Goodness, it’s been awhile since I reminded us all about our New Year goals/words/baby steps.

“Asking for what I want and need in a specific way” is second nature now. The few times I hint, I catch it pretty quickly.

“Gracious,” as a word for my year, is still an ongoing adventure. I find the more I receive grace and kindness from God, the easier it is for me to be gracious and kind to others. I will probably have to keep this word for life though.  :)

How are y’all doing? Have you made any headway? Have you learned anything about yourself or your husband?

(If you’ve fallen off the wagon, no prob, just get up and dust yourself off. Where would be a good place to start back up? Pick a baby step.)

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.  Pauline R. Kezer

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God for wisdom and direction when it comes to personal change.

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Here are more folks who has taken on the CMBA challenge ~ marriage wisdom from family, the Bible or friends.

The Romantic Vineyard: Words of Wisdom from the Bible
The Generous Husband: Words and Wisdom: Friends
Love Seat Marriage: Are You Sweet?
Sex Within Marriage: Words and Wisdom from Family

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The Art of Simple: Holly’s story of shedding the excess stuff Here’s a simple, do-able process. So encouraging.

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This week’s theme in the CMBA October challenge is to share words of wisdom for your marriage “from friends.”

I remember years ago when Paul and I befriended a young married couple. They had asked us to hang out weekly with them for awhile. They didn’t have any married friends and they were lonely. A few years later they told us we saved their marriage (we were shocked). Turns out having encouraging friends can do a lot to keep a marriage stable.

As the years have rolled by, I keep seeing the same thing over and over. Having good friends is deeply important to keeping your marriage strong. Yes, friends will say amazing things (that you could write up in a post), but the most important thing is having them stand with you.

Friendship is a sheltering tree. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Prayer Prompt  Thank God for the friends in your life (or pray for them if you are in need of a few).

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Calm.Healthy.Sexy.: This Week, Do One Thing to Be Intentional About Your Marriage Focus on your man.

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Hungry for God: Why do we forget His power when the evidence is all around us? Amazing photography and the sweetest message.

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Holley

October 21, 2014

in the generous life

A few days ago I talked about reading good books and subscribing to good blogs to help challenge y’all to grow.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been aware of a lot of great material from Holley Gerth. Holley is not a marriage blogger, but her blog is so encouraging and uplifting I wanted to mention it especially. She also writes amazing books (to the betterment of myself and several of my friends).

Her writing speak to the wounds our culture helps to create and that, in turn, effect our marriage and other relationships. Her recent post You’re Wanted was so touching I felt I needed to point to it and encourage y’all to read it.

holleyDrop in on her blog and read a bit. If it speaks to your heart, why not follow her blog.

God wants you–just as you are. Always has, always will. Holley Gerth

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you dump our culture’s bad standards for womanhood and marriage.

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum: This One Tip Revolutionized Our Marriage Guest author Kyle Gabhart shares a marriage changing perspective.

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Intimacy in Marriage: 3 Secrets to Amazing Oral Sex Common sense efforts for connecting with your husband sexually.

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Image Credit: © HolleyGerth.com
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Calendar Fun

October 20, 2014

in the generous life

AmyWA commented on yesterday’s celebration post ~

“I have begun a “Family Celebration Calendar” on my computer calendar. I set each event as a yearly reminder that sends me an email. Then I share it on Facebook. Just little things like “Abel Learns to Blow Up a Balloon Day (2004). My goal is to have a celebration for every day of the year by the time I die!”

This is an adorable idea. (Think of what fun you could have around the dinner table.)

I’m just now seeing 2015 calendars in the stores. Grab one (or use your computer calendar) and begin to fill in the holidays and special family days. After that you can look for fun family happenings to celebrate or pick some of the holidays that folks are creating (or create your own!) If you need help finding holidays, here’s a good place to start. Brownielocks and the 3 Teddy Bears – holidays common and silly

I’m a baby step gal, so I think I will work on finding one thing a week to celebrate. (This Wednesday is National Nut Day. I think Paul and I qualify. Now, how to celebrate?)

Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!  Amanda Bradley

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Prayer Prompt  Thank God for all the things you have to celebrate.

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The Forgiven Wife: What About Him? The tough choice over who goes first.

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The Generous Wife: Friday Flashback: Random Massage I can think of several variations of this game that would be fun.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Has there been good news in your household?

Has your husband finished his backyard project?
Did your kids finish out the season in track?
Are you being considered for a new position at work?

Time to celebrate!

Celebrations knit hearts together and let people know they are valued. Look for every opportunity to pat someone on the back (make sure you and your husband get a turn).

You don’t have to be extravagant. Perhaps you have a crazy hat that gets to be worn or someone gets to pick their favorite dessert. Celebrations can look like anything that blesses your family. Don’t forget to make up a few silly celebrations too (just because).

Cultivate more joy by arranging your life so that more joy will be likely. George Witkin

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to show you opportunities to celebrate with your husband, family, and friends.

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Start Positive

October 18, 2014

in the generous life

Over the years I’ve been a part of a number of stressful conversations (in the mediator role).

One of the things I stress out front is the need for a soft start up. (John Gottman talks about a harsh start up. Basically if you start angry then it’s not likely that your “discussion” is going to end well.) I ask folks to talk about the good before they talk about the stressful so that they have a positive framework for dealing with the negative stuff.

Overall I think this is a great concept. Start your day with kind words. Start your meal with thanks. Start a conversation with a sincere compliment. Just writing about it feels uplifting.

And, on the flip side, if you find yourself or your sweetie starting a discussion in a harsh way, I encourage you to ask for a break. Heated arguments just cause destruction. If you find you can’t discuss it at all with relative calm, then get third party help.

If you want to learn more from John Gottman’s perspectives, read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

Discussions invariably end on the same note as they begin.  John Gottman

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you catch your grumpiness before you speak.

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Intimacy in Marriage: 5 Worst Excuses for Not Having Sex Time to examine the excuses.

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The XY Code: Sometimes He Has No Clue Keep teaching him and keep showing him grace.

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My husband and I gather with a group of friends weekly to share from our lives, discuss what we’re reading (currently Gods at War) and pray for each other. Oh, and we eat munchies too. 

Paul and I credit much of our personal growth to this group. The exchange of ideas, the sense of family, and the accountability has drawn us to better things.

I understand that not everyone can find or make a group like this, but you can still challenge yourself to grow. One way to do this is to expose yourself to good ideas in other ways, like reading good books or following a new blog. There are some rich resources out there.

The Christian Marriage Bloggers Assoc. (CMBA) has a challenge out this month and here are some of the responses. There’s good stuff in these blog posts and you may find a blogger that speaks to you. Check them out.

Week One: marriage wisdom from family (I listed some in past links, here are a couple more)

Becoming His Eve: Words of Wisdom: Christ Is Our Center
Directed Path Ministries: A Meaningful Father – Son Conversation

Week Two: marriage wisdom from the Bible

The Generous Husband: Words and Wisdom: The Bible
Pearl’s OysterBed: Words of Wisdom: Sex Matters
Becoming a Better Man: The 24 Hour Miracle
The Forgiven Wife: Psalms for My Marriage
Directed Path Ministries: Selfishness is Deadly

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.  Proverbs 27:17  NIV

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you find resources that will challenge and encourage you.

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Happy Wives Club: 25 Frugal or Free Date Ideas for You & Your Husband Have fun and save a few pennies.

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