Friendship is the Wind in Our Sails

friendship in Marriage

Friendship is the Wind in Our Sails

Marriage thrives on friendship. The joy of sailing through life together. Yet most couples are not prepared for the reality that although 80% of the time you will have “smooth-sailing” — 20% of the time you will experience “rough seas.”  Watch this short video.

Friendship brings life to our marriages. When friendship falters, the relationship is at risk. Maybe you are at a great place in your marriage and are experiencing the positive emotional connectedness of being one with your spouse. If so, great! Keep investing in your friendship.

Alternatively, you may be secretly crying into your pillow, feeling as if your needs are unmet. You could be withdrawing to your workplace and flirting with the secretary who admires your leader- ship. You could be wondering if it’s possible to regain the passion you once felt in your marriage.

Friendship is the wind in the sail of your marriage. Whatever the current state of your relationship, invest the time in strengthening your friendship.  Make your marriage a rich, life-giving adventure.

Reinforcing the foundation of friendship can help you grow together, rather than apart, and keep your marriage stable and fun.

Friendship in Marriage

I remember a time when I wanted to change my husband (see chapter 2 of 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage).Can you relate to that? Have you tried to change your spouse?

Last week, we learned about Acceptance. This week, remember, your spouse was created in the image of God. God fashioned and design your spouse with His purpose in mind. Since you do not have the power to change your spouse, you will need to learn to trust God and realize that it is not your role to act like the Holy Spirit in his/her life.

Now that we’ve relieved the pressure of needing to “fix” your spouse, let’s focus on the fun we can have in our marriages.

“Make time for friendship. Go out and have fun. Leave the kids with a sitter. Focus on your marriage. Focus on building your friendship, rather than proving your point.”

Trait #2 (Friendship) - 9 Traits of a Life Giving Marriage by Sue Detweiler

Week 2 – 9 Traits Marriage Study (Friendship)

Let’s discuss Chapter 2 of #MarriageRocks:

Read Chapter 2 of 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage. Reflect and journal the following questions. If you signed up, you will receive a free download today in email that you can use.

  1. What were some of your favorite things to do when you were first forming a relationship with your spouse?


  1. Is there one “Horsemen” negative style of behavior that might be holding you back from building Friendship in your marriage (Criticism; Contempt; Defensiveness; or Stonewalling)?


  1. What are some ways you can commit to this week to restore Friendship in your marriage?


We’ll see you back here on Wednesday to discuss Chapter 3. Have a great day!

Invite Your Friends:

There’s still time to also invite your friends to join the book study. Sign up for the #MarriageRocks Study here

Join the FREE online #MarriageRocks study:

Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

Strengthen your marriage by setting aside time to be together. This intimate conference will help you build on a deeper foundation of friendship. You will be encouraged as well as empowered through time together as a couple. Sign up today!

friendship in marriage

Sign up for The Marriage Bridge Retreat Today! 

The Power of Acceptance in Marriage #MarriageRocks

The power of acceptance in marriage

The Power of Acceptance Can Transform Your Marriage

Wisdom from God brings peace and assurance to your heart. To hear His voice, you must be willing to submit to Him and surrender to His leading. His voice will be confirmed by the good fruit produced by the Word. When you surrender to wisdom from above that is impartial and sincere, you are able to act with both humility and boldness. His wisdom is so pure and full of mercy that, sometimes, it surprises us. That’s how I felt when God spoke to my heart that day in 1993 when I was face down before God crying out for my marriage. In the quiet aftermath of my tears, I heard the gentleness of God’s whisper deep in my heart.

“Open your eyes. I want to show you how I have made your husband. You expect him to be like you. I fashioned you while you were in your mother’s womb to be a visionary leader. I fashioned Wayne differently…”

As I listened, I remembered how Wayne’s great love for God and his gentleness had drawn me to him. Yet somehow, I had begun to discount this attribute and the way God had made Wayne.

We sometimes forget that “gentleness” is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:26). When David wrote Psalm 18, He praised God for His gentleness.

Listen to my husband’s Wayne’s heart on how it changed our marriage.


We All Want to Be Accepted for Who We are

Everyone of us knows how it feels to be accepted for who we are and how God has made us to be. That doesn’t mean we accept sin or cover-up bondage. When we accept people for who they are, they stop trying to self-protect and the love of God is able to free them them from sin and bondage.

Listen to this encouragement that I give for acceptance in marriage:

Stir up Your Love and Appreciate Your Spouse

Embrace the counter-balance of your spouse in your life. Take time to think about what first attracted you to your spouse. Stir up your love and appreciation for your spouse. Engage in the life-giving pursuit of God and He will cause new life to flow through you to your spouse.

Week 1 – 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage Study (Acceptance)

Acceptance: “Acknowledging the fact that God made you and your spouse differently empowers you to honor each other’s unique roles and characteristics. Remember, despite your differences, you both bear the Creator’s likeness.” ~ Sue Detweiler

God’s voice differs from our own. However, when we so badly want our own way, it can be dangerously easy to mistake our thoughts and emotions for God’s wisdom. So how do you know the difference? How do you know if God is really speaking to your heart?

The answer: God’s voice is always consistent with His Word.

One guiding Scripture on gaining His wisdom comes from James 3:18:

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (NLT)

We’d love for you to journal along in our study. If you signed up, you will receive a free download today in email that you can use. You will also receive an invite to join us tomorrow night in our private Facebook group to chat LIVE about this week’s study.

Let’s discuss Chapter 1 of #MarriageRocks:

  1. What are some other verses you can find on gaining God’s wisdom in your marriage?
  1. Acceptance is a conscious choice to receive your spouse as God made him or her. Have you struggled with accepting your spouse?
  1. What are some of your spouse’s God-given strengths? How can you honor them?

We hope you will join us tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. CST for our LIVE Facebook group chat. And we will see you back here next week to discuss Chapter 2 on Monday and Chapter 3 on Wednesday.

Invite Your Friends:

There’s still time to also invite your friends to join you for this Study:

Join the FREE online #MarriageRocks study:

Laughter and Marriage

laughter and marriage

Laughter and Marriage

As we get ready for the Christmas Holidays, let’s prepare our hearts and homes for laughter. It is so good to laugh. Here are a few ways that laughter can improve your health.

1. Reduces Stress Hormones

2. Strengthens Immune System

3. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

4. Improves Digestion

5. Speeds up Blood Circulation

These health benefits of laughter shouldn’t surprise us, since the Bible says,

 “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 AMP”

Laughter is Good Medicine in Marriage

Laughter in marriage is good medicine. As we learn to laugh and not take our selves so seriously we can learn to enjoy marriage. As a married couple we deal with so many difficult, serious things in life, it’s good to just take time to laugh at ourselves.

In honor of getting ready for the Christmas Holiday, I thought you would enjoy a comedian’s take on marriage.

Marriage and Underwear

I love laughing at the differences in men and women. Have you ever noticed that women will communicate with questions? (I guess I just illustrated my point). Men are more likely to communicate by making a statement. We could either get frustrated at each other, or we could just laugh and embrace the difference. 

Here’s another fun video on marriage:

Happy Wife Happy Life

I love the way a comedian like Jeff Allen can make us laugh at ourselves. In marriage we deal with each other’s insecurities every day. Laughter helps us not take each other too seriously. 

How to Build a Marriage That Lasts

I want to personally invite you to invest in your marriage, Join Our 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage Online Book Study

You are invited to join a 5-week Online Book & Bible Study of my 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage book.
The study dates are January 11 – February 12, 2016. My friends Jana and Kim at Sweet to the Soul Ministries will host the daily study here on my blog and in a private Facebook group.
The only thing you need to fully participate is a copy of 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage
Sign up to join the study.

Click Here to Sign Up

Building a Life-Giving, Spirit-Filled Marriage

Building a Life-Giving Spirit-Filled Marriage

I went on a date with my husband over the weekend. We went to see the movie “Woodlawn.” Set in the early 70’s it tells the story of a Football Coach and the newly forced integration of his football team. Starting out with race riots, the team allowed an evangelist to speak to his team. Young men black and white were saved and everything changed. These high school students so impacted their coach that He was saved which forever changed his marriage and his family.

Weeping through this movie, I held my husbands hand believing God for more of His Spirit to be poured out in our generation. When we receive His eternal life flowing into each one of us through salvation, we are forever changed. 

As we move into 2016, my hope and prayer is that we would freshly invite Jesus to be at the center of our lives. When we experience a fresh outpouring of His spirit, we are forever changed. Then, we need to get incredibly practical, honest and transparent — inviting God’s love to impact our lives.

I want to personally invite you to invest in your marriage, Join Our 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage Online Book Study

You are invited to join a 5-week Online Book & Bible Study of my 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage book.

The study dates are January 11 – February 12, 2016. My friends Jana and Kim at Sweet to the Soul Ministries will host the daily study here on my blog and in a private Facebook group.
The only thing you need to fully participate is a copy of 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage
Sign up to join the study.

Click Here to Sign Up

A Wedding Miracle

A Wedding Miracle

Facing 3 surgeries, 8 months of chemo, and 6 weeks of radiation is an unlikely time to build a relationship with the love of your life. Yet, nothing is impossible with God.

Expectancy in Marriage

Have you been at a wedding and found yourself crying at the beautiful and profound way that God brings a couple together? I was crying those sweet tears this weekend as I witnessed Reid and Amanda (Noelle Wilcox) Patterson join their lives in a covenant of marriage.

The high point for me in the service was when Amanda pulled out a letter she had written to her husband in April 2014. She didn’t meet Reid until a month later. She wrote her letter in faith and expectancy that God would bring her the man that she needed rather than the man she thought she wanted.

 Amanda surrendered to God her heart’s desire to be married. She put everything on the altar.

When Amanda wrote this letter in April, she didn’t know that she would meet her husband in a Juice bar in May. Neither of them knew that she would embark in a struggle against cancer, facing 3 surgeries and 8 months of chemo therapy and 6 weeks of radiation.  In the battle of her life, a knight-in-shining armor arose – Reid Patterson. Reid  was at her side during all the gross and difficult moments of this struggle.

Through the entire process, Amanda was a beacon of light and an encouragement to the medical community as well as the christian community who enjoyed Amanda’s talents as a vocalist and worship leader. As one of Amanda’s mentors, I saw her go deeper in her faith. Suffering made her more beautiful inside and out.

A Wedding Miracle Last month I had dinner with Amanda and Reid in what is now their first home as a couple. They radiated with the presence and the power of God. God not only healed Amanda so she is cancer free, but he brought them together as a husband and wife. It was so much fun to give them my new book on marriage, and pray for God’s continued blessing in their life.

A year ago Amanda was at the beginning of her fight against cancer, now she is on her honeymoon with the love of her life, cancer-free!

I Would love for you to get a copy of my book 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage.

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage

Get your copy today!

Buy a copy for yourself today, and an extra one to give as a Christmas Gift. This book will help you build a marriage that lasts. Invest in your marriage. No matter where your relationship is presently, this book will encourage and strengthen you to make it better, with God’s help!

Buy your Copy Today



Emotional Safety in Marriage

Emotional Safety in Marriage

Safety in Marriage

God created each of us with hearts that desire to be open. It takes emotional energy to keep thoughts and feelings hidden. When we feel frustrated or hurt, a common response is to shut down emotionally—to protect, rather than share our hearts.

At a pivotal point in our marriage, I realized that, although I felt safe to openly share how I felt with my husband, Wayne didn’t feel the same safety with me. Wayne processes his emotions and thoughts internally, and when he doesn’t feel safe, he keeps to himself. Every time I spoke critically of my husband, in effect, I added another brick to the wall that divided us. We had been through a couple of hard years and the bricks were stacking up between us. The taller that protective wall got, the more effectively it hindered our emotional intimacy.

When I accepted the responsibility for my actions and asked for Wayne’s forgiveness, the wall between us immediately began to come down. A newly created environment of emotional safety allowed us to draw together with greater intimacy.

If an emotional brick wall is dividing your relationship, one or both of you are probably experiencing some of the following things:

  • Communication is closed or strained.
  • It feels as if you’re walking on eggshells in an attempt to avoid confrontation.
  • You feel like you have to perform a certain way to please the other person.
  • There’s an inability to be fully open and honest. 26

To experience intimacy in marriage, both partners need to feel safe. In addition, one or both of you may feel:

  • Judged
  • Disrespected
  • Misunderstood or rejected
  • Alone
  • Mistrusted or mistrusting
  • Insecure
  • Uncomfortable
  • Emotionally shut down

An emotionally safe marriage is one that allows you the freedom to be who you really are. You can trust that your spouse will love you no matter what. You feel unconditional acceptance. You feel safe to share the most valuable part of you—your heart. In an emotionally safe relationship, you are confident your spouse will not crush your hopes, dreams, or deepest desires. And you feel confident that what you share will remain private.

Both spouses need to embrace their responsibility to create an environment of emotional safety in their home. You can start by learning how to handle conflict in a way that builds up, rather than tears down, your partner’s confidence and security.

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage


Why I Wrote This Book – 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage

Why I Wrote This Book

Marriages can get stuck in survival mode.

Why I Wrote This Book

If you have been married for more than a week, I’m certain you’re aware that your marriage is not perfect. No marriage relationship is. And regardless of how wonderful or terrible your marriage may seem right now, I’m also certain that you are aware of ways it could be better, healthier, stronger, and more loving. We all desire to see positive changes in our relationships. We all want to be built up, encouraged, and empowered to live life to the fullest.

I Wrote This Book:

1. To Help Marriages Thrive Rather Than Survive

Unfortunately, so many marriage relationships limp along at less than life-giving; worse yet are the relationships that actively drain the life out of one or both partners. You may know someone in a hurting marriage; you may even be that person. And maybe, fearful of what others will think of your imperfect life, you’re hiding that pain from your family and friends. You think to yourself, “Suck it up,” or “Hang in there until the kids are grown,” or “Nobody’s marriage is perfect; this is just the way life is.” You think, if you try harder, you can just make it work.

Being connected to Jesus gives fresh life to marriage. He is the Life-Giver. The life-giving joy, power, and purpose for marriage flow from the One who created us to be in relationship with each other. Apart from Him, we can’t do anything. Embracing the creative power of God can turn a mediocre (or miserable) place in your marriage into a masterpiece of His design.

2. To Help Couples Learn a New Way to Communicate

For more than thirty-five years, Dr. John Gottman and his team have studied marriages. As a research scientist, he uses rig- orous methods and standards respected by medical science. The data he’s gathered gives a scientific glimpse into the anatomy of a marriage.

In the family research laboratory, aka “the love lab,” Gottman’s team uses instruments to measure the heart rates of couples during conflict-filled conversation. They record the dis- cussion and analyze the facial responses. During a ten-year study, with a ninety-one percent accuracy rate, they were able to predict which couples would divorce.

The couples whose marriages were not doing well often began disagreements with a harsh tone. Soon, the scientists watch- ing would observe what Dr. John Gottman labeled as “The Four Horsemen.” These four negative styles of behavior are lethal to a marriage and could lead to a chaotic end. Here is the list:2

Horseman 1: Criticism. Criticism is more than a complaint. Criticism attacks character and blames the other person, “What is wrong with you?”

Horseman 2: Contempt. Sarcasm and cynicism are common types of contempt. This disgusted attitude sometimes includes name-calling, mockery, sneering, or making jokes at the other’s expense.

Horseman 3: Defensiveness. Defensiveness denies responsibility and focuses all the blame on one’s partner. “I’m not the problem; you are!”

Horseman 4: Stonewalling. This is the last horseman to arrive, but the first one to parade off in silence. Stonewalling occurs when one partner shuts down or tunes out the discussion. They ignore the spouse with a coldness that is felt by everyone involved.

You may be thinking right now, “What should we do? The four horsemen not only know our names, but they regularly visit at our address.” If you are experiencing criticism, contempt, defensive- ness, or stonewalling in your marriage, you may be desperate for something to change.

[Tweet “Learning a new way to communicate is like learning a new dance” #MarriageRocks]

A new beginning can occur right now, if you make a choice to change your behavior. If you have been stepping on one anoth- er’s toes in this disappointing dance, shake up the steps. Decide today to relate to your spouse differently. You won’t be able to control your spouse’s words, tone, or behavior, but if you change your dance steps, you will change the dance.

3. To Heal Broken places in marriages

God’s plan and purpose for your marriage is that you overcome all adversity through His strength. As your heart finds safety in Jesus, He will teach you how to bring safety into your marriage. The Holy Spirit is your comforter and your guide.

In a marriage covenant, you are promising before God and witnesses that you are going to be faithful and true to your spouse, sexually, emotionally, and spiritually. Keeping your relationship strong in all three of these areas creates a wholehearted connection that helps divorce-proof your marriage. In contrast, a marriage without the safety of a wholehearted connection will fail unless the bond of intimacy is restored.

Remember, if you are brokenhearted, God is able to mend your broken heart. If you feel half-hearted because of stress, hurt feelings, or broken promises, God is able to light a fresh fire of intimacy and make your relationship whole.

If you or your spouse has spoken heartless words or done heartless things to each other, know that God still works miracles in the lives of couples who trust Him to restore their marriages.

You can’t control what your spouse does; you can only control how you react. You can control your own choices, so choose to walk with a faith-filled perspective towards your marriage.

God is at work in your heart and in your marriage. If you have been going your separate ways, turn around, and get reconnected. If your marriage has been under attack, get help. Sometimes reinforcements are necessary for the battle to win back your relationship and rebuild a wall of safety around it. If you feel alone in your marriage, begin again to prioritize the emotional, sexual, and spiritual oneness in your relationship.

4. To Help Couples go from “Good” to “Great”

As a couple, you have the opportunity to allow the Spirit of God to make your marriage a masterpiece. I pray that your marriage will be a sign that points to the goodness of God in how He has worked miracles in your marriage.

God desires for marriage to draw us into a closer relationship with Him—unity with Him enables us to have a life-giving marriage.

Only God could think of creating a rainbow of color, caused by the refraction of the sun’s light by rain in the sky. After the global flood, God showed Noah a rainbow and told him it symbolized a promise to human kind that He would never again destroy the whole earth with a flood.

The rainbow of promise between a husband and wife is not that each of them will be perfect in their marriage relationship. On the contrary, because every marriage is made up of imperfect people, the imperfection of your marriage will be evident to you and others. Thankfully, our hope is not in our own performance.

Helping good marriages become great marriages is a lifelong passion for Wayne and I. Help us share this message with others. Here is a video that you can share with your friends.


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