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     with Kathleen

Love & Marriage – Surviving, or Thriving?

I wanted to share something personal with you. April 12th would have been my anniversary date with Wayne and it would’ve marked 32 years. Wayne went to heaven just 8 days before our 30th anniversary.

Many people asked us to do marriage counseling but we were so compatible and single minded in our focus on Jesus, we didn’t hardly have any problems. So, counseling was something we both felt unqualified to do.

However, Wayne really wanted to share the secrets to our marriage success that we built over the years. And I thought you’d be blessed, and who knows, maybe even benefited in some way by the marriage tips we came up with from life’s dusty roads. So here you go!

Be Blessed!



1980 Lindale, Texas

Saturday, 10 a.m. April 12. Picture a cattle ranch in Spring planted on the rolling greens of E. Texas, light rain tumbling down. Family and friends crammed into the big living room of the stone cobbled ranch house, worshiping God.

Keith Green was there, our reverend, who was doing the ceremony. Keith was even the one who, in a gust of Jewish zeal, had jumped in the middle and ‘match-maked’ us. But that’s another story.

That was 30 years ago. And we’ve had an amazing journey as a married team. Right from the start we told the Lord if we couldn’t do more for His kingdom as a married couple, then we would stay single. He has honored our desire.

It has been said, “marriage is an ongoing series of negotiations.” You might enjoy checking out some of the tips we’ve learned for thriving, not just surviving.

Tips for Thriving

 1. Keep it funny
Life is tough, and being married adds on a few more challenges. Keeping your sense of humor is essential. Be intentional. ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine.’

2. Don’t forget your, “I do’s”
Remember your vows. That’s the first step in being sure you don’t break them. We made it a practice to review our vows to each other from time to to time.

3. Addiction proof your family
Nothing tears a family apart faster then addiction. Addictions isolate people and drive relationships apart. No one is exempt. Watch over each other.

4. Nip it in the bud
Never let the sun go down on your anger. When you get hurt by your spouse, or disappointed, take time to cool down but don’t stew overnight.

5. “Don’t make me hurt you…”
We have a dog that we like to aggravate. It’s fun to tease her a bit but if you push her too far, she gets snippy. That’s her way of saying, “Don’t make me hurt you!”

Think, “space and grace,” when we give this to each other, we swerve around a load of hurt.

6. Keep it real
Right at the starting gate, we decided we wouldn’t keep any secrets from each other. We’ve shared our dreams, struggles, failures and victories. So comforting.

7. Don’t start with a sour note
Your first 5 minutes in the a.m. sets the tone for the rest of the day. Hug, greet, laugh, compliment, kiss, support. Have a smart start.

8. Leave your weapons at the door
Keep your home a “No Combat” zone. Post this sign on your front porch, “Leave your weapons here, you won’t need them inside.” Your family is not the enemy.

9. Whatever you do, never ‘dis’ your partner
If you tear down your spouse, you’ll be married to a torn down spouse. If you build up and respect your spouse, you’ll have a strong, happy partner to run with.

10. Slip into something sexy
Make yourself useful, put on a serving attitude. Looking for ways to serve your partner, because that is the language of love in any culture.

11. Rope yourself together
The financial mountain is a tough climb. Be careful to approach it as a team, set your goals and strategies together. Be aware that you may never agree, be generous, always be wise.

12. Stay in school
God put you together because you need each other. Take on a humble attitude and learn from your spouse. Don’t miss out on becoming a better person.

13. Keep the rudder in the water
Don’t allow any emotional drifting. If you find yourself getting emotional gratification from someone other than your spouse, STOP! Run home. Emotional adultery can ruin your marriage.

14. Leave the competition at the gym
A competitive attitude can be a great thing at work or play, but it doesn’t have any place in your marriage. Remember, you are on the same team.

15. If your partner ain’t  laughing, it ain’t funny
Just say ‘No’ to joking at your partners expense. We decided very early in our marriage that we would never downgrade each other in our joking.

16. Make room for gratitude
Paint your home with gratitude. Make it a point to stay grateful for all that your spouse does. Be careful not to miss the joy of expressing gratitude to your partner.

17. Learn to sing the sorry song
Nothing oils the gears of marriage more than humility. Be willing to see when you’re wrong, and quick to admit it. Keep a sensitive watch over your partner’s feelings.

18. Don’t expect your expectations to be met
If you have a desire, a plan, or something that is important to you, be sure to tell your partner about it. And don’t blame them when they don’t meet expectations they were unaware of.

19. The complaint see-saw
Never complain more than you praise. If you don’t express your gratitude for the things they do, then you don’t have the right to complain about the things they don’t do. See-saws are no fun if you never get to go up. Be sure your partner get’s plenty of lift from you.

Dating is for married people too. No matter how busy you are, make time to get together and enjoy each other. Marriage is a gift, keep it healthy.

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