About Chuck and Eileen Rife

Chuck Rife is a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist who's worked with Total Life Counseling, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia since 1988. Eileen Rife, a veteran homeschool mom of twenty years, works as a freelance writer, author, and speaker. Together, they conduct marriage seminars designed to grow godly marriages that last a lifetime! Chuck and Eileen are also certified to administer and evaluate the Prepare-Enrich assessment tool for couples.

Home Improvement tips

Dear Readers, 

Seems everywhere we look these days on the internet, information abounds! From FaceBook to Pinterest, there's no lack for ideas in all categories of life. With that in mind, we thought it'd be cool to reserve a page for Home Improvement tips. Yeah, actual things you can do to make your physical dwelling more attractive or functional. But we didn't want to leave it at that, since, after all, we're in the "growing godly marriages" business. :)

So, for every tip we post, we'll also provide an application that prayerfully can help you build a better marital relationship which will not only benefit you as a couple, but will benefit your children, too. 

Hey, that's what this blog is all about, right?


So, let's begin . . .

TIP #1
Spider Man Strikes Again!

We live in a woodsy area and are prone to spiders sneaking in the house at all hours and seasons of the year, except for winter, when my guess is they're nesting, or wherever they go to rest up for round two infestation. We've seen big, hairy spiders that crawl from underneath a closet door and stand in the middle of the room, as if challenging us. Tiny, spindly spiders who scurry across the linoleum and disappear through a miniscule crack in the wall or baseboard. Black ones, brown ones with spots, even spiders with yellow dots. You name it, we've seen it!

And every sighting is a call to battle.

That's when I (Eileen) hear a squeak, and then the sound of rolling. Chuck appears on the scene with his trusty rinse-and-vac, nosel in hand ready to suck up the intruder invading our house. After several episodes of this, I decided to call my home improvement hubby, Spider Man!

You see, not only does he ward off nasty insects, but he also protects our home from other intruders that are far more insidious. 

The biggie that comes to mind . . . 

Time intruders that threaten to rob us of investment in one another. You see, Chuck knows that my number one love language is QUALITY TIME. Doesn't really matter what we're doing, I just enjoy being together. So, he helps us guard our time from over-commitment so we can enjoy spending time together fueling our love for one another, praying together, and playing together. One of the best things you can do for your children is love your spouse. When they see you spending time together, they feel more secure in your relationship which translates as love toward them.


What about you? Any intruders that are currently robbing your relationship of its health and vitality? What might you do to guard your couple relationship from harm?


Oh, by the way, in addition to the "suck them up" method, Chuck now also uses those sticky mouse traps to catch spiders. Amazing how many we've caught with those things! Ugh, crickets, too!


TIP # 2

Got one of those handy dish wands lying around? 

Here's what you can do:

Fill the handle with equal parts blue Dawn dish detergent and vinegar. Keep the wand in your shower. After your shower, scrub the wand around the tub. Eliminates dirt and leaves a sparkling shower stall!

If you're like us, on occasion you wish you could wave a magic wand and eliminate the tension between the two of you. Maybe some unresolved issue or past hurt, from a day ago or a year ago, threatens to pollute your relationship. 

Time to "scrub away" the dirt. Schedule a time to be alone when you can talk about what's troubling you. You might even want to write down your thoughts before you talk together. When you do meet, pray first, then take turns sharing. Listen to what your partner has to say without making judgments. Listen for understanding without interrupting. 

When s/hes finished, ask clarifying questions. Repeat what you thought you heard. This can go along way in showing your spouse that you really care about what s/he has to say. Then ask your spouse if you can give a response. Talk about or jot down any possible solutions that come to mind. Be willing to table the topic until another time if you are not able to arrive at a solution. Remember, attack the problem, not each other!


What about you? Gotta a nasty issue that you'd like to scrub away in your relationship? When can you set a time to talk about possible solutions?    


TIP # 3

My mother saved everything! Entering marriage during the Great Depression and rearing a family while serving in a faith-based ministry, mom knew how to pinch pennies and make good use of just about anything.

Including toilet paper rolls.

Her creative housekeeping tips followed her even to her older years when she no longer needed to scrimp so much. A tour through mom's kitchen revealed a specific purpose for each drawer. While one drawer housed neatly arranged Tupperware (lids on one side of the partition and containers on the other), another drawer contained paper rolls stuffed with appliance cords and neatly lined up in a row. 

Mom always claimed she had no specific skills or talents. But I say, "Mom, you were the Mother of Innovation!"

While I don't use the toilet roll idea (I really don't have any loose cords lying around), I do use the rope on the laundry basket idea. Actually, my youngest daughter remembering grandma's trick, tied one on our basket years ago and it's still there. I tug on the rope to drag the basket across the floor and down the steps to the laundry room. Hey, saves wear-n-tear on my back.

Innovation, a wonderful concept for household maintenance, but also for marriage.

Webster defines innovation as "the introduction of something new; a new idea, method, or device."

Are you spinning your wheels over a topic you can't seem to resolve?

Perhaps it's time for a little innovation--a fresh approach--to the topic on the table.


Stuck or stumped? Pray together, asking God to show you a new way to solve your issue. Then watch for how He opens the way.

 TIP # 4

A friend gave me a special sponge she saw advertised on PBS. Amazingly enough, the sponge can work in a variety of ways, for a variety of purposes!

Soak the sponge in warm water, and it becomes soft--good for scrubbing a delicate stove top.

Soak the sponge in cold water, and it becomes hard as a rock--good for peeling a potato even as you scrub it!

Sometimes, we need to adapt our communication to the need required. If our mate's nerves are frazzled or emotions are sensitive, we need to become a soft sponge absorbing her mood and delivering actions/words that are in keeping with her deposition. As they say, "Put on kid gloves!" Treat him with softness.

However, sometimes, if our mate is acting in a stubborn or rebellious manner, we need to toughen up, speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and allow our mate's attacks to run off our backs like water from a rock. This doesn't mean we don't love them or care for them. It simply means that our approach is different. We can lovingly confront, then pray that s/he will deal with the matter in a God-honoring way. 


What does your spouse need today? A soft sponge of gentle words and actions or a bit firmer sponge of confrontation to alert to potential danger areas? Either way, absorb the need of the moment and address accordingly.  

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