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?”

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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?”

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!”

We owe it to our kids

When we got remarried, one of our goals was to model a loving, healthy marriage for our 4 children.  While this has remained in the forefront of our minds, the world around us has given more meaning to this specific goal.

We all have seen it, though it may not immediately register because we are so busy with our own lives, our own struggles and our own celebrations.

However, as we were reading through some blogs and news sites about marriage recently we were hit over the head with the reality.

More millennials today are deciding to live together unmarried than any other generation. Continue reading “We owe it to our kids”

As victims, we learn to survive…and thrive

“Victim” may not be the most appropriate term, but it feels right given what we’ve been through – and what we know so many have been through as well.

Whether it is in marriage, or at work, or in other areas of life, we sometimes encounter people who attack us – and don’t stop.  For almost two years now, there has been someone in our lives who has gone all out to ruin our marriage and steal our joy on a weekly, and at times daily, basis.

During our engagement and through our first years of marriage we have been attacked and we didn’t know how to handle it.  We felt like victims.  And like most victims, survival is hard and even traumatic.

We’ve talked with and leaned on friends and they have constantly said, “Don’t let that person steal your joy.” Logically, we know they are right.  But as we get relentlessly attacked, it is hard not to feel victimized and helpless.

Only recently have we figured out how to survive…and actually thrive.

Several things have come together for us to get beyond this season in our life.  By creating a stronger marriage we are more equipped to handle the arrows headed our way.  We hope these few points can serve as hope for you or someone you know too.

  1. First and foremost, focus on your marriage and your relationship. Make sure you are both FULLY understanding each other.  Understand how you are being impacted and specifically hurt.  If you are being attacked it will impact you and your spouse differently – primarily because you are different people and different genders.  It is vitally important to get on the same page as your spouse in every possible way.  Counseling has been so important for us reconnecting better than we have ever connected.
  2. Research and use some self help books or video studies on marriage.  This will help you put your focus elsewhere.  We have a group that is learning about Love & Respect in marriage.  This has driven us to focus further on our marriage, our relationship and understanding each other.  We are more prepared now when one of us starts getting upset for one reason or another.  The group will also help you talk through the struggles.
  3. Find friends and people with wisdom to talk to and seek their support.  Perhaps they have been through something similar or maybe they will just be there to listen.  If they are a good friend, they will have something to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask them.
  4. Now the real hard part.  Avoid, ignore, and withdraw from any interaction with the person who is attacking you.  We have heard from many, and we understand that may be next to impossible with an ex-spouse that you share children with, but there are things that you can do to limit contact.  We won’t bore you with all the detail here but we are happy to chat privately about it with anyone who is interested.  The critically important element is not to engage in nonsense and only interact when necessary.  Don’t get drawn into fights.

As Christ followers, we know that the devil is after us.  We know that the devil truly hates that we got married and are growing a family together.  We know the devil despises the fact that we are trying to help others build strong, resilient marriages.  And we know that the devil uses people to pierce us where it hurts most.  John 10:10

Just knowing that doesn’t always help.  But, now that we have strengthened ourselves, we are moving beyond surviving and we are using our experiences to thrive.  This difficult season has helped us come together, understand each other and love even more.  We are very thankful for that blessing and that season.  And we hope you can gain some peace working through this too.

By the way, even if you aren’t being attacked, it is always good to practice the first 3 points above in an effort to get closer to your spouse.  You can never be close enough!

 

Cruisin’ For Closeness

For almost two years we’ve been blending a family.

Trying to get 4 very different kids to develop relationships together is harder than it looks. Unless you think it looks hard – then it’s exactly how it looks!

However, with last year’s vacation we felt we had a breakthrough because there were times when all 4 kids played together – more than we expected.

Then there were other moments like that throughout the year too.

So as we prepared for our second family vacation together we had high expectations that the kids would grow even closer together.

But to our disappointment, our expectations were not met.

Did they have some close times together? Yes. And that was important.img_2757.jpg

Continue reading “Cruisin’ For Closeness”

Fun Fact: Are You Part Of The 17%?

Yesterday we wrote about the wonderful benefits of sleeping naked.  We hope you started a new habit with your spouse last night if you haven’t already been sleeping in your birthday suit!  And if you missed our post, check it out here.

Today’s fun fact tells us just how many of you actually sleep in the nude!  According to a survey published by Men’s Journal, only 17% of Americans sleep “unclothed”.  52% of Americans sleep “partially clothed” and 31% sleep “fully clothed”.

Some other interesting sleep stats from the Men’s Journal survey:

  • 12% get 5 hours sleep — that’s us sadly…
  • 24% get 6 hours sleep
  • 30% get 7 hours sleep
  • 20% get 8 hours sleep
  • 36% sleep soundly through the night — also us 😦
  • 64% wake up one or more times

Click here for the full Men’s Journal article.

As we head into the weekend: sleep naked, sleep better, and if you are like us, let’s try to move into the 6 or 7 hours of sleep category!

 

 

Sleep Naked, Sleep Better.

Who knew sleeping naked had so many benefits – but IT’S TRUE!

First things first – we like to be transparent so we will tell you up front – we don’t sleep naked together NEARLY enough!  We love it and we are making it a habit to do more often. Why? Well for SO many reasons.

The biggest and best reason to sleep together, in our humble opinion, is probably the obvious one: it is sexy, appealing to your partner, and is a way to consciously encourage sex with each other.

You may not know that the skin to skin feeling releases the hormone oxytocin which increases the feeling of comfort – and in turn may put you in the mood for sex! Oxytocin also lowers your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, increases the feelings of trust, and generally makes you more ready for sexual interaction. YES!

How about the HEALTH BENEFITS? Continue reading “Sleep Naked, Sleep Better.”

Don’t Forget The Storm

We follow so many friends and family on social media and what do we notice most?

Flattering pictures and glowing comments about our lives:  My wife is amazing!  My husband is a gift from God!  My son just came in second place in the long jump!  My daughter made the honor roll!

Please understand, we aren’t knocking social media – we love it as much as the next person.  However, with EVERY success there is a struggle.  And the struggle is often the most important part of the story!

We just had one of the most wonderful weekends of our marriage.  And we posted about it on Facebook!  But is that the most important piece of our story from the weekend? No.

We have had a very difficult 20 months of marriage, Continue reading “Don’t Forget The Storm”

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