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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Podcast on Purity (Part 2)

Picture from Carol Kent's new devotional,  He Holds My Hand , releasing October 3!

Picture from Carol Kent's new devotional, He Holds My Hand, releasing October 3!

Last Tuesday, part 1 of our story aired on Power of Purity (if you missed it and are interested, click here). Part 2

Part 2 was released today and you can listen here.

Know that we are not unique. It's not because we're extra special that God brought healing. What He brings to our lives with His unconditional love and grace and forgiveness and patience, He longs to bring to you, too. It can be hard to see His work when it's dark and hopeless, but know that He is. He will never leave you or forsake you and He is trustworthy.

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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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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The Kindness Challenge

The Kindness Challenge

On Monday, we talked about some stress strategies we use when life gets busy, complicated, and over-scheduled. Often, even if our lives are filled with good things—God-ordained things—we can still find ourselves frayed at the edges when we don't allow space for other God-ordained things, like rest and fun.

It was in my quiet time when God showed me that I needed to not be consumed by what I need in the moment. This self-focus seems only to grow bitterness and resentment when Craig doesn't meet those needs. It's easy for Craig to fall in the same trap.

God showed me that if we could simply take a breath and turn our eyes outward, if we could remember that God joined us together as a team, perhaps we could consider that, though we are frayed, we can mend each other, that God might give us the capacity to be filled as we fill.

It's a team. One team. So what you do to the benefit to the team, you naturally reap the benefit as a member of that team.

I'm sure, not coincidently, this is why we happened upon the Kindness Challenge created by Shaunti Feldhan. In her research, she found that 89% of relationships who took on this challenge saw improvement.

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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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Super Bowl Sunday Fun!

Super Bowl Sunday Fun!

Craig and I love to play games and we both love to win. Truth be told, we just had a lot of fun making this video (it was so good to laugh after a really hard week)! Clearly, Jen overused her penalty flag a few times too many (and maybe let out a cackle)—but it was all in good fun! However please note: this just in from the MNL (Marriage National League):

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3 Ways to Steward Money Well (without being a control freak)

3 Ways to Steward Money Well (without being a control freak)

Organization, clean lines, matching baskets, tidy boxes—these things bring me great joy. 

Every paycheck, with a click of the "record pay" button in my budgeting software, the entire amount gets distributed across rows and rows of envelopes.

The dollars assume their positions. I know what I can spend and where. It's nice and orderly and the money obeys the boundaries I set for it.

But because it is the way life happens (two kids in braces at the same time???), my envelopes are hardly ever overflowing with money. In fact, it seems, more often than I would like, the needs are overflowing. And when the incoming needs outpace the outgoing amounts of money, my sense of orderliness and calm flies out the door and, in my anxiety, I invite in chaos.

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A Thousand Miles in a Single Sentence

A Thousand Miles in a Single Sentence

There's an old song by The Proclaimers called "I'm Gonna Be" (also known as the "500 miles" song) that has been a favorite of mine since the original Shrek movie came out. The chorus made me swoon every time I heard it:

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Those grand gestures have a way of capturing my heart and leading me to believe, "Now this. This is love." And then, unfortunately, it morphs into statements like, "If Craig really loved me, he'd do _________." And it's not limited to how far he'd walk for me.

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How Grace Moves from Theory to Reality

How Grace Moves from Theory to Reality

For me, grace was theoretical for most of my life.  While growing up, I knew God said I was loved and forgiven, but I didn’t expect to receive anything that would prove that.  I built a wall between God and myself that kept me from tangibly experiencing grace. I found out that if you don’t have expectations, then you can’t be disappointed.  If you don’t request anything of anyone, then you don’t have to face rejection.  After all, you can live happy knowing that you are loved and chosen without feeling it, right?  Well, no, not really. But, that is how I lived much of my life before I met Jen and started building a relationship with her.  

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Grace or Karma: New Series!

Welcome to our new series! We hope you'll take a minute to watch our less than 7 minute video and ask yourself this question: Do you operate on the concept of karma or grace in your marriage?

It's much easier for us to operate out of the idea of karma (you get what you deserve) instead of grace in our marriage. We want to reward when rewards are earned and punish/withhold when it our spouse messes up or hurts us (think silent treatment, passive aggressive behavior, yelling, etc). But is this really how God calls us to treat each other? Is this how He treats us? Join us for a new series, Grace or Karma, as we take common trials that married people go through and share our tips on how to approach these things (and our spouses) with grace and love.

Here are some of the Scripture/book references in the video in case you want to study more on your own:

Does grace mean we get to keep on sinning? No, see Romans 6.

Where is the story of the Prodigal Son? See Luke 15:11-32

How did Jesus demonstrate grace to us? See Romans 5:1-11

What's that marriage book you were talking about? The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy and  Kathy Keller. Find it here.

What's that book you wrote about your journey through porn addiction? Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple's Journey to freedom from Pornography. Find it here or you can buy it from our store here.

Can't wait to see you back here next week!

This is Us, Advent, and Marriage

This is Us, Advent, and Marriage

Did you see last night's episode of This is Us? Craig and I were bawling! After some reflecting, I realized what powerful implications the ideas in this episode have for our marriages—and (how fun is this!) our search for light.

(I don't think I'm giving too much away in this post, but feel free to save this post and come back to it AFTER you've watched it so you can be sure I haven't ruined anything.)

We knew before last night that Rebecca knew Randall's biological dad. This week, Randall finds out, too. He feels how you would expect him to feel: angry, hurt, betrayed, bereft. During the show, he starts talking to his dad (we know his dad is deceased, so to find out how he starts talking to him, you'll have to watch). At one point, Randall flashes back to his childhood. Even though the particular memory that plays out through a window in the cabin is filled with joy and love, all Randall can see is his mother's betrayal. The pain of his mother secret overrides and overshadows everything.

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