Friday, February 27

Silly Advice...?

Anonymous left this comment on our last posting:

That is the silliest advice I have heard on marriage. I totally disagree with the notion that we will (left to our own) tear each other down and be selfish. The best marriages are ones that are strong from the start - ones with people who actually love each other. If you find yourself working that hard to keep your marriage together then I suggest taking a look at why you got married in the first place. In looking at my friends the best marriages are the ones that require the least amount of work. If you are working non-stop then perhaps you errored in who you married or have the wrong focus. Just my two cents.

Thank you for the feedback! It is nice to hear from the readers and get some discussion going.

There is a law of nature, the law of disintegration, that states that everything goes from order to disorder...whether it is a new car that is driven off the lot, a new business that starts up or a clean house that is all in order. If left without management and close attention, they all begin to erode. So it is in a marriage. A husband and wife will drift apart if a marriage isn't given the proper attention. Even the best marriages, where two individuals are perfectly in tune with one another, need good habits to sustain a quality relationship and that is what this posting is proporting.

I agree that the best marriages are the ones that are strong from the start, but there are many of those that fall apart over the years if GOOD HABITS aren't in place. The posting was all about the GOOD HABITS that this wife had with her husband..communication, time to enjoy one another, spend time together, etc.

A good marriage takes work. A good marriage is hard sometimes, but so is many worthwhile pursuits.

I can encourage readers that when good habits are put in place in your marriage, your relationship will flourish and grow deep roots. Over time, a marriage with good habits just works...and no longer is considered hard work!

Please keep reading this blog and giving us your two cents, anonymous.

Wednesday, February 25

Guest Contributor...

Stacy and I asked one of the original "Homemakers with Hope" to share some thoughts about how she keeps her marriage a priority. She is a young mom of 2 daughters...

"I would be the first to say that keeping my marriage a priority is very difficult in this day and age of our fast-paced society. We are all so busy doing things that are good that we easily lose sight of what is best (i.e. our marriages). I do feel like I need to state the obvious, but the ideas I list below are things we do but we do them all surrounded in a blanket of prayer everyday. We know that left to ourselves we would choose to be selfish, we would choose to fight against each other instead of work together. It is only through our individual relationship with Jesus that allows us to see each other through God's eyes and allows us to have the marriage that God himself designed. Without His strength and goodness flowing through us, we would not be able to maintain a good marriage on our own. So that said, here are a few practical ways Jeff and I have chosen to help us keep our marriage a priority.

First, we choose to talk often about our relationship. We talk about our goals and dreams as a couple. This helps us stay focused and connected and moving in the same direction. It is very motivating to make something a priority when you are moving together in the same direction to meet a common goal.

Second, we purposely put ourselves in situations that make us communicate (even and especially about the everyday things) as much as possible. One way we do this is we have only one car. It not only allows us to save money, it makes us talk everyday about what we are doing, our schedules, and ultimately our feelings about those things going on in our day. It helps us stay on the same page which is really important in a good marriage.

Third, we try to schedule regular date nights. We are fortunate enough to have our parents close by to help watch our girls so we can make this a reality. Time away together is essential to making your marriage a priority. Along with the date nights we try to foster activities that we both love. We love to go to movies and out to eat. When going out isn't an option we will often rent or re-watch a movie that we both love. Doing things that we both love helps maintain the relationship and helps us keep it a priority."

Wow, great ideas and insight...thanks for sharing Betsy!

Monday, February 23

Marriages Hit Hard Times

I have to believe that there are many marriages that are hurting these days.

According to the Association of Bridal Consultants, more than 67 percent of newlyweds believe the most serious conflict in their first year of marriage is about money. In addition, of the 40,000 consumers who call in to Cambridge Credit Counselors for free financial advice, about 4 percent blame money problems for their divorce. (from

Our economy is hurting and that has got to have an affect on many of our marriages.

What's a wife to do when her husband loses his job? When groceries cost more than the budget allows? When there is no money for the 'extras'?

There are many tips given to help extend our money but I think a wife can do even more. She can be there for her husband.

Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth in their book, What Happy People Know, state that most people struggle with 2 basic fears:
Fear of not having enough
Fear of not being enough

Husbands who are concerned about their inability to provide for their families during these tight times struggle with these fears.
This can be a wonderful time for a wife to grow in her faith in God and love for her husband. As women, we can have a profound impact on our husbands by finding contentment with what we have at this time. As wives, we can have a profound impact by letting our husbands know that we love them even when their role as a provider is compromised.

I am not sure who gave me this financial advice, but I have found it so helpful:
1. Spend on things that matter
2. Save for things that matter
3. Give to things that matter

Be a wife who quietly applies this advice. Then spend the rest of your energy on enjoying what you have and loving your husband for who he is.

Friday, February 20

Two Good Choices

I read an article by Pam Farrel, a 'relationship specialist' who stated:

"There are many ways to mess up love because humans can have a bent toward selfish, controlling, and basically not-so-smart choices"

I thought of Stacy's post from yesterday. She mentioned that she had to be mindful of her choices because there are so many 'good' choices to choose from. I think, as women, we have so many interests,so many choices, we need to ask ourselves what might be the best choice.

Pam has a list of the Top Six Snares to Long Lasting Love:

1. Think, "I can handle a schedule that has almost no time for my spouse."

2. Live at a pace that rarely allows for 'red hot monogamy' (sexual intimacy)

3. Ignore boundaries with the opposite sex by meeting alone with opposite sex

4. Think, "I deserve it," and reward your hard work with an unhealthy habit like pornography, food, drinking or shopping addiction

5. When stressed by work, unload on your mate with anger, negativity or demands.

6. Ignore alarms that past baggage is trying to reclaim ground in your life (tramatic childhood, addictions, anger, critical spirit, etc) Often your spouse will be the first to see the symptoms and bring up the topic which is met with hostility. denial, or rationalizing.

Being aware of these snares may help us make better choices.

The article ends on a good note. In a nut shell, she says to make 2 good choices daily:



Make it a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 19

Chossing between right and right

The following excerpt is taken from an article printed in Marriage Partnership. I love the explanation about the two kinds of decisions we face and how the author describes priority on!

Q. You've said decisions are of two kinds. What are they?

A. Aside from minor decisions, like which way to drive home from work, they tend to be moral decisions or priority decisions. Moral decisions are choices between right and wrong. To make the wrong choice is sin. The power to make correct moral decisions results from our desire to have integrity and the enabling power of God.

But priority decisions are choices between right and right. They represent our choices about how to allocate our time and money. Deciding whether to take your wife out to dinner or play ball in the city league that night is a priority decision. Working on Saturday mornings or spending that time with family is a priority choice. Investing in the stock market or staying liquid is a choice between two acceptable alternatives. The only imperative in making priority decisions is to be wise—to choose between good, better, and best.

But aren't some decisions really both?

Yes, decisions with both moral and priority implications are not merely about how to spend time and money, but carry with them the full weight of God's principles. Buying a new car is a simple priority decision when transportation is the consideration. But the decision to buy a luxury car we covet which robs money from higher priorities, like savings pledged to college tuition or tithing, takes on the added dimension of a moral issue—a choice between right and wrong.

Patrick Morley, formerly in real estate, now serves the Christian men's movement. Adapted from The Man in the Mirror (Zondervan, 1989) by permission.

The author says that the way to make priority decisions is to be wise. So it is with marriage. Daily we can choose between two right things, to good options, two wonderful opportunities on how to spend our time and energy. But in order to make our marriage a priority, we have to ask ourselves what is the WISE thing to do? What is the BEST thing to do?

And ladies I believe it starts with us. In my home, my husband will almost always choose family as a priority. I, on the other hand, have a multitude of activities and events to choose from and some are very tempting.

I am thankful for the advice of using wisdom when choosing my priorities.

Tuesday, February 17

Making your marriage a priority

In the survey we offered last fall the number one topic chosen was Making Your Marriage a Priority.

As a girl who fills her day with to-dos, activities, outings and project after project, this is an area of great struggle for me. We’ll address this topic in the coming days, but be assured: we are writing to ourselves as much as we are writing to you. Please feel free to share your questions about this topic or ideas that you have found are invaluable in helping you make your marriage a priority.

Debra Evans in the book Blessing Your Husband, says, “Marriage is the most important human relationship a man and a woman voluntarily commit to in live. It was designed to survive raising kids to adulthood and all of the stresses and strains involved in family life.”

She also quotes Gary Smalley about the Art of Flexibility: Gary states that many women have their days planned from morning to evening and when something has to be changed, it ruins their day. “Your schedule is important, however you need to maintain a balance by being able to set aside your priorities from time to time to pay special attention to your husband and his needs.”

Questions to ponder this week as we discuss making your marriage a priority:
What kind of reaction does my husband get when he walks in the door at night? Or when I greet him at the door as we both return home from work?
Am I already writing my to-do list in my head for the evening or weekend? Where does my husband fit on that list or schedule?
How many opportunities for blessing and celebration have I missed with my husband because of my determined choice to stick to a schedule or remain preoccupied with my daily work?
When was the last time we sat down and had a one on one conversation together? Or when have we had a night or weekend alone together in the past year?
What would it look like to make my husband and my marriage a priority?

Monday, February 16

Where's My Focus?

I was looking forward to reading The Power of a Praying Wife when it first became popular. I was always eager to pray for my husband...because there was so many areas to cover with the Lord:)

Imagine my surprise when the first chapter was all about ME. The author, Stormie Omartian devotes 23 pages writing about wives. It's the longest chapter in her book.

Her point was...don't bother praying for your husband if you aren't ready to pray for yourself and your relationship with your husband. Praying for our husbands isn't making a list of complaints and bringing them before the Lord. It's really about praying for understanding so we can become the wife our husband needs.

Dr Steve Stephens and Alice Gray wrote The Walk Out Woman. They offer 2 helpful questions for women to ponder when their marriage is frustrating and their husbands remain a mystery. Gary Thomas, in Sacred Influence, offers a 3rd question:

1. What's it like being married to me?
2. What's it like hearing the words I say?
3. What's it like living with my attitude?

These questions keep me in prayer most of the day.

Friday, February 13

Home Improvement...Valentine's Day

"I wish I were younger...I could be married to you longer!"

Wow, is that the ultimate line for a perfect Valentine card or what?!

Have fun tomorrow with Valentine's Day.

Brent Curtis and John Eldredge says in The Sacred Romance: "The most crippling thing that besets the pilgrim heart is simply forgetfulness, or more accurately, the failure to remember."

Remember the 'good stuff' about your spouse tomorrow and then let the Valentine celebration begin!

Thursday, February 12

82 years!

Every morning I turn on the Today Show to catch up on news and see the weather for the day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Willard Scott does birthday wishes for those who have lived many many decades....

Today they acknowledged a couple who had been married for 82 years. 82 years!!!

She was in her late 90s and he was 102.

Can you imagine celebrating 82 anniversaries?

I was inspired. I was encouraged. I was challenged!

I am about to celebrate 8 in a few weeks.

I got to thinking about what it takes to make it for 82 years (besides getting married as a teenager :).

I"m guessing their love is not reserved for one special day a year in February. I'm guessing they've learned how to give and receive love 365 days a year. I'm guessing they've faced hard times together, good times together and unexpected times together.

This Valentine's week I'm inspired by a couple I've never met....whose commitment to one another and to marriage challenges me to keep on keeping on - on Valentine's Day and every day.

Wednesday, February 11

The First Valentine

"The story of Valentines Day begins during the heyday of the Roman Empire, which held a festival every February. This Lupercian Festival was held in honor of the God of Fertility and during the festivities young men would get to choose their mate. At the time marriage was a common occurrence, but when Claudius became Emperor he changed all of that. Fearing that men would refuse their duty to fight because they would not want to leave their wives behind, he outlawed all marriages. Young couples still fell in love though and still wished to marry and they took these desires to the Catholic Bishop Valentine who, understanding love, began to secretly marry couples. When Claudius found out, he had Valentine arrested and ordered put to death. While waiting in jail, Valentine began exchanging letters with the jailer’s daughter and soon had fallen in love with her. The day he was to be beheaded, he wrote her one last note and signed it: ‘From Your Valentine’." (from Google)

The jailer's daughter and Valentine only knew each other by the letters they wrote to one another. Their love blossomed.

That's the power of the written word.

Mark Twain once said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment." Perhaps this Valentine's Day we can follow Valentine's example and Twain's advice and write out a few compliments and present them to our spouse. So often we think the good thoughts, Valentine's is a great day to express them.

Just think, if Mark Twain had beaten Valentine to the punch and written out a few good compliments to his wife, he could have invented Valentine's Day...but would that mean we would have to call it 'St Twain's Day'?!

Tuesday, February 10


Tonight my husband and I were watching The Biggest Loser on television and it seems that every other commercial was for jewelry for Valentine's Day. Clearly, someone out there believes all women want jewelry for this day of love.

Ryan asked me after one of these commercials what I wanted for V-Day. My response: a Dustbuster. Sexy huh? But I do really want one to quickly vacuum up little spills, dirt under the table and to vacuum off our furniture easily. Can't imagine what that commercial would look like!

So I asked Ryan, "What do you want for Valentine's Day?" (typically we don't exchange gifts but I thought I would ask just to see his answer...). I won't write his answer, but he is a guy so you can guess what look I got :)

While I'm not into buying or receiving expensive chocolates, flowers and jewelry for V-Day (that doesn't count baked goodies!), I see no reason why we can't use this day as another opportunity to tell our spouse how much we love and respect him. What a great time for me to give Ryan want he prefers most of the 5 love languages - quality time. What a perfect day to celebrate the blessing of marriage, love and Christ-centered commitment.

Yes we can let Hallmark or Kay's Jewelry dictate 2/14 or we can decide for ourselves how to celebrate it in our own relationships....showing love, sharing love and celebrating love.

Monday, February 9

Ahhh, Love Is In The air!

I love Valentine's Day. I love all the fun things that the stores promote this time of year. Maybe it's the RED color that excites me, but I do love Valentine's Day!

My husband and I met and married within a 6 month time frame...and then he left for a 6 month stint with the Marines right after our honeymoon.

When we began living together as husband and wife...well, we had alot to learn about one another. Praise God, His hand was in our marriage because I don't think that anyone would advise 2 people to marry who hadn't even experienced 3 seasons of the year together!

One good thing that did come out of our whirlwind marriage was GOOD HABITS! I don't mean hygiene habits, I mean habits in the way we treated each other. I don't think we intentionally set out to develop good habits, we were just strangers who treated each other kindly and spoke with respect. We married before we had down and dirty fights! We had promised each other "til death do us part" so we must have instinctively responded with GOOD HABITS as we interacted those first years.

Since then, I have read that true ROMANCE is a relationship with GOOD HABITS! Dean and I could be the poster couple for that definition:

We don't go out to dinner on Valentine's

He doesn't buy me jewelry

I don't make him a 4 course meal

He does occasionally buy me flowers

But we have ROMANCE! I haven't always acknowledged that. There were years when I felt bad I didn't get wined and dined...until I realized I didn't need that 'bling' to convince me of Dean's love. I needed his daily care and concern that comes from his kind and good habits.

Good habits...treating each other with respect, enjoyment, and kindness has built an atmosphere of ROMANCE into our marriage that is dependable and certain.

Dr Laura says "CHOOSE WISELY" then "TREAT KINDLY". It's all about the habits.

Saturday, February 7

Action expresses priorities

Priority is defined as:
1. something given special attention

2. highest or higher in importance, rank, privilege, etc.: a priority task.

This week my priorities have been my family. Samuel's Gotcha Day was a big priority this week as was my husband. He received a fabulous job offer on Monday and all week we have been talking and praying and discussing what to do (it involves a possible move or him commuting out of state).

I believe I have given special attention to both my boys this week. Other things have fallen by the wayside while I poured my time, energy, planning, etc. into the two of them.

That is definitely not always the case.
Sometimes we can say this is my priority or that is my priority. But when it comes down to it, how have we spent our time? How have our actions reflected our priorities?

Gandhi says: "Action expresses priorities."

This weekend reflect on how you would answer the question: What are your priorities? Then take notice of how you spend your time.

I believe this will give us all something to ponder.

Thursday, February 5


"Do you, Ryan Dale May intend to provide for this little baby until he is of legal age?"

"Do you agree to take care of him even if he has mental or physical problems in the future?"

These were just some of the questions that Ryan and Stacy were asked at court today.

Today was "Gotcha Day"...a day of celebration for our family. Samuel Lee May was officially recognized by the court to be the son of Ryan and Stacy.

It was very official.

It was very emotional.

It was very fun.

As we entered the Juvenile Court, we were screened by security. Even Great-Grandma had her cane scanned and her shoes checked! It caught me off guard that security would be so tight, when we were coming there to celebrate.

The ceremony lasted about 10 minutes...with a lawyer asking the questions, a court reporter documenting it all and a judge who happily declared Samuel to be the son of Ryan and Stacy.

Not a dry eye could be found.

All thought about work, emails, blog postings or daily tasks took second place today.
Today was all about praising God for His perfect gift of Samuel Lee May. Today was about smiling at anyone and everyone that crossed our path.

"Gotcha" has a whole new meaning for me!

Tuesday, February 3


Balance, that's what I am striving for when I think of priorities.

A balanced that I can control. But life has taught me that balance may be a myth. Try as I might, I have not found a formula that allows me to fit all my priorities neatly onto my calendar.

Too many unknowns

Too many interruptions

Too many people vying for my attention

Rather than balance, I think I am after a 'well-ordered heart'.

That's what you had yesterday, Stacy. You were able to choose Ryan over the blog or other daily demands because your heart was in tune with God's. Your heart was 'well-ordered'.

Do I dare tell you how long it took me to learn that lesson?!

Daily I have to seek to love God with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind. On the days that my heart is 'well-ordered', I am ready to meet the needs of everyone I care about and my own needs will then be met as well.

Now, I have to husband is asking me when dinner is going to be ready?!

Monday, February 2


So I meant to blog all day today.

In fact I had a chapter from the book Blessing Your Husband by Debra Evans all picked out to reference in my posting.

I didn't get a chance to review the chapter until late afternoon. Then Ryan got home earlier than usual and I still hadn't blogged. So once we had dinner I decided to sit down to write today's posting.

I turned to chapter 5 titled "The Blessing of Right Priorities." Just as I started to type, my husband came to the couch where I was sitting and asked if we could cuddle for a bit. I was heading out at 6:30 for the evening and he wanted and needed some quality time.

I looked at my computer screen and my book. I turned to him to say that I needed to blog so I wouldn't have to do it later tonight.

But then I could I possibly sit here and write about making your husband a priority while telling my husband that blogging was my priority over spending time with him? The irony was overwhelming.

So I closed my laptop, shut the book and cuddled on the couch for 30 minutes.

Ladies it's one thing to write about priorities. It's one thing to think about priorities in your head. It's one thing to say that your spouse is your priority.

But to live it out.

Now that's an entirely different concept.

We'll talk about it more this week. I hope. But no promises because I'm striving to make sure my actions match my words.