Want a more intentional marriage? Try For better and forever: A marriage resource for wives. It offers community, motivation and inspiration!
When was the last time that you sat down with a bunch of your girlfriends and talked about your husbands?
Last week? Last month? Last year, maybe?
And when you did, what did you talk about?
The positives or the negatives?
More often than not, our conversations with our friends about our husbands are about what they’re not doing: the jobs around the house, the errand you asked them to run, or the way in which they let your child away with something you told them was a no-no. They’re not about how you can make your marriage better.
Or maybe when I asked you that question above, you couldn’t relate to it at all – because you don’t actually know the last time you sat down with a bunch of girlfriends. It might have been back in the late 1990s. Or that might have been a memory of watching Friends. You’re really not sure anymore.
So who do you talk to positively about your marriage? Who inspires, motivates and encourages you to be more intentional with your relationship?
Maybe the answer to this is no-one.
And most of the time, you don’t even notice this. Because truth is, our jobs, our homes and our children often consume our thoughts and actions to the point where our husband is right down there on our list.
But from someone who has been (badly) married before, and now also has an empty nest, I can tell you that having a solid, supportive marriage, where your husband is also your best friend, is the number one gift you can give yourself for personal happiness and overall life satisfaction. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, you can check out the research. So making space in your life for thinking about and working on your relationship is definitely worth prioritizing.
Now social media gets a bad rap for many thing, but I believe that one type of social media in particular can offer real value to your life (and to your marriage, as I’ll explain shortly). That type is Facebook groups.
I belong to a number of Facebook groups. Each one has a clear niche. I have some connected with current courses I’m doing for my blog, some specifically concerned with personal growth, some on the best breed of dog ever (the Brussels Griffon, if you’re wondering), and one connected with marriage.
I’ve signed up for a heck of a lot more groups than that in my time, of course. But for me to stick around, the group needs to offer certain things.
A sense of community.
I’m guessing you’re a lot like me: a working woman with kids (and even if they’re out of the home, they still need care and attention). You like to keep a clean and organized home. And you like to work on and for yourself as well – maybe you have a side hustle, a hobby, or engage in regular exercise. How much room for friends does that leave in your life? Not much, right?
A Facebook group functions as a virtual community. And while it can’t take the place of a real life friend, it has many benefits, the number one being convenience. You can access it when and where it suits you. Groups operate at different levels of depth than others (there isn’t much soul-searching going on in my griffon groups for example), but the ones I really click with are where there’s a sharing and an honesty in the dialogue, and a high level of engagement with each other. And if the groups starts taking a turn you don’t like – for example, it engages in drama, bitchiness and other behavior you thought you’d left behind after high school, all you need to do is hit leave group. I can honestly say that thanks to Facebook groups, I have a number of women I now call friends, and I enjoy taking part in them every day.
How often do you think you’d like to do something, but don’t actually get around to it? A Facebook group needs to offer some tangible actions to take to add value to my life. The structure of some Facebook groups, with specific themes for particular days, can do just that. I am a particular fan of groups where there are challenges every now and again as well, to get you highly motivated for a short stretch of time.
Or maybe your problem isn’t actually doing things. Maybe your problem is that you have no idea what to do in the first place. Reading about what others are doing in their lives can give you great ideas. They don’t have to be ideas from the group owners either- the members are doing awesome things and letting you know about it. I need that heavy dose of inspiration if I’m to stick around in a group.
Now, the marriage-centered Facebook group that I belong to – For Better & Forever – meets all of these criteria.
A sense of community.
Firstly, the community. At the time of writing this, there’s over 1500 members (not bad considering it’s under a couple of months old). The number one rule is to be kind- so that means no rudeness, no swearing- and no husband-bashing- so none of that critical talk I mentioned in the beginning. The focus is tight- all posts need to be marriage related, so you don’t get down the rabbit hole of reading about what people thought of the restaurant they went to the night before.
Secondly, the motivation. The group has a number of things that keep you motivated into thinking about your marriage and how to make it more intentional. For example:
Talk about it Tuesday.
Talk about it Tuesday focuses on some of the more controversial issues within a marriage, by presenting readers with blog posts or podcasts to listen to, and then talk about. Recent topics have included the role of social media in your marriage- For example, Do you have any exes on Facebook? Do you know your husband’s passwords? I even featured in this section with my post on How to get your husband to help around the house! These topics help to explore your own opinions on these important matters.
Often we just don’t take the time to appreciate what we have. In my article on simple, practical ways to show appreciation, I talked about how important appreciation is and gave ways in which you can show appreciation to your honey. Another way you can show appreciation is by posting here- in Thankful Thursday, where you mention what your husband has done lately that you are grateful for.
If you’ve read my post on Self-care for busy women, you’ll know that I believe self-care is incredibly important. Readers share their self-care ideas in this section. If nothing else, it makes you feel less guilty about spending an afternoon binge-watching shows when you realize you are not alone in this!
The group also has regular challenges. Right now, we’ve just finished the 5 Days of Love Languages Challenge: Different ways to shower your sweetie with affection. My love language is quality time (if you want to know yours, check out the link on my Happiness Hack: Know yourself. Gary Chapman’s love languages is one of the three personality quizzes I discuss as I think they are super important!). However I really enjoyed taking the time to experiment with different ways of showing love. I think my husband really enjoyed having all his shirts ironed for him as well!
You can see that For Better & Forever is certainly up there in offering motivation to its members!
Thirdly, the inspiration. Probably what I find most inspiring about this group are the ideas people have for dates. I have realized from this that the husband and I fall woefully short in having regular date nights that are fun and exciting for us both. With either people posting about what they’re doing, or asking for suggestions, the possibilities are endless! I know that after being part of this group for a while, I told my husband that I wanted to bring more date nights into our lives with a combination of at-home activities and going-out ones. People also have fantastic ideas for anniversaries and other special occasions. Realizing what other people are doing to keep their marriages a priority is definitely inspiring.
In today’s super busy world, finding the time to place your husband at the top of the list can be hard. But being part of an actively engaged Facebook group is one strategy you can use to become more intentional about your marriage. If regular doses of community, motivation and inspiration sound good to you, then I’d recommend you check out For Better & Forever. I’ll see you there!