5 Things to Include for an Extraordinary Marriage

5 Things to Include for an Extraordinary Marriage

Do you have an ordinary marriage? Or an extraordinary marriage? 

What’s the difference between the two?

Just a bit extra… for an extraordinary marriage.

We can all have an extraordinary marriage – really!

The difference betweenordinaryandextraordinary is just a bit extra. Have an extraordinary marriage with these 5 ingredients.

It just takes a bit of extra:


There’s an extra dose of HOPE in an extraordinary marriage. 

An extraordinary marriage has a hope for the future, with some extra vision planning and goal setting to get there! You planned your wedding day, right?  An extraordinary marriage needs some planning too!


Faith in God. There’s a heaping helping of faith included in an extraordinary marriage.

Believing that the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth has all things in His control and you and your spouse are not alone in your marriage. God is part of the equation of an extraordinary marriage.

Consider: If you grow deeper in Christ as an individual, it will also impact your spouse. 


Come on, now. You know this! 

From ETSY – Lucky Tusk

Love is not rocket science and, contrary to popular opinion, it’s not a feeling. To LOVE is a decision.

Just look at all the decisions possible to make from 1Corinthians 13: patience, kindness, generousness (no envy), humbleness (no boasting or pride or self-seeking), courteous, protection, trusting, truthfulness and more!


An extraordinary marriage has purposeful prayer.

Prayer isn’t hit or miss  – rather, you and your spouse have a shared prayer experience in your extraordinary marriage. You pray together. You pray for each other. Your prayer life will make a difference in more than your own lives.

An extraordinary marriage grows stronger and closer when a husband and wife pray together. Rob and I have been experiencing this growth. It’s never too early to begin to pray together, or too late to rejuvenate your activity of praying together. Begin now.


What needs to happen in your marriage relationship – today – that will make a difference?

An extraordinary marriage needs action. Thinking, talking and planning are good, but until a husband and wife take action, there’s nothing to build on. This action to build an extraordinary marriage isn’t usually about the big gestures. It’s small, consistent actions over time to address the “growth opportunities” in your marriage.

Do you need to reach out to :

  • find freedom by forgiving. There’s a free ebook on this site that is quite insightful.
  • learn to apologize. Read this to find out what Rob and I experienced when we did an assessment.
  • touch each other.  Yes, I’m talking about sex. Listen to this podcast by Christian wives. Some physical, emotional and mental issues in intimacy take time to address. The ladies on this podcast write about low libido,  sexual healing, and many more needs found in a marriage relationship. You’ll find links to their sites to hone in on the action needed for your marriage. Another resource we recommend is The Marriage Bed.
  • clean up some messes. Get organized. Just remember that neatness is not about control.  It takes baby steps to clean up and become organized. This lady’s ideas made a difference in our lives.
  • have positive financial habits. Rob and I will be going through this program this year.
  • understand your spouse’s Love Language. (There are five.) Use this free online tool to understand. The quiz takes just moments, but the practical application of the ideas will impact everyone around you.
  • develop deeper communication – use questions to know each other – here are some resources.
  • fun – are you feeling like your relationship is just about work or duty? Want to have more fun together? Reflect a bit using this resource. and/or  Try these ideas.

What action needs to happen in your marriage to go from ordinary – to extraordinary?

Extraordinary doesn’t just happen.


Now you have an extraordinary marriage.

Nope – it doesn’t happen that way.

(You know this!)

Going from ordinary to more than ordinary is not a destination with an X on the map. 

(Choose just one of these extra ingredients. Focus on it for a little bit. You don’t have to do it all right now!)

Extraordinary looks different in every season of marriage.

When you’re in the season of little children running around, an extraordinary marriage looks very different from an open-nest marriage!

Regardless of the season… these five ingredients are a part of an extraordinary marriage!

5 Things to Include for an EXTRAordinary Marriage - move from ordinary to EXTRAordinary




Anniversary Gifts You Can’t Buy – Encouraging Words

Anniversary Gifts You Can’t Buy – Encouraging Words

What would you give your spouse, if you could? Maybe your gifts – for an anniversary or any other occasion – are anniversary gifts you can’t buy.

I found this poem in a children’s book and it expressed so beautifully all those gifts we’d like to give to those we love. I wanted to add it to the series of “Encouraging Words For Your Anniversary”:

So much that I would give you

hovers out of my poor giving.

Song within your heart forever,

faith to end all doubt,

and laughter, warm and gold, 

when you begin to grow too serious.

And always near,

the good companionship of trees and birds;

and always, for your beauty-loving ear,

music when you have need of it

and words that pleasure you and rest you, softly spoken.

Unnumbered good days, peace of a starry night,

and love from dawn to dawn that’s an unbroken deep certainty in you…

I have no right to dream of it — but never doubt

I should give you such presents, if I could.

This poem is by Elaine V. Emans titled, “For a Birthday”. When I researched, I couldn’t find a biography but would love to know more about her… Here’s the book in which I found the poem:

Anniversary Gifts You Can’t Buy

Two phrases from the above poem that caught at my heart were:

faith to end all doubt.” and

love from dawn to dawn that’s an unbroken deep certainty in you.” 

The ability to believe in Christ’s priceless and beautiful gift of eternal life can’t be wrapped up like a gift, but we can ask our loving Heavenly Father to influence those we love to know how much He loves all of us. And we can live this faith, and share love in a Christ-like way with our spouse as an example.

What would be on your list of anniversary gifts you can’t buy? 

In addition to all those mentioned in the poem above, I’d add:

  • deep, rejuvenating sleep
  • healthy food when you’re hungry
  • loyal friends
  • hope for the future
  • pause to notice everything to give thanks over – Thanksliving!

What would you add to the list? Leave a comment…

Anniversary Gifts you can't buy - what would you add to the list?


Here are some other things to say for your anniversary – click the phrase to read more:



Vision First. Then Goals.

Vision First. Then Goals.

Vision first. Then goals. Many couples use the beginning of a calendar year, or an anniversary as a stopping point to reflect and create goals. But sometimes goals by themselves cause more strife than they’re worth. How do you know if your goals are working for you? Consider…

Having difficulty with goals - maybe you need a shared vision before you work on goals (1)

If you have goals as a couple, are they difficult to complete, or are you feeling divided or at odds with your spouse over these goals?

Maybe setting out a vision first would be a good idea…

Vision: a statement that holds your hopes and dreams.

Imagine your vision as a point on the horizon. The direction you’re traveling to get to that vision is the mission, and all the goals along the way are propelling your mission. And your values as husband and wife are the signposts or rumble strips keeping you on the road. Read HERE about values.

Some might suggest that you need a family vision – but Rob and I would argue that you and your spouse lead your family – so it’s really a vision that is spelled out by the two of you.

But first… the vision.

A unified vision is powerful for a husband a wife.

Ask these questions when defining your vision as husband and wife…

  • Why are we doing what we’re doing and involved in what we’re scheduled in?
  • How are we making a positive difference in the lives of others?
  • Who will benefit, now and in the future?
  • What do we want to get out of this? (ask regarding all those items you’re involved in.)
  • What does real success look like, and what does it feel like?

Pray. Ask God to lead your thoughts and desires around these questions. God knows what’s best for the two of you – ask Him!

When you’ve set the vision, then you have something solid to build goals around and encourage each other in.

Keep the hope for that better vision front and center.

Build your goals around the vision and keep your progress in check with your shared values.

Where there is no vision, the people perish…

~ Proverbs 29:18  KJV

enrich and grow your marriage with mentoring

We’d be honored to come alongside you and your spouse for a time… to walk with you through developing a vision, mission, goals and of course, values! Click HERE for more information.

vision first then goals - questions to ask each other when setting vision as husband and wife (1)


Leading Something New – 10 Ways Encourage Each Other

Leading Something New – 10 Ways Encourage Each Other

Leading something new.

Do you ever need to encourage each other when it’s time for something new? What if you or your spouse is supposed to lead into that “something new”?

Many of us – husbands and wives – are in leadership roles.

Sometimes those we lead are our immediate family. At times we lead without a particular position or title, but rather through our behavior. And then there are all the areas in which we do have a specific title: teacher, boss, manager, pastor, etc.

Robert and I have found the encouragement from Lead Like Jesus especially valuable in all areas of our leadership.

Rob feels so strongly about the organization that he is a facilitator for the program. We keep the book by Ken Blanchard, Phyllis Hennesy Hendry and Phil Hodges, on which the organization is founded, as one of the few actual physical books in our little house-on-wheels.

Ken Blanchard is the co-author of “The One Minute Manager”. His testimony of how Lead Like Jesus came into being is beautiful. Rob and I write for the Lead LIke Jesus blog each month, so the ideas shared within the Lead Like Jesus Leadership Encounter are always top of mind. Needless to say, leading like Jesus is an important part of every part of our leadership as husband and wife.

10 ways to encourage each other when you’re leading something new…

These ideas are courtesy of the Lead Like Jesus posts on Instagram! To be inspired, check them out on Instagram!

1 – Commit it all to God.

When leading something new, encourage each other to commit it all to God.

Many of us use this time of year to review how God is at work in, around, and through us. Is this your practice? What if you take some time before the end of the year to reflect on your leadership journey using questions like these: “What do you see when you look at this year through God’s eyes? How have you experienced God’s faithfulness? How is He growing you as a leader? How is He using you in your spheres of influence? What is He calling you to in the year ahead?” Who can you invite to join you in acknowledging God’s faithfulness and seeking His guidance? http://www.leadlikejesus.com/devotionals/looking-through-his-eyes . . . . #leadership #LeadLikeJesus #uplifting #biblejournaling #psalm #proverbs #wisdom #faith #love #NewYear #Jesusfollowers #livefullyalive

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2 – God is with you. 

Encourage each other by reminding your spouse that God is with you – wherever you find yourself leading something new.

The first day of the year can hold the hope of a fresh start, a new beginning, and excitement in facing the future. Like the start of every new day, week, and month, we see time moving onward, and we sense ourselves being drawn into the future. Wherever this new year finds you, be assured that God is present, and He is inviting you to live into the future with confidence, depending on Him each step of the way. Resolve to exalt God only, and to follow Jesus step by step. This is the path to life, today and every day. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. —Psalm 34:3 . . . #leadership #leadlikeJesus #NewYear #Christianity #Christianleadership #love #faith #Jesusfollowers #uplifting #livefullyalive #transformedlife

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3 – Influence to build up.

Even while leading something new, notice where you can influence to build up.

Seasons of influence come and go. Children are with us for a short time. Friends come into our lives, some to stay, some for a season. Students complete their programs of study before moving into new seasons of life. People change jobs or move to different parts of the world. Jesus Himself was with His disciples for only a short time before His mission on earth was completed. Take advantage of the seasons of influence you currently have. Build into the lives of those God brings across your path today. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. —Ephesians 5:15-16 . . . . #faith #impact #influence #community #leadership #leadLikeJesus #christianity #Christianleadership #devotionals #Jesusfollower

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4 – Make God first.

Encourage each other to prioritize your relationship GOD. Make HIM first.

Jesus experienced ongoing pressure throughout His ministry. It came at Him from many sides and multiple sources, even at times from those closest to Him. This pressure drove Him closer to the Father, not further away. He placed a high value on His times of solitude and prayer. He wanted to hear the Father’s voice above the voices clamoring for His attention. If we want to lead like Jesus, we also must prioritize our relationship with God. At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. —Luke 4:42-44 http://www.leadlikejesus.com/devotionals/midst-ongoing-pressure . . . . . . #encourage #leadersnetwork #leadership #upliftung #priorities #faith #leadlikeJesus #biblejournaling #bibleverse #jesusFollowers #christianfaith #ChristianCompanies #christianleadership

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5 – Change can be good.

 Encourage your spouse to embrace change as you lead something new.

6 – Be thankful.

Every good thing comes from God when you’re leading something new.

It’s tremendously tempting to slip into an entitlement mindset, viewing all of our life circumstances as the product of intellect and hard work. While our efforts certainly have consequences, both good and bad, we are no more or less “deserving” of God’s blessings than anyone else. In fact, if we each got everything we “deserved,” we’d all be in a heap of trouble. Psalms 103:10 reminds us, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Remember, every good and perfect thing – our health, possessions, talent, position, influence – is a gift on loan from the Father above. (See James 1:17) We are merely stewards of these gifts. #gratitude #leadership #LeadLikejesus #faith #instapray #humility #bethankful #wisdom #uplifting

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7 – Use your time like it matters. It does.

Encourage each other that there will be a harvest. Make the best of your time today when leading something new.

8 – Forgive.

Take those around you out of the “penalty box”. 

For many, this day has become just another holiday; although not reaching the same level of commercialization. When was the last time you saw a television commercial for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Clearance Sale? Like Rodney Dangerfield, “it gets no respect;” but I don’t think Dr. King would mind. In fact, it even seems fitting, because this day is not about sales or profit margins; it’s about service. God called Martin Luther King, Jr. to be a fisher of men, to “triumph over poverty, racism, war and violence.” (Coretta Scott King) In college, his grades for public speaking were mostly “C”; but, it didn’t matter because God called him to serve, act, and speak. And wow, did he ever speak! #LeadLikeJesus #followTheLeader #MLKDay #leader Read entire blog: http://ow.ly/eLrB3083Hcf

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9 – Keep your eyes on God.

This is good when leading something new – and always!

10 – Leaders are Learners.

When leading something new it’s so important to keep learning! Click HERE to get a free copy of their most popular leadership E-Book: 6 Lessons from the Greatest Leader Role Model!

Leading something new - 10 ways to encourage each other to Lead Like Jesus

Watch to learn more about Lead Like Jesus:

If you’re interested in a Leadership Encounter with Lead Like Jesus for your organization, non-profit or church leadership, fill in the form below — Rob would be thrilled to tell you all about the opportunity to learn to Lead Like Jesus.

Thankful Life Thanksliving – Encourage Your Spouse to Live Thankful

Thankful Life Thanksliving – Encourage Your Spouse to Live Thankful

A Thankful Life Thanksliving 2018. Encourage your spouse to live thankful with 365 days of noticing all the blessings the Lord provides in your life. As husband and wife, Rob and I are going to focus on being thankful – in all circumstances during 2018. THANKFUL will become our OneWord365. Thankful Life. Thanksliving.

I’ve been focusing on being thankful or grateful for the last months of the old year. We wrote a post on Lead Like Jesus about our thoughts on the words “thankful” vs “grateful” at Thanksgiving, and then the discussion between us continued. Two particular books left a significant impression and are shaping our ideas…

“365 Thank Yous ~ A Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed my Life” by John Kralik
and the “Gratitude Diaries – How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life” by Janice Kaplin

To practice this art of being thankful THANKSLIVING – we are planning on sending a thank you note (either via snail mail or an e-card) every day of 2018. It’s a real challenge because I (Lori) am not good at things that are on-going. Rob’s going to encourage me. 😉 (That’s what John Kraliks book is about.) As the year progresses I’ll let you know the other things we will be doing for a thankful life THANKSLIVING.

To commemorate our year of living a thankful life THANKSLIVING – here’s a poem that expresses very well what 2018 could look like for Rob and me:

Thankful life. The art of thanksgiving… or thanksliving.

The Art of Thanksgiving
by Wilferd A. Peterson

The art of thanksgiving is thanksliving. It is gratitude in action. It is applying Albert Schweitzer’s philosophy: ‘In gratitude for your own good fortune you must render in return some sacrifice of your life for other life.’

It is thanking God for the gift of life
by living it triumphantly.

It is thanking God for your talents and abilities
by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good.

It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you
by doing things for others.

It is thanking God for opportunities
by accepting them as a challenge to achievement.

It is thanking God for happiness
by striving to make others happy.

It is thanking God for beauty
by helping to make the world more beautiful.

It is thanking God for inspiration
by trying to be an inspiration to others.

It is thanking God for health and strength
by the care and reverence you show your body.

It is thanking God for the creative ideas that enrich life
by adding your own creative contributions to human progress.

It is thanking God for each new day
by living it to the fullest.

It is thanking God
by giving hands, arms, legs, and voice to your thankful spirit.

It is adding to your prayers of thanksgiving acts of thanksliving.

Join us! Thankful Life Thanksliving.

Want to live a thankful life Thanksliving this year – regardless of your circumstances?  Janice Kaplan, author of the Gratitude Diaries divided her year into areas in which to be thankful, including her marriage, food, money, things, health and more.

What would you focus on first in your life as husband and wife if you were going to be living a thankful life – THANKSLIVING?

Check out

Hannah’s YEAR of Thanksliving! <- She did little “thank you notes” each day and put them in a container.

Crystal’s Blessings Jar – she’s using it to make note of all the blessings in her life.

Living a Life of Thanksliving! --- thankful life thanksliving