Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Uncategorized

Mission, The Why of Your Marriage

imagesWhy are you married? That seems like a question that does not need asking. But, couples can lose their way; lose their focus after some years of doing life. I know my marriage has at times. Mary and I discovered some years ago that we needed to answer that “why” question and then put it into writing. We call this our Marriage Mission statement and we have found it to be a guiding life value in our relationship. Most likely your work place has a mission statement, as does your local church and your auxiliary clubs you belong to. Marriage is God’s idea and when He brought it to earth He spoke to the very first couple these words, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” And, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 1,2) God gave Adam and Eve a mission.

Whether you are married a month or decades, your marriage has a purpose, a calling. Your children will find strength in knowing their family has focus and mission. A mission statement will keep you on track, help you set goals and set the course for personal change. It can help you envision where you want your marriage to go. What legacy do you desire to leave? It can start today by identifying your mission together as a couple and as a family.images-4

  1. Begin by listing areas that you and your spouse are presently prioritizing and involved in individually and as a couple. Write these things down.
  2. Take the time to list your personal family values, the practical things that define your marriage. (For example: praying together, becoming debt free or growing a business.)
  3. Start building your mission statement by listing your goals and dreams, keeping in mind all you have written above. What do you desire to accomplish as a couple/family? Include short-term and long-term dreams and think about this question, “What impact do we desire to make as a couple?” Your statement will include: the spiritual; the physical; the financial; the social; the vocational and the recreational.

Include some life scriptures like Joshua 24:15 or Psalms 127:1. Defining the “why” through a marriage mission statement just might be what is missing from your union.

Marriage, Postmarital

Five Reasons Why Dating Your Spouse is NOT Recommended

  1. images-14Dating is for the single person only. You are now into the real life throes of long-term marriage and everyone knows it is to be serious. It’s a lot of hard work and everyone is aware of the fact that the romantic spark left years ago. So, stop trying to prove otherwise.
  2. Dating costs money and money is hard to come by. The last thing you want to do is invest in your relationship. There are far too many essentials that must come first in the list of financial priorities.
  3. Dating takes time and time is a commodity that should be given first to work, the children and upkeep of all the stuff you own.
  4. You already did the, “smell good and look attractive” thing. You “caught” one another so go back to the couch and take that much-needed break in your most worn and most comfortable outfit. Ladies, put your hair into curlers and men, stop shaving.images-12
  5. And lastly, dating means we have to talk and heaven knows talking leads to fighting and fighting leads to not talking and not talking leads to…well, more fighting. So, your best bet is to never, never, never date. It will only lead to a closer, more loving, more fun and a  deeper friendship.
Marriage, Postmarital

Making Valentine’s Day Last a Month

images-11While Valentine’s Day has its roots in ancient Roman festivals that were basically pagan, Pope Gelasius recast this festival as a Christian feast day around 496 and declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the priest, Valentine, actually attracted the disfavor of Claudius II around 270. Claudius II was prohibiting young men from marriage to make them into soldiers. According to legend, Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies secretly and was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. The Valentine Day card evolved in the 18th century in England with gift-giving and handmade cards, which eventually spread to the American colonies. But it wasn’t until the 1850’s when Esther Howland, from Worcester, Mass., began producing Valentine’s Day greeting cards. Today, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.

Below are some ideas to generate your expression of love this Valentine’s Day:images-10


Write Post It notes of thankfulness and encouragement and place them all over the house

  • Send a card to your spouse’s workplace and surprise her/him with mail from you
  • Buy him or her their favorite candy bar and place it somewhere special
  • Kiss your valentine for no reason
  • Take their hand while driving or walking
  • Do a surprise date; you plan the whole date from beginning to end
  • Make her dinner
  • Make his favorite meal or dessert
  • Start buying small gifts and give them weekly throughout the month
  • Slip a hand written love note on a business card onto their car door window
  • Bring her or him coffee or tea in bed
  • Take care of the children for a few hours so she or he can do something special
  • Send a text message or call everyday around the same time telling her/him why you love them so deeply
  • Bring home take-out, flowers and a movie and surprise her
  • Buy him that tool or “toy” he has desired
  • Create your own Valentine’s Day card
  • Purchase a book on marriage and read it together
  • Attend a marriage seminar weekend together
Children, Encouragement

Are You Raising Your Children or are Your Children Raising You?

images-4Having children to raise, to train and to love is a privilege. Personally, I loved being a parent and still do even though my children are now grown and happily married. But if you’re serious about parenting, you realize at times it is beyond you or more than you think you can handle. At those times, I often wondered if I was raising my children or were my children raising me? Having the responsibility of children is stretching, maturing, tiring and quite often exasperating. My children could bring the best out of me… or the worst. I also discovered that children could help hold you accountable as a parent. What do I mean?

  •  Are you teaching your children to resolve conflict in a healthy way with one another, but then you and your spouse regularly experience out of control fights without resolve?                             images-3
  • Do you desire your children to love reading and learning? Are you reading to them? Are you a reader?
  • Are you training your children to pray? Do they see you having a personal prayer life? Can they catch you and your spouse praying together?
  • Do you want them to love God’s word? Do they see you reading it, hear you quoting it and then relating the stories from the Bible to them in practical ways.
  • Are you committed as a family to serve together and support your local church? Do you desire your children to love your local church?  Are you enjoying roasted preacher Sunday at the lunch table?
  • Are you teaching your children to value giving to those in need? When is the last time you took them to the homeless shelter in your local community to serve?

The very presence of our children will hold us accountable to actually live that which we are speaking to them. That’s a good thing.

Marriage, Postmarital

Five Grievous Ways to Tear Apart Your Spouse


Since the middle of the month of February has this “holiday” called Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to commit the next few weeks of blog messages to marriage. I hope you enjoy the various subjects and that in some small way they help you or remind you of your marital love and commitment, starting with these five warnings.

1. Speaking belittling words, name calling or utilizing sarcastic phrases that are meant to make our spouse feel inadequate, stupid or have lessor worth. Put-downs are never appreciated and never build relationship. They actually expose how immature we are as a person. They show off our feelings of inadequacy and our need to attempt to elevate ourself.

2. Talking in a tone of voice that conveys the message: “Listen you moron, if I said this once I’ve said it a dozen times — how can you not get this?” This tone is both demeaning and full of ridicule, not to mention it shows a severe lack of respect and honor. It also conveys the deprecating message, “I’m smarter than you.”

3. Making light of something our spouse cannot change. Your spouse cannot change the size of his or her feet or nose. They cannot change the fact that they lost hearing in one ear or have (in spite of how hard they try) kept on a few pounds after pregnancy. There are many things we can take responsibility for and change, but some things are just not possible, so please stop making these areas the brunt of your jokes. Plain and simple, it hurts even when your spouse laughs with you.

4. Correcting your spouse in public with that proverbial parenting voice. A wise couple once told us, “Praise in public, construct in private” and we have never forgotten that wisdom. Some couples/families use public embarrassment in an attempt to correct or silence another. It is dysfunctional and unhealthy to a marriage relationship. You are not one another’s parents; you are life partners looking out for each other’s best interest and good will.

5. Withholding compliments, praise, words of thankfulness and appreciation. By withholding these you think it will cause your mate to work harder in an effort to gain them. It will not. It will discourage them and for some, to the point of giving up. Heap praise, words of affirmation, compliments, and “I love you” words as often and as frequently as you possibly can. Withholding words of affirmation does not motivate, but readily and often speaking compliments and saying “thank you” will motivate.

Let’s get started operating in the complete opposite of the five grievous ways and always, always remember: You and your spouse are one. That means, whatever you are speaking about your spouse you are also speaking about yourself.