When Communication Breaks Down In Marriage

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I have a feeling that if you’ve been married for any length of time that you know exactly what I’m talking about with this title –>When Communication Breaks Down.

It happens. And how you handle it reveals whether you’re on the road to Maturity or flying down the road marked Selfishness in the wrong direction. A crash is sure to occur unless you do something drastic to change your course.

Communication is an area of marriage in which one never arrives completely.

You may think you’re doing well, and then one misunderstanding happens and it seems you’re back to square one, shaking your head and tempted to be upset. The situation can escalate when you think you should be better than this.

How do you navigate such a difficult, bumpy road?

  1. Watch your tone of voice. (I’m more prone to this than Tom is.) Whenever Tom and I are in a communication breakdown, it’s easy to get frustrated that we don’t understand each other.  If he doesn’t get what I’m trying to explain, I tend to say ‘forget it’, rather than press through the situation. And if I do press through I will most likely let my tone show my frustration.
  2. Be patient. When I see something clearly, and I can’t seem to get Tom to see it as I do, I’m immediately tempted to get mad at him. This is real life, folks. Just because we’ve been married 36 years it doesn’t mean we’ve arrived at a level of communication where there are no more bumps on this road called marriage.
  3. Don’t give up. Sometimes it feels easier to walk away with a “just forget it” attitude than to do the hard work necessary to understand each other. But this isn’t a good choice. It sets you up to hold a grudge–one you may not realize you have until the next time there’s a miscommunication.
  4. Choose the humble road. God has promised to always give us a way of escape when it comes to temptation. Conflict in marriage is no exception. The sad thing is it’s not an easy choice to make; when the temperature is rising it’s much easier to allow yourself to explode than to step back and cool your jets, so to speak.

The inspiration for this post sadly came from an incident that just happened.

I was trying to log into Tom’s laptop and couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted it to. When I tried to explain my dilemma to Tom, he didn’t get why I was struggling. Rather than explain it to him, I chose to say, “never mind” in frustration. When I started to write this post, I knew exactly what I needed to share.

Marriage is a never-ending road to growing in maturity. We will stumble. We will say things we regret. We will apologize and ask forgiveness and try again. Know that on the other side of such conflicts we learn how to do it better next time. We grow in our understanding of each other and hopefully choose to take the above steps the next time it happens.

If you’re in the midst of a communication break down, please don’t let it fester. Go after it together and don’t stop until you reach a place of understanding and resolve. Your marriage is worth it!


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Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict | Tagged | 10 Comments

A Fall Bucket List For Two – Engaged Marriage

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Engaged Marriage – Dustin has been hosting this marriage blog for years, and he has quite the tools to help your marriage grow stronger. I am grateful for the opportunity he’s given me to be a regular guest blogger on his site–posting the 2nd Monday of each month on the topic of Romance In Marriage.

My latest post deals with my favorite season for romance–Fall. 

We’ve all heard of and may even have a bucket list. The idea stems from the movie of the same name and provides encouragement to be intentional in making the things you hope will happen in your lifetime a reality.

It’s no surprise that we need to be intentional in romancing our spouse as well. This is by far my favorite topic when it comes to writing about marriage.

Living in Florida we look forward to Fall more than any other season of the year. I think it’s because we get so tired of the heat and humidity that we’re ready for a change.

Maybe your marriage has been enduring some heat and humidity of its own. Maybe you need to look forward to some fresh Fall romance amid the cool Autumn breezes? Well, look no further…(continue reading…Make Your Own Fall Bucket List For Two)

And following are some of my other posts on the Engaged Marriage site. 


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Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Fun Dates, I.Heart.List, Romance, Romance in Marriage, Romantic Ideas | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is Your Husband A Liar? – Hot, Holy and Humorous

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Hot, Holy and Humorous – J Parker asked if I would share a post in her series for the month of September about what it means to be Beautiful. She gave several marriage bloggers a wide open topic for us to zoom in on from our perspective. I immediately thought of how many wives disregard their husband’s opinion of how they see them because in their eyes they don’t look beautiful. I pray this post will encourage you to believe your husband when he tells you you’re beautiful…

Is your husband a liar?

I’m sure most of us would answer this question with an emphatic, NO! However, many of us treat them as if they are. It’s true that most husbands see their wives as beautiful, yet we roll our eyes when they compliment us, or say, “Yeah, but…” pointing out the flaws we see staring back at us in the mirror.

I was thinking about this attitude recently and wondering why it is so common for wives to think their husbands aren’t telling the truth when it comes to how they see them. It has to be discouraging to our man to hear his compliments so quickly disregarded on a regular basis. It’s a wonder he doesn’t stop all together!

It’s led me to ask God why we do this? Why are we so quick to dispute with our husband on something they see as good?

I believe there are three reasons: Continue reading…Is Your Husband A Liar?

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Posted in Growing Strong Marriages, Christian Marriage, Blog Love, Wives, Encouraging Your Spouse, Perspective in Marriage | Tagged , , ,

Happy Hour


This week we’re featuring one blog for our Happy Hour Special. If you live in Orlando, you will love this resource. If you’re visiting Central Florida, this will help you enjoy more of The City Beautiful than Disney can provide. Happy Dating…

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Orlando Date Night Guide>>A great resource for our local readers. Below are a few of their more recent posts. Orlando is a great place for romance–check it out!


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Posted in Blog Love, Cheap Dates, Date Night Ideas, Fall Date Ideas, Free Dates, Happy Hour | Tagged

Is Menopause Destroying Sex In Your Marriage? – Intimacy In Marriage

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Intimacy In Marriage – My dear friend, Julie, is running a series on Thursdays about the difficulties marriages face that can have an adverse effect on our sexual intimacy. Here are some of the titles to other posts in this series:

  • Are Skewed Beliefs Destroying Sex In Your Marriage?
  • Is Porn Destroying Sex In Your Marriage?
  • Is Unforgiveness Destroying Sex In Your Marriage?
  • Are Financial Struggles Destroying Sex In Your Marriage?

She asked if I would post about the effect of menopause on sex, which I was happy to do. It’s a door all women will walk through at some point in their marriage, and it’s good to be prepared. Thank you, Julie, for the opportunity to sound such a needed alarm.

Before I begin, may I encourage all of you who are in your 20s and 30s to not check out of reading this because you think it doesn’t apply to you.

menopause effect on sexI’ve researched and written this post primarily with you in mind. Promise to read it? Ok, good. Thank you!

When Julie asked us to contribute to her guest blog series on things that take a toll on sex in marriage, I knew I had to approach the topic of Sex and Menopause and Perimenopause (PM).

Having gone through this myself (I’m 56), I only had my limited experience and a few friends I’ve talk to from which to glean. This is why I decided to ask readers through a 10-question survey about this apparently much-needed topic.

I also solicited the help from the CMBA marriage bloggers I know and asked them to alert their readers of the survey as well. I am pleased with the response. If you participated, thank you!

First, let me say, menopause is a mystery to most couples, even when you’re going through it.

Desires that once were a given, may no longer be on the radar screen. For those who have yet to experience it, you most likely don’t care to think about “that stage” of life. You’re too busy raising a family for goodness sakes.

I get that.

Second, everyone is different when it comes to how they’ll go through the “change of life,” as my parent’s generation called it.

After reading nearly 200 respondents answers to my survey, I understand why they gave it that name; It can change your life in ways you never thought would happen- – not to you anyway.

Finally, whatever difficulty you’ve had with your sexual intimacy and in your marriage for that matter, will be magnified during this season. This is why if you’re young and reading this, please, please work hard to keep the lines of communication open through all that you face together.

Holding back out of fear, shame or pride will only make things worse as the years pass. The pain you experience now in facing it won’t compare to the pain many of the couples shared who are facing menopause and unable to connect with their spouse in an understanding way…(continue reading: Is Menopause Destroying Sex In Your Marriage?)


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Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, communication, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Seasons of Life, Sexual Intimacy | Tagged ,

Beware Of Critical Judgments – Delight Your Marriage

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It’s an honor when given a voice on someone else’s website, and I don’t take such opportunities lightly. In fact, I think I spend more time preparing for those posts than I do posting here. I suppose it’s a lot like having guests in your home compared to a family dinner. We tend to go above and beyond when we’re having company, but are more relaxed when it comes to being with family.

The past few weeks have been full of guest post opportunities, and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss them. Consequently, over the next few days we’re going to link up with each one and introduce you to their website, in case you haven’t had a chance to check them out yourself.

Today meet Belah Rose (not her real name), with the Delight Your Marriage Podcast.

Belah interviews women to glean insight into the lessons learned when facing difficulties in their marriage. It can be on a wide variety of topics, but she spends a lot of time encouraging wives to enjoy their sexual intimacy with their spouse. I’m grateful for the opportunity she provided me to share with her listeners about some things I’ve learned in the past 36 years of marriage. She split the interview into two separate podcasts. We encourage you to have a listen when you have some spare time. She does a great job with the questions. And while you’re there, sign up to receive notification when a new podcast is available. Thanks!

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Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , ,

I Wish To Dedicate This Song To…(Our New Contest)


When I was growing up it was a big deal to call into the local radio station and dedicate a song to someone special. I would listen and be enthralled with the stories of love my pre-teen heart craved to experience. I think I even tried calling in a time or two, but never got through. I can only imagine what I would have said had I actually heard the words, “Hello, you’re on the air!”

Sleepless in Seattle is a story of romance that begins with a call to a national radio program, which provides the hook to this compelling love story between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan–two of my favorite actors.

There’s something about hearing a love song dedicated to someone specific that draws us into the story. We want to celebrate, laugh, cry or empathize with them.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out the following video by David Mercer, a radio host who is saying goodbye to his broadcast audience of 16 1/2 years. As his final song he shares a dedication his wife sent in to him for this “end of an era” in his life. She does a great job honoring him for a job well done.

If you had the opportunity to dedicate a song to your spouse, what would you say? What song would you choose?

This is the perfect segue to announce our 7th  Blogiversary Contest–

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Love Song Dedication To My Spouse Contest. 


  1. Write or video what you would want the radio host to read to your spouse on the air (max 200 words).
  2. Include the link to the love song and artist you would want to play following your dedication.
  3. Be as creative as you’d like–extra points for those who go above and beyond in entering this contest.
  4. E-mail your entry to us at theromanticvineyard(at)gmail(dot)com no later than October 31st.
  5. Entrants must be married or engaged and must include their name, city, number of years married or date of their wedding and their e-mail address. (e-mail will be kept confidential).
  6. When entering you authorize us to publish your name, number of years married and your dedication on The Romantic Vineyard’s website. (City and e-mail address will not be published.)
  7. 5 Finalist will be selected based on creativity, story shared and song selected. The finalists will be determined solely by our discretion and will be announced on November 7th where our readers will have a chance to vote for their favorite.
  8. The Grand Prize winner will be announced on our blogiversary–November 12th.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card or one to their favorite restaurant for a date night on us.

In closing we want to dedicate this song to you–our friends who have helped The Romantic Vineyard be what it is today. We thank God for you and for your desire to make your marriage the best it can be. Marriage is hard work, and those who persevere through the mine fields of miscommunication, conflict, past sins and abuses, discover how much sweeter it is on the other side of the trouble. After 36 years we testify that it’s worth every heartache and tear shed to still be dancing in the mine fields…

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Posted in Christian Marriage, Contests, Love Song Dedication To My Spouse, Music | Tagged , , , ,

You Never Know When It Will Happen…

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I have a dear friend who called this morning to tell me that her cousin and her husband were killed in a tragic car accident involving an elderly man who was driving the wrong way on the Interstate. She is in shock and so are a lot more people. Why? Because this couple were avid marriage advocates. They have a website devoted to helping marriages not only last, but thrive. They provide videos and all kinds of ways to encourage healthy marriages–such an inspiration.

Their ministry is called Hope Filled Marriage.

I clicked over to their blog to see what there last post was about, and it took my breath away. The title is: We Were Driving In The Car And… At first I thought, someone else must have written this final post about what happened, but it was posted in May. Terri shares about a conversation/conflict they had while driving in the car. They had no idea that this post would be prophetic in nature.

But here we are, four months later and they are no longer here, yet their story and ministry remain. In an effort to keep their ministry going, a foundation has been set up in their name. You can support them by purchasing a T-Shirt that says, “I will take the baton, I will run my lap.”

It made me consider once again that none of us have guarantees of living to old age. Even if we’re healthy and all is going well, we could be hours away from “till death do us part.” What kind of legacy would your marriage leave behind? If your answer isn’t one you would want, then thank God there is still time. Make the most of today, because tomorrow may be too late.

Please join us in praying for the friends and family who are grieving their loss. Their son was just married a couple of weeks before the accident, they will need the love and prayers of all of us in the days and weeks ahead.


Posted in Christian Marriage, Blog Love, Seasons of Life, Death and Grieving | 2 Comments

Biblical Love Language


We’ve heard so much about the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and it is a good book. But there are reasons it falls short to some degree. 

First of all, when we place expectations on our spouse to love us the way we want to be loved, our focus is in the wrong place–ourselves! Instead our attention must be on loving our spouse and giving 100% to the marriage to bless them.

Secondly, when our spouse makes efforts to express love to us, but it isn’t “my love language”, it’s easy to jump to the unfair conclusion that my spouse just doesn’t get me. Those thoughts are also focused in the wrong place–ME!

Thirdly, the love languages are meant to be a helpful tool, not the 5th gospel of the Word of God. Use it only as a means to study your spouse and to help you love them in more meaningful ways, but don’t use it to judge your spouse’s efforts.

Finally, focus on loving your spouse using the highest love language of all–The Biblical Love Language. Not sure what that is? It’s loving our spouse in the same way God through Christ has loved us. It’s not self-focused, but rather focused on doing all we can to express the fruits of the Spirit towards our mate: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I’m certain that if you love your spouse in this way, with a heart to glorify God, your marriage will grow stronger and your love will grow sweeter as the years pass.

Read the following verses evaluating how well you’re loving your spouse speaking this eternal love language:

  • John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
  • 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
  • Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
  • Galations 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”


*Focus on loving your spouse using the highest love language of all–The Biblical Love Language found in Galations 5:22-23

*If you love your spouse with a heart to glorify God, your marriage will grow stronger and sweeter as the years pass.

*When we place expectations on our spouse to love us the way we want to be loved, our focus is in the wrong place-ME.

*When my spouse expresses love to me, but it isn’t my love language, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that my spouse just doesn’t get me.

*The love languages are meant to be a helpful tool, not the 5th gospel of the Word of God. Use it only as a means to study your spouse.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Fruits of the Spirit, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged | 3 Comments

Happy Hour


What better way to spend your weekend then investing in great blogs offering sound, biblical advice and help for your marriage. This is why we call it “Happy Hour”. Cheers!

Hot, Holy and Humorous

Live Your Best Marriage

  • Are You “Hearing” Your Spouse?<<This is the first time we’ve highlighting this blog, but you’ll see that Whitney has a much needed message. Communication is all that is needed–it’s a two way street requiring speaking as well as listening.

Marriage Missions International

  • Tucking Away Good Memories<<Have you ever felt like you had a kindred spirit, one who thinks and talks like you? Well, Cindy Wright is just that friend to me. This post is a prime example of how our lives, though lived far apart, are very similar.

The Generous Husband

The Generous Wife

  • Make It Positive<<Oh, I love this reminder. We all need it when life comes crashing in and we forget to set a guard at our mouth. It matters how we say things.
  • Dream Come True<<We are so excited for this new chapter in Paul and Lori’s life. If you aren’t aware of their new adventure, don’t miss this post. They need your prayers and financial support if you’re able.
Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | 3 Comments

A Slice Of Our Life–At Home, At Church And In Our Ministry

I love to bake pies. It’s something I’ve done since we were first married in 1979 due to the kindness of an older woman who lived in our condo complex. She took me under her wing and taught me how to bake all sorts of homemade treats. Pie is by far my favorite, and my family is grateful!

Today I’ll be baking Tom’s favorite, a Triple Cherry Pie, for his birthday (which is tomorrow btw). On a side note: I’d love it if you would be so kind as to leave a birthday wish for him in the comments that I can share with him tomorrow night. :-) 

A pie looks great as a whole, but the true quality of the pie is revealed when you slice the first piece.

Photo Credit: OKC.net

Photo Credit: OKC.net

If it’s too runny, the filling spills out the sides. If it’s too thick the filling is sticky or worse–gummy. But when you get it right there’s nothing like it! I wish we could have you all over to celebrate Tom’s special day and have some pie with us, but I’m afraid that’s not possible. However, I can share with you a slice of something else–our life.

What We’ve Been Up To…

In Our Home:

As you may or may not remember, our youngest daughter moved into her own apartment in May thrusting us into the empty nest stage of life. With all the changes we’ve been through lately–our two older kids and all our grandchildren moving away–I thought entering into this season would be sad for me, but it hasn’t been at all! I’m so happy for our daughter to launch out on her own and see what God has in store for her life. And I’m loving having my husband and our home all to ourselves. It’s wonderful!

We’ve been busy putting in new carpet, redecorating bedrooms, setting up a home office for Tom (something he’s always wanted, but never had the space to do), throwing away junk, giving away items in good condition that we no longer need, and repurposing other things. It’s been freeing and refreshing, not to mention so much fun!

In Our Church:

We’re on our fourth month of hosting a small group in our home for the purpose of mentoring marriages. We have six couples in the group, including our pastor and his wife, and it’s been a wonderful time of growth and encouragement for all involved, including us! The plan is for this group to meet for six months and then start up another group for six months. We’re hoping to keep doing this as long as the Lord leads and for all the marriages in our church to be reached and encouraged wherever they are on this journey. The hardest part will be ending it; We have come to love and care deeply for these couples.

In Our Marriage Ministry:

I was recently interviewed by Belah Rose of the Delight Your Marriage podcast. She reached out to see if I’d be willing to share with her and all who might listen some things God has taught us in our 36 years of marriage. I love telling the stories of what God has done, because I know if He’s done it for us, then He can do it for others. God loves to take two lives and teach them how to live together as one flesh.

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There are actually two 30 minute podcasts, and I’ve provided the links for your convenience. I’d love it if you could take some time and listen to them, and I know Belah would be grateful as well.

Thanks so much!

Delight Your Marriage podcast: Beware Of Critical Judgements

Delight Your Marriage podcast: Don’t Waste Your Hardships


Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Open Nest, Seasons of Life, Slices, Wisdom in Marriage | 4 Comments

Considering This Question Could Change Your Marriage–What Identifies You?

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I’ve been thinking about my identity in Christ and how it informs the way I treat my husband. When I have my focus upward and not inward I tend to see difficulties and conflict in a way that places God’s glory first and my preferences second. When I have my focus on myself and what I think I deserve then all kinds of dissensions arise.

Paul Tripp in his book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, states:

“A large part of the biblical story is about identity. It reveals the wrong reactions that come when we forget who we are, as well as the godly responses that come with remembering. Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, bought into his lies, and ate the forbidden fruit because they forgot their true identity. They were God’s creatures, intended to live within the boundaries God had designed for them.

…Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, with walls of water on either side, because he remembered who he was…

…Who you tell yourself you are has a very powerful impact on the way you deal with the big and small issues of daily life. In the same way, where you find your identity will have everything to do with how you respond to the hard work of relationships with others. Either I get my identity vertically, out of my sense of who God is and who He has made me in Christ, or I will seek to get my identity horizontally, out of my circumstances, relationships, and successes.” (pg. 58-59)

As you can see when we choose to listen to the voices that tell us we deserve better, that we shouldn’t have to serve or lay down our lives for our spouse, that we should have never married in the first place, we are forgetting this important fact and missing the one thing necessary to take our marriage to a lasting place of safety and trust.

Christ laid His life down for us when we were at our worst.

When He asks us to do the same in our marriage, He doesn’t leave us to ourselves to do it. He is the Good Shepherd who has promised to walk with us through the valleys, through the difficulty, and give us His love, His compassion to love our spouse beyond our natural ability to do so. This circumvents our past experiences and helps us rise above our emotions. It takes us to a deeper level of love and care.

When we live out of a sense of who we are in Christ, we live our lives based on all we have been given by Christ. This keeps us from seeking to get those things from the people and situations around us…In almost thirty years of counseling, I have talked with countless women in difficult marriages who said, ‘All I ever wanted was for my husband to make me happy.’ My first thought is invariably, Well, then, he’s cooked!

No human being was ever meant to be the source of personal joy and contentment for someone else. And surely, no sinner is ever going to be able to pull that off day after day in the all-encompassing relationship of marriage! Your spouse, your friends, and your children cannot be the sources of your identity. When you seek to define who you are through those relationships, you are actually asking another sinner to be your personal messiah, to give you the inward rest of soul that only God can give.

If you’ve been doing this to your spouse, you most likely are not satisfied with the way they are right now.

How do I know? Because we married imperfect sinners saved by grace.  They haven’t arrived in the perfection department and they won’t in this life. When God the Father looks at us He sees us clothed with the righteousness of Christ. If we are viewing our spouse based on this fact we will be more likely to do what 1 Peter 4:8 says: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (ESV)

I can only love my husband earnestly because I’m aware daily of the love Christ has for me and for him.

Tom is God’s son, and my brother in Christ, and we serve and love Him together. Knowing this helps inform my disappointments when he doesn’t do something I want or act in a way I had hoped. I’m not dependent on Tom for my joy or happiness–although God allows him to be a big part of what brings me joy and happiness in this life.

How about you? Are you expecting too much from your spouse? Are you currently disappointed or tempted to believe you missed God’s will? I encourage you to do an identity check in your own heart. It may be the problem is vertical, and not horizontal.

Tweet this:

  • Considering this question could change your #marriage–What identifies you?
  • When I have my focus on myself and what I think I deserve then all kinds of dissensions arise.
  • When I have my focus upward and not inward I tend to see difficulties in a way that places God’s glory first and my preferences second.
  • Christ laid His life down for us at our worst. When He asks us to do the same in our #marriage, He doesn’t leave us to ourselves to do it.
  • I can only love my husband earnestly because I’m aware daily of the love Christ has for me and for him.
Posted in Christian Marriage | Tagged , , ,

Happy Hour


It’s that time when we share with you great blogs posts from the past week. We pray you have a relaxing weekend, take your wife/husband on a date, read some great marriage encouragement, and remember there’s no time like the present to make the most of your time together. Enjoy…

Bonny’s Oyster Bed

Hot, Holy and Humorous

  • Q & A With J: Contraception without Condoms?<< Are you trying to figure out what or if  you should use contraception? Add this post to your list for research–J does a great job and she provides link to other bloggers with worthwhile advice too.

Intimacy In Marriage

The Forgiven Wife

  • Do You Let Your Emotional Wounds Fester?<<Chris provides needed wisdom for all who tend to push their hurts to the back burner. The advice is simple Don’t.d0.it! But read this post for more motivation than a command. She seeks to draw your heart into a desire to stop.

The Generous Husband

  • Driven By Hormones<< Excellent post addressing men this time. Yep, you read that right! Men deal with hormones too. Go ahead and read it–I dare you…

The Generous Wife

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | 4 Comments

Marriage A Mess Worth Making – Part 2


If you missed the first post in this series…you need to click here so as not to miss the flow of today’s post.

The book, Relationships A Mess Worth Making, goes on to provide “seven tendencies of the sinful heart that are damaging to relationships, disruptive of God’s purposes, and require persistent battling. Ask yourself if any of them are evident in your [marriage]…” (NOTE: The Scripture references are all taken from Ephesians chapter 4).

I might add that it takes a willingness to be gut-level honest with yourself as you evaluate whether or not any of these tendencies are evident in your heart. Your marriage is worth such vulnerability, and it is how your relationship goes to the next level of intimacy.

1. The tendency toward self-indulgence (vv. 19-24). My behavior in the relationship is driven by what I want and not God’s purpose.

2. The tendency toward deceit (v. 25). I will manipulate the truth to get what I want out of the relationship.

3. The tendency toward anger (vv. 26-27). I want to control the relationship by venting my anger or by holding it over you to control you.

4. The tendency toward selfishness (V. 28). I want to protect what I have rather than offer it to serve you.

5. The tendency toward unhelpful communication (vv. 29-30). Rather than use my speech to make you feel better and put you in a better position, I speak to make myself feel better and ensure that I am in the top spot.

6. The tendency toward division (v. 31). I give in to the temptation to view you as an adversary rather than a companion in the struggle of relationship.

7. The tendency toward an unforgiving spirit (v. 32). I want to make others pay for their wrongs against me.

As you can see, this list hits us hard in the secret places where we don’t usually allow others to see, much less admit. But I encourage you to pay attention to your heart as you read this list. Is there an area where the Holy Spirit seems to be nudging you to see? Then, go after it and allow Him to reveal to you the motivations of your own heart that may be opposing God.

It takes manning up to admit our failures. It takes humility and a willingness to change.This is the place where the mature stand out from the immature. 

This is how strong, lasting marriages are forged; it requires a desire on the part of both husband and wife to do the hard work necessary to see their own faults and then to humbly confess, repent and seek the help of the Holy Spirit to change for God’s glory.

We are all tempted by these tendencies. We are not immune even as believers. Paul is writing to Christians because he assumes that these will be critical areas of struggle. The amazing part is that this entire passage promises grace for every area. One of the first places we see the evidence of God’s grace personally is in the realization that relationships demand hard work. We become willing to enter the struggle rather than avoid it because we start to see that this is where God is present and active. We begin to run toward others rather than away, and we begin to experience the following:

  1. How much wiser God’s plan is for us than our plan for ourselves (vv. 19-24)
  2. The life-changing power of truthfulness (v. 25)
  3. The healing benefit of gentleness, patience, and love (vv. 26-27)
  4. The joy of serving the needs of someone else (v. 28)
  5. The value of loving and wholesome communication (vv. 29-30)
  6. The beauty of functional unity in a relationship (v. 31)
  7. The freedom of practicing forgiveness (v. 32)

As you can see the list above goes with the first list in providing the benefit of evaluating your own heart in regard to your marriage. We pray this will help all of us on the road to a deeper, more intimate marriage where Christ is the center, not our own selfish demands.

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Marriage A Mess Worth Making – Part 1


Marriage can be messy. If you’re fairly new to it, you may be discouraged thinking something is wrong with yours. If you’ve been married for awhile, you may discouraged thinking this is all there is, and maybe even tempted to think you married the wrong person.

I have good news for you–Marriage is messy because this is how God intended it to be.

Wait, what? You heard me right. God uses the mess of relationship to forge in us a strength we wouldn’t find if everything always went our way.

Paul Tripp and Tim Lane have written a book titled, Relationships, A Mess Worth Making, that offers powerful wisdom to those who are in the middle of the mess.

We think things are going well only if we are getting along with others. But God says that it is also when we are not getting along with others that He is accomplishing His purposes! For example, if you quit at the first sign of fatigue when you exercise, you miss the chance to become more fit. Exercise after exhaustion is the most efficient and productive time for physical fitness. This is true of relationships as well. God has designed our relationships to function as both a diagnosis and a cure. When we are frustrated and ready to give up, God is at work, revealing the places where we have given in to a selfish agenda (the diagnosis). He then uses that new awareness to help us grow precisely where we have struggled (the cure).

Have you given into this mindset? Do you think you’re only doing well in your marriage if things are running smoothly? Have you missed the benefit there is in the relational struggles you’ve faced as a couple? The authors go on to explain why we buy into this lie…

We enter relationships for personal pleasure, self-actualization, and fun. We want low personal cost and high self-defined returns. But God wants high personal cost and high God-defined returns. And although we frequently disagree with God, His plan is better. Beneath all our conflict with others lies a deeper conflict between these two agendas: ours and God’s.

This isn’t an easy concept to accept because it requires an honest evaluation of what it is that motivates the way we love and treat our spouse.

If you find yourself often disappointed or even angry with your spouse over seemingly small things, there may be something deeper in your heart you’ve been missing. It may have nothing to do with what your spouse does or doesn’t do as much as it has with what’s in your heart.

Ephesians 4:17-32 is an excellent place to start as you seek God’s perspective on your relational mess. We shouldn’t be surprised by it, but rather thank God that we are seeing an area in need of being renewed by putting off the old man, and embracing the new. Take some time to read this portion of Scripture and pray for God’s help in honestly evaluating where you are in this process.

What messes do you regularly find yourselves in as a couple?

Join us tomorrow as we continue with more on this important topic.

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Happy Hour


It’s that time again–each week seems to fly by doesn’t it? That’s why I love taking time to slow down with these Happy Hour posts–to help us not miss some of the most important blog posts of the week.

Spend some time this weekend enjoying the following words of wisdom to help your marriage grow stronger to last a lifetime. 

Hot, Holy and Humorous

  • J has been away most of the month of July, but she’s coming back fierce for the month of August. Starting tomorrow you won’t want to miss her Q and A with J posts – including lots of giveaways.

Intimacy In Marriage

  • When Bad Language Is A Turn On During Sex – Before you begin to debate the title of this post–read what everyone has to say in response to it. In our day and age we must be ready to answer such questions after considering it from both sides.

Journey To Surrender

One Flesh Marriage

  • The Broken Bedroom – Kate shares why sex is such a big deal in marriage–do you agree? If you struggle with answering yes, please read her post. Your marriage depends on it!

The Generous Husband

  • What I Believe – It’s always good to read the convictions of another, especially a marriage blogger who has widespread influence. Read Paul’s tenants of faith and you’ll see why he is a leading voice on advocating marriage for God’s glory.

The Generous Wife

  • Team Up – I love this idea of team work in marriage. Are you facing a huge challenge? Have you tapped into the gift your spouse is in helping you find a solution?
Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | 1 Comment

Haunted By The “If Only’s” In Your Marriage?

Photo Credit: Todd Rowley

Photo Credit: Todd Rowley

If only…

two little words that can leave a huge dent in your marriage. Are you haunted by these two words? Are they the first ones that come to mind when your spouse fails you in some way? Maybe they forgot to do something that’s very important to you…something you’ve told them about time and time again. Maybe they didn’t take the hint of what you wanted for your birthday and got you something…dare I say it…practical? Or worse, maybe they forgot it all together! Maybe they aren’t as thoughtful as your best friend’s husband…forgetting to open the door or stand when you get up from the table?

Maybe…just maybe, the “if only” question is being asked of the wrong person.

Maybe we should ask ourselves the “if only” questions…



You read that right.

I’ve heard it said that when one spouse dies the “if only” questions often haunt the spouse left behind.

  • If only I hadn’t been so critical.
  • If only I had said I love you more.
  • If only I had not taken the things they did right for granted.
  • If only I had been more of an encourager.
  • If only I had celebrated all the little moments and not made such a fuss over the big ones messed up.
  • If only I had been a better wife/husband.

You get the idea.

“If only”–two very powerful words that can do great harm or great good in a marriage depending on who it is you’re focusing.

But your spouse is still very much alive and you want to change. How do we turn the tables on these two words and use them for the good of our marriage?

Ask yourself the “What if” questions…

  • What if I treated my spouse today as if it were our last day together.
  • What if I remembered that it’s more important to give than to receive.
  • What if I realized that my spouse isn’t like my girl or guy friends–and they never will be–and this is a good thing.
  • What if I cherished every small act of kindness done for me, even if it’s not what I’d hoped for, or how I wished it was done?
  • What if I made the most of all the things they do right and minimize the mistakes they make.
  • What if I maximized my mistakes and sought to grow and change with the same energy and zeal I used to go after theirs?
  • What if I made today the best day of our marriage?

How do you think these questions would change your today…your tomorrow…and the rest of your lives together?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

Posted in Christian Marriage, Perspective in Marriage | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

On Turning 56



Today is my 56th birthday.

Fifty-six years ago my Mom and Dad were busy getting ready to add one more baby to their family of four. They thought they were finished, but God had other plans. I understand why she wasn’t happy when she found out I was on the way (she was 37), but I’m grateful she accepted me as God’s will for our family.

Both of my parents are resting in the Lord now. It’s on days like these when I miss them most. Mom’s been gone over two years, Daddy over 11.  I learned so much from them and wish I could pick up the phone to ask my Dad a quick question or pick Mom up to go get a Gabriel’s tuna sub–one of our all-time favorites. But I can’t. What I can do is reflect back with thanksgiving on the thousands of memories we made together. We didn’t waste our time, and as a result I have no regrets.

Life has a way of throwing unexpected events our way. We have to learn to accept them with grace or wrestle with God, which opens our heart to bitterness and resentment of all sorts. When put that way, of course we want to do the former. But change and our reactions to it can be difficult to handle on our best days. When it happens in an already challenging season we are prone to all kinds of temptations–to bitterness, anger, resentment and depression. The effect this has on a marriage can be devastating if communication doesn’t happen and understanding isn’t reached.

I am grateful for a husband who loves me, listens to me and seeks to understand me, even when he can’t relate to what I’m going through. You see, he still has a close relationship with his parents. They talk on a regular basis, and we get with them as often as our time will allow. We’re still in the process of making those special memories we’ll cling to when it’s no longer possible.

I am even more grateful to God for walking with me through these 56 years. He knew my frame when I was being formed in secret. He held me close then, and He is holding me close now. In this world of ever-changing circumstances–God is the only constant. He never changes. But He continues to change me so I’m not the same woman at 56 that I was at 55. I am growing little by little, and I’ve noticed something important this year. These changes don’t have the sting in my heart they once did. I think I’m finally adjusting to my new normal and it’s good!


Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Encouraging Your Spouse | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Do You Wish You Could Quit?

God Will Restore

If you answered yes to this question, I get it.

Marriage is hard work. But the problem isn’t that marriage is too hard; the problem is we didn’t fully understand what marriage entailed when we stood on the altar giving our vows. I have a feeling that if all pre-marriage counselors addressed this issue before the wedding there would be fewer marriages and those that made it would succeed.

You see our society has placed an unrealistic expectation of what lasting love looks like. It’s not a happily ever after–although it can be. It’s not a bed of roses with sparkling champagne, although it may happen from time to time.

Marriage is the joining of two different people for the purpose of our holiness, not necessarily our happiness. 

Our pastor of 30 years begins his initial pre-marriage counseling session with the question, “What will it take for you to quit the marriage?”

He’s always met with shocked looks and almost an offense. This isn’t what they expected, but they’ll later learn that it was exactly what they needed. He has them consider questions like these:

  • What if one of you has a debilitating injury and becomes completely dependent on your love and care? Would you want to quit?
  • What if your spouse is unfaithful to you? Would you walk out the door?
  • What if you have a child that has special needs and you realize it’s a lifelong commitment to love and care for them? Would you leave?
  • What if you find out your spouse is unable to have children?

These are a few of the hard questions he confronts them with to crack their rose-colored glasses. Only God knows what life holds in store for a newlywed couple, and most of them only see the “better” not the worse the future may hold.

Marriage is hard work, but when it endures by God’s sustaining grace for His glory, it is a beautiful thing!

We pray that wherever you are on your marriage journey that you will stay committed until death parts you. If your marriage is in a good place, work hard to keep it growing in the same direction. If your marriage is in a rough spot, find the help you need to get you past the trouble. If your marriage has been difficult from the beginning and you don’t know where to begin, start with your own heart humbled before God asking for His wisdom and mercy. God is in the business of restoring broken relationships. It’s never too late to renew those vows no matter how many years it’s been since you spoke them.

Chris August wrote a song that inspired this post. Take a few minutes and let the words seep deep into your soul. Your marriage will thank you!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Troubled Marriage

Happy Hour


It’s the time of week when we share with you the marriage blog posts that we’ve found helpful and worth sharing. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy your time here–you’re always welcome! :-)

Intimacy In Marriage

  • What Is Destroying Sex In Your Marriage – Julie invited marriage bloggers to add their thoughts and wisdom about this topic. She’s providing a new post each day. We encourage you to visit her site daily to glean from the variety of topics discussed.
  • Is Your Past Destroying Sex In Your Marriage? – We’ve heard it said not to let the past define your future. This can be applied to your sexual intimacy as a couple.

Journey To Surrender

Marriage Missions International

  • Quotes To Note – Cindy does an excellent job sharing how the wisdom others have learned in their marriage have had a positive impact on her own marriage.

One Flesh Marriage

  • Sticks And Stones And Broken Bones – Brad offers great insight to this old adage that isn’t true. Words hurt! If you struggle with saying things you later regret read.this.post!

The Generous Husband

  • Choose To Fake It – This doesn’t sound like wise counsel, but read what Paul has to say. It’ll make you want to “fake it” too.

The Generous Wife

  • You Pick – I absolutely love the tip Lori offers in this post. It might just change how you view each other’s decisions–for the good!

To Love, Honor And Vacuum

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour