The #1 Reason Your Marriage Goes from Fireworks to Fizzle

The #1 Reason Your Marriage Goes from Fireworks to Fizzle

The month of July is always one we look forward to. There’s just something about the summer that increases all the feel-good nostalgia of family. These are the months we have picnics, watch fireflies, go for swims and take vacations—we do all the things that bond us as family and friends. And although summer may not technically be voted as the top favorite season, we think it just might be one of the more anticipated ones.

Summer offers us a season of rest, fun and connection—and who doesn’t want that? We’re all looking forward to the parades, the cookouts, and most importantly the FIREWORKS. Disclaimer here—we’re in SC, and around here, fireworks aren’t just something for the 4th of July, they’re a way of life!

We have them at baseball games, on Friday nights, at the end of concerts, or when someone has a successful garage sale—you name it, we light it up around here! That’s exactly what we want the fireworks in your marriage to be like—a good ol’ South Carolina 4th of July—one that’s held year-round instead of just once a year.  

Here’s the deal—when you were first dating, you had some big player brain chemicals working in your favor. All the ones that light up the pleasure center of your brain and create all that bonding you used to do so easily—those chemicals are what helped make for all that blushing, that giddiness, and those racing hearts you once had. They’re also the chemicals that kept you longing for more—more of each other. 

At first, those chemicals just showed up as little volunteer helpers. They were more than happy to invite in all the excitement and get everything going while making sure everyone felt really good. But, here’s the problem—they don’t hang around for long. In fact, after about 1-2 years, they start getting a little fatigued and no longer want to show up as much. Instead of freely giving and flowing like they once did, they now make you work a little bit for them to make an appearance.

But no worries—even if they have fallen asleep on the job a little bit, you can still wake them back up! Just because the initial fireworks you once had may always be a little more explosive than they are now, that doesn’t mean you still can’t have yourself a Carolina Firework show—fireworks that keeps on going!

The truth is, your marriage does take work, but it’s not supposed to be all work, it’s also supposed to be a lot of fun and have a lot of sparks. So, no worries if your brain or your relationship isn’t as lit up as you’d like it to be this summer, we’ve got you covered—Click below and check out these Top 5 Ways You Can Bring the Spark Back into Your Marriage. Go ahead and get started on your EXPLOSIVE journey to your summer of fun!

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How to Plan the Perfect 4th of July Cookout

How to Plan the Perfect 4th of July Cookout

There are so many things that go into a good ol’ All American 4th of July cookout—or in some parts of the nation, a BBQ. And while the food and the décor are important, there are so many other things that make these celebrated events worth it.

 

After-all, what is a tradition without friends and family?

 

While you’re gearing up for your 4th of July cookout, don’t forget to focus on the people. Your get together is about way more than just entertaining everyone, it’s also about connecting with them. The food is great, but it going to get eaten or go to waste—just as all those decorations will come down and get packed away for another year. However, what will remain are the memories, the traditions—the time with your people. 

 

Don’t get so caught up in the logistics and the menu that you miss the people!

 

As you prepare for your gathering, set out lots of chairs—and be sure to put them in groups. Instead of lining them up in rows, set them up to face each other, either in little circles or one big one. Prepare an environment for lots of chatting. 

 

The goal here is to plan something that is, or that could be unique and memorable for your family and your friends. 

  • Make it purposeful–have everyone bring a canned good or some item to donate. 
  • Start conversations–have everyone share one of the freedoms that they’re most grateful for. Sure, people feel a bit awkward, but it’s truly awkwardness and vulnerability that often connect us.
  • Plan a special event for the kids–let them decorate something or put together a bike or stroller parade that blesses the entire neighborhood.
  • Let everyone chip in–have everyone bring a side dish that is a family recipe along with the story or memory that goes with it.

Regardless of what you do to make your 4th of July celebration special, make it revolve around making memories and people—for they are the ones that make this nation great. Our society will only ever be as great and as strong as the families and the people within it. 

Oh, and if you invited me to your party, I would for sure bring along my Grandma’s famous potato salad. It just wouldn’t be a 4th of July celebration without it! If you want to bring the best dish to the party, get my Gigi’s Famous Potato Salad recipe below!

Newlywed Couple's Devotional

(for Newlywed Couples and Newlywed Wanna-Be's)

features:

•  52 Weekly Devotionals that explore common issues and themes every couple experiences, such as intimacy, love, commitment, household duties, finances, and more

•  Everyday Scripture and Reflective Bible Studies that provide practical solutions to bringing marriages closer to God

•  Action-Oriented Discussion Prompts that hold couples accountable for maintaining their God-anchored vows

•  Weekly Prayers that are specific and relevant to the topics discussed

3 Essentials for Staying Connected in Your Marriage

3 Essentials for Staying Connected in Your Marriage

It’s so easy to be connected when you first start off in marriage. In the beginning, you’re in a season of being totally into each other. You have all the time in the world for the two of you, you’re both invested in each other’s interests, going on dates is relatively effortless, and you’re probably young and filled with energy—boy, do I miss those days!

 

But, let’s be real, things are always a lot easier when your plates aren’t as full and you’re able to run high on those endorphins provided by young love.

 

A little bit later on, as you get a few years into marriage, those things get a little more difficult. You have busy work schedules, perhaps a kid or two, you have more bills, and married life becomes more about running on a schedule than it does having the freedom to do all the things you once did before.

 

If you’ve found yourself a little disconnected, don’t get alarmed, it happens to the best of us—truly, it does. But no worries, we’ve got some things you can do to help.

 

Re-establish a Friendship—You’d be surprised how foundational a friendship is in marriage. In fact, in several surveys, when happily married, long term couples are asked what the secret is to their success, the number one answer from both husbands and wives is, “my spouse is my best friend.”

 

It’s true, being friends in your marriage greatly increases your ability to forgive one another, to give more grace, and to believe your spouse has good intentions, even when they do mess up. These kinds of actions and attitudes that make up a marital friendship also increase your ability and desire to repair the things that may be broken in your relationship. The reality is, you’re much more likely to work on a marriage when you’re married to someone you actually like and are friends with.

 

Next, Lean into One Another—Talk about the hard stuff and develop an attitude of resiliency. Don’t ignore problems just because it feels easier in the short term. Over time, those problems multiply and bring their friends. If you learn to address concerns when they come up, they won’t be turn into heavy clouds of dread hanging over your marriage—and, you just might start seeing and believing, that together, you actually can-do hard things. 

When you start avoiding problems, by default, you also begin avoiding one another. At that point you won’t only be not connecting, you’ll actually be actively disconnecting. 

 

Lastly, Keep God in the Center—This is the most foundational part of your marriage. It’s hard to play a game when you don’t know the rules or understand how to win. There is no one more for your marriage than God is—and He is the One who knows the recipe for success. He knows how to get a big win for your marriage—so why in the world would we all not follow His guidance? And, not only will His way grow and reconnect your marriage, but it will also grow you as individuals. Keeping Him in the center is a win all around!

 

If you want to learn how to put all three of these essentials into practice, click below and get your 2 day sample of our video led Drive by Devotions. Through just a short, 5-minute video, you will be provided with an opportunity to learn scripture, practically apply it to your marriage, and have good communication by answering some connecting questions. 

 

So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your journey back to one another today!

Click Here to register for your free 2 Day Sample.

5 Things About Marriage We Can Learn from Chip and Joanna Gaines

5 Things About Marriage We Can Learn from Chip and Joanna Gaines

Is there a more beloved couple than Chip and Joanna? I’m thinking, no. The love they have for one another is evident. Not only is their love evident, but you can also see how much they actually like one another too. They just have this way of making marriage look fun, don’t they? 

Now sure, we want a lot of what Chip and Joanna have (her taste and talent and his adventurous spirit and fun)—but don’t they make you want a marriage like theirs too?

A Chip and Joanna kind of marriage may not be as hard to achieve as you might think. Let’s see what we can learn to do in our own marriages from these two, crazy talented, love filled Texans.

Use Each Other’s Strengths—How crazy would it be for Joanna to knock down all the walls and for Chip to set the flowers and all of the art throughout the house? I’m guessing some homeowners would have an entirely different space to come home to if that were the case. That method just wouldn’t make sense. Chip and Joanna know each other. They know each other’s strengths and abilities and they make use of them. They allow themselves to each have their lane and to stay in it. They staff each other’s weaknesses and they appreciate and make use of what each one brings to the table.

Encourage Each Other—Remember that time Joanna surprised Chip with that crazy plane ride, or threw him that big 40th birthday bash filled with all his friends? How about the countless dogs she lets him bring home? It’s clear that Joanna knows her husband—and she encourages him to be exactly who he is by doing the things that he loves and that are important to him. 

Chip does the same. We all know Joanna has that garage entirely filled with stuff for projects that Chip has no idea what she needs it all for. You also know that he has sat through countless shopping trips as the bag holder without complaint. Why? Because he loves his wife and knows that all of that is important to her. 

Parent Together and Parent Well—It’s not uncommon for a Fixer Upper scene to involve all the Gaines’s kids. You can find them collecting eggs, exchanging nuts from a tree for cash, or helping to pick out the perfect antique for a house. Some of these adventures they do together, and some involve just one of them in charge.

It’s not uncommon for Joanna and the kids to bring their dad his favorite sandwiches or cupcakes when he’s been working on a house all day—nor is it uncommon for Chip to bring dinner to Joanna when she has a long night of decorating ahead. You see, they work together, they tag each other in, and they model what it is to love one another well.

Accept Each Other for Who They Are—Chip and Joanna could not be more polar opposite, could they? It wouldn’t be difficult for Joanna, a more straight-laced, structured woman with a plan, to be constantly frustrated with Chip, a trouble making, prankster who is constantly on the hunt for fun. But instead, what we see is her appreciation of his ill-timed silliness and his acceptance of the importance of a project done well. Chip loves his fun, but he never has it as his wife’s expense. She appreciates that side of him and he knows his limits.

Seek Balance—As hard as it was for all of us fans, Chip and Joanna knew when to call it quits on their obligations. They knew that in order for their family and marriage to have success and balance, they needed to let go, even if it was letting go of something they loved. They knew their limits as a family. They knew what they were about and weren’t willing to sacrifice their family for anything.

The success of their show was fantastic, but the success of their marriage and family pulled rank. In order for the most important thing to remain successful, they needed to fight to keep it the priority.

Chip and Joanna, we thank you. We thank you for all the designs, for your Target line, and all the things you taught us on your show—but most importantly, we thank you for these hidden little gems for our marriage.

If you want to take this one step deeper, click below to go grab our conversation worksheet on Questions to Ask to Fix Up Your Marriage.

The Possible Answer to What in the Heck is Going on in the World Today

The Possible Answer to What in the Heck is Going on in the World Today

Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith would not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

When I look around today, it’s almost as if our entire world has drastically changed. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, fear is abundant, hopelessness is running rampant, and racism has become so horrendous that many are finally completely appalled by it, even though there are still those whose pride won’t allow them to see it.

Is it possible that the Enemy has asked permission to sift us and God has said yes? 

I think so.

The sifting of wheat is purposeful. Sifting removes all the useless junk. It gets rid of the unnecessary so the necessary can be all that is left. I think our world has needed this sifting for a long time.

We cry out with our mouths that we love God, yet we place many idols before Him. Our sporting events have taken His place, our jobs, our pride, our children, our finances—they’ve all squeezed Him out. And now, when tragedy hits, we ask, “Where are you, Lord? Why are you not doing anything?” 

Perhaps, He’s where He’s been all the time, on His throne—waiting for us to remember Him. Perhaps in His grace instead of bailing us out, He’s letting us learn and see the error of our ways. 

When God allowed for this time of testing in Simon Peter, it was purposeful. The Enemy’s schemes to test us will never thwart God’s plan. 

Quite often what looks like a win for him is often a setup for a grand slam by God. This sifting was not going to ruin Simon Peter, in fact it was going to transform him—because while the sifting was taking place, the prayers of Jesus were being lifted up, and He had already declared that they would be effective.

While we’re waiting and pleading for the rescue–is it possible that Jesus is also praying us through this sifting?

I think so.

Is it possible that God holds the victory on the other side of this? That’s not even a question—BUT, what is a question, is who will we be when we come out of this—a Simon, or a Peter? You see, when Simon was sifted like wheat, he had a lot of junk to be disposed of, and when it was all said and done, even despite some failures, he was ultimately found faithful. Simon entered into the sifting denying Jesus, but he exited the sifting as Peter, the unwavering rock, boldly declaring the mighty name of his Savior.

And when that sifting was over, Peter arose and found himself taking part in leading 3000 others to the Lord–I bet the enemy didn’t see that coming when he asked for the sifting process to take place! However, is this how we will be found after all of this? Will we come out strengthening our brothers, leading them to Jesus, or will we go right back to our old ways of denying the lordship of Christ in our lives while we settle for lesser things? 

Sifting is about removing junk—removing all that is useless. Friends, my dear Christian friends, we’ve needed this for a long time. There is only One that deserves first place in our lives, and there are only a handful of things that matter on the other side of eternity—so why, oh why do we invest in so many things that will just burn up and waste away?

“Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

Why do we so easily throw away people, but desperately cling to ignorance? Why do we trust fear more than we trust the God who created us? Why do we quiver at the threat of a virus, but yet stand pridefully and fearlessly in front of the God who reigns over it. 

These days of 2020 have been long and hard–they are not fun times by any means, but we will make it through this. The question is, when we do–when this season of sifting is over, will we once again pick up our useless junk, our misguided thinking, our old ways, or will we finally begin to simply and yet boldly, love God and love others, ALL others as much as we love ourselves?

There’s no doubt that through all of this the chaff will fall to the ground, but it’s going to be up to us to leave it there. So how about it? What are you willing to leave behind? What are you willing to allow God to transform in you?

Oh, and Jesus, while the sifting is being done, please Lord, keep praying for us.

Newlywed Couple's Devotional

(for Newlywed Couples and Newlywed Wanna-Be's)

features:

•  52 Weekly Devotionals that explore common issues and themes every couple experiences, such as intimacy, love, commitment, household duties, finances, and more

•  Everyday Scripture and Reflective Bible Studies that provide practical solutions to bringing marriages closer to God

•  Action-Oriented Discussion Prompts that hold couples accountable for maintaining their God-anchored vows

•  Weekly Prayers that are specific and relevant to the topics discussed