Recently I was asked what I felt were the top six qualities that would go into making a great marriage. It wasn’t too hard to come up with six, and even more. Below in fact are what I believe to be the top 12 characteristics of a successful marriage. Looking ahead to the New Year, I plan to write in detail about one of the 12 characteristics each month. Might I suggest that you focus on that one area for each month, praying and seeking God for change in you and your marriage. I believe if you do, this will prove to be a great year for you and your spouse. Join me and let’s get started!

12 Characteristics of a Great Marriage… Continue Reading →

I wonder – just wonder – how many couples actually take time to pray together every day. To be honest, it has only been the last 4 or 5 years that my wife and I have experienced the blessings of doing so ourselves. It’s not that we had never prayed together before. It’s just that… we hadn’t made it a priority to do every day. At a marriage conference we attended (yes even marriage counselors can keep on learning) we were challenged to find a consistent time we could pray every day and do so. The effect? It’s been good…real good. Not every time, but overall. Some days I don’t feel like praying…I’m tired, bummed, or frustrated so Zerrin carries us to the throne. Sometimes it’s the other way around. It is a humbling yet enriching experience that has drawn us closer together.

Here’s some pointers to help in developing this time together: Continue Reading →

When Paul writes in I Corinthians 13…that “love bears all things…” what did he mean? The Amplified version says: “love bears up under anything and everything that comes…” Anything and EVERYTHING? That sounds very similar to the commitment most of us made before a Pastor, a congregation, our family, and our spouse…”till death do us part.” Unfortunately it seems as though too many couples – Christians included – have forgotten that part.

The latest statistics Continue Reading →

Here’s the bottom line: If we REALLY want to have a great marriage, then we must become like Christ. He alone was and is the greatest example to us in every regard. When it comes to humility there is no greater picture than Jesus Christ… who according to Paul in Philippians 2 wrote that our attitude “should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” NIV

There is SO MUCH that could be said of these verses… Continue Reading →

Think about it…where would any one of us be without forgiveness? It is HUGE! I don’t know about you, but I can think of plenty of things I have done wrong in my life… and I’m not even talking about all the wrong stuff I’ve not done but have thought about or harbored in my heart. Add all that to the scales, and we tip them over, turn them upside down and around again! Yet I have been forgiven! I’ve hurt my parents, I’ve hurt my wife, I’ve hurt my children, I’ve hurt my friends, I’ve hurt my dog, and most of all I’ve hurt my God! Yet I know the experience of being forgiven by every one of them.

Forgiveness is absolutely crucial to a husband and wife relationship. With it you breathe new life into your marriage. Without it, bitterness takes root, walls go up, and eventually a relational meltdown occurs. Big hurts and little hurts add up to what seems like an insurmountable hurdle. Questions abound… Continue Reading →

I love the question Emerson Eggerichs poses in his book Love and Respect – “Do you really believe your spouse got up this morning rubbing their hands together thinking: ‘How can I make my spouse’s life miserable today? How can I really hurt them today?’” Well… if you DO think this, then you probably ought to …go see the police! Otherwise, when in conflict, we must learn to pull back a bit and recall to mind I Corinthians 13: “love believes all things” (NASB) or in the Amplified version, love is “ever ready to believe the best of every person…”

A friend recently wrote the following on my Facebook: “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” You may have to go over that several times before you really get it! You’ve had it happen to you – probably many times – just as I have… Continue Reading →

This week I read the following in a news article* by Author Sandra Tsing Loh: “Sadly, and to my horror, I am divorcing. This was a 20-year partnership. My husband is a good man, though… …he did travel 20 weeks a year for work. I realized…I would not be able to replace the romantic memory of my fellow transgressor with the more suitable image of my husband, which is what it would take in modern-therapy terms to knit our family’s domestic construct back together.” Apparently Sandra developed an outside relationship with a man and decided the “love” she felt when with him was worth throwing 20 years of history with a “good man” out the window. (I wanted to scream.)

So, just why exactly does Sandra want to do this? I suggest two likely answers… Continue Reading →

It used to be a fairly common term years ago – “dying to self.” Now I wonder how many of us really know what it means – let alone practice it very often when it comes to our spouse. I attended a Pastors’ luncheon yesterday to hear Mark Gungor give a preview of his marriage seminar, Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage.  A couple of things he mentioned especially stood out to me. He said, “The key to a successful marriage is not – finding the right person. The key to a successful marriage is … Continue Reading →

It happens nearly every day in my office. In an attempt to explain their hurt and disappointments, husbands and wives fail at hearing the heart of the other’s concerns. They miss each other. Both parties become frustrated…and their further attempts to communicate only grow worse. Often, if I don’t intervene they end up yelling at each other, or giving up. In either case, feelings of despair grow larger. Every time I witness the above – I grieve. How terribly sad it is … Continue Reading →

Zerrin and I have some good friends who went to a colleague of mine for marriage counseling. The interesting thing is they weren’t aware of anything plaguing their marriage – they were simply going for a “check-up.” My friend told me that when he and his wife first got married, they committed to each other that after 5 years of marriage, they would spend a minimum of 4 weeks… Continue Reading →