Welcome to the CMBA Newsletter!
In this issue of our monthly newsletter, you will find tips on attracting readers to a new marriage blog, learn the secrets of a long-lasting relationship, and meet Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy!
As you move through this Christmas season and prepare yourself for the new year, know that what you do in your marriage blog makes a real difference in people’s lives. Bless you for your ministry, and Merry Christmas.
The following blogs joined CMBA since our last issue. Do visit their sites and share an encouraging word.
I Heart My Marriage – Re’ and Cheryl (provisional membership)
From the Forum
The CMBA Member’s Forum is a safe place for us, away from the eyes of our readers, where we can gain insight, encouragement, practical help, and prayers.
This month’s featured thread is about TMI (Too Much Information) when we are writing about sexual intimacy. How do we write in a way that doesn’t give our readers a peek into our own bedrooms?
How do you decide how much is too much? Where do you draw the line?
How Do I . . . ?
6 Tips for Finding Readers for Your New Blog
So you have a new marriage blog. Congratulations!
You’ve written a few posts. You’ve even gotten a few comments from friends or family. Even a stranger has found you by accident.
But now what? How do you help readers find your blog?
- Write material that matters. Attracting lots of readers is nice, but it’s even nicer when they keeping coming back to see your new posts. Focus on developing your content. It is easy to get caught up in the bells, whistles, and bling of blog design. (There is a LOT of cool stuff out there.) If you don’t have good content, though, none of the cool stuff will make much difference.
- Invite people you know in real life to read your blog. (If you blog anonymously, this isn’t likely to work well.) Some bloggers begin with an audience of their relatives. Eventually, though, a mother-in-law is going to share the link with a distant cousin, who will share it with her neighbor, and so on.
- Comment on other blogs. Blog commenting systems have a spot where you can include the URL of your own website. Respond to what other marriage bloggers have written, and other readers who like what you say will click on your name to see if you have a blog. Commenting on non-marriage blogs will expand your reach some, but if you write about marriage, commenting on other marriage blogs is one of the best ways to come to the attention of people who want to read what you have to say.
- Make a Twitter account. Once it is set up, Twitter requires very little time and is an easy way to grow your blog without much effort. Use Twitter to follow other bloggers (who will often follow you back). You can even set up your blog to automatically share your new posts to Twitter. It is a quick and easy way for other bloggers and readers to share your posts with their own followers. You can do a lot more with Twitter if you want, but if your time and attention are limited, Twitter can still work for you.
- Add your blog URL to all your profiles. If you regularly participate on discussion forums or social media, add your blog link into your profile. People will click on it to see what you have, and you’ll get some new readers.
- Develop a relationship with other bloggers. If you are stuck in the middle of writing a post, email a blogger whose writing you respect to ask for insight. Join CMBA and participate in the discussion forum. When you notice another blogger do something effectively, send an email with some encouragement or ask for advice as you try to work on that same area.
You may find that your readerships grows slowly, or you may experience an overnight explosion the first time another blog links to yours. Each little bit helps, and before you know it your blog will be nicely growing.
Are you on social media? Follow CMBA!
- Pinterest (If you would like to be added to CMBA’s collaborative Christian Marriage and Sex board, email Bonny at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Have you seen Masters of Love, published this summer in The Atlantic? The article discusses research from John Gottman, a psychologist who has done extensive research and publishing on marital stability.
Here’s the big take-away: lasting relationships are the result of kindness and generosity.
Although the results are not surprising to those of us who think and write about marriage, it is nice to see what we already known confirmed in research studies.
Take a look, and think about how you can encourage your readers to use kindness and generosity when responding to their spouses.
Behind the Blog
It’s fun to get to know the person (or people) behind a blog. The plan is that each newsletter will feature one blog. We will provide a list of questions; it’s up to the blogger which questions (or how many) to answer.
Meet Gaye Christmus from Calm.Healthy.Sexy!
Tell us about your blog. When and why did you start your blog? Is there a story behind your blog’s name? What aspect of marriage do you blog about the most?
I started CalmHealthySexy because I wanted to share ideas and information with married women about ways to slow down their hectic lives, take care of their health, and enjoy their marriages. I also wanted to encourage them to work toward the kind of intimacy God intended for marriages – mental, emotional and physical. My background is in a health field, so I love sharing information about eating well, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. But I believe that good health encompasses everything in our lives, including our mental health and relationships. So I really want to encourage married women to look at everything – their relationship with God, their marriage, their schedule, their stress level – and work on becoming as healthy as possible in all those areas. I struggled to come up with a name that fit the things I wanted to write about, but in the end it seemed that CalmHealthySexy pretty well encompasses the way most married women want to live their lives!
I write primarily about two aspects of marriage. One is feeling sexy and enjoying intimacy. I’m not a sex or marriage expert by any means, but I really want to encourage women in those two areas, because I think that so many of us struggle with them. So I share ideas that I hope will help women develop a positive view of themselves as sexual beings, who were designed by God to enjoy sex and intimacy with their husbands. And I encourage them to take positive steps on a regular basis to develop their “sexy side” and increase intimacy in their marriages. The other thing I like to encourage women to do is to control their schedules, learn to say no, make thoughtful decisions about where to focus their time and energy, and work with their husbands to manage their family’s schedule. Many women and families simply do too much, and it’s impossible to focus on feeling calm, being healthy, and feeling sexy if your schedule is packed from morning to night!
What is your favorite blog post (give us a link, please!), and why?
I really like this post – “5 Ways to Think (and Act!) Like Your Husband’s Lover.” It encompasses a lot of the things I really want to say to wives, including – take charge of your life and schedule, make intimacy a priority, develop a sexy mindset, make time for sex, and find resources or help in areas where you need to learn and grow. It also says that I’m right there with anyone who might be reading the post, trying to make those same changes myself, and wanting to learn from other women who have figured some things out in these areas.
What has surprised you about blogging?
Honestly, what has surprised me most is how hard it has been to develop and grow my blog. It has been a very slow process, and many times I have wanted to give up. It’s also been surprising to see how putting my writing “out there” for people to read has caused me to question my reasons for writing, the value of what I have to say, my sanity, and whether or not I have the slightest idea of what I’m trying to do! A more positive thing that has surprised me, because I never even considered it before I started blogging, is the wonderful support and friendship the blogging community has given me. Marriage bloggers in general, and Paul and Lori specifically, have been incredibly kind and helpful to me. And, because my blogging also intersects with the health blogger and mom blogger communities, I have been fortunate to establish friendships with and receive support from women in those groups too. I pictured blogging as very much a solo endeavor, but found that you really need a community in order to have any chance of surviving as a blogger.
Tell us about your spouse/marriage.
Dan and I have been married for 29 years! As a matter of fact, we just celebrated our 29th anniversary on Saturday. He is a great husband – extremely smart, kind, patient and thoughtful. And hot! And he’s a great father to our sons, who are 26 and 21. We are both introverts and we have similar personalities and communication styles. Which means that we don’t have much drama in our marriage (which is good, because we don’t like drama!). But it also means that we have to pay attention to areas in which we’re both weak (like certain types of communication), to make sure they don’t become problem areas. My “take” on marriage is that if both people are committed and willing to work on problems, it just gets better and better over time.
What are your hobbies (besides blogging, of course)?
I love to walk to stay in shape, manage my weight, and keep my stress level under control. My most perfect place to walk is the beach, although that only happens a couple of times a year. Whenever possible, Dan and I walk outside, at a park or on a walking trail. On days when we don’t do that, I walk on a treadmill. I love to read, although blogging has cut into my time for leisure reading! I like to cook and to bake bread, and we enjoy taking short short trips – often just for a night or a weekend.
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net