5 Ways to Stay Positive About Your Marriage

Have you ever found yourself in bitterness and resentment toward your spouse?

Maybe you see a friend post about how their husband surprised her by doing the dishes before she got home and you wish your husband would do that. Your co-worker gushes about the romantic evening her husband planned for her birthday and you remember how your husband forgot your birthday last year.

Maybe your wife doesn’t watch sports with you, and your co-worker took her husband to Wrigley Field this summer. You watch the way your friends flirt and hold hands during your double date, but you know your wife is uncomfortable with public displays of affection.

Do you find yourself comparing your marriage to the couples around you? or those on Instagram and Facebook?

Stay Positive

Let me remind you… No human is exactly the same, therefore no marriage is exactly the same. Not to mention, no person or marriage is perfect! 

What makes you just like all those couples you see, is that you all face hardships. You all have a level of brokenness, fault, & problems.

Comparing their instagram photos to your real-life-in-the-grind moments isn’t fair to anyone. Nor is it good for your soul.

So let’s turn this train around! How can we stop the negative feelings and start seeing that glass half full again? Here are 5 small tips:

1) Keep a Journal, but Burn the Pages

A Christian leader I respect and admire unwinds his mind and reflects on his day through a journal. Writing has always been a great way to process things, as well as reflect and reminisce through. However, he reflects back on the positive, but any page that is negative he rips out and burns. It is good to process your negative emotions, but it is never good to hold on to them. Take the time to do the hard work of processing, and the best work of letting go.

2) Keep a Record of Good

The Bible clearly states that Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). But I do encourage you to keep a record of good.

A friend of mine keeps a list of all the reasons she fell in love and married her husband. She tucks it into the pages of her Bible and reminds herself daily of his strengths after her time with God. Make a list of your own and keep it as a book mark or reference when the time’s get rough.

3) Call it When You See It

Don’t let a good moment pass without recognizing it. It’s easy to take all the little things for granted, but you can develop an eye for noticing the simplest of gestures. Just like we choose to see the annoyances rather than dismiss them, we can choose to see the good and dismiss the bad.

We used to keep a chalkboard in our kitchen. Whenever we noticed something we would write it down on the board. It was a shout-out that their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Sometimes we would get competitive and try to out do one another in love. What a great way to utilize that competitive nature!

4) Assume the Best

It’s easy to take offense quickly. We often react assuming our partner meant to hurt us with their words (aka He meant I was fat!). But it’s much more likely that they don’t mean to hurt us. They loved us enough to marry us afterall.

So take a deep breath, remind yourself they love you, and assume the best.

5) Pray Over the Rest

If we spent the same amount of time we do berating, arguing, complaining, nagging, resenting…. and instead praying for our spouse, the more effective our time would be spent. Prayer can do a funny thing though. Instead of fixing your spouse, it tends to fix you. Prayer can fix our heart by softening it towards our spouse, increasing our grace and our mercy towards each other.


What are your tips for turning away bitterness? Do you have a simple habit that helps you stay focused on the positive?




Summer Dates You Will Want to Repeat

Summer is my favorite season! With the warm weather life seems to open up again. The possibilities grow as we are able to get outside, move, and soak up the sun.

In this favorite season of mine, I’ve also noticed favorite dates play on repeat. Here are the Summer Dates we come back to time and time again.


Ice Cream Dates

Ice cream is simply delicious and especially refreshing on a warm day. Repeated nearly weekly, Tappy and I will sit down and enjoy some icecream together.

This is Summer’s version of a “coffee date” for us. It gives us a treat while we unwind, share dreams, and update each other on our week. But there are some ways you can spice up your ice cream dates! Try to…

  • Make Homemade Ice Cream
  • Make Sundaes or Root Beer Floats at Home
  • Try a New Ice Cream Parlor
  • Order Something Different off the Menu


Sunset Walks

Unwind from work, eat supper, and then right before Dusk put on your walking shoes. The sunset not only offers a lovely backdrop for a romantic walk, but it also offers a break in the day’s heat.

Walks are great, because men enjoy side-by-side activities. As you move and the blood gets flowing, your brain starts moving too. Tappy can’t deny that he talks more on walks than sitting down at a table. There is just something about moving together! Plus it’s healthy!

  • Walk Your Favorite Neighborhood
  • Walk the Trails at your Local Park
  • Visit a Botanical Garden or Zoo


Outdoor Grilling

We love grilling so much, that we have done it in the rain and snow before… But let’s face it, it works much better in the summer! Our favorite thing to grill is Kabobs. Although, we won’t turn down a BBQ hamsteak, corn on the cob, burgers, or sausages either!

Keep your partner company while they make dinner, eat it outside on paper plates, and enjoy the relaxing nature of it all.

  • Try a new Grill Recipe (Kabobs, Grilled Pizza?)
  • Invite friends over for a cookout
  • Use this marinade recipe we love!
  • Make it a Picnic


Visit the Lake

Tappy and I love to take out the family boat. Being on the lake reminds me of God’s hand in all of creation. I admire His work, and think about the blessing He has given us to enjoy it in such neat ways. Who thought of being pulled by a rope attached to a speed boat just to skim the surface of the water on sticks?! I’m pretty sure God gave man that idea.

  • Swim in the Lake
  • Lay on the Beach
  • Go Boating, Tubing, Skiing
  • Kayak or Canoe


What Summer Date Ideas do you play on Repeat?

Give us some suggestions for our next date night!

Why #LoveYourSpouse Challenge is Good

I understand why people are rolling their eyes at the #LoveYourSpouse trend…  Because the reality is, life is NOT A FAIRY TALE.

And for most people who are against the trend rightly feel that it is a little too polished and perfect to be true. However, this challenge is a reminder of something all couples need a little more of.

Positivity. Bonding. Forgiveness. Solidarity. Encouragement.


Here are three short reasons why the #LoveYourSpouse Challenge is a good thing.

-Keeping a Positive Outlook on Your Marriage is Healthy-

I’ve shared before that Tap and I have made a commitment to not bash each other in public. When we do this we feel safe in our relationship, we don’t fear embarrassment in-front of or away from our spouse. Our spouse knows our deepest and most hidden flaws, and with this rule I feel safe with him knowing all of me.

So no, facebook doesn’t show the reality of our roller coaster relationship, but it shouldn’t have to. Fights are for us in our own space and time, until they’re too big- Then they’re for us and a mutually trusted counselor or wiser couple.

-Telling and Sharing Your Story is Bonding-

In all of my communication & relationship courses in college the theme of “story” was studied. The premise was that “memory sharing” creates and reinforces a bond between two people. Just watch a couple recite their story, over time they can finish each other’s sentences and they can repeat this story with bravado! You also begin to see them lean into each other, and show outward signs of affection.

Why? Because, once you walk down memory lane it tends to resurface some of those initial butterfly feelings.

Furthermore! Every positive memory is like an investment in your relationship. So when those imperfect hard times hit, you have an investment that softens the blow! We need to keep remembering the reasons we love our spouse, as well as create more reasons and memories for future hardships.

-We all Desperately Need Encouragement-

We should never stop encouraging our spouse… or our friends, family, or other marriages and love stories.

Just after 4.5 years of my marriage, I may feel like I’m not the woman my husband married. Fear that I have disappointed him with the pounds I’ve gained, the patience I’ve lost, and the slow change of personality that happens with experience and time. We all doubt ourselves, and need the reminder and reaffirmation that our marriage is still strong in the midst of challenge or change.

Even in a healthy, loving, committed relationship, I’m glad to still hear I love you.. still.

It is important to remind each other that we did, do, and will always love one another, despite the surfacing flaws, bumps in the road, and challenges we face.

And in a world that pushes divorce, selfishness, and the pursuit of happiness over holiness, it’s good to see love conquer.

How about you? Will you be joining the challenge? Why or why not?


What was the last book you have read?

My friend Kelsey is a great wing-man. She made a pact with one of her friends that she would weed out any poor candidates who tried to hit on them while they were out on the town.

If a man ever came up to one of them, the other would ask this question: “What was the last book you’ve read?” In order for the single guy to get any further, he needed an impressive answer with an interesting book review to follow.

Would you be able to pass the test?

Luis Llerena at Stocksnap.io

This question won’t just come up after a pick-up line, you’ll come across this question in social circles as well as college and job interviews. In fact, I just saw it on Michael Hyatt’s blog post: “25 Questions to Ask in the First Interview.”

But why ask this question?

  1. It tells us if you read

People who read tend to be more intelligent, imaginative, intuitive, and prove to be self-improving. If you are not reading, you are not growing. Therefore, it is an attractive quality to read- not only in a mate, but in an employee.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

I can Read with My Eyes Shut! by Dr. Seuss

In a world of few readers, reading gives you a leg up on the competition.

2. It gives us a glimpse of you

What you read shines light on your interests, passions, and dreams.

The last three books I’ve read are: His Needs Her Needs (Harley), Savor (Niequist), and Justice Hall (King).

This can tell you that I am passionate about marriage: both improving mine and helping other’s. Through Savor, a daily devotional, I desire to stay close to the Lord. Then, in my spare time I enjoy an intellectual mystery. Adventures with Holmes and Mary Russell teach me new words, concepts, and observation techniques, as well as purely entertain me.

I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Books are able to transport us… We either slip into a character’s skin, meander in a new town, or take on others’ experiences and skills.  Books can shape our minds and lead us to greater things.

What books have you let shape you?

What was the last book you have read? What does it say about you?

Why I’m Tired of Hearing “Marriage is Hard”

When Tap and I first got engaged we were constantly reminded by many well-intentioned friends and family that “marriage is hard.”  Hearing this repeatedly sure puts a damper on the excitement of finally being a fiance instead of a girlfriend, the oncoming dreamy wedding, and the happily ever after that follows.  Because of this negative-nancy feeling, I try not to ever say this myself; atleast, not without a disclaimer.


“Marriage can be work, BUT it can be fun.”
“Marriage is hard, BUT it is worth it.”


Skitter Photo on StockSnap.io

I know there are a LOT of people out there who struggle in marriage, and wrestle with the idea of divorce.  The divorce rate proves that much. Divorce is everywhere, but what about the flip side? How much marital support do we see in today’s culture?

It is easy to side with our dear friends, especially for fear of losing the friendship.  When they come to us with the struggles of their marriage, it can be tempting to add on more reasons why their spouse has failed them.  Quickly the line between sympathy and discouragement is blurred and we become part of the problem-adding another number to the statistic.

Except in the cases of emotional, mental, and physical abuse; what our friends need most is an encourager, a warrior in the battlefield next to them, a personal advocate for their marriage.

We need to step alongside our friends and let them know that they aren’t alone, because, like we’ve all been told, marriage is hard.

Maybe it’s time to put on some humility and let them see a few of our own battle scars.

We should remind them of all the good in their partner, share with them the strength that comes with each obstacle that’s defeated, and share with them that there’s light at the end of the tunnel if they would just.hold.on.

Really, if we attended their wedding, this is what we vowed to do.  They vowed to each other for better or worse.  Then all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, all of the wedding guests, the father that walked down the isle and the mom crying in the front row, we all attested in that moment that we would fight for their marriage too- That they did not have to fight for it alone, and we would stand by their vows and by their marriage. So, that’s what we should do.

Have you ever felt tempted to join the negativity of marriage? Have you chosen to be the one friend who encourages marriage instead of encouraging divorce? What are some ways you can fight for your marriage and your friend’s marriage?


Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated[d] always in her love.
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?[e]

Proverbs 5:15-20

Troy Lowe & Jennie Prather

Troy is my oldest brother. I don’t remember too much from my childhood. I knew I was never allowed in his room, and his door was always shut.  I visited him in his apartment, in his first tiny house, then later in Chicago, Florida, and even Minnesota.  My mom said she was worried that, because of our large age difference, we would never bond.

We did.  Eventually, I would get to stay the night at his place and do nails with his wife Jantina.  We would watch cool movies and t.v. shows that I didn’t watch back home.  They taught me videogames and how to use a tivo.  However, we really connected over karate. I had so much respect for my brother, I wanted to do something like him.  My mom refused to sign me up, so I asked him if he would when he was visiting.  He did, and then I was in karate.  It gave us something to talk about, and when he moved back to Illinois, it gave us something to do together.  I loved sharing that with him, the car ride, the class, and so much more.  We would go to Sunday School together, we would talk about faith, we would play board games, and we would do karate.

Troy is my big brother, who I know will always protect and love me.  He is black and white, and gives you a straight answer when you ask.  He is faithful to his wife, and He is faithful to God.


Jennie is my hip sister, she claims she’s the middle child, but there is no middle of 6.  She would babysit me and let me and Travis call in to Nickelodeon.  I’d watch her eat crackers and would do workout videos with her.  She took me on a lot of her dates to Chuck-e-Cheese and Jungle O’Fun.  She taught me how to line dance, and how to have fun.

We drowned her car together, she took me to the newest Disney movies like Parent Trap and Anastasia, she watched me throw up in a movie theatre… haha.  She encourages me to work out and teaches me how to do it well.  She answers my texts right away even when they are out of the blue.  She knows all things Disney, and is willing to help anyone plan their next magical vacation even though it probably makes her a little jealous each and every time.

Jennie is fun-loving, and laughs longer than anyone I know.  Her laugh is contagious and makes me happy.  If you want to feel young, she knows how to do it and show you a good time.

Jennie and I


A couple from our church, who are beautiful examples of God’s grace and love, approached me with an idea.  They wanted to host a cookout at their home for all of the new guests at our church, and invited us to join them in hosting the event.

God blessed the idea, and we were given a sunny 70 degree day in October!  Although invites were given and thought of for a variety of individuals, a common thread was weaved between the one’s able to attend. Those who responded, were all young families with children.  It seemed to be more than a coincidence, so we let the invitations stand as they were with a hope to create another cookout for the other pool of guests.

When the day came several children, fairly close in age, were able to run around and play together as their parents met, roasted hotdogs, and ate.


I couldn’t help but think, “This is the real Church.”  People coming together to laugh, share, and eat.  Sounds of joy from children chasing one another outside among God’s beautiful creation.  Shadows cast on the grass, a roaring fire to warm our food & hearts, and the freedom to be completely yourself.  It is refreshing to see everyone dropping their inhibitions, leaving their crisp white Sunday morning dress to the wayside, coming in jeans and boots and muddy hands on children.


We aren’t singing in perfect unison, eating perfectly round wafers, with pristinely pressed pants. We are not sitting up straight, avoiding the people at the end of our pew-looking forward as if they are not there. We were coming together to love one another, talk, and reach out our hands to the other.  We experienced another side of church, in the backyard, having a cookout.

Technology Diet

Technology is fast. We have a plethora of information at our finger tips.  The only thing stalling it, is our WPM (words per minute).  The capabilities are limitless! It is truly amazing to watch discovery after discovery, with simple days or months in between.  It is so fast that once we have all our friends on myspace, the world moves to facebook.  By the time we learn facebook’s layout, it changes, and then changes again.  We have our money saved up for the newest iphone, but now we can just wait, because a newer one will be just around the corner!

But the rise of technology was and is so fast, that we haven’t approached it with caution or care. We blinked, and our babies can swipe open an ipad!  I can’t say whether or not society talked about the effects of unleashing the power of technology before they did it, but I can say there’s a buzz about it’s aftermath.  How has technology affected you? Your family? The way you relate to others?

Technology adds a lot of value.  I am able to skype my best friend in Washington state, when I live in Ohio.  Every morning I can call my mom in Illinois.  Listening to her over speakerphone so that my hands are free to apply my day’s mascara.  Facebook keeps me in the loop of friends that would otherwise be long lost.  My instagram feed is full of my growing adorable baby niece, Harper.  There are a lot of things I am thankful for in the realm of technology.

It’s pretty cool how God created the world, and from the very beginning, He created the possibility of technology.  He laid all the pieces we needed out before us.  I picture Him delighting over every discovery His children make.  Like a proud father watching his child discover their own fingers, begin to crawl, and finally say “dada.”

However, every good thing can be skewed, changed, and used for a different purpose. Satan can manipulate all things to serve his purpose instead of God’s. I can’t help but see the danger of technology as well as it’s benefits.

“The average American over the age of 2 spends more than 34 hours a week watching live television” –Nielson Numbers Daily News. That means television alone sucks up nearly 32% of our awake day.  This doesn’t even include our use of the internet, and cell phones.  According to Arlene Pellicane, author of “Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World,” on average we check our cell phones 30 times an hour!  Are you letting technology feast on your time like this?

When we are so caught up in the next episode of our favorite sitcom, or replying to that text message that flashed on our screen, we are missing out on face-to-face time with our loved ones.  So what can we do to reign in this power?

1) Pray about it

Seek God’s wisdom and leadership.

2) Fast it

Fasting is a religious discipline where you abstain from one thing to focus on another.  Fast from technology, and focus on your relationships.  Build a safe environment to share deeply with one another, know one another, and have FUN together.

3) Schedule It

Write out a plan, put it on the calendar.  Create boundaries for you and your family.  When do you use technology?  Three times a day, 2 hours, only on weekends?

4) Monitor It

Constantly check in and revise your plan.  Ask yourself : How did I use technology today?  How long did I engage?  How did it benefit me?

If it doesn’t benefit you, it’s a waste. Throw it out.

A Calendar Surprise

As you may have noticed, time has been on my heart and mind lately. It was my goal last week to schedule in more free time, so that I had the freedom in my life to say yes to God. Ironically, a class I am taking had the same idea! God sure speaks through irony!

Our activity sheet had a week’s calendar on it. Monday through Sunday was listed on the top of the chart, with every hour listed along it’s left side. Then, given a typical week, we were to fill in all the hours with the average tasks. Getting Ready and breakfast 7-8, Work 8-5, Band Practice, Church, Bible Study, Zumba, etc. Once the chart was full of the mandatory items, you were to highlight our heavily outline all the free-time you had. From the 10 minutes to the hours.

I was SHOCKED! Why? Because I had a lot more free-time than I thought.

Look at all the free-time I had been squandering! Couple minutes here, hours there… they were all being spent, but without my knowledge and without my attention.

Perhaps, like me, your problem isn’t TIME after all, but intentionality. How are you spending the time God has given you? Are you on facebook, and before you know it you wasted an hour or two? Were you watching Netflix, and because you didn’t want to get up you let the next episode auto play? And the next, and the next? Are you hitting snooze too often, and avoiding your quiet time with God?

This exercise opened my eyes, and my calendar! I have more time than I know, but it’s up to me to spend it wisely.


“O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!

Psalm 39:4-5

Multitasking : The Great Goal

Multi-tasking is quite the phenomenon in today’s generation. Job descriptions require it, the business savvy may list it on their resume, and women boast of their biological ability to switch easily from left and right brain functions.  Technology has been invented to aid us in the pursuit of multitasking; It raises the bar saying, “You can do more.” Just today, my i-phone allowed me to talk on speaker phone while getting directions while driving…. And if that’s not enough, I can just double tap and toggle over to see the latest tweet, or to google an address.

Culture implies that it is no longer enough to be busy, but that we must fill every spare second we have with not just one thing, but maybe two or three. However, multi-tasking has a lot more negative effects than we realize. Studies show that an individual’s productivity drops by 40% when they are multi-tasking.* Errors rise, and the length of time it takes to accomplish one given task nearly doubles. Repeated exposure to multi-tasking creates a biological urge to do more. Jumping back and forth between activities can release a spark of adrenaline, that the body craves in increased quantities over-time.

Because of the fast-paced multitasking world we live in, we struggle with maintaining focus. One task seems boring. We cannot drive without also talking on the phone. It is nearly impossible for one to go on a date without impulsively checking their text messages. We have to troll the internet while watching TV. During all of this we are missing out!

We miss the time that our spouse says we look nice, when our favorite character the Dowager Countess makes a smart quip, when the car is trying to merge into our lane. We miss our chance at love, laughter, and life.

Let’s stop multitasking.  Let’s unplug from technology that aids us in this endeavor, and instead let’s focus on one thing at a time.  One important thing after another.  Not only will we be more effective, more productive, but we will be more alive, in the moment, and here for those around us.

*For more articles and research on multitasking: