Adventures in Marriage {5 benefits when you get out of your comfort zone}

Adventures in Marriage {5 benefits when you get out of your comfort zone}

These days we’re babysitting.



puppy not conducive to working

Our son and daughter-in-love have adopted a puppy. And by default, so have Robert and I.

Our son has a business, and this dog is going to be his business’ mascot. (Once it learns to do its business outside!) Until that point, the puppy visits us in our home when Alex needs to be in the studio.

Rob and I work from home.

We’re kinda comfortable in our routine – he’s in his office at one end of our little cottage in the woods, and I work in the sunroom at the other end of the house. Now and again we pass in the hallway,

cuppa tea

and share a cuppa tea and a bite between meals.

Comfortable, right?
Get Cozy this Fall at Stash Tea
This puppy has provided everything except comfort!

But it has been an adventure around the Ferguson house lately. Have you ever gone to a dog park? Yah – that was an adventure… this puppy can hold her own with a full-grown pit bull. (sigh)

So – this juxtaposition between comfort and adventure has made me realize…

Comfort is not Conducive to Adventure

Having the puppy in our daytime lives has made it clear that comfort and adventure cannot be put in the same sentence. And as wonderful as comfort in marriage can be – it’s not as fun as an adventure. Every couple’s definition of adventure is going to be different.

  • Some couples are nomads – living out of suitcases and touring the world. (I wrote a post about 3 couples who live this way – click HERE to read it! And there’s a family of 6 who have been doing this for years.)
  • Some couples start a family business.
  • Other couples adopt children.
  • Some couples take care of a new puppy and all the adventures that entails.
  • There are couples who go on mission trips for weeks and years at a time.
  • Some couples go on safari – or get lost while hiking their neighborhood trails.
  • A few couples emigrate to other countries. (and others move from one city to another on the spur of the moment)
  • Many couples build new homes. (or oversee the construction of their home)
  • Some families educate their children at home. (BTW – I’m a ‘graduated’ homeschooling mom!)
  • Other families open their homes to couch-surfers – or go couch-surfing themselves!
  • Most couples encounter the adventure of an empty nest at some time.
  • Some couples pursue a degree to change professions.
  • A few couples take on the challenge of living fully in the face of an illness, or advancing age.
  • And for some, driving a different direction to go to the grocery store can be an adventure… 😉

What’s your definition of “adventure”?





No matter what you consider an adventure, there are at least 5 benefits for your marriage:

5 Benefits of Adventure in Marriage

1.  Planning for and before an adventure can fill you with hope for the future.

2.  Adventures build your faith in God and His goodness, because sometimes all your own efforts won’t make stuff work, but adding God into the equation can allow everything to add up.

3.  Experiencing an adventure together cements your bond – your love can grow strong(er).

4.  Praying together before, during and after an adventure develops your connection with each other and God. In prayer, you can really hear your spouse’s heart.

5.  Adventures grow your ability to take action together. Supporting your spouse while in the adventure builds a team-work marriage. You know what they say, right? Teamwork makes the dream work!

Leave your comfort zone!

An immense adventure – or a small adventure – maybe multiple adventures… give it a try. An adventure is not as scary as you’d think.

What’s your next adventure with your spouse going to be?

Adventures in Marriage 5 benefits

Love Does Not Envy – Give Generosity a Try Instead – Encourage Your Spouse!

Love Does Not Envy – Give Generosity a Try Instead – Encourage Your Spouse!

Love does not envy. ~ 1Corinthians 13:3

Oh, of course – (you’re telling me) – “I don’t envy my spouse…”

Maybe not.

What is envy?

Don’t confuse the concept of envy with jealousy. Jealousy is fearing you’ll lose something precious.

Envy is wanting something someone else has – with no ill will intended.

Brace yourself.

I’m going to touch on something tender – this might feel a little bit like I’m prodding a sore spot. (I don’t mean to hurt you.) Most times we don’t want to envy our spouse – we fight against those thoughts. Or we hide them. Or we shove them down… deep.

Love does not envy.

Love does not envy means that when your spouse goes out of the house to pursue their career with a lunch at a fancy restaurant and adult conversation, and you’re looking at a day at home with cranky toddlers – there is no snarly niggle or creeping desire.

And conversely – when you are getting dressed in your corporate uniform,  shoving your laptop into the case, and grabbing  your coffee, and keys to scramble out the door because you’re late, once again  – there is no sighing breath or  mumbling grumble at your spouse who is still snuggled under the covers with the kids for a few more minutes of sleep, because love does not envy.

Love does not envy means that when your spouse and you are sitting at the dining table with your parents-in-law and everybody is laughing and reminiscing about a next-to-ideal childhood – you aren’t mentally wincing because your childhood left a lot to be desired.

Love does not envy means that when your spouse is praised by their peers for pulling off a great production/event, you don’t imagine how much better you could have done it if only you’d had the chance.

When one of you wins, but the other envies the win –  you both lose.

We are unique individuals – created by an omnipotent, omniscient Creator. He is the Great Engineer. He gifted us with certain talents – with opportunities and struggles.

Who are we to envy what the Creator of Heaven and Earth has designed for our spouse?

What’s the opposite of envy?

So if envy means to desire something your spouse has – what’s the opposite?


Well-meaning, generous and kind-hearted. That’s the opposite of being envious.

Being generous instead of responding with envy takes effort – concentrated effort.

Being generous instead of responding with envy may take some wrestling in prayer. Over and over and over and over. And again.

Being generous instead of responding with envy may take some inner sorting – some acknowledgment of stuff we don’t want to believe we are harboring.

And finally – or perhaps to sum it up – responding with generosity instead of envy may take a leap of faith. And an inexplicable choice to just trust God’s will.

It may be simple – but it’s not easy.

Has envy ever crept into your marriage?  (At least, that you’ve acknowledged?) How have you combated envy? Give generosity a try…

Love does not envy - the opposite of envy is generosity

(I’m working through the 1Corinthians 13 “Love” verses – pulling them apart and seeking to really understand them. Check out “Love is Patient”  &  “Love is Kind“)


 Thankful to Link With:

Dysfunction Junction  |  Thriving Thursday  |  Hope in Every Season   |  Character Corner  |  Grace At Home    Essential Fridays |  Thought Provoking Thursday

Encourage Uniqueness

Encourage Uniqueness

Husbands and wives are different.

Just being a male and a female ensures you won’t be alike. Physically that’s true. There are books written about how men and women think and process ideas differently. ( Books like:  Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences .)

But uniqueness goes deeper than the physical and the mental ways husbands and wives connect. You know what I’m talking about – your spouse is not like anyone else in this universe and all eternity.

In what ways is your spouse unique?

Have you ever made a list of ways – a combination of qualities –  your spouse is unlike anyone else you know? (Hey now – I’m talking about the good stuff! Stay with me…)

Robert and I are together most days – all day. We write and work from home unless we’re with clients or traveling to speak. (Though we even do that together sometimes.)  I’ve known Robert since he was 17 years old. We know each other very well – so well that sometimes he just looks at the expression on my face and can “read” me.  Conversely, I know what he’s feeling when his lips are held tight together and colorless. (Not a good sign, btw)

You’d think that with all this time together we’d run out of things to talk about or always agree because we’re so meshed together.  Not true.  At all.

Robert is unique – God has made this man special in every way.  He usually comes at any task or challenge in a way that I would not have considered. And visa-versa. He knows me so well – yet he says I surprise him constantly. It’s deeper than just a male/female thing.

Our uniqueness is God-given. God designed. And ever-growing.

I’m guessing you realize that the person you married is not the same today as when you were first married. We all grow and change – that process alone makes us unique. Our walk with God – our depth of faith and experiences of faith cause us to grow. Sometimes it’s the hardships and challenges that develop our uniqueness especially quickly.

Do you know the unique person your spouse is today? Or are you only assuming he or she is the same…

Take time to consider your spouse’s unique qualities.


How?  One way is to pull out all the photos.

I did this last week. I was looking for a specific photo of Robert taken on the day we were engaged 30 years ago. That led to a few hours of a photo safari.  An emotional safari. So many good and happy moments are documented in pictures. There’s also sadness because people are no longer in our lives because of death or circumstance.  There are even emotions of regret and longing because certain aspects will never be experienced again.

In those photos I saw Robert go from a teenager, to a young husband, move forward to a young father, then in business, back to University, serving God in many capacities, navigating a corporate career, and leading at home, at work and in faith.

Some qualities have remained the same – Robert’s dedication and pursuit of a relationship with Christ, his gentleness and his consistent optimism.  Other qualities have shown up over the years like wisdom and focus and fortitude.

(And before you go and roll your eyes – yes… both Robert and I have faults. Ha.  We show our uniqueness-es in our areas of weakness too. But this post is about encouragement while focusing on strengths.)

Identifying Uniqueness

Before you can encourage your spouse’s uniqueness,  you need to identify what it is about your spouse that is unique.  Some of us don’t give this much thought.

Perhaps in a summer or spring season of marriage it’s not too hard to think about the positive uniqueness of your spouse. However, I’d imagine focusing on positive uniqueness-es is more difficult if you’re going through a winter season in your marriage – where there’s a lot of chilly moments, with emotional gales and blizzards. (Read Gary Chapman’s The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage to delve into this concept.)

Are you struggling to put into words what is unique about your spouse?

Can you identify the values that are important to your spouse – qualities which are non-negotiables? Robert has been working with values for a number of years now. He’s defined over 400 values. If you’re struggling to identify your spouse’s unique qualities, download Robert’s free eBook – all the value words are there at the end of the book.

Go through the list of 423 words and mark off those values – qualities – that you identify as uniquely belonging to your spouse. There will be a collection.

And before you think that anyone can have the same collection – it’s not true.

Robert does an exercise in his presentations with groups of 50 – 80 and more than 100 people.  He has them go through these 400+ words and choose their top 3 values. Then he requests one person to read their top 3 values.  He asks the group if anyone else shares at least one of these values.  A number of hands will rise.  He then asks if these people share two of the same values as the chosen person. Many hands drop. Lastly he asks if any of the people with their hands still raised share all three of the values of the chosen person…  In every exercise, not one hand remains raised.  The chosen person who first read his top three values is unique in that room. No one shares his 3 values.  (If it would happen that there was another person in the room with the same values, Robert would ask them what their 4th value was – it’s almost numerically impossible to match 4 values.)

Encouraging your spouse’s uniqueness.


Now that you know your spouse’s unique qualities or values – how can you encourage your spouse in that area?

Start small.  Talk about what you believe are your spouse’s unique qualities. Your first goal is to be sure that she or he also feels those qualities are positive.

  • Affirm your spouse’s uniqueness by noticing when they’re using that value. Encouragement is about being present and paying attention.
  • Help along. Become invested in those areas of uniqueness in your spouse. Look for ways in which to complement (enhance & complete) those qualities in your spouse. God put you two together for reason!
  • Pray for your spouse – ask God to use your spouse in His way to glorify Him. (after-all, it’s God that made your spouse unique)
  • Accept with grace your spouse’s unique qualities. Stop kvetching. Remove the conditions and move toward embracing your spouse’s uniqueness.  Love your spouse without the barrier of your own opinions.
  • Look Forward – There will be ways in which God will open avenues and opportunities for your spouse. Our Great God is about possibility. There is nothing that can stand in the way of His will. (Unless it’s us humans who use the gift of free will to get in His way.)

God made your spouse unique – your husband or wife is special.

Just like no two snow-flakes are the same, and even identical twins (paternal/maternal from the same egg & sperm) are not the same and no finger print or iris pattern is identical…

 your spouse is unique.

In what ways is your spouse unique?

Leave a comment – let’s share the uniqueness of the wife or husband God has given us! 

How has your spouse shown this uniqueness?  How have you encouraged her or him?

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A Culture of Kindness in your Marriage

A Culture of Kindness in your Marriage

A culture of kindness? Robert and I were talking about the “Love” verses from 1Corinthians 13. He made an interesting comment on how we push the two phrases, “love is patient, love is kind” together. And then we don’t ever pull them apart. Their individual meaning becomes lost because it’s a package deal.

Having patience is one way to show kindness. That’s true. (Click here for the post on patience.) But to truly squeeze all the juice from these verses, we need to unpack them.

Love is kind.

Friendly, generous, warm-hearted, tolerant, agreeable; these are all words associated with and used to describe being kind. All these sound like a grouping of behaviors and attitudes which would add positively to a relationship.

When is it important to be kind? Is it a one-time action that can be noted and celebrated? Or perhaps being kind needs to be less of an event, and more of a way of living.

A Culture of Kindness

The definition of culture can be summed up as “the behaviors, values, and beliefs characteristic of a particular group“. Values and beliefs are two powerful tools when developing a culture.

We often just accept the values of our parents or the popular beliefs in our circle of friends. Our marriage and family culture become a reactive expression of what is around us. Think of the television programs we watch – have any of the expressions or nuances entered your family?

(Robert and I enjoy watching the TV show Big Bang Theory – we laugh at those “Sheldon” moments of utter self-centered-ness. Right now, as I’m writing,  it makes me wonder if we are more – or less – aware of our own selfish moments because of  ingesting this popular show… )

Have you defined your values as a couple? Do you share the same beliefs? Are you deliberate about what you’ve decided your family atmosphere could be like?

What would it look like if you added kindness to the culture of your marriage and family?

is there a culture of kindess in your marriage - how do you do kindness in a marriage?Kindness in Action

We are usually kind to strangers. There’s no skin-in-the-game with a stranger.

Simple politeness – please and thank-you – demonstrates basic kindness. This is stuff we share with most people, and it’s been a skill we’ve sought to teach our children. I imagine you practice simple politeness with your spouse, don’t you? Holding the door open when they’re carrying something heavy – greeting your spouse when he or she arrives home – a smile – excusing yourself for burping… 😉

But let’s take it a step further.  Kindness is shown through thoughtfulness and a focus on the other person’s needs and desires. That’s the beginning of a culture of kindness in marriage.

At the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy to hone this skill because we’re naturally wired to respond with grace to a new interest. Watch a newly engaged couple and you’ll quickly see the meeting of their eyes to confirm agreement, or how swiftly one moves to help the other in the most mundane of ways. It’s an attention to details just to stay connected.

But what happens after a number of years? The “woulda-shoulda-coulda” refrain creeps into our heads and leaks out of our mouths.

  • “Well – she coulda helped me on the weekend.”
  • “I woulda been available if only he’d asked.”
  • “He shoulda known what I needed, ‘cause I’ve been tellin’ him all these years.”

What’s missing from these statements?

A focus on the other person’s needs and desires. A culture of kindness is missing.

Kindness, like patience, is NOT about you.

“Love is not affectionate feeling,

but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good

as far as it can be obtained.”

~ C.S. Lewis

Showing kindness might be called Agape love – what do you think?

Unconditional love – kindness without condition.

Kindness with no Conditions – A culture of Kindness

What would kindness without condition look like in a marriage?

  • smiling at your spouse – even if you don’t feel like it
  • offering to serve your spouse – to meet a need – even if you haven’t been served
  • giving your best to your spouse  – before anyone else
  • refraining from an action because it might cause pain or concern
  • remaining neutral when your spouse needs a sounding board, even if you have an opinion

There are more ways to be kind, I’m sure.

 Love is Kind

Give it some thought – do you think it’s important to have a culture of kindness in your relationship and family?

If you do, how would you foster this culture of kindness in your marriage? (After all, we stand as a living example for the generations to come… )

Kindness without condition - how do you do that in marriage? Love is kind.

Linking with

Hear it on Sunday –   Use it on Monday  |  Wifey Wednesdays – Love, Honor & Vacuum   |   Wedded Wednesday –  Messy Marriage   |   Leaving a Legacy   |   Why I Love My Husband – Happy Wives Club

3 Ways to Provide Calm Care

3 Ways to Provide Calm Care

Calm Care – Love is Patient… so what do you do in a time of waiting?

For some of us –

some of the time – 

“the bearing of provocation, and annoyance,

 with a calm, even-tempered perseverance”

is a challenge.

Love is Patient -3 Ways to Provide Calm CareLove is Patient

There are times in a marriage relationship

where we need to


for our spouse.

We need to wait for our husband or wife to decide.

Our steady and secure attitude – our focus on living in a Christ-like manner – goes a long way when our spouse needs to make decisions. Things around us change quickly. Pushing and giving ultimatums may not be the best way to demonstrate love. When our spouse needs to decide between one action or another, being patient while they work through their dilemma is a gift. God demonstrates his patience with us every day – can we do the same for our spouse?

We need to wait for our wife or husband to grow.

Growth happens at a different pace for everyone. There are seasons of growth. We cannot hurry a seed to grow – it needs time to germinate, it needs time to mature, and then the fruit needs time to ripen before it can be harvested. Give your spouse – your wife or husband – the opportunity to grow in peace. Let God do the planting, weeding, and pruning. It’s not your job. Demonstrate the strength of character and courage it takes to wait – in patience – for a good work to be done in and for your spouse, by the One who knows everything about him or her.

We need to wait for our husband or wife to rest.

 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

It’s not always necessary to be in motion. God demonstrated from the very first the value of rest. Are you patient while your spouse rests? Do you create an environment conducive to rest? Patience is “an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay”.

 Love is patient – are you in a season of waiting?

Are you in a season of waiting? Love is Patient - 3 ways to provide calm care.

3 Ways to Provide Calm Care in a time of waiting:

  1. Keep your hope alive. What has God placed in your heart? It may not be the obvious, natural things our human nature drives us to hope for – it may be a silent yearning, a quiet certainty no matter how odd it appears, or a beautiful vision. Be aware of the power of hope – our God is the God of Hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Hope is a key to calm care…
  2. Keep praying. One, or two, or fifteen or five-hundred prayers may be what it takes to show your persistent patience. Pray without ceasing. Prayer unlocks your ability to be patient and provide calm care.
  3. Keep your focus on self-less-ness. – It’s not about you. Sorry. This may be the hardest action to take – many of us are such self-absorbed people…  However, if you take your “self” out of the equation, you may find having patience easier. 

Is this a time of waiting for you? Is it difficult or have you found ways to adjust?


Is this YOUR time of waiting & you need your spouse to demonstrate love through patience…

And what comes after love is patient?LOVE IS KIND


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Thriving Thursdays at Serving Joyfully – Hearts 4 Home   Thursdays at Our Simple Country Life –  Thoughtful Thursday at  Found the Marbles