Sharing hope and strength for marriages with the power of God's redeeming love.

Posts in category Communication

Two Steps of Grace for Reacting to Criticism

This is part three of a three-part series on constructive criticism. On part one, “How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism?” I talked about how valuable constructive criticism can be in a marriage if it is handled properly. I shared an eye-opening experience I had in my own marriage. And I shared from our experience of ministering to other couples how valuable it is to properly handle constructive criticism.

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Then on part two, “Confront Your Spouse with Love” I went into more depth on how to give constructive criticism without doing damage to your spouse and your marriage. I talked about some very important guidelines of what to do, and what not to do when presenting your grievance to your spouse.

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Confront Your Spouse With Love

Confronting your spouse about an important issue that must be addressed is a very difficult thing to do. And if it is not done properly and with love the results can take your marriage in the wrong direction. But when it is done right it will add a greater dimension of intimacy in your marriage.

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On our post, How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism? I talked about the importance of handling constructive criticism well and the value it can add to your marriage. On this post I want to be very specific about how to confront your spouse without causing more damage to your relationship.

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How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism?

It is not easy to receive criticism even when it is constructive, especially when it comes from your spouse, the one you want nothing less than absolute acceptance and approval from. And it is not easy to give constructive criticism to your spouse without hurting your spouse’s feelings and coming across as disapproving and rejecting. But knowing how to give and receive constructive criticism is desperately needed for a marriage to grow in oneness as God has intended.

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The struggle with feeling critical toward one another is very real in marriage, I don’t think anyone is immune from it. So the challenge we all face is knowing how to guard against allowing criticism to be used in a negative way that is hurtful and harmful to our marriage. While at the same time allowing constructive criticism to be used in a way that promotes growth and encouragement.

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5 Reasons Why Dating is So Important

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33 Years and Still Dating. This Valentine’s Day, Janet and I plan to go on a date for the evening. This will be our 33rd Valentine’s date and for us it is always a little extra special because it is also the anniversary of our first date. Although we do not plan to go to the drive-in movies like we did that night way back then, we do plan to do something that is just for the two of us.

But the truth is, we don’t just date on Valentine’s Day, our birthdays, or our wedding anniversary. No, we try to make dating a regular part of our life. We don’t get to go out to dinner once a week like some of our friends do, but we do go as often as we can.

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How Do You Relate? As Friends, Partners, Lovers, or All Three?

ID-100138616On our last post How Are You Two Related, I started talking about how in every marriage we have different and unique ways of connecting with our spouse. And that the important thing was to find your connection points and work from your place of strength as you work to improve other ways to connect with each other.

On this post I want to start taking a look at how we relate to our spouse in three major categories; friendship, partnership, and lovers. As far as I can tell, any connection we have with our spouse will always fit into one or more of these areas. But the challenge we face is understanding how to move in and out of each area and how to find good balance of all three ways of connection.

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To Do or Not To Do A “Honey Do”

1229548_22900413Janet and I are still going through the process of our first move in twenty years, so it has been hard for us to keep up with our writing or even posting pictures on FB. In light of what we are presently dealing with I thought I would share a few thoughts on a subject that has come up in our own marriage a few times over the years.

The “Honey Do List”

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When is it Okay to Talk About Past Hurts?

“The past should be left in the past.” I’m sure many of us have heard this at some point in our marriage. And, I’m sure many of us have said this ourselves at some point.

But the question is: is it ever possible to talk about the past and the hurts from our past? And if it is, when is it okay to talk about it and when is it not okay and how do you know the difference?

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Is Your Spouse Good Enough?

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How does your spouse measure up? Is there something about your spouse you wish you could change? Is there something about them that drives you mad? Or have you reached a point where you find it hard to see anything good about them at all?

If this is you and you find yourself feeling disappointed because your spouse is not everything you expected them to be, you could be heading down a dangerous road right now. There are many reasons for a marriage to fall apart. But one of the most subtle ways that goes unnoticed is when a wedge is driven between husband and wife over lingering disappointments in each other.

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Don’t Use Bad Words

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Prov.18:21(NLT) 

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When I wrote the post “Held Together With Words,” I stressed the point of how valuable and powerful our words are and that it is with the words we speak that we create or tear down our own lives. I also talked about how important it is to maintain the integrity of our words by not contradicting ourselves with what we say.

So now I would like to go into a little more detail about our words. There are some words we should never use with our spouse, our children, or anyone else for that matter. It may sound funny for us as adults, but there are some Bad Words that we should not be using.

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Yes We Can Because We Have A Plan

mXgj9wAProverbs 16:3 (NLT) 
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

 

It takes a plan to get somewhere in life. If we are driving to work or a store, or even on a long trip, we have to have some sort of plan to get us there. Our plan may be written down or it may be a mental image, either way we have an idea of how to get from where we are now to where we want to be.

Without a plan we could be going in any direction and have no idea where we will end up. Without a plan to give some structure to where we are going we will be like water that flows in any direction on  a path of least resistance and always settling for the lowest point.

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Yes We Can Because We’re On The Same Team

ID-10097577Everyone of us have to face some difficulty. We may not be going through the same stuff, but I know each of us have challenges we all have to deal with. And I know those challenges seem to have a way of testing us in ways we never thought we would be tested.

Some of you may be dealing with some serious marriage issues that have you worried over how it will all work out. I know, I’ve been there, and it is certainty a tough place to be. But no matter what you are facing, you have to keep in mind that you and your spouse are on the same team.

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Is listening Really that Hard

 

“To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.”     Francois de La Rochefoucauld

 

To have good communication you have to develop the skill of  listening.

Very often in marriage the reason one spouse will not open up and talk is because they feel that when they do, they are not being listened to. They shut down and give up and they absorb themselves into something else they can succeed at. The frustration for the two of them grows and the bad habits of wrong communication grows as well.

Listening though, is not as simple as it sounds. Listening is about engaging your whole self and not just your ears.

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Is it Safe to Talk?

Psst. Do you think it’s safe to talk?

Sometimes communication with your spouse can be very scary. You want to be open and honest with your feelings and your thoughts, but your afraid it will create more problems for you. You might even feel like you’re trying to walk through a mine field and your afraid if you say the wrong thing it will blow up in your face.

Can you say what you need to say without anyone getting hurt? Can you talk about what you really think or feel? Or will your words be used against you? Will you be ridiculed, insulted, or dismissed? These are very real questions that must be answered.

 

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It Takes Skill to Build a Great Marriage

Day #9 of this series, Marriage Ministry, who needs it?

When Janet and I started dating it didn’t take long before we were feeling deeply in love. We both believed we had finally found that special person we could spend the rest of our lives with.

After eighteen months of dating, we were married and the roller coaster ride took off. We soon fell into destructive patterns where we thought everything was great at times and then other times we were separating and seriously flirting with divorce.

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Tips to Keep Your Marriage from Drifting Apart

Couples sometimes need some help to keep their love from fading and their relationship from drifting apart. Drifting apart is all too real for so many couples and I would go so far to say, it is something that happens to all couples at one time or another.

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The key is knowing why it happens and what you can do to change it.

Why do we drift?

The word of God teaches us, (Gen.2:24) that marriage requires for a man and a woman to be joined together, and they become one flesh.  The KJV bible uses the word cleave for joined together. Other translations use the words embraces, united, and cling. The picture here is that the covenant marriage relationship is to create a bond of oneness that is so tight there can be no separating what used to be two.

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Two Wrong Ways to Handle Conflict

It all starts out the same. A man and woman fall deeply in love, they start with an irresistible attraction for each other, and then they find they are connected on so many levels of compatibility. They can’t possibly see their love fading or their marriage struggling. But then it happens, their first major fight and they wonder what in the world just happened. Before you know it they’re fighting all the time.

Most marriages start out good with all the love you could possibly want. Then as the stress of life and conflicts over differences set in, something begins to change. Bit by bit they watch a good marriage go bad.

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What’s the Message You’re Sending?

Messages without words are being sent to our spouse everyday; sometimes they’re good messages and sometimes they’re not. And very often we are sending messages we never intended to send.

We have had huge misunderstandings in our marriage. Times when one of us would say or do something out of our own foolishness, pride or selfishness, and then the other would interpret the message to mean something it was not intended to mean. READ MORE »

Becoming Best Friends for Life

How did we go from having a really bad marriage for twenty years to a marriage that has become everything we had hoped for? Well first of all, it took God’s grace, some counseling, and a lot of work. But along the way we discovered something very powerful, something we had lost through all of the fighting and communication breakdowns, we discovered how to be friends again. And the truth is we discovered how to be friends in a way we had never been before. READ MORE »

How to Solve 90 Percent of All Marriage Struggles

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does it feel when you want your spouse to understand you? To understand the reason behind the way you think or feel. They may not agree with you. Their opinion may be different from yours. But you want them to at least understand your perspective. You want them to understand why you see things the way you do. What you want is for them to have empathy.

In this final post on the series Getting That Stubborn Stain Out. We will deal with the letter E from COFHE. We have used this acronym to deal with commitment, ownership, forgiveness, hope, and now E for Empathy.

Research Shows

As you may remember I took this acronym COFHE from the teachings of Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. In their book, “I love you more,” they said, “Research has shown that 90 percent of our struggles in marriage would be resolved if we did nothing more than see that problem from our partner’s perspective. Empathy is the heart of love.” READ MORE »

Held Together With Words

 The words we speak everyday are the ones that make all the difference in marriage. We can use our words to create and build a beautiful relationship, or we can use our words to diminish the beauty and eventually destroy the very thing we have given our lives to. We get to choose how we frame our world by the words we use.

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Prov.18:21(NLT) Now, that verse says a lot all by itself. I have quoted it for a long time, but this version gives a fresh perspective. We do reap the consequences of life or death from the words we speak. And sometimes from the words that are left unspoken. READ MORE »

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