Two Ways To Improve Your Communication In Marriage

Meme credit: Victory_Dominion_Power

Sometimes we hear advice that is familiar so we ignore it even if we aren’t practicing it; It’s called a well-worn path. The Bible calls it not having ears to hear. Ouch!

Communication, like baseball, is learned over time with lots of practice and mistakes. Since marriage is a life-long commitment, we can’t just check out of the game. We must look for ways to increase our batting average, in season and out, for the sake of our marriage.

Check out 7 more ways marriage is like baseball

We’ve heard it said that the best way to improve in an area of physical training is to confuse your muscles. Do something different each time you practice so your muscles can’t  predict what’s coming. It requires your entire body to be engaged in the training, not just auto-piloting through the workout.

So it is with communication. Try something different and see if your listening doesn’t improve. 

  1. Listen with your eyes. Many times our spouse is speaking to us about something important to them, but because it isn’t important to us we respond with a half-interested, “Uh-huh.” We may be on our smart phone, looking at the computer, playing a video game or reading a book, when our spouse walks into the room and begins talking. Stop what you’re doing and look in their eyes. Don’t allow distractions to intercept this bid of attention your spouse is throwing your way. Of course, there are times when what you are doing is important and an interruption isn’t helpful. In those moments I encourage you to stop, look your spouse in the eyes and ask them if they could wait until you are finished. Then, make sure you take the time to pursue them afterward. Our eyes are easily distracted, so fixing them on our spouse when they are communicating to us will keep distractions to a minimum.
  2. Talk with your ears. This goes with what I said in #1. If you have something you would like to talk with your spouse about, don’t assume that they are ready to give you their full attention. Walk into the room with your “ears open and your mouth shut,” as my 9th grace Science teacher used to tell her loud, immature students. Our spouse deserves our courtesy. 

Practicing these two communication skills will go a long way in helping you both grow in the way you speak and listen to each other. Who knows? You might just discover a deeper level of intimacy in the process. Now that’s a home run!

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages, Wisdom in Marriage | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Hour

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to highlight some of my favorite posts for the week, and this week is no exception. But I have a friend who is just starting her blog (first post today) and I wanted to share it with you. I also want to feature three other blogs by my friends, two of whom are in my writing group. They aren’t focused on marriage, but they’re really funny and will make you think, laugh and sometimes cry–not necessarily in that order. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Not That Big A Deal

Life On The Lighter Side

Swan Stuff

Feel Free To Laugh

 

Posted in Blog Love, Happy Hour, humor | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Two Weddings and an Engagement

 

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Meme by Marriage Today website

I have two nephews who are getting married within six weeks of each other this Summer. I am coordinating one and helping with the rehearsal dinner for the other, and I am loving every minute of it!

Right in the middle of this busy season our youngest daughter got engaged!

We’ve known it was coming since April when her boyfriend met with us to discuss his plans and ask our blessing. Of course we said yes! He is exactly the man our daughter has been praying for, and he reminds me a lot of Tom in how he loves her. She will be blessed by his love as I have been by Tom. But with their marriage comes more change. <sigh> An opportunity for me to let go and let them live the life God has ordained for them in another state! This will mean all three of our married children will live in three different states spread across the South–something I never saw coming.

But it is good!

Her fiancé was recently promoted to a dream job, but it required him moving to Arkansas. This means until they are married they are dating via Facebook phone calls. I must say they have become creative in how they spend their evenings. One of their favorites is to rent the same movie on Red Box, video call and start it at the exact same time so they can enjoy it together. I love it.

When Tom and I were engaged across the miles, all we had was the telephone and snail mail! 

We’re sorry for the lack of posts lately, but we are soaking in all the joy that new love inspires, as well as figuring out all the details of the wedding. If you’d like, check out our Facebook page where you can see the creative way our soon-to-be “Son-in-Love” proposed. He hit this one out of the park, and we are so happy to welcome him into our family.

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Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Love Stories | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Monday Date Night Prompts – Game Night


Game nights are usually reserved for Family Nights, not date nights. However, I think we are missing out by making such a judgment. 

You may have seen some of our most popular romantic game ideas like:

Last year our daughter and son-in-love made us a giant Jenga set, and it’s so much fun! We thought you might like to make one to enjoy on your next Game Night Date Night. 😊

How to Make Giant Jenga

We pray your 4th of July is full of fun, family, friends, food and fireworks.

Happy Dating…

Posted in Christian Marriage | 2 Comments

Keeping It Real–Worth The Effort

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love parties. I love holidays. I love surprises. I love celebrations. Since Tom has retired it makes it very difficult to surprise him. He is almost always home when I’m home. Except for yesterday! 🙂

He had to run errands that were going to take most of the day, and I was elated! Not because he would be gone mind you, but because I could surprise him!

Our bedroom has been a mess since early spring when I decided to go through our library and get rid of the books we no longer wanted. I also intended to move the bookshelf from our bedroom into Tom’s office, but it was too big. I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing…for months! <sigh>

Tom is a very patient man. He never complains about unfinished projects, but he will give me (what Gary Thomas calls)  a “bid” every now and then. A few days ago he mentioned that he’d love to get our bedroom back sometime, and yesterday was the day I was able to catch his bid.

I spent a few hours going through the books we wanted to donate and organizing the ones we would keep. I made the bed, cleaned, vacuumed (one of Tom’s favorite things), turned on the lamps as well as smooth jazz for added effect. His surprise was ready and waiting for him to come home; I was so excited!

When he walked in the door he did what I hoped; he went to our room to change. I said nothing but let him see for himself. He was blown away! Makes me wonder how many times I miss what’s important to him because I’m not listening.

Let’s purpose to pay attention to the ways in which we can bless our spouse. It may not mean much to us, but if it’s important to them it’s absolutely worth it! 

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages, Hindrances to Romance, Keeping It Real, romanticizing your master bedroom | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Monday Date Night Prompts – On The Water

Photo Credit: orizielle

Summer is in full-swing and it’s finally warm enough to enjoy time on the water, which brings us to our date night prompt for this week!

We live in Florida where water is a part of our lives all year long. We especially enjoy:

But this past weekend we brought our water themed date home. We bought new loungers to relax in our pool, which allowed us to slow down and talk. It was exactly what we needed after the busy season we’ve had, which is the point of date nights, right?

Leena Arif has said, “In every drop of water there is a story of life.” And so on dates with our spouse, water can provide a chance to write more of our story.

What water options are near you? Try discovering something new and see if it doesn’t become your new go-to place for the summer.

Happy dating…

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Summer Date Ideas | Tagged , ,

5 Marriage Blogger Husband’s Answer This Question…

Why is Sex Important? Part One


Listen in on this podcast as my husband, Tom, and the following men discuss this vital aspect of Sex in a healthy Marriage:

Paul Byerly, The Generous Husband and The XY Code

Scott Means, Heaven Made Marriage

Brad Aldrich, One Flesh Marriage

Doug Taylor, Big Guy from The Forgiven Wife

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Intimacy, Keeping It Real, Sexual Intimacy | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Lesson Learned


There was a time in our marriage when Tom said something that hurt me deeply. It wasn’t the intent of his heart to hurt me, but because of the verse above I insisted that something was in his heart that he insisted wasn’t. We had stalemate for the first time in our marriage and it was stifling. 

This cloud of suspicion and angst followed me everywhere I went. I had opened the door to a very ugly side of me and I didn’t know how to close it. 

Thankfully, the Lord in His faithfulness led us through that very difficult year. And the best of news–He changed me!

A few mornings ago I awoke with this revelation about that season of our life. 

God revealed to me how I had used this verse wrongly and because I did, it led us down a very dark road. He reminded me of this parable Jesus shared during His Sermon on the Mount…

“”Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It is dangerous to think we know what is in our spouse’s heart by the words they say. How often have I said something and regretted it the moment it left my lips? What if a guard was standing there not ready to help me, but to judge me and slap a sentence with no mercy? 

God doesn’t treat us that way. In fact, through Christ He did the opposite.

“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:10-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It is my responsibility to guard my own heart and what I speak. I realize now that if I had used the verse in Luke to judge my own heart I would have discovered the lesson God was teaching me right away without having to drag Tom through the mud with me to get there.

I am grateful for that year and what God showed us, but I am even more grateful for how God allowed me to reflect back on what happened to show me there was a better way. 

The moral of this story is: Don’t assume that the verse that comes to your mind during a conflict is for your spouse. It may be the Holy Spirit trying to get your attention before you say something you’ll regret.

Lesson Learned ✔️

Posted in Christian Marriage | 1 Comment

Loving v. Virginia – 50 Years of Interracial Marriage

John Piper has written an outstanding tribute to the pivotal anniversary celebrated today. It was on June 12, 1967 when the United States Supreme Court declared unconstitutional all state laws that prohibited interracial marriage. But it didn’t change in America instantly. In fact, the last state to finally adopt this new law was Alabama in the year 2000!

We won’t take the time to rewrite what Mr. Piper has already written so well. But we will highlight his 5 Points of the Beauty of Interracial Marriage.

  1. The biblical description of how so-called racial differences emerged from one pair of human beings, Adam and Eve, shows that interracial marriage does not contradict God’s purpose for diversity in this world and the next.

  2. The Bible forbids intermarriage between believer and unbeliever — not between races or ethnic groups.

  3. In Christ, our oneness is profound and transforms racial and social differences from barriers to blessings.

  4. God severely disciplined the critics of one interracial marriage. (Read Numbers 12)

  5. In Christ, the good effects of interracial marriage are worth the challenges it can bring.

I’m happy to say that our church has always celebrated the union of interracial couples.

This past week at my Barefoot Ladies Retreat I was able to spend time with one wife who is in an interracial marriage and has been for over 20 years. I had never heard their story. It was hard to hear the heartache and the trouble they have endured, but even more amazing is how God has brought them to where they are today. We cried as she shared how her dad declared her dead and would not acknowledge her existence anymore. Then when their first child was born how God used this baby girl to restore what the enemy had tried to steal.

“Christians of every race should search their hearts and search the Scriptures, and bring their hearts, by the power of God’s Spirit into line with God’s word.” – John Piper

Take some time and read John Piper’s article. We pray it will be helpful to you as you consider what the Bible has to say about interracial marriages. 

 

Posted in Biblical Encouragement, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , ,

Monday Date Night Prompts – Date With A View

Today Tom and I will venture to one of our favorite places in the High Country–5506′ SkyBar. It sits on top of Beech Mountain Ski Resort and you can only get there by taking the ski lift to the top.

Summertime is when the snow skis are traded in for mountain bikes making the mountain just as popular of a place to gather and enjoy the view. What I love about 5506′ is that we can enjoy the view without having to risk hurting ourselves on the slopes or hike a long path to get there. With a little investment ($10 a lift) we can climb the heights and enjoy the long-range view.

Photo Credit: Skybar website

Our date night prompt this week encourages you to find a place nearby with a fantastic view. It may be a mountain top, on the beach front, overlooking a tranquil lake, or a rooftop restaurant overlooking the city. Wherever you go, pause to take in the big picture view and realize how small we are compared to God’s creation. Remember He cares for you; He cares for your spouse; and He certainly cares for your marriage. This is why date nights are important.

Please share with us your date with a view in the comments. We can’t wait to see the big picture from your eyes.

Happy Dating!

 

Posted in Date Night Ideas, Summer Date Ideas | Tagged , ,

Please Take Our Poll: How Do You Selfie?

Here’s one of our Selfies taken in the Netherlands.

We invite you to take our Selfie Survey.  Also, feel free to share a selfie photo in our comments if you’d like. 🙂

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages

We Remember

Posted in Christian Marriage

Monday Date Night Prompts – Rendezvous

Photo Credit: The Grand Bohemian, Asheville Lobby

One of the thing that is so romantic about dating before you get married is meeting together in out of the way places to talk and get to know each other a little more.

Tom and I wanted to recapture a bit of that romance, so we met in a hotel lounge for appetizers and drinks after he got off of work one day. The best part was–he didn’t know we were going to do this until I texted him to meet me there at 5:30p.

I got all dressed up and got to the lounge early, so I’d be there to greet him when he walked in. We talked and flirted as if we had just met, thoroughly enjoying our little rendezvous until it was time to go home for dinner. If your budget allows it would be fun to surprise your spouse with a room upstairs, but if it doesn’t this date is still a win-win. There are so many beautiful hotels in our area that offer not only great ambiance, but also happy hour deals which make it quite affordable too.

Taking the time to connect on this intimate level in the middle of a busy schedule makes it even more unexpected and appreciated. Give it a try in the next week or so, and let us know how your rendezvous goes.

Happy Dating…

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Core of Who We Are

Us

When we began blogging in 2008, there were only a handful of marriage bloggers seeking to spread the encouragement that marriages can not only survive, but thrive.

Now 9 years later there are 130 marriage blogs who have committed to join us on our mission–to glorify God in our marriages for as long as we both shall live and to tell others of the hope that can be found in Christ alone. We are a part of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association (CMBA) whose values hold up the standard found in the Holy Word of God. This isn’t our idea–God created marriages to reflect His relationship to the church. This is why it matters how we choose to live our lives. It’s not about us! It’s about being a part of the bigger picture of God’s redemption story.

This weekend we are hosting our first CMBA Core Team retreat at our cabin in North Carolina.

To say Tom and I are excited would be huge understatement. We are ecstatic to welcome these dear friends into our home as we share face to face with each other our hopes, plans and dreams. We will laugh, eat and worship God together. We will talk about our vision for our ministries and seek to encourage each other every day as long as it is still called today. We will pray for each other and seek to help discern what it is God is saying to us regarding CMBA. It is a privilege and a blessing that we don’t take lightly.

Today I want to highlight the blogs of those who will be attending our retreat this weekend. I hope you are already quite familiar with them for what they have to share is valuable for all marriages. 

Heaven Made Marriage – Scott and Jenni Means

One Flesh Marriage – Brad and Kate Aldrich

The Forgiven Wife – Chris and (Doug) Taylor

The Generous Husband – Paul Byerly

The Generous Wife – Lori Byerly (companion blog to above)

The Marriage Bed – Paul and Lori’s Marriage website with message board and articles

Not Attending this retreat is Julie Sibert and her husband, Rand. How we wish they were able to join us, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to highlight her blog: Intimacy In Marriage as well.

As you can see these are some outstanding blogs worth your time reading and gleaning from their years of experience and training.

Also, if you haven’t noticed this weekend is Memorial Day. We offer lots of ideas on how to romance your spouse on this special holiday. Be sure to check them out on the Wives Only and Husbands Only tabs above.

Please pray for us as the Lord reminds you. We have never been more aware of our need for God’s direction and sustaining grace in our lives. The time is short and we are working hard to do what God has called us to do. Your prayers are appreciated.

Blessings!

Posted in Barefoot Cabin, Biblical Encouragement, Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Monday Date Night Prompt – Catching Bids


You may be wondering what in the world we mean by “catching bids”. It’s not a new technique for shopping on eBay; It has to do with cherishing your spouse in a very personal way. 

We can’t take credit for this idea. Gary Thomas, in his new book Cherish, does an outstanding job of explaining it by quoting Dr. John Gottman…

“…throughout each person’s day, one partner will make regular “bids” for the other’s attention. In our marriage, we could describe these bids as the question, “Do you still cherish me?”

“What the spouse does in response to these bids has a huge impact on marital connection and happiness.” 

Gary Thomas goes on to further explain…

“…whenever my wife expresses an opinion, reads something interesting from the local paper, or makes an observation, I am either cherishing her or neglecting her. There is no middle ground here. Her bid is either met or rejected. Cherishing is expressed, or it’s not. Intimacy is built, or it is assaulted, even in the most mundane marital conversations.” 

Intimacy is built by practicing this on a daily basis. But it’s not easy.


I remember once when I mentioned to Tom that he didn’t look at me when I talked. His comment, though intending to be funny, had a sting to it.

“If I looked at you every time you talked I’d never get anything done.”

At that point we knew we had work to do. I needed to work on the timing, and Tom needed to work on the listening. 

But catching bids is not always about conversations that need to be shared, it’s also about sharing dreams and desires. 

My son did this well as a new husband caring for his pregnant wife. It was late one night and he heard her mention how much she wanted something they didn’t have. Before she knew it he was out the door to purchase what she was craving. That’s cherishing! And that is how you build intimacy that not only lasts, but warms the heart and soul.

So this week let’s purpose to be bid catchers. Instead of lamenting the bids we’ve lost, we can win by catching each other’s bids and cherishing them in creative ways. You may be surprised how many you find. We love to hear your stories, so please come back and share your catches with us! 

Happy Dating!
 

 

 

Posted in Christian Marriage | 4 Comments

Monday Date Night Prompts – Puzzled


When was the last time you purchased a jigsaw puzzle? I can’t remember when I did, which has led me to consider doing this for our prompt this week.

  • Go to the store and buy a 1000 piece puzzle.
  • Set out the pieces on your dining room table. If you don’t have a usable table for this purpose, set up a card table. 
  • Make it your goal to get the outside pieces in place the first night. Then see how long it takes you to fill in the middle.

The great thing about doing a puzzle together is you can’t be on social media at the same time, and it lends time for you to actually talk.

When you finish your puzzle, share a photo of your completed puzzle with us in the comments. Who knows? There may be a drawing for a prize in store for those who do. 

For a more creative way to enjoy a jigsaw puzzle together, try this idea.

Happy Dating!

Summer is not obligatory. We can start an infernally hard jigsaw puzzle in June with the knowledge that, if there are enough rainy days, we may just finish it by Labor Day, but if not, there’s no harm, no penalty. We may have better things to do. 

– Nancy Gibbs

Posted in Christian Marriage

Make The Most Of Time


One of the advantages of our season of life is having time to do things we wouldn’t have normally had time to do.

We are on our way home from a 9 day trip to Ukraine and The Netherlands where we encouraged local churches in their walk with Christ. And often the topic of marriage came up.

We stayed with one couple who has lived in their 1880 home for the past 34 years. They are praying about downsizing, but they’re not sure if they’re ready to close this chapter of their lives. We talked about memories, parenting, regrets, occupations and all sorts of other of life’s experiences.

But our favorite was sitting at their table and reading God’s Word together They shared what God was saying to them, and we shared what God was saying to us. It was sweet fellowship with new friends who I believe will become old friends. 


Miles don’t separate those whom the Spirit has joined together in relationship and for this we are grateful. 

Who is God having you reach out to in an effort to encourage their growth in Christ? Even if you can’t travel, the distance between two hearts is only a phone call away. We must make the most of the time we’ve been given.


As I write this we are sitting in a restaurant in the Manchester airport having breakfast. The servers are wearing T-shirts that read: 

Don’t kill time, make the most of it!

Need we say more?

Posted in Christian Marriage | 2 Comments

Monday Date Night Prompts – Picnic Ideas To Mix and Match

Photo Credit: Food For Life

I’m sure you’ve enjoyed a picnic or two since you’ve been married. But today’s prompt mixes up the traditional picnic to make it something special.

Pick Your Menu

  • Hot Meal from a favorite restaurant picked up while on your way to your location
  • Cold chicken, assorted salads and fruit
  • Sandwiches, either homemade or store bought, chips and cookies

Photo Credit: Maine-Inspired Picnic

Pick Your Location

  • Beach
  • Lakefront
  • City Park
  • Backyard

Photo Credit: CapeGazette.com

Pick Your Style

  • Casual – on a blanket with paper products and plasticware
  • Festive – use a theme based on the time of year e.g. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Summer or Fall
  • Special – Pack a folding table with tablecloth and napkins. Bring a nice candle or lamp and extension cord if there is electrical outlet nearby. Have music too, using a portable speaker with your Spotify or Amazon Music playlist.

Photo Credit: Google News

As you can see, picnics don’t have to be the same old, same old. With a little thought and planning you can take your next picnic up a notch. Try it! You may just discover a new way to picnic that you both love.

For more ideas on how to make your picnic easier and more enjoyable check out these ideas. Also see our Pinterest Board: Not Your Normal Picnic Ideas

What is your most memorable picnic?

Happy Dating!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Outdoor Dates | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Flowers Tell A Story

I love flowers–all kinds. My photo library is filled with them. They make me happy, and none more so that when they are growing in the dirt. God puts them on display everyday for our enjoyment and they’re breathtaking if we pause to notice.

This past Sunday a dear friend that we’ve known most of his life was ordained as a pastor in our church. It was a huge celebration of the faithfulness of God. His wife was standing by his side, proud and thrilled that his day of recognition had finally come.

As I was praying for them, I sensed the Lord wanted to bless his wife with a bouquet of blue irises. I knew this was the Lord as I don’t go around thinking about giving people flowers necessarily. I tried to find some for her, but they must not be in season. Since I didn’t have time to go to a florist I opted to tell her instead .

Flowers have meanings, and I love to discover what different ones mean. The blue iris represents faith and hope–two words that have had special significance in her life. Such a sweet reminder from her Father. What I didn’t know was that when their first child was born 16 years ago, her husband brought her a bouquet of blue irises! It signified new life to them, and now as they are embarking on new life in their ministry, God was saying you have My blessing.

Maybe you would like to share your heartfelt sentiments to your wife using flowers as your words. Here is a quick reference to discover how to say what you want to say:

Posted in A Fragrant Aroma, Christian Marriage, Romance in Marriage, romancing your wife, Romantic Ideas | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Monday Date Night Prompts – Yelping It


Do you ever get tired of doing the same old things, going to the same places for dates because it’s all you know? I get that! Tom and I certainly have our favorite restaurants–I’ll post about them later.

But what about when you’re in an unfamiliar town? Or passing through and need to eat? What about when you’re ready to break out of the norm and try some place new?

Tom and I were returning from NC Saturday and about the time we were hungry for lunch, nothing on the road signs sounded good. What were we to do? We Yelped it!

Yelp is an app that lets you know what restaurants (or any business for that matter) are nearby and allows you to see how other customers have rated them on a scale of 1 to 5.

We discovered a little hole-in-the-wall place in Yemassee, SC, called Fletcher’s Finds and Finest. It was a restaurant, an antique store, a Persian rug merchant and a distillery all in one. And they had a cute outdoor patio for diners to come and sit a spell. And that we did!


You should know that Tom loves to make good time when we’re on the road, but this time he stopped for me so I could enjoy exploring someplace new–so thoughtful and romantic!

We listened to the owner’s father as he told story after story to the diners seated  at the table with him. It felt like we were in an episode of Andy Griffith, visiting a place where time slows down and conversations are long and meaningful. And the food was delicious! I had a Reuben with fried okra!

After lunch we walked over to the “legal” distillery where the distiller was there providing tasting and sharing their story. He made sure we knew that he thought his product was the best thing to ever touch his lips to which my husband replied, “She’s the best thing to ever touch MY lips!” ❤


He said, “Oh, that’s good! I’ll have to remember that one!” 😊

Try Yelping It on your next date and see if you don’t make a special memory!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged