Secrets to a Successful Marriage {FREE PRINTABLE}

I lay in the curve of his arm and breathe deep. He smoothes my hair away from my face and replaces it with a soft kiss.

And after so many years together, we rarely hold back what’s in our heart. “I feel like I’m falling in love with you,” I whisper.

Again?” he smiles with raised eyebrows and pulls me closer.

Five Things that Have Made Our Marriage Successful:

We are good forgivers: Let’s be honest, if you’ve been married for a week or 230 of them, you’ve been given the opportunity to forgive your spouse. Forgiveness releases the other person from their offense, but more importantly, it frees you to choose love. And there’s been a lot to forgive in our 942 weeks together, but we are getting good at it.

We fight fair (except when we don’t): Marriage is the perfect breeding ground for arguments. Couples who aren’t occasionally disagreeing, probably aren’t communicating well. It’s not if we fight, it’s when. Further damage occurs in the how. We can literally destroy each other with words. But when we let kindness be our guide, our disagreements actually move us further along in our marriage.

We write each other letters: He gave me this box years ago. He puts letters in it. I write him notes and blog posts and our words find their mark. There’s just something powerful that happens when you write your heart on a page and give it to your mate. “To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

We work on our friendship: We play hard, we laugh hard, we spend time together (on purpose), we have so many inside jokes it’s not even funny…only really it is. He’s my best friend…the one person in this life I want to be with. We are deeply bound by friendships that comes with communication, communion and care.

We choose to fall in love again (and again): You’ve heard it before–love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. It’s true. We have had irreconcilable differences and breaches of trust and oh, some really hard days, but we’ve decided on love even when we didn’t feel it or couldn’t find it.

It’s really not a secret at all. It’s deciding to fall in love again and again, with the same person.

Enjoy this free 8×10 printable:

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Don’t Spend Your Life On What Doesn’t Matter

There has never been a time like we live in now.

In my daughter’s public junior high, they don’t use textbooks, students can access the information online and they communicate homework and reminders thru texts. Small children maneuver (and own) Apple products instead of toys. Pinterest has changed the lives of women (who don’t like what their husband is watching on TV) everywhere. It’s becoming rare not to see someone attached to a phone or a device of some kind.

In this technology age, there are more distractions bombarding us then ever before.

I’m not against these advances and enjoy many of them, but the risk of wasting our time and our life on what doesn’t matter grows with every distraction.

We live distracted lives and we allow it because it’s become the norm. And it’s not like it’s sinful, right?

“Sin isn’t only doing bad things. It’s turning good things, into ultimate things.” -Jason Johnson

The risk is turning something good into our main focus, which in the end is bad.

And when our focus becomes stuff or devices that help us organize, acquire, manipulate, our stuff, we make them our idol. Idolatry is spending your life on what doesn’t matter.

God shows us mercy by allowing things to disappoint us, it’s there in the letdown where we discover the power our stuff has over us.

Focusing on things that don’t matter will always lead to disappointment. Whether it’s obsessively decorating our house (I’ve been there) or shopping and shopping and shopping for more, more, more (been there too), in the end, when the buzz is gone, we still want more and the temptation to “redecorate” or “restyle” magnifies.

“Remember you have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it.” -John Piper

We were made for another world and this one will never truly satisfy. It only brings temporary satisfaction and we hunger for something more sustainable.

It’s when we find the passion of our lives, the passion that exalts Jesus, that’s where we are satisfied.

Free 8×10 Printable: Do Not Waste Your Life
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Together for Adoption in Atlanta next weekend!

I’ll be there. Will you?


For When the Crazy Takes Over

We rescued our cat fours years ago from a shelter after a devastating hurricane hit our area.

We are not cat people.

But apparently we have bleeding hearts and so we responded to a desperate email from the shelter that was going to destroy hundreds of animals abandoned or found during the storm.

It’s been four years and our dog still hates our cat. I mean there is some serious animal hatred here, people. They randomly knock over furniture, spit and claw and cause havoc.  The last two years with our trips to Africa and running a non-profit from our dining room-turned-home office and the Mercy Shop in our garage, our life has gotten busy and hectic and fuller and well, crazy.

Crazy is our normal.

It’s still hard for this Type A mom to write those words. But it’s true, there is constant crisis and God uses our circumstances and His dream to stretch me every day. Plus, throw in three growing kids, jobs, etc, our pets are low on the totem pole.

So, back to the cat. This might be going somewhere, I haven’t decided yet.

Lately, we have been traveling a lot, speaking on behalf of Mercy House among other things and to put it lightly, our cat upped the ante.

He has defiled my favorite chair three times.

In desperation, I actually Googled why is my cat pooping on my chair?

It took me to an article called If Your Cat is Pooping On Your Chair, It’s a Serious Sign of Distress.

I couldn’t make that up even if I wanted to. It went on to say that loneliness and stress were factors.

Now, look away animal lovers: I cannot afford new furniture every time we travel because our cat has anger and loneliness issues. So, after a lot of talking and Googling, we made the tough decision that it was time for our cat to find a new home. One without a dog or a maternity home.

But when it actually came time to give him away, our kids begged and pleaded to give him another chance. Here’s this innocent animal in a pet carrier inside my hubby’s car and my kids are hysterical in the driveway. They promised to show him attention, to guard my chair with their life, to make our pets a priority (basically give them food and water). Suddenly, I even found myself advocating for this dumb animal.

We turned him loose in the house.

They spent the next two hours creating a cat habitat, making pom pom toys and brushing him. It was hilarious and heartbreaking. They went from “we have a cat?” to “our life is about that cat.”

It was sweet.

And really, really crazy.

Just a regular day around here…and probably just the beginning of our cat problems.

That night when all the chaos calmed, I hugged my husband tight and said, “I’m glad the kids talked us out of it. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog, um cat.”

Oh, and I ordered this infomercial chair alarm for $19.99 from Amazon. Because y’all, I love that chair (which has remained odor and poop free since we gave the cat a second chance).

So, really this post has nothing to do with a cat (who is now purring in my lap as I type this), but it’s really about second chances, refocusing, and not letting the crazy completely take over.

The end.

And if you made it to the bottom of this ridiculous post, you have been rewarded with this hilarious quote by a woman I know would look at my crazy and be all “Pshaw…that’s nothing!”

8×10 Printable Mom Quote