Tuesday, November 4, 2014

We still have moments...

My wife and I celebrated seventeen years of marriage in October. Some people ask how long we have been married and when I tell them seventeen years they almost seemed shocked. Truly their reaction makes me sad. The number of marriages that have lasted for years on end are low. That is happening for a few reasons. Mainly the people who have been married for so long, have passed to their heavenly home. We can also attribute the number of lasting marriages these days to the divorce rate of 50%. Years ago the attitude about being married and is you did anything to keep it going. If it broke you fixed it. Now the attitude is that if it is broke, it is easier to go get a new one. That might be true for things that we buy in life, but not so in marriage. If you can't fix the first one, then you can't fix the next one or the one after either. Now keep in mind, that I have always maintained, that some marriage's cannot be fixed because of extreme circumstances. But to me those types of marriages are the exception to the rule. God created marriage to be a forever covenant between a man and a woman. The world would like us think different and accept their ways of doing things. But we as followers of Christ know better and will defend the definition of marriage between a man and a woman.

I could go on forever about what marriage means to me. But I say all of that to say this. I am moved to write about a season we are going through. After seventeen years of marriage I find myself still having those ah ha moments with my wife. The strength that she shows in the moments of my irrational thinking have shown my wife in a new light. It has opened up yet another door of growing closer to her. Our marriage has taken another step forward in God showing his will for us. This moment of my wife showing Christ in her to me, was a moment made for worshiping. Really... moments of praise and worship are just some of the things God intended for marriage right?

Out of this recent moment has been a renewed burden for family. This blog has always been about my journey. From the very get go I have been very honest about every thing. There was some fall out from everything that had happened in the past. I lost friendships, I hurt friends and family, and lost time with those who I had hurt. Some of those I hurt the most were family members. I was angry, I was lost, and out of that I did and said things that I had no business doing or saying. My wife pointed out to me the other day that it was time to start moving forward and fixing some of these family dynamics that were broken or not 100%. My wife made these points to me. I have also noted my thoughts.

1. We never know how someone is feeling after time has passed if we don't seek them out. - This is so true. In both situations we were both surprised by what we heard and the responses we received. God had worked and is still working. 

2. Our kids are watching everything we do. What are they learning by watching us hold onto the past? - So true. If we constantly walk looking behind us, we will never successfully go down the path that Christ wants for us. If we let go of ourselves, loosen our white knuckes and keep our eyes planted on God, then the grace and joy is unlimited. Our kids can then see healing go hand and hand with forgiveness.

3. There are other seasons of storms that will come our way and this is one that we need to finish. - When God speaks we need to listen. God can help us navigate storms, but if we are the anchor holding the boat from getting out the storm. We will continue to miss out on the peace after the storm. 

4. God can't work if we don't allow him to do what he needs to do. - Seriously. When God moves us to do something, we need to do it. I know from experience on this. I didn't have much time with my mom before she went into a coma and the went to her heavenly home. I had all of a couple of hours to speak to my mom and settle things that needed to be buried. Had I stepped aside and let God have control, my time with my mom would have been so much longer. I was so stuck on the hurt, that I refused to let it go. I used the hurt as fuel to make the tiny flame into a roaring fire. Had I been where I needed to be spiritually, that flame would have been snuffed out like it needed to be. I will say it again. Let God step in and let him do his thing.

  5. This one was pointed at me. Accept the things of which you cannot change. Let go and let God. -  We need to spend more time letting God have our hurts and griefs. As humans we have this need to control things around us. Sometimes we try desperately to control the things in our life that cannot be controlled. We all have tried to do it only to fail miserably. We cannot move a mountain or calm a storm like Jesus did on the boat with the disciples. But seeking or speaking the name of Jesus can change anything. So why not let it go and let God? It should be so simple and it is. There have been many times in the past where things have haunted me or made me angry. I have talked about this before, but I will say it again. One of the biblical applications that I use during these times is I envision God with his hand coming down out of the sky right next to me. I lay down my "things" on his hand and I let God take it back to heaven. It says in the Bible that it will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God knows the desires of our hearts. We do not have because we do not ask. But God also knows what is best and how each answer is the perfect solution to the problem in his timing.

All five of the above points spoken through my wife from the Holy Spirit are very applicable to marriage, family, and any other storm that we may be facing. This is the ah ha moment that I am talking about. We still have those moments where my wife and I are the hands and feet of Jesus to each other.

Friday, September 12, 2014

David did what?

1 Samuel 17:32-37The Message (MSG)

32 “Master,” said David, “don’t give up hope. I’m ready to go and fight this Philistine.”

33 Saul answered David, “You can’t go and fight this Philistine. You’re too young and inexperienced—and he’s been at this fighting business since before you were born.”

34-37 David said, “I’ve been a shepherd, tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I’d go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. If it turned on me, I’d grab it by the throat, wring its neck, and kill it. Lion or bear, it made no difference—I killed it. And I’ll do the same to this Philistine pig who is taunting the troops of God-Alive. God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.”

Saul said, “Go. And God help you!”

This was my scripture this morning for my devotions. As I was reading this, I keyed in on a couple of things and my mind has been blown ever since. David killed a lion and a bear to protect the sheep his father had entrusted to him. It wasn't something David did once or twice it was something he probably had to do often. As I was reading this scripture, I thought to myself no way can a man kill a lion or bear with his bare hands. How is that even possible? On top of that David had decided to take on the bully named Goliath and take him down as well. I am floored at David's faith in God's ability to protect him from harm. 

My lack of faith in the big things sometimes stops my ability to trust God in all situations. As I am sure with many of you, it is easier to trust God with the small not so concerning situations that arise where the consequences are bearable. But what about the BIG things that come our way where the consequences are less than desirable? Sometimes we stand there facing Goliath, a bear, or a lion. Our doubts seem to take over about what God can really do to help. 

In our house, it has been an interesting couple of months. The enemy has tried once again to infiltrate our house and divide. Going through this once before, we were more aware of the signs and battled back on our knees and many people supporting us in prayer. When school starts, fall sports, and other commitments, there is an adjustment period. Our oldest son has experienced an unprecedented amount of anxiety on top of still grieving the loss of his grandmother one year later. The side affects of this has caused a stressful situation for us that has been exhausting. This situation we are facing and going through has been the David story for us. The enemy(lion or bear) if you will has tried it's best to snatch our son away from us in its jaw. We have jumped on and prayed away the lion and bears. It seemed when we would pray over him, the enemy would attack even stronger every time trying to one up us. Again we would go back to praying. While we are still in this process, we have put all of our faith and trust in God. That in itself is not easy. 

I posted this on Facebook just the other day. "Sometimes the stresses in life cause me to rush God to answer prayer according my timing and not his. But what is really happening, is those things that are stressing me, are blocking my ability to see what God is doing. I want so bad right now for God to flip the switch for healing. But I know that God is teaching and loving me through this season." It was this day that I realized I had to give all my worries to God. This whole thing we have been going through was now out of my control. My only defense was to pray, let go, and let God. This is a minute, hourly, and daily battle to let God have it, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes. The beauty of this is that God has started to open our eyes to what is happening and given us some patience and peace that we so desperately needed. People have surrounded us, counseled us, and been Christ to us.

After reading this scripture today, I realized that my wife and I aren't alone. That when we face the lions, bears, Goliaths, we need to do it with same faith and confidence that David had in God. We serve a God who is not going to leave us, we serve a God that has our best interest at heart. I know through this time, that we will see God move in a mighty way. This week God has started to answered prayer for us. We know the road is long, but we also know that we can persevere knowing that God will deliver us.  If God is for us, who can be against. I love this song. When I think about the Lord.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A promise to keep...

The vows that we say to each other when we get married are for life. Virtually a promise to each other to follow it to the "T". A contract if you will and promise made in front of family, friends, and God. One of the lines in there is "in sickness and in health". I often wonder how many of us actually knew the true meaning of "in sickness and in health". Did we take that phrase at face value? I will admit, I sure did. I had no idea all the meanings that were encompassed in that phrase. Many times in counseling while trying to put my life back together as well as our marriage, our counselor would remind both of us that we made the promise to each and to God. I am convinced that married couples often lose site of this promise. 

To me the promise of "in sickness and in health" means loving your spouse, supporting your spouse, and being a part of the healing process with your spouse. It means loving your husband or wife in the the best of times, or worst of times. Sickness means physical, mental, and spiritually.

Colossians 3:12-14

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

To me the above scripture is a good reminder of what it takes to have a marriage. In talking with men, couples, and individuals that I know who are facing hard times either in relationships, or personal struggles, I remind them that healing takes time, it takes patience and understanding. Most of all having compassion and walking with them through this journey.

I am an avid Chicago Bears fan. I have suffered through some terrible seasons and celebrated through some fantastic seasons. I have see seasons of rebuilding and it has taken patience through that rebuilding process. Through my experience in rebuilding my marriage, both my wife and I had to have the expectation that neither one of us were going to be perfect through the rebuilding process. We had mis-steps and many times we went back to the drawing board to figure out what we did wrong. Many times spending time with our counselor and in prayer looking for guidance. The rebuilding process saw many defeats, but many times of celebration as something monumental had been accomplished. More and more we celebrated as the journey went on. Colossians 3:12-14 mentions many attributes of being a child of God, but also those same attributes are part of the promise we made when we got married. 

I wish more couples would spend more time on what the promise of "in sickness and in health" means. I can still see the smug look on our counselors face as she nailed me to the wall with that reminder every time. There was no excuse to walk away from my marriage. I made that promise and I needed to stick to it. I am so glad I listened to God use her words to penetrate my life. The pay off has been amazing. My wife loved me through my sickness, and any excuse or justification that I had for walking couldn't stand up to the promise I made when I said in sickness and in health. 

Ready to give up? Ready to walk? Refer the Colossians 3:12-14. Have you displayed and been all those attributes to your wife or husband who may be struggling? Does your excuse or justification really stand up to the above scripture or promise you made? Are you praying for your wife or husband that God would change them? Are you asking God for guidance? What is God's will for your marriage? Are you in line with what God wants for your marriage? Are you ready for any and all consequences good or bad of your decisions? 

I have and always will be a Bears fan. I always will be a fan of my wife. I know of very few people like my spouse who loved with the love of Christ and stayed true to that promise. In the world today, that promise is so over looked. Husbands and wives put their needs and happiness opposite of the promise they made. A promise is a promise is a promise especially before God. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Testimony after a long fight...

As most of you know I am very involved with my churches music ministry. I don't know of many churches that have the music quite the way we do. We all just click because God is the center of it all. But that is not what I am writing about today. A few weeks back I gave my testimony before singing a song, OK well I stopped in the first verse and said I had to testify. We were singing the song "I'm Amazed". I love this song because I truly am amazed at what God did for me.

A couple of weeks before that it was on the worship order to sing, however it got bumped to the next week. I knew this song was coming, I also new that I would be singing the verses and lead part for this song. God had been nudging me for weeks to tell my story, but I wasn't sure when or where that would happen. I fought God and said my story is very personal and I will use it when needed. I have in the past shared my stories with others who were struggling in their marriages. I thought ultimately that is how God would want me to use it. But I never dreamed of standing in front of the whole church to share it with everyone. I was afraid I guess of what people would think of me. I had been up there singing a few years ago, but for all the wrong reasons. Pride, arrogance, and a since of entitlement were my motives. My reasons I thought were valid. Here are a few...

"I waited for my turn to sing on worship team, I deserve this." 

"This is the only time that God and I are on the same page."  Yeah OK, because God is like that? Really only one day a week? wow what was I thinking.. 

"The platform was my refuge from all the guilt I was feeling." 

"If I sing up here than no one will really know what kind of life I live during the week. After all I am wearing a suit and singing with expression." 

And the list goes on. All of those excuses and more were completely wrong. I was even confronted by a church member who was trying to help my wife through this. This lady in a very direct way pointed out my reasoning was wrong. I quickly left the room and went home. I was mad, angry, and upset that she would say such things to me. But.. she was right and if she was seeing right through me, than probably every one else was too. I am here to tell you that God cannot and will not use you, if you are broken and refuse to let God mend and heal your wounds. God will not use you if you are not living according to his purpose in your life. God cannot and will not use you if you are saturated with sin. So if you think that you can fool others, you are completely wrong. God exposes your sinful life to others whether you think you have it covered or not. Don't let the enemy fool you into thinking you can live a double life. By that I mean, a perfect Christian on Sunday and a horrible human being during the week. The math doesn't add up. One day acting perfect and six days living in sin. You have yourself fooled if you think that is a good ratio of living. Now I sing only because God allows me too. I sing because I want to be used by God. I sing because I want to be transparent and let others see Jesus in me. I sing because I want to help lead others in worship of a God who is amazing and deserves our praise. I sing because I want to minister to the broken, the lost, the sick and those who need to feel God's presence in their life. 

Moving on... 

The Sunday that I shared my testimony God was not to be denied. Many times a testimony service has broken out in our church. I have gotten the "TSAS" (Testimony shakes and sweats). I chickened out and denied God his purpose of working through me. But this time I was almost in tears before singing, over come with the Holy Spirit in me, the words to the song were denied until I let God's words come out. So I stopped the song and let God do his thing through me. I then sang the song. It wasn't my best but God was working and moving. All this time there was a small part of me that felt like I was being judged for my past. But when I testified I had no idea what it meant to others. I had no idea how God would use that to impact others. The response that I have received has been overwhelming. Truly God healed me completely of my doubts and fears. 

This is what I have taken from this. There are others struggling or have struggled in the past. Marriages are being attacked by the enemy and if we are not transparent of what God can do, than others will continue to struggle. These struggling people need encouragement, but most of all they need hope. Hope in God of his power to make all things right and new. If we have been tried, but haven't testified, than how can God use us to help others? If we don't expose our scars, than how can others see God's ability to heal? Remember the scars that Jesus has reminds of his ultimate sacrifice so we can be free in him. Why not share that freedom with others? I am here to tell you, that God can do anything. God can use ashes and make something beautiful. If you have a story of how God redeemed you, please let God use your story to give others hope!! There as so many who feel alone and feel like that they are the only ones struggling. I leave you with the song that I sang on that Sunday. I'm Amazed sung by Jason Crabb and The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cruise control is never an option.

My wife and I differ on driving methods. I LOVE cruise control and she doesn't. Yes there is a point and stay with me here. It has been just over two years since God worked a miracle in my life. There have been lots of ups and downs. I would have been fooling myself if I thought this journey would be easy since God had transformed me. It truly has been a roller coaster ride. I had to remind myself at times, that the anxieties that I caused for my wife were not going to automatically go away. I would be lying if I said that there weren't some challenging and tense discussions. I would have been wrong to think for one moment that I wasn't going to face some questions or discussions that made me feel less than comfortable.  I browsed through the very beginning of this blog this week. I was reminded of how broken I was. I never imagined that God would use me the way he has the last couple of years. God has put some people in my path that I have been able to share with. Whether our story made a difference in their life or not, I don't know. Honestly I may never know. But God does what he does when he does.

In reading the beginning of my blog, there was so much that I wanted for our marriage. Feeling God's love, his forgiveness, and my wife's forgiveness motivated me to be something I never had been. I was on a high. But like a roller coaster that high doesn't last for long. We tend to start cruising and forget some of the things that are important components of marriage. We reach that level of comfortableness and the things that we should be working on, we tend to slack on. I am guilty of that. Sometimes we let life get in the way. Sometimes we are so focused on the things like being a responsible adult, being parents, or worrying about money, that the things that a marriage needs land on the back burner. Sometimes we are tired and rather than pushing ourselves we rest when we shouldn't. Well to combat that, I have been really focusing on my prayer life. One of the things I have asked is for God to show me where I needed to improve as a husband.

In my spiritual life, I don't want to be on cruise control. I want to be broken so that God can use me. I also want to always remember where I started two years ago. I wanted a lot of things for this marriage and I need to continue to work on them. I am not perfect and as a husband there are things that God and I play tug of war with. In all circumstances I need to just let go of the rope and let God have them. So in keeping with the tone of this blog. I need to be real about a few things.

Just because we are married, doesn't mean the romance should stop. Making the bed is not going to make my wife think that I am the most wonderful guy on earth. When I was off work, I felt good about myself because I "sort of" kept up with the laundry. In reality that was my job among many others while my wife was at work. Saying I love you isn't enough. I need to show my wife that I love her. I need to continue to strive to be that husband that I said I wanted to be in the very beginning. I admit I have been in and out of cruise control. I get why my wife doesn't like cruise control. It is too easy to fall asleep at the wheel and we all know what will happen if we fall asleep at the wheel.

I am glad that I have a reminder of my thoughts for this marriage. I am glad God can use such a thing to remind us of his plan for marriage. I am glad God can use our past to guard us when proceeding to the future. I am no expert at being married. In many ways I am typical man. I will never be the perfect husband and because of that, I will always have room for improvement. But at the end of the day, I need to make sure my wife knows that I stand behind her. I need to make sure that my wife knows how much I love her. But ultimately I want to honor God in my marriage and that means throwing cruise control out the window.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Maybe a little blunt, maybe not..

In the world today we have so lost site of God. As a nation we have lost site of what God intended for "one nation under God". We have lost site of Gods purpose in our lives, in our homes, and the foundations of faith of which he laid on the cross for us. In all of that is marriage something beautiful created be God himself between a man and woman to come together in communion with God to love each other as Christ loved the church until death do you part.

My wife and I have been married for 17 years. In the last couple of years, we have finally started to figure out what is important. Figuring out what is important is an important key to being married. I will get to that later. I see lots of statistics about marriage when it comes to divorce. As of 2013 the divorce rate in the U.S. is up to 50%. Divorce in the United States has even been broken down by the state you live in. So I guess if you want to have a successful marriage than move to a state where the divorce rate is low because obviously that is going to give you the best chance of staying together with your spouse. (sense my sarcasm in that last statement) The stats by state stats simply do not hold water because it is based on population. Do the math and you will find that the math doesn't quite add up. So 50% of American couples have marriage figured out and 50% don't. To be fair, I am sure there are some variables in there that would break down the 50% even further. So  lets say for all intense purposes that the number is 40%. I am positive that in some cases irreconcilable differences actually is the truth rather than an easy escape excuse out of a marriage.  So please keep the last sentence in mind when reading this entry. I do understand that sometimes a marriage will not be successful because of circumstances that are beyond one or both spouses control. I get it..

Not working at a marriage and wanting it easy has become acceptable. In other words being lazy is okay when it comes to marriage worldly speaking of course. When the marriage is no longer easy, the worldly acceptable thing to do is walk away. Hardly anyone any more wants to put in the work a marriage takes. So hence the divorce rate we see today. People who can't commit to putting the work in for a marriage have no business getting married. Marriage is not for the weak of heart, the weak of mind, or the lazy minded people. Marriage is not for the selfish. Two selfish people should never get married because it is a disaster in the making. One selfish and one giving shouldn't get married either. Both are a time bomb in the making and will explode, implode, or vaporize the marriage. If you can't serve each other in a marriage, do us all a favor and stay single. Don't attempt to get married until you figure out what the words serve and selfless mean.

The ripple affect of divorce is ever lasting and far reaching especially if children are involved. There is a lot of evidence to that last statement. It is not hard to find. Go visit the local schools or really get to know your kids friends. You can see the "divorce affect" first hand. It is pretty wide spread these days. With good counseling kids can over come divorce and some day have a successful marriage. But keep in mind, kids mirror what they see in the home. Again I know from experience. So if your marriage is on the rocks, please don't create another human thinking it will bring your marriage back into good standing. If anything you just made it more complicated. Unless you deal with the issues at hand, I promise adding a child to the mix isn't going to stop your marriage from imploding. If anything that child out of no fault of its own will add to and complicate the issues at hand even more.

Recently Facebook turned 10 years old. A look back was a video of Facebook that reflected your most like posts and pictures since joining the site. Our most like post was when my wife requested prayer for a week she had to face. That week was our court date. The decision to divorce me was at hand. My wife desperately wanted to be in the center of Gods will. Well... we know that outcome. God had other plans for our marriage and all he wanted for us was to allow him to be the center of our lives and marriage. God came in and cleaned out the garbage and restored us to better than new. I think I can accurately guess and say that if God were the center of more marriages, than just maybe that 40% would be a lot lower. If couples would just let God have control rather than wrestling each other for it, than marriages would be closer to what God intended a marriage to be.

Let me be clear, I am in no way perfect or a perfect husband. I fail often at being the husband I should be. But the beauty of this, is my wife loves me anyways with the love of Christ. I am married to one of the most giving women. Admittedly my wife sets the bar high and I need to do a better job at reaching it. I am no marriage expert. I have seen many marriages crumble into ruins never to be rebuilt again. I have been there myself. God restored our ruins. Rome wasn't built in a day and our marriage wasn't rebuilt in a day either. It takes work, sacrifice, commitment and allowing God to do what he wants to do. It wasn't like we turned it over to God and things changed in an instant. Trust me it didn't. God took us on a journey of which we are still on. Through that journey we have learned to trust God more. We have learned a lot of things on this journey and I never want it to stop. Instead of going at each others throats when things are tough, we go to God and let him take care of it. Marriage is meant to be a wonderful life long commitment filled with many benefits. Put in the work because the reward is amazing!!

Lost in what to do about your troubled marriage? Here are some suggestions that I will leave you with.

Get on your knees and pray. Ask for Gods healing touch and guidance. Prayer is an amazing tool that is powerful and effective.

Ask God to help you see what you need to change in your own life. God revealed to my wife and I changes that he needed us to make before our marriage was successful.

PRAY PRAY PRAY for your spouse. In the first two weeks after my wife and I separated, I was not allowed to see her or the kids. I prayed often that God would speak to my wife in a way only she could hear him. I prayed that he would work in me continually. I prayed against any interference that would stop God from doing what he needed to do. I prayed that God would put people in her path so she would know that I let God have control of my life and that I changed. I prayed that God would put people in my path to help me in my journey and keep me accountable to God, my wife and myself. I was a mess. Trust me.. God answered prayer because people where praying for me, my wife had been praying for me, and I had been praying for her.

Get your nose in the word of God. There are clear guidelines on how to love your spouse, how to treat your spouse, and how to let God be the center of your life and marriage.

Find a good christian counselor. My wife and I are very blessed with a Christian counselor that helped us make huge strides in our marriage. In fact we still see her separately and together from time to time.

Take a look around you and find a couple who has been married successfully for a long time. Ask them to be your mentor or just ask them for some advice. They are a wealth of information for younger married couples to draw from.

Find other couples with similar interest that you and your spouse can relate with. I promise you are not the only ones experiencing the same challenges.

I've said it before and I will say it again. Pray together and have devotions. Nothing unites a couple like spending time with God together. Something that we are not always perfect at. But it is important to make it a priority.

Find a good church where you can serve and worship God together.

MarriageInc.org is a great resource for married couples to use for finding a counselor among other resources.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Date night!! A must do!!

I married my wife because she had a smile that I could not stop looking at. We had always known each other or known of each other our whole lives. It was a day at a church league softball game that she reluctantly came with a friend. I saw her sitting in the bleachers. A softball game was not the ideal place for my wife to be. My wife simply didn't want to be there, but came as favor to her friend. To borrow from Austin Powers, it wasn't her bag baby. So sensing that I said something using my sarcasm wit. Those of you who know me, know that I live on the side of sarcasm. I told a friend of mine after the game that I was going to marry her. I stayed true to what I said. I chased her that summer and begged her to go on one date with me and I would leave her alone if she would just agree to one date. Well... the rest is history and it is quite a story.

I married my wife because she was unlike anyone I had ever met. Complete polar opposite of me and challenged me to look at life from different perspectives, not just my own. We, ok I started our flirtations by sitting across the table as partners playing card games. It was something for me to sit across such an attractive gal. I enjoyed making her laugh and seeing that smile that I love so much. It was then that I got to see a person who could match me wit for wit. Dates ensued after this, movies, amongst other things. I fell in love with my wife pretty quick. I fell in love with her because she challenged me. Not only did she challenge me, she was a challenge. I fell in love with her, because she was bright, educated, and had a persistent drive to get what she wanted. Most importantly we were like minded about our relationship with God. My wife was the person that God had for me no question. No other human loves me like my wife does and I am so thankful for that. To me if I had only her on this earth, I would be more than thrilled.

Ok so to the present. We made a commitment to make sure that we always clear time for us. That time a part is held at a minimum and that we still enjoy the things we have in common. Granted time with guy friends and girl friends is important. We never want to lose site of each other or the reasons that brought us together. Hence... DATE NIGHT!! We still enjoy the same movies, the same games, and everything that we enjoyed together early on, plus a few new things to add to mix.

Date night and time a lone is one of the BIG ticket items that every marriage needs in order to survive. Today divorce is on the rampant. Couples are losing site of why they married each other in the first place. They are forgetting the reasons why they chose to love each other. Word of advice to those who aren't married. It is important to make sure that you are equally yoked with your mate. If you look at your relationship, it needs to resemble a picture of a puzzle. My wife fills my weak areas and I fill hers. She is the socialite and I am the reserved one. She is the organized and detailed one and I am the one who speaks in summary. It drives her crazy!! But it works for us. Together we make an equally yoked couple. Date night is a time to remember those things and enjoy that time together.

Marriage is not a walk in the park and it is not for the weak of heart. But there are many things you can do to keep it a live, youthful and fresh. We have been married 17 years and to this day I can give the reasons why I chose to fall in love with her plus a few more. I have never forgotten them even at my worst; and to this day they are STILL the reasons that she is my wife and best friend. I may have lost site of them, but I found them again. Take it from someone who knows, when times get tough, go back to the basics. Date night is a must!! That is how we started and that is how we keep this thing call love, marriage, and friendship going!!