Better Part of Me

Being that this is our anniversary weekend, we wanted to do things a little differently than in years past.  Instead of fancy trips and expensive jewelry, we are keeping it simple by staying a little closer to home and reconnecting.  We decided to do several day trips, with each one being a different adventure.

Thursday, we took the entire day to go horseback riding in Aiken, South Carolina at Hitchcock Woods.  This is a beautiful 2100 acre forest that is open to the public 365 days a year free of charge.  There is a lot of history within the woods, and it is breathtakingly beautiful as you and your horse make your way through the windy roads, up hills, and to refreshing creeks.

Hitchcock Woods

Friday, we set off in a different direction with Family Christian in mind.  This store is tucked back in a little shopping center off of the always busy Harbison Boulevard in Columbia, South Carolina.  I could spend hours in this store and have on many occasions!  They have so much to offer that it is hard to narrow down a choice.  From art, pictures, jewelry, bibles, inspirational books, to a variety of music, it is never just a quick trip in and out of this store.  No matter who you are, you are bound to find a treasure in there that you are sure to love.

Family Christian

Yesterday’s treasure hunt for my husband and I resulted in a large bag of goodies that we took home with us, including the new CD by Rhett Walker Band entitled Here’s To The Ones.

Family Christian1

We popped this baby in as soon as we got back into our car.  We were not sure what to expect, as we had never heard this band before but thought we’d give it a try.  If it came from Family Christian, it had to be good!  And … it was!  My husband enjoys Country music now that he’s a cowboy with his horse, so his ears perked up when the music began to play.  It has a little bit of a Country sound to it, yet it also has a Southern Rock sound as well.  As the music played, there were a variety of instruments that we especially loved.  My husband enjoys a steel guitar, and I always enjoy piano music.  They had the drums and guitar rocking, but there was just something about that steel guitar.

One particular song spoke to us as we listened to the words.  It’s called Better Part of Me, and it started off talking about a couple having a difficult time.  We can relate, as the past six months have been a little rocky for us.  The next part of the song encourages the spouse to say what they need to say because no matter what, they are still committed to each other.

When I said I do, I wasn’t telling you just some lines from a song, from some ole Country tune.

 When I took your hand and you took my name, all time stood still with God and family.  

You were, you are, you know you’ll always be … the better part of me.

My husband was the first to comment on this song as it was playing.  He said:

“It just shows you that when things are heated, when you’re having a disagreement, a couple still has to work it out.  It is easy to forget how important your spouse is when you’re trying to get them to see things from your perspective.  It’s easy to forget that you are in this together.  They aren’t just words that you spoke, but they have meaning behind them.  That is why you got married.”

One verse that really struck me is when they sang:

Through the fire and through the hopeless rain, no matter what may come, I said ALWAYS

As I was thinking it, my husband said it:

“It just reinforces the fact that you committed yourself willingly to each other for all time.”

Wow!

We had no idea that this one little trip inside the store would have this much of an impact on us.  If you have never heard of the Rhett Walker Band, we encourage you to try them as we did! Pick up a copy of their latest CD Here’s To The Ones at your local Family Christian store.

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Allow the words of their songs to speak to you as well.  Not only did this song speak to our hearts, but it also reinforced our commitment to each other.  It couldn’t have happened at a better time as we don’t want to re-live the past six months or go through any of that again!  It’s done and over with now, and we just want to go forward together and recommit our hearts and lives to each other.

And so we shall … beginning now on our anniversary weekend.

 Anniversary Flowers

Sharing A Project

31Days

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work.  Ecclesiastes 4:9

Can you remember the last time you and your spouse worked on a project together?  A lot of times people think that because of our differences it can be really stressful sharing a project with our spouses.  However, it has the potential to bring you closer together if you share the process with one another.

I was once the director of an interpretive movement/sign art group at our church.  I loved this creative ministry and poured myself into it.  My oldest daughter was interested in it at that time and would soak up every move I showed her. I would blast the music and allow God to speak to my heart as I praised in my own way with sign language and different movements to the words of the songs.  One day I got down the gospel collection by Elvis Presley.  On that CD was How Great Thou Art.  I sat there feeling as if the presence of God was right there in my living room as the powerful voice of Elvis sang about how great our God truly is.  Then, my husband came inside and smiled as he heard Elvis, his all time favorite.  He began to watch the movements and showed an interest in what I was doing.  I intended on teaching this in class so our group could minister in song one Sunday morning.  There aren’t enough words in the human language to describe how it felt when my husband came alongside of me to learn the movements of this song.  I was so passionate about this group, and now he was a part of it.  My heart was completely touched, and as we worked on this song together, I felt closer to him.  We were sharing something that meant a lot to me.  When the Sunday morning came that we were to present this song, my husband was right there on stage with me, as was my oldest daughter and the rest of the group, doing every movement with ease as God was glorified.  We had a lot of people compliment us on how we presented this song and on the choice of song as well.  It felt wonderful working on this project together.

We have also just recently purchased an older RV.  We knew going into this that it was a “fixer-upper.”  We aren’t going to use it to travel the world.  We are simply going to use it to travel to plantations where we can camp overnight and go trail riding with our horses.  That was the main reason this RV was purchased.  A lot of horse people have the horse trailers with a small sleeping quarters, but it is too cramped and much too small for my claustrophobic self.  I knew that the only way I would be able to camp comfortably would be to have a RV with all of the comforts from home, including a larger bed and not feeling as if I was literally sleeping on a shelf in the horse trailer!  Being that this RV is an older model, it does require some work, but we are slowing chipping away at it.  My husband is discovering that when once he complained about it, he is now finding it a challenge and feels a sense of accomplishment when he narrows down a problem and is then able to fix it!  Success!  And we all cheer for him.  He has his little cheerleading squad over here with myself and our two daughters.  It hasn’t always been fun working on this RV together, though.  He’s gotten upset and has lost his cool a time or two with me sitting right there, but then when he walks away from it and goes back to it later, he’s able to find and fix the problem.  We’re getting this thing ready for our first trip together as this is perfect weather for trail riding!  The next item of business will be replacing the brake line, and then I’ll be inside pumping the brakes.  It may be only a small part of the process, but it is a project that we can work on together, and we will feel such a sense of accomplishment when we are enjoying our steaks on the grill sitting under the awning of our RV at the camp site with our horses right there with us.  It will all be worth it … and more!

Think of projects that you can work on with your spouse that can deepen the bond between you.  Even if it’s just working on a jig saw puzzle together, take the time.

Join us tomorrow for … Respecting Each Other’s Uniqueness.

For all posts in this series, click here.

A Day To Play

31Days

When was the last time you took a day to play together with your spouse?

We know how it is – there are so many demands in life that you feel you just have to get this done or get that done!  There’s just no time to play … and then … you feel burnt out, aggravated, and annoyed most of the time.  Who catches it?  Nine times out of ten, your spouse and your children will.

If you’re tired of living like this and want to enjoy life more without the guilt, then listen up and realize what the bible says on this very subject:

I know the best thing we can do is always enjoy life, because God’s gift to us is the happiness we get from our food and drink and from the work we do.  Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 CEV

Be happy and enjoy eating and drinking!  God decided long ago that this is what we should do.  Ecclesiastes 9:7 CEV

If you were feeling guilty before about taking time away from all that needs to be done or taking time away from your work, we hope you feel better about this now after seeing right there in scriptures that God has given us permission!  He WANTS us to enjoy the life He has given us.  He wants us to play –as long as it is right and pure living that you’re doing, no partying hard and doing things that do not glorify God.

What does your “day to play” look like?  It could be simply going to a movie together and having dinner out.  Or, maybe taking a hike in the mountains or a stroll on the beach together hand in hand.  For us, we enjoy horseback riding together, and so today we have set aside this day (after I finish writing this blog post) to go do just that.  We will spend the day in the middle of the forest on the back of our horses — loving every minute of it!

We courage you to lose the guilt and get out there and enjoy life while you can.  While you still have energy, while you’re still healthy enough to go and do … there are some people that just can’t do that now, and I am sure they are filled with regrets.  Don’t be one of them.  As you grow older, be able to look back on wonderful memories that you hold dear to your heart – memories of getting out there and playing with your spouse, your children, your family!

One day your life will pass before your eyes.  Make sure it is worth watching and re-living all over again.  Make those memories.  Be intentional about time spent with those that you love.

One day God will call us home.  We never know the day nor the hour that this will happen.  We would not want to leave our loved ones behind with awful memories of harsh words spoken or hateful actions toward each other.  No, instead, be intentional about keeping the peace, showing and sharing love always – in your words and in your actions – and making precious memories together with the ones you love.

Join us tomorrow for … Sharing A Project.

For all posts in this series thus far, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Disconnecting From The World

31Days

Be still, and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

I often cling to that bible verse at times when I am not sure what the next step in my life needs to be.  If there is something troubling me, and I am feeling as if I don’t know what to do … I just be still and know that He is God.  I have full faith and confidence that while I don’t know what to do and certainly don’t know what the future holds, God does!

Recently my husband and I were trail riding at a plantation when we met a nice lady that was out walking her grandson on her horse.  He was just a little tot, and his grandma was smiling from ear to ear as she made her way around to us.  She stopped to speak to us, as a lot of friendly campers do, and we ended up having a nice conversation where she encouraged us to spend more quality time together as a couple.  She said that what happens is that couples are so busy parenting and doing all for the children that when the children grow up the married couple doesn’t even know each other any more because they have spent so little time together during those years.  That is so sad, but it happens more often than we realize.   Just as this lady encouraged us to spend more time together, we are urging you to do the same in your marriages.  Be intentional about disconnecting from the world and reconnecting with each other.

As you’ve heard me mention in this series, we love trail riding and being one with nature.  There is a lot to be said about the peace and tranquility you find on the back of your horse in the middle of the forest!  You are surrounded by God’s beautiful creations, and you’re riding on a majestic animal.  You are one with nature, and out there, you feel closer to God!  I know I do!  While I enjoy a good ride with my horse, there is something extra special about riding side by side with my husband on his horse.  We have actually been able to get our horses lined up to where we can ride along together holding hands.  We enjoy the peace and quiet all while feeling the love flowing out of one and into the other just by the mere tips of our fingers touching the other.

Another thing that we like to do is go fishing together.  Even if we don’t catch a thing, we are together on this journey as we go down the river dodging fallen trees and stumps.  On one of the last trips we took down the river, it started to rain … hard!  We raced through the water to seek cover under a bridge until the rain passed.  We just thought we would wait it out, not realizing that Mother Nature had no plans of slacking off any time soon.  Instead, the rain started coming down even harder and at an angle, so we were still getting soaked in the boat under the bridge.  Then we decided to just go for it and rush back to the landing to seek cover in the truck until it all blew over.  Ha!  Rain was coming down so hard that it was getting all in our eyes where we could barely see where we were going.  Some people would have been cursing at the wind at that point, but I just let out a really loud squeal and turned my face toward the rain and laughed so hard as it beat down upon my skin.  I threw my hands out to each side and felt as if I was sailing right through the storm, and there was such freedom in that moment.  My husband started laughing, too, and although we looked like drowned rats when we made it back to the landing, we enjoyed this time together in the great outdoors!  We purposely disconnected from work phones, personal cell phones, computers, iPads, iPods, beepers, etc., and focused on being together!    And it was refreshing being with the one I love without any distractions, other than the pouring rain that caught us off guard.  It felt good disconnecting from the world for a little while and reconnecting with each other.

There are times now that we will just go out to our RV and sit in it in our yard.  We find our way out there by the light from a tiny flashlight, and then we sit in the dark inside the RV.  Some times we will take our camping lantern with us and let it glow on the inside as we sit together and just talk.  Last night was one of those RV nights, and we ended up staying out there for three hours talking by the light of the lantern.  And … it felt GREAT!  Nothing mattered for those three hours except HE and I in that RV right there in our yard, connecting, sorting some things out, and talking together sharing our hearts.  That is priceless!

While the above with horseback riding, going on fishing trips, or camping will not be everyone’s cup of tea, find what works for you and your spouse.  The point is to just disconnect from it all for a little while and focus on just being together reconnecting with your mate.  Disconnecting from the world and focusing on each other will help restore a vital thing that has been missing from your marriage.

Join us tomorrow for … A Day To Play

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Keeping It Simple

31Days

God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.  You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.  True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

Psalm 23:1-3 MSG

Families are busier today than they have been in generations past.  We are so busy rushing here and there that it seems we have more packed in our schedules resulting in less time spent together as a family.  Couples rarely see each other, and then they wonder why they feel distant.

It really is okay for families and couples to say NO more often to extracurricular activities that crowd our schedules and take over every waking moment we have!

When do you take time to relax and rejuvenate?  When do you rest and quiet your soul?

My dad just said this past week that our schedules are too packed for him.  He said he does not see how we do it and knows that he just could not keep up with going like we do.  Even on weekends, we are going here or there.  It sounds odd, but in a way, I believe he was giving us permission to just … be.   It is like we think we have to keep our hands busy at all times with different things that we’re doing or places that we’re going, and he was just letting us know that it really and truly is okay to take time to rest, relax, and just do absolutely nothing!   That is hard for my husband to do, though, as he has a lot of what we call nervous energy where he cannot seem to sit still for very long.  For me, though, some of my most favorite weekends are spent inside watching movies with my family.  I especially love rainy days or Winter days where it is just too cold to be outside – that is when we put on a big ole pot of chili or potato soup and watch a movie marathon all snuggled up together under our shared blankets.  Some times we will even make a fort for my youngest, which thrills her to no end!   When it is nice outside, though, it is harder to give into the urge to just relax because guilt sets in.  We have to retrain our brains to know that it really is okay to rest!

One of my most favorite bible verses says:

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

Be still.

Why is that so hard to do?

If more families and couples would focus more on keeping it simple instead of packing their schedule so full, think of the quality time you could all spend together!

One of my most favorite things to do in my “being still” moments is get on the back of my horse, Sugar, and ride in God’s beautiful countryside.  I literally rode beside still waters on a trail ride recently, and I could feel the stress leaving my body with every step that my horse took.  As she lowered her head almost in reverence to God above, my soul was restored right there in the middle of the forest.

While I’m talking about my horse (my friends and family know that my face lights up immediately at the mere mention of my horse’s name), just last week I rode Sugar around the entire perimeter of our yard.  The sun had already set, and the stars began to appear.  Right there under the sparkling blanket of shimmering lights, I prayed out loud as Sugar carried me.  I thanked God for all that He has done for our family and for how He is working in our lives.  I thanked God for keeping His hand of protection over my entire family, our children, our parents, and our marriage.  I felt my soul at peace right there under the vastness of the sky in the wide open space … my partner and I.

Take time with the ones you love, and allow yourself some down time.  Rest, rejuvenate, restore … be still and know that He is God.

Join us tomorrow for … Disconnecting From The World.   (Little did I realize today while writing this that tomorrow’s chapter goes hand in hand with what I just wrote above.  I truly am reading this one chapter at a time and applying my thoughts daily.)

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Lightening The Load

31Days

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

It will not always be smooth sailing in your marriage.  Hard times will come that will test and try you both in your marriage.

As Cindi and Hugh wrote in their book:

One of the greatest gifts of love we can give to our spouse is to help carry his or her burden, or to simply walk alongside him or her during the tough times.  Jesus said if we call ourselves His followers we must pick up our cross and follow Him.  We believe the fact that a man and woman are made one in a marriage relationship means we are to come alongside our spouse and help carry whatever burdens he or she is facing.

We truly do learn a lot about our spouses when we are in a crisis situation.  When things are going along wonderfully in our lives and in our marriages, we tend to take a lot of things for granted.  Our spouse is one of them.  We forget to appreciate our spouses and we tend to take our spouses and all of our blessings for granted.  We become selfish and think only of ourselves a lot of the times, too.  Consider the bible’s definition of love:  Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Our spouses need us, especially in a crisis situation.

In March of this year, I was thrown from a “green” horse (meaning, a horse that was not broke to ride – but we did not know this at the time!).  I suffered a fractured hip and a fractured hand, along with a concussion.  Thankfully it was not any worse than it was, but that was my crisis situation.  I needed my spouse as there were times I could not do things physically for myself.  I just was not able to do so in my condition.

Thirteen years ago, we lost my sister to suicide.  I needed my spouse then, too, but in a different way.  In that crisis situation, in the middle of this tragedy, and the aftermath of suicide, I needed my spouse to be there with me physically, yes, but I needed my spouse emotionally as well.

My husband has had things from his past that he has been dealing with since April that has haunted him tremendously.  He has sought counseling and is working through some serious issues.  He needs me to be there for him emotionally especially when releasing his feelings is so new to him and something that boys are taught growing up that you simply don’t do.  If you’ve ever heard “real men don’t cry” … just know that I think this is the greatest disservice that society has done to little boys who grow up to be men that have suppressed their feelings all of these years after being taught this lie!  Now these little boys are men who are unable to relate on an emotional level.  They have been taught that it’s not okay to show emotion, and so, they appear distant and emotionally unavailable.   I’d much rather have a man that is not afraid to show his emotions and can feel free to share how he is feeling with me any day over someone “appearing” strong on the outside just because that is what they’ve been told that they “have” to be.

These are just a few examples of crisis situations where we’ve truly needed the other to come alongside of us.  However, even when we’re not in a crisis situation, we need our spouses to be there even in the most simplest of ways to carry our burdens or lighten our loads.  Even the smallest of things can help when a spouse is feeling overwhelmed or stressed.  Taking the vehicles in for maintenance so your spouse is freed up to do other things around the house is one way of lightening the load.  Or, even sharing the load … if one washes, dries, and folds the clothes, the other can put them away.  Such little things can go a long way to helping your spouse.

Whether it’s little things or big crisis situations – be there for your spouse and help carry their load or their burdens right alongside of them.  You are a team.  You’re in this together for the long haul.  You are on the same side!  You are partners for life!  Now act like it!  No one else needs to “be there” for your spouse more than YOU need to be there for them … in every way!  You should always … always … be able to count on your spouse to be there, whatever the need.

Join us tomorrow for:  Keeping It Simple.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Flirting Again

31Days

May you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 5:18B

Once upon a time, you flirted with your mate.  Your eyes met across a crowded room, your hearts skipped a beat, you walked slowly toward each other as you knew … you just knew … they were the one for you.  You would do ANYTHING to make them yours.  And so, you pulled out all of your charm and won him/her over.

Do you remember how it felt?  Falling in love slowly at first, then all at once?  Do you recall how the simplest ways of them flirting with you made you feel wanted, desirable, and … sexy, even?

Well …

What happened?

If you think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … it’s because they water and take care of theirs!  Are you doing the same with YOURS?

There is a lot to be said about how this chapter in Hugh and Cindi’s book rings true!   They stress to never let the romantic love diminish!  In doing so, others will become more attractive. This is dangerous territory!  Very dangerous.  It is a slippery slope, and no good can come of it if you allow romance to fall by the wayside with your spouse.

Cindi and Hugh talked about Proverbs 5:15-17 which urges us to “drink water from your own cistern” and not from another cisterns that might look appealing to you.  Rejoice in the one you married!

Did you take your marriage vows seriously?  They aren’t optional.  You can’t pick and choose which ones you want to uphold.  You willingly committed yourself to your spouse for life.  You vowed to love, honor, and cherish all the days of your lives … for richer or poorer … in sickness and health … as long as you both shall live.  Did you mean it?

In this chapter of their book, Hugh and Cindi had a few anonymous couples that shared some of the ways that they flirt with their spouse.  One thing that stood out to me was one man that took a risk and told his wife that she was his fantasy girl.  This gave his wife confidence in knowing that she was the one that he fantasizes about – not some airbrushed picture perfect model in a Playboy magazine that has had breast implants and other cosmetic surgeries … not someone on television or even on an adult internet website … and not anyone they come in contact with day to day.  She is the one that he fantasizes about.  She is the one that he wants to fulfill all of his needs, desires, and yes, fantasies.  THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the way it should be.  A lot of times marriages suffer due to infidelity and pornography addictions.  But, it does not have to be this way!  Turn to each other – always – instead of something or someone else.  Uphold your marriage vows.  Honor your spouse.

You once flirted with your mate. If things seem stale in your relationship, chances are you have stopped flirting with each other. Don’t let things become hum drum. Instead, start flirting again with your mate! See the difference this simple thing can do for your marriage!

As Cindi and Hugh point out in their book, women like it when men smile at them.  They like to be complimented, and they like it when men say something to let them know that they find her attractive.  It has to be genuine, though, and from the heart.  Women CAN tell the difference in a come-on line versus the real deal.   In all honesty, men like it when women let them know that they are desirable, and they feel flattered if they feel like they’ve caught someone’s eye.

Listen up, people!

YOU need to be the one flirting with your spouse, admiring him/her, giving extra-long looks in their direction and sending suggestive text messages to your spouse.  If you don’t, someone else just might catch their eye and do the things that YOU should be doing.  Again, this is dangerous territory.  Do not let this happen!

The only person that you should be looking more than just a glance at is your spouse!   The only one that you should be longing for is your spouse!  The only one that you should be sending racy, steamy, or suggestive messages to is your spouse!  The only one that you should be flirting with, fantasizing about, and desiring is your spouse!  IF your thoughts go to any one else besides your spouse, you’re wrong and going against your marriage vows.  The only one you should be having any type of sexual relations with is your spouse!  This is the plain and simple truth!

Join us tomorrow for … Lightening The Load.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection

Finding A Getaway

31Days

God’s my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

Psalm 32:7 MSG

Quality time alone with your spouse is important.  Can you remember the last time you two stole some time away for just the two of you?  The stresses in life are so great, from stress at work, stress from finances, stress from raising children, just stress in general … it is important to get away from it all to recharge your batteries and spend time together with your spouse reconnecting.

For years we have taken vacations, but it has always been with our children.  We would plan family vacations that we knew the children would enjoy, and we tried to ensure that all in the family had their day to do what they wanted to that way everyone was happy on our trip.  Everyone had a say!   That worked out wonderfully, and our children have enjoyed the family vacations just as we have.  But … some where along the line, we lost each other.  We did not steal time away for just the two of us, and our relationship has suffered because of it.

In 2013, my husband won a trip to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.  He has been a long time Elvis fan, even dressing like Elvis for Halloween that year.  He heard a contest going on a local radio station, and lo and behold, he was the correct caller and he WON the trip!!  He was so excited as he said he’s never won anything before, and he was elated as this was his “dream trip!”  The only thing was that his winnings was for a trip for two.  We considered paying extra to take the children as they wanted to share in the excitement as well, but finally, I said no.  I thought we needed this time together … alone.  And so, we went on the trip, just he and I … and we had a fabulous time.  At first we were not sure what to do with ourselves or each other as we hadn’t had this amount of quality time together in years!  We had to find our way back to each other, and I felt that we did that during this trip.

While winning trips is few and far between, if it ever happens to a couple, it is important to schedule and plan time away together!  Make it a priority.  Don’t lose each other in the trenches of everyday life.  If you have, find a way to reconnect.

You don’t have to plan an expensive trip either.  You can getaway from it all by slipping away to your favorite place that is within an hour’s drive or so.  For us, we like to slip off to Charleston, South Carolina.  That is one of our absolute most favorite places in the entire world.  We have been blessed enough to travel to the Grand Cayman Islands for our honeymoon 12 years ago as well as going to the Bahamas on several occasions through the years with our children.  We have also taken trips within the United States.  But, we love going back to Charleston every chance we get.  There is just something so magical about that city!

We like to go to the Battery Park in Charleston as it has a huge gazebo in the middle of this park.  This is where my husband proposed to me all those years ago.  He got down on one knee and popped the question.  My oldest daughter was only four years old at the time, and she witnessed this with her mouth wide open as she realized what was happening.  We were able to capture this moment on camera, and it is a picture we treasure to this very day.  So, when we are in Charleston, visiting this park is a must.  We have taken a little picnic lunch and sat under the beautiful trees with the moss hanging down as we soaked in the salt air and the gorgeous view of the harbor.

So, you see, finding a getaway does not have to cost a lot of money.  It isn’t something that requires you to travel hours by plane to get to either.

Please, for the sake of your marriage, discuss finding a getaway together, a place that brings back old memories or a place to create new ones!  Watch as you reconnect and become closer to your spouse as your marriage improves with each moment you’re able to steal away together.

Join us tomorrow for … Flirting Again.

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Splurging On Each Other

31Days

Whatever turns up, grab it and do it.  And heartily!  This is your last and only chance at it …

Ecclesiastes 9:10 MSG

What do you think of when you are splurging on each other?  It doesn’t always have to be by spending money.  I hope you realize this.  While it is nice to splurge on each other and shower them with monetary gifts, there are other ways.

In their book, Cindi and Hugh talk about how a couple’s children always said that their dad “spoiled” their mother.  He has since passed away, but they still talk about how he splurged in his love for her for the 49 years they were together in marriage before his passing.   How did he do it, then, if not with money?  He did it in the way that matters most.  He spoiled his wife with his love, praise, and attention.

There is one other that has really lavished His love on us.  The word lavish means to give in great amounts and without limit.  Our Heavenly Father has lavished such love on to all of us.  He loves us with an unconditional love, and we are His.  Think of how deep the ocean is, and know that God loves you even deeper than that.  Think of the highest mountain, and know that God’s love extends far beyond that mountain and into the Heavens.

My daughter tries to “one up” me when we say we love each other and how much we love each other.  She will say:

I love you past God’s house.

Food for thought:  Do you love your spouse all the way past God’s house?  Do you show it?  Do your actions display this to your mate?  Do you love your spouse unconditionally, or do you place conditions upon them?  Do you lavish your love, attention, praise, and affection onto your spouse?  Or do you give your very best to others that you encounter on a daily basis while giving your spouse what’s left after you’ve been stressed out, aggravated, and annoyed?  What are ways that you can lavish your love upon your spouse without spending a single dime?

Join us tomorrow for … Finding A Getaway.

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Laughing Together

31Days

There is a time for everything … a time to weep and a time to laugh.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Life is hard … (wear a helmet).  One of my friends loves to say this as they giggle or throw their head back laughing.  The truth is, life IS hard!  It can also be beautiful, thrilling, and amazing!  While we would like to stroll through life never having felt heartache and pain, that just isn’t realistic.  Bad things happen to good people all of the time.  It’s how we choose to deal with it that matters!  Sure, you could sit around crying over things and stay in that frame of mind, OR you can try to find a way to bring laughter into it.  When it seems like it’s impossible to laugh, just try.

Cindi and Hugh talk about a lady that was diagnosed with breast cancer about the same time that a concrete wall fell on her husband at work.  They endured a great deal of pain and suffering, but they lived to tell about it.  AND, they found a way to laugh in the mist of the storms they were facing.  This immediately brought back memories of a visit I had with friends in September.  My friend, Betty, from Oklahoma drove 13 hours to Georgia while I drove four hours from South Carolina, and our friend, Sylvia, drove six hours from Alabama.  We all met up in Georgia to rally around our dear friend, Debbie, who was just recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.  While we were all emotional upon hearing this news, we knew that we had to make this trip to support our friend.  I am happy to report that the weekend of September 12, 2014 was spent with these beautiful ladies laughing and having the absolute best time ever!   Sure we could have sat around crying all weekend due to what was happening to one of our dear friends that is really more like family.  Yet, we chose to find something to laugh about all weekend long.  We did not focus on the bad news; instead, we focused on lifting our sweet sister up and encouraging her with our love and laughter.

Think of how things can improve in your marriage if you do this very same thing with your spouse.  Instead of getting upset over a situation, see if there is any way to find humor in the situation.  I’m not suggesting that we laugh all the time when it’s certainly not appropriate, but there is a lot to be said about finding some good in a bad situation and laughing instead of crying!  Laughter truly IS the best medicine.

We have been through some very stressful things in our marriage.  In life, we have been forced to deal with tragic situations that threatened to steal every bit of joy and happiness in our lives. We have felt shattered and as if we would never be the same again, and honestly, we won’t.  But, instead of remaining down and wallowing in self pity about the situation or letting depression consume us, we try really hard to find a way to smile and even laugh.  I have said before that I am as silly as I am because life is just too serious.  I don’t want to be serious all the time.  I want to be as silly as I possibly can because that is the most fun!

We cannot control what happens in life.  Oh how I wish we could because things in my life would be a LOT different if I could.  But, God has a plan, and we just have to trust in Him.  He knows best.  He knows what the future holds, and He knows what He’s saved us from by having things go according to His will and not ours.  The only thing you can really control is how you respond to situations.  You can cry and remain in that frame of mind forever, or you can try to lift yourself up out of that pit and find something, anything to laugh about.  Even the most silliest of things – it doesn’t matter – just throw your head back and have a big ole belly laugh.  Be silly.  And ENJOY every minute of it.  Who better than with your spouse?!

When tension arises, find something to crack a joke about.  It’s even better if there is an inside joke that you share that no one else will know about, yet it will bring a smile to your face and that of your spouse.  What I especially love is to be as silly as I can with my children, too.  They don’t want parents that are always on their case.  There is a time to be strict and enforce all of the rules, and then there are times when you have to cut loose and just laugh with your children.  You don’t want them to look back and think of you as a warden, tough as nails not letting anything slide.  You want them to look back fondly at their childhood and remember the good times, the laughter, the fun you had together, and the love that you all shared.

When was the last time that you remember laughing together with your spouse or with your children?  Find something to laugh about TODAY!

Join us tomorrow for … Splurging On Each Other.

For all posts in this series, click here.

Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection