. We're the ones who generally listen to all the complaining - perhaps we've actually heard you and learned from your mistakes. Trust us, there's a reason we're taking our time...

January 26, 2011 at 2:43 PM  
Anonymous karin said...

when my husband is talking to me, i make sure that i stop whatever i'm doing and listen. while i can retain what he says while doing something else, he can't - so making sure he knows i am actively listening without distraction is something i always try to do

January 26, 2011 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never go to bed mad at each other! My husbands grandma told me that and it is so true. You think that it may be easier to sleep it off, but the next morning the problem is still there, unresolved.


January 26, 2011 at 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pray. My marriage was "dead" and through the
miracle of God is it being slowly brought back to life.
Trust God and listen to what He is telling YOU to change,
not your spouse.

January 26, 2011 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Allison S. said...

Don't keep track of how much each has contributed in the relationship. It will never be even, but it always works out.

January 26, 2011 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I've been told to never bring something negative up at night, before bed. You both need sleep and at the end of the day neither of you are going to be in the right mind to maturely discuss something. Often times, in the morning you'll feel better and the thing that was bother you the day before may not even be worth bringing up.

January 26, 2011 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Often in the evenings, after our son is asleep, my husband and I get busy a doing our own things. But as we kiss each other good night and turn off the lights, we often end up talking about day and giggling at the funny things that happened to each of us. We were given a wall hanging for a wedding gift that reads "Never forget to kiss each other goodnight," and I would like to add "never forget to have a little laugh as you go to bed!"

January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cuddle on the couch, just because! 7 years into our marriage, and we started to forget the simple things like cuddling on the couch. We did it all the time before kids, and life is BUSY now, but we are making an effort to do it again!

Stephanie T

January 26, 2011 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger This too shall pass said...

Date your spouse! Spend the time and energy and a sometimes little money planning date nights - take turns, surprise each other. Keep it simple because it's more about the time together - not what you are doing together. Don't forget date night at home... give it a fun name like 'Wedded Wednesday' get the kids fed and to bed and spend time just being with each other at home.

January 26, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is truly important to make time for just you as a couple. Life gets so BUSY but we make a conscious effort to plan date nights, the occasional night/weekend away, even just a night in eating takeout and watching a movie after the kids go to keeps us connected and looking forward to those times of just "us"!

Anna B

January 26, 2011 at 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Jes said...

Find a book you both will love and read out loud to each other for just a little bit at night before bed. My husband and I have been doing this off and on this past year. It took a little while for us to find the right book, but once we did, it is so much fun! It gives us both time to unwind together and go to bed giggling.

January 26, 2011 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger darcie said...

You know - I recently was turned on to this book (and blog project!!) by someone - what a great read!
All relationships take work - even the 'great' ones - my advice?
hmmmm - I guess...don't sweat the small stuff.
So often I'm fretting about something that he's not even blinking about...

January 26, 2011 at 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Nicky said...

Thanks for sharing Samara - though Joe and I aren't married yet, I like to think we are setting ourselves up for a great one.
This post has such perfect timing.. I've been so annoyed lately with the little things and have felt like I've had to do everything this past week while he forgets to do said things.. BUT at the end of the day I realize it wasn't such a big deal. I believe one of THE MOST important things in a marriage (or any relationship) is communication, which Joe and I have to work at everyday, but it makes the tough days so much easier.
I also like how you admitted that sometimes you forget to be a wife and in the midst of your mother role. I think that is a major problem never addressed by some marriages which fall apart, and it doesn't even have to be kids, it could be work or other family members or friends or vices.. Being a wife/husband is having that role everyday, not just the day after the wedding, or only for the first year..
Anyway, great thoughts! We miss you guys-

January 26, 2011 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Remember the correct order of your priorities
1. Christ
2. Spouse
3. Children

Many people put kids first and that is not right and most importantly you need Christ at the center of your family..

January 27, 2011 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

So many good comments already!

I agree with the date your spouse concept - and we try to shake it up by switching off each time letting one pick what we do. So one week I plan and the next week Nate plans what we do.

And we always, always make sure the last thing we say to each other before bed/work/separating for whatever reason is "I love you".

January 27, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Samara- one of my favorite pieces of marital advice came from you- Never stop dating your spouse. I think that signifies one major thing that every partnership needs, time for one another. It can be hard to set the time aside, but if you don't do it, no one can do it for you.

January 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Kelly T. said...

I would have to agree with you and the others about the importance going on dates. We love to go out, but often have "date night" at home where we stop everything to just spend time with each other. In our marriage class before we were married, our pastor said, "Your children can be neglected for a little while; your marriage cannot." We remind ourselves of that often.

January 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Mel B said...

We have the most fun when we do Family Outings. A trip to a hotel/waterpark or even a Saturday morning shopping trip to Costco. When we all get out together, we have a great time just being together. During those times, we like to reflect and say...can you believe just x years ago, we were just dating and now here we are a family of FIVE?? It makes us proud of where we are.
The best 'advice' I've gotten was from my friend's OB/GYN...'If you have kids under 5, you are in survival mode. Babies and toddlers and preschoolers are HARD WORK. Just get those kids into Elementary School and everything will be OK. Give each other a break...if you are too tired to have sex, just say that and accept it. Don't feel bad about it.' This has helped me many, many times.

January 27, 2011 at 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a LOT of SEX. Seriously. I think it's one of the BEST ways to stay connected, and based on what I hear and what I've personally experienced myself, married people are not doing enough of it!!

Have a LOT of FUN. Seriously. I think it's so important to laugh together and to have a sense of humor about life. Date nights are crucial...I hear one night a week is the recommended dose...meaning our one night every month isn't cutting it. Hmm, I'm going to bring that up to him when he gets home. LOL

Have a LOT of INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS. Seriously. The kind of conversations where truth and vulnerability pour out. Both of you have to be willing to "go there", to let go of secrets, (ooooo, that's a good one!!)to listen and have grace on each other. You have to be each other's safe place. If your spouse isn't a safe place, you will find someone who is. I speak truth :)

I can think of others...using affirming words (men love this ;)...physical touch/comfort withOUT sex (women love this ;)...but these are the highlights of my very fun, intimate, sexy 10 yr marriage :)
~Jessica B.

January 27, 2011 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Jess Bjokne said...

Find things that you both enjoy doing and DO those things, we like to's one of the few things we enjoy doing but every time it brings us closer together and we MAKE MEMORIES even through some of the "bad" things that can happen on a camping trip (like locking keys in the car...getting lost... poison ivy) Also,be willing to admit and ask for forgiveness when you've been in the wrong-this goes a long way in healing hurts in a marriage.

January 27, 2011 at 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that all these comments are great! With that said, Jessica B's comment struck a certain cord with me (no pun intended). I think it was the first point I liked the most. J

January 27, 2011 at 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been married two years and continue to learn so much. One thing that I think is super important is to pay attention to your own actions. It's so easy to see someone else and what they are doing wrong. When you pay attention to yourself it can be a little embarrassing. If you really stay aware you will act better and not let the little things bother you. And very simply remember that you loved this man so much to commit to him for life so maybe you could act like it! Love him like you want to be loved.

Auntie BB

January 28, 2011 at 7:31 PM  
Anonymous A McFarlane said...

Never go to bed angry

January 28, 2011 at 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Alisa Bowman said...

I love all of the great comments and suggestions here. I'm a big believer in crowd sourcing your marriage. You all have great insights and so much that others can learn from. Thanks for participating. I'm honored.

January 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Stacey said...

I KNOW my husband would agree with the person who said have a lot of sex!!!! He would also say their are other "ways" to "stay connected". I however say to always remember how lucky you are to have each other. And when he/she is driving you crazy, remember YOU do things to drive them crazy too. No ones perfect but together life can be fun!

January 30, 2011 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger LutherLiz said...

Try to listen to what is behind what your spouse is saying before you respond.

February 7, 2011 at 10:09 PM  

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