How to Draw Closer Together…When You’ve Drifted Apart {& Date-Night Giveaway}

Club31women.com_How to Draw Closer Together When You've Drifted Apart

She wasn’t sure how it even happened.

It’s not what either of them had ever intended.

There was a time when she felt close to him, but now . . . somehow . . . they seemed so far away from each other.

I suppose they could blame it on the kids. I mean, it’s a lot of time and work to raise children.

Maybe it was her health issues and all that she’d gone through as of late.

Or maybe it was his job. It seemed to take everything out of him and he was away a lot of the time.

Perhaps it was all the problems with extended family, or the ministry. So much to do and so many people to care for.

In any case, here they both were. Living in the same home. Standing in the same spot. But feeling a cavernous distance between them.

So how do you draw closer together . . . when you’ve drifted so far apart?

7 Ways to Draw Closer Together

1.  Be the one to make the first move.  Don’t wait for him to start the steps forward. Reach across the span and see if you can’t bridge the distance.

2.  Be willing to open up.  Be the one who starts the discussion – just make sure it’s encouraging, building-up talk.  This isn’t the time to address all the things wrong with him, or what you’re unhappy about. Think of at least one small thing you can be thankful for and begin there.

3.   Please don’t give up.  No matter how discouraged you are with where you’re both at. Dig in for the long haul and determine to make it work.

4.   Slowly move together. In the same way you had slowly moved away. Lasting changes are often made incrementally and gently over time.  And before you know it, you’re looking back and seeing how far you’ve both come.

5.   Reach out for help.  Friends, we were not made to walk through this life alone. Call out to a friend, or a godly, older couple at your church that you can ask for help. Get professional counseling, if it’s necessary.  A wise, outside perspective can make all the difference in many cases.

6.   Pray for your marriage.  Ask God to renew your love for each other.  Ask Him to show you any blind spots or barriers that are between you. Pray with faith and pray for change. 

7.   Remember that you love each other.  Because sometimes we lose sight of that, don’t we? We get caught up in the busyness and pressures of daily life, that we forget that we actually like each other. That we used to be crazy-in-love with on another.

And when that happens?

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a little time out and time away to remind each other of those things that drew you together in the first place. And don’t wait for your 25th anniversary or that dream cruise to come about!  Instead, put aside a special time so the two of you can pull away and renew your love for one another.

And with that in mind . . . . . (are you ready for this?) . . . .

We’re offering a chance to win this fabulous Stay-at-Home Date Night Giveaway!

Date Night Giveaway

Stay-At-Home Date-Night Giveaway

Are you ready for an unforgettable date night? I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to offer you one of the best stay-at-home date nights ever!

Alison of Pint-Sized Treasures

Crystal of Crystal & Co.

MaryEllen of ImperfectHomemaker

Becky of YourModernFamily

Melissa of AVirtuousWoman

And together we’ve put this HUGE package of date-night goodies that will arrive on your doorstep just in time for Valentine’s Day!

So what’s included in this amazing date night package?

Here’s the scoop!

Love jewelry? What woman doesn’t! Enjoy this $100 gift certificate to Luxe Design. They offer a fabulous selection of personalized and sentimental jewelry. They have a number of items that would be perfect for wives who wish to wear a tangible reminder of their choice to love their husband.


What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate? Of course, we only included the very best for our readers — Godiva Truffles!

Godiva Signature Truffles

Are you a Dayspring fan? We are offering some super-fun gifts from them to celebrate your marriage! These will add the perfect pinch of romance and sentimentality to your at-home date with these gifts below:

  • Mr and Mrs. Coupon Book
  • Mr. and Mrs. Love Note Set
  • Love Never Fails Plaque

Mr. and Mrs. Coupon Book

How about some items to help you freshen up for your date? Don’t worry, we thought about that too! The winner will enjoy the following products from a fun place to shop for moms — Zulily.

  • Liz Claiborne Spark Eau de Parfum
  • Adrienne Vittadini Bright Five-Piece Lip Gloss Set
  • City Color Cosmetics Vibrant Palette Makeup Set
  • Raspberry Foaming Milkshake Bubble Bath
    lip gloss

For some awesome, inspirational reading, we are also including hard copies of the following books (look familiar? *wink):

100 Ways to Love Your Husband

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we thought you needed some extra sparkle!

Enjoy some extra shopping by choosing one gift from either of these stores (item will be shipped separately from the winner’s package):

Monarch Jewelry

To finish it all off, enjoy a good scrub and long soak with these natural bath products. Get ready for some pampering with this AMAZING basket of goodies from Bend Soap Company.

  • 3 Lotions
  • 3 Soaps
  • 1 Milk Bath in a bag
  • 2 Travel Size soaps
  • 2 soap dishes
  • 1 Natural Loofah Pouch
  • 1 Foot Scrub Brush
  • $25 Gift certificate

These goodies all come in a reusable stylish antique copper tin. Soaps and lotions are in the following fabulous scents: Oatmeal and Honey, Cranberry Wassail, English Garden, Lemon Verbena, Island Coconut, Sweet Orange, Almond Delight, Eucalyptus Spearmint, and High Desert Rain.

Bend Soap Company makes natural goat milk soaps and lotions on their farm in Bend, Oregon. Made with only the highest quality of ingredients, including farm fresh goat milk, coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil. The luxurious, handmade products soothe dry skin and offer a nourishing elixir to the skin in place of the common commercial skin care products on the market.

Choose to Love Your Skin … One bar at a time with Bend Soap Company. Visit their website and order online at

Bend Soap Company Gift Basket

*Enter below for your chance to enter this HUGE Stay-at-home Date Night Package:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway is for U.S. Residents only

Falling for Him…All Over Again {An Uncommon Love: Chapters 11 & 12}

An Uncommon Love - Falling for Him All Over Again

“This is so good. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Like a good romance novel, only this tale is true.” ~ Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife.

Here are -the final – Chapters 11 and 12 of An Uncommon Love: Our True-Life Love Story. If you’re new here, you can catch up with Chapt. 1Chapt. 2, Chapt. 3, Chapt. 4, Chapt. 5, Chapt. 6, Chapt. 7Chapt. 8, Chapt. 9, and Chapt. 10.

Chapter 11

Falling For Him – All Over Again

So now you’re wondering why I cried myself to sleep.

I mean, clearly the guy is in love with her! (Can’t she see that?)

That was the problem: I couldn’t see it.

Maybe I should have and looking back now . . . ? Well, I might have to admit there were a few clues.

But then again, you’ve had the advantage of an inside peek in the guy’s head. He’s shared with you what was going through his mind. Racing through his heart.

Not me. I didn’t have access to those silent italicized conversations that you’ve been able to read.


I only had this very polite guy who didn’t talk about his feelings. Or his future. Or, more importantly, our future together.

I only had the man who shook my hand and wanted to be friends.

Except I wasn’t looking for a new friend. I mean, I was glad we were becoming such good friends and all, but . . .

I wanted more than that.

A lot more than that.

I wanted to become his wife.

I believed with all my heart that this was what God intended for us . . . but what if God hadn’t told him that? Or worse, what if He had, but Matthew didn’t want to listen.

What then?

So after he abruptly left me at the end of that romantic and tragic evening up at Timberline Lodge, I walked to my room, shut the door, and cried myself to sleep.

But don’t worry, I woke up the next morning renewed and with fresh resolve.

Yes, a good cry and a good night’s sleep provided a better and more mature perspective. A little more sophisticated and refined approach to the situation.

And it went something like this: Forget this guy.

Drop him. Get lost. Hit the road. Vamoose. Take a hike. Goodbye.

You get the idea, don’t you?

Not looking for a friend, buddy. And if you’re one of those “forever young” kind of guys? Good for you, but I’m not settling for my always-the-bridesmaid status. No, thank you!

So you can just run along.

Hopefully, you can understand then why I decided I would not go to lunch with him on my last day in town. No more romantic palsy-walsy lunches with this guy (okay, perhaps a slight contradiction in terms).

Don’t try to take me in with your lovely gifts of perfume, roaring fireplaces, and sweet conversation.

I was done.


An Uncommon Love - Saying Goodbye to the Man in the Suit

Saying Goodbye to the Man in the Suit

I called Linda to let her know that I would not be there for my Last Lunch with Matthew.  No apologies or explanations.

Just. Not. Coming. In.

A very short conversation. Asked if she’d kindly relay the message to her boss.

She called me back a few short minutes later.

She said that I “had” to come in. Urgent and pressing. Like it was some kind of moral obligation or national crisis. She brought the pressure down from a side I’d never seen of her.

I simply must come in for lunch.

Fine! I will come.

But my mind was made up. My heart and mind were made of steel. Cold, icy steel. No more falling for this kind, handsome, gentleman stuff.


Speaking of “new sides”? Matthew was about to see a “new side” of me.

And so it was that we went to lunch together on that final day.

To his credit, he tried to keep the conversation going by asking questions—to which I replied with basic monosyllabic answers.  Words like “yes” . . . or “no.” Occasionally throwing in a “maybe” for a little variety. But I wasn’t giving this guy anything.

He definitely had his work cut out for him.

I figured he’d be exhausted at the end of this arduous lunch, so I was rather surprised when he suggested we go for a hike after we were finished eating.

Caught off guard, I protested: “But you’re wearing a business suit.”

He countered, “I can change.”

“But you have to go back to work.”

His reply, “I’m taking the afternoon off.”

After about 3 more rounds of that nature, I ran out of excuses and found myself agreeing to go on a hike with him.

(And apparently losing my nomination for my role as The Ice Princess. Drat!)

An Uncommon Love - Lost in the Beauty


Matthew quickly whipped up a plan that involved swinging by his apartment for him to change into casual clothes and then over to my parents’ home where I would change mine.

I don’t know what I expected, but being a “bachelor’s apartment” I guess I thought it would be messy, mismatched, and, well, bachelor-like. But it wasn’t like that at all.

He had attractive and matching furniture. Neat and clean. Tasteful. Lovely art on the walls.

Plus a bookcase packed with an extensive and gorgeous set of books.

Ah, books. My other love.

I felt myself weakening.

So while he went to change in the other room, I lovingly handled volume after volume.

History, classics, Christian, humor, biographies. So many books, old and new. I recognized a number of my own favorites and spotted a few I’d hoped he’d lend me someday . . . .

Did I just say someday?

And when he emerged in his t-shirt and Levi’s (*small swoon. Hold steady), that’s where he found me.

Lost in the beauty of all his books.

And falling for him.

All over again.

An Uncommon Love - He Loves Me

He Loves Me

I caught my breath as he joined me on the love seat where I had been sitting.

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but there isn’t a whole lot of room on a love seat. It’s quite a cozy little place. For two. And did I mention that it was a love seat . . . ?

Yes, well, and so it was.

He cleared his throat. And then he began . . . .

Something about how much he’d enjoyed the time we’d spent together the past week. How he was going to miss me. And how he wished I never had to leave . . .

I’m not sure if he said anything more after that, but it didn’t really matter.

He loved me. 

And I found myself both thrilled and embarrassed all at the same time. Blushing like a young school girl.

I looked up, barely able to believe the love that was now so evident in his beautiful blue eyes.

Then I stared down at the stack of books in my hands, wriggling in happy discomfort, and teased him a bit, “Well, I’d be more comfortable talking about your books.”

It was all so new and exciting and wonderful!

Neither of us said a word as we made the 15-minute drive over to my parents’ home. We didn’t need to. We had the rest of our lives to talk and share our hearts.

For now, only one thing went repeatedly through my head: He loves me. I can’t believe he loves me, but he truly loves me.

Our real-life love story was about to begin . . .

An Uncommon Love - At the End of the Day

Chapter 12

At the End of the Day: Love

by Matthew L Jacobson

Before the green apartments near Sunset Park in Gresham came into view the frustration/embarrassment of the evening’s end found equilibrium with other thoughts that eventually won me over.

It WAS a great evening . . . nothing changes that. And, there’s still tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow – Lunch with Lisa. It couldn’t come soon enough.

I fell asleep that night somewhere on the road travelling through time, replaying various moments from the best evening I could remember. “The Plan” was still yet to be realized but that’s okay.


Tomorrow I would stand up and remove any remaining ambiguity (seriously, could there be any?).

The Last Lunch

A light step carried me into my office that momentous morning. Well, certainly it was destined to be momentous, wasn’t it?

“Good morning, Linda,” I smiled.

“Well, good morning, Sir. Looks like you’re getting off to a good start today.”

“Couldn’t be better. Lunch with Lisa,”

“I see,” she said with the pleased air of someone whose plans were going swimmingly.

“Linda, I have a lot to thank you for. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Lisa.”

“She’s a wonderful person. I just knew God wanted the two of you to meet.”

“Let me know when she arrives . . . supposed to be here at 11:30.”

When the office door closed behind me, something unanticipated (but perfectly predictable!) happened to Time. With less willingness to stir than frozen molasses, the seconds begrudgingly moved around the face of the clock, turning minutes into hours.

Will 11:30 ever arrive?

Abiding by the universal axiom that ‘Men in Love do Nothing’ I ambled from my desk to the bookshelf and back again until the carpet threatened to cut a path between the two.

And, another thing . . . people greatly underestimate the discomfort of expensive office chairs to a man in love, waiting. Getting settled was out of the question.

Just then, a knock came through the door. I smiled to myself . . . finally 11:30!

“Come in. Linda. Hey, what’s wrong?” A grave expression clouded my assistant’s typically cheerful countenance.

For a cold moment Linda looked at me before almost whispering,

“Lisa isn’t coming for lunch.”


“She called. She’s not coming.”


“She didn’t say. She just said she’s not coming for lunch today.”

Not coming? What does that mean?

I stared at Linda, gathering my thoughts from the brink of fear.

“You’re wrong.” I announced confidently. “Lisa is coming to lunch because you are going to convince her to come. Call her back and tell her everything is arranged and I am expecting to take her to lunch, as we planned.”

“But, she already said no!” Linda protested. “What am I going to say to her?”

“Not sure.” I said, unhelpfully. “But, one thing is certain. We are going to lunch together, today. So, please go, call Lisa and let her know. We can postpone until 12, no later.”

“I don’t know what to say. What am I supposed to say?” she pleaded.

“I don’t know what you’re going to say either. You’ll think of something. Just get her here.”

Linda backed out of the office, mouth open, ready to object but knowing there was no use.

That call was going to be made!

Moments later, she returned . . .

“She’s coming.”

“Of course she is.” I agreed. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You should trust me on these things.”

Linda rolled her eyes, shook her head, and headed back to her office thinking, I’m not sure what.

Internally, a great sigh of relief dissipated through my pores. For all my outward confidence and certainty, I wasn’t sure how that phone call would go.

If only I could get her here I could win her over and now, she was coming! Whew!

An Uncommon Love - The Ice Princess Arrives

 The Ice Princess Arrives

As the clock prepared to strike 12, I became aware of an atmospheric change in my office. Having been raised in British Columbia and having spent several years on the Yukon border, I had had much experience with Arctic breezes.

Before the door to my office began to open I could feel it, literally. The chilly fingers of resistance pushed away everything warm, inviting and natural. Then she appeared, like a statue of frozen steel, her eyes clear as ice and twice as cold. “I’m not doing this anymore” wafted into and covered everything in the room.

Wow, major change. But what changed from last night? I’m positive she would have accepted my kiss if things . . . if things turned out differently.

I like a challenge.

Seriously, I’m going to enjoy this, I told myself.

“Hello! It’s so great to see you again. Ready for lunch?” I beamed. It’s just a matter of time. I’ll win her over.

“I’m not really hungry but, if you want to go, that’s fine.”

What? Never mind, it will be fine. Just keep the conversation moving.

But that was the trouble. Keeping a conversation going requires more than one person and no matter what I did, said, suggested, or how I queried, expressed interest, asked about this or that . . . nothing. Frozen steel, as it turns out, is basically unresponsive and just barely polite (which is being generous).

For all my initial amusement at this façade of disinterest, I began to sense that something deeper was at work. I knew Lisa had been to college. Had she majored in the art of dead-end conversation? Magna Cum Laude, for sure.

The forty minutes we had been together had yielded next to nothing and holding up both ends of any conversation eventually weighs down both parties until silence prevails.

What was going on?

This was bizarrely uncharacteristic. Lisa’s relational armor was impervious to every creative appeal.

I began to panic.

Look buddy, you better make some kind of a move because this train is headed for the canyon with no bridge.

What should I do? 

After a more than awkward silence picking at our food, I blurted out,

“You like hiking don’t you?”

“Well . . . yes.”

“Perfect! Let’s go for a hike. You’d like to go for a hike (I had no idea where) wouldn’t you? Let’s go.” (It wasn’t as if I was asking her to spend the weekend on some remote island, or anything!)

“Ugh . . . I thought you had a job. What about that.”

“My job? Don’t worry. That can wait. We need to go for a hike. Look at the weather. You couldn’t find a better day for a hike, could you. Let’s go!”

And with that, I threw down some money and ushered Lisa to the car.

A Fool or a King

First we’d head to my apartment so I could change and then over to her parents where she could change.

Deep breath . . . Disaster averted.

I left Lisa in the living room while I changed clothes in my bedroom, knowing – and especially feeling it was “crunch time”.

The mirror looked back at me as I pulled on a tee shirt. Now’s the time. You have to declare your love for her. She’s leaving tomorrow. Tell her. Open up to her. Tell her how you truly feel.

It was settled. Before we left my apartment, it would all be out on the table.

Lisa Michelle, you are the woman I love.

Entering the living room, Lisa turned from the bookcase, a softer aspect than before greeting my return. Alive with the intensity of the one moment I had waited my life for I indicated the sofa with an open hand and we sat, facing each other. After a few moments of gathered thoughts I looked into her eyes, embarking on that no-return journey every suitor must travel alone, at the end of which he walks away a fool or a king.

“Lisa, there’s something I want you to know . . . something I have wanted to tell you ever since Monday evening. I’ve enjoyed these past few days like no others I have known, like I never knew I ever would. And, I’m so sorry you are to leave so soon. I’m going to miss you the moment we part. I wish you could stay longer.”

A deep breath rushed down into my nervous lungs. But, I did it. I had said it. Now, the moment of silence followed by the moment of truth . . .

Lisa smiled, sort of . . . somewhat . . . What was she going to say? How would she answer my declaration of love?

I leaned forward, slightly, eager to hear her every word.

And then she said it  . . . that phrase that changed everything.

“Well, I’d be more comfortable talking about your books.”

I am never speechless. Nearly always I can think of something to say.

I could not.

I was dumbfounded.


Instantly, desperately, dangerously insecure. That ‘fool or King’ thing was ringing in my ears and not the “King” part.

WHAT? WHAT DID SHE SAY? MY BOOKS? SO, I MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE? Don’t worry, I know just what to do!

Have you ever noticed how wrong you can be about God’s will? One moment you’re cock-sure what God is doing and the next instant, the exact opposite emerges.

How could I have been so wrong, so completely, stupidly, blindly WRONG??

Of course, not a hint of the bloody riot going on in my chest and head was evident. No, I was too sophisticated for that.

“Great! Well, we should be going. If we’re not careful, the afternoon will get away on us.”

Matthew Leonard Jacobson, you are such a fool.

An Uncommon Love - I'm Outta Here

 Second Thoughts

Absolute silence descended on the fifteen-minute drive to Lisa’s parent’s place. My heart was crawling out of my throat.

My books!! I had some serious recalculations to make in short order. For one thing how, exactly, did I wind up in a car having agreed to go on a hike with a woman who clearly can’t stand the sight of me? Just unbelievable!

What is she doing – staring out the window with that smug expression? So, you got your dig in . . . books . . . nice! Well, one thing is certain. There is no way on planet earth I’m going on a hike with her.

And with that, I conspired with my Pride to part from her . . . from this unbearably impossible, embarrassing situation for good, the moment we arrived at the next stop.

But, the instant we stopped, Lisa bounded from the car like a startled deer, yet all smiles and dancing.

Move fast, man!

We met at the front of the car in an odd juxtaposition to the night before when I so ardently wanted to kiss her.

“Lisa, I’ve been thinking. Things have been moving pretty fast . . . too fast, really and let’s be honest, we hardly know each other. So, I think it would be best if we didn’t go on this hike because we . . .”

“Okay, I’ll be down in a minute,” She smiled. Then, calling over her shoulder, “Just wait on the deck. I’ll be right down.”

“Wait . . . I . . . you . . .”

She completely ignored me. What? Hey, come back here!

I looked down, brow furrowed, attempting like some idiot savant to find a pattern among the randomly scattered gravel.

No, we are not going on this hike! She said she was more comfortable talking about my books. Well, sister, I’m not here to talk about books, okay? I’m outta here.

The glass door opening onto the deck slid to the side and Lisa bounced through the door.

“Okay, ready to go!” she beamed.

By now, clouds hung heavily on my brow. I’m caught between a woman who clearly doesn’t love me and some ridiculous interest to go on a hike. I don’t like the squeeze.

“Look, Lisa, I just think it would be better if we slowed way down from the pace we’ve been keeping. This hike isn’t the best idea I’ve ever had and . .”

“C’mon. Let’s just go for the hike.”

And with that, somehow she coerced me back into the car. How did this happen?

In defense mode . . . more accurately, pride defense mode . . . I can be ugly. And I was.

Comfortable? What that the operative word?

As we headed into the foothills toward the old logging road that would serve as the trailhead, I made full use of Lisa’s words to drive home my sarcasm in a twisted attempt to salvage my bleeding ego.

“So, Lisa, is the temperature in the car to your liking? I certainly wouldn’t want you to be . . . uncomfortable?”

“Hey, Lisa, look at that beautiful farm house. Of course, you probably wouldn’t be comfortable living in a house like that.”

“Well, what should we talk about? Might be kind of hard to find a topic that doesn’t make you uncomfortable.”

“How’s my driving speed? I’m just so concerned you remain comfortable.

Etc., etc., etc.,

At the first few comments, Lisa laughed, trying to find the thread of the “joke” but before long, she began to realize the biting sarcasm’s intended target. By the time we arrived, I could see I had been victorious in my petty, squalid, little war. Her spirit was deflated.

My flesh, in full flourish embodied the Scripture, “In my flesh dwelleth no good thing.” It was all so very wrong.

But, that’s what hurting people do . . . they hurt people.

Roe deer

At the Forest’s Edge

There it was, the road we were to hike. By now, both of us wondered why we were there, walking up some random forest trail with someone who doesn’t want to be there.

In moments, a clearing opened its verdant arms before us where new saplings grew out of ancient tree stumps – fresh life from yesterday’s sacrifice. A stirring halfway across the meadow arrested our attention. Eight to ten deer, startled at our intrusion, bounded the entire length of the clearing, passing like spirits through trees at the forest’s edge.

We stood gazing after them, mesmerized by a moment that had instantly filled the space in which we now stood alone, and together, with the essence of transcendent beauty.

And suddenly, there we were face to face, hidden in the forest somewhere in the foothills of Mt. Hood, two spirits desiring, yet fearful of mingled fire.

In that moment, I marveled how we without any apparent effort or intention suddenly appeared facing one another, like apparitions, inches apart. How did this happen? And then, with calm, settled assurance, I knew again what I had known from the beginning.

With total sincerity and devoid of any hint of the sarcasm that had so lately soiled our communication, I said to this beautiful woman,

“Lisa Michelle, I know what I would like to do right now but I hesitate because, in all honesty, I have literally no idea whether or not you would be comfortable with it.”

There is a certain place into each other’s soul only lovers can see. While meeting my gaze into that expanse, she said,

“It’s your move.”

I moved!

I leaned in to kiss the woman I loved.

 Song of Songs

It was the worst kiss in the history of kissing.

Our teeth clunked together like two blocks of concrete. A burst of unrestrained laughter from us both rang through the meadow but soon gave way to a gentler attempt more in keeping with the Song of Songs.

“You know what this means, don’t you?” I asked, fear having fled with the deer, now confident of her response.

“Of course I do.”

We walked through the clearing holding hands, down the trail and to the car holding hands. Winding down the mountain road, we held hands. We couldn’t, didn’t want to, let go.

We still don’t want to.

And if, per chance, you happen to go somewhere with us today, you’ll not have gone far before you see me reach over and slip my hand comfortably into the waiting hand of my beautiful bride.

The End

(Or maybe more rightly, “The Beginning”)

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson in 1992


Matthew and I married a few short months later on a beautiful September Day in Portland, Oregon. We’ve been blessed with 8 children and a loving, lasting marriage for which we thank our God and Savior. We quietly celebrated our 22nd anniversary this year and hope for many more together. And, yes, we’re still holding hands.

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson 2014

We’ve often been asked to share this story of how we met and—while it is a wonderful love story—we always add that we’d have done a few things differently, if we knew then what we know now. We’ve encouraged our own children (and others) to consider waiting until marriage for their first kiss. For Matthew’s article on this topic, read Why Christian Kids Should Save Kissing (and other things) for Marriage. Another excellent article, Why “No” Kissing Before Marriage by Alison Wood. More on dating & courtship here: The Essential Do’s and Don’ts of Courtship and Dating.

An Uncommon Love - A True Life Love Story by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

*Chapter One: If He Was the Last Man On Earth
*Chapter Two: Where Is She? Searching for My Forever Girl
*Chapter Three: What Happens When Mr. Right Walks Into the Room
*Chapter Four: What A Smile Can Say to Him
*Chapter Five: The Best Answer If You’re Ever Invited on an Adventure
*Chapter Six: The Night I Fell In Love
* Chapter Seven: 1,000 Ways to Win Her Heart
*Chapter Eight: A Gift for the Woman I Love
*Chapter Nine: When Love is Silent
*Chapter Ten: What’s In a Kiss?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love Your Husband: A Life-Long Journey of Learning to Love
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

How to Build a Loving, Lasting Marriage {22 Years Later}

How to Build a Loving, Lasting Marriage

We somehow found ourselves at the top of the mountain.

A romantic impulse, I suppose. But it was a week-end and we were heading back home when he suddenly steered the car up the road to Timberline Lodge at the top of Mt. Hood, Oregon.

A small detour up into the snowy peak.

Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood

When we arrived at the grand historic Lodge, however, we found ourselves in a long line of cars and the parking lot appeared to be closed. We inched our way up to the grumpy parking attendant who looked as though he had been standing in the cold for far too many hours.

His explanation was brief: “Sorry, no chance. Nothing open with a ski race and two weddings going on.”

Honestly? You won’t let us up there?

“Nope. Can’t do it.” And he motioned for us to move along.

My husband – never one to give up easily – pressed him: But what if we recently celebrated our anniversary up here?

I leaned over to the window, “Yes, and we had one of our first dates here.”

He remained unmoved.

Then for some reason, I impulsively added, “And we’ve been married for 22 years now.”

Surprisingly, the man’s hard lines softened right before our eyes. “Really? You two have been together for over 22 years?”

Yes, sir, we have. Happily.

And we watched him mull it over.

Then finally, “Well, I never do this, but you can park directly in front of the lodge. It’s reserved for special guests . . .and this sounds pretty special to me.”


Never thought our years together would qualify us as special.

But, yes, by God’s grace, we’re staying true to our vows. We’re committed to this marriage for the long haul. Not always an easy climb, but oh, so worth the effort.

How to Build A Loving, Lasting Marriage

How to Build a Loving, Lasting Marriage

Give each other grace during the difficult seasons. At some point, one or both of you will likely face illness, financial pressure, job loss, or grief. Decide now to ride out these hard times together. Support one another as much as possible. You can’t let these trials determine the rest of your relationship.

Don’t let the cares of this life choke out your love. People get busy, distracted and worn-down, letting their love life slowly fade away. But don’t let that happen. We regularly call a “time-out” where we put the pressures of our lives aside and focus on our relationship together. Reminding ourselves that we love each other and enjoy being together.

Be willing to seek help when you need it. Maybe you need prayer or another godly perspective. Ask for it! Don’t let things get too far down before reaching out for help. That’s the beauty of the body of Christ – you should never be left to solve everything on your own.

Focus on how you want this to end. Whenever I see Matthew’s parents holding hands in church and sharing a songbook together? I say to myself, “Yes! That’s what I want. What they’re enjoying after 60 years is what I want for us too.” My desire is for our children – and our grandchildren – to be drawn to our story when we’re old. I want our love to be contagious.

After parking out front, my husband and I went in and walked around the lovely, old Lodge, holding hands and reminiscing. Oblivious of the swarming skiers and wedding guests. We quietly curled up in front of the massive fireplace where we first sat together and remembered what we realized that evening so long ago.

God meant for us to climb this mountain together.

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. ~ Matthew 19:6

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

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

What’s In a Kiss? {An Uncommon Love: Chapt.10}

An Uncommon Love - Whats In A Kiss

This is so good. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Like a good romance novel, only this tale is true. ~ Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife.

*Here’s Chapter 10 of An Uncommon Love: Our True-Life Love Story. If you’re new here, you can catch up with Chapt. 1Chapt. 2, Chapt. 3, Chapt. 4, Chapt. 5, Chapt. 6, Chapt. 7Chapt. 8, and Chapt.9.  

Chapter 10

What’s In A Kiss?

by Matthew L Jacobson

I don’t believe in roadblocks . . . never have.

There’s always a way to get something done – you just have to want to do it.

Unless it’s finding the “One”. Then you have to be super cautious and careful. Until you meet her. Until she appears taking what was normal life and instantly transforms everything, like a tree growing in the middle of your living room.

Another Awesome Date with “The One”

Thoughts of our first year of marriage together made me smile as I glanced at her entering the car. Of course we would be married – we’d practically already said our vows, hadn’t we? Not openly or verbally but, it didn’t matter. There could be no mistake. We loved each other. I had certainly communicated that much! It’s not like I buy expensive perfume for every woman who crosses my path.

This was shaping up to be the perfect evening. I glanced over and smiled,“It’s so great to see you.” I meant that with every fiber of my being . . . it was so great, so fantastic, to be with her again . . . it had been hours since we were together.

We had only tonight and tomorrow. She was headed for LA on Friday.

Somehow I knew tonight was going to be special . 

I’m subtle enough but looked at her every moment I could and still keep the car on the road. Something told me I needed to “make a move” but what, exactly, would that look like?

What “move” did I have?

There’s a song from the 80’s I used to listen to by Billy Ocean that has a line in it, “Get out of my dreams and into my car” and she did! It really happened! My Dream Girl was sitting right next to me as we wended our way through the foothills of Mount Hood, up Hwy 26 to the Ivy Bear restaurant – a quiet place where savoury food filled austere surroundings with a comfortable North European flare.

I hadn’t made reservations. Who needs those, right? As we rounded the last corner and the restaurant came into view, it was obvious I wouldn’t have needed them. The place was closed up.

No problem . . . I have a better idea, anyway.

“No big deal. How about we keep driving? I know a much better place, just up the road.”

To find out about his  “move”, you can READ THE REST of this chapter over at Matthew L Jacobson!

Only one chapter left to go! Next week will we will share the final chapter (Well, at least of this portion of our story! ;)

An Uncommon Love - A True Life Love Story by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

*Chapter One: If He Was the Last Man On Earth
*Chapter Two: Where Is She? Searching for My Forever Girl
*Chapter Three: What Happens When Mr. Right Walks Into the Room
*Chapter Four: What A Smile Can Say to Him
*Chapter Five: The Best Answer If You’re Ever Invited on an Adventure
*Chapter Six: The Night I Fell In Love
* Chapter Seven: 1,000 Ways to Win Her Heart
*Chapter Eight: A Gift for the Woman I Love
*Chapter Nine: When Love is Silent

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love Your Husband: A Life-Long Journey of Learning to Love
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

7 Ways to Lovingly Prepare Your Marriage for the Holidays

7 Ways to Prepare Your Marriage for the Holidays

Drifting snow. Twinkly lights. Lovely gifts, woodsy garland, and a simple nativity scene.

Mystery and joy.

It was Christmas Eve and our very first together.

We were newlyweds living in those dreadful pink apartments and I was eager to have his family out to celebrate Christmas Eve with us. Everyone was invited over for “light snacks and a festive evening”.

(Did you catch that? “Light snacks and a festive evening.” Just wanted to be sure.)

I put together a platter of cheese and crackers, a large bowl of popcorn, and an assortment of Christmas cookies.  The doorbell rang and Matthew’s parents, his sisters and their families poured in and soon our tiny apartment was full to overflowing. Everyone was in good cheer and began nibbling on the goodies.

After an hour or two, however, something seemed wrong.

A slight tension.

I could feel it in the air, but couldn’t quite figure it out.

Finally, my sister-in-law softly whispered, “Um…..I don’t mean to be rude, but my children are starving! When are you going to serve the dinner?”

Dinner . . . ?

I’m quite certain that I had specified “light snacks” because, of course, that is what you do on Christmas Eve—saving your big, fancy meal for Christmas Day.

Yet apparently, that is not how they did it in his family. Not at all. So my “light snacks” were misinterpreted as merely a humble offering on my part.

Except that I had meant it.

Rather literally.

I suddenly realized that our small apartment was full of very hungry people who look forward to this special dinner every year. And I had unknowingly offered them a rather meager bowl of popcorn . . . .

So I did what one can only do in such a circumstance: I burst into tears.

Horrified. Embarrassed. Stressed. Upset. Even angry.

Why hadn’t my new husband thought to tell me that this was the tradition in their family??  The misunderstanding seemed so unnecessary. 

This was the first of many lessons I would learn about marriage, family expectations, and holiday traditions.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Marriage for the Coming Holidays

Thankfully, over the years I’ve learned some ways to help prepare our marriage for the coming holidays such as…

1)   Communicate your expectations: Often we assume our spouse knows what we value and expect over the holidays, but it’s usually worth a conversation or two. You might both be surprised at the honest answer. You also might find that these things change over time.

2)   Hold your traditions loosely: Traditions can be delightful – but they should never be held above your relationship. God cares more about the love and peace between you two than any long-standing traditions.

3)   Protect your marriage: His family is important. Your family is important. But your marriage is your first priority, so make decisions together that are in keeping with that priority.

4)   Keep it simple: I know, easier said than done. But if attending every event and upholding every tradition sacrifices the peace in your home? Is it really worth it? Probably not. Be willing to let go of some activities to lessen the stress.

5)   Stick with your budget: Often the holiday stress stems from financial pressure, so determine your budget and then keep to it. Cut back your gift list, decorate simply, and make things at home.  Debt is always a damper to celebration.

6)  Be considerate of one another: For instance, my husband is an extrovert and I’m the introvert. Basically he has more “party” in him than me. So we try to accommodate one another – each giving up a little for the sake of the other.

7)   Keep Christ at the Center. He is the reason we are celebrating. It’s not about the presents, cards, food, fun, or even family. It’s about rejoicing in the Prince of Peace, amen?

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  ~ Isa. 9:6

I hope some of these things help you both to enjoy a loving, joy-filled Christmas this year.

And now you know, if I ever invite you over for “light snacks” . . . well, I really mean it. ;)

Blessings on you and yours as we celebrate the birth of the Christ-Child and King!

*How about you? What are some ways you prepare your marriage for the holidays? Or what are some of your challenges? 

Addendum: So many people asked how this story ended, that I thought I’d share it here.

While I went back to the bathroom to blow my nose and clean up my mascara, my sweet sister-in-law rummaged through my cupboards and freezer and started cutting up miscellaneous items like summer sausage, some fruit, and I think even some leftovers! They all had the kindest smiles for me when I got back out (Did she say something to them??) and no one has ever mentioned it since.

And just so you know? It’s a HAM dinner this year! ;)

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

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

When Love Is Silent {An Uncommon Love: Chapt. 9}

An Uncommon Love - When Love Is Silent

“This is so good. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Like a good romance novel, only this tale is true.” ~ Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife.

Here’s Chapter 9 of An Uncommon Love: Our True-Life Love Story. If you’re new here, you can catch up with Chapt. 1Chapt. 2, Chapt. 3, Chapt. 4, Chapt. 5, Chapt. 6, Chapt. 7, and Chapt. 8.

 Chapter 9

When Love Is Silent

Maybe you think it should be enough.

Enough that he took me to lunch. Presented me with a bottle of perfume. A rather special bottle of perfume.

Perhaps your opinion is that I was asking for too much. And you might be right about that.

But, my friends, I’m telling ya . . . I was hoping for words.

Yes, I needed to hear it from his own lips.

Not merely left to guess it.

Wonder at it.

Or even to smell it.

No, I desperately wanted him to say SOMETHING. What did he think of us? How did he feel about me? Was he interested? Attracted? Hopeful?

Because for all I knew, he often went around giving girls – who happened to be in town for a week – a pricey bottle of perfume. Maybe that’s just the kind of thing he did. Go out to lunch and randomly hand out bottles of perfume.

How could I know?? 

An Uncommon Love - Gifts of Love

On Top of the Mountain

And while we’re talking about girls who were in town for ONLY a week? This girl’s week was nearly done.

Now it was Wednesday and I was leaving . . . on Friday morning.

48 Hours left.

No pressure, dear.

Okay, maybe a little.

After leaving our lunch on Tuesday, he suggested we go to dinner on the following evening. Grab something to eat and then come back to my parents’ house for the basketball play-offs. L.A. Lakers vs. Portland Blazers. Should be good.

I consulted my hauntingly empty calendar and casually agreed.

Dinner with a handsome, interesting, godly man? Yeah, I could manage that.

So he picked me up and we started winding our way up the beautiful, snow-covered  Mount Hood. He’d decided on The Ivy Bear, a lovely, European-styled restaurant toward the base of the mountain. I’d only been there once before, so was rather excited to get to dine there again. Especially with him.

But when we arrived, the restaurant was locked up and closed down.

How disappointing!

I mean, there aren’t a lot of dining options along the mountain pass. Sounded like Dairy Queen to me, and by that time, I didn’t even mind. A hamburger? An ice-cream? As long as we were together . . . and talking.

But he drove right past the DQ and on up the mountain. Up and up, until it seemed we couldn’t go any higher.

Until we reached the historic Timberline Lodge.

Nestled somewhere between the snow and the clouds.

An Uncommon Love - Dinner at Timberline Lodge

Dinner for Two, Please

We were quiet now.

The only sound was the crunching of our feet through the deep, deep snow. Making our way to this wintry mountain retreat. Passing the two Saint Bernard dogs who guarded the place with a friendly wag of their tails. Climbing up the stone steps and entering the historic building. Huge wooden beams and three fireplaces at the base of a 90-foot chimney.

All of this just waiting for the two of us.

The dining room was pleasantly empty, inviting and warm. I watched as he scanned the room for the right table for us.

But he seemed dissatisfied.

And I couldn’t figure out why. In such a dreamy, romantic setting, what could possibly be missing? 

But the mystery was soon solved as he began rearranging the furniture.

Yes, I’m serious.

He picked out the perfect table for two and then pulled it up in front of the gigantic, crackling fireplace. Him and me. Alone on top of the world. With nothing better to do than gaze into each other’s eyes.

Oh, and share a gourmet meal together.

An Uncommon Love - Dinner by the Fireplace

A Strange Silence

Would you believe I can’t remember what we talked about that evening?

I can remember the snow, the dogs, the wood and stone, and the fireplace. I remember the animated conversation and lots of laughter. But few other details.

Except his eyes and how I thought they were the most beautiful pair of eyes I’d ever seen in a man.

Other than that, I mostly remember what he did NOT say.

He didn’t say, “I like you.”

Or, “I wish you lived closer.”

Or how about, “You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me”??

And certainly not, “I love you.”

Oh, no. He could wax eloquent on nearly every other subject.

Except about me. About us.

He was strangely silent on that subject.

By the time he drove me back to my parents’ home, it was late and we’d missed the basketball game. Not that I cared anymore about such things. There was only one thing – one person – I cared about right then.

And I was waiting for this particular person to say goodnight to me.

We stood in the driveway, only a few inches from each other, and I thought . . . maybe . . . just maybe . . .

But then the most unexpected thing happened . . . 

That ruined everything.

Sorry, but I promised him that he could tell that part? (Now, please, don’t be mad ;)

What I can tell you, however, is that I walked into the house and went directly to my room where I wrapped myself in my favorite blanket and, well, cried my eyes out.

To be continued . . . . See you next Wednesday for Chapter Ten then? ONLY 2 MORE CHAPTERS LEFT!

In His grace,
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P.S. If you’re enjoying this series, we hope you’ll share it with others! Thanks, friends!

An Uncommon Love - Our True-Life Love Story by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson*Chapter One: If He Was the Last Man On Earth
*Chapter Two: Where Is She? Searching for My Forever Girl
*Chapter Three: What Happens When Mr. Right Walks Into the Room
*Chapter Four: What A Smile Can Say to Him
*Chapter Five: What to Say If You’re Ever Invited on an Adventure
*Chapter Six: The Night I Fell in Love
* Chapter Seven: 1,000 Ways to Win Her Heart
*Chapter Eight: A Gift for the Woman I Love

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love Your Husband: A Life-Long Journey of Learning to Love
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson *If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).