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.

Jewelry

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 BendSoap.com

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

My Dear Daughter: A Word About Love Stories and Happy Endings

Club31Women.com_My Dear Daughter - A Word About Love Stories & Happy Endings
I feel rather blessed.

Being the mother of several lovely teenage daughters—young, bright, and beautiful.

All of them hoping to get married some day.

Or at least they think they will.

But to tell you the truth, they’ve grown a little doubtful lately.

The girls observe these marriages around them falling apart right before their eyes. They’ve seen the destruction of divorce and have stayed up late comforting dear friends whose parents are parting ways.

Or, they watch while some couples stay together, yet grow increasingly cold and distant.

Tension filling the air.

It troubles them to think of their lives ending in this unhappy way.

It messes with their minds and messes with their dreams.

They’re not little girls anymore and they understand that life is no fairytale.

But they can’t help wondering where did all the good stories go? You know, the ones with a happy ending?

Whatever happened to happily-ever-after?

And this is what I tell each precious one . . . .

My Dear Daughter - A Word About Love Stories and Happy Endings

 

My Dear Daughter

My dear daughter,

I believe in a good God who desires to write a beautiful story for our lives.

Rather than looking at the messed-up world around you, fix your eyes on Him who is more than able to care for you. He is the One you can trust for your hope and for your future.

. . . casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (I Pet. 5:7)

I believe in a God who’s in the business of changing people.

He can change me and He can move that man of mine. He has the power to transform our marriage into something wonderful and glorifying to Him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

I believe in a God who restores and redeems.

He can heal the broken and save the lost. I’ve seen Him turn lives around and rescue marriages from the most impossible situations.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18)

I believe in a God who sees the big picture.

While we might only see the snapshot – what is happening today – He knows what our future holds.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)

You can take your daddy and me, for example. Here we are, two imperfect people who have learned to love each other—who are still learning to love each other. Look at the good work God is doing in and through our life together.

Growing, learning, forgiving and loving some more.

This is the stuff that makes for some of the best stories.

This is a real love story.

With a very happy ending.

With love,

Mom

A Good and Powerful God

So that’s the kind of story I’m hoping for our daughters and the kind I’m hoping for you.

Not because I believe in fairytales, but because I believe in a good and powerful God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)

Let’s call on our God – He who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think – to do His beautiful work in our lives and relationships!

In His grace,

Signature small

 

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 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

One Dirty Reason Your House is a Mess

One Dirty Reason Your House is a Mess

Does your house stay a mess?

I’ll be completely honest — mine does.  It’s got the “lived in” look going on pretty much all the time, and quite often it sports the “disaster zone” effect.

I’m of the opinion that many women are needlessly allowing themselves to be laden down with what I call “homemaker’s guilt“, placing expectations on themselves that are unrealistic.

But there are other times your house is a mess because of your own faulty thinking.

dirty clothes ready for the wash

Company Is Coming

Think with me about what it’s like to know that company is coming in a day or two.

What do you do?

You go to great lengths to make sure that your house is scrubbed and spotless, don’t you?  You’ll give up time you might normally relax, work on your personal hobbies, or even sleep in order to make sure your messy house is in tip-top shape by the time your guests arrive.

Once your guests leave, your house goes right back to the disheveled state in which it typically stays.

“I just can’t keep up with it,” you say.  “My kids are always making messes right behind me.  I’m just not an organized person.  I don’t have time.”

And on and on your excuses go.

But your whirlwind cleaning session before company came just proved that you can get your house clean — if you want to badly enough.

Do you want to know one reason you suddenly find the wherewithal to clean your house for company . . . but you just can’t keep it clean for your family?

Five ugly letters:  P-R-I-D-E

What does pride have to do with whether your house is clean or dirty?

There is no way on earth you’d let guests see your disastrous house.  You’d be mortified.  So you do whatever is necessary to get it clean – giving up sleep, play, meals, whatever.

But see, you didn’t really clean it for your guests.

You cleaned it for you because you didn’t want to look bad.

And when your guests leave, so does your clean house.  No more giving up any of your free time to clean.  No more giving up anything, really.  Cleaning does not fit into your prideful, selfish way of thinking, so you skip it.

You can make excuses all day long about how disorganized you are or how you have bad habits that you haven’t overcome yet, but when it comes right down to it, your pride is what is getting in the way of your having a clean house.

Serving Out of Love

I realize these are strong words, and my goal is not to put anyone on a guilt-trip.

In fact, I firmly believe there are times when it is perfectly okay to have a messy house.

However, it is entirely possible to become entangled in the trap of pride without even knowing it — to think of self so often that you don’t even realize that’s what you’re doing.

Instead of being motivated by pride, let’s be motivated by love. 

Pride takes.  Love gives.

When you’re truly loving your family, you’ll give of your time and your energy.  You’ll give up personal interests when they’re getting in the way of what best serves your family.

Next time you start to make an excuse for your messy house, stop and evaluate whether you have been focusing on yourself.

If that’s not the case, there is no reason to feel guilty about your messy house.  Sometimes it simply can’t be helped.

If you have been motivated by pride (or should I say de-motivated because of your pride?), I urge you to serve your family out of love.

Real-Life HomemakingI’m so happy to be able to introduce MaryEllen to you all! If you don’t already know her, she’s been a part of the Club31Women community for some time and has now joined us as a regular contributor to our Real-Life Homemaking feature! I hope you’ll take a moment to welcome her, as well as pop over to her own helpful, encouraging site, ImperpectHomemaker.  ~ Lisa Jacobson

MaryEllen Bream of Imperfect HomemakerMaryEllen is a stay at home wife and mommy who is passionate about inspiring other homemakers to be all that God wants them to be.  She blogs at Imperfect Homemaker where she shares her articles and inspiration about homemaking, homeschooling, and natural living. You can also follow MaryEllen on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

 

*You might also be interested in this practical article 5 Ways to Live Neatly Around the Mess of Children, and this inspiring one,  5 Good Reasons Why Cleaning (yes, cleaning!) Actually Matters

Raising Kids*I’m currently offering this FREE eBook, Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids: Bringing Up Children With Hearts Set On Heaven and Feet Planted On Solid Ground for new subscribers. If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below.

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.

Nope.

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.

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.

Ha!

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

Falling

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.

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.”

“What?”

“She called. She’s not coming.”

“Why?”

“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.

Speechless.

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

Epilogue

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.”

Special.

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,
Signature small

 

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).