Vacation's All I Ever Wanted

I love our children.

I really do.

We just got back from a family vacation (see above for the view from our room) a few hours ago and while we were only gone for two days (count ‘em…just two), I can honestly tell you that I can happily wait until next year to do it again. The kids are just SO busy; the word RELAX is not on their radar or in their vocabulary. Plus, I’m now extremely aware of just how much Michael and I need to get away by ourselves; even if it’s just overnight (and NOT filled with activities that don’t include spa treatments, shopping, succulent foods, delicious wine and much lovemaking).

I once knew a woman who shared with us that she and her husband made a point of getting away together for a couple of days every six weeks! I am SO on board with that ~ let me tell you! And I’m determined to make it happen!

Time together for a husband and wife is vitally important; time alone together even more so. I want to encourage you both to make this a priority in your marriage. Guys, this is mainly up to you in the beginning of restoring your marriage because your wife needs you to pursue her in a positive way.

So get to booking that romantic (and relaxing) weekend for two!


Is It Worth The Effort?

Restoring your marriage may seem like the most impossible task on earth. It may fill you with a mixture of dread, hope, pessimism and longing; and you will ask yourself many times if it's really worth the effort.

We decided it was. We knew (that we knew, that we knew) that there had to be a reason....an answer for all of our struggles. How could the hopes and dreams that we'd had for our lives together be ending in such heartache and tragedy when it had started out so differently?

This week Michael and I speak about why we made the effort to restore our marriage and go from the edge of divorce to a binding of our hearts that is growing more deep each day.

Is it always easy? No.

Is it worth it? Definitely! Anything that develops our character more towards that of our Savior is always worth the effort.


Sharing Is Caring....So I'm Sharing

One of the awesome things I’ve come to love about blogging is all of the people I’ve begun to meet and learning about them and from them from reading their blogs, chatting with them on Facebook and following them on Twitter. And I must confess right now that I could easily hang out all day with my computer and a cup of coffee and be quite content. Not healthy for my marriage or for kids who want to eat so ~ word to the wise ~ don’t go there.

However, whenever I read something really great or watch a video with a powerful message about marriage and/or husbands & wives or find something that strengthens my walk with Christ, I just want to share it everyone.

So, since plagiarism is a dirty word and something I’m not given to, check out these links when you have a chance and share them with your spouse. They’ll definitely give you something to think about and, hopefully, be great conversation starters. Be sure to give credit where credit is due if you link to any of them on your own site. And don’t forget to take a look at the links and blogs listed over on the right of your screen. They’re totally worth it!

Oh My Gosh, and before I forget, Joyce Meyer is now following us on Twitter!!!! AND Michael and I were interviewed last night for a book being written about couples who were once separated and are now restored. How cool it that?!? Too excited not to share!

My Heart His Heart (keeping your harvest from being ruined)

Crosswalk – Paul Coughlin (Men need to initiate)

Without Wax (Measuring Spiritual Formation, Fighting For Control, Our Insecurity)

Paul Washer on The Purpose of Marriage (video)

Porn-Again Christian: A frank discussion on pornography and masturbation (this is an ebook)

Daddy’s Little Girl
(the above is post from an interview with the creator of Dirty Girls Ministry Crystal Renaud. Her fantastic site is here)

This should keep you busy for a while. I’ll be sure to share more great articles & videos as I come across them. Also, we often share snippets of things we come across during the week on our Tuesday night ministry calls (info to the right) so be sure to dial in!

Remember, if Michael and I can have a restored marriage….So Can YOU!


What Is Love?

This week we're mainly addressing husbands and how they love their wives. Is it on your terms guys or is the way she needs you to love her? Is it to serve you or is it the way God called you to love her...unconditionally?

The command: Husbands, love your wives.

The command fulfilled: just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

So, how are you to lead your wife? In love. What kind of love? The love of Christ. How is that demonstrated? By laying down your life for her. Notice that the bible never tells you to lay down your life for the ministry you may be involved in or for your children; but it does for your wife. Notice that it never tells you to lay down your life for your parents or you job...but it does for your wife.

Notice also, that the bible never tells a wife to lay down her life for her husband. The thing is though, she often does. Why? Because she's relational, she had dreams & hopes, she's a Proverbs 31 woman, she feels that's what's needed to hold the marriage together and because she just loves you you big dope even though you're not treating her like the daughter of God that she is.

So, stop claiming to be living as a biblical husband just because you do a few good things. If you're truly a man of God, then your wife will be more pleasing to you. You can make her bloom and grow because of your ministry to her and because you're loving her the way God has called you to and the way she needs you to.

Believe me...if Michael can do it ~ so can you!

Don't forget to join us tonight on our weekly, free conference call (info is available to the right) and be sure to pick up the resources you need here to get you started on the road to an Outrageously Happy Marriage!


Okay, this is just for fun. Heard about Wordle on another blog and knew I had to play with it! You can put in any words you want or add your blog's rss or atom feed and it generates these really cool word clouds. You can muck around with the color, font and layout. Basically, it's just an interesting little time waster. Just wish there was a way to actually turn it into a working word cloud. If anyone knows how to do this just shoot me an email.

Have fun!


Is Your Wife Worth 8 Cows?

There was once a father who had a daughter who wasn't at all pretty. Because she was so ill-favored, he despaired of any man ever coming to offer for her.

Now, in their tribe, when a suitor comes looking for a wife, it’s common to give a dowry and 8 cows is the highest most grand amount given. This particular father knew that his daughter would never fetch such a high price and would have been happy to receive even a small goat or a chicken…anything for that matter.

One day, a young man shows up at the father’s door and says, “I want to marry your daughter.” Well, the father can’t believe it – he tells him to just take her and that he doesn’t even have to give anything. But the boy wants to give 8 cows. Flabbergasted, the father asks, “Why?” The boy replies, “Because I’ve always wanted an 8 cow wife.”

Do you know what’s so beautiful about this story? It’s that, eventually, that woman became an 8 cow wife….the most beautiful woman in the village...because her husband treated her as such.

Husbands, your wives live in a cruel world, one in which images are put on the television and in magazines that aren’t realistic. Sometimes your wife compares herself to them and finds that she doesn’t measure up. The world says that she has to be a super model or look like a porn star in order to keep her husband’s attention, have romance or to have someone be passionate about her. Sometimes, sadly, you reinforce this. Yes, I said “You.” Is the only time you hug or kiss your wife before sex? If that’s so, I promise you she feels cheapened each time.

Many men claim to be biblical because they do a few good things but very few want to be biblical in the way God has commanded them. The life of a Christian husband begins with simple obedience to this command: Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

Are you ready to be obedient?


What Is Marriage?

Sometimes we just need to sit back, relax and remember some of what it means to be married. There's no way you can watch this and not smile. So, while Michael and I aren't with you today via video, I thought this a sweet little testimony to the sweetness of marriage. Enjoy and we'll see you next week!

Also, don't forget to join us this evening for our marriage ministry conference call at 7pm (pst). Details are over on the right.


Making Love

Michael and I don't hold with the belief that sex "isn't all that important" in a marriage. We think it's extremely important and it's very clear that the bible gives lovemaking a place of high importance in a married couple's life. Sex is designed by God to be a pleasure to both a husband and wife; it's designed to be fun and enjoyable for both spouses in giving and receiving.
This week we talk about the importance of making love, especially in the restoration process. A husband and wife bonding together regularly in this most precious and amazing way can make a huge difference in the success of the marriage.
Marriage is honorable among all and the bed undefiled. Hebrews 13:4
May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. May her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Proverbs 5:18-19

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her and also likewise the wife to her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:2

Blow upon my garden that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits. Song of Solomon 4:16


Pursuing Your Wife

In this ministry, we often speak about a husband positively pursuing his wife. This is vitally important in a marriage and shouldn’t stop just because the two are no longer in a dating relationship; courtship should continue always. When a husband and wife are no longer together however ~ whether because of separation or divorce ~ his positive pursuit towards a restored relationship with her becomes crucial in winning her heart.

Today I wanted to share a response to a question that was posted in the men’s section of the ministry forum. This man is divorced from his wife and was positively pursing her for a time. He then stopped because she asked him to and now she’s more hurt and angry with him then she was before.

Last night was really good for me to hear. The moderator lady (not sure who she is) was talking about the pain a woman goes through when her husband stops pursuing her...even when she's pushed him away or told him to stop pursuing her. Still trying to get my heart around that one. Can anyone help explain that a bit more?

Pursuing: what we mean here is to consciously and consistently do things for her that she appreciates. So if you are sending weekly love poems and she says, "I hate these poems, they make me so mad I want to puke!" Then stop sending the love poems and find something she does appreciate. Pursuing involves active listening and watching for her cues as to what she is comfortable with. Sometime just out of the blue buy some groceries for her and the girls and leave them at her house with a note saying, "just thinking about you and the girls when I was at the store and thought I would save you an extra trip." Some gesture of kindness that you know that she will appreciate. If she says, "Why did you do this?", you just say, "Because I care about you and our girls." She might appreciate a side hug from you from time to time, but be offended if you try to hold her hand...so give her a side hug from time to time. She might be enraged if you send her flowers because you never sent them when you were married, but she loves coffee and would welcome a Starbuck's gift card.

Sometimes guys say, “I know she likes chocolate" so they send her chocolate 52 weeks in a row and she says, "ENOUGH WITH THE CHOCOLATE ALREADY!!!!!!" and they say, "I guess this pursuing thing that J&K recommend doesn't work so well...." No the J&K thing works very well because they encourage you to listen to her heart and meet her expressed needs. If all she will allow you to do for her is to wash her car once every other week, then do that with all that you have and make her car the cleanest car in town.

Most of the times that I am aware of that the wife says, "stop", is because she is uncomfortable with the romantic overtones of the pursuit, i.e. a side hug is for friends, holding hands is romantic so she says, "stop trying to hold my hand, it is over!" And our hero husband says, "She said it is over and doesn't want me to pursue her anymore." The point is that she isn't saying, "I wish you would just stop doing things that I appreciate", she is saying "I am uncomfortable with what you are doing so please stop doing _____" (you fill in the blank).

This pursuit requires that you listen to her heart, observe her mood and speak and act in ways that she appreciates. If you continually strive to do this she will notice, she will appreciate it (even if she doesn't verbalize or write that to you) and over time if you persist she will recognize that it is a real change of heart. When she believes that the change is real, lasting and a heart level change she may begin to open up more of her heart and let you meet more of her needs and this can then lead to a more romantic pursuit and in time a complete restoration and healing in the marriage relationship.

So pursue her and don't stop pursuing her and if she says "stop", then stop doing whatever you’re doing that’s making her feel uncomfortable and try something else.

Just wanted to add this ~ there’s no time frame on how long it takes for a woman to respond warmly to her husband's positive pursuit of her. Often, it will depend on the level of hurt he’s brought to her heart throughout the relationship (adultery, pornography, self gratification, verbal/emotional/physical/spiritual/financial abuse, etc.). At a minimum though, he should be willing to committ to at least two years of positively pursing her (and include the children should there be any remembering, though, that his wife comes first).