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Episode 78: Reconnecting as a Couple and Family with Trey & Lea Morgan

Brief summary of show:

With busy lives, kids and activities, how do we find time to reconnect as a couple and family?

We all know that family time and alone time are both important when it comes to building and keeping a strong foundation with our partners and kids – so why is it the thing most often overlooked?

Joining me for this conversation are Trey and Lea Morgan, Marriage Coaches, parents and married for over 30 years.

Trey & Lea speak to thousands of couples every year at their marriage workshops. They are also authors of the best selling book, “10 Ways to a Stronger Marriage” & “Wisdom for your Marriage”.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [3:25] What family time really consists of

  • [6:50] How to protect family time without feeling like you’re missing out

  • [9:00] The importance of “coffee time”

  • [13:30] Tips and strategies for successful marriages and families

  • [16:15] Top issues couples struggle with

  • [20:45] Advice for couples who are ready to throw in the towel on their marriages

Notes from Natalie:

Connect with Trey and Lea

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

[00:00:00] Natalie: Hi friends. I get this one a lot. I wanna spend more time with my family, but I'm so busy and the kids are going in a thousand different directions.

[00:00:08] Is it really so bad for us to just sit and eat dinner at the TV? I wanna talk about that today and I wanna get some ideas on how we can enrich. Our family relationships. My guests are experts on marriage and family, not only from being married for 30 years and raising four boys, but Trey and Leah Morgan have been involved in marriage, ministry and marriage coaching for over 20 years, They do weekend workshops called stronger marriage workshops and stronger family workshops. They speak to thousands of people each year on helping their families work through issues and build stronger relationships.

[00:00:44] they are also the authors of the best selling book. 10 ways to a stronger marriage and wisdom for your marriage. If you like what you're hearing on the podcast here, do me a big favor, share it with a friend, leave me a review.

[00:00:57] My goal is to help more people and I can only do that by growing. You'll also find more health, family and positive. Set tips on my website, Natalie TISL T Y S D a Now onto this week's podcast with Trey and Leah Morgan.


[00:01:17] Natalie: Trey and Lee, so good to see you today. I wanna talk to you today. I know you do a lot of marriage issues, but you also talk to families about successful relationships. And one thing I see often with my own family and marriage is the lack of time we get to spend together.

[00:01:35] Trey: Yes family time is, is uh, one of the ways you spell love is T I M E E, and families need time together.

[00:01:43] And sometimes we have made the mistake of associating family time with. Maybe watching our kids play little league or play soccer or play something. And while that's, those are all good. They're not actual quality time that you get to actually spend one on one or face to face communication with your kiddos.

[00:02:01] We may chase, I know we spent years chasing our kids around playing sports all over the country and. The COVID year, our kid didn't get to play sports. And of course we were a little sad at first, and then we got to have so much time with him. He was our, our youngest all of a sudden we, we had him at home.

[00:02:20] We had dinner table time we had, and, and while we missed the sports thing we realized, we probably should have better done a better job, not counting family time, as we're gonna watch you play. Um, And so, yeah, I think families are finding more and more all the time, a struggle to find time when they can connect as families and, and the same is true in marriage as well.

[00:02:44] Natalie: Yeah. Lee, let's talk about that for a second. Is It conversations.

[00:02:48] How do you identify that? Because it does feel like we, we try to lump it all together and go, well, we're all watching TV together. That's family time, right?

[00:02:55] Lea: Yes. Yeah, just conversation you know, families are not getting enough communication time, face to face time, like we said, Husbands and wives are not. And uh, we found a statistic a while back that says husbands and wives are getting four minutes a day together of uninterrupted time, just, you know, face to face conversation, time and four minutes a day, we don't feel like is a healthy amount of time you know, for a relationship to thrive.

[00:03:25] And so, you know, I mean, sitting down around a dinner table as a whole family, Is a great way to. You know, maybe 30 minutes at least where you can, you know, ask each member of the family. How was your day? What did you do? You know? That was uh, what was the high point of your day today? Maybe what was a low point of your day?

[00:03:46] It's a day to, it's a time to really connect with your kids and find out what's going on in their world. Maybe, you know, some feelings they're having some things maybe that, that they need your help working through. And then, you know, we're, we're new, fairly new empty nesters. I think table time is still important for us, even though the kids are out of the house just for us to sit down and have that uninterrupted time to just talk and reconnect and see what's going on in each other's world is, is very important.

[00:04:16] Trey: Well, one of the things that we feel like we did pretty well you always look back when you've raised children or done marriage in our 34 years of marriage and go, we probably could have done better on this. One of the things we think we did well, latter part of, of marriage and family was we would have family time and, and rules were we start supper at a certain time and we don't all start eating until everyone's at the table.

[00:04:41] And your cell phone is not allowed at the table. And that included mine, you know, which was sometimes tough because, you know, I thought my job was really important and I get messages all the time, but that, that included me. And, and so we would put a cell phone. Away from a table somewhere and sat down and eat where we didn't have the interruption of answering a text message or answering a phone call or something along those lines.

[00:05:04] And those were, we look back now and realize how special those were to not only us, but to our children, that we had that table time. And we were able to connect with them even as teenagers. That is such a hard time to connect with our children because there's not always just tons of common interests when they're teenagers of things that we both like.

[00:05:25] And, uh, when you can sit down at a table and just spend some time talking, it makes a world of difference in both your relationship with them. And, and as a spouse as well.

[00:05:34] Natalie: What I have found at as a family and mom is protecting that. Is harder today than it's ever been, because there are so many things that distract us from family time.

[00:05:47] I mean, you know, there used to be a time you didn't have sports practices on Sunday, cuz that was a family day and church day. And now it's like, there's nothing about that. The games, the tournaments, the. Late night, my son swims. And one of the new practices we just saw is till nine o'clock at night.

[00:06:03] And, you know, we're, we're just competing with so many things that it's hard to protect that marriage time and family time.

[00:06:11] Do you have other advice on how to protect that and prioritize it without feeling out like you're without feeling like you're missing out on everything else in the world?

[00:06:21] Lea: One thing that we, that we tell.

[00:06:24] Couples and families is that you really have to be intentional with this. You have to look ahead maybe at your calendar and say, okay, let's look at the whole week. Do we have a, not do we have maybe only 30 minutes? You know, here's, here's a window on Thursday from 30, you know, for 30 minutes, that's our time.

[00:06:43] And we're gonna all make it a point to come together at that time. But if I just feel like if we're not intentional about that and we don't look ahead and almost schedule it. Like we have to schedule everything these days that it will just get overlooked. It will pass us by.

[00:06:59] Trey: Yeah. Yeah. It it's easy to do.

[00:07:00] And, and as, as parents sometimes it, it will require sometimes we have to say no to certain things. Like my, my kids would've been involved in 10 things each if we would've let them. And, and we kind of, at times had to go, you're gonna have to pick one or two of your favorite and not 10 things that were.

[00:07:18] Constantly, either taking you two or whatever. Cause we wanted to be supportive. We were just like every other parents, we wanted to attend anything they had, but there does come a time where you have to go, we're gonna have to slow up a little bit because we're not getting any time as a family uh, because we're doing six different sports or whatever it is.

[00:07:35] And, and it is tough. And so it does take, be an intent.

[00:07:38] Natalie: Yeah. What other advice do you have for couples or for families that maybe you would've changed or that you, I know you work with thousands of people. So what their advice or success stories do you have that we can all learn

[00:07:51] Trey: from?




[00:08:19] Trey: Can I tell a little bit about coffee time for a second?

[00:08:24] Mm-hmm what, what, another thing we have done, we have, our marriage is not perfect. Our family is not perfect, but looking back, one of the things that we look at now that we did well on. and it was purely accidental was we had, I had a job. My job allowed me to pick up my, my boys from school. We had four boys and I would oftentimes if she had a toddler or even if she didn't, I'd say, let me pick the boys up.

[00:08:50] I'd like to check in, see how their day was. I'll drop them off at the house and I'll go back to work. My job allowed me to do that. And. This was early in marriage. And I would ask her, I said, Hey, can you put on some coffee for me? Because I would love to take a cup of coffee with me back this afternoon to the office.

[00:09:07] And after about two or three weeks of this, Lee said, if I made coffee and drank a cup with you, would you take a few moments and have coffee with me? And I said, sure, I've got 20, 30 minutes. Well, probably for the past 25 years. Every afternoon, about three 30, because that's when we picked up kids, we kind of got in a habit of somebody builds a pot of coffee and we have a cup of coffee together.

[00:09:32] And that was our time. We kind of found ourself, you know, if the kids were all playing Xbox in the living room, we'd go to the bedroom. It was our time to just kind of reconnect. And ask about one another schedules about how work was going, what was going on with things. And, and we just kind of found that that 15, 20 minutes every day was so vital to, to making our marriage flow really well because it gave us such time to communicate.

[00:09:59] To have conversation to reconnect when we hadn't seen each other. And we look back now and realize how valuable that was. And we always tell people at, at conferences, when we speak to couples, you need to find a coffee time. It doesn't have to include coffee and it doesn't have to be at three 30 in the afternoon.

[00:10:16] Uh, It can be when the kids, after the kids leave for school or after they go to bed, but there should. Sometime every day or close to every day to where you have 15, 20 minutes of just kind of uni uninterrupted time to. To just sit and visit with your spouse about what's going on. And, and again, Lee mentioned a while ago, four minutes a day on average for a couple makes you understand a little bit why the divorce rate is as high as it is because, oh man, a marriage can't survive on four minutes a day.

[00:10:47] And, and that doesn't count for, well, we watched a movie together. This is four minutes a day of conversation sitting at a table across from each other, talking and, and couples just have to have more of.

[00:10:58] Natalie: Yeah, yeah. And families, but it's gotta start with a couple to model that too, to our kids. We used to do at you talk about family dinner, man.

[00:11:07] I've got two in college and, and a 12 year old. So all, you know, little ways from being empty nester. But we used to do what came from preschool and it was bubble up and bubble down. And so we passed around, I don't know, some kitchen utensil. It changed over the years and everybody gave there. You said ups and downs, but it was a conversation start.

[00:11:26] And to this day, my college kids, we talk about what was your bubble up today? They're like, oh mom, but we talk about how can we help you with that? Or what was the bubble down? We all have 'em and there's something every day, but getting into that routine so important. Yeah.

[00:11:42] Trey: It's it is, it is very healthy and, and families just don't get that.

[00:11:46] Like they like they should. We, think it's interesting that two of the most popular shows on TV in the past 10 years, For families was duck dynasty and fixer upper. And, and both of those shows centered around were either gonna build a family at dinner table to eat together. or the end of duck dynasty, they would all eat together and pray together as, as a, as a family.

[00:12:11] And we just, as a, nation, as people have got to get better at sitting around a table together. And having that healthy conversation because that's now it makes Christmases and Thanksgiving's all that more important. Especially when we have college kids, cuz it's like, I can't wait to have my kids home where we can sit down at the table and that should be happening when the kids, before they leave.

[00:12:35] Natalie: Isn't that so true. And you'd think through COVID we had all this time together, we would've gotten back into those. Yeah, but it's like now everybody's like back out in society and they've kind of still forgotten that instead of prioritizing it.

[00:12:50] Well, let's talk about other possible like tips and strategies that you all use.

[00:12:55] And I know you primarily work with couples, but get a book coming out about families. What are some of the other big tips that you give people for successful marriages or families?

[00:13:05] Lea: Um, I think that especially in marriage we'll just use the word pursuit.

[00:13:09] You've got to be, you know, in constant pursuit of each other. It's not like, you know, Okay. We said, I do, I don't have to, I don't have to try anymore. You know, I'm gonna pursue him every single day. Just as hard as I did before we were married. You know, if that's bringing him a cup of coffee in the morning telling him how handsome he is you know, what a hard worker he is um, Flirting with him, you know, just all of those things that keep a relationship.

[00:13:36] Thriving. Yeah.

[00:13:37] Trey: Couples are Pedald to the middle before they get married, when it comes to romance and spending time and pursuing one another. And so many of those pump the breaks once they get married and he, you know, the husband's like, well, why do I still need to send flowers? You know, we're married now.

[00:13:53] And you know, it's not Valentine's day and why do I need to do these things? And, and it's. We try to tell couples that, that the pursuit shouldn't end simply because you're married. Your wife loves flowers on Valentine's day, but she'll love 'em even more on a random day for no reason at all. Those are things you should still be doing.

[00:14:14] And we heard a story the other day about a, a young couple that was just doing some counseling. They were just trying to work through some stuff. They'd been married about three years and, and, and he said, I don't even know why we're here. Everything seems to be going well. And, and his young little wife tried to explain to him and said, you know, you, you did all these things for me before we got married.

[00:14:34] You proposed to me. And you had, you had 200 rose petals laid out that I had to walk through to get a wedding ring on my finger. And she said, how many flowers have you brought. Since we've been married and he said, , I guess none. And she said exactly. She said, I married a guy that I thought would pursue me and chase me.

[00:14:59] And when we got married, he disappeared and I want him back and, and couples need to understand that. You know, if you'll, if you'll still be holding hands and, and, and loving on one another and being affectionate with one another, when the kids are at home uh, when you're raising your children, when empty nest comes, you'll be doing those things as well.

[00:15:18] You won't have empty nest and empty marriage. And it's important when kids are home that you're not just mom and dad, that you're also husband and wife. Yeah.

[00:15:29] Natalie: Yeah. That they see that and that they know that that's what a healthy marriage is. Yeah, so true.

[00:15:36] being that you work with couples primarily and you have for a long time and you speak to couples all over.

[00:15:42] Is that one of the top issues that you hear from, from couples or what, what are the top issues?

[00:15:48] Trey: Well, I think, I think from, from just questions and things, we get, I there's a lot of sex questions. A lot of couples don't have a place where they can go and just. We want to ask somebody this question, you know uh, so we talk a lot about intimacy.

[00:16:03] We talk a lot about sex. We're not afraid to talk about those things. But pursuit is one of those the fact that couples sometimes in marriage, if they're not careful, they just get a little lazy and laziness kills more marriages than anything else. Uh, Because it's just, we just quit putting in the effort and the time, and, and before you know it, we got marriage problems and, and then there's counseling and there's, and we just, we try so hard to explain to, to couples that if you'll.

[00:16:31] if you'll work on your marriage, when things are going good, there's a whole lot less bad, you know, bad times. Mm-hmm . And so don't just wait till it gets bad to go. All right. We gotta work on our marriage, work on it all the time. And, and that's really another big issue that we see is couples just don't understand that.

[00:16:48] We need to still be married while we're raising our kids and not just be mom and dad.

[00:16:52] Natalie: Yeah. Lee, anything you wanna add to that?

[00:16:56] Lea: Yeah, I agree. Um, And it's the same with families. I mean, we've got to be uh, you can't be a Laz parent either, you know complacency laziness. It just, you know, we get tired and we just wanna sit in our chair and, and whatever, but we've got to be proactive and intentional about our marriages and our parenting.

[00:17:17] And we can't, you know, we can't let our guards.

[00:17:20] Natalie: You know, part of that though, as, as a mom and a wife is we're exhausted. It's like, you know, we get up early and we're trying to work out and we're trying to plan meals. And, I know as many people do that, that we wanna put families and marriages first, but we're just tired.

[00:17:35] Like I just wanna take a bath at night and read for a half an hour. You know what I mean?

[00:17:40] Lea: Absolutely. Yes. I think that that's where the teamwork comes into play, you know, and communicating to your spouse you know, what you need help with that kind of thing. Mm-hmm, like, you know, splitting up supper duties and whatever you clean up the kitchen tonight.

[00:17:56] So I can go have 30 minutes to myself and then maybe tomorrow night I'll clean up the kitchen. You can have 30 minutes to yourself. And then after that, we'll have, you know, some time in the living room with the kids. it just takes yeah. Teamwork.

[00:18:09] Trey: busyness and tiredness are, are a, a big enemy of, of both parenting and marriage.

[00:18:16] Yes. And, and sometimes it requires us to say nos to some stuff, and that's pretty hard to do sometimes.

[00:18:22] Natalie: yeah. Learning to say no. And, and, and you just mentioned, like, you know, maybe tonight's your night to clean up. What about getting the family involved with that? Like, absolutely. I know that's tough on, you know, it's tough.

[00:18:34] We don't wanna make the kids do everything and we, we have certain things our kids have to do and chores and you know, all of this, but how do you balance that? Especially, let me ask you this as a couple. if one parent has one idea of how it should be done. And the other one has another idea. Well, we don't want the kids to have, you know, being on the same page as a.

[00:18:54] Yeah.

[00:18:55] Trey: Oh, that's a good one. That's a good question. That's not something we've ever really dealt with. Mm-hmm personally, because we've always kind of been on the same page. Yeah. Parenting with kind of how we run things. I think there's been some times in the past where at one time early, we, we kind of like Lee was like, let's let, 'em clean their room every day.

[00:19:12] That room should be picked up and we kind of decided over time. Let their room, we'll shut their door. And on Saturday that will be day cleaning. So there's some give and take there on our roles. And then Saturday, it was like, okay, y'all, don't have cleanup, but Saturday's coming. But yeah, we, we kind of made our kids take their turns at.

[00:19:31] Whether it was cleaning off the table after the dishes were done or things along those lines. But sometimes it's negotiating between husbands and wives of what we, what we think works best. And, and then sometimes we we've learned together that we thought this was gonna work great. And it just didn't work out at all, you know?

[00:19:47] Yeah.

[00:19:47] Natalie: Yeah. Well, I, I wanna ask you this and then I want to you to be able to tell people where they can find you, but. What is the best advice that you can give to a couple who might be at a place of feeling? I don't know if this is gonna work. I'm, I'm ready to throw in the towel on this marriage. I mean, you work with a lot of couples.

[00:20:05] It's what you specialize in.

[00:20:07] What advice would you give them when they are kind of at their what's end with their relationship, which unfortunately is more common than.

[00:20:16] Lea: All the absolutely. And we hear couples, you know, they'll come to us and say, I've just, I've tried everything and I'm just ready to call it quits.

[00:20:23] And we'll say, well, have you read a book together? Do you listen to a podcast together? Have you gone to talk to a counselor? You know, we'll mention all of these things. Well, no, we haven't done any of those things. It's like, well, you've said you've tried everything. What have you actually done? You know? Um, So.

[00:20:42] I, I that's usually where we start.

[00:20:44] Trey: Yeah. And it goes back to the laziness. It's like, well, I I've tried, but I haven't talked to a counselor and I, we haven't, we haven't gone to, we haven't had a weekend getaway together and, and we haven't actually done anything. But the, I think the main thing that we always say is seek outside, help ask, ask a, a, a marriage counselor, ask a marriage, coach, seek outside help of what can we do?

[00:21:08] Because marriages, these days, our opinion is. We live in such an upgrade society where if the phone doesn't work, we just get new one. TV's kind of on the blink. Go buy a new one. We pin that in with relationships and we go, well, the relationship isn't just clicking, I'll find a new one. And relationships were never created to be upgraded.

[00:21:30] They were really more let's fix it because it can be fixed. A whole lot easier than it can be upgraded because sometimes upgrading a relationship is actually a downgrade and a lot of folks don't realize that. But we just have to be people who are willing to let's put in some work and see what we can do.

[00:21:45] But the main thing is, is don't just quit without, without trying. Well, great

[00:21:50] Natalie: advice. Well, I wanna give people a chance to find you and follow more of the tips and things that you do, where, where can they do.

[00:21:58] Lea: So they can go to Trey and That's our landing page spelled just like our name's T R E Y a N D L E a Trey and

[00:22:09] That will take you to our workshop schedules. A link to both of our books podcast, you name it. It's all right there.

[00:22:17] Trey: Yeah. Yeah. And, and we just, we are all our social media links and we're just, we're honored that we do have folks that are following and willing to listen just, and we're honored to be on your show today.

[00:22:28] And for all those who. Marriage coach out there and, and provide there's so many free and so many good self-help today that haven't man, to be able to get online and find so many good marriage podcasts, that family podcasts blend in family podcasts, those things weren't around 15 years ago. And there's so much good stuff out there.

[00:22:51] If people will just tap into that yeah.

[00:22:53] Natalie: And listen to it together and make it something

[00:22:56] Trey: that, and talk about it, you know? Yeah, exactly.

[00:22:59] Natalie: The the help is there. If people will just take the time to access it. I like, I like what you said about laziness being, I hate to think that we're Laz, but as a society, we gotta do that little bit of extra work to, to make things successful.

[00:23:13] Well, good to meet you both. And to talk to you, I appreciate your advice. And I look forward to connecting with you in the future. We'll put links in the podcast notes for every.

[00:23:23] Trey: We have been honored to be on your show. Thank you for inviting us today. Thank

[00:23:26] Natalie: you all the best to you and your family.

[00:23:29] Trey: Thank you. And yours.

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