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 →

Ron and Cindy were sitting in my office arguing right in front of me.  Neither were really listening to the other, but only trying to get their own point across.  This is not wholly unusual – it occurs quite frequently in fact.  Usually I let it go on for a bit so I can observe how the couple communicates especially in times of conflict.  After about five minutes I stopped them and suggested they try something different since they obviously were going nowhere very quickly.  Instead of simply reacting to each other, defending their position, and pointing out where the other is wrong, I suggested they… Continue Reading →

I have a friend who has gone through severe hardships in life, far greater than I ever have. Yet every time he calls – he speaks blessings into my life; he quotes scriptures that uplift me. I can think of several others whom I deeply love and appreciate in similar ways – they too have gone through very difficult times. Whereas many who go through the fire become bitter, others become better… better people, better friends, better lovers of those around them. It convicts me, challenges me, and gives me hope all at the same time.

Marriage can be one of the most challenging arenas from which bitterness or “betterness” comes forth.

Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage says it this way:  Continue Reading →

In the opening lines of the old war movie Apocalypse Now, a soldier is seen waking up in his hotel room struck by the realization that it’s the beginning of another day without a military assignment.  He shouts in great frustration, “Every day without mission I grow weaker; every day the enemy crouches in the bush, he grows stronger!”

Mission is central to remaining strong in the face of adversity.  Every day without it we grow weaker.  And every day we lose sense of mission, our enemy grows stronger.  There is something about mission that propels us forward no matter what the cost… Continue Reading →