Loving Well To The Very End

When we took our vows, we promised to love each other in sickness and health, for richer or for poorer, forsaking all others, until death do we part. We have shared in sermons and in our Life Together Forever seminars that it is our heart’s desire to be with each other to the very end.

To wake up one morning and have a discussion about whether or not Roy has the right upper dentures.

To chase each other around the room with our walkers.

We want to be there for each other for the very end.

This past year we have seen the marriages of people we love end well. Devra’s parents marriage showed us to how to love to the very end when her father passed this summer.

Five Ways To Move Toward Your Spouse

We had a great time as the guests on a conference call with marriage ministers and marriage counselors from all across the globe. One pastor asked the question, “What are the few things I can tell couples that will get their stale marriages moving in the right direction?”

We believe that every can take action now, immediately, to make their marriage better, stronger, and closer. Here is how we answered the question and what we recommend every couple do to move toward each other and the marriage they deeply desire.

Ways To Move Toward Your Spouse

Prioritize The Meaning Of Christmas

Christmas is the one time each year all over the world that attention is paid to the story of Christ coming to earth. It is ultimately a story of sacrifice and love. It is because He came into the world that we understand grace, mercy, and unconditional love. It is because He came into the world to die, be raised and give us redemption that we find peace and joy no matter the circumstances.

Christmas time is a painful time for many. It holds memories of those who have passed as well as those that have left our lives. Many have horrible memories of the holidays with stressful family times. We end up sitting next to someone at the dinner table we would not have in our lives if they were not related. We have uncomfortable conversations about topics we usually avoid.

Christmas time is stressful with all of the long To-Do lists. Decorating, Christmas shopping, wrapping, Church programs, card writing, cooking, traveling, etc.! It is a tough time of year!

Keep The Meaning of Christmas This Year

When Your Spouse Doesn’t Have Any Common Sense

Jessica was on the phone with us scheduling a Marriage Intensive. “Austin doesn’t really love me because if he did I would not have to tell him to do the things that any man who loves his wife would do.”

For the first few years after Jessica and Austin married, nine years ago, Jessica felt like they were truly in love with each other. But for the last seven years, Jessica has been repeatedly hurt by his unwillingness “to love me”. This has built such resentment and bitterness in her heart that affects everything.

Holding onto past hurts and allowing resentment to build in your heart makes you act in ways that pushes your spouse away from you. Eventually it leads to, at best, a home with two people living independent parallel lives, or at worse, actions that finalize the end of the marriage in very hurtful ways.

Common Sense Is Not Common

Like Jessica and Austin, every marriage has dashed expectations. When the movie playing in your head about how you and your spouse should interact and what each should do does not happen, it can be very hurtful.

You assume that the movie playing in your head about how things should happen is the same movie playing in your spouse’s head. But it is not. And it is not the same movie playing in everyone else’s head.

The Movie Playing In Your Head

Wounding Each Other With Our Woundedness

Michael and Jessica were about an hour into a Marriage Intensive with us when we all four discovered something quite incredible: They both have the same core identity wound in their lives.

Michael’s Core Wound

Michael’s parents were together briefly as he was born but they never married. His father, in particular, was unengaged. He would show up for certain school functions, many times after drinking too much.

Too frequently when Michael sought out a brief “atta boy” from his father, he instead felt his father’s absence or, worse, sometimes heard his father’s criticism. His father, unintentionally, sent him a message that he is not goo enough.

Jessica’s Core Wound

Chasing Your Marriage Lions

Mark Batterson captures the essence of an incredibly brief story about Benaiah in 2 Samuel 23:20-21 with his book “In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day”. Benaiah was one of King David’s right hand men. But earlier in his story, he chased a lion during a snow storm into a pit and lived to tell about it.

“Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was a vigorous man who accomplished a great deal… on a snowy day, he climbed down into a pit and killed a lion.” 2 Samuel 20 (Message)

According to Batterson, Benaiah was provided an opportunity to protect himself and his tribe. Instead of doing what made sense, doing something safe and easy, he did the hard thing. He went after the threat to his tribe. He took the fight to the threat instead of worrying and waiting to see if what he feared would kill his tribe.

We do not know much about Benaiah, but because of his faith in God and his incredible courage, he chased a lion into a pit and came out the victor. Because of it, King David gave him a promotion to chief in his army. He received everything that he wanted, in fact more than his heart’s desires, because he chased the lion threatening his whole world. 

What Are The Lions In Your Marriage?

Be Courageous In The Face of Criticism

Stewart tells us that he takes a beating every day. “I come home physically and mentally tired from working twelve hours for my family and she’s right on me the very minute I come in the house.”

Stewart and Brianna had been married less than a year when he called for a Marriage Intensive. “I can’t take it anymore. I can never do anything right”.

Criticism In Marriage

Stewart and Brianna are like most couples. There always seems to be one spouse with a sharper tongue who is not afraid to use it to express how they feel or what they want. Criticism is one of the four Marriage Killers that, left untended, will destroy a marriage relationship.

The truth is that all married couples experience criticism. In fact, all spouses at some time in their marriage will employ criticism. All spouses at some point in their marriage will feel the attack of criticism from their spouse.

‘…you shouldn’t exhaust yourself in bickering; instead, be gentle… ready and able to teach, tolerant without resentment,’ 2 Timothy 2:24b,d (VOICE)

Courage When Under Attack

It’s Not Really About The Toothpaste

Barry packed a suitcase and announced at the garage door that he was moving out. “Go *&!@#$% yourself”, Stacie yelled back. He pulled out of the garage headed for the couch at the office with tears in his eyes as she sat balling on the living room couch.

It had all started over an argument about toothpaste. She wanted him to stop leaving toothpaste residue in the sink and to stop leaving his toothpaste tube on the counter. He shut down and stopped talking. With no response, she came at him louder and stronger to try to get confirmation from him. Less than minutes later, they were separated.

Stacie called to set up a Marriage Intensive. They had been to a marriage counselor before and had also been to their minister several times over their thirty years of marriage. Barry refused to try counseling again as it always ended up in them yelling at each other in the counselor’s office. Their minister helped them have more grace and forgiveness but the issues would just pop again in the next week. She wanted to try something different because she was scared this was finally the end.

It’s Not About The Toothpaste

Within the first couple of hours of the Marriage Intensive, we helped each person discover the real issue behind the toothpaste argument.

‘Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. ‘ Romans 12:16a (VOICE)

Can Your Marriage Survive This Political Season?

The RNC and DNC conventions are over and now it is on. This political season is working out to be a very crazy one. Whether you support Trump, love Hillary, push for the other guy, or wish Bernie or Cruz were still in it, every newscast, social media feed and magazine has a reference to an issue or a politician. Political ads are filling our video views and television programs. No doubt, it is on!

For some, it is a spectator sport. We watch it as if watching our favorite team compete. Some enjoy the voyeurism of it all. We watch to see the implosions and scandals of candidates. Some of us do not care one bit and we can hardly wait until it is all over and we are able to experience life politics free again.

Then there are the political junkies. We listen to talk radio all day and binge watch debates and speeches from our political candidate and foes. We buy the merchandise, go to meetings, give and raise money, and champion the cause of our candidate. We are consumed with politics and pay little attention to much else.

‘Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time.’ Titus 3:9 (VOICE)

How This Political Season Can Damage Your Marriage

Are You A Good Husband?

It seems like the definition of what it means to be a good husband keeps morphing over time. What was once heralded as good is now looked upon as being controlling or inadequate.

We believe that when a man seeks to marry, he wants to be a good husband. But too often he is ill equipped to be all that his spouse needs and wants. And it is unrealistic to meet a moving target of what it means to be a man, much less, a husband.

1950’s Assessment of What It Means To Be A Good Husband

Dr. George Crane published a test for husbands in the 1950s. Here are some of the items on the list:

Positive Attributes: