Is this standing in the way of your dream marriage?

Guest Post: Janel Breitenstein is a married mother of 4 who writes frequently for FamilyLife. Janel and her husband John currently serve with eMi in Uganda. You can visit her blog at www.agenerousgrace.com

Maybe you already know what it is. You know: that one thing. It’s one thing that, like an arm in a cast, its layered hardness immobilizing you from totally embracing your spouse.

Maybe you’re like me; I didn’t even realize it was there. But still, it was a silent, mildly bitter seed I’d unwittingly nurtured when it niggled at me. Sometimes it was watered by a bad day that couldn’t keep pace with my vision of what life could be like if only.

How to see your spouse with new eyes

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Guest Post: Janel Breitenstein is a married mother of 4 who writes frequently for FamilyLife. Janel and her husband John currently serve with eMi in Uganda. You can visit her blog at www.agenerousgrace.com

Remember the ’99 Julia Roberts flick, Runaway Bride?

Roberts’ character has a bad reputation for landing at the altar and, well, taking off. (Spoiler alert, here–) Turns out she’s been a chameleon of sorts, being “supportive” to the point of wholly adopting her not-so-future mate’s preferences, hobbies, and lifestyle: She likes her eggs the same way. She dons a large (fake) tattoo. She prepares to climb Everest for one of her (not-gonna-happen) honeymoons.

The fiancés are left clueless and bewildered as she turns from each of them, minutes from matrimony. I adored her! And yet, apparently none understood how little they’d actually sought out her soul, or cherished her uniqueness apart from what she contributed to their own interests.

At one point, the movie finds Richard Gere’s character, a reporter getting the scoop on her follies, tinkering at a piano with his ex-wife.

“Is that what happened?” he asks her. “Did I just…not see you?”

“No,” she responds quietly. “No, you didn’t.”

It’s easy enough, I think. To not really see this person we’re married to.

How Not To Change Your Spouse

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The following post was written by Scott Credeur.

If you went to Sunday school as a kid, its very likely you learned a catchy song with some not so good hand motions that reveals a significant truth about marriage. What song do you ask?

It goes like this:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man and wee little man was he,

He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see,

And as the savior passed that way he looked up in the tree,

And he said, “Zaccheus, you come down!”

For I’m coming to your house today.

What does this song have to do with marriage?

12 Ways To Stay Close When The Going Gets Rough

Guest Post: Janel Breitenstein is a married mother of 4 who writes frequently for FamilyLife. Janel and her husband John currently serve with eMi in Uganda. You can visit her blog at www.agenerousgrace.com

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It was one of the most pressing seasons for our marriage.

We were facing a trifecta of major life decisions—only one of which included the continent we’d be living on. And our marriage that had been marked by teamwork and partnership now found our opinions diverging in opposite directions.

To say we were stressed was more than an understatement.

Did You Marry The Wrong Person?

Guest Post: Janel Breitenstein is a married mother of 4 who writes frequently for FamilyLife. Janel and her husband John currently serve with eMi in Uganda. You can visit her blog at www.agenerousgrace.com

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He surprised me, you know.

I was eighteen. I was leading a college Bible study around a book called Lady in Waiting. I had Kissed Dating Goodbye. I was running hard after God—“Dude, you were hard core,” a guy friend told me years later, in that “we kind of thought you wouldn’t be interested in us” kind of voice.

And then…there was this curly-haired guy with a head-turning but modest self-confidence, a guy who seemed to be running as hard as I was, but in retrospect, more peace and joy.

I initially thought of every reason in the book not to date him, scared of doing the wrong thing (or even feeling pleasure) as I was. Looking at those broad shoulders: I bet he works out and thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips.

I’m Tired of Great Weddings!

How to turn a great wedding into a great marriage

George Booth and I collaborated on this post together.

I’ve been to some great weddings!

We once attended a wedding in Ireland where we traveled with a plane load of fellow Scots and celebrated for almost a week.

I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a colleague in Azerbaijan where we danced, ate, and celebrated into the wee small Azeri hours.

I’ve been to great weddings in the prettiest of Scottish Castles and great weddings in the grandest of Cathedrals – but quite frankly I’m getting tired of great weddings!

The more I think about it, I haven’t been to a bad wedding. Every wedding I’ve ever facilitated, attended, or observed has been great.

This weekend, great weddings will be happening all around the world where a beautiful bride and a handsome groom will enjoy with their fortunate guests, all the spoils and pleasure of months and often years of meticulous planning and paying! They’ll be great. People will laugh, parents will cry, and everyone will hashtag their memories to the happy couple’s Instagram tag – #greatwedding

So why with all these great weddings do we only know a handful of great marriages? Why do we pour so much time, energy, creativeness and money into great weddings but we are reluctant to invest in having a great marriage?

Please don’t do it…

The Affair Illusion

Guest Post: Janel Breitenstein is a married mother of 4 who writes frequently for FamilyLife. Janel and her husband John currently serve with eMi in Uganda. Additionally, Janel’s husband serves on the Board of Marriage Revolution. You can visit her blog at www.agenerousgrace.com

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Last Friday, Fox news reported that Ashley Madison—the self-proclaimed “original extramarital affairs site”—anticipated a 500% increase in applicants following Mother’s Day.

There are so many aspects of this statistic that baffle the mind. I suppose—or rather earnestly hope—that there are enough blog posts out there about the mere idea of a site dedicating itself to (how to put this politely?) willful marital annihilation. But in an effort to step beyond preaching and into understanding, there are a few observations that beg unpacking.

Submission isn’t Silent

The Submissive Wife—and Finding Your Voice

Guest Post: Janel Breitenstein is a married mother of 4 who writes frequently for FamilyLife. Janel and her husband John currently serve with eMi in Uganda. Additionally, Janel’s husband serves on the Board of Marriage Revolution. You can visit her blog at www.agenerousgrace.com

Submission is not silent

A friend and I were out for a rare breakfast, our hands curled around ceramic mugs of decaf. “What’s the best way to pray for you and your husband?” I’d asked quietly. But it was her answer that surprised me—and the liquid I saw collecting around the rims of her eyes.

“Pray for me”—she paused here—“to find my voice.”

20 Ways To Protect Your Marriage

Guest Post: Janel Breitenstein is a married mother of 4 who writes frequently for FamilyLife. Janel and her husband John currently serve with eMi in Uganda. Additionally, Janel’s husband serves on the Board of Marriage Revolution. You can visit her blog at www.agenerousgrace.com

20 Ways to Protect

You’ve probably got insurance on your car—which you lock pretty much everywhere, maybe with the addition of a swanky alarm.

And let’s think about it. You’ve got safeguards, insurance, and forward-thinking measures for your health. Your house. Your mortgage. Your cash. Your kids (carseats, seatbelts, bike helmets, savings accounts…).

We protect what’s valuable.

But ADT’s got nothing for affairs, broken hearts, or lonely marriages…

Should you renew your wedding vows?

Guest Post: George Booth is a married father of 3 and serves on the Board of Marriage Revolution.

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I recently had the privilege of attending a Marriage Vows Renewal Ceremony in Jerusalem, Israel. As we stood on a plaza overlooking this ancient city, the small party of assembled guests were struck by the beauty and simplicity of the occasion as we thanked God for 25 years of His love and faithfulness towards the happier than ever couple.

For this couple, the renewal ceremony had extra poignancy.  When they first took their marriage vows, they neither believed in or followed God.  But here they were, 25 years later, united in a common bond of love for each other, for Christ and for his church.

But I couldn’t help but ask myself, does a wedding vow ever need renewing?