Back to the Basics

Back to the Basics

Back is not the direction we usually want to head in, but sometimes it is only in moving backwards that we can begin to move forward.

It’s that age old adage that we have to learn to crawl before we can walk, and walk before we can run. It’s the crawling that builds the muscles and gives us necessary strength for the next step, literally. 

There’s a proper order to things, and if we skip over something as foundational as building muscle strength before we start off on a journey, we might find ourselves in some trouble, and perhaps falling a bit more than we normally would. The same is true if we were to run a race without practicing or training. We might survive it, but it will likely not be a new personal record, and we will also more than likely pull a hamstring. This is true in our physical world as much as it is in our emotional and relational worlds too.

In our marriages, we always want to keep practicing, and we don’t ever want to feel as if we have arrived at mastery. Mastery is one of those things that we will never achieve this side of heaven. Especially over something that is constantly changing, like a marital relationship. Let’s face it, we’re all vulnerable to failure and to making mistakes. Mistakingly believing that we have reached mastery can breed not only arrogance, but also complacency.  Achieving mastery, fools us into thinking we need not do any more work because we have arrived. It is in that moment that we let our guards down and become vulnerable. 

If you want to revamp your marriage, or if you need to get back on course, take the time today to go back to the basics. Go back to the fundamental place in your marriage where it all once began, the sharing of your vows. Whether you wrote your own or used traditional ones, pull them out, re-read them. You now have experience in your marriage  that gives you a new lens to view your vows from. When you originally promised them to one another I’m sure you believed they would come with ease, but I’m betting your “experience” now tells you otherwise. There may even be some that you haven’t been putting into practice for a while.

Take the time to read those words that you declared and promised to your spouse in the sight of God, your family and your friends. (You can even google some vows for a reference.) As you do, ask yourselves and one another these questions…

What exactly was it that we promised to each other?

What did we each say that we, as individuals would do and how am I, and how are we, living up to it?

What kind of spouse did I say I was going to be, and to what ends?

Do I still mean and take action on these things today, or does our marriage need help? Honestly.

Are we willing to return to the basics of loving one another as we once declared?

In light of our vows, what is at least one practical thing we can begin to change?

It’s probably been a while since most of you said those vows. I’m sure you’ve realized that time, circumstances and aging, changes people. Some of that change is good and some, perhaps not so good, but regardless, change doesn’t release us from our covenants. 

Take an honest look back, reboot those fundamental promises in your marriage. Make a realistic plan for getting back to the basics with your spouse. Even if you choose one thing to change, that’s a great start in the right direction. Honor that covenant you made to your spouse and to God. You won’t regret it!

Every once in a while it’s good to restart your journey!

First Things First: Hope

First Things First: Hope

One of the greatest advantages of being Christian Counselors is being able to look at all situations through a lens of hope. Real hope. Early on, and all throughout our schooling, we were reminded of step number one, instill hope. Every single couple that comes through our doors or interacts with us in some form, will first and foremost be exposed to hope.

I will never forget one of our very first couples many years ago. They both had a history of abuse and trauma. They were dealing with addiction, pornography, adultery and severe anxiety and depression. Boy, we sure came out of the counseling gates swinging! 

I remember this couple well, not because I was overwhelmed and concerned with how to help them. In fact, it was just the opposite. I remember getting excited that for the first time ever, I knew that they were about to be exposed to hope. And, it wasn’t because they had it, it was because we did. Hope is the only thing that allows you to face challenges as tough as theirs head on, and we were prepared for it.

You see, we don’t need couples to have hope when we start work with them. We have it. We believe it is our job to share our hope with you, and to keep standing in the gap holding onto it for as long as you need us to. Hope is like a torch that ignites, and we gladly hold ours up for as long as it takes to get yours lit. Why? Because we know that hope is real and that hope is alive. We know that HOPE is Christ, and that He is standing in the gap with us. He is who anchors us as counselors, and He is who anchors your marriage in the midst of the storm. So, even when that storm takes forever to pass, He can anchor it down for as long as needed. We trust that, and we ultimately want you to as well. 

Whether you are struggling a little or have a suitcase packed by the door, your marriage is never hopeless. We fully believe that. We will always be people rooting FOR your marriage, and FOR you as individuals and as a couple. We do however understand that divorce still happens, and on the rare occasion we’ve had to support it. Because we also acknowledge that sometimes hope can  mean a new beginning for someone who has been under abuse or has a partner unwilling to change unacceptable behaviors. However, by and large, we see restoration in even the most difficult of marriages.

As for that first couple, God honored our pleas, used our wisdom and training, and ultimately restored their marriage. He healed them both as individuals and as a married couple. This is the same God that made us all out of dust. He raised the dead, and He redeemed our lives with the precious blood of His Son. He can certainly heal your marriage, and we will fight long and hard for that. We’ve seen Him bring that healing way more often than not, but even when the healing doesn’t come like desired, HOPE will always be first. We trust it, because we trust Him, now the question is, will you?

Fight to Enjoy the Journey!

Spring Clean Your Marriage

Spring Clean Your Marriage

Nothing inspires us to simplify, clean and start afresh quite like Spring does. Why not make use of all that motivation and get some cleaning done in your marriage too? Let’s be honest, it probably got a little dusty over the winter. Holidays, the bitter cold, flu season, all demanding your relationship be placed on the back shelf, or shoved into a closet somewhere.

Spring is here now, and it’s time to take it down, dust it off and give it a good ol’ spit shine (well, maybe not that, but you get the point!). Seriously though, when is the last time you’ve evaluated what’s in your marriage like you do what’s in your garage every year? What is lying around not being put to good use, what have you forgotten you even had, and what can you get rid of? 

Let’s go ahead and find out…

First step is to evaluate. Have a good look around. Is there anything you’ve swept under the rug? If so, now is the time to clear it out. If you’re holding any resentments because issues weren’t dealt with, take the time to sweep those out and talk about them too. Do you have any problems that you are currently sweeping under the rug? Well, guess what? It’s time for them to also be seen and known. 

Lumps under the rug just get bigger over time. Decide together to be a couple that shares with one another. Talk about the hard things and work together to keep those marital lumps from under all the rugs. Avoiding communication is not communication at all. 

Next…Do you have anything broken that needs to be repaired? Ask one another what isn’t working in your marriage? Check in and see if there’s anything you could be working on to make your marriage better. How is communication between the two of you going? Conflict resolution? Do you both feel emotionally safe with each other? If you identify something that needs repair, fix it! Your marriage isn’t just like an old broken rake in the garage that can be trashed, it’s a one of a kind treasure. Fix it! 

Lastly, while you’re looking around, is there anything you misplaced or forgot you had? What’s that back in the corner underneath all the things? A date night? Go get it! Dust off the cobwebs and start enjoying that time together again! 

How about some lofty dreams you shared together? Have you been taking action going after those? 

When’s the last time you’ve sat and chatted about memories? I’m sure there are some great times you’ve shared that could be once again put on display. Spend some time together planning new dreams, new memories and reliving old ones. Your time together through the years are those rare hidden gems. They are the diamonds in the rough. Polish them off and enjoy their hidden beauty. Let them serve as reminders of your love.

Spring is always a time of new growth, new life and new beginnings. It’s a time to be inspired! And while you are, don’t just reorganize your linen closet and your garage. Refresh your marriage. Declutter, clean and repair. Trust us, you’ll really love the before and after!

Now, go on and Enjoy the Journey!