April 12, 2016
What Are Your Expectations?
What are your expectations for your home and family? Do you expect less messiness and more beauty? And how do you respond when you can’t see the beauty for the mess?
Here are a few ideas to help you get started: Read more
February 10, 2016
Candy, Flowers, Perfume—these Valentine’s Day gifts still make up the largest portion of the Valentine commercial industry. And there’s nothing wrong with those. But what if you and your spouse could give each other a special gift this Valentine’s Day–one that would last all year?
Do you pray for your spouse? What better time than Valentine’s Day to let your spouse know that you are praying for him/her and what you are praying. It could be one of the best Valentine gifts you could ever offer. Make your prayer letter personal, but here are some suggestions of how you might pray for your husband or for your wife: Read more
July 20, 2015
My husband and I are celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary. Yes, we married young. No, these are not necessarily our secrets, though we’ve tried to incorporate them into our marriage through the years.
Actually, we could sum up the secret of our long and satisfying marriage in three words: God‘s amazing grace.
But as marriage enrichment leaders through the years we’ve had the privilege of working with many couples. And in his ministry position, my husband has had the opportunity to work with and counsel numerous couples.
What makes a marriage flourish? This list is not exhaustive, but here are seven secrets of a long, grace-filled marriage that we’ve observed through the years: (If you’ve been married over 25 years, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes a marriage last. You can do so at the end of this blog).
December 9, 2014
You don’t need a checkbook or credit card for these Christmas gifts. Your spouse will enjoy these inexpensive gifts at Christmas–or any time of the year. Read more
August 5, 2014
God prompted me to re-visit this blog I wrote in the past. The devotional message never grows old. Enjoy.
I read Florence Littauer’s challenge years ago in her book, It Takes So Little to Be Above Average. But God reminded me of that principle in a truly simple way this week.
I had just semi-closed the misaligned door of the old armoire in our bedroom. But as I rounded the corner to the hall that book title popped into my head–as it sometimes does when I’ve given a half-hearted effort to do something. Read more
June 3, 2014
God laid on my heart this week to share a two-part blog series with you again. “Someone needs this,” I heard Him whisper. Maybe it’s you.
Feeling cranky, tired, discouraged or edgy? Sure, it could be hunger or hormones, but the problem could go deeper. Recently, I was suffering from “technology overload”–and a prolonged schedule packed with new “learning curves.” We’ve been married so long, my husband recognized the symptoms immediately. It was time to talk.
“What makes your heart sing?” he asked gently but firmly. “I think that’s the real problem.” I knew immediately what he meant. Maybe you do, too. Read more
May 20, 2014
I’m done. Finished. Last One. That’s what I said the last time. But this time I mean it.
Ever uttered those words? If it hadn’t involved our entire neighborhood, I probably wouldn’t have Read more
July 22, 2013
Has anyone ever asked you, “Is the light on in your marriage?”
About 17 years ago, a single young woman bought a cocker spaniel puppy from us. (We already had two grown dogs at the time and had agreed to sell this one for our older daughter).
Unfortunately, I had already become attached to it. When I watched that sweet puppy walk out of our lives, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Can you believe that? Before she left, my husband reached over and gave me a tender reassuring hug–nothing unusual.
A Marriage Like Yours
The young lady brought the dog back the next day. Her landlord refused to allow it into the apartment complex. As we talked, she said something totally unexpected: “Someday, I want a marriage like yours.”
“What do you mean?” I hardly knew the girl, and she knew nothing about my marriage. Read more
June 24, 2013
Job loss, financial crisis, rebellious children, disappointments, rejection, unexpected illness–the list goes on. The list that is, we call bad. Is bad ever good? That depends. Can we find hope in impossible situations? Absolutely!
June 3, 2013
For years, I’ve enjoyed fishing –or rather “catching fish” with my husband. But years ago we also learned a fishing technique we’re always working on: one that deals with communication–and one that has deepened our relationship.
Both Communication and Fishing Require Skills
Through the years I’ve learned some fishing skills from my husband about how to snag ’em and bag ’em, instead of casting my lures on the water and catching nothing but lily pads and moss. (Of course, that still happens a lot).
Communication, too, requires skill. Anytime a relationship experiences a communication breakdown, maybe it’s time to “go fishing.” But not in shallow waters. This is where fishing and communication may differ slightly. While it’s possible to catch fish in shallow water, with communication, you need to go out into the deep water, where the big fish live.
The stuff of life often leads us in different directions, and before long, we neglect the connections with those we love. We limit our communication levels to shallow water, while the big fish move out to deeper hiding places. Simple “How was your day” works great for small talk and provides a needed check-in for relationships, but it won’t snag the heart of another and keep it on the line for very long.
Communication and Marriage
Our hearts are like that. In a marriage, going fishing in your mate’s heart means using the best God-given equipment you own: Spirit-sensory perception, attentive, listening ears, and continual patience–to draw the “big ones” out.
The big fish have long eluded you both: hidden resentments, buried dreams, and deep longings. Those who are patiently willing to go fishing in “deep waters” will draw out those “big-uns,” as pro fisherman Jimmy Houston says, and re-establish good communication. Do you know what your mate is thinking? Do you really care about their deepest fears?
Continual Fishing, Continual Communication
Hard, plastic lures will probably not work here. Only live bait such as love, patience, gentleness, kindness, and goodness will catch the really big ones. And we’re not talking about “catch and release” either. Healthy relationships keep those communication discoveries tucked in their hearts.
But they’re not satisfied with once in a while trophy catches. They keep fishing and learning, fishing and growing.
Going Fishing in All Relationships
The secret of “deep water fishing” communication works in all relationships: friendships, siblings, even parent/child relationships. James 1:19 (NIV) says it well: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Will that kind of communication take time? Yes. Will it draw you closer to each other? Yes. Never tried it? Maybe it’s time to move out to deep water and go fishing!
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.(Proverbs 20:5, NIV).
When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch” (Luke 5:8, MSG).
My Prayer for You
Lord, we need your help to keep the communication lines open with those we love. Teach us the skills we need to make every relationship the kind you intended. Give us the patience to go fishing in deep waters so we can learn to draw out those things in others that are hidden beneath the surface. Help us to learn better how to understand and draw closer to others.
It’s Your Turn.
Have you been fishing lately? How has “deep water” fishing helped you in your communications with others? With your spouse? Leave your comments below. Your words might encourage someone today! You will not be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you do so. Feel free to email this Christian blog to someone or to re-post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, using the buttons below, or to “like” it below or on my Facebook networked blog. If you’re reading this via newsletter you can always “share” my blogs from the large buttons at the end of each blog on my website. If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first. And if you’d like to, you can sign up for my blog/newsletter and updates at the top of this website page/sidebar.