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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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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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.

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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Marriage and Community: Shouldn't this be Private? (new video)

Marriage and Community: Shouldn't this be Private? (new video)

It's kind of like the R.E.M. song, "Everybody Hurts...Sometimes," except this one would be called, "Everybody Needs Help...Sometimes." 

We need help. 

And this video is just an honest reflection of that. We're talking about 3 different types of help that married couples might need when they are going through hard times. Right now, we don't need meals and we don't need professional counseling, but we do need encouragement because this journey through grief is hard. It weighs us down and some days, we feel like it's a fight for every step, for every positive engagement, for every smile. The things that were easy and mundane now seem to take effort. And it's not all doom and gloom, for sure. But when the waves come, boy, do they come.

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Podcast on Purity

Podcast on Purity

Craig and I have been publicly sharing our story for years. While there are many reasons, the two main ones are:

1) it really was awful going through porn addiction alone; and

2) it was really amazing to see how God used something so terrible to bring about something so lovely—true intimacy with God and with each other.

Okay, so there are really three reasons. 

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12 Questions to Ask Your Spouse at Least Once a Year (Free Printable!)

12 Questions to Ask Your Spouse at Least Once a Year (Free Printable!)

Years ago, my friend emailed me 10 questions for Craig and me to discuss while we were away for our anniversary. Though we have not answered them every year since then, nor reflected on our past answers each time, we pulled them out when we were in Wimberley last month. It was amazing to see both the progress we had made as individuals and as a couple since 2013 (WHOOPS) and the few areas where we still struggle a little bit (or a lot, but whatever).

Since we went away, we spent some time revamping and adding to these questions so they would enable us to focus both on where we've been and where we want to go. We thought that if these twelve questions would be helpful for us, they may be helpful for you, too. One thing we love the most about answering these questions is that it gives us an opportunity to both encourage each other about the progress we've made and affords us a way to potentially bring up some challenging facets about our marriage or personal health. We never want to stop growing.

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Are You Serving (Emotional) Leftovers?

Are You Serving (Emotional) Leftovers?

t's summer, my kids are often home, and I'm an introvert. As a family, we've endured intense grief recently with the loss of my grandmother and Craig's mom. My youngest daughter is trying out for dance company this year, so there is heightened anxiety in her. My friend's husband is dying and another friend's marriage is in crisis.

Daily, I feel my emotional capacity flows out of me and I long for space to recharge. Don't hear me wrong: I love helping my daughters process through hard things. I love helping my friends as well. But sometimes, when there is intense need with my girls and my friends, I can easily overdo. I can give more than I have and I end up living life out of some form of manufactured capacity.

Yesterday, Craig had a disappointing day at work. When he texted me that he was on his way home, I called him so he could process. His response? Can we talk about this when I get home?

I wanted to reply, No! I want to talk about it now so that I can be done talking for the day.

All I had left to give Craig were my emotional leftovers.

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The Dance

The Dance

Craig's mom passed away yesterday at noon.

While we were all at the hospital one day last week, our youngest watched the tender interaction between her grandmother and grandfather. As he drew near to her and whispered softly with her, my daughter looked at me and simply said, "I guess this is what it means when you say 'in sickness and in health.'"

Yes. 

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Marriage Takes Grit

Marriage Takes Grit

Maybe your marriage is looking like the Patriots in the 3rd Quarter of Super Bowl LI?  Whether not you love or hate Tom Brady and the Patriots, you have to admit they showed grit.  In the face of overwhelming odds and a desperate situation, they relied on each other, dug in their heels and fought like hell.  God’s call to us is the same.  Fight for one another.  Fight for your marriage. It takes grit. You're going to get dirty. It's going to take every ounce of strength you have...and then a whole bunch more from God and the people around you.

Be tenacious. Don't give up. Rally.

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