Happy Hour

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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 | Leave a 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…

Wait! 

What?

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 , , | 4 Comments

On Turning 56

yescapades.com

yescapades.com

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

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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

Stretching Our Romantic Muscles – A 21 Day Challenge

Meme by Taraleigh Davis

Meme by Taraleigh Davis

I’ve been doing something consistently that I had all but given up ever doing again. I started exercising. For those of you who have always been physically active you can’t possibly understand what I’m talking about. It is a way of life for you. However, for all the others who have set exercising aside for all sorts of reasons, I’m sure you understand.

Without going into all the details, I have had pain and injuries that has prevented me from doing any physical activity without lots more pain. So I wouldn’t do it. I assumed about three years ago that my life would never be what it once was.

I was wrong.

You see I had bought into the lie that if it hurts I shouldn’t do it.

But one day I had an aha! moment. I realized that all athletes have pain, but what’s different about them is they push through it. I gave birth to three children–it hurt like crazy, but by God’s grace I pushed through it. What if I had given up saying it was too painful? I shudder to think of it!

So why was I so quick to throw off exercising? Was it only because it hurt? No, the honest answer was even more painful–I didn’t really want to do it. I hid behind my excuses thinking it was my lot in life. And I stayed there for three years!

Fast forward to April. I was given a challenge to try exercising daily for three weeks! I was tired of feeling tired all the time. My metabolism had all but shut down. I wondered if I could jump start my lazy body once again, and to my surprise I did!  It hurt, but I discovered that doing this to my body each day increased my strength little by little. I saw progress, and it motivated me to keep going.

Why am I telling you this? Because I believe we can do the same thing when it comes to romance in marriage.  

We get into ruts and stay there because at one time it was comfortable. There comes a time however, when the rut grows deeper, and you can’t see anything in front of you or behind you. There is no vision and the Bible says without a vision we perish.

Romance is the metabolism of the marriage relationship.

You have to keep it going to nourish the lifeblood of your relationship. What you call romantic and what I call romantic may be two completely different things, but that shouldn’t deter us from stretching our romantic muscles on a daily basis.

The program I’ve been doing physically is called The 21 Day Fix. What if we were to give our marriage 21 Days of Romance? Would we see much needed changes for the lasting good of our relationship? I believe we would.

Below is a list of ideas on how to practice daily romance. I challenge you to pick one each day for the next 21 days. Don’t tell your spouse you’re doing it, let them notice on their own. I believe if you haven’t been stretching your romantic muscles lately, you’ll feel awkward, maybe even painfully uncomfortable, but do it. For 21 days express your love in this way and see what kind of effect it has on your relationship.

Are you willing to give it a try? If so, comment and let me know so I can be praying for your success. In this day and age we need marriages that endure for a lifetime. The next generation is watching and learning much from our good (or bad) examples.

My coach sends me encouraging memes everyday. Here’s one to keep close at hand to keep you motivated.

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Daily Romantic Exercises

  • Make your spouse’s coffee and take it to them in bed or while they’re getting ready in the bathroom.
  • Write a heart-felt letter to your spouse and mail it to them as if you were living miles apart.
  • Take on a practical act of service such as cleaning their closet, detailing their car, to bless them in an unexpected way.
  • Hire a job done around the house that they have been dreading.
  • Make them their favorite meal for no special reason, and call them during the day to tell them you have a surprise for them when they get home.
  • Plan an outing for them with their friends and make all the arrangements. Send them off with your blessings.
  • Before you go to bed tell them you’re giving them the next morning off and they’re allowed to sleep in.
  • Draw them a bath complete with candlelight, soft music and wine.
  • Go for a ride in the country or on the beach. Stop whenever you see something interesting to explore.
  • Read a book aloud to each other.
  • Plan a movie marathon one afternoon.
  • Go for a walk in the rain.
  • Set up a tent in your bedroom and go camping. ;-)
  • Do something adventurous together–horseback riding, zip-lining, hiking
  • Use our iPhone app, or check out our Date Night questions and pick several to talk over coffee one night.
  • Ask your spouse what they would love to do in the bedroom sexually, and do whatever you can to make it happen.
  • Find ways to compliment your spouse physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. Choose to do one each day of the challenge.
  • Every time you think of your spouse during the day, send them a quick text telling them so.
  • Brush your spouse’s hair, rub their shoulder, massage their feet, whatever non-sexual physical touch your spouse enjoys do it often throughout the challenge.
  • Purpose to put your spouse’s needs and requests at the top of your to-do list.
  • Be intentional in pursuing them like you did when you were dating.
  • Don’t assume you know all their is to know about your spouse. Ask them good questions to understand them on a deeper level.
  • Have fun together and find ways to laugh out loud!

What would you add to the list? Share them so we can encourage each other in our quest to stretch our romantic muscles.

Let’s do this!

Posted in Boredom, Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Overlook

Rhodos

We’re at our cabin this week for the 4th of July with most of our family who will arrive for a long weekend. The mountains are beautiful this time of year, and it’s the first time we’ve actually seen the wild rhododendrons in full bloom adjoining our property since purchasing Barefoot Cabin two years ago. I had begun to think that maybe they didn’t bloom, but was I wrong! They are breathtaking.

If you have ever taken a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway you are regularly greeted with invitations to stop at overlooks on the side of the road.

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor.com

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor.com

This probably serves two purposes–one, to give you the opportunity to see something you might otherwise miss. And two, get you off the road so you don’t cause an accident when you take your eyes off of the road to see the view you didn’t stop to see. :-)

This made me think about the following verse found in Proverbs 19:11

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. ESV (emphasis mine)

Maybe when we choose to overlook an offense it’s like this…

  • …we act on good sense stopping along the road for the safety of our marriage. Doing so allows us to pause and consider what really matters–it’s our relationship that matters most–not winning the argument.
  • …we are given the opportunity to see something we might have missed if we continued driving full speed ahead into a conflict. How often I have realized that what I thought was intentional on Tom’s part in a conflict was really nothing more than a misunderstanding. Pausing to see and reflect gives us a clearer picture of what we’re facing. And you know what? Most of the time what I discover is so precious it takes my breath away. I come away with a deeper understanding of the man I married and what a gift our differences are to our relationship, not a hindrance.

Have you ever chosen to “overlook” an offense, stopping to appreciate the view on your road of marriage thus far? Or have you experienced the pain of forging ahead holding tightly to your steering wheel determined to white-knuckle your point of view? I have done both, and to be honest the former is the good sense Proverbs is talking about. And I’ve seen some things I’m so grateful I didn’t miss.

What’s the view like on your marriage journey? I encourage you to take those invitations to stop and overlook often. The views are amazing!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Slow To Speak

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I am married to a man who has learned the wisdom of speaking slowly. It’s not because he’s slow of thinking. In fact, it’s just the opposite. He ponders his thoughts before sharing them with others. And he often chooses not to share what comes to mind because he realizes it isn’t profitable. I want to be more like him.

How I wish I could say the same for many on social media these days, both Christian and non-Christian alike.

The U.S. Supreme Court changed the course of history on Friday of last week when they ruled in favor of homosexual marriage. Ever since, social media sites have been soaked in the colors of the rainbow by those who are for it, and a plethora of words by those who oppose it. I’m sure our readers know where we stand, but you won’t hear us join the fray–at least not yet.

James 1:19-20 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Charles Spurgeon had this to say about these verses, and we do well to listen–

“Because it is by the Word that we are begotten: let us be swift to hear it. “Slow to speak,” because there is so much sin in us that the less we speak the better. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. Great talkativeness is seldom dissociated from great sinfulness.”

For now, we are praying…

  • for our nation as it faces unchartered waters
  • for those who believe with all their hearts that this is the freedom for which they have been searching
  • for Christian leaders who must speak on this all-important issue to a mocking world
  • most of all, that God will be glorified in His Church even in the midst of such opposition.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, The Gospel & Marriage, Wisdom in Marriage | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Peeking In Your Bedroom

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No, it’s not what you think. 

What I’m talking about is something to help you and your marriage. It’s not difficult to do and you don’t need to study to figure out how to do it. All you have to do is DO IT.

If I were to visit your home this afternoon and take a peek in your bedroom, what would I find? Would it be free from clutter? A place obviously set aside for the grown-ups in the house. Would it be free from toys? Work? Dust? Is the bed made? Is it inviting?

These are questions we often fail to ask ourselves because our bedrooms become too comfortable, but not necessarily relaxing.

Making Your Space Comfortable AND Relaxing

It’s Summer. The perfect time to work on putting things where they belong. Getting rid of the things that don’t and reclaiming your romantic space. This is your haven, your place of retreat. Why not take some time and make it something you’re proud of? With Pinterest there is no lack of ideas of how to do this on any budget. Once you get started you may be surprised at how easy it is.

The most difficult part of any task is getting started.

So why not start now? Give yourself a deadline by which you want to finish and then, plan a special treat for you and your spouse to celebrate your accomplishment.

Your marriage is worth it. 

Take a minute and let me know if you’re up for the challenge. I’d love to see before and after pictures. Plus, it’s good to have some accountability to help you do what you’ve set out to do.

Meme credit: sayingimages.com

Meme credit: sayingimages.com

Posted in Christian Marriage, Priorities, Romance in Marriage, romanticizing your master bedroom | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Happy Hour

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It’s Friday. It’s 5:00. It’s time for our weekly celebration of all the great marriage content being shared this week. Of course, the list isn’t exhaustive–but it’s full of posts we’ve read and highly endorse. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy reading for the good of your marriage. And, if you’re a dad–HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! :-)

Hot, Holy and Humorous

  • Dating Advice I Gave Teen Girls<<J does a great job sharing her wisdom with us about this difficult road. If you have teens, or pre-teens even, please read this post! You’ll be glad you did!

My Beloved Is Mine

  • Gamer or Husband?<<If you have time to only read one post on this list–make it THIS ONE! It should be read by all husbands who love video games. Even if you think you have your love under control, take time to read this post! Better yet, ask your wife to read it too, and then have a serious discussion about your own marriage. It’s that important!

One Flesh Marriage

The Generous Husband

  • A Thought On Grumpiness<<We couldn’t agree more with Paul on this one. It’s important to define your terms biblically to understand what the issue is you’re dealing with. Most times grumpy translates to discontent or angry on simmer.

The Generous Wife

  • I’m Buying A New Vent Cover<<Oh, I love this one by Lori! She shares a moment we’ve all experienced and demonstrated to her husband genuine kindness, no venting!

The XY Code

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

Elisabeth Elliot 1926-2015

Photo Credit: The Gospel Coalition

Photo Credit: The Gospel Coalition

This morning at the age of 88, Elisabeth Elliot went to be with the Lord. Oh to see the reunion of her with her first husband Jim as she tells him what happened with the Auca Indians after his death. Imagine the enjoyment she’s having right this minute, no longer waiting to meet her Savior face-to-face. She is there! Her life and ministry here has ended, yet her legacy will continue through the many books she’s written.

Elisabeth Elliot quotes worth remembering and pondering:

  • “This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience – it looks for a way of being constructive.
    Love is not possessive.
    Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
    Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
    Love is not touchy.
    Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
    Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.”
    ― Elisabeth ElliotLet Me Be a Woman
  • “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
  • “When the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die!”
    ~Jim Elliot”
    The Journals of Jim Elliot
  • “We are women, and my plea is Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.”
  • “I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.”
    ― Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control
  • “God never witholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”
  • “Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”
  • “Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.”

If you are unfamiliar with Elisabeth’s story, here is her testimony as told by Steven Curtis Chapman:

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Seasons of Life, Testimonies | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Happy Hour

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Each week we enjoy sharing with you what other marriage bloggers are posting. The following are our picks for you to read and from which to glean. Grab a cup of your favorite drink and spend time reading this weekend. We’ll see you next week!

Intimacy In Marriage

One Flesh Marriage

  • My Wall Of Shame << Kate shares a very vulnerable post in the hopes of helping other women who are facing a similar experience. Read it and respond as needed.

The Forgiven Wife

The Generous Husband 

  • Lack of Knowledge: The 3 G’s – I love this series because it hits so many points where we all live as husband and wife.
  • Lack of Knowledge: Sex – This one area causes more trouble in marriage and also provides the most opportunity for intimacy in a way no one else can meet.
  • Lack Of Knowledge: Spiritual Things – This post is a MUST READ for all couples. Don’t neglect this above all else!
  • Lack of Knowledge: We Need Others – A perfect way to end this series…Paul says, “A husband or wife with no friend to help them deal with marriage issues is in a dangerous place.” Seek friends, true friends who can help you see things you may be blind to.

The Generous Wife

  • Honor Growth and Change << I love this idea. We all too often focus on the negative and miss the good change that has occurred.

To Love, Honor And Vacuum

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Happy Hour | 2 Comments

Romantic Movie Moments

Photo Credit: Jeff Salz.com

Photo Credit: Jeff Salz.com

Have you ever been enjoying a movie when a scene happens that affects you to the core? 

I have had this happen a few times–they’re called touchstones, where a scene touches a part of your heart and allows you to identify with the scene/words on a deeper level. This is why I love good movies and good music, for that matter. They have a way of helping you see a certain situation, difficult or a blessing, with fresh eyes.

Most of you have read our blog long enough to know that You’ve Got Mail is one of those movies for me. There are so many touchstones that I can’t count them all. I watch this movie at least once a year and usually cry to my heart’s content. I even bought the soundtrack because I love the music!

One song in particular isn’t well known. It plays at the end of the movie while the credits are scrolling, and it’s by far one of my all-time favorite artists, Carole King. The song is titled, Anyone At All, and basically tells our love story. I had been in a long-term relationship that ended unexpectedly after two years. It was the hardest thing I had been through at that time of my life, but it was a God-thing. After four months of heartache and sadness my phone rang one day, and it was just like the song says, “an old friend calling out of the blue! I’m so glad it was YOU!”

That phone call took place 37 years ago this month! And what a gift Tom has been to me. I can’t imagine who I would be if it weren’t for his love and care. And now I can see that the heartache I was experiencing was leading me to the one God had planned for me to marry all along.

It has helped me to see that often the most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful views that we would otherwise miss.

Take a few minutes and enjoy this song. I’m so glad Carole King made this video recently, it brings the movie and the song to life! Enjoy…

We’re linked with Messy Marriage’s Wedded Wednesday.

Posted in Testimonies, Thankfulness | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Hour

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The lack of happy hour posts isn’t due to lack of great content the other marriage bloggers are writing; it’s due to the fact we’ve been on Nana and Papa Duty for 9 days with four of our 7 grandchildren. So fun, but so tiring too.

Here are our picks for this week. Spend some time over the weekend checking them out!

Blessings,

Journey To Surrender

Intimacy In Marriage

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

  • If Only << Andrew is facing a terminal illness. He writes honestly about the effects this has had on his marriage. This post will speak volumes to those of us who aren’t facing life and death issues. Check out all the posts in this series–great advice.

Hot, Holy and Humorous

One Flesh Marriage

Posted in Blog Love, Happy Hour | Tagged , ,

Marriage Rip-Currents And How To Avoid Them

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I spent a day this week at the beach with my daughter and three of her four children–we left the baby at home. When we arrived it looked like a storm might blow in, so my oldest granddaughter suggested we pray that God would take the clouds away. Ah, the faith of a child! The clouds left, and we had a picture perfect day, weather-wise.

But something was wrong, very wrong. We noticed the News van in the parking lot at the 27th Avenue ramp where we always go. When we got down on the beach, we noticed the red flag waving on the lifeguard station, the police helicopter hovering up and down the beach, and the Coast Guard boat speeding back and forth beyond the waves.

They were obviously in search of someone–but who?

My daughter walked to the lifeguard to find out, and it wasn’t what we wanted to hear. He told us to keep the children close and away from the surf as a precaution. Apparently, the night before a 17-year-old boy from GA had been swimming with friends when he disappeared. They had been searching for him ever since.

Of course, we didn’t say a word to the children–they didn’t even notice. But we kept a watchful eye on the surf hoping and praying that they would find him, but not where we were. That would be an image we would never be able to shake, and we were grateful God answered our prayers yet again; They found the boy about two miles north of us within a few minutes of our arrival, but we didn’t hear about it until a hour or two later.

This horribly sad story could have been easily avoided.

You see, most people who aren’t from Florida don’t realize how dangerous rip-currents can be. A good, strong swimmer can drown just as easily as one who isn’t. Why? Because when the strong current grabs ahold of you it pulls you quickly out to sea. Many panic and become exhausted trying to swim back to shore against the current. The smart thing to do is swim parallel to the shore until you breakaway from the currents pull. Then, you’re free to swim back to the shore. If only he had understood this, he most likely would still be here.

In marriage we are often caught up in similar rip-currents.

What are they? These rip-currents are hot topics you know are going to pull the conversation into an emotional panic. They can be different in each marriage, but here are a few they could be:

  • Finances – how to manage them
  • Raising children – how to train them
  • Faith issues – how to love God and where to put down roots
  • Relating with friends who are of the opposite sex – how to not cross the line into emotional intimacy
  • Hobbies – how much time to spend on them
  • Annoying/concerning habits – how to help your spouse desire change
  • Health issues – how to help your spouse become and stay healthy
  • Trust issues – how to believe the best of your spouse, and how to help your spouse trust you

Every marriage has one or more rip-currents with which they have to swim on a regular basis. The experienced swimmers (those married for years) are in as much danger as the novice ones (those newlyweds) and need to be aware of the danger and what to do to avoid being pulled into a nasty situation that could threaten the life of your marriage.

How To Avoid The Rip-Currents of Conflict

First of all, admit that you know how to push your spouse’s buttons. If you’re upset with them about one thing, don’t allow yourself to push any of these buttons in retaliation. This is immature and will not help your relationship grow. It may feel good in the moment, but know that regret always follows. This is like pushing your spouse into the dangerous waters of a rip-current. Don’t do it.

Secondly, seek help in how you should handle the topic. Most likely you have a friend who is stronger in this area. Seek their counsel. It may be they have the rescue tools to help pull you out of the rip-current. Be sure to also seek the answers in God’s Word:

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Thirdly, be willing to take the time needed to swim in the deep and not rush to a solution. When you do it usually only makes matters worse. And it will wear you both down physically and emotionally. Many times conflicts occur late at night when you are both exhausted already. This is not the time to try and make a dash for a resolution. Instead, you may need to agree to sleep and discuss it more in the morning. If this isn’t possible, then purpose to stay alert and engaged in what you’re spouse is saying. Resist the temptation to be thinking about your next point and miss fully understanding your spouse’s view.

Finally, once you’ve listened to what your spouse has to say, repeat back what you heard them say to be sure you were listening rightly. The goal in any conflict isn’t to win, but to understand. If you are not willing to come alongside your spouse in the conflict and help swim in parallel together, then you will never break free of the rip-tide. Don’t let this happen! Marriage isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Just like those who have been caught in a rip-tide and safely broken free from it’s pull, they are usually quick to jump right back in the ocean to swim, surf and have fun, because despite the risk–it’s worth it.

What issues have been like rip-currents in your marriage? How have you learned to avoid them?

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

The Many Faces Of Empty

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Source: Anthony Ianniciello

Empty.

It’s a funny word when you say it by itself. It sounds like two letters of the alphabet “M” and “T”. I don’t know about you, but it’s a word I use often, and it has many faces. Think about it…

  • Empty is how my bed feels when Tom is out of town on business.
  • Empty is how my stomach feels when I haven’t planned dinner because of too many distractions.
  • Empty is how my wallet stays most times.
  • Empty is how my arms felt when we had a miscarriage early on in our marriage.
  • Empty is how my gas tank becomes more often than I’d like to admit.
  • Empty is what Tom does to our garbage twice a week–I’m grateful, so grateful he doesn’t need to be reminded for this one.

But there’s one “empty” we haven’t experienced in our home in over 33 years. It’s one we’ve heard others lament over and one we’ve been reluctant to experience. What empty are we talking about?

Our youngest daughter moved out this month, and we are officially EMPTY nesters. 

I’m filled with such a mixture of emotions.

  • I’m sad that she no longer comes through our door at night, but I’m happy she has the joy and fun of setting up her own place with a friend.
  • I’m sad I don’t get to see her as often, but I’m happy she calls me on a regular basis–and she texts!
  • I’m sad the time of having children in our home is over, but I’m happy she has become such a godly woman in her own right. (The goal of parenting, right?)
  • I’m sad to see her room empty, but I’m happy to have more space to welcome others into our home to stay for a night or a week.
  • I’m sad to no longer cook for three, but I’m happy I get to cook for two.
  • I’m sad if I dwell on me and how her move affects me–but I’m happy when I focus on her and how good this is for her.

So, another major life change has occurred in our home, and God is helping me see it as a good change.because.it.is! One thing that has never been empty since the day we said, I do, and that is our hearts. God has filled us with more of Himself as well as His good gifts to us than we could have ever imagined.

We are grateful to be filled with such goodness, such mercy, such kindness, as what God has given us in Christ.

Now it’s time to go cook dinner–for two!  Woo Hoo!

This song has been on my heart all day…

 

 

 

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Open Nest, Seasons of Life, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Top 10 Summer Post Roundup

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Summer is almost upon us, and you’re most likely dreaming of things to do to make this year special. One thing is sure–if you don’t plan a great Summer, it will be gone before you can blink. Planning is essential to success.

We’ve shared lots of ideas through the years since we’ve been blogging, so why not round-up some of our best Summer Ideas for your convenience? Following are some of our favorite posts about Summer and Vacations. We pray you’ll take some time to read them all and consider your own plans…

  1. Hello To Summer Date Night
  2. Making Vacations Memorably Romantic 1
  3. Making Vacations Memorably Romantic 2
  4. Summer Sizzlin’ Date Ideas
  5. Expect-cations
  6. Unpacking For Vacation
  7. Let’s Take A Walk
  8. The Romantic Gourmet Date Night Idea
  9. Boredom Breakers
  10. 7-11 Date Night Idea – You can do this one any date of the year. :-)

Let us know what you think. And if you have ideas of your own, please share them with us! Variety is the spice of life-right?

Posted in Christian Marriage | Tagged , ,

Happy Hour

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I know we haven’t provided a Happy Hour post in a long time. I’ve missed taking time to read what other marriage bloggers are saying–and you know what? There’s some really good Truth being shared. So…here’s to your weekend. Grab your favorite drink and spend time reading these excellent posts.

HOT, HOLY AND HUMOROUS

  • A Romance Book You Can Read – Summer is fast approaching and finding good books to read is a top priority. Check out J’s new offering with a fresh twist.

INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE

JOURNEY TO SURRENDER

  • The Gift Of As You Wish – Love this idea from Jenni Means, Scott’s wife. We don’t hear from her often–so when we do, it’s worth reading. She has a gift for showing her husband love and honor that’s worth emulating!

ONE FLESH MARRIAGE

  • My Husband, My Jesus – Kate provides a healthy reminder about the difference between the two loves of our lives.

THE GENEROUS HUSBAND

THE GENEROUS WIFE

  • What I’m Reading And More – I love how Lori shares her life in such a transparent and real way. She is busy, and what’s she’s doing matters. This is a great reminder for us as well. God is in the details of all our days.
  • Kindness Got Your Tongue? – The title says it all!

The XY Code

  • Sex With A Man Over 25 – Paul of the XY Code is the same as Paul of The Generous Husband. He offers helpful information for all men (and their wives) who are growing older and what to expect. Sometimes knowing what’s “normal” helps you navigate the changes that aging brings. Check out all his posts–he’s very candid, which is so helpful.
  • Why Is My Husband Passive-Aggressive?  – Paul shares helpful research on this common term you may or may not understand.
  • Dealing With A Passive-Aggressive Husband – And the follow-up to the above post.

SEX WITHIN MARRIAGE

  • Sex Leads To More Sex – An very interesting and helpful article about the importance of having regular sex in marriage. Also, sign up to receive new posts via e-mail and receive an excellent resource: 37 Questions For Spouses To Ask Each Other About Sex.

Don’t forget Mother’s Day is May 10th. We have a list of romantic ideas to help give you ideas on how to bless the mother of your children. 

 

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The Value Of Friends

  
We have been away this week with friends. It’s not the first time we’ve done this; in fact we’ve done it many times with them.

We’ve been to Alaska, Europe, Napa Valley, Quebec City and Bermuda together just to name a few. We have history together, but the trips themselves are not what make our friendship special. It’s the conversations that spring up over a bonfire, or the quick observation made about how Tom and I interact when discussing any number of issues. It’s being known so well that they recognize when we’re struggling. It’s being able to laugh at our mistakes and not taking offense. It’s being able to cry and laugh without explaining why. 

The thing is all marriages need such relationships. It helps to have someone who can help you see unhealthy patterns before they cause lasting damage. To have someone that says, “Can we talk?”

Do you have such friends? If you don’t, Tom always says you have to be the one who pursues them. You never know when that couple you’re reaching out to on Sunday will become the friend you can’t live without in 20 years.

This post got interrupted with one of those conversations that does your soul and your marriage good. We pray that you’ll seek out such friends. It makes the journey called marriage so much better!

Posted in Christian Marriage | 7 Comments

Finding Love Right Where You Are

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You may be familiar with a current hit song by Ed Sheeran titled, Thinking Out Loud. In it he talks about all the mundane seasons of a relationship–growing older, yet loving each other more through these everyday moments.

Think about how much your marriage has changed through the years.

Tom and I have been married over 36 years now. We recently watched some old family videos of when our children were little. It seemed like a lifetime ago when we were in the throes of raising children and learning to love each other in that very busy season.

We’re about to embark on another unfamiliar season, but one we’ve anticipated for years–our youngest daughter is moving out next month. We haven’t lived alone for 33 years! It is full of mixed emotions for both of us, but we’re grateful to God that we have discovered what it looks like to find “love right where we are”. It isn’t enough for our love to be how it used to be. We’re not the same; We have changed, and so has our love. As our seasons change so must the way we relate to each other–the way we care for each other–the way we love each other.

We pray you will discover what it means to find love in the midst of whatever challenges you are currently facing. It takes effort. It takes commitment. It takes a willingness to bend and stretch and accept the new season. This is the secret to a successful marriage…it’s not finding lasting love, but committing to love your spouse in a way that endures through all seasons.

We pray you’ll enjoy this acoustic version of this hit song–and then find practical ways to apply it to your own marriage.

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , | 4 Comments