3 Ways to Demonstrate Love Mindfully

By | Scripture, Self Reflection | One Comment

Mindfulness, or attentiveness, is a practice that can be applied to our entire lives to help us be more fully engaged with both ourselves and others. When we fail to be mindful of what’s happening inside and around us, we’re prone to a sort of “perceptual blindness.” This means that we could easily be missing the obvious–especially when it comes to the people we encounter. When we’re too wrapped up in our own activities and to-do lists, we’re missing others’ needs. Then, we leave a gap where we could have provided help, attention, affection, guidance, or love. Loving mindfully is…

Read More

How to Love Like Jesus

By | Scripture, Self Reflection | 7 Comments

“Observe how Christ loved us. Love like that.” – Ephesians 5:2 Loving like Jesus is the best way to live. When we love like Him, we can step outside ourselves and clearly see our loved ones and their needs. We can shed layers of selfishness, resentment, anxiety, pettiness, and entitlement. Most of all, we can rise above our human imperfections and step into transcendent love. Jesus’s model of love challenges us to stop settling for anything less than “the most excellent way.” If you want to love like Jesus, read on. Can anyone really love like Jesus? When it comes…

Read More

Zip Your Lips: How to Protect Your Marriage’s Privacy

By | Communication, Conflict | 12 Comments

It’s a challenge to deal with an “overly-disclosing” spouse. If this sounds familiar, your spouse may mean no harm…yet they regularly manage to tell their friends or family things you’d rather keep private. We (Leslie and I) struggled with this issue early in our marriage. For Leslie, talking about things I didn’t want repeated outside our marriage was just her way of connecting with her friends. She wasn’t trying to be hurtful…yet, it made me feel sad and violated. Luckily, there’s a happy ending to our dilemma. Because Leslie didn’t want to be the reason I clammed up and stopped…

Read More

Tips for Navigating Difficult In-Law Relationships – Part 2

By | Communication, Conflict, In-laws & Family | 9 Comments

Most married couples are uncomfortably familiar with some level of stress when it comes to their in-laws. Maybe you’re dealing with invasion of your privacy, criticism, or jealousy, to name a few issues. The bottom line is, you married one another’s families when you married each other–now, you need to be able to work together to navigate the difficult situations that may arise from time to time. This week, we’re completing our two-part series on challenging in-law relationships. (If you missed part 1, you can catch up here.) Read on to learn a few more ways you and your spouse…

Read More

Tips for Navigating Difficult In-Law Relationships – Part 1

By | Conflict, In-laws & Family | 21 Comments

It’s very common for married couples to experience conflict with their in-laws on one or both sides of the family. Sometimes this can be a minor annoyance; other times, it’s a major source of stress. Whatever your situation, it’s challenging to navigate these complex–and sometimes difficult–relationships. In-law conflict is almost inevitable for every marriage. The good news is, it’s possible to navigate it successfully while continuing to enjoy relationships with both of your families. Let’s dive into some of the things you and your spouse can do to ease the tension between your marriage and your extended families. Present a…

Read More

Sex in Marriage: What’s the Purpose?

By | Scripture | 64 Comments

“Sex has become one of the most discussed subjects of modern times. The Victorians pretend it did not exist; the moderns pretend that nothing else exists.” – Fulton J. Sheen Our kids–and their kids, and their grandkids–won’t remember what it’s like to wake up in a world where sex isn’t advertised around the clock. They won’t remember a time when pornography wasn’t readily available on every electronic device, for all ages. And the truth is, it may be hard to recall a time like that ourselves. That’s why it’s critical for us to remember and cherish God’s purposes for sex….

Read More

How to Overcome Communication Barriers in Your Marriage

By | Communication | 6 Comments

It’s common for each spouse in a marriage to have his or her own style and preferences for communicating, especially when it comes to expressing our feelings. At times, this can create major barriers in getting through to one another. But if we’re able to work together to overcome those barriers, we’ll cultivate a closer, more loving marriage. A matter of hard-wiring and personality Sometimes, communication barriers are an issue of gender and physiological wiring. Research shows that men, in general, tend to have difficulty putting their feelings into words. Many men don’t have an innate need to make their…

Read More

Help! My Spouse is a Control Freak! What Do I Do?

By | Communication, Conflict | 7 Comments

There are few intimacy killers as potent as controlling behavior. Control is a problem we see on a spectrum, ranging from spouses who are simply nitpicky over one or two parts of their lives to spouses who engage in destructive behavior. Most control issues fall somewhere in the middle and stem from your spouse’s anxiety about one or more parts of your life. When we read between the lines, we often understand that the controlling spouse’s motivation is something like, “I love you so much, I want you to be aware of these few things that aren’t perfect.” If your…

Read More

Opposite Sex Friendships: 3 Scenarios and What to Do

By | Communication, Conflict, Self Reflection | 31 Comments

It can be a challenge to balance the intimacy of our marriages with the other important friendships in our lives. This is especially true if we have close friends of the opposite gender. While same-sex friendships tend to be easy to nurture after we’re married, there’s an entirely different set of considerations when it comes to having opposite-sex friends. The first question to ask ourselves is, where are we going to invest our energy and focus? Obviously, our marriage is the most precious relationship to protect. Outside of that, we have to decide how we’re going to approach our other…

Read More

Creative Ways to Approach Your Spouse’s Quirks

By | Communication, Conflict | 8 Comments

One of marriage’s greatest gifts is the gift of feedback. Through providing one another with constructive feedback, we can grow into the best version of ourselves. Being married is a lot like looking into a mirror that reflects back the best and worst parts of us. On one hand, we share our life with someone who can support and encourage our strongest qualities. On the other, that same person can make us aware of places where we fall short so we can course-correct when we need to. The trick with feedback is knowing when and how to give it–particularly when…

Read More