Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Only 2 Things

As many of you know over the past year and a half Sally and I have had a complete change of direction at the Hand of the Lord.  Some things that we thought were permanent in our life were abruptly removed.  The problem was that we didn’t want to let go.  Have you been there?

We eventually let go and have been praying, seeking and wondering ever since. Wondering and wandering through a series of options, thoughts and a sea of potential.  We have a glimmer of at least part of where God is leading us, but we don’t have the whole picture.  We are becoming ok with that.  Slowly.  This post is not focused on change…it is focused on The Only 2 Things.

We have seen people make declarations and commitments that something is “for life”. A statement that either it will never change or they will never stop doing it.  I have to say that’s not me, at least not anymore.  For me there are Only Two Things that will be consistently and daily part of my life.  Only two.

  1. My relationship with God.
  2. My relationship with my wife.

Everything else is variable. At this point I hear the thoughts of those of you who are parents (as are we).  “But what about your children?  Why aren’t they included?”  I love our boys and I am proud to be their father.  I treasure any time I have with them.  But they are adults and have begun charting their own paths.  I’ll never stop being their dad and will always love them, but the day will come when we won’t talk as often as we do now.  Where we and they live, life changes, and most importantly the call of God may modify when and how often we communicate.  They will have their own families and responsibilities. We will become smaller players in their daily lives and that is perfectly normal.

But the two things, God and my wife, will both be there as long as we live. In life be prepared for things to change, sometimes by your own decision and at other times in ways that are outside your control.  Let me make a statement that you may already understand or will one day become clear to you.


At some point God will shake up your world. It may be through a job change, a loved one moving or passing away, a need to move to a new city, a call to a different church or one of many other possibilities.  But make no mistake, the life you have now is not permanent.

You can’t control everything, but you CAN control the strength of your relationship with God. Have daily time in the Bible and prayer.  Make God the priority above all else and you will be living in the power of His peace.  You can also control how much love and care you pour into the relationship you have with your spouse.  You can’t control her or his reaction, but God’s Word has taught me that as you put more love in to your marriage then you will see wonderful results.


I’m not saying to neglect other family and friends. A support system is of great value to you AND you should be a support to others who are following after you.  But over time both of those groups will change, perhaps several times.

When it comes down to it there are only two things that are going to be a part of your daily experience for a lifetime. God and your spouse.  Make sure each gets the attention appropriate to the relationship and changes in your life will be less about loss and more about adventure!

Love you all!



2 Challenges

I realize that today is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and many of you are travelling, or if not travelling you may be preparing for guests.  To honor your time and still (hopefully) offer some value today’s post will be short and to the point.

You may remember from the post 22 Years of Failure that until a few months ago my lovely bride and I didn’t pray together regularly.  (On a side note I highly recommend going back and reading that post.  It has a statistic about divorce and couples who pray together that will blow your mind!)  I have to say that doing so has changed our dynamic in speaking about and trusting in God.  Our trust in the Lord is a regular part of conversation now.

One thing I did as we first began praying together was to thank God for Sally.  I am now careful to do so every time.

This is important to me for a couple of reasons:

  • I want her to know I am thankful to her.
  • I want to acknowledge to the Lord that I recognize she is a gift and blessing from Him.


This post is called 2 Challenges.  Over the next few days you’ll likely be spending time with loved ones.  Perhaps you don’t particularly like some of the people you will be seeing.  Your personalities are different; you don’t necessarily share the same beliefs or attitudes.  Frankly they may not like you very much either.  Still, as those loved and forgiven by God we need to appreciate every person the Lord brings into our lives.

Below are the two challenges.  You may find one easier than the other and which one is easier may differ from person to person.

  • Thank God for your spouse in prayer daily, as often as is possible do so while praying together.
  • Over Thanksgiving tell each person who shares the holiday with you some way in which you are thankful for them.

Be grateful to God and thank Him for all things.

Love you my friends!


A Problem With Growing Up

Do you know one of the problems with growing up?  We know what to expect.
For example I am posting this blog on a Sunday. Many of you will head to church in the morning, go out for Sunday dinner (or enjoy a big meal at home), take a nap (slackers ;-)), the men will possibly watch a game and then you’ll either go to Sunday night church, classes or chill out with a movie. On Monday you will get up, some will hit the gym or workout at home, then go to work, come home for dinner and chill out with the TV. A small percentage of you will go to either a second job or an evening job, some will work on a degree or a home based business.

Sounds normal, it’s what people expect and it’s comfortable.

In the middle of your comfortable life have you ever just stopped?  Have you ever looked at your life and wondered, “Is this all there is God?”  Not in an a questioning whether or not God knows what is best, but rather just trying to figure out what’s going on.

I think those are the precious moments, in the middle of our busyness, while we are just “doing life” that God breaks in.

Let me ask you three questions. Is there space in your life for God to move?  Are you open to change from Him?  If He asked would you completely change your current path?

I’ll bet you quickly answered “Yes!” to those questions. Now stop. Just pause and reflect. Reread each of those questions one at a time. Turn them into prayers.

“God, help me to open up my life for you to move.  Change anything and everything as You see fit. I’m ready to go and do whatever You ask wherever You lead.”

What if He asks you to quit your job and start a ministry or become a missionary or (worst of all) to NOT quit your job just yet?

Let me explain why I have the above quote from the book of Mark in this post.

When you tell your young child something they usually take it on faith. They implicitly trust you. Sometimes they like it and sometimes they don’t, but they trust that you will not do them harm.

As adults we believe we know what to expect in life. We have a routine and we expect that routine to continue. However change is inevitable. When the unexpected happens we freak out a little (or a lot) and run to God in a panic.  But following after God means receiving what happens in life  like a little child.

Sally and I are learning that we can only hold on to God and to each other. Our children are old enough now that they can (and do) make their own decisions. At this point we are empty nesters…and that’s ok. Those of you who have children in your homes, especially little children, probably can’t even imagine that time in your lives. It will come. If you have built everything in your lives around your children then the empty nest will be the one of the hardest times in your life.

However if you have built your lives to accept God’s plan as children yourselves then you’ll see this as the next adventure. For Sally and me God is revealing new and exciting things almost daily. It is SO fun!

Let’s wrap this up. Your life will either be filled with change and a completely high stress mess because you are trying to control everything OR your life will be filled with change and an exciting adventure following after God. You can’t avoid change, but if you have faith as a little child then you can minimize both stress and worry.


One last thought. When you open up your schedule, your family, your career and your life up to God you can expect He will act. If you don’t open up these things to God then change will still happen, but not necessarily in the ideal way. If you want the fruit of God’s full plan for your life then you have to ask for it and jump in with both feet!

Love you all!


2X Max Power!

In one of our bathrooms the sink has this regular habit of draining slowly. Every two or three years I have to clean in out. Now, this is a do it yourself (DIY) issue…and if you remember from the Something I Hate post back in July you know that DIY is NOT my strong suit.

A few months ago the issue began again. So like a true man I decided to wait it out. You know, because some problems will eventually solve themselves. Not this one. Over a few weeks the amount of water draining slowed to a trickle and when you washed your hands the sink would quickly fill and you’d have to wait for it to drain. The trail of tiny bubbles let me know it was working, but not in a healthy fashion. We visited the store and picked up some stuff that claimed it could clear a drain in 7 minutes! Hey! Seven minutes sounds great! I’m into problems that can be solved in 7 minutes.  Looks like a solid purchase. At home I followed the instructions. Waiting the 7 minutes was a breeze. But yeah, no change. Waste of money. So I decided to give the problem more time to improve on its own. I waited a couple of weeks (or longer). It became worse. Back to the store. This time they had stuff that said it would take 15 minutes or 30 minutes for “tough buildup”. This was Max Power Gel and looked impressive. The problem we had was tough.   So tough! I gave the Max Power Gel a full 30 minutes then flushed it with hot water. A little improvement but not free flowing. Oh well, something is better than nothing. So I let it go again for a few weeks. Of course it got worse because whatever nastiness was down there quickly attracted more nastiness (remember Danger – Poison!).

Again to the store and they were selling something even more impressive. Scary black bottle with instructions to leave it in for 8 hours. So glad we have a second bathroom! This time I didn’t mess around. I used my plumbing snake (of sorts, it’s this cheapo long metal thing with a tightly wound metal spring-like contraption on the end) to clean out the drain first. Not much came out. THEN I put in the 8 hour stuff. Guess what? No go. The same as before, maybe a 10% improvement. At this point I resolved myself to the fact that I was either going to have to tear apart the plumbing and clean it out or call a professional. I was very resolved. So I waited a few more weeks. Powerful resolve. (If you missed it a couple of those sentences were sarcastic.)

One day I went in the bathroom and the Max Power Gel bottle was on the counter. Apparently Sally had found it and was giving me a subtle hint. I figured I’d give it another shot and followed the instructions as before. Run some hot water, then pour in 1/5 to half the bottle (depending on the severity of the problem). I poured in maybe a third of the bottle. Then we went and did some other things. About 45 minutes later I flushed it with hot water. Looked like a small improvement, perhaps 30%. At this point I decided to go for broke. I poured in every last drop of the Max Power Gel. It was a LOT. Then another wait past the 30 minute mark. I flushed it with hot water, but didn’t stop right away. I let the hot water just go and go and go. It looked like another 20% or so improvement at first, but as the water poured down the drain it just kept picking up speed. After a couple of minutes something came loose WAY down deep and the drain flow increased dramatically. BOOM, breakthrough! Problem solved!

It’s now a few weeks later and the drain is still working like a champ!

Ok, we are over 650 words into this blog and all you’ve gotten is a plumbing story. Let me bring it back around. Most happily married people know that one of the best ways to insure marital happiness is to pay attention to the small things every day. Things like taking a few minutes to spend just talking to each other, doing something one or both of you really enjoys or praying together as we covered in 22 Years of Failure. But every once in a while you have to take it to the next level. You need to bust out the Max Power…twice! Then you have to pour it on like the hot water. What do I mean?

Here are some suggestions: Take a trip, just the two of you and reconnect. Go to a marriage retreat to learn and grow.  Start a new venture together.  Find marriage mentors (Sally and I are certified marriage mentors in case you are looking). If necessary seek a counselor. Some problems you can resolve quickly and easily, but perhaps you need to bring out the max power and JUST CONTINUE POURING IT ON! Keep going and don’t quit until you see the breakthrough.  I made a mistake with the sink by not staying at it and it cost us months of unhappy hand washings Don’t spend days, weeks or even years of your marriage unhappy.  If you have a true problem then just throwing the occasional small solution at it and waiting and hoping it will go away may never work. Get it fixed! (Remember, you and God can fix your problems, but it’s not your job to fix all of your spouse’s problems.)

I don’t know what you are working through. Maybe everything is fine. But perhaps there is a problem. A lack of love? A loss in communication? A secret hidden sin? It really doesn’t matter what the problem is, what matters is recognizing the problem and dealing with it…at max power!

Don’t let problems fester, work through them right away.  It will often be easier than you think.


Remember, no matter what is happening God is with you.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

I love you all!



Avoiding the Path of Destruction

We’ve talked about Why Christian Couples Get Divorced but in this post I want to cover perhaps the most common first step down the path. In fact this first step is incredibly innocent and most people would never even notice the slight shift in their relationship that it causes.

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

-Matthew 18:15

For those of you who have spent much time in the church you recognize this verse as the first of three where Jesus is teaching about dealing with sin in the church. In our the church we previously attended these three verses, Matthew 18:15-17 were used as a broader guide for conflict resolution among Christians.  So if I had an issue with someone else in the church the order of events should always be 1) Talk to the person directly and see if we could not work it out 2) The two of us would get with 2-3 objective others and try to resolve the issue and finally 3) Take it to the local governing body, in that case the church board.  At every stage the people involved and the situation should be bathed in prayer.  I will say I served on that board for many years and we never once had a conflict reach that third level.  The people loved God and each other in wonderful ways.

But do you know what I notice very often? I mean very VERY often?  As people we don’t want to take the first step.  We don’t want to go to the person with whom we have the problem.  We feel more comfortable talking about the person to a third party rather than to the person themselves.

Why did I title this post Avoiding the Path of Destruction?

One of the most common, perhaps the most common first step in the end of a marriage is this: One spouse talking to a member of the opposite sex about their spouse instead of talking TO their spouse. If a husband decides to complain about his wife to another woman he treads dangerously toward an emotional attachment to the other woman.  If a wife talks to another man to let him know how her husband has disappointed her and the family then she is seeking comfort in the wrong arms.

Please don’t misunderstand me. If you have concerns about your husband or wife and you have talked to them THEN you share the concerns with another couple for prayer support you are most likely in a safe place.  If you want to be sure you are safe simply ask your spouse for permission to have the other couple pray for the situation.  In addition there are certainly times when seeking solo professional counseling may be necessary.  But neither of these should be the first step in talking to someone.  After you pray the FIRST person to talk to is your spouse.

Let’s sum this up.

  1. If you have a concern, complaint or problem with your spouse, talk to them first.  Pray together and individually.
  2. If the issue isn’t resolved find an objective other couple with whom to talk together and or pray with and about the situation.
  3. Depending on the severity of the issue seek professional counseling.

Remember this admonition from 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Guard your marriage carefully. Don’t EVER talk to a member of the opposite sex about your spouse in a complaining or negative manner because if you do and don’t stop it could very well be lead down the Path of Destruction for your marriage.

Love you all!


59 Seconds to More Joy

We do some deep posts here at HappierHusband. A few examples include What is Love Anyway? It’s All About You, The 2nd Law and The Most Common Mistake Many Couples Make. We also do some controversial posts such as The Problem with (some) Marriage Advice, 1 Most Common Marriage Killing Habit, Hard Work?, Why Christian Couples Get Divorced and Stop Fighting! Today’s post is not too deep and shouldn’t be controversial…but will increase your joy in 59 seconds or less.

This past weekend my lovely bride and I went on a driving trip to North Carolina…from Illinois. The trip was around 11 hours one way without stops. Four of us piled into an SUV around 8:00 pm Thursday night and drove all the way down to the Winston-Salem area through the mountains in the dark and rain. In case you are wondering we were checking out a company that has some VERY interesting research in a relevant problem for millions of people in the world. A different area than we have looked into before. Ok, back to the story. :-). We stayed there through Saturday afternoon, drove part of the way home Saturday (shout out to Barboursville, WV where we slept) then arrived home Sunday evening.

Due to stops and such total time in the vehicle was around 25 hours. Of that Sally and I were in the back seat together all but about 3 hours. We had a LOT of fun with the other two friends in the car, laughing, singing, keeping each other awake and learning things we probably shouldn’t know.

But one thing Sally and I didn’t do with all that back seat time.  We didn’t really talk a lot to just each other and we didn’t spend much time holding hands.

Monday night after supper Sally was in the kitchen when I walked through. Alas that was my intention, to simply walk through. But something stopped me and I took her in my arms and just held her. I really held her. After about 30 seconds I felt like it was time to let go…but I didn’t. I pushed past that feeling that was calling me to jump right back into the rush of the evening. Did we have things to do?  Yes. Did those things matter at that moment?  No. I said to her “We don’t do this often enough.”  She agreed and time stopped.

30 seconds was too short, but just a little longer made all the difference. My joy shot WAY up.  It changed my night!

Don’t take for granted that you are able to hug your spouse because someday that won’t be possible anymore. We all need to stop regularly and put in some conscious “hug time”.  It’s not about how long the embrace lasts, it’s about staying in the embrace long enough to get past the point where life is trying to pull you away.

Grab your girl (or guy for you lady readers) and slide into a smooth and gentle hug. Stay there. Don’t think about what you have to do. Don’t worry about the dishes, laundry, leaves that need to be raked or bills to pay. Just lean in, enjoy the warmth of their body, inhale the scent of her hair, breath slowly deeply and let everything else fall away.

His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.

-Song of Songs 2:6

Go and hug and don’t stop until your joy increases!

Love you all!


Last Man Standing

So today we have a special guest post!  As you know since this is the blog my lovely wife Sally gets a LOT of mentions.  Some of the favorite posts in this area include A Different Kind of Faith22 Years of Failure and the melancholy call to action Before She’s Gone.  Sally has guest posted one other time with the GREAT article What Does She Think? which proved popular all around.   

Today the Hot Girl herself returns.  But first an interesting side note.  As I was already preparing to write a post myself for today something came up which completely threw my schedule off.  When I mentioned it to Sally she said, “I have a post partially written, want to use it?”  I was VERY excited and proud.  Then when I read it I was shocked as it was the EXACT same topic of the post that I had started.  Looks like a God thing.  So enjoy this post from my lovely bride.  Enter Sally:

The other night we were watching an episode of “Last Man Standing” with Tim Allen (whose character on the show is Mike Baxter). In this particular episode, Mike’s wife gets upset because he refuses to call her his best friend. He even goes so far as to say she isn’t his friend at all and that their marriage is more about the ‘binding contract.’ He states that his best friend is a guy who he hasn’t seen in at least 10 years and that is the ‘perfect friendship.’ She is terribly upset by this and goes out to lunch with a neighbor friend. They discuss the situation and the friend says that she and her husband are best friends as all spouses should be. Later the same day, the neighbor’s  husband spends time with Mike, and they have a similar discussion. He tells Mike basically that he hasn’t seen his best friend in over 10 years. Mike questions him saying that his wife claims that they are best friends. The neighbor replies that he just tells her this ‘white lie’ to keep her happy. Is this healthy? I think not.

I am not saying that husbands and wives have to be each other’s best friend, but I do know that honesty is one of the number one things that keep a marriage healthy. If you can’t believe your spouse, how good can your relationship ever be?

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” – Proverbs  24:26

People can have best friends who are not their spouse, but the friend should not be held in higher priority in their life than their spouse. Troy and I have people we refer to as our best friends. I have still my best friend from high school, and we have best friends from college who are a couple that we spent most of our time with and still see often. However, none of those friends are better friends to me than my husband. He is the one who I want to see every day and spend every minute with. He is the one who encourages me in every area of life and always does his best to take care of me and make me smile. He is the one I want to help overcome any obstacle that he has in his life. HE is my best friend.

If you are not friends with your spouse, you should be. It makes life a lot easier, especially when you are together every day. Why would you even consider marrying someone who you didn’t feel was your friend?

18 Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.

Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them.” – Colossians 3: 18-19 (The Message)

 “Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.

But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.” Titus 2:1-8 (The Message)

If your relationship with your spouse isn’t what it used to be or you feel like you have not been friends in a while, spend some time thinking about what you both enjoyed doing together when you first met. Find time to do some of those things together. If you didn’t have common interests or can no longer physically do those activities, start putting forth an effort to find things that he or she likes to do and spend a day or an evening doing them together.  When you take the time to actually spend time doing something that even just one of you enjoys, you will find that you actually can still have a great time together.  Plus, chances are that if you do something with her that she enjoys, she might just decide to spend some time with you doing some of the things you enjoy.
When Troy and I first met, we spent most of our time playing board games alone or with friends. We also spend a lot of time playing ping-pong. We have acquired quite a board game collection over the years and get asked to bring our games to social events. Do we play them a lot together now? Not really. We play the occasional game of ping-pong with each other or Call of Duty on the XBox when the kids come home to visit. What we do for fun now is exercise together, which we never did before. He took up running a couple of years ago and then I decided if he could do it, I could do it (note from Troy, for more details on this check out DIY Relationship Drafting). After 20 years of marriage, we joined a gym and began taking classes and doing other workouts together.

What’s the point? If you put forth an effort, you can find something new that you and your spouse can do together that you both can enjoy. Recently, my brother-in-law who has been married to my sister for over 40 years decided he wanted to do something crafty and relaxing after work. He had watched her crochet all kinds of things for people for years.  So he learned how to knit on a loom. Together they are making winter headbands to help a college student so she can sell them to raise money for her mission trip, and they are having fun doing it! Their finished products are beautiful! Surely any married couple can find something to do together that can grow their bond of friendship.

So is Troy my best friend? ABSOLUTELY! There is no one I’d rather spend my days, nights and weekends with than him. Whether it is workout out, walking the mall or just snuggling and watching a movie together, he is THE one!

Don’t ever let any other friend come between you and your spouse. If your spouse currently isn’t your friend, start being a friend to them. It’ll be one of the best decisions you can make for your marriage!

Have a blessed day!


1 Way to a Peaceful Marriage

Today is a short entry as far as blogs go.  One concept and a few scriptures.

I read from, listen to and watch various pastors and Christian leaders, both local and worldwide.  I agree with most, but certainly not all.  The following story rings very true.  One such leader recently told how when she was first married she was strong willed, argumentative and generally difficult to be around.  However, no matter how much she pushed or how hard she tried her husband would not engage her in conflict.  He responded by either simply ignoring unreasonable outbursts or with a calm attitude.  How was this possible?  I know that for most of us we would be sorely tempted to yell right back.


Jesus gives us His peace for not only our internal struggles, but also for situations where we encounter others who are not at peace.  One great gift you can give to your spouse is a spirit of peace.  If she knows that no matter what happens you will not explode in anger or fly into a rage it opens up avenues for depth of communication that most couples will never see.   She can share her secret dreams or confess when something happened of which she is not proud.  A spirit of peace in your marriage will lead to greater intimacy and understanding of each other.  Peace come from Jesus and is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).

Here is a simple instruction from Paul, that if followed will not only improve your marriage, but all relationships in your life. (Credit to for the image.)


Do you want to see more peace in your life?  Then go be a peacemaker!

Love you all!