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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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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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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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.

Mindful Communication (New video!)

Mindful Communication (New video!)

That awkward silence when you walk up on a group. Eyes shifting to the ground. Whatever they were talking about, you weren't meant to hear, for whatever reason.

This is the scene in Mark 9. Jesus walks up, the disciples mouths close, their eyes downcast. They'd been caught doing something they weren't supposed to be doing—arguing about which one of them was the greatest, who had the most stature, who was the most gifted, the most right, the most _________. The content of their conversation was selfish, unfruitful, and led to division between them.

The guilt was written all over their faces and evidenced by their silence when Jesus asked them what they were talking about. They felt guilty. How do I know? I've felt the same way before. 

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Wanna Get Away? (new video)

Wanna Get Away? (new video)

In Texas during the summer, the meteorologists are always talking about "high pressure systems." Sure, it makes for nice sunny days, but when it's 100+ degrees outside, one likes the "high pressure system" to move over a bit so we can have rain. Rain in the summer provides respite from the intense heat. It brings much needed moisture to a crispy, dry ground.

High pressure systems typically stay awhile, while the low pressure ones move out relatively swiftly. It makes me think about daily life. Do you ever feel like we live in a "high pressure system?" The days might be sunny and filled with joy, but it's also intense. The daily demands bear down like a hot sun and we start praying for respite. We're dry and thirsty and longing for relief.

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Insecurities out, Believing God in (new video!)

Insecurities out, Believing God in (new video!)

It's easy sometimes to dismiss the Bible as irrelevant to our times, especially the Old Testament. But the story of Gideon in Judges 6 completely described much of what Craig has been going through. We don't often see ourselves as God sees us. But how would our outlook and attitude change if we did? How might our lives look radically different? 

It took me (Jen) awhile to see Craig as God does, but I am so glad He changed my vision, my perception, and my perspective. As a spouse, God can equip us to truly see our spouse and encourage him/her to step out of the hole and into the role God has for him or her!!

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Navigating changes and transitions (new video)

Navigating changes and transitions (new video)

We all have transition and change in our lives, which mean, we all have transitions and change that affect our marriages. For many of us, change is hard. Personally, for both of us, we are easily thrown out of whack when our daily ins and outs are shifted (or turned completely upside down). 

Right now, the kids are newly out of school (hello, it's now more difficult to do this "work from home thing"), we have backyard construction going on (for the love of city permits), and Craig's mom still struggles with her illness (I was reading in Luke today about how Jesus healed the centurion's slave instantaneously and just prayed and prayed for that to happen for her).

Sometimes we will navigate change well. Sometimes we will not. Here's what we plan to do to not only survive, but hopefully thrive, through the transitions in our lives.

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Recognizing Your Spouse's Tells (new video)

Recognizing Your Spouse's Tells (new video)

Ever play poker? Play enough with the same people and your get really good at reading their tells. Same in marriage. You know someone well enough and you learn when your spouse isn't ok...despite what he/she may say. 

Last week, my grandmother died and we spent the weekend with Craig's parents. His mom is very ill and though it was an amazing visit, I left so sad. But it took Craig awhile to get me to admit it-for a variety of reasons. 

In this video, we talk about the importance of recognizing your spouse's tells and why it's beneficial to continue to pursue him/her through the denial.

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On Giving Gifts (new video)

On Giving Gifts (new video)

We have a slew of birthdays in the summer months, so gift giving is on our mind. I know that Craig and I have both struggled from time to time when it comes to giving the "perfect" gift. What we've come to realize is that this isn't about perfection, but simply, gift giving is a way you can show how much you love each other. Extravagance isn't required—just a touch of personalization and some good time thinking about your spouse.

Here's a glimpse into our successes and failures and some tips we've learned along the way!

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Tackling Tough Topics (new video!)

As you'll hear in the video, we weren't planning on doing a video this week. We're getting ready for our first speaking engagement as The Knot Project and didn't have time to plan something to say. But, as many of you know, married life tends to throw you curve balls, and POOF!, here we are with something to say. 

It started with dinner on Friday night, eating pizza in the dining room while our daughter and her friend had run of the kitchen. Craig's talking to me about work and slips in something about "mobility" (a.k.a. "willingness to move if the right opportunity came along") and BAM! I shut down. I couldn't even talk about it any more because of the fear and anxiety it stirred in me. Let me be clear: right now, there is no opportunity, no location, nothing. But I couldn't even fathom PROSPECTS, so I ended the conversation.

And then this morning, we are chopping up wood pieces from the tree in the backyard we recently had pruned. I discovered, I HATE CHOPPING UP WOOD. We had neglected this pile for so long, though, and it was now time to actually mow and edge the backyard. We had to do something about it, lest it get rotten, kill the grass, AND leaving us with no firewood for the (very far off) winter.

Just like I have to learn to tackle the hard conversation, lest our communication and intimacy rot, we had to tackle the tree. Together.

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Are you spontaneous? Keeping life FUN!

Are you spontaneous? Keeping life FUN!

After lunch with friends, an art show, and our will signing, it had been a long day driving all over the city. But it wasn't raining yet and we had still not taken our Texas-tradition bluebonnet pictures. We weren't dressed up and definitely not matching, but we stopped at our local park anyway. We took some pics, took a walk, hopped on large rocks, and (literally) swung from vines. We found a hidden trail, spied some deer, and suddenly our youngest volunteered to be the creative director for this week's video. It was a spontaneous hour of fun and that is what we're talking about this week.

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If You Don't Know Too Much about Us...

If You Don't Know Too Much about Us...

Hey y'all! Yes, I know, it's another interview about our journey through porn addiction. And yes, some of this you have heard before. But one reason that I love this interview is because it's also how we began...you get to know more about us as just Jen and Craig Ferguson, not just Jen and Craig Ferguson who talk about porn all the time. Want to know how long we dated before we got engaged? (Think # of days, not months!) What to know our song we danced to on our wedding day? If so, we'd love for you to tune in! Thank you so much, Engaging Story, for having us!!

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When You're Spouse is Being a Nightmare (new video)

When You're Spouse is Being a Nightmare (new video)

This week's video is no joke. I (Jen) was unable to find my way back to kindness. I was locked inside these old patterns of behavior, trying to please every single person around me—with the exception of Craig. At almost every turn, I felt so much like the apostle Paul when he wrote 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.

At the end of the week, sitting in church today, the guest pastor summed it up so well, which we will tell you more about this week on the blog. For now, here's how Craig dealt with me and how his response to my craziness and ugliness helped me get back on the right path, headed in a much better direction.

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What Chokes Out Kindness

What Chokes Out Kindness

We spent our Spring Break vacation at Disney World, which means we really need another vacation to recover from this one! We had tons of fun! Who knew that we could go for 18 hours, take a 4 hour "night nap" and hit the next park by the 9am opening time? (Now you see why we need the extra vacation!)

Craig and I went into this trip with this question: Will it be easier or harder to show kindness while on vacation? Watch the video to find out our conclusion!

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Kindness Challenge Week 1 & "Complaint" vs. "Criticism"

In this week's video, we talk about how kindness doesn't have to be hugely sacrificial, nor does it have to present itself with great extravagance. We're sharing some of our own acts of kindness...and how we knew our partner would appreciate them. We're also talking about "complaint" vs. "criticism." You're right—we're not supposed to be complaining OR criticizing our spouse this month, but chances are even though we aren't saying things, we're probably still thinking them. Watch the video below and then hop down for some definitions and idea on how you can figure out if you're complaining or criticizing.

(Knot Project note about Gottman's book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: We don't love the term complaining. Instead of complaining, as noted in the video, we use the term "feedback." Giving feedback to our spouse doesn't need to register in our heads as something like, "Oh, he's just complaining." That makes what our spouse is saying seem or feel less valid.)

Gottman's characteristics of complaint (or constructive feedback)

  • Focuses on specific behavior.
  • Has three parts: 1) Here's how I feel; 2) About a very specific situation; 3) Here's what I want/need/prefer

Gottman's characteristics of criticism

  • Global in scope.
  • Expresses feelings/opinions about the other's character or personality
  • Often contain the words "always" and/or "never."

Sometimes, we don't even realize what we're saying when we're in a (heated) disagreement. This period of 30 days is for obtaining from saying negative things, but when negative thoughts arise, we encourage you to write them down in a journal or notebook. After a few days, come back to the thoughts you scribed. Evaluate your words: Are you giving constructive feedback (voicing a legitimate complaint) or are you attacking the very character of your spouse? 

Don't worry if you realize you're criticizing—Gottman says this is a very common issue. But spend some time re-writing and re-framing what you would say so that you can begin to practice healthy communication.


 

Did you know The {K}not Project is on Pinterest? Here you can find articles and videos from our series (past and present). You can also find resources to help with addictions and prayer.

(Yes, it's still a work in progress, but, hey, what isn't??)


Giving Grace: Stress Strategies

Giving Grace: Stress Strategies

February has been INSANE for us. We knew this going into this month. We also know that the first part of March is more of the same. Until Sunday, we were doing well. We were tag-teaming. We were giving each other space for downtime. We were connecting on emotional and spiritual levels, even though we often weren't in physical proximity with each other. Our wheels were spinning at the same speed.

Sunday morning came. We were both exhausted. I had driven two hours away to speak at a retreat on Friday night and then drove back to town on Saturday morning to be at an all-day dance competition for our oldest. The adrenaline alone from speaking and then being a dance mom was enough to shut me down. Add in chores that had been neglected and I was over the edge. Unfortunately, so was Craig. And so the downward spiral of sarcasm and snippiness began. It took two efforts to try to regain our traction, but thankfully we did.

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Give Grace: When Your Spouse Isn't Exactly Who You Thought

This week, we are continuing this theme of giving grace when confronted with unrealistic expectations, but coming from a slightly different angle. What do you do when your spouse ends up being different than you expected? Here, we tackle the gambit—what to do when they fart more than you think they should all the way to addressing an addiction.

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Give Grace: Unrealistic Expectations

Give Grace: Unrealistic Expectations

Right away you'll probably notice we are not on the video today! Let us introduce to you our friends, Katie and Adam Reid. Jen met Katie in Michigan and we've never laid eyes on Adam in real life, but as you'll see in the video, turns out, he's a pretty good guy (even if he didn't get Katie a birthday present). They are here with a  very timely video that is so appropriate for Valentine's Day week: Unrealistic Expectations! (The video cut off their goodbye, but don't worry—all the good stuff is here.)

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