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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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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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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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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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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How to Show Your Type A Spouse S/he is a Priority

How to Show Your Type A Spouse S/he is a Priority

My friend, Katie Reid, recently published an article about "Type A" friend needs. As I read it, being Type A, my heart lurched at every single point. I responded to her Facebook post:

A thousand times "yes."

I admit: I love being Type A. I love how God fashioned my personality. I love productivity and efficiency. I love serving and planning and meeting people's needs. I am the queen of scheduling and family calendars and even meal planning, even though I loathe (absolutely loathe) cooking. I love setting goals and achieving goals. I also love winning and running and winning at running.

So much to love.

Although some of you who are not Type A may be gagging a little. Because you know the darker side of this side of the spectrum. You see the competitiveness, the non-stop drive, the work-based priorities, the restlessness, the people-pleasing, the unadmitted fatigue. 

If you are married to the Type A person, you see the ugly side more than most.

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When Numbers Usurp Your #1 Priority

When Numbers Usurp Your #1 Priority

We're talking about intentional living, living out our daily lives with the important things front and center. We've covered distractions and the prioritizing of the roles we play. But what do we do when there's a continual gap between what we want our priorities to be and how we structure our time?

I will be totally upfront and honest and tell you that I have struggled with this in the past in very big ways. Damaging ways. When our book came out in October 2014, I was consumed by marketing and book sales. It wasn't about the money. It was about my needing to prove my worth, my desire to please my publishing house, and my need to be esteemed by Amazon rankings.

Here I had a book about the importance of marriage and relationships and I spent all my emotional energy on my job. I took every single writing opportunity. Craig and I did every single radio event we were invited to. I talked in person or phone or Facebook Messenger that asked me questions or needed help. 

And then my kids would come home from school and I would have absolutely nothing to give them, except the bare minimum. I remember the day that I realized how backward my priorities were like it was yesterday. I was standing at the top of the stairs, my youngest daughter was in front of me, her eyes pleading for me to be able to meet her emotional needs, and I had absolutely nothing in the tank.

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The Roles You Play and the Priority You Assign Them

The Roles You Play and the Priority You Assign Them

We all have several roles that we play in this life. Are you husband, wife, employee, brother, sister, friend? Are you a caretaker, a housekeeper, a social planner for your family? Are you a child of God, a missionary, a volunteer? How do you manage all of these roles and how do they shape your priorities? 

And perhaps, the most important question is this: Is what you say is important backed by your actions? 

Here's an opportunity to take a few quiet moments, list out your roles, put them in order of importance, and then ask your spouse if your life is reflective of that same order of importance.

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The Distractions of Anxiety and Self-Doubt

The Distractions of Anxiety and Self-Doubt

I love things to run smoothly. I like life to fit in the tiny boxes on my calendar, for schedule activities to always take "x" amount of time, and for the weather to cooperate with my plans.

I love meeting agendas, productivity, grocery lists where things don't get left off. I love it when people respond to my emails in timely manners and when I don't forget to do the same.

I love order. I abhor chaos. I love calm and I don't function well in a frenzy.

I know many of you who are just like me and many of you who are not. But no matter how you're built, no matter what your personality leans towards, I think we all long for peace—a deep inner peace that is not contingent on the outside circumstances. A peace that is so embedded in us that we function like a mighty oak in a storm. Our leaves and branches will for sure sway, but our trunk, our foundation, is so deeply planted that we will never forget who we are and Whose we are.

I've been working hard with Jesus lately to practice this rooted way of living. My deepest desire is that when people interact with me I will no longer be the whirlwind of things to do, errands to run, and a plethora of needs and wants on my mind. I want to exude the same kind of atmosphere that my living room does—fresh, inviting, cozy, and safe.

If I'm continually distracted from what God has asked me to do, if I'm filling my life with tasks because I'm trying to prove worth, and if my state of mind is contingent on things going exactly as planned, I will not be safe. I will not be fresh. I will not be inviting. 

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Taming Distractions: My Break-up Letter to Beer

Taming Distractions: My Break-up Letter to Beer

Some of you are aware of the news about my health we received in July.  If you're not, before you assume the worst-case scenario, I’m fine.  It all started when I scheduled my annual physical this year in the hopes of getting a doctor’s note for our hot tub.  Yeah, feel free to laugh, but it saved us over $700 in taxes! 

I digress. 

The blood work came back with an elevated liver enzyme in the results.  After a retest and a sonogram, I was finally diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.  Think of it as a pre-pre diabetes.  Needless to say, I wasn’t too thrilled about it.  The good news was I could get rid of it by losing weight, which is something I’ve been playing around with for years.

Another tidbit about me is that I love to do research.  Seriously, I need to find a job in which I can do that full time.  Me, a library, and a problem to solve?  Heaven.  During my research, I came across the Ketogenic Diet.  What is it the Ketogenic diet?  Well, if you take the normal American diet, it consists of a high intake of carbohydrates, a medium intake of protein and a low to medium intake of fat (or high if you eat out a lot).  The Ketogenic diet consists of a high intake of fats (focusing on the “good fats”), a medium intake of protein and low intake of carbohydrates.  This diet puts your body in ketosis where you body seeks out fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. 

It’s pretty restrictive, but when looking at the foods that I could eat versus the foods I couldn’t eat on the diet, I was thrilled. All I had to do was cut out the sugary stuff and the carbs. As I continued to scan down the list of accepted and barred foods, I came to the alcohol portion of the list. 

And that is when it hit me. 

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Distractions {new video & short series}

Get distracted much? Us, too. These distractions keep us from our greatest goals and closest relationships. Craig’s opening up about how the distractions of negative self-talk hindered him in previous weight loss journeys and Jen reveals insight she just got this morning about how anxiety pulls her away from the One and the ones she loves. 

Our plan is to turn this into a series all centered around priorities: why we need them, how they get out of whack, and how we can refocus on them. We hope you'll join us.

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Please also join us in praying for Las Vegas. 

Waking up to bad news like the Las Vegas shootings feels like a sucker punch to the gut. I mourn for those who have just experienced incredible loss and heartbreak. It makes me want to gather my family together and become hermits. 

But, yet, that is not what we are called to do. As families, we are called to go out into the world and love. If those of us who have the capacity to love and love well all shut up in our homes, who would be the voice for goodness? Who would advocate for a way for peace, for wholeness, for freedom, for healing?

Our first job is to love our families well and to connect with Jesus daily. When we do this, we are filled, not with our own strength and love, but God's. And because He gives so fully, because His well never runs dry, we can be sure that we can afford to give as much love as possible that overflows out of us.

Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

And keep the faith.