Almost four years ago, I realized I was a terrible husband. I was lazy, unintentional, unreliable, and more. If not for a chance encounter with a couple who would quickly become my friends and mentors, I have no doubt that I’d be writing about my former marriage by now. Since then, I’ve spent four years learning and applying as much as I can to improve my relationship and by sharing my favorite lessons learned from the pros, help you improve yours, too, no matter how great your relationship already is! If you’re new to the site, the best ways to get into my head and take advantage of the research I’ve done (and mistakes I’ve made) already are to pick up my book, Confessions of a Terrible Husband: Lessons Learned from a Lumpy Couch, check out more posts right here, follow me on social channels, or listen to the podcast (It’s on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and more. Just hover over the word “podcast” on the top of any page on the site!). Although my marriage is much improved, it’s definitely been more of a roller coaster than a rocket ship launching into space. We have ups and downs, like any relationship, although the ups are "uppier" and the downs are less "downish." Yes, I made those words up. It’s my blog. I can do that. :) We’ve had periods where we make great progress and then weeks or months where things feel a bit stale and need a kickstart. When that happens, these three things help regain focus, direction, and momentum! Change your dinner plans. It’s no secret that Dan and Joanne Miller were the first marriage mentors who I connected with to help me transform my relationship. Since meeting them, I’ve been very intentional to surround myself with many other men, women, and couples with great marriages so I can learn as much as possible. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. One of the easiest ways to start with this is to just begin making dinner plans with couples you believe have great marriages. Keep it simple. You don’t need any magic words or to ask any specific questions. Just spend more time with people who have relationships like you want to build and less time with people who don’t. You can learn a ton just by being around people with great marriages. Change your programming with new books, podcasts, or video content. If you can’t find people with great marriages to spend more time with, find virtual mentors by reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching great video content. If you can do this with your spouse, even better. But if not, that’s okay. Make the first move by consuming content that can help you improve your relationship and applying the lessons you learn. Before I turned 30, I had read fewer than 10 books for personal growth, and those were all finance and business books. After turning 30, I started reading more business and marketing books. Although my finances looked great and my career was going well, my personal life was pretty . . . well, you know the name of this blog, so that pretty much says it all. :) Now, I’m constantly either reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a video about improving my relationship and then committing to applying at least one thing I learned from the material. My favorite way to do it is through audiobooks, which I can listen to while emptying the dishwasher, cleaning my office, and more. I highly recommend everyone subscribe to Audible where you can get a new book every month. If you aren’t a member yet, you can get a free month and a free book to keep (even if you cancel) by heading here. However you consume content, direct some of it on a regular basis to improving your relationships, and commit to applying one lesson you learn from each piece of content to put a jolt in your relationship. Take a guided challenge! When you’re just starting to intentionally improve your relationship, or if it’s been weeks or months since you last made an intentional effort, one of the easiest and best ways to build positive momentum is to take a guided challenge. The best part about taking a guided challenge is it takes all the thinking out of improving your relationship! You don’t need to look for a lesson or get anyone’s buy-in. You just follow the instructions. I’ve made it a point to take at least one challenge every year and each time I take one, my marriage gets a great boost! This year, I’m taking a FREE 7-day challenge by the Ziglar family (yes, that Ziglar family!) that starts Monday, March 27, 2017, and I’d like to invite you to do it with me. After taking a deep dive behind the scenes of the free 7-day challenge, I saw three things that made me quickly become more excited about this free challenge than about many paid challenges I’ve seen. First, it’s only 7 days long. Anyone can stick to a challenge for 7 days. Second, it touches 7 key areas of family life, including relationship, communication, physical health, work–life integration, community, financial, and—if you’re spiritual in nature—spiritual. Finally, the challenge is led by seven leading experts on their relevant subject matter. Get this: Day 1: Gary Chapman (Relationships) Day 2: Michael & Gail Hyatt (Communication) Day 3: Dr. Josh Axe (Physical Health) Day 4: Tony Dungy (Work–Life Integration) Day 5: Brian Buffini (Community) Day 6: Dave Ramsey (Finances) Day 7: Zig Ziglar’s own children – Cindy, Julie, and Tom (Spirituality). Needless to say, that’s seven sorts of awesome right there. And each of them shares their best advice for you during the challenge! I hope you join me in taking the challenge! I liked it so much I agreed to help promote the free challenge for them in addition to taking it myself. It’s totally free to sign up. They also have other great free content there to check out and a paid membership and coaching program if you want to go even deeper, so be sure to check it out. Are you ready to kickstart your marriage? How will you do it? Will you change your dinner plans? Will you change your programming? Will you join me in the FREE 7-day challenge? All 3? Something else? In the comments, share how you’re going to kickstart your relationship. If you’re going to join me in the Ziglar family challenge, be sure to come back here and share your progress in the comments to this post and look out for more great posts (and a surprise podcast episode) from me!