You Married a Sinner Not an Angel {& 3 Ways to Keep the Joy and Unity}

You Married A Sinner Not An Angel

A wedding is one of the most joyful and beautiful celebrations on earth.

The flowers and decorations, beautiful dresses and sparkling jewelry, radiant brides and grinning grooms all paint a wonderful picture. The traditions and symbols passed down from generation to generation speak words of wisdom and declare covenants.

Flowers signify joy within marriage and the rings testify to the unending love and devotion God has for his bride, as well as the love and devotion a couple should have for each other until death breaks the circle. There are festivities and music, food and dancing. In some cultures the wedding celebrations can go on for days.

But at some point the music fades, the flowers dry up, and only a memory of that intense joyful day remains.

And there is something else. Something that is with the bride and groom throughout the planning, the ceremony, and the honeymoon. Something that stays with them throughout their marriage.

You can’t see it as they walk down the aisle in all their splendor, but it is there–ugly and heavy though invisible for a time. As the honeymoon season ends and the wedding gifts are unpacked and put away, the baggage of our sin begins to be unpacked. Out comes pride and rudeness, unkind tone of voices, laziness and disrespect. Selfishness in various forms is unpacked and set up around the home.

Add to these vices the stresses of everyday life like bills, personal preferences, disagreements, small annoyances, fatigue and the marriage relationship can become strained.

What every married couple must confront is the reality that they did not marry an angel, but a sinner. The prince is part frog, and the princess is still cursed.

For the unprepared who have walked into marriage with romantic notions of a storybook life walk right into the wall of sin. And even those who are prepared for the realities of corruption in our most precious relationships it can be difficult and painful.

There are three things I have learned over the past 17 years of marriage that have helped my husband and I maintain joy and unity over the years–all of which are marked by his and my sin.

3 Ways to Keep the Joy and Unity

Be a Confessor

Know your sin. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and struggles. Be willing to admit when you mess up, when you fail, when you sin and repent. Repent before God, but repent before your spouse as well. Make apologies when needed without excuses or explanations.

Be a Forgiver

In marriage we will be sinned against. We have all experienced this and it is our job to be forgivers. Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 x7 times (Matt. 18:22 ), meaning infinitely. Why? because we have been forgiven. We have sinned against Christ more than any person will ever sin against us and he has forgiven each sin. We continue to sin against Christ and he continues to extend mercy, grace and forgiveness. Marriage is the perfect vehicle through which we can imitate God and live out the forgiveness we have been given by extending such grace to each other.

Be an Encourager

One of the blessings of being married is that you are not alone. Your partner is there to walk with you through all of life, and they need you and your words of grace as much as you need theirs. As a Christian this is not our real home, we are passing through and the journey is hard. We must learn to speak words of kindness and encouragement to our spouses because these words blossom into motivation and earnestness as we fight sin together in order to bring honor to our Savior.

Marriage is one of the most beautiful relationships on earth, but it is also one of the hardest.

Thankfully God is with us and for us, he will give us the strength and grace we need to handle hard days. The spirit will convict us of sins that we need to weed out and eradicate, and Christ has extended forgiveness to his children so we do not need to wallow in guit and sin, but can find joy and excitement to live for his glory together.

Jen Thorn,

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetJen grew up in Germany and spent a few years as a missionary kid in Africa. She ended up at Moody Bible Instituted where she met her husband. They have been married 17 years and have 4 children. She loves studying and talking about theology and has a passion to help women take their walk with God to a deeper level. She is one of the writers at,, and You can find Jen on Twitter @Jenlthorn, on Facebook, and on Instagram.
100 Ways to Love eBooks TinyOur books are now available:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

What to Do When You Want Your Kids to Love Each Other

What to Do When You Want Your Kids to Love Each Other

My little brother was five years younger than me, and he was a P.E.S.T.

But I was a beast to him.

There was the time my friends were over, and he just wanted to play with us. I remember him begging at my bedroom door and using his foot to keep the door from slamming in his face.

Then there were the times when mom and dad would leave me “in charge” of him, and I remember screaming at him. Screaming.

Every little thing he did annoyed me, and I was cold in return.

One day I grew up and turned around to see my little brother was wonderful. Filled with remorse for how I treated him when we were younger, I apologized.

When I became the mother of one girl and then one boy, I absolutely determined that my kids would love each other and be kind to teach other. Always I kept in my mind how horribly I had treated my little brother, and I didn’t want my kids to act that way toward each other.

When my girl was fuming because her brother was copying her artwork –He always copies what I draw, she said –I told her copying is a form of flattery.

I kept teaching the one kid to appreciate the other.

Because we need each other. A brother needs a sister and vice versa, and there’s a value in our siblings that we sometimes don’t even discover until several decades down the road.

Like that little pest of a brother I had? When my dad had a cardiac event on a snowmobile this winter, my brother spent an hour doing CPR on him, and then he got dad down off the mountain. He paid for my plane ticket to come to the funeral. He held me when I sobbed with grief. That little pest has tenderly cared for my mom and has watched over me, to the point that I have declared him a hero.

I didn’t know that when my brother was seven years old he was really Clark Kent.

When Your Kids Love Each OtherNow let me tell you about my girl and boy. Recently the girl landed a sparkly on her left fourth finger, and the big decision was who would be her maid of honor?

She chose her brother.

Man of honor, that is.

And having him stand up with her was one of the great delights of her wedding day. She thinks he’s awesome, and she says so out loud all the time.

I remember back to her exasperation when he insisted on drawing what she was drawing –and the work I did in that moment to help her love him.

The work of a hundred little moments add up.

Intervening. Rebuking. Correcting.

A mom’s job is to enforce that one sibling values another, until those little turkeys catch a clue and see that value for themselves.

Do you know what my girl bought her brother for his birthday this year? Paints and canvas, although he’s all grown up now and can think of what to draw for himself.

I heard them laughing while they both painted their own pictures –the sound of two people who enjoy being with one another.

In a kajillion little ways I failed as a mom. Failed to play enough. Failed to make dinner enough. Failed to always say the right thing.

But for about 17 years I did pray over these two and taught them to love each other.

Come wedding day I celebrated not only a beautiful marriage but also the rich affection of siblings.

What to Do When Your Kids Love Each Other

What to Do When Your Kids Love
Christy FitzwaterChristy Fitzwater is a pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the mother of a son in high school and a daughter who was recently married. She enjoys when the days get shorter and the weather nasty so she doesn’t feel guilty about not going outside. Days where she can just read books and write words all day. She can even tell you the plots of 15 missionary biographies without batting an eye. You can read her personal blog at ChristyFitzwater. Also find her at Pinterest and Twitter.


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7 Ways to Bring Respect Back into Your Marriage

7 Ways to Bring Respect Back into Your Marriage

As wives, we desire our husband to love and cherish us.

We want to hear sweet nothings whispered in our ears and have love notes tucked under our pillows with pledges of love from our husbands. We like to feel our husband’s arms around us reassuring us of his affection and attention.

But, our husbands have desires too. Three of their strongest desires (in my opinion) would be respect, intimacy and food.

Most of us wives understand that our husband needs food and intimacy. It’s kind of common knowledge, but respect?

Yes, respect is a major need that he desires to be fulfilled by you, his wife. You are the one that sees him when he excels and when he fails. You are the one that he has vowed to spend a lifetime with. Yes, he needs respect from you.

But how?

How can we as wives make an honest and deliberate effort to respect our husbands — every single day?

It doesn’t come that easy when we know his weaknesses. But we have to, we need to.


Because most of us chose to marry our husbands. Most of us were not the recipients of an arranged marriage. No, we fell madly in love with one certain man and pledged our life to him. In fact, many of us quoted wedding vows with the words “honor and respect” in them — and we were talking about our husbands!

So if he needs it, and we promised to give it, then we need reminders on how to respect him every single day.

Here are some relevant, everyday tips that you can start using today to bring respect back into your marriage. A wife that respects her man is a wife that is dearly loved. It’s true! It’s a tested and proven cause and effect. Just try it for yourself!

7 Ways to Respect Your Husband

1.    Don’t nag. Wow, this is a tough one sometimes. Life gets busy and he forgets to fix the sink or cut the grass. Don’t muse on these things. Just be patient and wait. Ask that God to remind your husband of those things so you don’t feel tempted to repeat requests — over, and over and over again.

Another option? Consider taking the time to figure out how to get the job done yourself, so he can focus on other things. I know you are probably busy too, but if you can squeeze some of his duties into your schedule, you will only reap happy marriage benefits from your sacrifice of love!

2.    Just listen. As a busy mom of six, I multi-task. Do you do that too? Sometimes my multi-tasking sneaks its way into my conversations with my husband. As he’s relaying current events to me, I may be sweeping or braiding my daughter’s hair. But, one small gesture that I can do everyday to show my husband respect is to simply stop and listen. I can put down my broom for a few seconds to give him my undivided attention.

When I focus on him and his words, my body language is saying, “You’re important to me and I want to hear what you have to say.” Try it today and see an instant positive response form your hubby!

3.    Don’t correct. This is definitely a pet peeve of mine. Countless times my husband and I have been engaged in a conversation with another couple and the wife continually interrupts. “No, honey. There were three men in the store.” “No, Sweetie, you picked up the green one.” She has to correct him — or else the story would never be the same.

Don’t be that wife. I have yet to meet a husband that enjoys his wife interrupting his conversations or correct him — especially in public. It belittles him and only adds tension to your marriage.

4.    Give thanks. Did he take the family out to dinner? Did he lead the family in devotions? Did he change the light bulb? From the simplest to the most difficult tasks and gestures, thank him. Verbalizing your gratitude shows your husband that you truly respect the work he does — no matter how small or big.

5.    Praise him. Do you love your husband’s eyes? Tell him. Does he have an impressive baritone voice? Let him know you’re his biggest fan. Is a a loving father to your children? Tell him so. Take every opportunity to praise your husband. He’ll love it, and focusing on your husband’s talents and abilities will cause your heart to respect him more.

6.    Give him his own space. Men like to have their own little cubby away from everyone else. This “man cave” is a place he can go to be alone and just think. Especially if he’s a dad, there will be times when he needs to get away. Let him have that space and furnish it as he desires.

7.    Welcome his advances. Nothing makes a man feel disrespected more than a wife that pushes away his physical advances. It makes him feel undesirable. Lean in to that kiss, squeeze extra tight on that hug and focus on your special physical relationship that only you two share. Enjoying the physical part of the marriage is one of the most powerful ways to let your husband know he has your respect.

Respecting our husbands doesn’t always come easy. It’s something that God had to give us clear instructions to do. But if we do strive to respect our husbands, then we will experience a happy, close-knit marriage that few people get to experience.

Respect your husband now and cultivate a strong marriage that provides a strong foundation for a happy home.


Many times we think happy homes only exist in fairy tales. Happily ever after can become your family’s story! In my new ebook 25 Days to a Happier Home I take you through 100 plus pages of 25 daily challenges that inspire you to create a happier home for your family. Parenting, marriage, home-making and financial issues are all addressed in this new book. Honest wife-to-wife and mom-to-mom advice helps encourage you to complete each challenge and continue molding your home into one of the most pleasant places on earth!

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

25 Days to a Happier Home by Alison Wood25 Days to a Happier Home is available in an easy-to-read format that is available for most reading devices. Join the happier home challenges today — your family is worth it!

You can get a copy of the book HERE:

25 Days to a Happier Home


Alison Wood is a mom of six kiddos, wife to one amazing husband, church-planting missionary in Southeast Asia and a parenting writer for online magazines. She encourages wives and moms at Pint-sized Treasures Follow her there!

A Peek Into This Woman’s Everyday Marriage (and memoir giveaway)

*Guest post by my lovely friend, Emily T. Wierenga—because sometimes marriage comes hard.

Lisa Jacobsen

The other night we left the boys with my sister, rented a hotel room in the mountains. We planned to snowboard the next day.

We bought take-out and I couldn’t rest that night. For hours, we lay there in our separate beds because the room came with two, but I couldn’t sleep. And I cried.

Trent stretched out his hand across the space between our beds, his fingers reaching for me in the dark. “Hold on to me, Em,” he said. “I’m here.”

“Hold on to me, Em. I’m here.”

We’re not exactly John and Yoko.

Trent’s a math geek and I’m a literary nerd. He’s loud and I’m quiet. He’s athletic and I run into walls. We both like books. We both love camping. And we’re both over-the moon crazy about each other and our boys.

But marriage has come hard for us.

Hard, with years of anorexia and insomnia and fists punching the wall.

I’m putting away the laundry, the seven loads which Trent folded for me while playing a computer game, because between my books and my boys, I can’t seem to take a shower or do any house cleaning. Let alone fold the laundry.

And I’m putting the baskets away when he calls “Suppertime,” because Trent’s made burgers, and on the table, a salad: with peppers and grated Jalapeno cheese, lettuce, bacon bits, and grated carrot, and chopped onions which always make Trent cry–it’s the only time I see him cry– and “I made you fancy salad,” he says.

Like my friend says, there’s nothing sexier than a salad-making man.

But truth is I’d be a wreck without my salad-making man.

The one who held me those long, skinny anorexia years.

Our best conversations happen over a board game because games are Trent’s love language, and we’re still getting the intimacy thing.

I used to fight him when I got mad, sometimes with my fists, and he’d shake his head and grab my wrists and then finally leave. Slam the door and drive off while I wept into the couch pillows, but that doesn’t happen anymore.

No man is perfect, and Trent will say things that unintentionally hurt me, or he’ll forget to take out the trash, but I will also do things–like forget his birthday, as I did one year–and ours is the kind of marriage that throbs with love.

Ours is the kind of marriage that throbs with love.

The kind of love that will not give up: not through anorexia, not through insomnia, not through moves to Korea or moves home to take care of parents with cancer, not through slammed doors or tears or fists, because there’s also the salad. There’s the laundry. There’s Trent taking the kids to his parents so I can write. There’s him reaching out in the dark to hold me, to pray for me.

I want the kind of marriage that dances into its Golden Anniversary, that kisses each other on wrinkled cheeks and laughs at each other’s jokes long after the sun has wound down.

I want the kind of marriage that dances into its Golden Anniversary.

And maybe the secret is to never stop reaching out in the dark. To never stop taking hold of each other’s hands. And to never let go.

Not even for a moment.


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

My memoir, ATLAS GIRL, is releasing this month, and I am excited to give away TWO copies today. Just leave a comment below to win!

The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the two winners: Jennifer and Tammy!

And thank you to everyone who participated, as well as for your encouraging comments. ~ Lisa 

From the back cover:

“Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents’ rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else–anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time–in the place she least expected it.

“Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.”


Click HERE for a free excerpt.


I’m also giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl. Just order HERE, and send a receipt to:, and you’ll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by myself and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.

Atlas Girl_700x175_2

ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards my non-profit, The Lulu Tree. The Lulu Tree is dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers. It is a grassroots organization bringing healing and hope to women and children in the slums of Uganda through the arts, community, and the gospel.
64519_10153705975080099_2037134714_n Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter or Facebook.