We Remember

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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 , , , | Leave a comment

The Core of Who We Are


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.


Posted in Barefoot Cabin, Biblical Encouragement, Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , | 2 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

3 Ways Easter Makes A Difference In Marriage

Image Credit: 321biblestudy.net

Easter is without a doubt the most important date on the calendar for Christians, because if there was no Easter, Christmas would have no meaning.

But Easter occurred and this informs our marriage that we have hope.

Hope that there is life after death, victory after defeat, joy after sadness, and comfort after suffering. But it goes a step further and teaches us that we can actually have life in our dying to self, victory when experiencing defeating circumstances, joy in the midst of our sadness over loss, and comfort while suffering through relational conflicts.

Paul Tripp is one of our favorite authors. He sent out a Wednesday’s Word encouragement today with a challenge for us to apply this question to our lives. We want to use this challenge to apply them to our marriages:

He asks, “What will you do with Easter now that Easter is gone?”

Read 1 Corinthians 15 for Paul addresses how we are to live as a result of Easter. Mr. Tripp provides three Truths to consider in thinking of our marriage… (inserts mine)

  1. The Empty Tomb comforts us. Difficult and unpredictable realities of life in a fallen world are guaranteed, but we can “be steadfast and immovable” even when we don’t understand (our spouse), because our Risen Savior rules over everything that would confuse us.
  2. The Empty Tomb motivates us. If Christ rose from death, reigns in power, and is coming back again, we should be the most motivated community (marriage) on earth, “always abounding in the work of the Lord.” Enough of mere survival–we should help others (our spouse and other marriages) thrive right here, right now, because we believe in victory, redemption, and transformation.
  3. The Empty Tomb assures us. If the Resurrection guarantees eternity, then we believe that our suffering (in marriage) and ministry “is not in vain.” Life (marriage) will get discouraging–at times, it won’t seem like there is an end in sight, or progress is invisible. But a Second Coming is coming, and we will be rewarded for our faith.

Such Good News! Yes, the empty tomb gives us hope in all of life, but we must apply these truths to our everyday experiences, not just remind ourselves of them one Sunday in the Spring.

Let it inform your financial burdens, your relational conflicts, your sexual temptations and struggles, your parenting dilemmas, and all other trouble. Easter occurred to give us life and not only life, but abundant life. This Good News can’t help but affect our marriages if we will let it.


Posted in Biblical Encouragement, Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Easter, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , ,

Monday Date Night Prompts – A Night (Day) at the Museum

This past week we went to a local museum that we’ve known about for years, but had never visited. And it just so happened we went on a day with free admission! 

Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden did not disappoint. Upon our arrival we were welcomed by the docent who knew his story well. She explained how he came to America from the Czech Republic prior to World War I. 

He loved America for the opportunity it gave him to grow in his love and study of sculpture. His museum was also his home until he died in 1965. 

His work is on display in the home and throughout the garden. Sculptures of stone, bronze and wood showcase his world-renowned talent.

His favorite and most recognized piece is called, 

Man Carving His Own Destiny

Which he described as being a sort of biographical piece. He often said he came to America as a block of stone from the Czech Mountains and carved his own future.

We were there on Good Friday which made hearing the story of the following commissioned piece more heartfelt…

The Victorious Christ

He explained that he had seen so much art depicting the agony of Jesus on the Cross, but he wanted to show Him Victorious as He pleaded with The Father, “Forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”  I had a hard time restraining the tears.

Museums have a way of opening the door to emotions and conversations you might not have otherwise. 

My favorite piece was called, 

A Mother Crying Over The World.

He witnessed the effects war had on the mothers who sent their sons and daughters out to fight. Although you can’t see her face, you can feel the deep emotion through her body language, something Polasek was a genius portraying.

What museums are near you that you’ve never taken the time to visit? We encourage you to go and learn something new together. It may leave a lasting impression, like these sculptures, worth remembering.

Happy Dating!

Posted in Christian Marriage

Monday Date Night Prompts – Skyward


Photo Credit: RegisteredEvil.com

I am a Florida native and have grown up with the Space Program in my backyard. I have many precious memories watching rockets, space shuttles and satellites being launched into orbit. As an added bonus, we have a great view from our backyard of night launches which are spectacular, if you ever get the chance to see one.

Now that the Space Shuttle program has ended (I still am sad about that), we have taken to looking skyward for something anyone can see when it happens to be crossing over your region of the country.

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 4.41.28 PM

It’s the International Space Station. Did you know that Nasa sends out alerts to those who wish to see the Space Station when it’s passing overhead? Tom and I have been doing this for a while now, and we rarely miss an opportunity to look skyward on those nights or early mornings.

The space station has no light of its own, so it can only be seen when the rising or setting sun is reflecting on it’s surface.

This week’s Date Night Prompt is to…

Try it for yourself. Sign up to receive the alerts as to when you can spot the station. Then plan a date around the experience. The station is only visible for 4-6 minutes, but you could also watch Apollo 13 or Gravity afterwards. It’s sure to be a time worth looking together skyward.

Happy Dating!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages, Outdoor Dates | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


We’ve had a front row seat to the magnificent ocean off the coast of Mexico all week long. It has been a soothing rhythm providing peace to our souls. 

I was praying and God reminded me how much the ocean is like Him:

  1. He is constant in His love, wave after wave.
  2. He is powerful, able to fell the mightiest of ships with wind and water alone
  3. He is merciful, keeping His power reigned in for our sake.
  4. He is beautiful, providing nourishment to all who enter in.
  5. He is vast and more than we can fathom, but He is good.

Such Truth that informs my heart!

Emotions can seem much the same for those who are held captive by its torment.

  • They can come upon you in waves.
  • They can bring you to your knees.
  • They can be difficult to reign in.
  • They can feed our souls with lies and distortions
  • They can be more than we can handle at times.

I have been tossed about on a sea of “emoceans” more than I care to admit. Tormenting and even frightening at times.

This can cause even strong marriages to struggle! A marriage on the brink before an emotional test comes can capsize causing all hope to disappear of ever finding a safe marriage haven.

But there is hope! God in His ocean-sized mercy is greater than our fickle, storm-tossed emoceans. The key is finding the time to talk with each other about the emotions which torment us. 

It could be a job change or loss, financial insecurity, difficult children who don’t sleep, hormone fluctuations, etc. or it could be something lacking in your marriage. This type of emotional torment can be the hardest to reign in unless someone you know and trust is willing to help.

The first step is seeing the problem, then second, admitting you need help. There is no need for you to continue tossed about on the sea of emoceans. Jesus calmed the storm tossed sea and He can do the same for your marriage. 

Posted in Christian Marriage | 1 Comment

Monday Date Night Prompts – Explore


The weather is beautiful this time of year for most places. But Florida outdoes herself in the Spring, if I say so myself.

Tom and I drove to the other side of town this past weekend to check out the East End Market. It is a place we’ve heard about, but never taken the time to go. Can I just say, “Wow?!”

It has a cool vibe with several local shops inside the main building:

  • Lineage Coffee Roasting
  • La Femme du Fromage – offering artisan cheeses
  • Houndstooth Sauce Company – where we had a delicious lunch
  • Gideon’s Bakehouse – with some of the most incredible cookies and cakes I’ve seen on display in a bookshop vibe.
  • Skyebird Juice Bar and Experimental Kitchen
  • 99 Market – providing beautiful exotic live plants and floral bouquets to purchase.
  • and so much more.

There was live entertainment on the patio and a growing vegetable and flower garden out front. It was a celebration of all things I love–a win, win for our date day.

So for this week’s prompt…

We encourage you to check out someplace nearby where you’ve never been. Go when you have time to relax and really take in the experience.  And when you do, we’d love to hear what fun places you discover. Don’t forget to take pictures.

Happy Dating!

Posted in Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Daytime Dates, Growing Strong Marriages, Spring Date Ideas | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

10 Questions for Oldyweds About Romance

You’re most likely familiar with the Newlywed Game. It’s where couples married under a year are asked questions separately to see how well they know each other.

Paul Byerly has challenged Christian Marriage Bloggers to post 10 questions about any topic near and dear to them to help “mature” couples see how much they have learned in that area.

Challenge accepted!

Here are the questions we want to pose to all couples who have been married 25+ years in regard to romance…

  1. What would you say it looks like to be romantic?
  2. What is your favorite romantic memory from the early years?
  3. What are you currently doing to pursue each other romantically?
  4. What are you doing to give away the experience and lessons you’ve learned in your years of marriage?
  5. What is one thing you’d like to do this year that would add to your romantic memories list?
  6. What song best describes your marriage from your perspective?
  7. What hobby would you like to pursue in retirement?
  8. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger in regards to romance in your relationship?
  9. If you could do anything over what would it be and why?
  10. What have you found is vital to keeping the romance alive in your marriage?

BONUS: Share your answers to these questions with a couple who has been married under five years. Or post them as a comment to this post. Let’s learn from each other.

Other CMBA Marriage Blogger’s posts about the 10 Question Challenge:

♥ Hot, Holy and Humorous – 10 Questions to Ask About Your (Mature) Sex Life

♥ The Forgiven Wife – 10 Questions (for a Husband Who Doesn’t Like Questions)

♥ The Generous Wife – 10 Questions for AnyTime-Weds

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Open Nest, Romance in Marriage, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Monday Date Night Prompts

If you’ve read our blog long, you know that Monday has always been our date night–for as long as I can remember. We chose Mondays because it was our pastor’s day off and no church meetings were ever scheduled on that night. We knew we had a better chance of keeping our date nights if there weren’t scheduling conflicts to deal with. And it worked!

We can’t express the value this one commitment has had on our marriage. No matter how busy we were, I knew as a young mom I would have my husband’s full attention on Monday nights. And he knew he would have mine as well. This is a vital part of a healthy marriage–having time to just be together as husband and wife.

We think it would be a good idea to provide weekly Monday posts providing Date Night prompts to help you develop your own weekly habit of connecting with each other. Some of these will be reminders of past posts we’ve shared. Some will be fresh ideas. And some may be ideas we’ve gleaned from other friends or bloggers. At any rate, we hope you’ll find something to do together that works for you and makes a memory.

Monday Date Night Prompt

Since today is National “Joe” Day, plan to visit a local coffee shop for an hour or two to enjoy a cup o joe together. While there, choose one or two questions from our Date Night Questions tab to insure your conversation is meaningful.

Can’t find a sitter? Then, do this date in your home after the kids are in bed. Set up a cozy corner with soft lighting and music and turn off the electronics for one to two hours. The idea is simple. Check out one of our previous posts to give you more ideas.

Orlando Coffee Shops besides Starbucks:


Posted in Date Night Ideas, Dating Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Happy Hour

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted up some of my favorite marriage blog posts from the week, and I’m sorry. It’s certainly not because there aren’t any I’d recommend. On the contrary! There are so many excellent Christian marriage bloggers available today that just weren’t there in 2008 when we began doing this.

No, the lack has been due to my schedule. We are in the throes of doing much needed repairs and maintenance around the house. And for whatever reason, writing seems to get pushed aside first, well, that and housework. 😉 So I apologize.

Here are some of my favorites this week…Have a great weekend!

Gary Thomas’ Blog

Hot, Holy and Humorous

Intimacy In Marriage

  • 3 Ways To Improve Sex In Your Marriage Now – Julie narrows this challenging topic down into three easy ways to make improvements today. And can I just say, you can trust Julie to speak biblically and wisely on this topic.

The Forgiven Wife

The Generous Husband

  • Ten Questions for Oldyweds – Great questions to take on your next date night. I’d say if you’ve been married 25+ years you qualify as an oldywed.

The Generous Wife 

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse, Happy Hour | Tagged , ,

Paying Attention To The Nudges

Photo Credit: Kimberly Vardeman from Lubbock, TX, USA


They are easy to miss if we’re not paying attention.

A couple of weeks ago, Tom and I were watching television, and saw a commercial for chocolate chip cookies. He commented how good those looked. (nudge)

I got up a few minutes later and threw together cookie dough, and in no time Tom was enjoying what his appetite was craving.

What a privilege to live this close to someone day in and day out, to hear their desires, dreams and cravings. And then to be able to assist in making them happen.

If you’re like me, I often miss the nudge because I’m preoccupied with other things, or I put it off and then forget. I’m posting this today as a reminder to listen to the nudges your spouse either knowingly or unknowingly sends your way. Do all you can to surprise them and you’ll bless them for doing so, but more so for paying attention to the nudge.



Posted in Christian Marriage, romancing your spouse | Tagged | 7 Comments

Cherish – From Obligation To Delight

Hey. Tom here this time sharing with you my review of a new book written by Gary Thomas. You know him for his excellent book titled, Sacred Marriage, I hope you’ll get to know him even more by buying and reading this book. A great investment in your marriage for which your spouse will thank you!


Photo Credit: New Orleans Easy Travel Guide

It was our annual business gathering and the location this year was in New Orleans. Some business friends of ours were celebrating their 40th anniversary and invited us to join them for dinner. We had no idea of the treat in store for us.

They told us to meet them at The Commander’s Palace. If you’re familiar with the culinary world, this is where Emeril Lagasse began his career. Just eating there would be amazing, but this time we had reservations, and not just any reservations! We had a table for four reserved at the Chef’s Table located in the kitchen across from the Sous Chef!

We were served a multi-course meal complete with wine pairings and an in-depth explanation from the Sous Chef of what went into the preparation of each dish. It was entertaining. It was delicious. It was the experience of a lifetime.

Soft-Shell Crab Photo Credit: Kathy White

This is what Gary Thomas’ new book, Cherish, was like for me. I’ve read countless marriage books through the years, but this book resonated with a conviction I’ve held for a long time. Cherishing my wife is not only a vow I made to Debi on our wedding day, but it is a choice I must make everyday following.

“Love is the nourishing aspect of marriage, while cherish is the tasting aspect of marriage. Love meets the need; cherish tickles the tongue.” page 26

We  have eaten in thousands of restaurants, and nice ones too, but none compare to the experience we had at The Commander’s Palace. This is what cherish is to love; it takes the experience much further and makes it more enjoyable.

“Learning to truly cherish each other turns marriage from an obligation into a delight. It lifts marriage above a commitment to a precious priority.” page 17

Gary Thomas offers this question on page 25 that I hope will intrigue you enough to read if for yourself and for the good of your spouse…

“In our marriage vows, we promise to love and cherish each other, so why do we talk so much about love and so little about cherish?”

We all have differing answers to this question, but one rings loud and clear–we don’t talk about something we don’t understand.

If I were to stand with the Sous Chef and try to explain each recipe in detail the way he did with us that night, you would miss out because I just don’t have the knowledge needed. It’s the same for cherishing our spouse. We can’t practice something we don’t know well, and we won’t know it well if we don’t take time to learn it in the first place.

As an incentive we’re going to have a contest–the first for us in awhile. Debi loves contests, so here’s the deal:

  • Share with us your favorite dining experience in the comments below. It can just be the name and location if you like.
  • Include a picture for a bonus point.
  • Share this post on Social Media for another bonus point. (be sure to tell us)
  • We’ll do a random drawing for a free copy of Cherish on Friday, March 24th.

Let’s make the most of this thing called marriage. We can eat to live, or we can dine at the Chef’s Table, which is better by far! Cherishing your spouse is the “better by far” part missing from many marriages. Thank you, Gary, for filling in this missing piece.



Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Contests, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Beauty of a Crimson Stained Marriage

Photo Credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium of Hess Winery, Napa Valley, CA

The year was predicted to yield a bumper crop, a winemaker’s dream. The vines had experienced near perfect growing conditions all summer, and harvest was just beginning.

At 3:20a. on the morning of August 24th, the unimaginable happened. An earthquake measuring 6.0 rocked the Napa Valley in California wreaking havoc on the vineyards at the worst possible time of the growing season.

Precious hours that were normally spent hauling in the grapes now had to be given to assessing and repairing the damage. The cellars where the grapes were brought in were covered with fallen and broken barrels of wine leaving no room to store the harvest.

Tom and I had just visited the Valley only two weeks prior to the quake. One winery in particular, The Hess Collection, experienced devastating losses. Two 20,000 gallon steel drums holding the wine harvested in 2013, were tossed around like a ping-pong balls.

One broke and sent its contents pouring down the steps and into the courtyard of the winery. What was once a beautiful stone terrace, is now stained crimson red with Cabernet Sauvignon. A scar that will not easily fade.

The wine that made it through unharmed was now more valuable than ever because of what it endured.

What a great metaphor for marriage.

No matter how strong your marriage all of us go through hard times. It can make quite a mess of our plans and dreams, especially when the conflict catches you off guard. Some difficult seasons we’ve experienced have left us wondering what happened?  How did we get here? And will we make it through?

 Thankfully, by God’s grace, we did.

I imagine those workers in the winery wished the quake had never happened, but the good news is that the unbroken bottles’ value has increased significantly.

Visitor’s to the Hess Collection come to see the crimson stained terrace, making it a much-sought-after tourist stop. Not only is the wine worth more today than it was on August 23rd, but what it endured tells a story people want to hear.

If your marriage was a vineyard, what stories would it tell of survival and worth? I know ours is stained crimson red from many adversities that were meant to destroy us. We would never want to go through those times again, but we love to tell the story of what God did in our marriage as a result.

Chris Tomlin has a song titled, Love Ran Red, and I love this line most of all…“Where Your love ran red and my sin washed white, I’m in awe of You, Jesus.”  

Tweet This: If your marriage was a vineyard, what stories would it tell of survival? I know ours is stained crimson red, and we love to tell the story!


Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Testimonies, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , , , , , ,