Three Tips for a Stronger Marriage

stronger marriage

Three Tips for Stronger Marriage:
1. Forgive– the fire goes out when you water it with forgiveness.
“Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”
Eph. 4:32 The Message
2. Communicate– your spouse is not a mind reader, tell him/her how you feel and use phrases like “I feel…..” not “You always……”
3. Play– Do something fun together. Set aside life’s worries for a time of connection and laughs.


“It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough!” Eccl. 4:9-10 MSG


Edited to add:
My friend Darlene Schacht has put a 365 day marriage prayer devotional online, I think you might love it!
Todays Marriage Prayer

Spring 2013 Praise and Coffee Magazine is here!

Thank you to so many amazing women (and one man) who grace the pages of this issue!

spring 2013

We do not have print subsciptions available yet but you can order the magazines individually here:

Praise and Coffee Spring 2013

Praise and Coffee: Praise and Coffee Spring 2013

Connecting women to encourage each other and inspiring them to draw closer to God.

Find out more on MagCloud


And for all of you wonderful Pinners, here are some Pins for you to share!
Also available on my Pinterest page:


contents 2






mel nelson



underlying anger

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Marriage Is Not About Two Perfect People

They said it would never last. We stubbornly scoffed at them. We were young and so naïve.

I was 20 years old and engaged to be married to a man I’d known less than a year. I promptly ran out to buy my wedding dress and gathered prices on reception halls.

Two months later I was pregnant and the fairy tale wedding unraveled along with my reputation and friendships.  Our family was disappointed but supportive; we moved the wedding up and scaled down the celebration. I’d need a new dress, the off the shoulder summer design would not work for a November wedding.

Good friends stood by us, many church friends did not. A Pastor, who’d taken great interest in us as a young dynamic Christian couple, no longer greeted us with a big smile, instead a cool nod in our direction. Obviously, we’d failed him.

Matthew was born in May and we continued having a baby every other spring until 3 lively children filled our home. The years that followed were filled with love, laughter, tears, mountain tops and valleys.

Fast forward 25 years. Add another child…sans labor and delivery, this one was born in our hearts and brought home from a tiny village in the Chinese province of Xi’an.

It’s been an incredible journey, a road I’m so thankful to have traveled with my best friend. Like any friendship, there have been ups and downs, but always a commitment to come home and honor the promises we made that cold uncertain day in 1987.

Mark and I have spent endless hours counseling couples, many on the cliff ready to dive into divorce. As both sides plead their defense, our first question is, “how are your individual relationships with the Lord?” It’s so easy to blame problems on a marriage, but we have to look deeper than that. Often a marriage in trouble is just a symptom of one or two people who are not walking in personal peace and contentment.

The foundation of a strong marriage is girded on our personal walk with God.

When trials come, it is too easy to retreat emotionally, walk away from our partnership and let bitterness rule our thoughts. When we have the Holy Spirit whispering truth in our hearts, it anchors us, reminds us and draws us to lay down our offense and choose grace. Forgiveness is the powerful cord that weaves through our lives and holds us together.

Many said we would never last, I’m sure they saw what seemed like a shaky foundation. Thankfully we each had an honest personal relationship with a Father who never let go of us as we clung to His hand.

“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Matt. 11:29 MSG

Marriage is not about two perfect people making it work, it’s about learning the unforced rhythms of grace as we navigate this dance we call life.

I’m grateful for the partner I’ve danced with and as we celebrate Matthew’s wedding this weekend, and add another daughter to our family, my heart swells with joy and anticipation of the next 25 years and new adventures ahead.


Edited to add:

We had a fabulous dinner last night at Ruth’s Chris in Grand Rapids and had to take a pic on the same stairway that we took pictures 25 years ago.

And a blast from the past:


The Fall Magazine is Here!



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Two shall be One ~ Thoughts of Thankfulness

First a couple of things.
Look at what I look out my front door at:

**Another snow day here in Michigan. My son (a senior in high school) is thrilled, he gets a day off. My daughter (a sophomore in high school) is bummed- she is homeschooled!
** Thank you all so much for your input last week! I will be delving into many of the subjects you mentioned over the next several weeks.
I have decided to hold off on the carnival idea for now. Though, I encourage you to jump in on other marriage carnivals that are presently going on, such as:
Marriage Mondays at Chrysallis, if you know of others, feel free to tell us about them in the comments.

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

Also, I really would like you to use the comments to expand on my thoughts and give your own. Give examples, verses and testimony- I love it!!! Don’t ever apologize for your comments, I appreciate them and I think it will be a value to all who read “TsbO Tuesdays” if they are all in one spot.


What are your thoughts?
Has satan had you down a bad road in your thought life?
Have your thoughts made you angry, stressed out or full of anxiety?

Changing our marriage life starts with changing our thought life.

Changing our thought life is not as difficult as you think. Though it takes work, it is possible to redirect our minds to focus on the positive and not the negative – the power and not the draining direction that sinful thoughts can take us in.

I have to be honest and say that the times I get angry are usually the times when I’m not getting my own way and I let my thought life get out of control. I know this goes right along the same lines as “stewing” but I believe that looking at the issue from different perspectives will help us to remember how powerful our thoughts are. It does for me anyways!

Psalms 13:2
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?


Psalms 139:2-4
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O LORD.

THAT will make us deal with our thinking won’t it?!

It helps me to know that I am accountable for all my thoughts and that the Lord cares what is on my mind.

Let’s change our thoughts to thankful ones!
Col 3:15
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,

since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.

Are we thankful for the man God gave us?
According to this scripture, it will affect our peace.

There is nothing so powerful as peace in our hearts and our homes!

Think of how it changes the atmosphere of the home when Momma is livin’ in peace.

It bears repeating:

Changing our marriage life starts with changing our thought life.

Let’s create an atmosphere of peace in our homes and start by changing our thoughts to those of thankfulness.

Please talk to me about this one, tell me I’m not the only one who lets her thoughts get the best of her and turns into Cruella….

Our nugget:
Thoughts of thankfulness!

For further encouragement:
Eph 1:16
16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
(Read that whole chapter, it’s wonderful!)

Eph 5:19-20
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Col 3:17
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thess 5:16-18
16 Be joyful always;
17 pray continually;
18 give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Praying for our marriages!

Our hope is in Him,

Two shall be One ~ Win-Win


Do you walk away from arguments with your spouse feeling as though you just lost? While the other person is talking, are you thinking of what you can say to change his or her words?

No? Well, I have, so humor me! 😉

I have even had arguments with my husband while he was out of the room!

But seriously, this is so destructive to our marriage. We are partners after all. We are both on the same team, but sometimes we treat each other like arch enemies. We think that there is a winner and a loser, when in fact if we are against each other- we both lose.

Eph 5:29-31
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Can you imagine what would happen if your body tried to function according to the rules of a win-lose system. Suppose your heart and your lungs got into a heated debate about which one most needed more blood supplied to it. Or if our mouth decided to punish the body by not breathing anymore.Does it really matter who wins?
In marriage, you have to find a win-win solution,
because when there’s a winner and a loser, you both lose!
We have to find a win-win solution.
To do this, it’s going to take humility and maturity.
It really doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, we may never agree on that. But can we chose to lay down our own rights for our spouse?
God will reward a humble heart.

When we walk in love, we both win.
Your nugget for today is, Win-Win!

Here’s some food for thought (and prayer):

Ps 25:9
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.

Eph 4:2
2 Be completely humble and gentle;

be patient, bearing with one another in love.

James 4:6
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:10
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord,

and He will lift you up.

1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand,

that He may lift you up in due time.

Two shall be One ~ Stop Stewing

My husband and I have been married for 20 blissful, uneventful years!
I interrupt this figment of my imagination for a dose of reality

You can read the rest of this article over at the CWO Internet Cafe’

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