Wow.  As I cut and paste the second half of this treasure, (you can find part ONE here) I’m overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of lessons learned. Pace yourself, because it’s a lot of information, but it is SO VALUABLE!

When I was praying about this speaking engagement, I kept asking God to place on my heart what He wanted these mamas to hear.  An image I kept getting in my head over and over again was one of our physical homes–apartment, condo, house, whatever it is.  Each night we lock the doors and windows, securing our families.  I cannot tell you why, but the Lord kept bringing my mind to the verse in 1 Peter talking about how our “great Enemy, the Devil” prowls around like a lion, looking for someone to devour.  I continually was picturing Satan prowling around our marriages, looking for a crack in the door.  If we let our guard down, if we fail to secure our homes, he will find a way in and pounce.  That crack may be a moment of discontent, of comparison, of bitterness…anything that the devil can use to put a wedge between and husband and wife.  We are all imperfect and vulnerable. 

Satan CRAVES broken marriages.  He works overtime to tear down what God has joined. But just as fiercely as Satan craves them broken, God longs for them to be thriving and healthy.  Healthy, God-centered marriages very often produce healthy, God-centered children.  And healthy, God-centered children?  CAN CHANGE THE STINKING WORLD.   Let’s not let these treasures go unheeded!   


-Give him some space.  Let him go camping, or play basketball or golf without being a martyr. He will be grateful and glad to come home to you.

-Take your finances seriously. Take an active role. Set financial goals TOGETHER.   Remember, you are a team!

-Make your new family unique.   The process of building your own family can get mixed up with each of your original family dynamics so it is important to decide what you want to keep, change or eliminate from your childhood family traditions.

-Find community you can trust. Walking through marriage just the two of you is lonely and dangerous. Find other couples you respect and trust, perhaps those who have been married longer or have more wisdom, and ask them to tell you all their secrets. Never stop learning.

-Create a habit of not keeping secrets from each other.   Train your heart, your eyes and your mind to love your one and only, “forsaking all others.”

Plan appreciation surprises.  Make a special day on any day.  I have done post- it parties in his car, special treats, notes in his lunch, notes on the mirror when he got up, set up a good morning treat, doing a chore he hasn’t gotten to, signs on the garage door when he pulls up. 
 This is something we involved our kids in as they grew, and it was a wonderful family practice to encourage each other with surprises.

-Date night can save your marriage.  We committed to a weekly date night years ago and believe me, there are times when going out, getting dressed, making that effort was the last thing I wanted to do.  But it got us through the crazy years and continues to be a touch point for us.  It’s a connection place to keep us from becoming isolated.  It’s not always fun, but always important.  🙂

 Leave your kids and go on vacation. Start with one night if it’s hard to get away.  Once you start doing it, it becomes easier and well worth all the effort to get your kids situated while you are gone.  This man will still be around when your kids are gone, so you better figure out how to enjoy him now!

NEED HIM.  Our culture sends a message that as women we should not ‘need’ our men.  It is a vicious ploy of the enemy that leaves us fragile and anemic. But our ‘need’ of our husbands helps them grow into the men they are destined to be!  Moral of the story: you can need your man and still be strong and capable! 

-Choose the right time to discuss a problem issue. Don’t ambush him or bring it up when you both don’t have time to talk, or if one of you is exhausted. Make a date to talk when you are both rested and calm. Okay, sometimes issues have to be discussed when they need immediate action.

– Remember that he can’t read your mind.  YOU HAVE TO TELL HIM WHAT YOU ARE FEELING.

– Make sure to make time to just talk.  When the kids went to bed, instead of a book, computer, or TV, try to just sit down and catch up.  We noticed when we did that other things would run better. 

Laugh together often. Like, laugh HARD together. We make each other laugh, we find TV shows and movies that make us laugh, we’ve established inside jokes from when we were dating up until now that make us bust up every time.

– Communicate! I used to be silent when I was upset, but I realized it was a type of manipulation. I would hang out there for a few days, shutting him out.  The Lord showed me that was sin, and I had to have a conversation with my husband even if it was so hard for me.  We had to learn how to talk in a healthy way about everything–sooner than later so we weren’t tripping over the carpet all the unspoken stuff was under.

– My husband and I have found some good freedom in making a point to get so honest with one another. Talk about the small things before they become big.

-Communication is key. I once read an article that challenged couples to rid their marriage of rhetoric. Instead of asking, “How was your day?” Ask specific questions that solicit honest answers like, “when did you feel frustrated today?” or “When did you feel the love of God today?”

-Have a yearly big girl talk with your spouse. Ask specifically how you can meet his needs. Where you are falling short as a Christ follower, wife, mother. Be ready for it with lots of prayer and acceptance.

Stop stressing over the little stuff.  Get over it!  Life is too short with the one you love.  I have so many dear friends who have lost their husbands.  That has had a huge impact on my marriage.  I want to live each day like it’s our last day together.

-Take vacations together. The planning process can be fun. It gives you a reason to dream and look forward to time together. When we can’t afford it, we do staycations in another part of the city that we haven’t seen to keep costs minimal.

At the end of the day prepare the kids to go crazy with excitement that daddy’s home, then set the timer for 20 minutes and let dad change his clothes and unwind before you unload about your day or the kids tackle him.

-Go to a marriage conference once a year.

-Daily ask yourself—would I like being married to me right now?

-Fiercely fight for your marriage, not because it is fragile but because it is precious.

-Pray, pray, pray for your husband, even when you are mad at him. We often have no idea how the enemy is trying to weaken him, and undermine him as a believer and a godly husband and father.   

-Ask your husband how you can pray for him.

-God is in the life-changing business. You are not. If you have a problem with your husband.   Tell him once, and let God work the rest.

-Invest in your own spiritual growth.  Never stop striving to be more like Jesus.

-Ask God to make you the wife that your husband needs you to be and asking Him to make you the wife that God wants you be.

– Marriage is a battle so it must be fought for day in and day out.  You and your husband are on the SAME SIDE, fighting against the enemy. It can’t be taken lightly and especially during those crazy baby years.  It still needs to be a priority.  As a wife I must make a choice, even when I don’t always feel like it to get up and love my husband.  Maybe choosing to keep the house a bit cleaner, change out of my sweats and take a shower, serve him, it’s in those small daily choices that I can tangibly love my husband beyond myself.

– Don’t try to change him. Let God do that. Work on your own actions, and ask God for the ability to see your husband through His eyes.

-Find a godly couple you can look up to.  It might be your parents or someone in your church.  It’s important to see a healthy marriage and be encouraged and challenged by that example. There’s a lot of wisdom that can be passed on and shared so don’t miss it.

FORGIVE. It is so worth it. A marriage can survive even the deepest and biggest of wounds because of the power of forgiveness.  We have hurt each other so much and have forgiven miles and miles of sins and offenses, and I don’t regret it one bit.  Being married as long as I have has ONLY happened because of forgiveness–radical, ridiculous, life-giving, Jesus motivated forgiveness. The season of marriage down the road (where I am now) is SOOOOOO sweet!  Having said that, it required a sturdy and solid and ‘out loud’ vow to the Lord in the midst of the hardest year of our lives that “Lord I will NOT divorce him and YOU WILL HAVE TO HELP ME forgive and stay put!”  Our God is in the resurrection business! He can bring back to life a dead love! 

-Spend time with the One who put your together in the first place. We’ve had seasons of being really consistent in our devotions and times when we haven’t, but it always blesses our marriage when we make a commitment to starting our day that way.  We’ve done devotions together, individually and then later shared what we’re learning with each other, either way…do them! You’ll never regret it, and pray, pray pray.  Pray with your spouse, for your spouse, for yourself as you work toward being the wife you are called to be…He hears each one.

– Praying together as a couple hasn’t just “happened.” We have to make it happen, be intentional. It’s totally something we want to do, to pray over our future, to pray for each other, pray for others, and we we do we are SO blessed and realize how important that is and feel so unified in our marriage. It’s something we’re still working on.

– As a wife, if I remember I am first called to serve Jesus, and He has called me to respect and serve my husband.  Remembering this makes it easier sometimes when I don’t feel like it.  I have even seen this played out for wives in seasons when their husband wasn’t respectable.  When their heart was determined to follow Gods calling, by respecting their husband they were respecting Jesus.