12.29.2010

Crabbiness = No Sex = Distance = Fear

How's that for a title?

Welcome to my world. This morning I woke up before Michael did. I gave him a kiss and a hug and said to him, "You haven't made love to me in ages!" He gave a sleepy response in the affirmative. Then I asked, "Is it because I've been crabby lately and so you don't want to?" A pause followed by another yes.

Great!

So, I'm laying there trying not to feel hurt or get defensive. I know (that I know that I know) that I haven't been in the best of moods lately....probably, if I'm honest with myself, not in quite a while actually and I seriously have no idea as to why though I have some theories...I'll get to those in a minute. Suffice it to say that my response to Michael's answer to my question was to say, "Maybe if you made love to me more I wouldn't be so crabby," and then to slink out of the bed; I say slink because I know it was an immature response on my part even though there's some truth there (at least I think so).

My internal struggle here is to fight the urge to be pissed off and run away (emotionally) which I so want to do right now but the reality of living that out will only have detrimental effects on my relationship with Michael and both of our hearts. Ugh!

The answer to this equation is elusive to me and I've been avoiding it for a while. I suspect that Michael has too because he knows that I won't react well to it. Ahhh....the beauty of being married to a passive person (poor man).

So here are my theories as to why I've been so crabby lately:

1. I've stuffed my emotions for as long as I can remember; it's how I coped with my life and what was going on around me. It certainly didn't serve me as I grew but I continued on out of fear; fear that if I didn't do what someone wanted me to or be what someone wanted me to be then they would leave. I even experienced this in my bad days with Michael. Now, however, that Michael has become safe and is loving me the way Christ calls him to, everything that I've stuffed for years and years; all the hurt, pain and anger is bubbling up to the surface and leaking out in a steady stream.

2. Hormones! I definitely have all the symptoms of premenopause and believe you me, it's no cake walk. It completely sucks and, with all due respect, guys seriously have NO idea of what women go through in this: fatigue, irritability, cravings for sweets and carbs, weight gain, feeling depressed or overwhelmed, mood swings and irritability, headaches, low libido, joint pain, sleeplessness, fuzzy thinking, anxiety, dry skin, vaginal dryness, irregular periods. Those are just my symptoms. Think that would make you crabby? God! Men have it so easy when it comes to their bodies.

3. Michael knows that I prefer when he initiates sex and love making between us. And it's not that I never do, I just prefer when he does and when he doesn't for a bit I get edgy. Very edgy.

4. Even though Michael tells me everyday that I'm beautiful and I that he's attracted to me, I'm not comfortable with the way my body looks and so I don't feel attractive and the beginning stages of eating better and exercising completely SUCK! and definitely adds to my crabbiness.

"Somebody bring me something deep fried and smothered in chocolate!" ~ Fairy Godmother

We (our ministry) tell husband's all the time, "If you don't like the way your wife is responding to you, take a moment and see how you're being with her. She will mirror back to you what you're showing her." While there's absolute truth in that, I also know that, for me, there's more here. Michael and I have been walking out our restoration for almost 4 years now and he's an amazing husband. So what gives?

12.25.2010

A Birth Took Place ...

Yesterday I posted some fun video clips of my favorite Christmas movies that I look forward to watching each year. Pure silliness, I know, but part of the season should be filled with a little silliness.

That aside, there's another reason we celebrate - the real reason; the celebration of a birth that took place and the life given to us because of it. I love the depiction of Christ's birth in the movie The Nativity Story...it seems very authentic as to how life was back then and to what the birth may have been like....

Glorious!!!

Wondrous!!!

Terrifying!!!

Hopeful!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


12.24.2010

Snow!!!

One of my favorite things about the holiday season are all of the Christmas movies that come on beginning the day after Thanksgiving. Just for fun, I thought I'd post clips from my two favorite holiday movies: White Christmas and Elf; a bit of the old and new.

Merry Christmas!




11.23.2010

Lead Me

We love love love hearing a Christian song on the radio that speaks about a husband being with his wife the way she needs him to be; about him being the man that God calls him to be. Sanctus Real gets it with their song, Lead Me.

The first video is the story behind the lyrics of the song; the second is the music video. We hope both validate every wife's heart and encourage every husband to love their wife as Christ calls him to.








Sanctus Real - “Lead Me”

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

11.11.2010

Terrible Therapist?

I get the biggest kick out of some of the commercials out there and this one is no exception. Really...it's hilarious! At the same time, I can't help thinking of how much truth is in it. Former drill sergeant or not and all kidding aside, sometimes it's the kind of talk that's needed to get someone to look outside of themselves.

11.06.2010

A Prince Among Men - Rule #1


I love how the topic of being a good husband has segued over from Christian ministry to mainstream reading. A couple of days ago, my mom and I were at an arts and crafts festival that we like to go to each year when I came across this book and new I had to pick it up. Being a fan of classic black and white movies, I was instantly drawn to the pictures and, of course, all of the "rules" are right on even if some are a bit on the campy side.




Read the rules guys! While they may read silly, there's definite truth here!

11.03.2010

My Christlike Husband

Being married to a man who is truly walking out what Christ calls him to be as a Christian husband is an incredible experience. Not only do I feel deeply loved and safe, I get the privilege of watching him grow into the man God has called him to be!


10.21.2010

Upcycled

One of the current buzz words in the craft arena right now is 'upcycle' which basically means to take something you already have and give it a bit of a face lift; essentially, to go from drab to FAB! with some simple things that you most likely already have hanging around the house or putting to use some techniques which you already know but just haven't used in a while....maybe in quite a while.

For example, to go from this...



to this


which is what I've been doing with most of my time lately ~ just take a look at my craft blog ~ hence the lack of posting here. But I was thinking about upcycling and how it can absolutely apply to marriage as well. As believers, most of us know what God has to say about marriage but seem to have been going around living in the drab worldly way about it instead of the FAB! way that God designed it to be.

Sometimes, you just have to get creative and before you knock creating (or think that you're not) just remember that we were created by the ultimate Creator and as we're created in His image I'm thinking that means that we all have creative abilities.

So get crackin'! or...um...creatin'!

9.28.2010

Apologizing From The Heart...

We had an awesome Intensive last week! Thanks to all of you who were praying for the couples who attended and us ~ we definitely felt it! As we always do after an Intensive, Michael and I tucked into each other's hearts, rested, spent time with our children, played ~ I got to do some crafting which you can check out here ~ and generally...regrouped. We're good to go now!

For Testimony Tuesday, we wanted to talk about apologizing from the heart and the role this plays in getting a restored marriage. If you've ever apologized to someone just so that you could go back and say, "I said I was sorry," or to cover your own pain & shame so that you could hurry up and move on or, and this is a big one, just because you got caught; then you've only apologized to make yourself feel better, not the person you've hurt.

In marriage restoration, apologizing from the heart is huge and something that really needs to take place in order for healing and closure to be present. This week, we talk about what that looks like, what it means, and how to do it. And remember guys, as initiators, it begins with you.

We hope to have you join us on our ministry call this evening (info is to the right on the sidebar) and be sure to let us know that you're listening in. We'd love to connect with you!


9.14.2010

Healing Hurts...


If you've ever broken a bone, sprained an ankle or had some extensive dental work done, then you know that there's pain involved in healing. Remember when the relationship with your first love ended? The pain involved in that healing process? In a word; "excruciating".

And when the Lord prunes off the dead fruit in our lives, it hurts even though we know (that we know that we know) that it needs to come off because it's sucking the life out of the good fruit that's trying to grow.

In marriage restoration, there's pain in the healing. There is. Embrace it, accept it, press into it because avoiding it only makes the process longer. Promise.

"Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

9.05.2010

Dicky Fox on Success

9.03.2010

Well now....

My son, Jack, has to have an ultrasound of his heart next week. It's for a recently detected heart murmur and most likely nothing serious though it has me thinking about a lot of stuff that I need to journal about on my other blog. Anyway, the reality of it just has me feeling SOOOO many different ways today!

Some powerful stuff here in this clip. I'm only kinda sorry if the language offends - it fits the story and it fits my mood.

How Ok Are We?

In the world of on-line sharing, we've been fortunate to come across some great bloggers who have incredible insight into the dynamics of marriage and Christianity. Today, I (Annalea) read a post by Traylor Lovvorn over at Reflections of a Ragamuffin entitled "I'm Not Ok. You're Not Ok. And That's Ok!" which was awesome and which elicited the following response from me. Because I feel it's an important topic, I wanted to post it here. Oh, and definitely visit both of these blogs because they're terrific!


Hey Traylor,

Great post with a lot of truth and a topic that comes on the heels of a conversation I recently had with Michael and a couple who was at our home for dinner last night.

The conversation started with me bringing up a recent post I'd read over at Project M which asked the question - Is Marriage Hard? - which morphed into a discussion of a program that us two couples are familiar with which encourages people to be their authentic self which, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing (no masks, no pretending, etc.); it just leaves big gaps that never get quite filled. My question/response to that, though, was what about when my "authentic self" hurts another person? Do I justify that with, "hey, this is me....authentically." Somehow, I don't think that would work because it's an authenticity that's self-focused when viewed this way.

Which takes me to your 4th quadrant: "I'm not okay. You're not okay." True statements and definitive Gospel which offers true freedom in Christ. It doesn't seem quite enough to recognize our respective non-okness (how's that for a new word?), however, and leave it at that. I would hope that the recognition would follow with change as it doesn't seem enough to recognize the brokenness and do nothing to move through it; to say, "this is just who I am" because there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ therefore others need to receive me just as He does.

I recognize that you haven't stated this in your post; it's just what came up for me while reading it. In our marriage ministry, we occasionally talk with husbands who claim in one breath that God knows their heart and with the next verbally abuse their wife. Yet they hold fast to that belief because, in their mind, it justifies the strength of their faith even though the Word tells that same man (indeed, tells us all) that out of the mouth speaks the heart. Our response to these men is, "you're absolutely right. God does know your heart."

My reality is this: my marriage would never have been restored had Michael continued to look at pornography and go to strip clubs. Do we both recognize that as a part of non-okness? Yes. Though to just recognize it and do nothing to move out of it would have been counter productive and, in my opinion, a poor representation of Christianity.

8.31.2010

The Beginning of Our Marriage Restoration Journey


I was looking in Michael's 'sent' email folder today for something that he'd forwarded to me last month and found this letter that I'd given him a couple of weeks before we went to our Marriage Intensive. As it's part of our personal story, we thought it perfect to post for Testimony Tuesday.

Dear Michael,

I'm really glad that we seem to be on a path to restoring our marriage.
I'm glad that you are reading Joel and Kathy's books and that you've been open to their teaching, experience and suggestions as hard as that may be for you at times. I recognize that you want to try to make changes in your life that will positively affect me, you and our marriage and will help you to become that man that God has called you to be.

I think that the Intensive could be a huge turning point for both of us and I want to encourage you to do whatever it takes to pay the fee as soon as possible so that we can go. I think it was a complete blessing from the Lord that I was able to use my miles and I don't think we can afford to lose this opportunity. I hope you feel the same.


I also want to say that I'm glad you were finally open to moving out. I know this was difficult for you (you even mentioned pride, humiliation, etc.) and I recognize your struggle. The thing is, it's not working for me (not with it being just a "clothes out" move). Even though I at first agreed (actually suggested) that you continue to come here to do your work, I don't feel in control of my life knowing that you're still coming here everyday. It doesn't feel like a true separation and though I struggle with being alone and wanting to be taken care of by you (especially during my
pregnancy) I don't feel like I have any space that I can call my own right now to grow and breathe. I know that I've asked you to stay a couple of times and you've immediately said that you don't want to overstay your welcome. I'm glad that you're conscious of that boundary.

It's just that, for me, it's more of a struggle to grow through this and really focus on restoring myself when I see you all the time. It's too easy for me to want to throw everything away and just make love and forget that there are some real issues that need to be dealt with ~ especially by you ~ before we can really and truly come back together. I will go out on a limb here to say that you struggle with the same thing and these two wrongs for us both definitely do not make a right.


NEGATIVE - What I've seen from you since you agreed to move out is (and even since we started talking again):

- putting the fact that you forced me out back on me and trying to make me feel bad about it

- not moving your clothes out until I said something
- wanting to be secretive about who had the tapes

- you still trying to have some control in my life

- you not having to pay any rent on the apartment as I've already done so

- two months of an unpaid mortgage, etc.
- allowing G to have the upper hand in his relationship with you (language, disrespect, boundaries, etc.) which speaks of your relationship with me

POSITIVE - I've also seen you:

- reading Joel & Kathy's books

- making some apologies

- doing some work around the house

- buying gifts

- going on some appointments

- putting gas in my car
- buying groceries


I think that the negative stuff is your arrested development and pride getting in the way. I think that the positive stuff is you really wanting to make an effort.
I think we both need some space. And so I'm asking you to move your office to the apartment for the time being. It just feels too much like I've come home to you on your terms (like every time before) and I need you to come back on mine.

I get the inconvenience of it all and I can already hear the prideful excuses. Still, I'm hoping for the positive effort.



Five days later, Michael sent the following email to J&K:

Dear Joel and Kathy,

Money is very tight right now. I am self employed so no check every Friday. However I do have money coming in, and paying for the intensive is on the top of the list. I have read your first book and now I have started to read your second book. Learning to listen to my wife's heart is what I am working on also owning how I have hurt her. She is still unsure if the changing in me is genuine, although it seems like she is beginning to open up with me. When she poses a request I am learning to listen and act on it right away. Thank you for being so open and for setting me on the right path to love my wife with agape love.

8.24.2010

By Acting Like A Man In Love....

...he became a man in love



enough said, n'est pas?

8.19.2010

WOW! Our little boy is 3!

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In just a few days, our son Daniel will turn 3 years old and it's amazing that three years have passed us by in what feels like an instant.

I was 5 months pregnant with Daniel (our only child together) when I filed for divorce and just a couple of months away from having him when we began our marriage restoration. There was a lot that came up for me at that time. When Jeff was alive, I was 5 months pregnant with Evan when we found out that he had terminal cancer. And when he became very sick, he was mostly on the couch and had to depend on those around him for all of his needs.

A week after Daniel was born, my c-section incision opened and I had to be on bed rest (which I did on the couch) for 2 months during which I had to depend on Michael for everything. It just brought up so much for me and put me in a place of completely having to trust him and him completely dying to self and putting me first. Whether we wanted it to look this way or not, we were thrown head first into our restoration .

But, looking back, this was the best way for us - God couldn't have orchestrated it any better. And Daniel's birth was such a blessing! His promise of new life; in our child, in our family and in our marriage!






8.18.2010

Amazing Pumpkin Pie!

One of my (Annalea) favorite things about eating live raw foods is eating the desserts! I'm tellin' you what - you won't believe how delicious uncooked sweets can be and once you start making them, you'll want to do it again and again. AND....you could even eat them for breakfast if you wanted to!

Okay....I'll sign you up for that!

In fact, this Raw Pumpkin Pie tastes so much like the traditional fare - right down to the crust - that you won't even miss it and if you were to add it to your Thanksgiving table this year, I'll bet it'll end up GONE...GONE...GONE!

I found this recipe on line one day (here's the original) and was intrigued because there's no pumpkin in it! I did fudge around with the recipe a bit to suit my personal taste and because I was out of some of the ingredients but I promise you'll LOVE it!



Crust:
2 cups raw pecans
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked
1/8 - 1/4 tsp sea salt (check after 1/8)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Place pecans into food processor and grind until somewhere between coarse and fine. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Pour into a 8-9 inch tart/pie pan with a removable bottom and pat mixture evenly over the bottom (you may go up the sides of your pan if you wish).








Filling:
1/2 cup raw cashews that have been soaked in water for 4-6 hours (I used 1 cup soaked which is about 3/4 cup dried)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup yacon root syrup (I didn't use this because I didn't have it. I understand it has a real molasses flavor. The 1/2 cup of agave makes it plenty sweet though)
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup carrot juice (I made my own juice so I also threw the pulp into the mix)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I only used 1 tsp)
1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I only used 1 tsp AND added 1/2 tsp of ground cloves)
Vanilla powder to your taste (I just now noticed this. I didn't use it though a little vanilla probably be good though, because of the coconut oil I think it's fine w/o)

Just put everything into your food processor and whirl away until everything is well incorporated. Pour on top of your pecan crust and chill for 2-3 hours before serving.








I think a cashew whipped cream would be divine with this, especially spiked with a bit of fresh orange zest but, alas, I'm without a VitaMix blender (hi Russ!) which is like the god of all blenders so that will have to wait until I find myself in the black. The link above showed the pie with chocolate drizzled over the top which would probably not be too bad as I do enjoy pumpkin bread with little chocolate chips in it. All that to say...experiment! Have fun and play with your food!

I won't tell anyone.

Well....actually, I might.

Okay, about the ingredients in this pie, and because this is Wellness Wednesday, I want to expound a bit on the health benefits of virgin coconut oil which are actually quite varied. Here's a little Youtube video about it along with some tips on ways to use it. Oh, I buy mine at Whole Foods and be sure to try the raw coconut butter.

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!

8.17.2010

Marriage Intensive Gave Us Hope and Restoration!



In March of 2007, without hope and with great heartache, I (Annalea) filed for divorce. For three years prior to that we had tried to get help, we'd been separated several times, gone to counseling, read books, gone through workshops. We just got worse and neither of us could figure out why.

Two months later, I found Joel and Kathy Davisson's ministry - God Save My Marriage - and learned that they facilitated Marriage Intensives in their home town of Palm Coast, FL. We went and, well, the rest is history. If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you'll know the outcome and if you're a first time reader, I hope the title of our blog is a give away to what we've experienced (and continue to experience) since we attended.

God had SO MUCH to teach us!

Now, Michael and I facilitate the same Marriage Intensive out here in southern California. In fact, we have one coming up in Anaheim, CA September 16-19 and if you'd like to attend with your spouse, just shoot us an email or give us a call.

They're really amazing and if you're willing and teachable....you'll get a miracle too!

Hope to hear you on our call tonight at 7!


8.12.2010

Movie Night!


With so many people cutting back these days (including us), it seems like the first things to go are the frivolities...the wants instead of the needs. Even so, it's super important that one of the things we couples don't give up is date night. And while Michael and I think it's important to actually leave the house we get that there may be times when this isn't feasible; especially if a lack of extra funds is an issue.

However, if you can part with a 5 spot this week, spring for a movie, put the kids to bed and snuggle up on the couch or in bed together (clothes optional - even for the couch) and watch a movie. We've recommended some of our favorites and if you want to add to the list, be sure to leave a comment.

Have fun!
(disclaimer. some of these have a bit of nudity, like Troy, and some violence and/or cursing. you may want to use an online movie review site such as pluggedin.com to check first)


Girl With A Pearl Earring
Double Jeopardy
Roman Holiday
Flawless
Bottle Shock
North by Northwest
Pride and Prejudice
Swing Vote
What Dreams May Come
Lars And The Real Girl
Babbette's Feast (foreign)
The Wedding Planner
Shop Girl
Arranged
Juno
The Blind Side
Ushpizin (foreign)
Star Trek
Bride and Prejudice
The Wedding Singer
Stardust
Cellular
Hancock
The Nativity Story
How To Lose Friends And Alienate People
Australia
My Man Godfrey
The Holiday
Duets
Mrs. Miniver
Facing The Giants
Sliding Doors
Hildalgo
Napoleon Dynamite
Ocean's Eleven
Monsoon Wedding
National Treasure
The Illusionist
Silk
The Lady In The Water
State Of Play

8.11.2010

Wellness Wednesday

If you listen to our ministry calls on Tuesday nights and it happens to be late in the evening, you just might find us talking about food instead of marriage. I seriously have no idea how it started...it was several months ago and, admittedly, I (Annalea) am an avid "foodie", it was towards the end of a call and those of us still on began talking about eating live raw foods. This went on for a couple of months and then we seemed to take a bit of a hiatus from it but somehow this evening the conversation was resurrected.

With some good-natured prompting, I was moved to tentatively start a section of our marriage blog that would feature recipes, tips and other blogs related to incorporating more raw (I mean 'live') foods into our lives/diets.

So, Wellness Wednesday was born (name is still up in the air...suggestions?) and, really, I think the wellness part fits with the theme of a restored ~ well ~ marriage. Too much of a stretch? That's okay, we're still in the testing stage. Kinda like trying out a new recipe. Okay...Okay...

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31


The benefits of a living foods (raw) diet are amazingly endless. Just type 'raw food diet' into your favorite search engine and you'll be amazed at how many sites there are devoted to the subject.

Really. Open up another window and do it.

Then come back.

Did you do it?

No? Okay. Just promise to do it after you read this. And while you're at it (especially if you're a foodie like me), take a look at these sites; they're some of my favorites:

Raw On $10 A Day (or less!)

Sweetly Raw

Raw Radiance

In The Raw

Raw Epicurean

Rawmazing

That should hold you for now. I don't want to give you too many and then be held responsible for all of the work you don't get done because you spent two hours looking at a bunch of recipes for uncooked food.

I know. It's crazy. Crazy GOOD!

For now, on this maiden voyage, I'll show you some pics of a juice I made to get you inspired. Oh, in case you might be wondering, I have a Champion juicer. I've had it for 10 years and I love it! Powerful and uber easy to clean unlike the Jack La Lane juicer which my loving husband brought into the marriage and which we have a continued dispute over - which one is the best?

I'll give you a hint. Mine is.






The beauty of fresh juice is that it's all good for you ~ amazing actually ~ and you can throw in whatever sounds good. This one was a mixture of carrots, apples, beets, celery and oranges. Here are my other favorites:

Pink grapefruit and apple

Green lemonade (about 8 romaine leaves, 1/2 cucumber, 2-3 stalks of celery, 2 apples, 1/2 a peeled lemon, 1-inch piece of fresh ginger)

Carrot, apple, parsley

Watermelon

These are all delicious and you're body will thank you for treating it so nicely.

Yes it will!

Have fun and experiment. Always use organic when you can. You don't have to peel cucumbers, or ginger or apples when you juice them. Probably other things too. You'll figure it out as you go.

You know what else? I'm pretty sure that Adam and Eve didn't cook anything when they were in Eden.

I'm just sayin'.

8.08.2010

I Still Remember...


I found this picture of us last night. It's from our wedding day. I was looking at it and thinking about what a beautiful day it was and how much heartache we experienced in spite of it; in spite of ourselves. It was a sad thought. And then I was driving back from Starbucks this morning (yep, I'm fan) and this song came on the radio and it completely took me back to all of those sleepless nights and heartache-filled conversations. You know the ones. You know (or remember) the feelings.

It was a loss.

I know. Why go there when it's SO much better now? I don't know. Chalk it up to my mood, the song, cloud cover, the "picture perfect memories scatted all around the floor..." Losses can still be mourned, especially ~ I think ~ when the redemption is so sweet.

Still....

8.03.2010

His 10% is Her 90%


There's a place in the heart of every wife that needs to be fulfilled in a very specific way and that wife will look to her husband to touch that place, cherish it, validate it and help it to flourish. It's her 90%. When he doesn't, everything else that he does for her, while appreciated, becomes her 10% ~ secondary to this need within her.

Now, I know that we (as believers) can and should look to Christ to fulfill all of our needs; and He will. I also know that in a Christian marriage, God calls a husband to represent Christ to his wife by loving her unconditionally and laying his life down for her, just as Christ did for the church. The thing is, many of these same men will do just enough to look like a good, godly, Christian man/husband and only give what they want to or what they're comfortable giving and expect their wife to be okay with that. And the crazy thing is that he knows (that he knows, that he knows) what her 90% is but won't give it to her. Chalk it up to pride, ego...whatever.

Today we give some insight into this dynamic and an example of what it looks like lived out.

We sure do hope you'll join us this evening on our weekly marriage ministry call (dial in information is in the sidebar to your right) and if you have any comments or questions, be sure to leave them at the end of this post or send us an email yourmarriagerestored@gmail.com

Remember, if we can do it...You Can Do It Too!


7.27.2010

An Overdue Apology


The growth in Michael's character over the last three years ~ as a believer and as a husband ~ has been tremendous. As we've walked out our marriage restoration together, this change in him has fostered a deep trust and vulnerability that not only serves to strengthen our relationship, it's also created safety, great love and oneness between the two of us.

You may remember that we just finished a Marriage Intensive a week ago. It was during this time ~ in conversation with one of the couples ~ that a memory came up for me from our bad days; a time when Michael had falsely accused me of inappropriate behavior with a dear friend. I'd been deeply hurt by him over that event (as had my friend and his wife) and it was the first time in our relationship that Michael had made a false accusation of me which was a foreshadow of things to come for us.

I think that because these kinds of accusations continued and worsened over the years, the incredulity of the first time lessened a bit though the relationship between my friends and myself definitely suffered and it was sad for all of us. Where it had once been extremely close, it changed and became very fragile and...careful.

So, here we were ~ at the Intensive ~ and in the course of conversation this particular incident came up and Michael realized that he would have a chance to apologize to my friend in person (no less) because he was going to be in California visiting with another friend (these guys were my late husband's best friends) and they were going to visit with us during our vacation.

It was awesome. Michael greeted both guys warmly and with an openness and a trust that I can SO tell you he never had in our bad days. During the course of their time with us, he took the opportunity to humbly and sincerely apologize for his actions all those years ago. He made it clear that he didn't expect anything in return, even forgiveness; he just wanted them to know that he was deeply sorry.

This may be a bit confusing as I started off mentioning one guy and now Michael's apologizing to two. The one he apologized to for the accusation, the two he apologized to because he knows of their love and friendship towards my late husband and their concern over how Michael had treated me in the past. Got it?

All this to say that we continue to have times of restoration as we walk this out and that it's moments like this that make it all worth it; for my heart, for Michael's heart and for the hearts of others.

And to that I say, "Amen!"

7.20.2010

Our Intensive Testimonies


Having just finished a Marriage Intensive this past weekend, I thought it would be fun to post the testimonies that we wrote to Joel and Kathy 3 years ago when we went to our Intensive (they actually still had them on their site!). It was fun to look back and see what our feelings about it were as I've been posting the testimonies of the couples who were just with us for the past several days.

So...enjoy! And don't forget to jump on over and read the most recent testimonies from the Intensive we just had (only have two up so far as we're on vacay and could only post the ones we received via email so check back next week for the others). If you're thinking of coming yourself, our next Marriage Intensive takes place in Anaheim, CA September 16 - 19. Perhaps we'll see you there!

Dear Joel and Kathy,

How can I begin to describe what your Intensive has meant to my marriage? My wife and I have been separated for about four months. In that time, my wife introduced me to your books and the scales began to come off of my eyes. It turns out that I was not Prince Charming - on the contrary, I have been quite the clueless husband who has fallen short of meeting my wife's needs.

Not only has your Intensive Weekend given me the knowledge and skills needed to be the man who God has meant for me to be by meeting my wife's needs - we are no longer separated! Praise the Lord! ~ Michael (and Annalea)


Dear Joel and Kathy,

When my husband and I separated for the THIRD time and I had filed for divorce, I began searching for something - ANYTHING - that would give me a reason as to why I had come to such desperate measures. Your web site, books, phone counsel, group calls and this Weekend Marriage Intensive have been like cooling water to my marriage.

After some "not so subtle" hints, my husband finally agreed to read your books. Then he began to listen to the weekly conference calls and be both knew that coming to an Intensive was a must for the beginning of true healing. We have both learned so much from your guidance, love, honesty and support. Because of these things, I now have a glimmer of the hope I've been so desperately searching for. Can this be real? Is it really possible to be treated like a queen? I've always known I was meant to be a "Royal" (smile) ~ Annalea (and Michael)

7.08.2010

Swagger Wagon

7.06.2010

Marriage Restoration Success


Michael landed on something great during one of our weekly ministry calls a couple of weeks ago; Guys ~ get out of your wife's head. Don't assume how your wife will react to something you do or say. Instead, do the right thing (be Christlike) and let her decide how to react.

Trust that when you do the right things, the desire that God has put into her heart will come back to life toward you and then enjoy the results when she begins to respond warmly. Don't decide that she is going to reject you and then live from that. Get out of her head.

Ladies: Get out of husband's head. Enjoy his positive words and actions when he does them. Don't get into why he's doing them, how he's feeling about them, or if he want to do them....just enjoy the positive actions and words of love. Let him fight his own battles in getting his flesh to die and getting his heart and head into the right place.

Assuming that you know what the other is thinking and feeling can work against you and the marriage. Remember, you're both coming from a different place now so don't set each other up for failure. Walk out what you're learning together and set your marriage up for success!

Hope to have you both join us on the call tonight at 7pm! Dial in information can be found in the side bar to the right so don't be shy!

We care about your marriage!



7.01.2010

Through The Fire


Yesterday I was going through a box of files looking for a birth certificate for one of our boys and came across a file that said "Divorce/Restraining Order". I pulled it out and opened it. Inside was a copy of the divorce papers I'd served Michael with in March of 2007 along with a credit card slip for $1100 that he'd spent to retain an attorney along various notes and financial statements.

I felt a vice squeeze my heart.

Even though, praise God, our marriage is restored it was no less painful seeing those documents from that time in our lives. You may be wondering why Michael still even had the file. I know I did. First off, he keeps just about everything and when I brought it to him and asked why it was still with us, he'd genuinely forgotten about it. Then he took me in his arms and held me and apologized for how he was with me back then and validated the choice I felt I had to make at the time and apologized again for the fact that he'd been with me in a way that even got me to considering divorce. Afterward, we checked it to make sure there wasn't anything in it that we needed to keep such as W2's or our marriage certificate, etc. Then we threw it in the garbage because for us now, that's what it is.

When I thought about writing this post I thought it would have been good to take a picture of those papers with our names on it but then I realized that I never want to see them again or be reminded of where we used to be. I know that Michael loves me and our children and that he's fully committed to our marriage. He walks through the fire for me every day - laying down his life for me as the ultimate sacrifice unto God.


6.27.2010

Good Orgasm Bad Marriage


Michael and I had lots of sex in our bad days. Lots of great sex actually which was about the only good thing between us that we could lay claim to back then. We thought sex = love and love = sex.

With all the craziness we experienced together back then and both of us feeling so out of control, we resorted to sex as a way to solve our problems, when in reality we were only burying the issues under a false sense of closeness. Those times we joined together in sexual intimacy we relieved our relational pain (without solving it) and made ourselves (and each other) feel good knowing that when the high wore off, we'd be right back to where we'd started. We were a product of our collective emotional arrestedness that said, "I'm only okay (loved, accepted, valued, etc.)/the relationship is in tact if Michael/Annalea has sex with me.

So....good orgasms; ├╝ber bad marriage.

I (Michael) thought - like many husbands - that if my wife would have sex with me whenever I wanted her to and however I wanted her to then our marriage would be fine. I'd be accepted by her, my need to feel like a man would be fulfilled and SHAZAAM! I'd get the wife I wanted....and somehow, I'd get this marriage thing right.

The opposite happened. Annalea did give me sex whenever I wanted, the problem was that I wanted it during times that I'd been verbally and/or emotionally abusive towards her (to assuage my insecurities) so all her having sex with me did was reinforce my bad behavior towards her and I didn't change into the man she needed me to be nor did I get the wife that I needed and wanted.

My thoughts and arguments weren't only flawed, they weren't scriptural. If Annalea gives me sex, then things will be fine, great, whatever. So not true! I discovered that the way to a great and happy marriage was to choose first to treat Annalea with a Christ-like love. Then as I stayed obedient to the Lord, trusting Him and trusting that Annalea would respond positively toward me as I chose to treat her the way God called me to, our marriage did turn around. This was (and continues to be) nothing short of a miracle.

Annalea and I both grew up in broken homes so neither of us saw our parents in a happy, whole marriage. Instead we became the products of infidelity, alcoholism, divorce, physical abuse, control, sexual molestation, drug use, promiscuity; perhaps some of the things that you yourself experienced growing up. For us to be happily married is a first in who knows how many generations in our respective families.

It's our heart's desire that you experience this kind of transformation in your own marriage. Seriously, if we can do it....You Can Do It Too!

6.21.2010

Happy Father's Day!



So yesterday was Father's Day for all the dads out there and it was a nice relaxing time for Michael at our house. Breakfast in bed, cards from the kids, games, watching movies, lunch in bed and steaks on the grill for dinner. We (the kids and I) are so blessed that Michael is such an amazing dad, especially now that he's an incredible husband!

More often than not, we hear of (Christian) husbands who leave the raising of their children to their wife or who are very involved in their childrens' lives but who are abusive to their wives. How sad is that? Being the kind of husband God calls a man to be isn't just a blessing to the wife, it's a blessing to the children as well; it makes them feel safe and gives them hope that they will one day have a happy marriage and family.

Amen and amen!



6.16.2010

The Man I Want to Be

Annalea came home last night telling me about a song she'd heard on the radio while driving home. She didn't know what it was called or who sang it but she was really excited because she said the words were just like the message of this ministry.

After a little searching around on the internet, she found out that the song was called The Man I Want to Be by Chris Young. She shared the lyrics and video with me tonight and all I can say is that if I were to write a poem or the lyrics to a song of the changes that have been occurring within me over these last three years I wouldn't describe it any differently than Mr. Young has.

The cry of my heart has always been to be the man that God has called me to be. It's my hope that every Christian husband and father fully embrace this journey of real Christian manhood and husbandry; to be the man that he truly wants to be.





The Man I Want to Be, Chris Young



God, I'm down here on my knees
Cause its the last place left to fall
Beggin for another chance
If theres any chance at all
That you might still be listenin
Lovin and forgivin guys like me
Ive spent my whole life gettin it all wrong
And I sure could use your help cause from now on

I wanna be a good man
A do like I should man
I wanna be the kind of man the mirror likes to see
I wanna be a strong man
And admit that I was wrong, man
God I'm asking you to come change me
To the man I wanna be

There's anyway for her and me to make another start
Could you see what you could do
To put some love back in her heart
Cuz it going to take a miracle
After all Ive done to really make her see

That I wanna be a stay man
I wanna be a great man
I wanna be the kind of man that she shes in her dreams
God, I wanna be your man
And I wanna be her man
God, I only hope she still believes
In the man I wanna be

Well, I know this late at night that talk is cheap
Lord, don't give up on me

I wanna be a givin man
I wanna really start livin man
God, I'm asking you to come change me
To the man I wanna be

6.09.2010

Wedded Bliss

Our Testimony Tuesday video may be a day late but it's definitely not short on a great message - that of Wedded Bliss! We actually filmed it last Thursday (hence, the first night reference to the Laker/Celtic game!) at a wedding that we went to and felt it was the perfect place to look back and reflect on where we were when we first married and where we are now, 6 years later and 3 years into our marriage restoration.

Solid As A Rock!

You can be too!






SOLID AS A ROCK by Ashford and Simpson (oh yeah....)

And for love's sake, each mistake, ah, you forgave
And soon both of us learned to trust
Not run away, it was no time to play
We build it up and build it up and build it up

And now it's solid
Solid as a rock
That's what this love is
That's what we've got, oh, mmm...

Solid
Solid as a rock
And nothing's changed it
The thrill is still hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot

You didn't turn away
When the sky went gray
Somehow we managed
We had to stick together

You didn't bat an eye
When I made you cry
We knew down the line
We would make it better

And for love's sake, each mistake, ah, you forgave
And soon both of us learned to trust
Not run away, it was no time to play
We build it up and build it up and build it up

Now it's solid
Solid as a rock [Ooh]
That's what this love is
That's what we've got

Solid
Solid as a rock
And nothing's changed it
The thrill is still hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot

And with that feeling we were willing to take a chance
So against all odds, we made a start
We got serious (Ooh), this wouldn't turn to dust
We build it up and build it up and build it up

And now it's solid
Solid as a rock
That's what this love is
That's what we've got!

6.05.2010

Wedding Pic & Lots of S.E.X.!


A few days ago, Michael and I went to the wedding of my best friend's little sister. It's hard to believe that the little 7-year-old girl I met 20 years ago is now a new bride and starting a life with a new husband by her side.

When it came time for the vows, they each said something to one another that I thought was really amazing, "I take you, as a gift from the hand of God..." Isn't that wonderful and isn't that what God intended our spouse to be for us? A gift from His hand. It sure didn't feel like that in our bad days - it was more like a curse for how bad it was. Not a curse from God but a seriously cursed marriage.

We are so wonderfully far from that now that it's almost impossible to recall those old feelings which is definitely something that's become a welcome change for us both. And so here we are ~ as you can see from the picture above ~ happy and close and in love and.....better.

Whole.

Stable.

Solid.

Together.

ONE!

And guess what? Starting today, we're taking part in the Seven Days of Sex Challenge from ONE Extraordinary Marriage. It's not too late if you want to sign up today and you and your spouse can take part in making love for 7 days in a row! We've been happily chatting about it since last week and we already have a 3 day head start (that will be 10 days for us!)!

Hee! Hee!

Have fun and leave us a message letting us know if you've signed up.

Be blessed!

6.04.2010

Shocking Stats on Internet Porn

The Stats on Internet Pornography
Via: Online MBA

6.01.2010

And The Two Shall Become One Flesh


I used to think that becoming 'one flesh' just applied to the sexual aspect of marriage and while that's part of it, Michael and I are learning that it's really SO much more! Today we talk about what that looks like for us and what it can look like for you too!

Remember to join us this evening for our weekly marriage ministry call at 7pm (pst)!

Be blessed!


5.25.2010

A Great Apology!


One of the things we do at our Marriage Intensives is show the movie Fireproof and even though we've seen it several times now, we never fail to feel the impact of it's message for our own marriage and the marriages of the couples who watch it with us.

Seriously, all of us are in tears (even the guys) at some point throughout the movie but never more so as when Caleb makes his apology to his wife, Catherine. I love how he tells her that he's on day 43 when there are only 40 days in the book, "who says I have to stop?"

Here's the thing, the scripture doesn't say, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her for 40 days; or 3 months; or a year-and-a-half." It says, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her." Period. End of discussion. No time limit. It's forever.

When a husband realizes this ~ the truth of the scripture ~ and begins to live this out with his wife, similar to how Caleb begins to live with and for Catherine, his wife's heart will begin to open up towards him.

Welcome to the new normal!

Blessing to you!


5.23.2010

Who's Hungry?


I was recently reading a post over at The Generous Wife ~ a terrific blog and a companion to The Generous Husband ~ in which the author, Lori, speaks of men being sexually hungry in a marriage and women being emotionally hungry. She says, "You have opposing hungers and both spouses are finding it hard to give out of their emptiness."

This was an interesting post and the many comments it received and, as a wife, made me wonder....weren't our husbands meeting our emotional needs before we married them? Isn't this one of the reasons we said 'yes' when they proposed, this kind of sweet pursuit? Ladies, let's just all acknowledge right now that this was a big sexual turn on for us. And if we were sexually active with them before we married them, did we give them sex first without there being an emotional draw/connection? I don't think so.

So why do we settle for the absence of being emotionally pursued after the vows are said and take on the role of sexual initiator so that our hearts will be cherished in return? In my opinion, this is like Cinderella placing the glass slipper on Prince Charming. Totally backwards. Ick!

Now, I'm not saying that a wife should never initiate sex with her husband, not at all. I'm saying that she shouldn't feel that she has to in order to get what she needs. God calls a husband to go first in the marriage by loving his wife as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her. This is unconditional love. This is a husband dying to himself in order for his bride to live and to be cherished and nurtured (holy and without blemish, spot or wrinkle). This is what enables her to be giving in her sexuality toward her husband.

If he did it while dating, there's no excuse for him not to do it in marriage.

I'm just sayin'.

5.18.2010

No Arms, No Legs....No Worries


A lot of my friends put videos up on their facebook posts and, I'll admit, I don't look at all of them. But this morning, I noticed that my cousin had posted one and, for whatever reason, I decided to watch it. WOW! I'm sooooo glad that I did! With tears in my eyes, I called Michael over to watch it and with tears in his eyes, we decided this would be the Testimony Tuesday video we'd share with all of you today. It's hugely powerful and tugs at your heart in a way you can feel!

Ladies....you're soooo beautiful just the way you are!!!!

and Guys...You Da Man!!!!

We love you! Be blessed and remember to join us tonight at 7pm (pst) for our weekly marriage ministry call (dial-in information is in the sidebar to the right)!

I'd like to say that if we can do it...you can do it too. But today I want to say that if this guy can do what he does every single day...Then We All Can Do It Too!!!



5.17.2010

Where Are You Today?

When I was washing my hair this afternoon, the question of "Where Are You Today?" popped into my head. I began to apply this question to my own life and realized that I'm actually in a good, balanced place and one of discovery as well. See, I'm a week and a half into a program to overcome anxiety and panic attacks, something that I've been dealing with for over 20 years, and I'm already noticing a huge difference in my life (feeling a new blog coming on). I'm learning to stay out of the past, (anger and guilt), to keep out of the future (fear and anxiety) and to live in the precious, present moment.

I'm also enjoying Michael and and my boys in a very different way; one that's calmer and more relaxed and has me being more aware of my thankfulness to God for all that He's blessed me (and us) with. I'm feeling ..... brighter somehow (if that makes any sense).

So, where are you today?

5.13.2010

Is Your Marriage A Tango? or Tango x Two


The popular phrase, "It takes two to tango," is one that's familiar to most of us. Literally, something said when two people involved in a bad situation are equally responsible. The old adage of 50/50 in a relationship or situation.

Have you ever seen a couple dance the tango? Have you ever danced a tango with someone? I've only seen it danced but it was one of the most beautiful, erotic, romantic things I've ever seen. How I'd love to learn the dance with Michael.....sigh....I digress. Sorry.

Anyway, I bring up the tango because my experience of it wasn't a 50/50 kind of thing. It was a man leading and protecting his woman, making her feel and look beautiful and very womanly. It was his strength enhancing her delicacy. It was her femininity enhancing his masculinity. It was something that they had to do together or fail spectacularly in the language of the dance; silent words that spoke of love and life and sex; vulnerability and support; breathtaking drops and reassuring closeness...equally responsible for the fullness of the relationship.

5.11.2010

The Perfect Proverbs 31 Woman


Many women have heard of the Proverbs 31 Woman. If you're a Christian woman, you've probably read books about her, studied her, participated in a woman's ministry about her or gone to a retreat where she's been the headliner.

Today, I talk about this paragon of virtue and why I believe she is who she is and does what she does.

I'll give you a hint (guys)....she wasn't born that way.

Join us tonight at 7pm (pst) for our weekly marriage ministry call. 512.716.6531 to call in and the access code is 981128#.


Las Vegas Kiss


Last month, Michael and I went to his sister's wedding in Vegas. She caught us in a kiss and snapped a pic. It was a super fun day...so glad I'm not a blond anymore (no offense if you are, it's just not my color. What can I say...I was born a brunette)!

Hey, don't forget about our weekly marriage ministry call tonight. We start at 7pm (pst) and would be blessed to have you on! 512.716.6531 access code is 981128#

5.09.2010

God's Big Orange Chair




It being Mother's Day and all, today at church our pastor shared a story of how, when he was a small boy, his mother would take him in her arms and sit with him in the big orange chair in her bedroom and comfort him with a song (Mocking Bird) whenever he was hurt or sad. This memory holds much fondness for him which was evident in his telling of this memory.

I'm sure that today was a source of much joy for many women; perhaps it was their very first Mother's Day or they're blessed with children who took the time to honor them and make the day special for them. I know there are women for whom this day was filled with heartbreak and sadness because although they desperately want children, they have none yet and perhaps never will have a child of their own body or they've lost a child to death or drugs or alcohol. Maybe you're reading this and today was difficult for you because you never had a mother who held you or loved on you or was there for you like you needed her to be. Perhaps you're a wife celebrating your first Mother's Day without your husband because the two of you are separated or going through a divorce. A very dear friend of ours is currently in this boat and it's heartbreaking.

Our pastor pointed out that no matter what your story is, God can reorient it. He has His own big orange chair...the best, most comfortable big orange chair and He longs to bring you onto His lap and comfort you with a word or a song or a touch. I urge you to accept the reality of His provision for you.

You are so very loved!