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Can 15-seconds a day impact your marriage? The purpose of the “15-second Hug Challenge” is to increase spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy between couples. What do you think is the leading cause for divorce? Most would say poor communication, endless fighting, financial irresponsibility, infidelity, or addiction. Many people say "I'm just not in love with you anymore." What does that even me? After counseling thousands of couples, it’s clear that these are mere symptoms of a surprisingly much larger issue. The unexpected culprit is our lack of intentionality. We have a tendency to get caught up in the busyness of life. Working late, kid’s games, exhaustion, social media, television, and all the other obsessions, bad habits and distractions that we fall into. People don’t just suddenly “fall out of love.” Day-by-day we slip into the emotionless and mundane routine of life. We stop paying attention to one another. The decay of a relationship is a slow and gradual progression. In counseling, the goal is to gain a renewed sense of spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy. At this point, I hope you are asking “How can I re-establish intimacy in my marriage? Consistent and intentional effort over time, rebuilds trust, renews intimacy, reestablishes connectivity and brings vitality into your relationship. For so many of you physical intimacy, such as a 15-second hug, is improbable. In fact, even a simple emotional or spiritual intimacy exercise will prove to be problematic. All couples desire intimacy, but all of the hurt and resentment is stopping you. I know you feel stuck. You may need to seek professional counseling.

Assess your relationship by clicking on this link: "Relationship Assessment Quiz" If you answered “yes” on three or more of the odd numbered questions on the marriage assessment quiz then try these helpful marriage DIY improvement tips: 1. Declare grace and peace over your house. Start your day in prayer. Commit yourself to Christ first and then to your spouse. God has miraculous peace for you. Everyday from your birth, God has extended an immeasurable amount of his grace to you. Share the same measure of grace with your spouse. 2. Say a blessing over your spouse every time they leave the house. Something like “May God watch over you and share his peace and protection with you. Know that you are loved. In Jesus’ name.” 3. 15-second Hugs*. Every time you and your spouse come together give each other a 15-second hug and say something like “I love you, I am for you and never against. I got you.” At home, church, restaurant, your child’s school and any where that you are seeing one another for the first time in 30 minutes or more. Feel free to throw in a kiss too. This will change the atmosphere of your home. You and your spouse will feel like a priority. The mood and temperature of your spouse will warm and create feelings of worthiness and belonging. *It’s important to note that this is a non-sexual exercise in physical intimacy. Acting sexual will demean the process and break trust. Save the sexual advances for later. 4. Turn weekly routines into a positive. Create special event nights like Taco Tuesday and game night, Friday night movie night and every Sunday church followed by lunch at your favorite restaurant. Make a big deal out of specific days and times. 5. Communication is key. Take at least 10 to 20 minutes everyday just to talk. Talk about the good stuff. Vacation plans, weekend plans, hopes and dreams. Add time if you need to strategize and plan for the week. 6. Eat dinner together. Sit at a table and keep free of any screens and devices. No distractions. On those crazy late days you could incorporate #5 if you’re willing to hang out with dirty dishes. 7. Verbalize appreciation and affirmation stop the criticism. Say “Thank you for taking care of that. It means a lot to me.” “I feel loved when you...” *I could write a book on criticism vs. appreciation. Criticism kills while appreciation builds. Share love in a way that your spouse feels loved and accepted. Stop criticism and produce lots of appreciation and affirmation. Have fun and trust God. Pray for your marriage, pray for your spouse.


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