New video! Nagging: The Why Behind and What To Do About It

New video! Nagging: The Why Behind and What To Do About It

We love it when productive conversation about communication in marriage happens! We’re furthering the conversation about the why behind “nagging” and what both people can do to be more productive, effective, and loving in their relationship.

We share how we've nagged and perceive nagging and how we're learning to nip nagging and engage in healthy communication, whether we have the need or we need to meet the need.

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And finally...a VLOG!

And finally...a VLOG!

Man, what a summer! Feels like "the best of times and the worst of times" kind of break. Some really great things (a new puppy! a new job!) and some really hard things (chronic illness! hospital stays! death anniversaries!) happened and it has taken us a bit of time and effort to regroup.

But we're back and ready to reset and refocus on all God has for us in our marriage. What about you? How has your summer been? Good, bad, in between? Regardless, the beginning of the school year always feels like a time to refresh and reorient (I think it's all the new school supplies)! We're not talking about a whole redo, but just choosing one thing we can change, tweak, or add to allow our marriage to really come alive.

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10 Benefits of Mentorship for Your Marriage

10 Benefits of Mentorship for Your Marriage

I'm over at iBelieve talking about the power of mentorship. Craig and I have been so grateful to have marriage mentors in our lives and they have all helped us navigate various tricky situations in a way that was far better than if we were trying to handle all things on our own. Do you have a marriage mentor? Do you wonder how they may benefit you? Well, then, read on for the teaser and a link to the full article...

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10 Signs Your Wife Desperately Needs You to Listen to Her

10 Signs Your Wife Desperately Needs You to Listen to Her

Many of us know how we are supposed to act. We know the tenets of effective communication. We know that resentment and bitterness are bad for our health—physically and emotionally. We know that both lashing out irrationally and the silent treatment do nothing to promote growth in our marriage.

We know, and yet…

As Paul states in Romans 7:15, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

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10 Ways Unrealistic Expectations Destroy Your Relationships

10 Ways Unrealistic Expectations Destroy Your Relationships

“Expectations kill relationships,” writes Ann Voskamp. As I ponder her words, I remember how my marriage has died a thousand little deaths. While my outlandish expectations have harmed many relationships, my poor husband has born the brunt of my affliction.

Affliction? you ask.

Yes, affliction. Because harboring unrealistic expectations is like a disease. One that chokes the life out of a relationship. It stifles the people around you, sometimes paralyzing them because they are afraid of disappointing you, failing you, angering you.

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Marriage Meltdown: Unexpected Loss (new video!)

Marriage Meltdown: Unexpected Loss (new video!)

Loss can make you feel, well, lost. Sometimes abandoned. Sometimes highly emotional or deeply inward. Sometimes scared and volatile. Sometimes depressed and angry. 

So many emotions and feelings can be difficult to navigate and hard for your spouse to navigate, too. But if we believe we are better together, there must be a way to find our way through loss and still keep our relationship intact. 

Here’s a bit how we’ve felt and dealt with loss. May it be encouraging to you, no matter what kind of loss you’ve faced

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When Your Greatest Weakness is Strength

When Your Greatest Weakness is Strength

I couldn't stop looking at his ankles. Scrutinizing. Wondering if they were slightly bigger or slightly smaller. Was the edema coming back with a vengeance like it did in January? Were his protein levels elevated? Or was this because of something else? Because, we are finding, autoimmune diseases can be quite the puzzle. We began going over everything: exercise, nutrition, weight, water intake. And with everything, I kept scrutinizing. Wondering. Looking.

Stressing.

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How Do You Survive?

How Do You Survive?

Somewhere lurking in most of us writers is the desire to write a post or an article that resonates with people, that's shared many times on various platforms. Normally, when I see a significant number of shares for an article I wrote, I am filled with happiness.

This one, not so much.

Because this one confirmed to me that possibly many more people have experienced infidelity than I had previously thought. So, then, I went and looked up the most recent stats:

Percent of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional: 41
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Marriage Meltdown: Busyness (Part 2) & Fundraising Update!

Marriage Meltdown: Busyness (Part 2) & Fundraising Update!

Take 2 for Part 2 in our marriage meltdown series on busyness (because who knew with an unknown click of a button, you could have theme music on top of your speaking?)

We took out the music, but isn’t this the reality of life? It’s noisy. Voice upon voice on top of each other, each one louder than the next. Everyone has something to say, something to ask of you. And to get to everyone and everything, it feels like you have to rush frantically. 

But what is this doing to you? To your relationships? To your own health?

And how do you slow down without getting run over in this fast-paced world?

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Marriage Meltdown: Busyness (Part 1)

Marriage Meltdown: Busyness (Part 1)

Busyness kills relationships. Why? Because real relationships take time, effort, and energy. If we are constantly busy and on the go, we won’t be able to give each other or our marriage what it needs.

We will be too tired. Amen?

After an exceptionally busy weekend, Craig and I started talking about what motivates both of us to get (and stay) busy. This is where we start. If we don’t know the heart behind our choices, our behavioral changes won’t stick.

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Can You Keep Us on the Front Row?

Can You Keep Us on the Front Row?

It's amazing to be a front-row witness to God's power. Here's just one example of what we see:

She had heard me speak at a retreat, talking about our journey through Craig's porn addiction and my wrestle with control and surrender. She reached out to me on Facebook because she had a friend who was walking the same road and who needed some support. Would I be able to meet with her?

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If Resolutions Fade: 6 Timeless Tools to Quit Porn {or anything else}

If Resolutions Fade: 6 Timeless Tools to Quit Porn {or anything else}

Although this is an article intended to help those who desired to give up porn as part of their New Year's Resolutions, these tips on "what to do now" work for any habit you're trying to break. Whatever your detrimental habit may be, it's time for a check-in. 

How are you really doing?

I've found that the habits that bring the most separation between God and me are those that temporarily fill a hole in my heart. And the enemy to my health (physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional) is intent on helping me keep filling said hole with things that don't last so that I don't discover the fruitlessness of my actions. As I wrote in my journal the other day:

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself at the Beginning of a Relationship

10 Questions to Ask Yourself at the Beginning of a Relationship

ou may wonder why I'm sharing this post with you since most of you are already married. But this post isn't just about questions to ask before you get involved in a romantic relationship. It's about 10 questions to ask before you get involved in any relationship. I will tell you this—I have gotten entangled in some toxic friendships and they wreaked havoc on my marriage for a number of reasons. If I had only known then what I know now.

Oh, hindsight.

Here's a little teaser for you and then you can hop over to iBelieve to read the rest.

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Marriage Meltdown: When Your Marriage Loses its Identity

After almost 18 years of marriage, we still get our minds blown by new concepts that can radically impact our marriage. 

This idea that our marriage has its own identity, that it’s a living and breathing thing that has its own set of needs, adds a whole new component to what it means for two to become one. 

This weekend we thought about what needs our marriage has, how the needs of our marriage sometimes need to supersede our individual needs, and what continually gets in the way of us meeting those needs.

You can also view the video on YouTube here.

 
Marriage check up.png

The Marriage Check-Up

I know. You might think a "marriage check-up" is cheesy. But can we pause for a moment?

Craig went to the doctor last June for his yearly physical. He had no symptom anything was wrong. But lurking underneath the outward appearance was evidence of beginning stages of a liver issue and the reoccurrence of a past kidney issue.

Sometimes you don't realize there's a problem until you get a check-up. I fully believe that busyness can blind us to the real state of our relationship. So what if you take 20 minutes with your spouse this week and take stock? You can use this printable to guide you. 

To get the printable shown above, just grab it off the google drive here.

Marriage Meltdown: When Crisis Hits (new video!)

Marriage Meltdown: When Crisis Hits (new video!)

No one wants a crisis. 

We didn't. 

And yet, they come, don't they? During our recent marriage meltdown, we struggled with Craig's medical crisis. Since the urgency of the matter has passed, we had some time to debrief (Craig calls this the "after action report") and discuss how we'd want to navigate these hard things when they come the next time around.

Here are 3 things we want to remember (and you will, too) when navigating a crisis so you don't have a marriage meltdown.

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When there's Nothing Left to do but Embrace

When there's Nothing Left to do but Embrace

As I'm typing this, I'm sitting in a hard hospital chair while Craig recovers from a kidney biopsy. Medical machines beeping, nurses soft-soled shoes squeaking on the tile floor, the murmur of hushed voices. It's been a long stretch of days filled with unknowns. 

One morning this week, I thought about how long we're going to continue on this roller coaster of despair. As many of you know, this summer was filled with loss of loved ones. And the start of Craig's health issues. One thing after the other and my continual question seemed to be: When will we catch a break?

I just longed for the season to be over.

When we found ourselves confronted with this round of health issues, I started to ask the same question. But mid-sentence, I stopped. In an act of somewhat pissed-off surrender, I said something like, "You know, what God? I'm just going to embrace it. Bring it all and I'm going to walk through it. Be in it. Sit in it. Wrestle with it. Help me learn whatever You want me to learn."

My conclusion is this: I am where I am and that is where Jesus is.

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8 Habits Worth Cultivating if You’re Stretched Too Thin

8 Habits Worth Cultivating if You’re Stretched Too Thin

Living life in this world can be brutal. There are days when every time I turn around, there is a new crisis—in my life, in my community, or in my world (and sometimes all three simultaneously). But the truth is, even on a day where there is no major catastrophe or unwanted surprise, life has the potential to be overwhelming. Work, chores, kids, spouse, friends, and volunteer work all clamor for my attention, shouting “Me first! Me first!” I bet you can relate, too. So how do we keep all this work, all this noise, and all these needs from pushing us over the edge? Here are my strategies:

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8 Lies that Can Cripple a Marriage

8 Lies that Can Cripple a Marriage

If you received our newsletter (and opened it), you may have seen my latest piece for iBelieve. It seems perfectly timed for the New Year, doesn't it? Why? Because in order to allow God to sow truth in us this season, we must ferret out the lies that we've used to negate or dismiss this truth.

But sometimes, we don't recognize that we're believing a lie until someone tells us the truth that corrects it. If this has happened to you, you're not alone. I've falsely believed several things about myself and my relationships based on a faulty image of God or the world. Sometimes, our families perpetuate lies because it's what the generation before them believed. But God wants His truth to be deep within us and He is faithful to show us another way to live—one that promotes health, freedom, and joy.

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The Puzzle of Marriage

The Puzzle of Marriage

My daughter thought it would be fun to get a 1500 piece puzzle to work on as a family over winter break. 

"Fun" is relative.

For people like me, it feels more like a challenge, something to complete. It's about the finished product, not the journey. It's about conquering a feat that seems so impossible at the outset.

All those tiny pieces that all have a place. And not just any place, but a specific one. 

Details. Sometimes I hate details. 

But in the interest of family "fun" and now that the constant stream of holiday company around the dining room table is over, I've brought down the puzzle, laid out the mat, and started hunting for the edge pieces.

And, I've started thinking about how marriage is much like this puzzle.

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If You Give Your Kid A Kindle {Or any other device}

If You Give Your Kid A Kindle {Or any other device}

Anytime a device, whether a Kindle, an X-box, an iPhone, or any other device, links to the Internet, there are legitimate dangers lurking. The predators and trolls in cyberspace are just as dangerous as the drug dealers on the street corners, the kid who brings a gun to school, and the teen pressuring yours to have unprotected sex. When we give our children unfettered access to the Internet, it’s like we send them to the downtown city park by themselves when they are three years old.

If we would never do that, why would we let them play on the Internet’s playground with no supervision?

But the truth is, we do it all the time. Why? Here are three possible reasons:

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