The Promise of Hope

The Promise of Hope


Bubble over.


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.

~ Romans 15:13

Overflow with Hope

Have you ever watched the sun rise?

A sunrise is a very slow process.

The process of transitioning from night sky to sunrise takes a long time.

The sun doesn’t just pop up from a dark sky… rather there’s a progression from pure dark, to a hint of less dark, to a faint incandescence, and then a gradation of hues till the sky is glowing.

Still, there is no sun to be seen.

Its effects are available to the eye, but the actual ball of light is below the horizon. The sky is shimmering, almost bursting with color, with rays of light stretching out… but that burning orb isn’t evident. Yet.

Light is overflowing into the sky – the hope for a blazing glory of sunshine is evident…


Do you trust the sun will rise over the horizon?

Just as we see the sky begin to lighten from dark to not dark and we trust we will see the sun, so we can trust we will be filled with peace and joy as we hope. We have the power of the Holy Spirit, don’t we?

That gradation of hue in the morning sky has inspired painters and photographers forever. In the same way we can use hope to inspire our spouse.

Paint the picture of hope…

Let hope radiate in your words,

in your attitude,

in your actions,

in your intentions…

Just like those faint colors in the morning sky can fill us with trust that the sun will appear, so will hope for a bright future fill you and your spouse. 

What are you hoping for?

You can’t make plans without a hope…

I ask you again:

For what are you hoping?

and how is that hope making itself evident?

The promise of hope.

Can your spouse see those rays reaching out, illuminating your day, your relationship, your actions, your interactions…

What are you hoping for?

Put it into words.

Go from dark – to not dark

Our God is a God of Hope. He has filled us with the Holy Spirit.

He has promised us peace and joy as we are filled with hope and trust in Him.

Start your sunrise.

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Marital Oneness


Hope & Optimism

Hope & Optimism

Hope grows from optimism.

What’s optimism?

The concept of the word optimism is found in the Latin word “optimum” meaning best. Those who are optimistic expect the best possible outcome from a situation.

It’s about looking forward.

Psychologists have spent years studying optimism to determine whether optimism is an inheritable trait, or a trait which shows up because of environment. And as in many areas, social scientists can’t decide for one theory or the other. (One book I’ve enjoyed in this area is “Breaking Murphy’s Law” )

But don’t worry.

Whether you believe you’re an optimist or not, as Christians we can look at optimism with an added view.

Hope grows while looking forward and knowing the future has possibility – not because of an individual’s strength, or environment but because the God of Hope (Romans 15:13) has all things in His hand. ALL things.

And what does hope have to do with encouragement?

Hope is a first line defense and a tool in your arsenal to add courage into your spouse. The word courage and encourage have their roots in the Latin word, “cor” which means heart.

You’re speaking HOPE to the heart when you encourage.

Inspiring with Hope isn’t the only way to encourage your spouse – there are four other aspects to encouragement:

  • Fortifying with Faith,
  • Fostering with Love,
  • Uplifting with Prayer,
  • and Supporting with Action.

 They’re all intertwined and aspects of each are unique yet repeated.

Which words of HOPE will you speak into your spouse’s heart today?

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.

Romans 15:13

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What does “meaningful” mean, anyway?

What does “meaningful” mean, anyway?

As part of the tagline on Encourage Your Spouse, the word “meaningful” is used.

Husbands & Wives Leading Meaningful Lives

What does “meaningful” mean, anyway?

Sometimes I mess around with the word – and translate it as filled with meaning… meaning filled… but I know what it’s NOT:

  • Meaning filled is not pessimistic
  • Meaning filledl is not hum-drum
  • Meaning filled is not day-by-day

Meaning Filled is…


Forward Focused


How do you define “meaningful”?

Yesterday I was with a group of ladies at a coffee shop.  These ladies were women from every walk of life.

  • some were cancer survivors,
  • some were professionals,
  • some had left corporate life,
  • there were writers,
  • others were in family businesses,
  • and one was pursuing a new time in her life called “retirement”.

We were a room filled with multi-ethnicity,  ages, different Christian denominations, and diverse focuses.

What brought us together?*

A meaning filled purpose.

Living a ho-hum-hum-drum existence isn’t enough for this diverse group of ladies.

Each of us found our strength in God, and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We all expressed (in larger and smaller ways) our trust in the Lord’s direction for our lives, and the calling He had placed on our hearts.

For one lady, “meaningful” shows up in her desire to mentor teens, in another lady “meaningful” is translated to the daily challenge of living and demonstrating a Christ-like life out of the spot-light. Yet others have artistic and business ventures God has put into their hearts which embody “meaningful”.

Some of the ladies have a very clear plan on how to pursue their God-gifted task. Others are seeking God’s input into their vision. At whatever stage each one found themselves, we all were privileged to hear the stories of their journey… and to pray for God’s hand to guide each one.

So – what’s your “meaning filled” purpose?

How would you define the word: meaningful?

Do you have a plan? Are you and your spouse pursuing something together? Are you encouraging your spouse, if the plan is theirs? How?

Having a meaning filled life doesn’t need to be grandious or pretentious… I’m guessing it’ll serve something greater than yourself, and have something to do with relationships. 

Don’t procrastinate in pursuing your life filled with meaning – it’s so easy to get caught up and miss out on using your time well!

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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Changing the Future – Together

Do you and your spouse share a vision – a conviction – on how you’d like to affect/effect the world around you?

  • Maybe it’s your own world consisting of you and your spouse you’d like to improve.
  • Perhaps it’s your own family circle – kids, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – that you’re convinced needs leadership and direction.
  • Possibly changing your community is your focus.
  • Or it might be that you have a world-changing, spiritually huge conviction…

Are you looking at a change in 2013? 

Robert and I are fascinated by other couples who make an impact. On his blog, Robert writes about values. There are over 400 values that he’s defined. He wrote the post below about the value of conviction.

What are you convicted to change?


A boy grows up telling everyone that someday he will become a doctor. And then he does.

A girl grows up believing she will someday become a famous singer. And now she is.

A young married couple willingly chooses a different way to start their marriage by moving to a foreign country to rescue sex-trafficked children. After two years they’re still at it.

How does an individual or couple ‘know’ what they will do – or become – in the future? What do tomorrow’s successful leaders do today to create an environment for success?

There is power in the value of conviction.

The Value of Conviction

As a differentiating value, Conviction means an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence.

There is a solid connection between conviction and faith. It is defined succinctly in the Bible: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

When one has such a faith, an unshakable belief in something that they need no evidence or proof to justify their belief, then they truly possess the value of conviction. And with such conviction comes power – the power to change oneself, and change the world.

The Power of Conviction

Looking back in history upon the conviction of those who made a significant impact on the world, there is a strong link to religious beliefs. And rightfully so. That is the source of faith.

Consider these remarkable leadership couples:

  • Dr. David and Mary Livingston. As a genuine missionary team, the Livingston’s opened the door to missionary work in Africa. Even after loosing Mary (to malaria), Dr. Livingston remained focused on bringing ‘Christianity, Commerce, and Civilization’ to the tribes in the interior of Africa. Traveling an estimated 30,000 miles through the African bush (in deplorable conditions), he never wavered in his conviction.
  • Charles and Susannah Spurgeon.  As one of the greatest couples of their time, the Spurgeon’s were filled with true conviction. Starting at the age of 16, Charles became the most popular preacher of his day, eventually reaching an estimated 10 Million people. Thanks to Susannah’s untiring efforts after her husband died, the conviction of Charles to spread the Gospel of Christ is still felt to this day.

Of course, the power of conviction can be leveraged by anyone who combines passion with a purpose. That’s the essence of leadership.

To fulfill a big idea, a leader must possess an unshakable faith in their vision. Best-selling author Andy Stanley skillfully defines the term Visioneering, in his book of the same name, as: “a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.

When a leadership couple engages in visioneering, be prepared to see the world change. There’s power in their conviction.

Who do you know that has embraced the value of conviction? What drives them forward?

How can the value of conviction help you change the world?

Today’s value was selected from the “Confidence-Courage” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Value.


Has your spouse talked about what they’d like to change?  How can you support them in that endeavor?  Supporting with action is one of the 5 ways to encourage…

Please leave a comment – both Robert and I are interested in hearing from you!