25 July 2016

Whole30 and Marriage: Effort Required

I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to sugar.

When people talk about sweet vs. salty, I'm definitely a sweets girl. And I don't just have a sweet tooth, I have a full mouth of sweet-loving teeth. I'm not quite sure how I've never had a cavity, but I'm not complaining! Some of my favorite things in life are Reese's, black and white cookies, chocolate peanut butter milkshakes. If my husband surprises me with a Frosty, I get WAY more excited than if he bought me flowers (this is embarrassing).

I know it doesn't sound like it but I can actually eat fairly healthy on most days. When I cook, I'm very picky about what types of ingredients I use. And having a toddler constantly eating off my plate makes portion control easier than ever! But even on days when I eat healthy I usually need at least a few chocolate chips or a bit of chocolate syrup added to skim milk just to take the edge off. I knew I had a problem but I just didn't know how to fix it.

My friend told me about the Whole30 plan. The book I bought is called "The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom." I need food freedom! I want total health! The basic premise is that it's not a diet, but a program that will change your relationship with food and break its control over you. For 30 days you eliminate all foods from your diet that could possibly be inflammatory or disrupt your hormones, gut, metabolism, or immune system.

My husband and I are totally on board and are about to start the Whole30 program in August (prayers please!). In preparation, we've talked to friends that have gone through the program. We've researched recipes, mentally prepared ourselves for what might be challenging in cutting out certain foods. We even figured out some strategies ahead of time for navigating difficult situations. We've spent countless hours before starting it and will spend many more hours with meal prep and cooking in August in order to complete the Whole30 successfully and become healthier individuals.

As I was thinking about Marriage Monday, I had a thought smack me in the face (does that ever happen to you too?!). Do I spend even half of that time working on my marriage? I know eating is a constant and essential need, but our marriages also affect our everyday lives, as well as those around us. The way we go about our marriages can even affect our children  - how they treat others, their views on relationships, and possibly even the person they will eventually marry.

I'm not saying we shouldn't spend time on our health. I am saying that our marriages deserve and need time invested in them as well. We need to be intentional. Just like a healthy body doesn't happen accidentally, or even quickly, you also can't just stumble into a good marriage without putting in any effort.

Spending time working on a marriage may look differently for everyone, but here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm what might work for you. You could try:

- setting aside Marriage Monday time to discuss a blog post over dinner (I wonder where you could find one of those? Hmm...)
- planning a much-needed date night out to keep the spark alive
- putting the kids to bed and spending time praying for each other
- reading and discussing a marriage book, such as Sacred Marriage or Love & Respect
- creating a budget together to reduce money fights. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is great for guidance on this!

What is one way you can (or do) set aside time to work on your marriage?

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