Our Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!  This is going to be a very unique blog.  Where to start?  Well, in short, we were each divorced…about 4 years after our divorces we fell in love…and we decided to get remarried.

As with most everyone who falls in love we thought it would all work out well because we have so much love for each other and we have God leading the way.  We started reading books in preparation and we immediately got discouraged.  Most resources out there for couples getting remarried are not what you would call positive.  The pitfalls were endless and we figured that it simply couldn’t be as bad as the books illustrated.  Whoa – were we wrong.

We had the most magical wedding imaginable on August 26, 2017.  From that point forward nearly every day was a struggle.  We have four kids in total (Michael has three and Joya has one).  We each have an ex-spouse.  We all moved into a new house together.  And on August 27, six people started a new family, living together having never done so before.  We tried to prepare, but quite honestly, nothing can prepare a remarried couple and blended family until you all go through it together.

We have chosen to share our journey publicly, to present our challenges and to open ourselves up in an effort to help others.  We will provide real-time sharing with other remarried couples and blended families.  Why?  Because divorce isn’t an option for us and we don’t want it to be an option for others.  We love each other deeply and we are committed to make it work – as the vows say – for better or worse.  Hopefully, together, we all help each other.

**We are the furthest thing from experts.  What we are is a couple who struggles like everyone else in marriage, remarriage, and in blended families – and we wished there was a resource like this before we got married and as we struggle through our first year.  There isn’t – so we are creating it!**

Please know this – we are EXCITED about our marriage and new blended family and we WANT to help you in yours.  We hope this is helpful to you and look forward to connecting.

“A good marriage is a contest of generosity.” — Diane Sawyer

Advertisements
Featured post

It’s Time To Speak Up At Church

So many of us look for guidance, help, shelter, comfort and advice from our churches.  But we sometimes fail to appreciate and recognize that, just like us, churches aren’t perfect.

Churches try to serve as many as they can in their congregation with different programs and ministries.  But, after all, they will never fully know the needs of their congregation unless we tell them straight up what WE need.  Or unless they ask and we answer honestly and openly.

According a survey by LifeWay Research and Focus on the Family, 75% of Pastors say they are doing enough in their church to help marriages.  Yet only 69% of churches have an ongoing ministry.  That’s a mighty big disconnect.  (In New Hampshire it is more like 95% of churches that don’t have a marriage ministry).  Great article here about the challenges Pastors face with marriage ministries.

When we entered the marriage ministry one year ago, we were somewhat critical of  churches for not prioritizing and focusing on what we believe to be the overarching issue in the breakdown of our families across America.  We believe that is marriage.  And we believe that marriage should be the priority of every church.  But we are just two people who don’t have a say – which is why we are here writing.

As a remarried couple, we have become painfully aware that the church has a difficult time reconciling divorce with the need to care for remarried couples.  We also understand that churches are limited in their capacity to help due to that fact that developing a marriage ministry is a big undertaking.  Churches simply have to weigh the benefits versus costs and in most churches across America, they choose to let others outside the church deal with the challenge of strengthening or saving marriages.

Did you know that, on average, 78 couples out of 500 church members are struggling in their marriage, yet only 6 couples ask for help.  30% of couples in your church are struggling but they won’t speak up.  So the sad reality is, until churches hear from their congregations that they want a marriage ministry, they are unlikely to start one.

But don’t give up if you are frustrated because there are resources available!  That’s why we started this blog – to network and let you know where you can get help.

In fact, we arranged to bring one of the best marriage experts in America right here to New Hampshire for a conference this fall!  Check out our marriage conference here and please try to make it!

So to sum up: Don’t get upset if your church doesn’t focus on marriage, go out of your way to tell your Pastor that you want the church to start a marriage ministry, utilize resources outside the church like the conference we are offering above, and PLEASE don’t avoid help if you are struggling.  You are not at all alone! There is help for you and light at the end of the tunnel.

God bless you all!

Summer Is Busy! But I Have A Lighthouse.

We have been quiet this summer.  When you have 4 kids off from school and full time jobs, summer can just be sheer craziness.

You try to enjoy time as a couple…

You try to enjoy time as a family…

You try to stay on top of your duties at work…

BUT – you fail because you can’t do it all.

As Joya and I approach our second wedding anniversary, I am so thankful to have found my earthly Lighthouse – my love Joya.  Joya is an amazing woman who has endured more than a wife should in the first two years of marriage.  I have seen and witnessed her pain.  And as her husband I feel it too.

Together, we have faced more struggles than couples should face during our honeymoon period – almost all of it out of our control.  Yet, how we approach those struggles IS within our control and we continue to work on our marriage, and our communication with each other, so we can weather the storms when the unexpected ones hit.

I know these struggles have and will continue to make us stronger.  We are aware of the blessings we receive every week.  We know God is preparing us for good and big things ahead.  And we know we are here to share our struggles and triumphs with YOU!  Throughout this crazy summer we have shared some great times as a family!

IMG_0250

We’ll share more about our summer at a later time.  In the meantime, I hope you find time to spend with your spouse – and family – all while working your job!  Just know you can’t do it all and that’s ok.  No one expects you to do it all.  You just do your best while trying super hard to remain a loving and respectful spouse.

Blessings to you all!

–Mike

 

 

Summer Mood – Research – It Makes Sense!

Two things we have in common – for better or worse – is the temperature our bodies feel!  That means in the winter we are freezing cold and in the summer we start to warm up – just a little!  So we struggle to keep our bodies warm during the winter and REALLY look forward to the summer.

New Hampshire has had one of the coolest and wettest springs on record – and that hasn’t been good for our psyche – or our bodies.  But this past week – PRAISE THE LORD – has finally hit the 80s!

Seriously – we usually have a couple of rogue 90 degree days in May and several 90 degree days in June but we have barely even hit the 80s until this week!

Why do we tell you this?  Well there just happens to some science behind the fact that warmer temperatures increase our mood.  And when our mood increases our relations are even better with our spouse!

This is from a study by the University of Michigan:

Get out—for at least 30 minutes. The positive impact warm, sunny weather can have on mental health and mood is real, according to new U-M research.

Taking a trip to someplace warm in the middle of winter or lingering outside when spring arrives can be especially beneficial, with pleasant weather improving mood, memory and broadening cognitive style (openness to new information and creative thoughts)…

As the survey suggested, we have gotten in the habit of taking our “alone” trip to a warm spot just before Thanksgiving so that it gives us a good jolt of warmth before the long, cold winter sets in!

Another interesting statistic:

The researchers also found the optimal temperature for mood for most Americans is 72 degrees, about room temperature, with mood decreasing if temperatures became significantly higher or lower. There were regional differences, however, with mood peaking at 65 degrees in Michigan and 86 degrees in considerably warmer Texas.

We will say that we keep our house at about 68 (for financial purposes especially) during the winter and we rarely feel warm!  The house has been 72 this week and we finally feel like we are thawing out.

So now that summer is here – take a walk with your spouse, or a jog, or go catch a nice warm sunset!

Happy summer!

 

Here’s A Question: What Is Marriage?

Ask that question and everyone will have a different marriage:

“Marrying your best friend”

“Living life with your soulmate”

“Not being able to live without your partner”

We just finished the Love & Respect video series and cannot even begin to tell you how much we learned about marriage, relationships, men and women, and most importantly the role of God in our marriage.

As we all know, dealing with conflict in marriage is the 800 pound gorilla.  Continue reading “Here’s A Question: What Is Marriage?”

A Text or Two a Day

For us middle aged folk, we might be able to learn something from the younger crowd  with respect to technology and relationships.

Regardless of your age, how often do you communicate with your spouse during the day?  One time – two times – NO times?

Would you believe that, according to Pew Research, 85% of young people expect to hear from their partner at least once a day.  35% expect to hear every few hours!  Thankfully only 11% expect it every hour.  Phew…

Another interesting stat among the 18-25 year old crowd Continue reading “A Text or Two a Day”

Listening, Sharing, Cheering, Dreaming and…Dying

Guys – Do you listen closely to your woman?  Or do you immediately jump to wanting to fix the issue she is having?

Women – Do you cheer your man on at work and in his recreational activities?  Or do you not think about it?

Guys – Do you share your feelings with your wife?  We can hear you laughing!  But seriously, the love of your life wants to know how and what you are feeling – at least occasionally!

Women – Do you talk to your husband about what his dreams are?  And encourage him in his dreams?  When he talks about his dreams do you react positively or just say “oh that’s interesting”?

We know that God made men to want to fix things and most men have to consciously go out of their way to just listen to their spouse.  Continue reading “Listening, Sharing, Cheering, Dreaming and…Dying”

It’s Just Another Day?

Joya and I usually write posts together but I’m taking this one solo.

Father’s Day has taken on a much different tone since my divorce. For several years now I have not had my children on Father’s Day. I try to convince myself it’s not really a big deal. I’ll see them in a few more days and we’ll do something special together.

Probably the hardest thing is that everyone else makes a big deal about Father’s Day (understandably) starting first thing in the morning at church. So when churches ask Dad’s to stand, I don’t get to thank God for my kids and look at them at the same time. As much as I try to escape everyone else’s focus on it – it’s just plain hard to avoid and pretend that it’s just another day. Continue reading “It’s Just Another Day?”

Who Is In Your Church?

We read a quote and statistic today that was eye-catching to say the least!

40% of families in your church and community are blended families.

– FamilyLife

Yup – that’s us!  We are in the growing statistic of couples who got married, had kids, got divorced and then remarried.  And our kids are still under 18 so they are living with us part-time.

There was a time, which seemed not too long ago, when our churches and communities were mostly filled with the “traditional” family – meaning married once with kids.

But, as we all know, over the last couple of decades blended family living has been on the rapid increase.

In fact, approximately 33% of all weddings today will form step-families. Continue reading “Who Is In Your Church?”

50th Anniversary!

As we sit here at the 50th anniversary of the New Hampshire Special Olympics Summer Games – it gives us great perspective on life.

In marriage, so many of our challenges come from being two different people with opposing viewpoints.

Here, we are watching a community of Special Olympics athletes who have intellectual and/or physical challenges because they were either born with them or had some event that caused their disability.

Michael’s son, Liam, was born with Down syndrome. For those who don’t know, Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, moderate intellectual disability and characteristic facial features. Continue reading “50th Anniversary!”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑