Accept One Another

live in such harmony with one another Romans 15:7


We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. – Romans 15:1-7 ESV

If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you! – Proverbs 11:27 (NLT)

One of the keys in marriage is always believing that your spouses intentions are for your good. The struggle is that we usually are more willing to believe the worst. In the happiest relationships, they are steadfast in their belief that their spouse cares about them and has no intention of hurting them, even if they couldn’t completely explain what had happened.

And the truth is that they really are for you not against you.  In my experience only a tiny fraction of partners no longer cared about their spouse. Even in struggling, difficult marriages, most of the time, the hurt was not intended. In happy marriages, the offended spouse chooses to believe that; in unhappy marriages, they don’t.

For most of us, “searching for good” in our lives or spouse is difficult when we are in pain, it is not our usual response. It is so easy to gauge what the other person intended by how we feel in the moment. But gauging your life by your feelings can be dangerous.

I know at time the intentions and behaviors of people we love aren’t good. But in most situations, they don’t want to hurt the people they care about the most.

The choice to search, understand and believe a more generous explanation may not come easily at first. Try to bring your feelings in line with what you know to be true about their heart and character. And once you see, over time, that the “good” explanation is usually the real one, you become fully convinced that this person is “for” you.

Better yet, as you see in Proverbs 11:27, by expecting the best, you bring out the best. We all know this deep down; we just have to act on it. And when we do, everything changes

James 1:19, Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Love is patient and kind … It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (NLT)

Encourage Hope In Your Marriage

encourage one another and build one another up - Thessalonians 5:11


Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG

Marriage is a journey friends growing together toward God.  The problem is that discouragement, challenges and life get in the way of enjoying the journey.  The pots holes of discouragement, stress and conflict problem can weaken hope. Every journey must include hope.  Hope is a confident expectation for something, but hope must have a foundation. You must grow a foundation of hope that will guide you along the journey.

You are not together by accident.  This was not a mistake.  Their is a purpose and meaning for the two of you to be together.  Find or rediscover why you are together. God has you together to make him famous and to grow you into the image of Christ.  After over thirty years of marriage I am convinced that God has used my wife as part of my curriculum of Christlikeness.  I have learned more about love, sacrifice, joy, patience and relationships through my marriage than anything else I have experienced.  I know that God has used my marriage to change me and the world I live in.  So often we see the challenges of marriage as hindrance to the life we want.  I am convinced that God will use your marriage to form Christlikeness in you.  The joy is the knowledge that in this journey God will give you Himself, and that is where real happiness is found.

Show your spouse that you believe in them. It is so important to know that someone is on your side, especially when you’ve made a mistake. Be generous with your kindness and support while showing unconditional love. Offer a shoulder to cry on, and a listening ear. Remind your partner of the wonderful qualities that you fell in love with, and why they are the person you love and look forward to growing old with.

I know that this paragraph is hard for some…. because you don’t feel this.  Ask God to daily show you the small things and ways that are unique and special about them. Remember they were made in the image of God, so in them resides something strong and beautiful. Show gratitude for who they.  In time gratitude will produce love.  Love can come back, allowing you to say, that you believe in your spouse also.

You and your marriage are not alone.  This truth has brought more comfort than anything else in my life.  No matter what happens in your life or your marriage you are not alone, God is with you.  Nothing escapes Him or surprises Him.  He has a plan to prosper and increase your life.  That plan and hope will come alive as you invite him into the journey with your spouse.

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG

Its All In The Touch

Husbands and wives: don’t deprive one another of physical intimacy - 1 Corinthians 7:5


“It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.” 1 Corinthians 7:2-6 MSG

Touch is part of how we create a strong bond and connection as we build a relationship with our spouse.  It has an important role in communication, intimacy and creating a connected marriage. When you touch your spouse you are acknowledging their presence and communicating your desire for them. That’s why most successfully married couples touch often.

Here are 3 types of touch or stages of touch that every marriage should practice.

Serve One Another

... through love serve one another - Galatians 5:13 ESV


In John 13, Jesus is eating a meal with the disciples, his closest companions in the last hours before being crucified. The disciples were having a conversation about which one of them was the greatest, after Jesus gave them the example of washing their feet. In that culture washing someone’s feet was a demeaning task, but the example that Jesus showed is that the greatest was the servant. Jesus does not condemn them for wanting to be great, he just flips it upside down.  To be great is to be the servant.  He introduces the idea that servant leadership is how you change the world.  Followers of Jesus should have the heart of a servant. The disciples must have been stunned by both His example and His message.

As Christ followers, when we are around friends, among strangers, and especially within our marriages, we are to be servants. We are to put others’ needs ahead of our own.

A husband and wife who make the priority to selflessly serve one another have discovered the secret of a great marriage.

Why is serving each other so important in marriage? The heart of a servant will develop three qualities:

Friendship In Marriage

Is your spouse your best friend?


Friendship is the well of marriage.  You drink from it when times are hard and celebrate from it when times are great.   If you have a deep emotional connection that is created through friendship you can make it through anything.  Always keep friendship alive with shared experiences together.

“It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up — painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, and fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction.” C.S. Lewis

Marriage without friendship won’t work in our hectic culture.  Friendship has to be nourished and nurtured regularly or it faces the danger of becoming two opposite lives that never connect. Couples that don’t develop and nurture their friendship often drift apart.

A weakened friendship can create an opening for marital infidelity.  If a couple drifts apart and fails to nurture the friendship it can lead a spouse to seek intimacy in other places. You have to share your hopes, dreams, successes and struggles with your spouse, if you don’t you are vulnerable to sharing them with someone else of the opposite sex.  When couples let their friendship take a back seat, friendships outside the marriage can result in emotional, and even physical, adultery. Sometimes these kinds of friendships outside the marriage are obviously easier. The problem is we are comparing a relationship outside the marriage that has the luxury of no responsibility and is hidden in the dark to all the struggles of cleaning toilets, paying bills and raising kids together, that happens in a real marriage.  It is easy to see that deep emotional intimacy between a spouse and another of the opposite sex wrong, however, if you’re investing emotional capital in a same-sex relationship at the peril of the marriage, then that is also dangerous.

In marriage the question is am I investing more time and emotional energy into my spouse than I am in a friend or child? Or, where is it that I’m investing most of my times and emotional energy?

A struggling friendship in marriage can be restored with intentional time together, sacrifice, perseverance, and especially prayer. A good first step is to find activities that you like to do together – and then make the time do it. Learn to make the priority of regular shared experiences that nurture friendship.

Every Marriage

If you want something to last a lifetime you will treat it differently


We are surprised when relationships become difficult.  It is confusing for some couples how something that used to feel so natural and easy starts to struggle.  Don’t be surprised when you have to work at the relationship to keep it vibrant.  The “work” of marriage is compromise and connection.

  • Compromise – You both have an opinion and a preference. You don’t want to marry someone just like you, because your differences create attraction.  Every marriage will need to learn how to compromise. You will not always get your way.
  • Connection – The area that surprises people the most is staying connected and close.  The busyness of life pulls us apart making connection a constant struggle. Lean to be intentional with time together.  Intimacy is shared experiences together, so create experiences that include laughter, play and touch.

A great marriage is when two people work together and create compromise and connection.

If you want something to last a lifetime, you treat it differently.  You will protect it from the elements.  You will give it the care it needs.  If something breaks you will repair it – you will not avoid it, or scream at it.  It will become more special over time because of all the effort you have put into it.  It will become more beautiful as it ages.  Marriage should be no different, make it last a lifetime.  Have the marriage that others admire in a way that makes them ask questions about God.


Tomorrow Is Not the Solution


We are always building something.  The problem is most of the time we are building careers and building our bank account but we seem to never get around to building our marriage, until we get in a crisis.

Sometimes the most dangerous word in any relationship, especially marriage is…. Tomorrow

We all begin to believe, “After all… tomorrow is another day” we will deal with this tomorrow. Tomorrow you will go on a date night. Tomorrow you will find a babysitter and spend quality time together. Tomorrow you will be home from work on time. Tomorrow you will sit down for dinner together. Tomorrow you will work on your budget. Tomorrow you’ll take time for sexual intimacy. Tomorrow you’ll resolve that conflict.

Tomorrow you promise yourself will be different, yet tomorrow is too often a repetition of today. Tomorrow always promises more than it delivers and delays the marriage you truly desire.

Most marriages are nearly destroyed by, “tomorrow.” Tomorrow we’ll go to counseling. Tomorrow we’ll make time for each other. Tomorrow we’ll make changes. Tomorrow we’ll be intentional…until there was almost no tomorrow.

We can’t get better at anything today by waiting until tomorrow. Pushing things to tomorrow creates the “under promise and over deliver” sham.  It doesn’t work.

Today is the day to:

  • Go for a walk
  • Send that text over lunch saying you miss her / him
  • Set media aside for an hour and talk
  • Go see a movie or date night
  • Have dinner around the table and not on the couch

Do something different, so you can have something different.

Look For The Patterns


Couples usually have slightly different variations of the same fight over and over again. They unconsciously repeat old patterns as a way to cling to the familiar while at the same time hoping that it will turn out differently this time. It may have to do with an attempt to heal old wounds, often from their arguments around these topics:

  • families that you grew up in
  • struggles with the kids
  • how money is handled
  • the quantity or quality of sex
  • whether or not you are helping each other around the house

Once you start seeing and understanding the pattern, an opportunity for real healing and growth can occur in your relationship. I also often tell couples that creating a strong connection to your partner doesn’t happen in a dramatic crescendo like in the movies. Healthy couples have daily acts and small moments of letting one another into their internal worlds.

5 Ways To Listen So You Can Understand

Understand Not Reply

There is a difference between truly listening & waiting for your turn to talk.- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.  Taking the time to listen and understand can communicate love and respect sometimes more than our spoken words. We need to feel heard and understood to create the safety of intimacy. Learn to develop an attentive attitude willing to listen with  your heart with the desire to understand before being understood.  Here are five things your can do to help you listen better.

“There is a difference between truly listening & waiting for your turn to talk.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

3 Ways to Love Your Wife Like Christ Loves The Church

a love marked by giving, not getting

Ephesians 5 (1)

The love you have for your wife should be marked by giving not getting.  Move toward her to serve and give not consume.  Here are 3 Ways to Love Your wife like Christ loved the church.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her – Ephesians 5:25