Why Not Build a Lasting Friendship in Your Marriage? {& Book and Journal Giveaway}

A Marriage Without Friendship is Like a Bird Without Wings

It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up – painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, and fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction. – C.S. Lewis

Let’s talk about the old days.

The days before “we” when it was just “you and he.” Back to the foundation of friendship where a seed of romance was planted and watered until it took root.

Remember those days?

What was it like to be new-found friends? How was life different?

Michael and I were friends for several months before we dated. Not your regular run of the mill friendship, where we met for coffee every other week no, like most young couples, we were inseparable buddies. We spent hours on end talking on the phone about the music we enjoyed, the movies that made us cry, friends from the past… and more than anything else–we laughed.

We went for picnics, attended church, and spent time at the park. Taking long walks I’d feel the brush of his hand against mine wondering when and if they’d ever connect.

Like any new and exciting friendship I was sincerely interested in knowing what he was about, so I asked questions and listened intently to every word that he spoke and every story he told. There was no doubt in my mind that this man was my very best friend. We made every effort to spend time together.

Fast forward about 15 years… Michael and I were struggling with the day to day details of starting a new business. We were dealing with the loss of five babies to miscarriage, and had started raising a family. Michael was working long hours and I was busy at home taking care of the babies.

Unfortunately, like many couples who are busy being Mom and Dad, our friendship was swept to the side for a time. Thankfully we’ve made an effort to pull friendship back to the forefront of our relationship.

If you’re wondering what that looks like, it’s a matter of carving out time to spend in each other’s company, and enjoying the time that you have.

Alone time? That’s good, but not always practical when you have a house full of kids. Spending time with your husband might be putting a puzzle together on the kitchen table, watching a Lord of the Rings Marathon (which I recently did), or enjoying a picnic with your kids at the park.

As much as I want to suggest “date nights” to you, I’m going to veer in a slightly different direction today by sharing two romantic little nuggets with you:

My parents were married for 60 years, and I don’t ever remember them going out on a “date.” It just wasn’t their thing. They had a big family and they were careful about the way that they spent their money.

But here’s what I did notice about them… aside from watching TV and gardening together, they spent time laughing together. Looking back at it now, the one thing that I loved most about spending time at the cabin was the fact that the walls were thin and I could hear my parents chatting and laughing in bed. They would giggle and talk for a good half hour before falling asleep.

Then this afternoon I had lunch with a couple that’s been happily married for over 30 years.

Do you want to know how they spend their evenings together? He reads classic novels to her while she works in the kitchen.

I asked, “How many has he read to you? She said, “Hmm… let me think… how long have we been married?” (My heart just about melted when I heard that one!)

Date nights don’t get much better than that, do they?

The bottom line is that friends don’t only enjoy each other’s company, they make an effort to do so.

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” ~ Proverbs 5:18

Darlene SchachtDarlene Schacht is the well-known Time Warp Wife whose purpose in ministry is to encourage wives to put God first in their lives. She inspires us to love our husbands and children, and to be good homemakers.

Darlene is an Evangelical Christian who has been married to her husband Michael for over twenty-five years. They have four children and two adorable pugs. Their lives are basically surrounded by three things: faith, family, and books.

Her newest book, Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages (Thomas Nelson), delivers an incredible testimony of grace that offers hope for today’s marriages and a spark for rekindling love. Visit Darlene’s website at: www.TimeWarpWife.com

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
Messy, Beautiful Love and Journal by Darlene Schacht

And now I’m excited to announce the release of Darlene Schacht’s new book, Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages!

I’ll never forget first reading Darlene’s story on her blog and walking upstairs to my husband’s office to share it with him. I didn’t even know Darlene yet, but I was moved to tears by her testimony. He listened to me read her words and was equally touched by her messy, beautiful love story. That was the beginning of one of those wonderful ways God moves and connects lives.  Matthew became Darlene’s literary agent and a few short months later, she had a signed contract with Thomas Nelson. You can read more about that part of the story here: How to Land a Literary agent and Get Your Book Published.

You can purchase Darlene’s book Messy, Beautiful Love HERE 

Or you can enter to win one of two copies of her book, as well as this lovely journal below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blessings and enjoy!
In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson
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Why Big Differences Make for the Best Marriages

Why Big DIfferences Make for the Best Marriages

You think by now we’d know.

I mean we’ve been married for years and years. Over two decades.

But somehow it hit us anew.

It all began with our son who is back east at college. He called to tell us about how he and his friends were all taking this personality test. And he thought we should do it too.

Oh, sure! That’d be fun.

So we sat down one evening and filled out the questionnaire.

A piece of cake.

He took his and I took mine. The questions were simple and straightforward and we were done in less than 12 minutes.

But the conversation that followed lasted several hours.

 The personality test went something like this:

You need to retreat and have some “alone time” after spending some time talking to other people.

Him: Nope. Not usually. (Extrovert)

Me: Absolutely. (Introvert)

You often do things spontaneously or in a rush.

Him: Pretty much.

Me: Not if I can help it.

You would rather call yourself down-to-earth than a dreamer.

Him: More like Mr. Visionary.

Me: Down-to-earth and practical to a fault.

Keeping your options open is more important than having a to-do list.

Him: The more options the better.

Me: Love my to-do lists!

So you can see how it is.

Big differences.

We each have our own way of looking at the world. We think differently. Respond differently. Feel differently

Not necessarily opposites. But definitely not the same.

When we first married, I don’t think we factored in these differences. It didn’t matter all that much to us, but as the years went on the reality of these things became increasingly clear to both of us.

We were different.

Not just male and female, mind you.

But different in our personalities and perspectives.

You don’t need to take a personality test to discover you’re different though.

All you have to do is to watch how you each respond to certain situations. What appears to you as a disaster is merely a challenge to him.  What is an exciting possibility to you is an impractical pain to him. What fills you up, drains him and vice versa.

And so on down the list.

The world looks at this scenario and will declare you “incompatible”. The secular viewpoint considers this an impossible situation.

Irreconcilable.

But this is not how God views it. He has reconciled you. He says He is the one who joined you together (Mark 10:9). He is the one who makes you one flesh – not your similarities or common experience (Eph. 5:31).

God brought you and your husband together because of your differences . . . not in spite of them. Just think: God knows your husband even better than you do. He knows all too well how you both are made and how you are bent.

God put you two together because He knew what was best for the both of you. 

How Big Differences Make for the Best Marriages

You Can Make the Best Marriage Out of Your Differences

Appreciate his strengths. Rather than getting frustrated at how quiet or loud, relaxed or uptight, he is – decide to be thankful for how God has made Him. I can choose to be upset by the way my husband “ruins” my well-laid plans with his spontaneous projects . . . or I can be thankful for the fun that he brings into our lives with his wild ideas. The second response makes it more fun for all of us!

*How do you respond to your husband’s strengths? Do you let them annoy you or are you grateful for them? 

Grow in the areas you are weak. I said I can be “practical to a fault”. Well, my husband is a very generous person and that’s an area that I’ve needed to grow in. My “practical” nature can hold me back from giving as freely as God would have me give.

*What are some weak areas that you can grow in and learn from your husband? 

Develop similar interests. Rather than settle in your different camps, seek to do what things you can together. Enter into his world and invite him into yours. Talk about what activities you could both learn to enjoy together.

*What are some things that you both like to do? Activities, recreation, or hobbies?

Establish common goals. Maybe you see and respond to things differently, but if you’re both working toward the same goals? Then this helps you pull together to achieve those things that you’ve both set out to do. At least once a year, we try to get away for a few days and talk over our past goals and write out new ones. These goals can fall in any category—ranging from family to career, from spiritual to house projects.

*Have you purposed together what goals the two of you – as a couple – are choosing to pursue? 

So if you discover that you and he are rather different – with or without a personality test – then make the most of your differences.

Because big differences can be made into the best of marriages!

CHALLENGE: Rather than just saying to your husband that you love him today, tell him a few of the reasons you love and appreciate him (including some of those differences). 

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over to see each one of them!

And here are the topics . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

I hope you are being blessed and refreshed by our Virtual Marriage Retreat!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 

Those 7 Things That Never Change in a Healthy, Loving Marriage

Those 7 Things That Never Change in a Healthy, Loving Marriage

It became something of joke between us.

I mean, if it had only happened once? Then I wouldn’t have thought much more about it.

But it seemed that every time I gave birth to a child . . . He gave birth to a new project.

A Major Project.

A move to a new house. Switching to a new job. Starting up a new company.

Always something new and something big.

So I started to tease him that he was unconsciously trying to compete with me. As if it wasn’t enough of a life-changing event for us to bring a child into the world.

He only smiled and gently held our tiny baby to his strong chest.  One more sweet baby boy added to our family crew.

That made it my eight babies to his six moves, four jobs and three companies.

Makes us about even, I figure.

But he says that I pulled ahead with that last little guy.

And he might be right.

Either way,  we both agree that change has been a predominant theme in our 22 years of marriage. Seems like there’s always been something new – and often unexpected – coming at us. Sometimes it came as a blessing and other times as a trial. But change is inevitable when you’re going through life together.

So we’ve done our best to embrace those changes, the easy and the hard, but there are also those things that we’ve determined to never change.  These are the things that keep our marriage strong and steady in the midst of upheaval and disruption. It’s these 7 things that have kept us grounded through it all.

Those 7 Things That Never Change in a Healthy, Loving Marriage

1.     The Need for Communication. No matter how many years you’ve been married, good communication is essential to a strong marriage. So don’t stop talking, whatever you do. And don’t limit it to talking, but express your love for each other in all kinds of other ways too. Sometimes the simple gesture of making his lunch says far more than words.

2.     The Commitment to Closeness. You don’t grow close by the mere fact that you live in the same house. For the rest of your lives together, you’ll want to seek each other out. You have to make time for one another. Pull away from the world and pull in together.

3.    The Offering of Forgiveness. The need to forgive never goes away. Sometimes I wish it did. But here we are after two decades of loving one another and still saying, “I’m sorry, my Love. Will you forgive me?”.  And it’s yes, yes, and yes again.

4.     The Desire for Touch. Matthew’s parents have been married for over 60 years and she still reaches for his hand and he continues to slip his arm around her shoulders. Touch is so powerful. So keep touching each other forever and always.

5.     The Determination to Work It Out. You’re tired. You’re discouraged. It doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. Don’t give up. Whatever you do. Stay in the game and work it out, even if it takes a very long time and an heroic effort you don’t feel you have to give.

6.    The Pledge to Stay Together. Those marriage vows meant something real and the two of you are sticking together – no matter what. Through the good times and the hard times. A sacred trust you’ve both pledged to keep.

7.     The Promise to Love One Another. Love is mostly made up of those little choices that you make every single day. This is a selfless love that puts the other person first. Day after day. This is the meaning behind our promise when we said, “I love you”.

Those 7 Things That Never Change in a Healthy and Loving Marriage

Lastly, and most importantly, no matter what changes come into your lives, we can count on our God who remains the same.  He is our perfect Father without variation or shadow. He is unchanging and the faithful foundation of our love.

So whatever changes you are facing in your marriage, you can be assured that your Heavenly Father is the same. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Amen?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. ~ James 1:17

CHALLENGE: Consider some of the ways that your marriage has changed over time. Start counting the blessings that these changes have brought. Take a moment and write them down (and maybe share them with your spouse). 

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over to see each one of them!

And here are the topics . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

I hope you are being blessed and refreshed by our Virtual Marriage Retreat!

*Would you like to share a little of some of the changes in your marriage? How did you “embrace” those changes? And what are those things that never change in your marriage?

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

*If there is serious sin or trouble in your marriage, I’d encourage you  to seek out a trusted, godly counselor or leader in your church. You might also benefit from this specific marriage advice from Sheila Gregoire (a fellow blogger in this marriage series).

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Embrace Your Marriage - The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

So strange.

So strange that it would be one of the first things they told us.

Stranger still, perhaps, that this is what continues to stand out in my mind. Out of all the things that the doctors at the hospital shared with us, that this statement would be the most memorable.

“Most parents who give birth to this kind of child end up in divorce. We just thought we should prepare you for that.”

Yeah, thanks.

It was like hearing two pieces of devastating news.

As if one wasn’t enough.

The first news was that our sweet baby had suffered a massive stroke before she was even born. She would likely never walk, talk, or know us as her parents – if she lived at all.

The second was that our marriage would not likely endure the tragedy of it all.

More news than a couple should have to take in at one time, wouldn’t you say?

Basically, “This is the beginning of the end.”

I glanced over at my husband with desperate grief and fear in my eyes.

But he wasn’t having any of it.

No way, Babe. We’re not going to take the “likely” path, you and me.

We serve the God who continually surprises us with the unlikely. The God of miracles. The Restorer. The Redeemer.

And He is more than able to hold us together.

So how did we get through the years that followed? Those pressure-filled, emotionally, physically, and financially draining years?

The grace of God.

Grace from Him and grace for each other.

And you can cling to that same grace as well—in both the good times and hard times.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Heb. 4:16

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together

Grace that offers compassion. When the other person is weak. Sometimes I was too tired to see straight. Or even talk sweet.  He overlooked that snap because he knew I wasn’t “myself” from fatigue and worry.  And I tried to do the same for him.

Grace that doesn’t keep a grudge. He said things that hurt my feelings or made me feel like he didn’t really understand. He let me down and didn’t always hold up. And it was the same here. But we knew we needed to let it go and not let bitterness settle in.

Grace that goes the extra mile. At times each of us had to give more than we had—and certainly more than “our fair share”. We couldn’t keep records or simply take turns. We had to learn to give . . . and then give some more.

Grace that accepts the gift of others.  Grace also comes in the form of support from friends and family. We can’t do this by ourselves, but recognize that we are needy. We are part of the body of Christ for a reason and were never meant to walk alone (More here: On Why It Is So Critical To Connect With Friends).

Grace that doesn’t give up.  No matter how dark some days were – and especially the nights – we refused to give up. We believed God had us in His hands, even when the situation seemed impossible. You are in those same loving Hands.

The Power of Grace to Hold Your Marriage Together - Embrace Your Marriage

So, yes, our marriage held together. By God’s grace, we will be celebrating twenty-two years this Friday!

Grace to Hold Your Marriage TogetherAnd if you’re wondering what happened to that dear little girl of ours?

She is a miracle. While it’s true she never did learn to walk, she can definitely talk…and talk. She calls me mommy and says how much she loves me.

She prays for us and for this blog. Every day.

And so in a very real sense, she prays for you too. All because of unlikely grace. Powerful grace. 

The same grace that  is available to you too.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ~ Eph. 2:4-7

CHALLENGE: Before you can extend grace to others, the best place to start is with the preparation of a pure and tender heart. Pray, asking God for wisdom and guidance in this area. Think of how God’s grace has impacted your life, and acknowledge the areas where you have been forgiven.

Embrace Your Marriage - A Virtual Marriage Retreat

Every Monday in September, these five bloggers and I will be offering a word of wisdom and inspiration to encourage you in your marriage. I hope you’ll hop over see each one of them!

And here’s what you have to look forward to . . . .

  • September 1 – Embracing Grace 
  • September 8th – Embracing Change  
  • September 15th – Embracing Your Differences  
  • September 22nd – Embracing Unity 
  • September 29th – Embracing Friendship 

So mark your calendar and join us each week as we all share on these very important topics in marriage. And be sure and invite any friends who might be blessed by this event as well.

Looking forward to seeing you on Mondays!

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson