A Prayer for My Son’s Someday Bride-to-Be

A Prayer for Our Son's Someday Bride

I can tell you the exact moment I began praying for our son’s future wife.

Maybe not the month.

Or even the year.

But definitely the moment.

I’m sure there must have been a context of some kind, but most of those details have faded and now all I can remember are the words that he said.

“I want the kind of wife who would be able to pull an arrow out of my back. That kind of woman.”

He was only 11 or 12 years old at the time, so why he would be thinking such thoughts I’ll never know.

All I know is that it stopped my mama’s heart.

This brought up so many questions I wanted to ask him. Starting with, “Why, Son? Why an arrow?” Then, “Why would it be in your back?” and “Who would do such a thing?” and so on.

And finally, “Where in the world do you get these ideas from??”

It was our first conversation about his someday wife.

But it wouldn’t be our last.

We’ve a had a number of discussions since that time and they’ve all been interesting and insightful. I’ve appreciated hearing his perspective as a young man living in the current culture. It can’t be easy and it’s nice to know that he takes it seriously.

Of all the things he’s said during these discussions,  my personal favorite was when I told him how badly I wanted a good relationship with his future wife – whoever she ended up being – and how I was a little afraid of what she might think of me.

I confided, “I really hope your wife will like me and that maybe we’ll even become friends.”

He was young and answered me briefly, almost fiercely, “She’d better like you, mom.” Sounding nearly like a threat.

I believe that was one of the highest compliments he ever gave me. And I tucked that one deep down into my heart.

Now our son will soon be graduating from college and he no longer talks about arrows. He lives across the country and we only get to see him once or twice a year. But we talk and Skype often and I’m grateful for the man he’s become.

This same son was recently in a good friend’s wedding, having enjoyed a close friendship with both the bride and the groom. As the best man, he offered the newlywed couple the following blessing after the cutting of the cake:

Dostoevsky wrote, “beauty will save the world” and, whether or not he realized it, truer words could not have been spoken. The story of the Gospel and God’s love for us contains the greatest beauty of all.

In the same way that marriage is meant to reflect God’s relationship with his Church, I believe that your relationship has always been – and always will be – one of beauty, filled with goodness and truth.

As long as the two of you are in the world, the rest of us have hope and your many kids will have a chance to grow up loving and seeking the Lord.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about the words he shared. Because this really is how Christian marriage is designed to be—a relationship filled with beauty, goodness, and truth – and how desperately the world needs to see more of this kind of love. Actually, we could all use this kind of hope right now.

And so I continue to pray for his someday wife. 

A Prayer For My Son's Someday Bride

The newlywed couple, with our son on the right

A Prayer for Our Son’s Someday Bride-to-Be

I pray that she will be full of beauty and kindness and wisdom.

I pray that she will be soft in heart and strong in spirit.

I pray that she will laugh at his jokes, put up with his teasing, and carefully listen to his deepest thoughts.

I pray that they will stay up late whispering their dreams and sharing their ideas.

And that the two of them will wake up in the morning as much in love as ever.

I pray that it will only be the beginning of a lifelong friendship between them both.

I pray God is even now preparing her to be his wife, just as I know He has been preparing our son to be a husband.

I pray that she’ll understand what it is to receive forgiveness. And be ready to forgive in return.

I pray that she will lovingly respect him and that he will cherish her always.

And, as much as I hope that she will be crazy-in-love with our son, I pray that she will love Christ even more.

And, yes, I pray that she will be able to pull an arrow out of his back.

But can’t help hoping that she will never need to.

Above all, I pray that their relationship will be one of beauty – filled with goodness and truth. A reflection of God’s love for His Bride.


In my prayers,
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What Your Husband Only Wishes {But Can’t Seem to Say}

What Your Husband Only Wishes But Can't Seem to Say

*The following is a true story. A real conversation that took place between him and me. I still cringe when I think about it, but marriage can be like that—at least our marriage can be. Because sometimes the truth is hard to hear. ~ Lisa

It all began in a cafe.

Like so many of the meaningful moments in my life. He and I were sitting together over a grande latte in the newly-opened Starbucks at the Green Hills Mall. When my dear friend Susan walked in.

My face lit up as soon as I spotted her.

She and I had only known each other for a short time, but we’d made an immediate connection the minute we met.


Our young family had recently moved to Nashville and I’d felt rather alone up until then. So being with her was like a breath of fresh air to me.

So I shot her my sunniest smile, “Hey, girlfriend! C’mon over!”

A big hug before both of us began bubbling over with all the latest news. I complimented her on her new dress. Told her how much I liked the way she was wearing her hair. Thanked her for the book she’d lent me. And gushed how glad I was to see her!

At some point, I noticed how subdued my husband had become. I waited until she’d left us, then asked him what was up. Something was clearly on his mind. I could tell that much.

But he hesitated. Didn’t seem to know quite was to say.

Then finally, he said it so softly, I barely heard him. “I wish . . . you’d be like that for me.”

Okay, I don’t mean to be difficult, but be like what??

“Light up with a sweet smile. Speak kindly. Say nice things.”


No further explanation was needed.

I knew EXACTLY what he was talking about. And he was right.

I was all smiles for Susan.

Saved my grumpies for him.

Rarely bothered with the niceties anymore. Not particularly gracious or polite.

In all honesty? I didn’t offer too much of this kind of thing to my husband. He was supposed to love me “just the way I am.”

No frills or syrup for him.

But how hurtful for him to see me put on my “sweet face” for everyone else—everyone except the man to whom I’d pledged my lifelong love.

Here I was handing out the big smiles and warm compliments to my new friend . . . and dribbling out the tired frowns and whiny complaints to him.

There’s something not quite right about that.

Now don’t feel badly if you’re cringing. I was cringing too. Somewhat sickened, really. Definitely convicted.

So, girlfriend, that’s what got me thinking….

If we’re putting on our brightest smiles for our sisters?

If we’re saving our warmest words for our friends?

If we’re sharing our kindest thoughts with The Girls?

Then we might want to consider how hard it must be for him to watch. Maybe he doesn’t mention it – doesn’t know how to say it – but my guess is that he’d appreciate some of that warmth and kindness shown to him too.

So even if he’s around most every day, why not light up when he walks in the room?

Tell him how handsome he’s looking today. How glad you are to see him. A big hug and maybe a bit more.

Put on your sweet face and say nice things.

Like a breath of fresh air.

He wishes for a kind wife.

…and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Prov. 31:26

In His grace,
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*The above is an excerpt from 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson.

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So What Exactly Does It Mean to Be Your Husband’s “Helper”?

So What Exactly Does It Mean to Be Your Husband's Helper

Lately I’ve been reflecting on a largely unremarkable, yet poignant scene a photographer friend of mine witnessed as she snapped photos of a rather illustrious couple.

As she offered directions in a brief moment during the shoot, the husband became momentarily confused as to what to do.

At that same instant my friend noticed the slight pressure of the wife’s hand on her husband’s back, guiding him into the next steps fluidly.

In that moment of grace, the man lost no dignity in not knowing what to do, thanks to his wife.

She was silently, and wonderfully, his teammate and ally.

One might even say that in this situation, she respectfully led her husband.

Barbara Rainey

Due to a project at work lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole idea about Eve’s creation as Adam’s “helper.”

It’s a delicate subject, this one.

Sometimes I’ve received some rather blistering thoughts from constituents on this topic—often because “helper” is seen as a demotion of women as inferior, or as propagating abuse. But these implications are against all we stand for: the intrinsic value of women and their critical, life-giving role, without which Adam’s situation was declared “not good.”

Sometimes the desire not to step on toes can cause us as Christians to dial back the breathtaking design idea fashioned into each woman as God crafted her.

You may have heard before that this term of “helper”, the Hebrew word ezer, elsewhere in the Bible refers both to the Holy Spirit of God Himself, and to military allies.

The concept is not for the faint of heart.

Rather, it is endowed with innate strength.

Acting as wingman is never a demotion.  Neither is the Holy Spirit less than the Father or Son. His leading of us, of me, is always gentle yet also with pure truth.  His guidance of me is always with my needs in mind.

Eve was “fashioned” for Adam—in that way, I suppose their union and likewise any married couple is not unlike a 3-D puzzle.

I see it in my own marriage, and my husband would be one of the first to tell you: I excel at design while he tops me any day of the week in finances.  Yet even these two descriptors are not thoroughly helpful because Dennis does have a good sense of design and though spreadsheets give me a headache I am not completely inept with numbers.

There are ways every wife distinctly and uniquely complements her own husband.

And of course, he’ll offer his fortes to complement her areas of lesser strength as well.

In some ways, through “helping”, we’ll actually be gently, graciously leading. Abigail and Esther are both shimmering examples of women who wisely, shrewdly, and respectfully “led”—saving untold lives through their astute courage and foresight.

Any coach worth his salt will tell you that’s what a team is all about: not domination, superiority, or self-service, but on moving fluently with what each player brings to the team, toward your common goal.

Each member maximizing his or her gifts in their position makes for a winning game.…Or photo shoot.

And it’s one of the nuances often found in the team of two called marriage.



Barbara RaineyBarbara Rainey, wife of 42 years. Empty nester to 6 kids and 22 grandkids. Cofounder of FamilyLife. Creator of Ever Thine Home. Author & artist. Inspires women to see mundane moments as sacred and meaningful. Still in awe at being loved by God.

You can learn more about EverThineHome HERE. And follow Barbara & EverThineHome on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Creating a Romantic Refuge in Your Very Own Home

*The above photo of the former governor and wife is with special thanks to the talented Nancy Nolan Photography

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4 Kinds of Talk that Will Save Your Marriage

4 Talks to Save Your Marriage

We’re skipping church because we’ve been gone all weekend.

We’re watching it instead, online, Pastor Mark Hughes’ Church of the Rock, and we’re watching a sermon on marriage on separate couches, while our boys climb all over us. Trent and I look at each other across the room and sigh, roll our eyes and there’s a splash of sunlight on the floor, falling from the sky. Just a splash but it’s enough to make the room feel warmer.

Marriage is hard with kids, and it’s hard without kids too. It’s just plain hard.

Not because of anything except that you are two sinful people with different ways of communicating, different ways of seeing and perceiving the world and suddenly you’re apparently one body and not only that, you’re expected to raise two very impressionable young children while being consistently “on the same page”.

And you try to have date night which basically means sitting on the couch with your feet up watching something funny because you can’t handle serious after the kind of day you had and suddenly the boys are yelling at you from bed because they want more water or another song or they’re hungry.

And you do that thing where you look at each other and even though you’re side by side you feel miles apart.

“Who are you?” you ask, not only to the person in front of you but to the person that you are, because you forget. You forget what makes you laugh. You forget what you used to do when you had free time, you forget what romance is because you’re so tired when you fall into bed it’s all you can do turn out the light before you’re snoring.

But I want more.

Making It Home By Emily Wierenga1

I know, my kids are 6 months and four and five and a half and we’re both neck deep in our careers and yet, I don’t want to lose “us” before the children are out of the house and suddenly we don’t know what to talk about anymore.

But more than that, I want to have the kind of marriage that makes my kids want to get married.

They say that your eyes should light up every time your son or daughter walks into the room. I think we should aim just as high when our spouse walks into the room.

But it’s not just about the eyes lighting up. It’s about talking to your other half–really, truly talking. According to Pastor Mark Hughes of Church of the Rock–the program we were watching on separate couches while our boys tugged on our hair and flipped across our laps, there are 4 kinds of talk that will save a marriage.

  1. Small Talk: You know, the kind in which you discuss the weather, the day, How was work honey, Did you get the mail like I asked you to, Why didn’t you get the mail like I asked you to?! Yeah,  that kind of talk.
  2. Sweet Talk: Trent and I call each other Babes, but that’s about the extent of our sweet talk, so we realized we needed to work on that. So I told him one night that I liked his butt. He told me he liked mine too. It’s a start.
  3. Serious Talk: This is when you discuss a heightened version of Small talk, concerning more crucial topics, like health, finances, relationships, careers. People often think they’re having an intimate talk if it’s about something serious, but in fact, it’s not. Yet it’s still important to do.
  4. Soul Talk: This is the most intimate version of communication. This is where you ask each other a “soul” question, like “What are you afraid of?” or “If you could accomplish one thing with your life, what would it be?”

So Trent and I have started soul-talking. Because we’ve realized we’ve been living mostly off of small talk, serious talk and a crush on each other’s butts. But our marriage was feeling flat because there was no soul.

You gotta have soul.

So set aside one night a week where you ask each other a question. Put the kids to bed early, pop some corn, pour each other a glass of bubbly and sit out on the deck.

It’s worth it to one day have the kind of marriage that makes our kids say, “Hey–I want one of those!”


Friends, I’m celebrating the release of my new memoir today, Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity and Purpose.

Making It Home By Emily Wierenga2

What does it mean to be a woman and to make a home? Does it mean homeschooling children or going to the office every day? Cooking gourmet meals and making Pinterest-worthy home décor? In Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity, and Purpose, author and blogger Emily Wierenga takes readers on an unconventional journey through marriage, miscarriage, foster parenting and the daily struggle of longing to be known, inviting them into a quest for identity in the midst of life’s daily interruptions.

Get your copy HERE. Proceeds benefit Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree.


Get FREE downloadable chapters from Making It Home HERE.


Making It Home by Emily Wierenga

Sign up for the FREE Making It Home webcast featuring Liz Curtis Higgs, Holley Gerth, Jennifer Dukes Lee and Jo Ann Fore (with Emily Wierenga as host), 8 pm CT on September 10, 2015, HERE. Once you sign up you’ll be automatically entered for a giveaway of each of the author’s books!

Emily Wierenga Bio Picture

Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author, founder of The Lulu Tree and blogger at www.emilywierenga.com. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Relevant, Charisma, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, Dayspring’s (in)courage and Focus on the Family. She is the author of six books including the travel memoir Atlas Girl and speaks regularly about her journey with anorexia. She lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Trenton, and their children. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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Sometimes Love in Marriage Comes Down to the Smallest of Things

Sometimes Love Comes Down to the Smallest of Things

How can one jar of peanut-butter cause so much trouble?

No kidding, that’s what I wanted to know too.

Because apparently it was A Big Problem and he made that quite clear.

My husband was fed up with the sticky, slimy mess dripping down the sides of the peanut-butter jar and insisted we put a stop to the madness.

“Why can’t we keep this jar clean?! There’s no reason we should live like this and it’s driving me nuts!” He didn’t yell, but I could tell by his tone that he really meant it.

Oh, but there was a very good reason as far as I was concerned and protested against his somewhat ridiculous request.

Actually, there were eight good reasons. You see we have these things called children and one mother can’t be on top of everything!

Why so unreasonable? So demanding?

Now on his behalf, I have to tell you that my husband is not a complainer.

He doesn’t make negative remarks about my cooking. He doesn’t complain about having to throw on his robe in the morning and search for the essential items in the laundry room (oops! meant to fold and put those away…). He’s even good about patiently sitting in the car and waiting for me to get out the door. And that can be a pretty long wait sometimes.

But the goopy peanut-butter container? That just about does him in.

So how many of you moms can I count on to side with me on this one?

I mean, we have a bunch of kids and they all make their own peanut-butter sandwiches. Even the three young boys. Let’s face it – it’s a sticky, slimy world we live in.

And I basically communicated to him . . . .

Sorry. But that’s just the way it has to be. 

That we were going to have to learn to live with it. That he was asking the impossible. And I left him in the kitchen feeling quite justified in my defensive and huffy response.

Except for one thing . . . . 

Sometimes Love Comes Down to the Smallest of Things

Epiphany in the Parlor

I left the kitchen to recover and regroup in our front sitting room – our “parlor” as we call it and my very favorite room in the house.

It’s a special place.

The Parlor has pretty pillows, a tea tray, and a clear glass (yes, that would be GLASS) coffee table.

The kids are not allowed to eat in this room.

Or have their electronic gadgets.

No Legos, dirty socks, or rollerblades are permitted in the Parlor. Happy sigh.

I love this room.

Now wait! Are you beginning to wonder how it is that I can keep an entire room looking pristine even though we have all these children? With a glass coffee table, no less??

Well. It’s because it’s important to me, of course. Really important.

But I can’t keep the peanut-butter jar wiped down?


Yeah, that’s the question that got to me too.

You see, I have this tendency to take my priorities very seriously. And this room is one of those.

Not only that, but when the rest of my family do their best to keep it the way I like it?

It makes me happy.

I feel respected.

Maybe even loved.

I know. It’s a small thing. So maybe you don’t see why it’s a big deal to me.

But it kinda is.

If at all possible.

So maybe I don’t understand why all the fuss over the sloppy peanut-butter jar.

But if it’s important to him?

Makes him happy?

Feel respected?

Maybe even loved…?

Then I can do this small thing.

In fact, I’m determined to have the cleanest peanut-butter jar in town.

And if you ever find yourself anywhere near our area, I hope you’ll stop by ’cause I’d love to make you a peanut-butter sandwich. Or have that youngest son of ours make you one. He makes the best.

It’s true that you might have to step over a heaping pile of rollerblades on the front porch and overlook the baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded in the living room.

But there should be a nice place for you to sit in the parlor.

And you’ll be sure to admire the amazingly spotless peanut-butter container, won’t you?

Because he sure does.

He likes it that way.

But better than that?

He loves me.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~ Philippians 2:4

In His grace,

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*Parlor photo is with thanks to Allison Harp
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For the Wife Who Feels Unloved: 3 Loving Steps to Take

For the Wife Who Feels Unloved - 3 Loving Steps to Take

For 24 years, I have been happily married to a man who cherishes me. So when I write for Club31Women, I have the perspective of a healthy, fulfilling marriage.

Often I hear from readers, though, who say, “What about me?” There are many women who are struggling in marriage and who feel unloved and not cared for.

Let me start by saying I’m sorry, sister. I’m really sorry for your wounded heart and for the struggle you’re having.

Will you let me write to you from my experience as a pastor’s wife and also as the wife of a licensed professional counselor? My husband and I have known a long line of unhappy wives.

One thing I know is that you cannot change anything on your husband’s side of the relationship.

You can only control your side of things and exert influence through your own actions, so let me offer three steps you can take that have the potential to transform your marriage.

Three Loving Steps for the Wife Who Feels Unloved 

First, you must believe the gospel of Christ.

Paul says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Christ can make people new, so pray that Christ will step into your husband’s life and make him a new person with a new heart that can love you. We cannot go inside our husband’s hearts and make him into a new person. Any wife who has tried to change her husband knows this is futile. Only Christ can change the heart of a man.

If you stop believing that your husband can change, that means you’ve stopped believing Christ has power to change people.

So wives must remain hopeful in Christ.

Second, settle in for the long haul and be willing to wait on the Lord.

Wait for the Lordbe strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

How long will you have to wait before God works in your husband’s life? I have no idea. I know a friend who waited decades before her husband chose to follow Christ and their marriage started to improve.

Waiting requires a backbone of faith. You’ll have to be strong and take heart.

Imagine the silent message you are sending to your husband as you wait, though. You are quietly saying to him, “I will wait for good to happen in your life. I will wait for you to know the love of God. I will have patience while Christ works in your life.”

Third, you need to show respect for the man.

In Ephesians 5:33, Paul says, “The wife must respect her husband.”


This command is wonderfully separate from a woman’s emotions and also separate from a man’s actions. No matter how you feel and no matter how he acts, you are to show him respect. Have you been obedient to this command from Scripture?

Do you speak to him with respect? Do you talk about him to your friends with respect? Does your body language convey respect? Do you serve him with an attitude of respect?

It is possible that your purposeful actions of respect may well be the first step in his heart warming toward you.

So, if you’ve been unloved by your husband, turn to Christ and have hope. Take actions over which you have power, and live in faith that God will honor your efforts and take care of you in every way.

Christy Fitzwater

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