A Time For Everything…

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Every marriage faces different seasons. Some you see coming and others take you by surprise with a phone call. Being aware of this helps us adjust when the winds change–rather than get blown away by the emotional roller coaster, we cling to each other holding on tight until the wind subsides.

Tom and I have been in such a season.

It began on October 25th when we got a phone call from a hospital in Belize. His Mom and Stepdad had been on a cruise when she fell and broke her hip. After being airlifted from Belize to Ft. Lauderdale, Tom had to leave right away in order to meet their arriving flight. He stayed with them until she had surgery and was released to travel back to Orlando via a non-emergency medical transportation service.

Suddenly all our plans were canceled and a new urgency was put on us–caring for his mom and stepdad. He was focused on them, and I was focused on him. Decisions were weighty and the waiting was numbing. Prayers were constant and God’s help never felt nearer. We took life one day at a time. We had no idea if this would be a short season or a long season, but we were confident in the One who knew. So we did what we had to do each day.

On Saturday, January 28th shortly before 10p. the winds stilled and his Mom took her last breath. The fight was over and she was at peace. One season ended and another one began–grieving the loss of someone whom we loved deeply and was our biggest fan.

I didn’t meet Tom’s mom until the week of our wedding in 1979. I was afraid it would be awkward and that she wouldn’t accept me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  She loved me because her Tommy loved me, and anyone he loved she was sure to love as well.  I realized then I didn’t have a Mother-in-LAW. God had blessed me with a Mother-in-LOVE, and for almost four decades she has been gift to me.

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Tom has called her every morning for as long as I can remember. He honored her. He cared for her. He enjoyed sharing his moments with her no matter where we were, whether on a mountain top or standing by the sea. He included her in his joy.

She loved to cook and she was good at it too. She loved to see us well-fed and happy. I never tired of getting a call from her thanking me for loving her Tommy the way I do. In fact, I still have a voicemail on my phone with these words…

“I don’t want to forget to tell you this, and I’m forgetting a lot these days…thank you for sharing your Tommy with me today. I love you very much.”

I will miss her. Tom’s only sister is also a Debbie so she called her “My Debbie”, and I was affectionately called, “Tommy’s Debi”. I love the way she loved all of us, and our lives are the better for it.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for raising such a man who knows how to love deeply. I am grateful to God for you. You will be missed, especially in the mornings when Tom used to call you. But we will  never forget you or the influence you’ve had on our lives. We are better for it! Until we meet again, I remain…

Affectionately His,

Tommy’s Debi

Posted in Caring for Parents, Christian Marriage, Death and Grieving, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, In-Laws, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Part Two of our Daughter’s Story

Click here to read: Choosejoy365

Posted in Christian Marriage | 2 Comments

Where We’ve Been


We are well into 2017, yet our Christmas tree still stands decorated in our living room. We just returned from GA where we’ve been helping our daughter since Christmas. 

Rather than write out the details of all that we’ve been through the last two weeks, we thought you’d like to hear it from her. Tracy started a blog this last year titled, ChooseJoy365, and we are thrilled to say the least. We love the way she writes, and we pray you will as well!

Part One: My Hysterectomy Story

A hysterectomy at 32. It is not something you really associate with women that age. But for me, it has been on my mind since I was 20. My doctor told me at the young age I would be “begging for a hysterectomy by 30″…I laughed at him. I thought to myself that a hysterectomy was only for people with cancer or wimps who cannot handle pain and I clearly was not one of them. I am a fighter, after all my name means: brave, warrior, fighter and courageous. Learning how to push through the pain was just a part of me I had learned how to accept. It was a challenge, but I thrive on challenge. At least I thought I was thriving…. (Continue reading)

Posted in Christian Marriage

20 Practical Romantic Resolutions For The Unromantic Husband


Here we are at the start of a new year and everyone either embraces resolutions or runs from them as fast as they can. I get that. It seems resolutions set us up to fail, especially when what we set out to do is out of our reach, like losing 100 lbs. when we struggle to say no to our favorite treat. Or working out everyday when we haven’t been to the gym once in years.

Resolutions require something before they can succeed and that is a heart that wants to change and a mind willing to join forces to help the heart accomplish what it desires.

Romance is no different. To provide resolutions on romancing your spouse when you have neglected romantic gestures is simply unrealistic. But what if you desire it but your husband isn’t interested?  There is help for you to change.

We suggest you start with small acts of kindnesses. 

If your husband resists the idea of romance or rolls his eyes thinking it’s corny, we’re pretty sure he’ll enjoy the special attention this challenge will provide.

Below are 20 Romantic Ideas. Do one each week for five months and see if it doesn’t change the climate of your marriage and home.

  1. Purpose to only encourage your husband and take your complaints to God in prayer.
  2. Send your husband an encouraging or funny card “just because” to his work address.
  3. Plan time for him to go do something he has been wanting to do. Make all the arrangements and share it with him a few days before so he can anticipate it.
  4. Do one thing around the house for a week. Make it something he dreads doing.
  5. Anticipate his appetite and prepare a treat for him without him asking.
  6. Pay attention to what your husband says listening for things he wants or needs. Then do what you can to meet it.
  7. Spend time doing something your husband enjoys.
  8. Be quick to notice his strengths and express your gratitude for them.
  9. Compliment him in public – either in front of friends or your children. Make sure it’s sincere.
  10. Scratch his back or rub his shoulders while watching TV.
  11. Let him see you naked without him asking. Better yet flash him when he least expects it. 😊
  12. Organize his closet.
  13. Have his car detailed.
  14. Have lunch from a favorite place delivered to his work.
  15. Send him a text before he leaves work telling him to meet you for a drink somewhere on his commute home.
  16. Do something to make him smile–this one will vary, but you should know your husband well enough on this one.
  17. Find a movie on TV that he’s been wanting to see and record it for him. Make a special snack and set him up for a night at the movies.
  18. Purpose to give him eye-contact when he is talking to you for an entire week.
  19. Ask him what one thing that you do is of most importance to him, then purpose to make sure it is done consistently.
  20. Keep his laundry clean and organized.
Posted in Christian Marriage, Date Night Ideas, Romance in Marriage, romancing your husband | 4 Comments

Keeping It Real This New Year…

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by Joy In Our Journey.com on Pinterest

I want to post something because it’s been awhile since I have. But my reserves are low and my motivation even more so. We have been caught in the middle of many situations requiring our constant attention. It has divided our time to the place where we can barely connect with each other, let alone others with whom God has placed in our lives.

I don’t want to burden you with our struggles. We all have them. But what I do want you to know is that we still are committed to helping marriages grow stronger. Even though my keyboard has been silent, there isn’t a day that I’m not asking God if there is something He would have me share with you.

This season for us matches the weather outside–it’s gray, cold and dreary. We know the sun will shine again, but for now we’re doing what we need to do for us and for those to whom we are responsible.

Happy New Year, and thank you for understanding our lack of attention lately. If you think about us, we’d appreciate your prayers as we continue down this road.

Until next time…

 

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Keeping It Real | 8 Comments

Christmas In Review


I know we still have two days left before the day is here. But I wanted to plant this idea in your mind now, so maybe you’ll remember to come back to this post next week. Please?

What I’d like is for the comments on this post to be filled with fresh inspiration of what you did specifically to make this Christmas special. 

I have shared my romantic ideas with you for years, and now it’s time for you to do the same for the benefit and blessing of others. In fact, I got my idea for Tom’s gift this year from a friend on Instagram. Thank you @dailymaintained. 😊

Honestly I didn’t think his gift would be much this year (as far as special goes) because we have been needed extensively in caring for his mom following an emergency surgery. And that’s ok because we wouldn’t have it any other way. But because someone was willing to share their idea it helped me get over the hump of the large looming question, “what can I do?”

If your spouse doesn’t read our blog, feel free to comment now with what you are giving or doing for your spouse this year. If they do read it, then please come back next week and share with us. Your idea may be the needed inspiration for someone in need. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours. 

Remember “Every day is a gift that’s why it’s called the PRESENT!”

Posted in Christian Marriage | 6 Comments

Thirsty For Romance

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Date nights can become routine, and during the Christmas season they can become non-existent. Why not plan something special this week while you’re out shopping together?

Romantic Tip for this week is to include our Mall Date Night idea we shared on The Generous Wife blog. It won’t take long, but the memory you’ll share will last forever. 

In case you’ve missed our other romantic tips for the week you can see them all here:

Romantic Tips

Meme by quotesgram.com

Meme by quotesgram.com

Posted in Creative Dates, Date Night Ideas, Growing Strong Marriages, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas, Winter Date Ideas | Tagged , ,

Keeping It Real This Christmas–Can You Relate?

Photo Credit: Magic Mum

Photo Credit: Magic Mum

My house is a mess. I am decorating for Christmas, but there are demands keeping me from finishing it all at once.

Oh sure, I’ve posted photos on Instagram zoomed in where it appears my home is picture perfect, but it’s not. It may not ever be this year.

Marriage can give the same impression.

We can present ourselves to others in a way leaving an impression that just isn’t real. We all have messes because anything worth doing is going to make a mess in the process! Consider…

  • A messy season of decorating and preparation precedes the wedding day.
  • Lots of hair clippings and foils precede a new hairstyle.
  • Dirty kitchen utensils, appliances and counters precede a perfect holiday meal.
  • And hurts and disappointments can be at the forefront of healthy marriages. What make some grow stronger and others break apart is how they handle the mess.

Tom and I are facing some challenges right now that could bring division. But we’re talking, we’re sharing, we’re disclosing our hurts and disappointments with each other. Not to place blame or accusation, but to make sure the mess isn’t in vain.

Imagine if when decorating your home for Christmas you never put any of the storage boxes away or cleaned up? Needles and glitter settles all over everything and this takes time to sweep up. What if the the mess became the focus and not the tree or the mantle?  This is what we do when we refuse to talk with each other about our current struggles. We wallow in it like a pig in his pen.

In the midst of this intense season, I’ve said some things I regret. Can you relate? When I realized how my words had hurt Tom I felt genuine remorse for my lack of kindness and love. As I was sharing how sorry I was that he had to put up with me and my sin, his response to me was astonishing!

He said, “Debi, I chose you and I still do!”

It took my breath away to hear it when we first got engaged, but it means so much more to me now. He has seen me at my worst and loves me still. He.still.chooses.me!

What mess are you facing in your relationship? Are you facing it together to clean it up? Or are you wallowing in it as if made to live this way? It may be time to sweep up the mess. There is a beautiful reality found in marriage when we don’t hide the mess, but deal with it as it comes.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:3‬ ‭KJV‬‬

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Perspective in Marriage | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

(S)Elf On The Shelf


Our daughter sent us a photo on the first of December. It’s of their little elf who had brought hot chocolate for their 4 children to enjoy when they 2 woke up. It’s a cute tradition many young families have adopted to bring fun and encourage anticipation of the celebration we call Christmas.

Elf on the Shelf–He has become quite popular.

However, not all holidays are filled with such laid back fun. Our Christmas is requiring us to step up the care of Tom’s mom who broke her hip in October. It has been a challenging season knowing what is best for her and how I can best help Tom in the process. I have found myself struggling to do what’s normal as opposed to what’s needed. 

As I was praying this morning I felt the Lord encourage me to put my “self” on the shelf! In other words, lay aside MY plans to take care of Tom’s needs. He needs me to walk this road with him, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

What about you? In what way is God asking you to put your “self” on the shelf in order to love and serve your spouse? 

Let’s do our best to do our best for the sake of our relationship. We may need to ask God to help us make this decision. I get that. It’s not easy saying no to self, especially when what is on your calendar is just as important to you. But this is what love is.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Posted in Biblical Encouragement, Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Keeping It Real | Tagged , , ,

Thirsty For Romance

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Many of us wait until January to make those New Year resolutions, but what if we were to change this mindset? What if we were to purpose to end 2016 well giving us a head start on 2017?

If you could make resolutions for your marriage what would they be?

Most likely romance would be included in your list. We all tend to fall short of what we desired or expected when it comes to being intentional in our pursuit of each other. This is why I believe our Romantic Christmas Ideas are getting so many hits. Check them out for yourself under the Only Husbands and Only Wives tabs at the top of our site.

Your weekly romantic tip for this week is to pick one way to make a romantic memory and do it before next Thursday.  Have fun looking through our list. Here’s a hint: think of one of your spouse’s favorite things and incorporate it someway to communicate your love.

Only 24 days to Christmas, make them count!

Posted in Growing Strong Marriages, Romance in Marriage, romancing your husband, romancing your spouse, romancing your wife, Romantic Ideas | Tagged | 2 Comments

Romantic Advent Calendar

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Christmas is coming and it’s easy for our marriage to take a backseat to all the shopping and family outings. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Spend a few minutes now to plan some romance into your month in order to bless your spouse. This is a great way to keep this year from being like all the others.

There are 25 days leading up to Christmas starting on December 1st. Why not make a list of your spouse’s 25 favorite things to do, eat or watch? Then give them one a day to let them know that giving to them is one of your favorite things!

Here are a few “favorite things” ideas:

Beverage, candy, movie tickets, video games, karaoke night, dancing, fire pit s’mores, favorite friends over for game night, caroling, volunteering at his favorite charity, going to a professional sports game, concerts, worship night, prayer meeting, bookstore, coffee shop…you get the idea.

Let’s be intentionally romantic this Christmas and make our spouse a priority on our to-do list. Your marriage is worth it!

I found some cute ideas on Pinterest for presenting your daily advent reveal. Check them out on our page here.

Posted in Growing Strong Marriages, Romance in Marriage, Romantic Ideas | Tagged , ,

Fighting For Thanks When You Don’t Feel Thankful


It’s that time of year again when everyone is talking about giving thanks to God for your lot in life. Well, what if you’re just not thankful?

I get it. 

Sometimes our life doesn’t look anything like we hoped it would. The Bible even reminds us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

Is your heart sick this Thanksgiving? If so, do you feel sidelined by all the meaningful commercials showing how special we’re supposed to feel?

God knows and better than this, He understands

We recently heard an amazing message on the suffering of Job that has transformed how we view disappointment and heartache. God keeps count of every tossing and every tear. He is quite aware of what causes us pain. And He weeps with us like He did Mary when her brother, Lazarus had died. Even though Jesus knew He was about to fix it all–He paused to weep with her. He never makes light of our suffering–EVER!

Tell Him your struggles. Be honest about your disappointments. He can handle it. Lamentations is full of such prayers. Are you comfortable praying out of your heartbreak? God wants those prayers because they are honest. He never wants us to put on pretenses with Him.

This Thanksgiving don’t put on the Norman Rockwell face as if all is right in your world if it isn’t. Give God your heartfelt struggles–He’s God; He can handle it. Then watch how He comforts you in your time of need.

This may just be the year when your thanks is sincere because you’ve discovered how far reaching His sustaining grace is towards you. Just don’t pretend to be something you’re not. The only person you’re fooling is yourself. 

It’s better by far to choose honesty and let God receive the glory for the mercy and grace He extends in our time of need.

From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Christian Marriage | 1 Comment

Thirsty For Romance

 

thursday-logoWe are one week away from the day we set aside to give thanks to God and to those we love for what they mean to us all throughout the year.

Our spouse is by far the best and closest friend we have, at least that’s how they should be to us. If you flinched when you read that, we encourage you to take these tips even more seriously. Why not use this holiday season to express your gratefulness to them in a way they won’t soon forget.

Romantic Tip: Give some thought to the ways your spouse blesses you in ordinary ways; The things you would miss if they were no longer here. Make a list and be as specific as possible. Then share one a day with your spouse between now and next Thursday. You can text it to them, email it to them, call them on the phone, leave a note or do a variety of these throughout the week. They are sure to be blessed hearing how they have blessed you. 

If you have trouble thinking of ideas, check out this list of 99 Reasons to Be Thankful For Your Husband.

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Posted in Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Thirsty For Romance

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I don’t know about you, but this past month has been quite difficult for us. And the election was only a small part of it. We’ve dealt with health issues–our own and those of people we love. We’ve had a busy schedule that has separated us from doing the things we love together. And we’ve discovered some of our friends are hurting and we had no clue.

Life is hard. Isn’t it selfish to think about romancing your spouse, to plan something special for just the two of you to enjoy when others are hurting? No! It’s because life is hard that we must do this–we need it!

Romance softens the blows we experience from life in a fallen world.

It strengthens the ties that bind us together as one. It helps us keep our head above the waves of adversity. And it encourages your spouse to face the difficulty rather than succumb to it.

Romantic Tip for this week is to find a way to make your spouse laugh. There are lots of funny clips from movies available on You Tube that you can copy the link and text it to your spouse. Or find a good movie you haven’t watched in a long time and enjoy it together.

This is one of my favorite funny scenes of all time:

Share this:

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Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas

Uncovering 5 Practices Detrimental To Marriage: The Final Two

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The last two practices you may or may not realize you’re doing. This is why we want to shine the light on these two together. It happens when we listen to our spouse either with our mind made up based on our view (assumption), or when we hear what you’re saying but have no intention to consider it (disregard). The discussion at this point is closed.

Assuming is never good because we cannot read our spouse’s mind.

Even if the evidence points strongly in our direction–we must give them the benefit of the doubt until solidly proven otherwise. What makes assumptions so harmful is you rob your spouse of their voice. We have seen it happen countless times in counseling when one spouse shuts the other down not allowing them to share their perspective. Assumptions press charges with no regard for mercy. It isn’t from a loving heart that assumptions flow, but from a proud, condescending heart.

When we stood at the alter pledging our love and commitment we had no idea that those vows would come at such a cost.

What is your limit? What is the one place where if your spouse took you there, it would be over? It’s supposed to be until death parts us, but sometimes the cost is more than we can bear in our own strength. And maybe that’s the point, we’re doing this marriage thing in our own strength! Maybe God wants to get us to the place where our dependence is on Him alone, not on our spouse’s ability to do things the way we want them done? Maybe it’s not about our happiness, but our holiness.

Ouch! I know that hurts. Doing real life with another sinner will hurt! But we must breathe grace, not make assumptions.

The other detrimental practice is disregard.

To disregard another is to put them on the sidelines, to take their opinions, their thoughts, their wellbeing out of the game. It’s telling them they no longer matter to you.

It breaks our heart to see couples treat each other with disregard because marriage is supposed to model Christ and His love for the church. And He never disregards us, even when we deserve it. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He has promised to hear every cry we whisper to Him in secret. He has even promised to keep all our tears in a bottle and count our tossing. Even when He knows He’s not going to fix things the way we want them to be fixed. He loves us enough to listen, love and work His plan in and through us. And by His grace we can learn to regard our spouse well.

Assumption and disregard are born from miscommunication that takes place for a long time, or worse–no communication at all. 

How do we avoid this practice? By having friends who are willing to point it out to you. Have a long talk with your closest friends about these practices, and ask them to hold you accountable when they hear you say anything that sounds like it. And don’t expect them to bring it up! Being accountable, as Tom often shares, isn’t having people who will ask often to see if you’re being faithful. Being accountable is self-disclosing your struggles, your temptations and your failures. It’s not waiting for them to ask you, but volunteering your struggle to them. After spending an evening together pause and ask your friends if they have observations that would be helpful for you to hear. And then listen to what they share.

In review, we’ve looked at five practices detrimental to marriage. Of course this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a start. Do you see any of these in your marriage? We’d be surprised if you didn’t. Let’s talk about it and cut the temptation off at the start before it does permanent damage.

Quoteaddicts.com

Quoteaddicts.com

 

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Thirsty For Romance – Compared to the Cubs Thirst For The World Series Championship

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The Chicago Cubs managed to do the impossible last night, winning the World Series for the first time since 1908! Congratulations! They did what no other team could do in over a century. Quite the accomplishment.

We love seeing a good ball game, don’t we? Cheering for the underdog seems like the right thing to do–And when they pull it off and win it’s outstanding!

Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune Gallery

This is why we love to encourage marriages to win. It doesn’t matter what your past record is. Today is a new day with fresh mercy and grace to do what may seem impossible.

Javier Baez made huge mistakes in this game of a lifetime, but he didn’t quit! He knew the team was counting on him to do his part. And did he ever!

“We planned to be here, to be in this moment,” he said while cradling a bottle of unopened champagne as another was poured over his head. “We stayed together as a team for a reason. When we were down 3-1, we talked to each other, we picked each other up. We did the little things to get back on track and we finally win it.”

Maybe romancing your spouse seems like an impossible change in your marriage. Change may not be easy or comfortable, it may even seem you are fighting a losing battle, but look at the great advice Javier shared with the reporters after beating all the odds and winning last night. Consider if you are willing to do the same for your marriage.

  1. We stayed together as a team
  2. When we were down we talked to each other
  3. We picked each other up
  4. We did the little things to get back on track
  5. We won!

Romance is the skill of communicating your commitment to, love for and enjoyment of your spouse in ways that convince him or her of the priority of your marriage.

Romantic Tip for this week is to communicate your desire to be intentional in sharing little expressions of love each day to your spouse–then do it!

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Romance in Marriage

Uncovering 5 Practices Detrimental To Marriage: Critical Judgments

Meme Credit: Marriage by GOD

Meme Credit: Marriage by GOD

You begin to share with your spouse about something that is really bothering you. Right as you are pouring your heart out to them, they ask a question about something else, revealing that they haven’t heard a word you’ve said. This affirms your suspicion (see previous post) that your spouse doesn’t care about you.

This is a situation where we can be tempted to form critical judgments of our spouse. A critical judgment is not thinking the best of someone. When they do something we don’t expect, rather than give them grace we judge their motive.

“Critical judgments can do great damage to relationships and to the kingdom of God. If you assume the worst about others, you will often misjudge them and jump to conclusions. This can cause deep hurt, bring you great embarrassment, and eventually destroy relationships. A critical attitude also leads us to exaggerate others’ wrongs and overlook their virtues, which distorts reality. This perspective will increasingly rob you of objectivity and often lead to decisions you later regret.”  Ken Sande, Peacemakers

In the Grace-Filled Marriage, Dr. Tim Kimmel says,

“We need to create an atmosphere within our marriage where our spouse doesn’t feel they have to wear a mask around us to keep from revealing where they are emotionally. They need to know that the deeper hurt or confusion within their heart can come out without fear of being attacked. You know the way God treats us.”

Think about how God in Christ has treated us. He saw the worst in us, and loved us still. And marriage is to be a reflection of God’s love for His bride, the Church.

It helps even further to define our terms.

Critical: 1. inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily. 2. occupied with or skilled in criticism.

Judgment: the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion.

If you are quickly inclined to conclude that your spouse is at fault, you can be sure you will hurt your marriage. Critical judgments left unchecked will eventually kill a marriage.

Advice for the Critically Judged Spouse:

One who is judged by their spouse most likely has no voice to bring the needed correction. Our encouragement to someone in this place is to PRAY; pour out your heart to the Lord in desperate prayer. Only the Holy Spirit can bring conviction, and the best news is He desires to do so.

Advice for the Spouse who Critically Judges:

It is imperative that you police yourself in this regard. If you notice you are quick to make judgments that are negative towards your spouse and their motives, you most likely have work to do, but it isn’t work that is difficult once you see the pattern. Repentance is offered to you, and grace is available for those who seek to change through the power God supplies.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…” Titus 2:11-12

Following is a prayer to help you ask God’s help to change:

Lord, help me to judge others
as I want them to judge me:
Charitably, not critically,
Privately, not publicly,
Gently, not harshly,
In humility, not pride.

Help me to believe the best about others,
until facts prove otherwise—
To assume nothing,
to seek all sides of the story,
And to judge no one until I’ve removed
the log from my own eye.

May I never bring only the Law,
to find fault and condemn.
Help me always to bring the Gospel,
to give hope and deliverance,
As you, my Judge and Friend,
have so graciously done for me.

The goal in all of this is to change detrimental behaviors in marriage in order to insure our marriage will last for the long haul. And not just last, but thrive!

In what areas have you allowed critical judgments about your spouse? Do they know? Or worse have you made your judgments known? Then, we encourage you to set aside some time to talk heart to heart. Humility is key for needed change, and God gives much grace to the humble.

For more help in this area we recommend this outstanding article by Peacemakers Ministry,

Charitable Judgments: An Antidote To Judging Others

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

Thirsty For Romance

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Romance is the skill of communicating your commitment to, love for and enjoyment of your spouse in ways that convince him or her of the priority of your marriage.

Romantic Tip: Do something unexpected and kind for your spouse, and as you do, pray for them. Don’t tell them what you’ve done; let them discover it on their own. 

It’s a privilege and blessing to have a spouse to romance–never forget it!

If you’d like, share what you did for your spouse. We’re sure to be inspired!

 

Posted in Growing Strong Marriages, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse | Tagged ,

Uncovering 5 Practices Detrimental To Marriage: Suspicion

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This is part two of our five part series on uncovering the practices or habits that are detrimental to marriage. Today we’ll expose another practice you may or may not be aware of in your own marriage.

Suspicion

Seventy-five years ago on November 14, 1941, Alfred Hitchcock released his well-known movie, Suspicion. It portrays a married couple’s journey through a web of distrust and suspicion. I won’t spoil the movie for you in case you’d like to watch it, but it’s safe to say that many of the suspicions don’t prove true.

We are often driven to suspicion because of the fears we battle.

  • A wife who knows her husband has been tempted to be unfaithful in the past, may struggle with suspicions even if he isn’t being tempted at the moment.
  • A husband will often struggle being suspicious of every dollar his wife spends.
  • A wife who has a charming husband may suspect he is being unfaithful, just because other women notice and comment on his kindness.
  • A husband with an attractive wife may be overprotective because he’s suspicious she wants the attention of other men.

Suspicions grow when trust in the marriage has been broken. I get that, and most of us would succumb given the same circumstances. I would even go so far as to say that suspicion can be a deserved consequence of broken trust.

However, many of us give in to suspicion because we’re listening to the wrong thoughts about our spouse.

In Genesis we’re told of how Eve encountered temptation. It came through the crafty serpent who whispered suspicions to her of God’s goodness. Satan, the enemy of God, wants to do all he can to thwart God’s plans for His people. It was true then, and it is true today.

Suspicion is born when we listen to his sinister questions:

“Why didn’t your husband tell you he’d be late? Maybe there’s someone else he’d rather be with?’

“Does your wife really care about your financial goals? She is always looking for ways to spend it faster than you both can make it.”

“Do you think other women don’t notice how nice your husband is? You know he enjoys it too.”

“Your wife is so beautiful. How can you be sure other men aren’t trying to woo her away from you?”

There is an easy way to thwart his methods though–don’t listen to him! When suspicion knocks on the door of your mind, be quick to recognize the tone of voice. If it’s accusing and cunning, you can be sure it isn’t the Lord. God leads us with a voice that reassures us and brings us together. The enemy’s voice is divisive and suspicious. (For further insight check out these synonyms and antonyms of suspicion)

Let’s not give him an ear to hear. Instead let’s be alert and ready to resist this temptation for the sake of our marriage.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV (emphasis added)

In what ways has suspicion affected your relationship?

For Part One in this series click here.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages, Temptation | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Thirsty For Romance

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We want to start a new segment on Thursdays we are calling, 

“Thirsty For Romance”

Imagine someone giving you a refreshing drink on a hot, summer day. We enjoy it. It feels good, and it invigorates us. Romance provides the same refreshment to our marriage. To neglect it means our spouse will be lacking something they need.

It’s helpful to remember that romance is different for each marriage. What you call romantic may or may not speak the same to someone else. Tom and I love this definition:

Romance is the skill of communicating your commitment to, love for and enjoyment of your spouse in ways that convince him or her of the priority of your marriage.

I will provide a quick romantic tip each Thursday in the hopes of inspiring you on this quest of a lifetime.

Romantic Tip: Look your spouse in the eye and encourage them for something you have noticed. Be specific and sincere.

Feel free to share with us your romantic tips in the comments. We’d love to add it to our growing list.

Posted in Encouraging Your Spouse, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments