8 ways to level up as a spouse right now

Feeling a bit stuck in your marriage or important relationship? Have you been retreating into your own little world lately, afraid to share with your loved ones? Are things just kind of feeling flat?

It’s time to level up in our relationships. This episode has 8 tips for getting unstuck in marriage and getting our loved ones feeling super-appreciated and recognized.

Episode 2.17: 8 ways to level up as a spouse right now

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Episode transcript

8 ways to level up as a spouse right now

This is the Bad-ass Dad Pod

  • It’s time to level up on our relationships.
  • I’m going to drop 7 tips for actions we can undertake today that will have our dear ones feeling super-loved and appreciated.
  • My name is Ryan Dunn
    • I’m a Duke of silly Romance
    • A Sweat Monger Extraordinaire
    • Wonk of penny pinching.
    • I’m a Level 8 Gym Warrior
    • A level 6 Relationship Ranger
    • A level 5 debt mage.
    • And your lawful good podmaster
  • Alright, actually, I should demote myself on the relationship level.
    • I’ve been slipping lately.
    • I’ve been sullen and separated from my family.
    • And I realize I just haven’t been attentive.
    • I find myself trying to separate in the evenings… just wanting to go off and do my own thing.
      • And with that, I’ve realized that, down deep, I know that’s not how I’m going to live my best life.
      • I’m going to live my best life by having a strong, supportive marriage.
      • And investing myself in others.
      • And I think that’s where I’ve been coming up short lately–I’ve not been investing myself.
      • So this episode really is a response to me…
      • In the pastoring world, they say our best sermons are the ones we preach to ourselves.
      • This episode is a version of that.
      • I’m seeking to reclaim my level 6 relationship status.
      • And I have 7 ideas of things I can do today to get me back to level 6 and beyond.
  • Let’s go…
  • First, thing.. Well, I just did it.
    • First thing is to admit that I haven’t been fully invested.
    • It would probably make a bigger difference if I admitted this to my wife.
    • So… that’ll be the text or note I send right after this…
    • Just a note to say “Hey, I’ve been feeling disconnected lately. Sorry, I haven’t been fully present. Would you like to hang out with me tonight?”
    • I think that’ll be appreciated.
    • Now, maybe you haven’t been withdrawn, like me…
    • I think the more universal step here would simply to take a moment right now to let your sig other know that they are on your mind.
    • The beauty of our age is that it’s likely you can do that right now–either by texting, calling, messaging… or the old-fashioned way… talking.
  • 2nd thing I want to do: I want to address why I’ve been separating lately.
    • As in, why am I feeling sullen and sulky lately?
    • I’m going to cheat ahead and admit that I’ve already done the legwork on this one.
    • And here’s what I figured out:
      • I’m hiding
      • I’m hiding because that is way easier to do than to admit that I’m not feeling very good about myself.
        • I think I’m not feeling very good about myself because I haven’t accomplished some of the things I’ve set out for myself.
        • So I get caught up in this feeling of needing to be productive 
        • And I get frustrated when I don’t feel like I’m doing that.
        • So I hide.
        • And it sucks that it affects her.
      • So I can call myself out on my hiding.
    • That’s my circumstance… as for you, can you spend a few moments pinpointing why you hide from your spouse?
      • Maybe you’re ashamed of something?
      • Maybe you’re feeling some resentment you need to address?
      • What can you do about it today?
  • Alright, third practice to level up in spouse-hood right now…
    • Sounds super-simple… maybe eye-rollingly simple… but here it is:
    • Make a list of 5 things you appreciate about your spouse.
    • You don’t even have to share this with your spouse.
    • This practice is simply to frame our own thoughts in a positive mental space.
    • So spend a few moments making a list of 5 things.
      • At some point, you may want to drop little notes or compliments.
      • We all like to hear that we’re appreciated.
    • But, again, this list is really just for your own headspace.
    • When we approach our spouses from a place of appreciation
    • That will greatly affect the way in which we interact.
    • Should be awesome.
  • Practice four: take some nude-y pictures.
    • Just kidding… kind of…
    • Actually, the practice is just to do something flirty.
    • Quote a little poetry… offer a sultry compliment… maybe don’t send a dick-pic… but send some kind of flirty pic.
    • Like your best impression of bedroom eyes.
    • I don’t know.
    • Just be playful and let your spouse feel the thrill of being attractive.
    • Maybe this a chance to share something from your compliment list.
  • Alright, number 5: show some enthusiasm for something your spouse is enthusiastic about…
    • Even if it’s fake enthusiasm.
    • Your spouse may be able to smell that BS… but s/he is going to super-appreciate your willingness to share their interests.
    • So the next time your spouse comes to you and says: Hey, I want you to look at this thing I found…
      • Don’t make a big show of putting away your iPod with 80s Mania Wrestling Game
      • And instead, set aside and say… “Whatcha got? Show me?”
      • We’re talking hypothetically, here, of course.
    • This is a simple demonstration of love.
    • And totally reassures your spouse that they are important to you.
    • Ugggh….. I’ve been sucking at this one lately.
    • Let me offer this… if your spouse makes you a playlist, listen to it.
      • They’ve invested time.
      • And you’re not listening to the playlist makes you both feel like jerks.
      • Again, hypothetically.
    • OK, for real… here’s how I let my wife know I’ve listened to the playlist she made me:
      • I put some of the songs that she put on my list onto the playlist I curate for her.
      • Another pro-tip: I eavesdrop on what she listens to in the morning and drop that onto the playlist, too.
      • I found that we really love to listen to lists that includes music that’s familiar and like-able to us
      • So by doing these two things, I give her some nuggets to grab onto on the playlist I create.
  • Let’s jump onto practice number 6: Ask your spouse if you can share time.
    • Most likely, this entails asking your spouse out–or in–on a date.
    • Say “hey, will you go out to dinner with me on Thursday?”
    • They may not accept…. But no one minds being asked.
    • Maybe you’re in a penny-pinch phase, so ask: “hey, can we watch a couple episodes Warrior tonight?”
    • You get the idea.
  • You’re picking this up quick, we’re already onto tip number 7:
    • Do something your spouse normally does.
    • We try not to be too hung up on gender roles in our house.
    • But we have developed an unspoken agreement that she does certain tasks and I do others.
      • I crush and take out all the recycling.
      • She does dog grooming and most of the bathroom cleaning.
      • So I can sweetly surprise her by wiping down the shower… that kind of thing.
    • Oh, and when you do this… do this just for the other person… 
      • In other words, don’t do this with an expectation that you’ll get something in return.
      • Like, forget the old troupe that a man doing housework is a way to get laid. 
      • You’re not doing this for sex. You’re doing it out of appreciation.
  • Last tip I’m going to drop on you:
    • Give your spouse 5 minutes today.
    • 5 agenda-less minutes.
    • Let your spouse dictate how this 5 minutes is going to play out.
    • Just go be in their presence for 5 minutes… without pressuring them to do something
    • Without you interjecting yourself to fix something.
    • Just be there with them.
    • Listen as needed.
    • Be as needed.
  • That’s it… this might set the record for shortest episode ever…
    • But I feel like it’s enough.
    • Hey, if you want more tips… and to get stories of others practicing this stuff, join up the Bad-Ass Dad Squad on Facebook.
      • Super supportive
      • Super cool group of people
    • If you appreciate this episode, share the appreciation by mashing the subscribe button and that 5-star rating.
      • I covet your 5 star ratings.
    • I’ll be back next week… in search of your 5-star ratings…
    • In the meantime, I remain your faithful podmaster, Ryan Dunn
    • Music is by Eyoelin.
    • OK Bye.

Published by RyanDunn

Ryan Dunn has a bunch of certificates on his desk. A few are awards for content production and marketing. Another marks his ordination as a minister. One says he’s earned a BA in English from the University of Iowa. The certificate next to that says he earned an MA in Christian Practice from Duke (with honors!). Ryan is most proud, though, of the things he’s created: The Compass Podcast, some deep content on RethinkChurch.org, a series of practical spiritual advice videos, a long-lasting marriage, and fantastic little boy. (He enjoyed A LOT of help on all of those projects, especially the last two.)

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