Marriage today and tomorrow. What does your marriage look like today? And more importantly, what will it look like tomorrow? And the day after that, and after that, and in the next decade or four…
Your marriage today and tomorrow. Who cares?
Some may believe that a marriage only matters to two people. The husband and wife. I don’t agree. A marriage relationship matters to many more people than the two who make a vow.
That’s one reason I welcomed the opportunity to read “Your Marriage Today and Tomorrow” by Crawford and Karen Loritts. A complimentary copy of the book was provided for me to read by the publisher.
A husband and wife team co-authored this book, and it delves into the idea that a marriage has an impact on future generations. Marriage – today and tomorrow.
I’m happy to say that this couple followed through in how they wrote about what intrigued me in the description. It’s a thought-provoking and discussion instigating book.
My suggestion is that “Your Marriage Today and Tomorrow” is for couples married more than a few years. Not that newlyweds couldn’t glean valuable insights – it’s just that I feel couples who are wading through the weeds might appreciate the long-term thinking behind what the Loritts provide. It makes the reader focus on the big picture.
Rob and I have celebrated our 34th year of marriage. So many times I found myself nodding in agreement at places in the book where it pertained to how our marriage could impact those around us, including our adult children and grandchildren. I even read parts of it to Rob’s dad while we were visiting. He was nodding also.
Your marriage matters to future generations.
Once you’re past the newness of the first few years of marriage, every couple settles into real life. Ah yes. “Real Life” multiplies those personal, less-than-perfect habits.
“A commitment to marriage means a commitment to change.”
“Karen and I stopped pretending that we were more than we are and less needy than the other person.”
To combat our personal habits which could annoy each other and be a negative for future generations learning from watching us, the Loritts suggest pursuing three habits to “reflect God’s purpose and mission for this and future generations.”:
- to continue to pursue Christlikeness individually and as a couple
- consistently focus on character and integrity
- face the reality of our humanity with a willingness to forgive
Practicing these three habits impacts your marriage today and tomorrow.
Chapters 5 and 6 cover the “gifts” every husband and wife need. Again, the ideas in these chapters center around working on our character as partners in life.
The gifts a husband needs from his wife are respect, support, encouragement, loyalty, and confidentiality. The gifts a wife needs from her husband are unconditional love, understanding, provision, protection, trust, and leadership. Biblical references support every gift. It would be interesting to read through these two chapters with your spouse and discuss each gift as it pertains to your marriage.
There are questions and concepts at the end of every chapter – talk about these ideas with your spouse and see where it leads you.
Throughout the book are examples and stories from Crawford and Karen’s personal marriage journey. Also included are their adult children’s views. I imagine some of these personal stories will resonate with you and your spouse. Not all of us come from ideal backgrounds in marriage and being Christ-like.
Karen and Crawford Loritts have been married more than 47 years, with 4 married children and 11 grandchildren. Crawford is a senior pastor in Roswell, Georgia and they’re also the co-authors of another book, “Developing Character in Your Child”.
The Great Handoff
“The Great Handoff” is the title of the last chapter in the book, “Your Marriage Today…And Tomorrow: Making Your Relationship Matter Now and for Generations to Come”. It sums up the Loritts’ belief that marriage is a mission.
“How we face our differences and work through them will, to a large degree, determine the condition of what we place in the hands of the future generations.”
Every marriage impacts the future.
How will your marriage impact others? Read this book and consider the ideas!
If you’re interested in other marriage books, check out this review or this one.
Your vehicle do more? Yes! Your vehicle can do more than take you from Point A —> to —> Point B. Your car or truck can do more than be a line item on your budget or another item to clean.
That thing you drive can become a blessing for you and your spouse and others.
Making your vehicle do more!
Rob and I have come to the realization that a vehicle can be much more than a box on four wheels.
Right now our truck is part of our home… we’ll often refer to our time sitting in our “recliners”, looking out the picture window at the world going by, with a mischevious smile and a wink…
You see, we live in our 5th wheel, which is 282 square feet The truck has become another part of our home as it carries the extras like folding chairs, three different cushions (don’t ask), always a Bible, and extra technology chords. It has a few snacks tucked away, extra work gloves if Rob needs to pitch in and help someone, a blanket or two, two extra pairs of shoes (again, don’t ask) and a few other home-like essentials.
And I take along a few non-essentials, too. In my door is a collection of shells to remind me that the ocean is never too far away.
Now, don’t think the truck is disorganized or “junky” It is very organized because Rob is in charge! He’s the neat one in our relationship, so everything has its space and place. He even wrote a post about being neat as a value – about neatness as caring or control.
You can make your vehicle do more than take you down the road…
Yes, our truck is more than part of our home… it’s become a place of refuge. It’s become a blessing for us.
Here are 3 of many ways your vehicle (like ours) can do more and be more…
A vehicle can be a place to pray in private and together.
You know that you can pray anywhere, right? But sometimes we need to take ourselves out of the ordinary, and retreat to a quiet spot. Our truck is that quiet spot.
I like to park the truck by flowing water to talk to my Heavenly Father. A park with a pond or lake or river or even beside a fountain in a shopping mall has been a spot for me to retreat from the world for a bit. I have my phone with me and can spend time in the Echo app where I record prayer requests from others.
When Rob and I are together we pray before we start driving. We pray for who we going to see, and for the way to get there. We pray for the day. We pray for each other. The truck has become our launching pad of prayer before taking a step into our life.
Do you ever go away to pray in your vehicle? Have you tried the ECHO prayer app? (it’s free)
Your vehicle can be a place to learn and grow.
Podcasts have become a favorite way for me to learn new things. The range and breadth of podcasts available seem to be like the number of different people we meet – limitless! Some of my favorite podcasts are to do with writing and online business, faith, and of course, marriage. 😉 Robert has a podcast he does with other speakers, so of course, I listen to that one too!
And books. The library is one of our most favorite places to visit, so we always have a book or ten on the go. I keep a book with me all the time so I have something to read when I’m waiting. With the sun streaming through the windows, or the rain gently tapping on the roof, the vehicle can be a lovely spot to read, learn and grow. Right now I’m reading all the books I can find on gratitude/thankfulness.
When we’re traveling, I even read out loud to Rob from a book that interests both of us.
Do you have podcasts you like to listen to in your vehicle? (Leave a comment, I’m always looking for more interesting things to learn about.)
Your vehicle can be a place for a quiet, intimate conversation with your spouse.
Rob and I have had some deeply important conversations in our truck – life-altering conversations. We’ve also laughed a lot in our truck. When we mentor couples we suggest they use their vehicle while it’s parked in their driveway as a get-away spot if the weather isn’t “outdoor” friendly.
Have a container filled with conversation starters as an easy and free way to get to know each other (again). Lori and Paul over at The Generous Wife have a set of 365 conversation starters that are wonderful if you and your spouse find it difficult to think of things to talk about. (It’s OK – lots of couples find themselves in this spot every so often.)
Have you had any good conversations in your vehicle with your spouse? Sometimes men prefer a side-by-side conversation so a vehicle can be a perfect spot to explore ideas and thoughts.
Because we have a pickup truck, the truck bed is also a great spot to use – star-gazing, reading, and waiting for a train to pass by with the grandboy!
In what other ways do you use your vehicle?
In what other ways do you use your vehicle, other than the obvious way to get from point A to point B?
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…
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
Family Reflection and stories. These are a tradition at the end of every year in our family circle. It began in 2000 – the year we moved to the USA when Rob brought some markers and paper plates to our Christmas Eve celebration. In the years since 2000, we’ve had additions to the family reflection – those who joined us for a few years and those whose time was their “first” time. Even the grandboy has his “Plates” from the year he was born, last year and this year!
We wrote about this idea on the Lead LIke Jesus blog and suggested some family reflection ideas too! – check it out!
Before we begin the new plates we review the old “plates”. We look through what we’ve drawn or written on our “Plates” from years ago. Our “Plates” detail our children’s growth from teens to adults, and into marriage. Of course, the grandboy is on our plates too! The highs and the lows are all there. (Because that’s life, right? Not every year is a good one. Sometimes you’re celebrating that a year is done!)
After this many years, we have quite a collection to reflect on and tell stories! There are bursts of laughter and excitement as we reflect and say, “I remember when…”
How do you reflect on the past year as a family?
Stories are such an important part of a family’s heritage. Where do they come from? You need a catalyst for family reflection and stories.
- Our catalyst to tell stories is our end of the year “Plates”. After our newest plates are completed we go around the table and explain what each word or image represents from that past year. The highs/wins are celebrated with rousing applause or a toast, and the lows are commiserated with by verbal encouragement. You choose what’s on your “Plate”, what you want to share and what you want to remember.
- Christmas letters can be a way to reflect on the past year. Re-reading them is a fun way to reflect and tell stories. Anne Markey talks about a family tradition her father began five years ago – he asked the family to write up a letter about their past year instead of giving gifts. And then they took turns reading those letters to each other, even if some of them had to connect via technology! One year that’s how she and her husband announced they were expecting their second child!
- Photos. Pulling out a family album and talking about those who are still there, those who have grown up, and those who have gone into eternity is a wonderful way to create a family reflection time.
Family reflection and stories – a time to slow down and remember.
Building in time to reflect and tell stories gives the opportunity to slow down.
Slowing down – isn’t that a precious gift at the holidays?
How do you build in time for family reflection and stories?
Easy and simple gifts? Giving gifts together – what’s your strategy as husband and wife?
Sure, you’d delight to give your loved ones their hearts’ desires with money as no barrier… Rob and I would like to do that too. However, your finances as a husband and wife team might not support what you’d wish to give as Christmas or a birthday approaches.
In truth, those who you love don’t care what you give them – your presence would be gift enough. But what if you can’t even give that? The holidays can be a bittersweet event when we’re feeling bound by circumstance. What can you do to make these days more sweet than bitter?
There are still easy and simple gifts you can give as a husband and wife team, even if you’re in a tight spot.
3 easy and simple gifts when finances are tight.
Rob and I have had to do a bit of brainstorming this season. The way we would choose to celebrate with our loved ones isn’t the way it’ll work out. (Unless our loving God changes circumstances.) Here are three of the easy and simple gifts we came up with:
1 – Pray as a husband & wife team for those you love.
We forget sometimes what a beautiful gift praying for one another can be. No matter age or stage, those we love have needs where only God can make a difference. There’s still time to ask those you love about their needs, and then spend time each day, as husband and wife, praying for them. Start now.
Prayer has no cost. And the gift of intercession for your loved ones lasts into eternity.
Begin simply if you’ve never prayed together before. Here’s a post on how to easily do that. And if you need help remembering to fit prayer into your day (because we’re all busy right now), then try some of these ideas!
2 – Use technology to visit those you love. Make a date.
And as the special day comes closer, whether it’s Christmas or a birthday or some other occasion, arrange a time to connect. If you can visit in person that’s perfect. Otherwise draw close to each other via a Facetime, Zoom or Skype video call. Even a telephone call with that person can be valuable. Talking and sharing are easy and simple gifts.
When you’re together – pray together. And share a cup of tea or coffee and a cookie or cake on both ends. Do those things you’d do if you were together. Share photos. Tell a story. Talk about how much you value and appreciate your loved one. Play a game. Be creative.
As an aside: Our son just purchased a Virtual Reality headset – the technology is still new, but when we tried it Rob and I could see the possibilities… Maybe within a few years, we’ll be able to use this VR technology to “sit” with those far away, as though we’re in the same room. I can’t explain the extraordinarily immersive experience of VR. You really need to try it to understand. It’s truly amazing!
3 – Share a warm gift delivered to their door.
When distance separates you and your loved ones, there is still the opportunity to mail or ship a little something. However, if finances are a challenge then you also need to be aware of shipping/mailing costs. Rob and I need to mail items across the US border, so the costs skyrocket if we’re not careful.
As I mentioned, we did some brainstorming and came up with something those we love will appreciate, we can “share” the experience with them, and the shipping costs will be minimal. See? Easy and simple gifts. Guess what it is?
I ordered a variety of tea flavors from Stash Tea and made little easy and simple gifts to open.
Tea bags are light, and if they’re packaged correctly they’ll easily fit into an envelope. The mailing costs will be minimal, but the enjoyment will last for days! And behind every tea bag in their own little envelope, I added a Scripture verse to encourage and surprise. God is faithful. All things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. These are good reminders for all of us!
Now we can have our long-distance visit via technology, while all of us sip our tea!
Below the image are the instructions if you want to try your hand at these easy and simple gifts! Keep Scrolling!
Here’s a craft to try – even for those who aren’t “crafty”. 😉
You’ll need one 12×12 cardstock, three pieces of 8.5×11 decorative paper, 6 Scripture verses printed (see below for 2 PDFs to download), glue, scissors, a decorative punch for the embellishment and little sticky foam dots.
- Cut the 12×12 cardstock to 8.5×11. Use the leftover strip to cut out 6 embellishments to put on the outside of each envelope.
- Cut each of the 8.5×11 decorative paper pieces (not cardstock) into two 5.5inchx5.5inch pieces. With the leftover strips punch out 4 embellishments – you’ll be gluing two embellishments into the inside of each envelope.
- Fold a 5.5×5.5 inch piece of decorative paper around one tea bag to begin making the envelope. (You’ll eventually glue each envelope onto the cardstock.) Turn the 5.5×5.5 paper like a diamond, fold the sides first, then the top and bottom. See the photo below. Do this with all 6 pieces of 5.5×5.5 decorative paper you’ve cut out.
- In the middle of each 5.5×5.5 envelope glue on two embellishments and a scripture verse. Place the tea bag into the envelope and refold it with the Tea bag inside. Use one of the cardstock embellishments (the same as the cardstock you will be gluing the envelope onto) and use the little sticky foam circles to secure the envelope closed. One foam circle at the top of the circle and one at the bottom so they secure the top and bottom fold closed. Do this with all 6 envelopes. I found it’s easier to open the envelope with these foam circles than using glue.
- Glue the 6 envelopes to the 8.5×11 cardstock. You’re done!
When your recipient opens the envelope they find a different tea bag every time,
and a difference Scripture verse to encourage them!
Click to download the first 6 Scripture
and click AGAIN HERE for the second page of 6 Scripture options
Here’s the embellishment punch I used – It’s called the Fiskars X-Large Squeeze Punch, Seal of Approval
and a paper cutter/trimmer is handy to use instead of scissors if you’re at all like me and can’t seem to cut a straight line!
So many varieties of tea – something for everyone! (Even those who say they don’t like tea!)
This post contains affiliate links – this means that should you choose to purchase any items, then Rob and I would receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!