Marriage Maintenance 101…STOP TRYING?!?

Marriage Maintenance 101…STOP TRYING?!?


How many of us have good intentions when it comes to our marriages?

  • We try to go on dates…
  • We try to have time to connect…
  • We try to communicate in a healthy way…
  • We periodically attend a marriage enrichment event and try to remember what we learned…
  • We read a cool  marriage tip and try to use it in our relationship…

We TRY all these things but eventually all these attempted TRIES…these GOOD INTENTIONS…fall by the wayside and we can find ourselves drifting apart instead of growing together.

How do we have a thriving, not just surviving, marriage? 


What do you mean stop trying, you may ask?

Stop trying and instead be proactive and  purposeful in prioritizing your marriage relationship.

When we are PROACTIVE in our marriage, we are purposeful in prioritizing our marriage…time, sacrifice and energy are given in order to grow our marriage


Here are some of our MARRIAGE MAINTENANCE KEYS in “Purposely Giving Marriage Matters Priority Because Marriage Matters…YOUR MARRIAGE MATTERS”.



PROACTIVELY schedule a Marriage Maintenance weekly check-in where as a couple you purposefully, prioritize Communication Time, 1-2 times a week to “check in”, where you communicate beyond the surface communication:

  • Coordinate schedules.
  • Check in with each other’s hearts.
  • Talk about areas in your marriage you would like to strengthen along with brainstorming how you will do this?
  • Establish actions steps as a team and hold yourselves accountable to the action steps.
  • No cell phones, no interruptions, 30-60 minutes.
  • This weekly check-in is a marriage  team meeting to praise the positive areas in your relationship,  establish your playbook for areas you would like to strengthen, and determine strategies to grow your relationship.


PROACTIVELY plan dates…we schedule things that are important to us.

  • Plan date nights, date days, date mornings…whatever works for your schedule.  The key is getting time together, just the two of you, on your schedules and then scheduling around your established time together.



PROACTIVELY cultivate learning, nurturing, strengthening and growing your relationship.

  • There’s a difference between getting away together (which is important) and getting away together to enrich your marriage.  Marriage Enrichment is both fun and provides fuel for growth as a couple.



ALL couples benefit from having marriage mentors, coaches and sometimes marriage counseling.

Seeking Godly counsel and wisdom is a good thing…it is a wise and advantageous thing to do for your marriage.  We seek advice and counsel in other areas…makes sense to seek it for the most important earthly relationship we have: our marriage.

What is a marriage mentor?  A mentor couple is a couple older than you, more seasoned in life than you are, has experienced married life longer than you have and is an example of a Godly marriage.  That does not mean a mentor couple has a perfect marriage.  We tell couples, we don’t have a perfect marriage, but we allow the PERFECT ONE, Jesus, to perfect us.

Are there deeper wounds?  Need inner healing from the past? Is there any trauma in your past or present?  There is help.  Don’t stay stuck.

The well being of a marriage is directly impacted by the well being of the individuals in that marriage.  Many times, the “issue” in marriage isn’t a marriage issue…it’s unresolved “baggage” from our past, that we all have, that we bring into our marriage.  Then we end up taking it out on the one we love the most…our spouse.

Here are some  Christian Counseling and Marriage Coaching resources:


Marriage is not the end goal in a relationship.  It’s the beginning of a lifelong journey of learning to love someone like Christ.  It’s not about being happy but rather becoming holy like Christ.

This takes PURPOSEFUL, PROACTIVE and PREVENTATIVE effort  to communicate, be quick to forgive and remember you are on the same team. (Check out our blog for more about our TOP 3 Marriage Maintenance Keys).

There is no win/lose in marriage. We either win together or lose together.  Let’s learn to fight together for our marriages as we turn our hearts to God, which equips us to keep our hearts turned towards each other….walking hand in hand in this beautiful covenant God created for Himself, a husband and a wife,  when He made Marriage.

Love & Lead Like a Man

Hey men, what does it mean to be “intentional” when it comes to our wives?  This is a fascinating topic and one that deserves some discussion…Ok if I go first? LOL

In all seriousness, it’s a topic that’s not only fascinating, but also one that can be challenging (or even frightening) if men aren’t prepared and equipped with the HOW and WHAT behind it.  Case in point – a friend recently asked me to speak about this subject at a men’s small group he regularly hosts.  It’s a group of like minded fathers from our local community and he typically expects 7 or 8 guys to show up…this time there were a full dozen in attendance as this topic literally drew men in to learn more about being the husbands & fathers they desire to be.  Kudos to those who showed up eager to grow and mature as Christian men!Be intentional in your marriage. Marriage advice, tips and tools on our website.… | Couple quotes funny, Funny marriage advice, Marriage advice

Here’s what we talked about in that small group…

  • Our Finances
  • Shared Intimacy
  • The Children

Studies show the top three reasons people get married are money, sex & children.  Those same studies (ironically) show the top three reasons for divorce are the same…money, sex & children!

Men, if those are the top three things we need to be on guard about, then we (as the spiritual leaders of our families) should be intentionally leading our wives in those areas.  They need us to be (i.e., they love and greatly appreciate it when we are) intentional in these (and other) ways.

One simple truth to keep in mind at the beginning is this…

A woman’s greatest needs are love & security!

It brings our wives great “security” when we are intentionally leading & initiating which, but the way, is how God created us in the first place.

So, let’s explore each of these (in no particular order)…

The Children
Praying over them (while in the womb)
Paying with them (as children)
Praying for them (as they grow & mature)

As men, we don’t need to know all the answers, we don’t have to be able to recite the most eloquent prayers, and we certainly shouldn’t think we have to “rule with an iron fist” to command respect.  Here’s what we DO need to do – be the sacrificial leaders of our homes.  Yep, that’s pretty much it!  Maybe that’s easier said than done, but Jesus is our example as he willingly sacrificed Himself for His bride (the Church).Fierce Marriage - Husbands are called to lead their families in a loving, Christ-like way. Doing so is a massive privilege and a huge responsibility. Unfortunately, leadership can be hindered by a

So what about this prayer thing?  We lead by initiating it!  Be the one to say, “hey baby, let’s pray”, then take her hand and pray (out loud) with your wife. Even if you aren’t experienced at praying, it’s OK…there’s abundant grace as you get started.  In fact, in men’s ministry we often encourage men to just start out with an 8-second prayer.  Anyone can pray for 8 seconds!  Maybe something like this…“Dear God, please bless our day, keep us safe, guide us with your wisdom, and let your favor be upon us.  In Jesus name.  Amen.”  BAM…8-seconds. Done! But don’t stop there…as you practice and get more comfortable, the Holy Spirit will lead you and impress upon you more and more things to pray for.

I can promise you this…you will quite literally FILL your wife’s “security tank” to overflowing by doing this…there’s nothing like it!

You can do this!  You have what it takes!

Our Finances
Key word = “our” (aka “shared”)

One of the most important keys, as it relates to finances in a marriage, is to view the finances as “ours” – not mine, and yours!  When we get married everything becomes shared…our house, our cars, our children, our schedule, and OUR finances…including any debt that either spouse brings into the marriage.  This is a crucial component of what we call the “the law of possession”…meaning everyone is equal, and everything becomes joined when we marry…just like we are joining our souls together in a one-flesh covenant before Almighty God.

“Well what if we get divorced?”  It will be extremely difficult, stressful and messy…so you better work on your marriage!  That means, being intentional!

Another thing we highly recommend is to have a joint bank account, shared credit card, mutual investments, etc.  Having things separated can lead to secrecy and dishonesty…keep those temptations away from your marriage and out of your finances.  Don’t even give the devil an opportunity to cause division in that area.

So men, lead & initiate when it comes to the finances!

Many times I’ve heard men say, “you don’t want me anywhere near the finances, I’ll mess everything up, it’s just better that she handles everything.”  To that we say, “if the wife is more skilled (administratively gifted) at keeping the checkbook, handling the bank statements, paying the bills and doing the taxes – fine, let her do it!  But the man should be the one to initiate conversations and prayer ABOUT the finances, the budget, the giving, etc.  Bring God into it by leading your wife in this way.”

Shared Intimacy
Intimacy is not sex!

Men, our wives want & need non-sexual touching!  That means holding hands, cuddling, or a back rub WITHOUT an ulterior motive.Intimacy = Into Me See | Marriage quotes, Intimacy, Relationship

Please don’t throw anything at me!  I know, I know…it can be a difficult concept for a man’s brain to comprehend that getting physically close with our wives doesn’t always have to lead to the full on act of sexual intercourse.  Biologically it’s not how we are wired…so that’s where being intentional comes in.  We can “practice” this by being affectionate with our wives in little ways, while exercising that all important fruit of the Spirit of self-control.  This too will fill her “security tank” and you’ll be well on your way to having an emotionally healthy, satisfied and fulfilled wife.

We often teach couples to look at the word “intimacy” this way…

INTIMACY = into me you see

Genuine intimacy means “knowing” each other in a real, authentic, truthful & honest way.  Do we really see and hear each other?  Do we cherish and fully understand each other?  That’s where true intimacy starts.  When we can open up our hearts (the Holy of Holies) to each other by communicating our feelings, our fears, our dreams & desires and let our spouse into the deepest places of our soul.  That, gentlemen, is real and authentic intimacy.  AND, from that a great sex life blossoms and grows.

I hope this has been helpful to you today, and that you are encouraged to BE INTENTIONAL as it relates to the most important earthly relationship you have – God’s gift to you – your best friend, your partner, your teammate – your lovely, intriguing, fascinating, and beautiful wife!

Cultivating INTIMACY in Marriage

Intimacy is defined as a “close familiarity or friendship; closeness.” We all long for unconditional acceptance and closeness. We want to be cared for, known, understood, and loved for who we are.

Proverbs 19:22 . says, “What is desired in a man is steadfast love”

That kind of love is unwavering…it is new every morning as Lamentations 3:22-23 refers to God’s steadfast love for us.  It is a faithful, intimate love.

Being intimate involves the “mixing of our life with another, a mingling of souls, a sharing of hearts”. This is something we all long for because it’s how God made us. We were designed to connect.

We are made in the image of God…we were designed to know God and to be fully known by Him.

Author Timothy Keller said:Timothy Keller Quote: “But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.


The answer is YES…but it’s our response to Christ and a relationship with Him that equips us to love and be loved, because our Heavenly Father is the one who fills us through our intimate relationship with Christ.


When we dated, we pursued each other, spent time together, served one another, communicated, and intentionally prioritized the relationship.  Then we got married.

If marriage is the end goal of dating then day one of marriage becomes day one of  drifting away from each other towards isolation.  But if marriage is the starting point, then marriage is an intentional pursuit of each other’s hearts…a life long journey together of being known and fully known by each other with the Holy Spirit as our guide.

We get married and have an unrealistic expectation of what marriage will look like.  Marriage is work.  Getting married is easy; but staying married and even more importantly having a passionate, loving, thriving…not just surviving marriage… takes intentional effort. It’s continually communicating, being quick to forgive, and remembering you are on the same team.

We tell couples, if the enemy can’t get in front of you to stop you; he will get behind you and push you so fast that you will lose each other in the midst of the fast paced race of life.


Protect Your Marriage by Establishing Boundaries – In God's Image

  1. Be intentional
  2. Schedule time together
    • Make an appointment and protect that time. We make appointments for things that are important to us.
    • Pray together; read a devotional; read at least one marriage enrichment book a year together.
    • Schedule date nights, date mornings, day dates…whatever works for your schedules..BUT SCHEDULE THEM.
    • Use this time to debrief, check schedules, discuss the budget, make a budget, get on the same page with the kids. Marriage is a TEAM…work together.
  • Take a Sabbath
    • God created the sabbath for a reason…to rest, reset, reconnect…do you have a sabbath time together where you are intentionally connecting?
    • Sunday is our day…minimal work.  We rest.
    • Look at your schedules…if you have something going on every day, every evening, multiple appointments and commitments…it’s time for a marriage meeting to discuss, TOGETHER, what can be laid down and let go in order to have a sabbath.
  • Has your marriage become child-centered?
    • Marriage only works in  first place under your relationship with God.
    • The children revolve around the marriage..not the other way around.
    • How?  We have to make that happen and teach our children the priority of marriage.  It is INTENTIONAL.
      • Schedule kid free time.
      • Kids need a bedtime that allows you to be friends and lovers.
      • Get a babysitter for date nights; work out a swap with another couple with kids so you can each have a date night once or twice a month
  • Establish healthy work boundaries.
    • Our jobs can become all consuming but we were never meant to be available 24/7 to anyone except God. We should not be married to our jobs…this includes being a full time mom.
    • Sit down as husband and wife to determine together how to establish healthy work boundaries.
    • Make a plan as a team, divide and conquer the chores, errands and evening routine with the children.
  • Establish social media boundaries.
    • Technology is a wonderful tool but it’s a terrible master.
    • Intentional time together needs to be technology free unless you are watching a marriage enrichment video together or there is something you have determined you are doing or talking about that requires your phone.
    • Turn the phones off.  You do not need to answer calls, texts, emails, and check social media when you are having intentional marriage maintenance time.

Intimacy is intentional and  intimacy is not necessarily about sex.  Intimacy is so much more.  The physical act of making love can be the result of the fulfillment of the kind of intimacy we were created for: TO BE FULLY KNOWN & LOVED…FIRST  by God. This is what enables us to love our spouse with the God kind of love.

If we are each serving one another with the God kind of love then we will be led by the Holy Spirit into this beautiful lifelong marriage journey of true intimacy with our spouse. This is what God calls the Law of Purity in Genesis 2:25. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed in every way: physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, relational, financially… EVERY WAY. It's Not All About Sex - 3 Secrets to Building True Intimacy

When we are connected on a deeper, spiritual, emotional, relational  level of intimacy in our marriage, sexual intimacy more naturally flows from that.

The marriage journey inevitably produces all sorts of things to distract us and require our attention.  As we age, as we become busy with kids and work, in-laws, commitments, life challenges and hardships… all these “things” can interfere with us having time to share our feelings, fears, needs, challenges, failures, dreams, goals. When is the last time you and your spouse had intentional marriage maintenance time to talk about and write down dreams and goals for your marriage?  Your children?  Your work? Ministry? Finances? Sex life?  You name it?  When is the last time?


As a result, together you will CULTIVATE GREATER INTIMACY in your marriage.


The Magic of Christmas TRULY Lies in the HEART

It’s that magical time of year!  Christmas is the season of LOVE, PEACE, and JOY right?  We don’t know about you; but sometimes we experience what seems to be an overwhelming mess in the midst of striving to enter into the rest of Christmas.

We hear the Christmas songs, run into the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, embrace the family dynamics, encounter the scheduling and holiday festivities AND somewhere in the midst of the “mess” we want to think that the magic of Christmas will somehow bring with it increased love, unity and intimacy into  our marriage?!?  Wait…this doesn’t just magically happen?

NOPE!  At least for us, we have found that this “Christmas Magic” takes being intentional and it starts by seeing what lies in our hearts. We’ve all heard the saying, “The magic of Christmas lies in our hearts”?  The question is “what is in our hearts?”.

In the midst of the world we live in, where what is considered “love”, what brings “peace” and where “joy” can be found are like waves tossed to and fro, Jesus, the King of Kings, flipped the world upside down and humbly came down from Heaven.  Jesus didn’t run from our MESS…He RAN TO OUR MESS!  Arriving in a stable, in a manager,doesn’t get much messier.

Christmas Traditions That Keep Christ In Christmas - FaithGateway

Think about it.  God so LOVED us that He GAVE His son Jesus to us. Jesus GAVE Himself for us because of His Father’s LOVE in His own heart so that according to John 3:15-17: “… everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”


How do we get that kind of love in our hearts so  we can enter into God’s rest and be blessed in spite of the mess?  Is it possible?  Absolutely.  Romans 10:9 says, “ If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Just as God, who is LOVE, chose to give His son, Jesus;… and Jesus, because of God’s LOVE in His own heart, chose to come down to our mess, we likewise must CHOOSE.

Pin on Pastor/Man Of God

Choose what?  To SAY with our mouth and BELIEVE in our heart that Jesus died and rose from the dead for our mess.  We have to choose to  RECEIVE the salvation, healing and Kingdom prosperity that Jesus died for…His SHALOM…His peace that surpasses all understanding in this world.  We can have the ‘magic of Christmas”… the PEACE of Jesus, right smack dab in the middle of any and every “mess”.


So what does this have to do with Christmas and marriage?  EVERYTHING.  Marriage is a picture of Jesus and His Bride (Christians…those in relationship with Jesus).  God’s LOVE came down at Christmas so  LOVE could come into our hearts when we choose to receive Jesus as Savior. This is the true magic of Christmas…the true heart of Christmas is Jesus…the root of Christmas is LOVE Himself: God.

God’s LOVE is INTENTIONAL.  God Intentionally GAVE.  Jesus intentionally  humbled Himself and GAVE Himself for us.  Love GIVES; Love SACRIFICES and Love SERVES.  Love is INTENTIONAL.

Want the “magic of Christmas” to continue long past the holiday season?  It’s time for a Heart Check.  What’s in your heart?  Don’t let this Christmas go by without receiving Jesus as your Savior and Lord so that God’s LOVE resides in your heart.

Worldwide Missionary Baptist Church of Detroit, MI » Series » Christmas

C.S. Lewis wrote: “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”   When we receive God’s love, we  are then equipped, like Jesus, to GIVE, SACRIFICE and SERVE one another in our marriage, not because of what our spouse has or hasn’t done for us; but because of what Jesus has already done to restore us, in the midst of the mess, back to God. God’s LOVE is INTENTIONAL…it is a CHOICE. BE INTENTIONAL.


Marriage Maintenance Application:

Humbly come together with your spouse this Christmas season. BE INTENTIONAL.  In prayer, commit or recommit yourselves and your marriage to God.  Invite Jesus into your hearts.  Invite Him into the “mess”.  Remember the love that brought you together, repent for neglecting the priority of your marriage and then INTENTIONALLY do the things you did to GIVE, SACRIFICE and SERVE one another in your marriage relationship. Pray together for your marriage and each other EVERY DAY through the holiday season and watch the magic of Christmas carry over into the new year as the LOVE of God grows in your hearts.

Check it out: 15 Ways to Refresh Your Marriage


Our Top 3 Marriage Maintenance KEYS

Over the years couples have asked us what we consider to be the “must haves” in a successful marriage. For us our top 3 are: Communication, Be Quick to Forgive, & We’re on the Same Team (Your spouse has your best interest at heart). Let us explain further…



Communication is what creates intimacy, connection, oneness. Without it we drift apart, become disconnected and increase the chances for misunderstandings. The purpose of communicating is to create understanding.

We communicate with the intent of being understood. Consequently, we are aware of our tone, our body language and the words we speak (Proverbs 15:1 & 15:4; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Our statements stay away from “you” comments and are geared more towards expressing thoughts, perceptions and feelings. For example, “When this happened, this is how it made me feel; although I know that is not how it was intended.”

Similarly, we listen with the intent of understanding. (Philippians 4:9; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 3: 1-4; 1 Peter 3: 8-9; James 1:19; Ephesians 4: 1-3). It is human nature to want to have MY come back, MY response, MY excuse…MY, MY, MY ready even before my spouse is done communicating. That is not active listening…that is listening with the intent of exonerating myself. There can’t be MY in marriage communication. When we entered into the covenant of marriage “I” and “MY” became “WE” and “OURS”…we are one. Therefore, listening with the intent of understanding isn’t about who is right or wrong. It’s about hearing what your other half is thinking and feeling. It’s about sympathizing and empathizing. It’s about understanding a different perspective; because we are different, and we are going to disagree. Sometimes it means agreeing to disagree because the issue really isn’t that big of a deal. Will it matter in 20 years? Extending grace and compassion to communicate is necessary because after all…what is more important, being right or the relationship?



There is a quote by Ruth Graham that sums up forgiveness and marriage: “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” When two people, who are different, by God’s design, get married, it is inevitable that disagreements, misunderstanding and conflict will occur. How we handle those moments, which points back to the importance of good communication, will lend itself to multiple opportunities to extend grace and forgiveness.

We forgive because God forgives us, not because we deserve it. (Colossians 3:13; Matthew 6: 14-15; Ephesians 4:31-32; Matthew 11:25) We have heard Joyce Meyers say that “holding forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die“. Matthew West’s song “Forgiveness” says forgiveness “can even set a prisoner free…be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace…The prisoner that it really frees is you“. Forgiveness is a choice. A marriage cannot grow and be successful when we harbor unforgiveness, offense, irritation, bitterness…those are breeding grounds for the enemy to come in to tear us apart. We will not allow that into our marriage, and we are continually on guard, checking our own hearts, to make sure we don’t give an opening for division to come in.




(Your spouse has your best interest at heart)

There is no win/lose in marriage…no his side/her side. It’s either win/win or lose/lose. We are on the same team. When a sport’s team plays a game, they communicate about the play, execute the play; and when a player messes up, they huddle and move forward towards a win. If the team wins, they all win…if the team loses a game, they all lose the game. Just because one player may have dropped the pass, or missed a goal, doesn’t mean that one player is to blame. The team rallies around him/her and they work together for unity, oneness, and a win as a team.

Our marriage is OUR TEAM…we are in this together. We are each other’s biggest cheerleader. We have each other’s backs, and we have each other’s best interest at heart. When one of us messes up, acts ugly, fails to communicate, communicates unlovingly or disrespectfully, takes each other for granted…the list could go on…we CHOOSE to remember that we are on the same team. My spouse has my best interest at heart and would not purposely do something to hurt, harm, irritate (well, maybe to be irritatingly silly at times…LOL), disrespect, act unloving, etc. towards me.

This is the mindset we choose to have. So, when communication is lacking; when forgiveness is needed…having the TEAM mindset paves the way for a successful marriage play…a ONENESS TOUCHDOWN.

(1 Peter 4:8; Ecclesiastes 4:12; Mark 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:17)


Write these keys on a note card and place on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator and on your dashboard…prominent places that will remind you to put into practice these keys to unlock marriage oneness. Look up the scriptures provided under each key point for further study as a couple. Make a quality decision to put these keys into practice.

  1. Communicate with the purpose of being understood; Listen with the purpose of understanding
  2. Be Quick to Forgive
  3. Be a Marriage TEAM...have each other’s best interest at heart

These 3 keys are a choice, that when executed daily, will produce a marriage WIN/WIN called ONENESS.