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:



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.

We Make It All Work – Anniversary Words to Encourage

We Make It All Work – Anniversary Words to Encourage

We make it all work – together!

With God’s help and grace, of course. 

Alone – without God – it’s a hit or miss thing.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

God doesn’t give up on us. We are given grace over and over and over and over…  He loves us and we love Him. He has called us. We seek His purpose for our lives.

God brought the two of you together. 

Oh, we know that it’s not all good stuff in your life. We know you’re struggling. Rob and I are too! Some parts of our lives have a lot of room for improvement. A lot!

But, we can’t give up.

We need to make it all work.

Husbands and wives need to work together to make it all work.

Write the stories of God’s goodness on your hearts.

Remind each other of all the times God has been gracious to you. Tell the stories so your children and friends know how God has shown up in your lives. Write those stories down.

The post, “Encouraging Your Spouse in a Time of Disappointment” is part of our story as husband and wife. I wrote it at an intense moment in our life, then, two years later I went back and added what happened after those intense three days. Someday I will be completely candid and write the whole story to show God’s goodness. He’s still working out the final chapters, so I have to wait to tell you. But Rob and I aren’t giving up. I’m here for Rob. Here’s here for me. We are together. And through God’s grace, we are able to find a way to make it all work – together. We’re not giving up.

What about you?

Don’t give up!

Make a pledge to your spouse that you won’t give up. With God’s grace and love, He will provide what’s necessary to make it all work so you can say,

Our marriage is great because we care enough to find a way to make it all work – together!We make it all work - together.

We make it all work – together – is the 4th in 10 posts!

These are a series of posts for your anniversary, or anytime! Rob and I seek to encourage husbands and wives to lead meaningful lives. Celebrating milestones along the way is one part of a meaningful life. Here are the other posts (Just click on the pictures).

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

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



Happy Anniversary – You come first!

Happy Anniversary – You come first!

Happy Anniversary – You come first! Could you say your spouse gets your best without her or him snorting or guffawing with derision?

Does your spouse have the best of you – before any other human being? Before the children? Just consider – children grow up and go to live their own lives. You and your spouse started together and before you know it, it’ll be just the two of you again. And that’s a good thing. Really! 

What about grandchildren? Could your spouse say that he or she comes before the grandchildren in your heart? That’s a hard question in our life right now. 😉  That grandboy has us wrapped around his little finger!

Is your spouse more important than work commitments? Yes, I know we all need to earn enough for the necessities of life, however, work can become an addiction. An obsessed spouse can’t give their best.

Just let me…”  At times the work which can take preference has nothing to do with earning money. Work could be cleaning, or crafting, or computer time. It’s all justifiable. But does work (in whatever form) take precedence over time with your spouse? Just asking…

Leftover or the Best?

What happens when you give your time to other things before your spouse? The leftovers aren’t worth much. Your spouse gets much less than your best.

Although it isn’t always practical for your spouse to have your first attention – it is good to give your spouse your best!

You Come First

How do you show your spouse that he or she comes first before any other human? Maybe it can’t be with your time if this is an overwhelming season. But let’s do some brainstorming here…

Move toward each other – You Come First!

It took years for me to understand I have a Christian obligation to continually move toward my wife.  I thought that as long as I didn’t attack my wife or say cruel things to her, I was a “nice” husband, but the opposite of biblical love isn’t hate, it’s apathy.  To stop moving toward our spouse is to stop loving him or her.  It’s holding back from the very purpose of marriage. 

from Gary Thomas’ book, “Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”

Just so we understand each other, Rob and I feel that God as the center of your life is key to a successful marriage, and for every other part of life. When we talk about putting your spouse before any other human being, we also want to encourage you to center all your life around God. Let Him and His Son be your focus like the sun is the center of the universe. Worship God together. After all, He gave you your spouse to love!

you come first - let's give each other our very best in this next year - encouraging words for your anniversary or anytime

This is the third of ten ideas on what to say – and do – to make your anniversary special.

Click the picture to read the accompanying post!

Click the picture below to read the post with all the ideas!Love each other more - encouraging words for your anniversary or anytime