Last Chance: Enter to Win an iPad mini, Logos 5 Gold, and Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage!

Real Marriage BannerMark and Grace Driscoll’s annual Real Marriage conference is right around the corner, which means you only have three more days to enter our Real Marriage giveaway! You could win an iPad mini, Logos 5 Gold, and the Driscolls’ Real Marriage and the Real Marriage Participant’s Guide.

Based on their best-selling book, Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship & Life Together, the Real Marriage conference offers practical tips from one of today’s most candid couples. Get answers to some of your most pressing marital questions (even the ones you’re too scared to ask your pastor), learn how to date your spouse again, and discover how to be your spouse’s best friend.

The main event will be held February 21–22 in Roseville, California. If you can’t make it to California, we’re offering a special discount on the live simulcast: use code LOGOSRM and save 10%! Register for the live simulcast now.

Enter to win!

To help launch the Real Marriage conference, we’ve partnered with Unveiled Wife to give away Logos 5 Gold, an iPad mini, and Real Marriage books! This giveaway ends February 20, so enter to win today!

Entry closes February 20. We’ll select and notify the winner February 21. If you win and you already own Logos 5 Gold and/or any of the above-mentioned books, you’ll receive Logos.com credit in place of the prizes. The winner will need to fill out a W-9 in order to claim their prize. By entering the giveaway, you’re opting in to receive emails from Vyrso and Logos.  

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Is “The One” Biblical?

strength_for_marriageToday’s guest post is by Gary Thomas, international speaker and bestselling author of The Sacred Search and Sacred Marriage—which has sold more than 600,000 copies. Thomas specializes in uniting Scripture, church history, and the Christian classics to foster healthy relationships and spiritual growth. 

A young man I know was in the midst of a whirlwind, seemingly made-in-Hollywood romance when a drunk driver brought his plans to a devastating end. He and his fiancée had met, fell in love, and were just two months away from walking down the aisle when a woman who had too much to drink ripped my friend’s fiancée out of this world.

He was convinced that his fiancée was “the one.” Does that mean he’s now doomed to a life of loneliness or a subpar marriage with someone else? Can there be a “second” valentine?

This notion of “the one” inspires a lot of debate in Christian circles. We make it sound religious—as if God makes sure he creates just one person for each one of us and our job is to sit around until God brings that person to us at just the right time. That sounds like it respects God, but is it biblical?

What the Bible says about choosing a spouse

The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us how to choose a mate, but it does tell us what not to do. For instance, Proverbs tells men not to put too much weight on a woman’s appearance or social graces while putting too little weight on her godliness (Prov. 31:30). It says nothing about there being one right choice, but rather, seems to suggest there are wise and unwise choices.

The apostle Paul says whether we want to get married is up to us (1 Cor. 7:25–28) and, even more controversially, he tells us who we marry is up to us: “She is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39).

If whether we want to get married falls under God’s “permissive will,” (i.e., he allows us to choose our preference without commanding us to choose one or the other), how could whom we marry also not fall under his permissive will? And if Paul specifically says that a woman is free to marry “anyone she wishes” as long as he’s a believer, where do we get the notion that God has set aside one person just for us?

As soon as I tell people that we shouldn’t assume God has chosen one person just for us, they usually say, “What about Isaac and Rebekah?” God’s purpose in establishing a union between Isaac and Rebekah required Rebekah to be of a certain nationality (what we would now call Jewish). That is no longer the case for us when choosing whom to marry (Gal. 3:28). Instead, we are instructed to find a person of a common faith.

Also keep in mind that Old Testament narratives aren’t always normative. The Old Testament describes what happened, but that doesn’t mean we should copy what happened—especially since the Old Testament isn’t always explicit about denouncing clearly inappropriate actions. While God clearly blessed the union of David and Bathsheba with the birth of Solomon, it would be a monstrosity of application to suggest that adultery and then a covered-up murder is an acceptable method for meeting and choosing a mate. Likewise, no one would suggest that a widow should search for a man twice her age, work in his field, and uncover the man’s feet in the middle of the night to offer marriage, as Ruth did. Yet, indisputably, these became significant unions and families in the genealogy leading up to the birth of the Christ.

In other words, just because there may have been one ordained wife for Isaac doesn’t mean there is one ordained wife for you. It is certainly within a reasonable understanding of God’s working through history to believe that he can create and call two people together under his providence to accomplish a particular work. But since the didactic (teaching) portions of the New Testament don’t tell us God has created just one person for us, it seems a bit presumptuous, at best, and perhaps foolish, at worst, to assume there is only one right person to marry.

Do you have a choice?

Seeking “God’s perfect will” where there is none can be a cop-out. It is hard work to find a suitable mate; looking for a mystical or emotional sign is easy in comparison. According to the full account of Scripture, whether we marry, and whom we marry, falls under God’s permissive will. If you want to marry an introvert or an extrovert; a business person or someone who is into the arts, God lets you choose.

So rather than try to use mystical leanings or seeking emotional or charismatic confirmations, we should apply wisdom: is this person a believer? Do I trust them? Do I like them? Can they resolve conflict? (I wrote an entire book on this so I can’t really summarize all the questions in one paragraph.) If these and other concerns are met, then there’s one final question to answer: do you want to do this?

So, to go back where we started: I believe this young man has many options for future happiness. If there is not just one right choice, then that means he can build a fulfilling and meaningful marriage with any number of suitable women of his own choosing.

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For a limited time, get Sacred Marriage for just $2.99! Then download Thomas’s latest book, The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not about Who You Marry, But Why?, on Vyrso today!

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Make Your Marriage Fun: Get the Spark a Connection Bundle for 60% Off!

Fun Loving You

Day 9 of Vyrso’s 10 Days of Love is here! Today only, get the Spark a Connection Bundle for only $18.99—that’s 60% off! Deepen the emotional and physical intimacy in your relationship, demystify male sexuality and desires, and spark a fun connection with your spouse. This bundle is all about growing closer to your partner and better understanding their needs and desires. Save on three insightful titles today! (*This bundle has expired, although you can still purchase the individual titles.)

This deal disappears tomorrow, February 14, at 7:59 a.m. (EST), so get the Spark a Connection Bundle now!

Spark a Connection Bundle

Regularly $48.98—get it for $18.99 (that’s 60% off!)

With the Spark a Connection Bundle, you’ll get:

1. Fun Loving You: Enjoying Your Marriage in the Midst of the Grind by Ted Cunningham

Marriage isn’t just a partnership—it’s two people enjoying life together. This refreshing book will help you laugh together again, get back to the honeymoon stage of intimacy, and discover how to enjoy even the most mundane tasks together. According to author and pastor Ted Cunningham, God wants your marriage to be a blast—discover how in Fun Loving You.

2. Songs in the Key of Solomon: In the Word and In the Mood by Anita and John Renfroe

Packed with insights from a real couple on real issues, this book will get you and your spouse laughing, thinking, sharing, touching, and praying. Each offering in this devotional is designed to spark connections around issues that matter, so you’ll deepen your emotional, spiritual, and physical unity and ignite new levels of intimacy.

3. Reading Your Male: An Invitation to Understand and Influence Your Man’s Sexuality by Mary Farrar

Get answers to some of the most elusive male questions women are asking today. Discover why men struggle with their sexuality, can be emotionally reticent, and what they crave most from their wives. This book reveals how every woman can play a powerful role in the male sexual struggle by better understanding his mindset and emotions. Take the mystery out of the male mind and get equipped to become your husband’s greatest ally.

Download the Spark a Connection now for 60% off!

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Tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the 10 Days of Love! Check back in the morning for the last bundle for 60% off, plus powerful marriage insight from one of today’s most popular Christian authors!

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7 Quotes to Foster Love in Your Relationship

9 WaysLove is one of the greatest themes in the Bible. It permeates every action of Jesus—who showed us the greatest love by giving himself up for us. He now encourages us and commands us to do the same—love without ceasing. Tell your special someone how much you love them.

“How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!” —Song of Solomon 4:10

Share the love!

Use these seven quotes to spread the good news about love and marriage.

1. “Marriage is a test of how you unconditionally love and respect your spouse as you obey, honor, and please the Lord.” —Emerson Eggerichs (click to tweet), Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs

2. “Only when marriage and family exist for God’s glory—and not to serve as replacement idols—are we able to truly love and be loved.” —Mark and Grace Driscoll (click to tweet), Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship & Life Together

3. “Love gives the benefit of the doubt.” —Bill and Pam Farrel (click to tweet), A Couple’s Journey with God

4. “Men, you should have a bigger dream for your marriage than your wife has for your marriage. You are the leader of your marriage.” —Justin Buzzard (click to tweet), Date Your Wife

5. “Sex does not make a good marriage; it is the fruit of a good marriage.” —Joel R. Beeke (click to tweet), Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage

6. “Any mature, spiritually sensitive view of marriage must be built on the foundation of mature love rather than romanticism.” —Gary Thomas (click to tweet), Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

7. “Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of marital success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.” —John Piper (click to tweet), This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence

Share this post with your loved ones and couples you know to give them a dose of encouragement.

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What are your favorite quotes about love and marriage? Share them in the comments!

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4 Resources to Help Heal a Broken Marriage for 60% Off

Heal your marriage“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” —Ephesians 4:32

Marriage is a beautiful, loving union. It’s also one of the most difficult relationships you’ll ever have. Whether you’ve been married for years and have forgotten how to make your spouse feel special or are just getting out of the newlywed craze and aren’t sure how to adjust, we’ve put together the Heal Your Marriage Bundle to help reignite an intimate and emotionally healthy relationship with your spouse.

This bundle is perfect for anyone struggling in their marriage, or for counselors and pastors looking to give couples biblically sound advice. Learn to overcome the most prevalent marital obstacles and equip you and your spouse with the skills you need to handle whatever life throws at you. These books offer powerful reminders that love never fails and God never gives up on you. (*This bundle has expired, although you can still purchase the individual titles)

Get 60% off all four books! Here’s what you’ll get:

1. Married but Lonely by David Clarke

Eighty-five percent of men are what Dr. David Clarke considers “intimacy challenged.” This means that while the wife longs for emotional intimacy—for conversations that aren’t one-sided and dinners as romantic as when you first started dating—the husband is oblivious. In this book, Dr. Clarke maps out seven steps the wife can take—regardless of her husband’s cooperation—to draw out her spouse’s feelings and find a best friend in her marriage.

2. Healing a Broken Marriage: Love Never Fails by Deborah Ross

In this highly personal account, Deborah Ross shares a brutally honest story of the pain and disappointment brought on by her crumbling marriage. But through this hurt, Ross’ faith in Christ grew even stronger, and she was able to heal both her husband and her marriage. By sharing her heartbreak—and ultimate redemption—Ross shows that there’s no relationship more powerful than the one between Christ and his children.

3. I Married You, Not Your Family: And Nine Other Relationship Myths That Will Ruin Your Marriage by Linda Mintle

With over 20 years’ experience as a marital therapist, Dr. Linda Mintle shares her most significant research, experience, biblical insights, and wisdom to help change your marriage—for the better. This book provides a well-rounded look at the realities of marriage, as well as how to achieve the “happily ever after” you’ve always dreamed of.

4. Marriage Medicine: Character Is the Cure by Tyrone Holcomb  

In Marriage Medicine, author and minister Tyrone Holcomb argues that many marriages fail not because of a lack of love, but because of a lack of character. Presenting a biblical view of marriage with a blend of humor and insight, Holcomb tackles both the dangers of dissatisfaction in marriage and the significance of communication.

Download all four books for only $21.99 with the Heal Your Marriage Bundle—that’s 60% off! This deal only lasts 24 hours, so get it before it’s gone forever.

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Check back tomorrow for the next 10 Days of Love deal for 60% off!

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Today Only: Get 60% Off the Happy Wife Bundle!

5_Tips

Today’s 24-hour 10 Days of Love bundle is perfect for any woman who’s married or engaged, or for husbands wanting to better understand and please their wives. With the Happy Wife Bundle, get answers to your most pressing marriage questions, learn to better communicate your needs to your spouse, and spice up your love life. Featuring advice from bestselling authors, this bundle is packed with powerful and practical tips for establishing a happy marriage and becoming a happy wife today. (*This bundle has expired, although you can still purchase the individual titles.)

Happy Wife Bundle

In the Happy Wife Bundle, you’ll get five powerful resources:

1. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Sex: A Guide for Christian Men by Richard Rupp, Ryan Howes, and Stephen Simpson

Many Christian men feel left in the dark when it comes to marital intimacy—particularly since it isn’t openly discussed in the church. This book serves to fill that knowledge gap with practical and biblical advice. Learn what the Bible says about a healthy sex life, discover how to relate to your wife, and explore specific techniques to increase intimacy in your marriage. This is the perfect resource for husbands wanting to better understand how to make their wives happy.

2. Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior & Communication in 5 Days by Dr. Kevin Leman

According to New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman, even the most frustrated wife can help make a new man out of her husband in just five days. Learn how to change your behavior—and your husband’s—so that you better understand his needs and he understands yours. This relatable book is perfect for any wife seeking to improve communication and rekindle the romance.

3. Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half: Why Differences Make a Marriage Great by Rick Johnson

Marriage isn’t about finding the perfect person to marry—it’s about loving someone in an unselfish, Christlike manner. Whatever we want out of marriage—unconditional love, forgiveness, passion—that’s what we have to give our spouse. Rick Johnson shows couples how to go beyond merely tolerating each other’s differences to using those God-given differences to add spice and passion to your relationship.

4. He Said. She Said.: Eight Powerful Phrases That Will Strengthen Your Marriage by Laura and Jay Laffoon

Bring strength and vitality to your marriage by learning to say the right words at the right time. Practical and fun, He Said. She Said. explores the different inherent needs of men and women and empowers wives and husbands to meet those needs using eight phrases that will revolutionize their communication.

5. Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together by Jim and Cathy Burns

Draw closer to your spouse with this 52-day devotional designed to increase emotional and spiritual intimacy. Each day includes Bible verses, compelling stories, application tips, and conversation topics to better understand both the Word and each other.

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Check back tomorrow to save 60% on our next 10 Days of Love Bundle!

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Get the Christ-Focused Marriage Bundle for under $20!

strength_for_marriageWe’re over halfway through Vyrso’s 10 Days of Love, and to mark day 6, you can get the Christ-Focused Marriage Bundle! (*This bundle has expired, but you can still purchase the individual titles.)

Today’s bundle features three renowned titles with inspirational advice on seeking Christ through all aspects of your marriage. Every marriage has its trials, and this bundle shows you how you can use those challenges to strengthen the bond between you, your spouse, and Christ.

Here’s what you’ll get:

1. God’s Marriage Code of Conduct: For Victory over a Roommate Marriage by Joy Callahan

Do you ever feel like you and your spouse live together, but don’t actually live an intertwined, communicative life? This book has the perfect solutions for you.

Joy Callahan opens up on what she discovered from her marriage at a time when it was crumbling. Callahan connects her story to biblical principles that show you how embracing God’s love can help you turn a “roommate marriage” into a significant relationship of compassion, trust, and the ability to confide in one another again.

2. Listening to God Will Transform You by Iona Dixon

As the stresses of everyday life pile up, it’s easy to lose focus of what’s most important. But what about when the unthinkable occurs? In Listening to God Will Transform You, discover how God sustains and strengthens you through the events that you never saw coming. This book will motivate you to evaluate what’s most important in your relationships and how to live a life that always seeks God’s will first.

3. Marriage Talk: Cultivating a Successful Marriage through Self-Examination by Dr. Kim Walter Brown

What does a biblical marriage look like? How can you and your spouse apply wisdom from God’s Word to your marriage and family life? This book’s forthright tone and sound advice make couples critically examine their lives and how to create a “mini church” within their own family. When households do this, they find their family life as a united front against the dilemmas thrown at them from the outside world.

A successful marriage requires a lot of energy, love, and effort. But most importantly, it requires seeking God first and seeking him together as a couple. Add these books to your ereader today and start reaping the benefits in your own marriage.

Discover how to put God at the center of your marriage and household. 

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Love after Marriage: God’s Power to Transform Your Marriage

Barry and Lori Byrne

Today’s guest post is by Barry and Lori Byrne, coauthors of Love after Marriage. Barry has been a marriage and family therapist for over 30 years, and Lori is a fourth-generation pastor. Together, they’ve counseled couples for years within the church and through their powerful marriage workshops.

Is it possible for the world to see Jesus through your love?  Is “love” after marriage possible?  Is there such a thing as a marriage that is “too far gone,” or that just has “too much history and hurt” for it to ever be what God originally intended?

All over the world, couples are crying out for help.  It was through a dream that heaven answered this cry. We wrote our book, Love after Marriage, because we want your marriage to be empowered directly by God through the voice of his spirit. Listening for his voice and following it will make all the difference on your journey toward spiritual, emotional, and physical oneness.

We want you to hear us clearly and unmistakably say: it does not matter what your experience has been.  It does not matter what’s in your history or your family line. Whatever you’ve had or not had in life; whatever limitations, whatever amount of betrayal or violation you’ve experienced, we’ve discovered from our 34 years of marriage, and through ministry to thousands of married couples who’ve attended our workshops, that there is a way through every one of these obstacles.

No matter what has come against you in life, or whether you’ve been married 40 years or four months, the Holy Spirit can empower you to live in true spiritual, emotional, and sexual oneness with your spouse.  Love after Marriage is about getting the right tools for your marriage, maintaining your breakthrough, and changing your lifestyle—a  change so significant that it affects your whole family.

Seek Jesus in your marriage

The Lord has placed within you a strategy to overcome everything that Satan has used to harm you. The question is, are you willing to seek and believe his redemption in your life and your marriage?

In Isaiah 45:2, The Lord says, “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.” This describes who our God is. He breaks through the obstacles that are impossible for us. He will bring your breakthrough if you are willing to fully partner with him. It doesn’t  matter how long you’ve been stuck, or how bad your marriage has been—God will do the impossible on your behalf.

Rely on God to heal your broken heart

Most importantly, Love after Marriage is about empowering you to hear from God for yourself, your marriage, and your family. Love after Marriage is about restoring everything—even those things you thought were too far gone. Whether you’ve filed for divorce, are living as married singles, aren’t able to connect emotionally, aren’t able to connect sexually, or just need a little tune up—over and over again we’ve seen God bring amazing breakthroughs. God is just waiting for you to say yes. He wants to help make you into the “one flesh” unit he’s designed you to be: living with intimacy, passion, and enjoyment; overcoming every obstacle together; and letting the world see Jesus through your love.

4 steps to a closer marriage

Get the most out of Love after Marriage: download our book on Vyrso, then follow these four key steps:

1. Reach out. Pray and ask the Lord to highlight another couple who’s as hungry for true intimacy in their marriage as you guys are.

2. Discuss. Invite them to go through this book with you, reading one chapter ahead of time as a couple. Come together, the four of you, once a week and talk and work through the activities, and pray through the issues that come up.

3. Be consistent. Don’t miss your time together. Do the homework each week at home and come back each week for more!

4. Share the love. Ask three other couples you trust and love to pray for you on the nights you’re meeting. When you finish the book, meet with all five couples, make a great celebration meal together, and share all that the Lord has done!

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Check back Monday for our next 10 Days of Love deal! 

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Get 60% Off the Ultimate Marriage Advice Bundle

The Best Advice I Ever Got on Marriage

The next 10 Days of Love deal is here! This bundle teaches you how to create a successful marriage, and challenges you to not let mediocrity plague your relationship. (*This bundle has expired, although you can still purchase the individual titles.)

Learn to fight in a way that enriches your relationship, discover why grace is so important to your marriage, and get one expert’s take on the best marriage advice you’ll ever receive. This bundle is packed with real-world advice from authors who know the best way to resolve your biggest marital hiccups.

Here’s what you’ll get:

1. The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

Master the secrets to a genuinely happy marriage. In The Good Fight, learn to avoid relationship pitfalls, use conflict for good, and diffuse anger and hurt. Build your relationship on the practical advice found in The Good Fight, and start creating a peace-filled home today.

2. Grace Filled Marriage: The Missing Piece. The Place to Start. by Tim and Darcy Kimmel    

Dr. Tim Kimmel shows you how to evaluate your own grace aptitude, then leads you step by step into grace intelligence that will transform you and your marriage. Discover the elements of grace that will restore your marriage—forgiveness, security, significance, acceptance, approval, and intimacy—with Grace Filled Marriage.

3. The 7-Minute Marriage Solution: 7 Things to Start! 7 Things to Stop! 7 Minutes That Matter Most! by Stephen Arterburn

Research has shown that if couples spend devotional time together at least four times a week, they’ll have a stronger marriage that can stand the test of time. This book gives you the blueprints for a successful marriage. Discover the seven things you must stop, the seven things you must start, and the impact seven minutes of guided devotions and prayer can have on your marriage.

4. The Best Advice I Ever Got on Marriage: Transforming Insights from Respected Husbands & Wives by Jim Daly

Unveil the transforming advice that has encouraged many marriages. The book’s many contributors have implemented the advice and seen its results firsthand. Christian authors, speakers, and entertainers like Andy Stanley, Ken Blanchard, Gary Smalley, Les and Leslie Parrott, Joni Eareckson Tada, Stormie Omaritan, Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn, Lee Strobel and singer Phil Joel of the Newsboys, all bring forward their best advice for newlyweds and those in their golden years. Keep your life-long bonds growing and strengthen your marriage with The Best Advice I Ever Got on Marriage.

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Check back tomorrow for our next 10 Days of Love deal!

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A Look into 50+ Years of Marriage: Glorifying God and Getting through the Hard Times

Bob and Emilie BarnesToday’s interview is with Bob and Emilie Barnes. The Barneses have been married 58 years, getting married when Emilie was a senior in high school and Bob was just graduating college. From the very beginning, the Barneses made the Bible the authority in their relationship. Through the years, they’ve raised two children, battled cancer together, and published a combined total of nearly 100 books on organizing your life, growing closer to God, and building a happy, Christ-focused marriage. For today only, get their devotional, Together Moments for Couples: Devotions to Draw You Closer, along with three other marriage resources, for our Wedded Bliss Bundlepart of Vyrso’s 10 Days of Love! 

1. Bob, after 58 years of marriage, what’s your best piece of advice for husbands who want to make their wives feel loved?

Emilie and I have always said, “Men are strange and women are weird.” I’ve spent 58 years trying to figure her out, and one of my biggest pieces of advice is to realize that your wife’s thinking process is different than yours, so men—don’t expect her to be like you.

God has given her unique qualities that are intentionally different from mine: her strengths strengthen my weaknesses, and my strengths cover her weaknesses. Someone once asked me if it was hard to be in competition with Emilie and I replied, “No, because we don’t compete with each other; we complement each other.”

I know that if I love her and tell her often that I love her she responds in a positive fashion. I’ve also found out that our children are made to feel secure when they hear me talk to their mother like that.

Women also love to know they’re secure in their relationship. Show me a confident woman and I’ll show you a woman that’s secure with her husband. Husbands should express their love daily. You can never tell a wife often enough that you love her.

2. Emilie, what’s your best piece of advice for wives seeking to make their husbands feel loved?

Show your husband RESPECT, RESPECT, RESPECT. Inside each husband is a 12-year-old boy. He might look mature, but inside he’s still looking for approval. You might say, “I’ll show him respect when he deserves it.” That’s not how it works. As his wife, you should be his number-one cheerleader. He wants to know that his wife respects his leadership and wants the best for his family.

I’ve always tried to only say positive things about him when I’m with other women. In fact, one year I bought him a Superman T-shirt and laid it out on the bed when he retired for the evening. He was so amazed that I thought he could fly. Often when things get strained, he’ll remind me that he’s Superman.

And don’t forget—long after your children have grown up and left home, your husband will still be with you, so make sure the two of you are still friends.

3. How has our society’s perception of marriage changed over the years, and how has this helped and hindered how we approach dating and marriage?

Never in our life time could we imagine that our country would be so divided over the word “marriage.”

Today our culture has attempted to make marriage old fashioned and out of style, and those who believe in the biblical ideas of marriage are out of touch. Today’s culture wants to do what pleases them for the moment, without taking into account what the consequences might be. The road is cluttered with lives that have been destroyed by not trusting in God’s principles. They have been sold a bill of goods on what Hollywood has portrayed as the truth, rather than believe what God had in mind for his people.

Thank God there are still people who want to believe in God’s plan for marriage and those who want to live out his plan for their lives.

4. What’s your best advice for maintaining a relationship that glorifies God?

Here are a few that have been effective in our relationship:

  • Ephesians 5:21: “Submitting to one another . . .” We are in this relationship to serve—not to be served. When difficulties arise, it’s usually when selfishness sets in and one of us wants to be served rather than to serve.
  • Ephesians 5:33: “. . . let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” There are two action words for a healthy relationship: for the husband it’s to LOVE your wife, and for the wife, it’s to RESPECT your husband. It isn’t always that simple, but it’s certainly a good beginning.
  • Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths . . .”  If we say we love each other, we must treat each other accordingly. I’ve always tried to encourage Emilie to become the woman that God created her to be, and she’s treated me the same. One of our guiding principles of communication is, “You never have to apologize for words never said.”
  • John 11:4: This was our theme verse when Emilie was going through her bone marrow transplant in Seattle. It reads, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5. You dedicated Together Moments for Couples to the families you met at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. What did you learn from the other couples battling cancer, and what did you learn about your own relationship?

We seldom grow during the peaks of our life—it’s the valleys that let us grow. The cancer journey tested me, regarding how big my God was and how much I really wanted to serve my wife.

Any valley of life will test your relational level. The valleys test you to see what you truly believe, they strengthen your prayer life, and they bring your family and friends closer together. The power of prayer comes alive during these times.

We were in Seattle for five months. Those individuals and family members became a community and family. We were able to pray with them, to smile when they got good news and to cry with them when the news wasn’t so good. Most of them were treated and able to go back home for local treatment, however, we lost three good friends who passed away while being treated. Some were ones with great faith and some had no faith.

We continued to grow in our faith and truly recognized that God had a plan for our lives. And it was for our good (Jeremiah 19:11).

6. How have you two overcome the difficult times in your relationship?

We have not overcome our difficulties, but we are overcoming them. Scripture has been such a powerful resource for us. Having a community of fellow believers hold us up in prayer, great medical professionals who have provided us with medicine, and a tight-knit family who are our biggest fans have all helped.

There are also simple gestures that help: a note in the mail, a short phone call, a dish of food left at the front door. These actions also gave meaning to those around us. They had the opportunity to serve someone besides themselves.

We all have difficulties in relationships, but I have to say that our difficulties have been so small compared to many of our friends. God has been so gracious to us and we have been so blessed. I find that four words have helped us not let the little things become big: THANK YOU and I’M SORRY.

7. What sets Together Moments for Couples apart from your other books?

This book encourages couples to come together and read one thought a day, discuss how to implement it in their lives, and pray a simple prayer.

Many of our books deal with the individual audience, but our couples books try to encourage the husband and wife to spend devotional time together and grow closer. It’s a time where mom and dad come together and communicate, and usually that time branches out into other topics concerning their lives.

8. Between work, kids, family, and life’s everyday distractions, how can couples make daily prayer and devotions a priority?

You have to make time together a top priority and stick to it like you would a business or social appointment. We’ve learned over the years that people do what they want to do, so devotions must be a top priority for both of you. It may take shape in a lot of different ways, so be flexible depending on your stage in life.

Emilie and I can testify to the importance of coming together on a frequent basis to share God’s Word. It gives you a time to slow down and quiet your spirit and soul. We all need to be reminded to slow down and know that he is God (Psalm 5:1–3).

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