July 1, 2014
In fiction, asking “What if?” can create dozens of plot possibilities. But in real life, can asking “What if?” steal your joy or bring you peace? 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
November 25, 2013
Most of us count our blessings–the usual ones. But what if God decides to send some rather unexpected blessings? Read more
October 14, 2013
Seasons of life run their course, and no matter who we are or at what stage we’re at, we often see balance as an impossibility.
You can focus on a project you love and not even miss eating. You may procrastinate your unpleasant tasks or bow to the tyranny of the urgent. You can help others reach their dreams but never realize your own. You may even teach about intimacy with God but never spend time with Him yourself. Do any of those fit you?
We can usually find an excuse to fit every situation: It’s the kids, my boss, my husband or wife. It’s my health, my editor, or my age in life. Believe me, I’ve offered my share of excuses along with you. But I long for this thing called balance, don’t you?
Keeping Life in Balance
Keeping life balanced is not easy for anyone, but here are 10 simple ways that help me daily. Maybe it will give you a good place to start: 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.
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July 23, 2012
My husband and I just celebrated our 46th 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, I 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 minstry 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 and satisfying 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). Read more
October 11, 2011
Because marriage and family is one of my passions, I’m pleased to share with you a book by Pam Farrel in today’s giveaway: 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband. Pam is a delightful woman of God, a great author, and a friend that I’m glad to recommend!
From Pam and Bill Farrel’s Love-Wise website come these words:
We have been fascinated with the question, ‘How?’ ever since we met. When we got married we knew three things: (1) We love Jesus. (2) We love each other. (3) We have a lot to learn if we want to have a successful marriage. That created a passion in our hearts to figure out how relationships work. Read more
March 29, 2011
No matter how long we’ve been married, all of us need to spring clean our marriage often. I wrote this several years ago, but the principles still apply to marriage, individual hearts, or any relationship: Read more