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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Peace in the Process (a guest post)

Peace in the Process (a guest post)

On our fourteenth anniversary in the summer of 2016, Greg and I sat in a busy breakfast cafe on Hilton Head Island, taking advantage of extra adult hands to take care of our kids at the beach house our party of sixteen was occupying for the week. We ended up talking about how God has opened our eyes through adoption to the hurting moms in our small town and how He then provided the opportunity for me to volunteer at the local crisis pregnancy center. I struggled to articulate some thoughts and got frustrated, so much so I declared we needed to talk about something else. We talked about another less meaningful topic momentarily, but then we ended back on the harder stuff, thanks to the comforts of marriage.

I was grasping how adoption had changed me from the inside out. I knew God used adoption to build my faith while He was building my family, but I had a new perspective of what my story could do for others.

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The Necessity of Undoing

The Necessity of Undoing

I'm guest posting today over at a friend's place. Here's a little teaser with a link at the end where you can finish reading.

This has been a summer worthy of its own hashtag.

If I had the time or the desire, I’d go back through each sad event between May 8th and the day I posted about Irma’s projected path (because at press time, she hasn’t made it to the U.S.) and tag it #thesummerfromhellcontinues.

As I talked to my mentor via FaceTime today, she said, “You have been through trauma.”

I bristled.

Trauma? It's not trauma. Trauma is what people are experiencing after Harvey. Trauma is sexual abuse or the loss of a child. This is not trauma, I thought to myself.

And this attitude of mine comes a few days after talking to two different women about two different things and me telling them that God wants them to know their pain is valid. Their wounds are valid. It is okay, I said, for them to lament and cry and point to all the broken pieces and be sad. I actually, this morning, told one of them to not compare her wounds with someone else’s.

Therefore, I know what I am telling myself is not the truth. Is it not easy to speak the truth and then shut one’s own ears?

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The Power of Words in Marriage (from a 13 y/o's perspective) & Resources for your Walk with God

The Power of Words in Marriage (from a 13 y/o's perspective) & Resources for your Walk with God

Hi friends! My name is Abby and I’m the oldest daughter of Jen and Craig. I am so excited to be writing for all of y’all today. This week, I was just laying in bed when God talked to me about my parents. He gave me some questions to think about. But here was the big one:

How does my parents’ marriage affect me and my sister? 

You might think that your marriage affects only you and your spouse. If you think that, you’re wrong. If you don’t have children, there are other areas where your marriage can affect the people around you, but that’s for another week. 

Kids see and hear a lot more then you may think. If you’re showcasing a positive and healthy relationship when you know you’re around your kids, you think that they have the perfect vision of what married life may be like. What you don’t know, though, is that we kids are way more observant than you may think. You may be having a fight with your spouse, maybe even just with your body movement or facial expressions, and your kids can sense the tension. 

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Giving Grace: Chronic Illness

Giving Grace: Chronic Illness

We took a pause from our Giving Grace series, but we're back to it with two lovely people who are willing to share a bit about what it looks like to give grace in a marriage where one spouse has chronic illness. Please welcome Stacey and Ryan as they give us a glimpse into their journey together!

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Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

I am, we are, works in progress. The past few weeks have been a painful work in progress. It seems like the whole onion analogy works here. There are layers and layers of my controlling nature and as God peels them away, sometimes I cry.

A large part of why I control is because I’m afraid. My biggest fear is that I will fail my husband and my kids.

So much of my planning, organizing, and caretaking stems from the anxiety that if I don’t do X, Y, and Z—or if they don’t—things will fall apart. I keep my expectations high for a well-run, well-organized life, doing my best to keep everyone moving along as they should, investing all that I can emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I believe that this continually striving will give me protection from all that failure that looms large out there.

Hey, guess what? I’m exhausted. Again.

Somehow, I fooled myself. I cloaked my controlling nature and hid it under the guise of simple self-discipline, self-control. That sounds so holy, right? How can self-discipline, self-control, be wrong?

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Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

This week, we're talking about being spontaneous, and yet, here is a post about the Church and porn. Well, that's spontaneous, right? I never know when my posts for Covenant Eyes will go live and I don't always share them here, but this is a post that Craig and I both feel so passionate about—Satan uses shame in incredibly powerful ways and it is time for the Church to fight against these schemes.

Church, rise up. RISE UP.

The sins we commit in the dark, in the secret places, those are the ones Satan hones in on, where he continually speaks lies under the heavy cloak, in the deep recesses of our hearts where we shut out Light. Where can we take these sins? To Jesus, for sure. But where do we find the community that helps us in the recovery of these sins?

If the Church is just another space that heaps more shame, the Church then becomes another tool of the enemy.

This cannot be so.

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Give Grace: The Reality of Unrealistic Expectations

Give Grace: The Reality of Unrealistic Expectations

Jen told me the other day, “Valentine’s Day is the holiday of unrealistic expectations.” Ain’t that the truth?

Do you have secret hopes that your husband will show up with two dozen long stem roses, luscious hand-dipped strawberries in silky chocolate, and a handwritten card that expresses his sincerest appreciation and deepest attraction for you?

Movies, ads, and that one guy on Facebook (who actually does this kind of stuff for his wife) have set the bar so high that we end up disappointed when February 14th doesn’t deliver a fairy tale.

I’ve always been one to have high expectations of myself and others. The ugly truth is that I expect darn near perfection and when I don’t give it or get it, I’m frustrated.

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Live Full Walk Free + Giveaway

Live Full Walk Free + Giveaway

Instead of sunshine, warm walks, and ice cream, my summer was filled with counseling appointments, painful conversations, and sleepless, tear-stained nights.

I’m sad to share in the midst of the marriage mess and stress, my response was basically,

“Yep, I’m outta here. I’m done. Didn’t think this was how the “happily ever after” story was gonna go — but God, I. can’t. do. this.”

Marriage can be hard, can’t it, friend? 

Truth be told, sometimes marriage can be lonely, pain-filled and heartbreaking.

So when the pressures of marriage-life intensify, what do we do?

How do we withstand the heat?

 

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