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A Hot Valentine’s Day

burning heart

As a marriage blogger I’m always on the lookout for interesting and inspiring articles to share. Turns out I’m not the only one with awesome marriage articles and often I get great ideas for my own blog. I’m also learning the power of great titles. A great headline gives an idea of what the article is about while providing enough intrigue to want to read it.

I recently came across an article from Huffington Post with the headline: 11 Things That Instantly Make A Man Hot.

I thought “wow, 11 things?” Clearly it was not written by a man. Seems like a guy would have stopped at 5 or 6 things that make him hot.

Then I thought “I bet I can guess what the article is about.”

Hot can mean a lot of different things. Angry for instance. 11 things that instantly make a man angry, 1. Running out of bacon 2. Stepping on a Lego. What a depressing article. No, it wouldn’t be about anger.

Hot can mean sexy. But it couldn’t be about that, no way there are 11 things that make a man sexy especially instantly sexy.

It must be about being hot.
That’s easy, I can write about being hot. I’ve been hot.

  1. One summer our air conditioner broke. I know, first world problem, but it made me hot.
  2. Running makes me hot. Even when It’s cold outside running brings on the sweat.
  3. When my wife turns up the heater full blast. When my wife is cold, the heater goes only on high. Sure it feels good at first but I get hot WAY before she begins to get warm.
  4. Sitting in a sauna. I’ve only been in a sauna a few times but I remember being hot.
  5. I installed a metal roof in the middle of summer. That made me hot.

See, I can’t even get close to eleven.

Anyway, I clicked on the article. I was right it is written by a woman but I was wrong about the content. She shared her thoughts about what makes a man attractive including: a sense of humor, intellect, and integrity. Guess it proves you can’t judge an article by its title.

The internet is full of amazing, funny, and ridiculous articles about marriage, how to be romantic, what is sexy, how to be happy, relationship hacks etc. (my blog included). The articles may be great but they are only words on the screen until you use them. The important part is how you use the information to better your marriage.

Valentine’s Day is the celebration of romantic connection. To have a wonderful Valentine’s Day stop looking to the internet for the answers and communicate face to face with your spouse. Ask THEM what is hot. Have fun. Be silly. Smile. Kiss. Describe your love with words then listen. Don’t forget to listen. Listening is romantic. The moments you spend sharing sweet loving affirmations will make this Valentine’s Day truly wonderful. For an extra hot Valentine’s Day get in your car and turn up the heater full blast, works every time.

Have you ever inaccurately judged an article by its title? What did you learn?

Improve Your Marriage with Woohoo! Power


“Hey dad look! They have candy!” My eyes followed my 6 year old’s pointed finger and I saw it too. It was halftime of a local high school basketball game and there WAS candy on the basketball floor. To raise money for the basketball team they put candy around the court and for a donation, participants had one shot to make a basket from that place to win the candy.

From that moment on my son had the basketball for candy game on his mind and began serious negotiations to participate. Soon halftime was over, but his determination was not. Never underestimate the motivating power of candy for a kindergartner.

Then my wife had a brilliant plan. “we can have our own game at home.” So we made our own version of the basketball for candy game. We took the nerf basketball hoop and put it up the garage. We drew circles with chalk on the garage floor. Each circle was given it’s own value for a made shot from that distance. One circle was good for a skittle; one would win them a sucker and one was for gum.
I love giving candy to our boys but I didn’t want to owe them halloween buckets of candy after our shoot around in the garage. On the closest two circles I put “Woohoo!” and “High 5.” If they made a basket from the closest distances I would give him a high five or a loud Woohoo!
When the game started my son was motivated to get candy but he found it difficult to make a shot from three point land. He moved up and scored lots from the Woohoo! and high five areas. He eventually made some shots from farther away and gladly received his candy but he never grew tired of the Woohoos and high fives. His eyes lit up when he made it from the Woohoo! circle and came running no matter where I was in anticipation of my crazy, loud, over-the-top WOOHOO!

Kids love verbal affirmation even more than candy. Now that is powerful.

Woohoo! power works wonders in marriage too.

Say nice words to your spouse. The words you say matter deeply to the heart of your spouse and they speak to the condition of your marriage.

When you give your spouse a woohoo! affirmation you are saying to them:

  1. You are valued. You are delightful. You are amazing.
  2. Our relationship is valued. I like when we are close. Being married to you is wonderful.
  3. We can face it together. Whatever life brings we are on the same team and we are going to make it.

The more descriptive your verbal affirmation, the better. Look for their eyes to light up. If you are new to verbal affirmation, the look in their eye may be shock and disbelief at first. Keep going. If you feel kinda silly, that’s fine, you’re on the right track.

Using encouraging words will transform your marriage. I know it may sound overly simplistic or too good to be true but I’ve watched it happen. I have counseled couples near divorce who feel exhausted, angry, and hopeless in their marriage. When they were able to verbalize genuine verbal affirmations, their marriage beg an to heal. Their circumstances didn’t change but their relationship changed dramatically. Difficult circumstances and impossible decisions were not as heavy. They were able to live together and enjoy it again. They smiled more. Instead of attacking each other they ran to each other anticipating their own version of a crazy, loud, over-the-top woohoo! from each other.

When you are secure in your relationship, circumstances become a challenge not a crisis.

Affirm your spouse today, it’s as simple as a Woohoo! or a high five.

What does a crazy, loud, over-the-top woohoo! sound like in your marriage?


Making Time for Now

beach bird

Unfortunately, the last couple of months have been a season of loss. We lost three family members in two months. Loss has a way of pushing the pause button and reordering priorities as memories and emotions flood.

Ecclesiastes chapter three is a popular scripture at funerals. I guess we use it as permission to grieve loss although it’s about much more.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and an time to heal,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

What is it time for in your life today?

You have permission.

We need to hear it’s ok to experience this moment. Paradoxically, we are often told “don’t be sad” when we experience loss and “don’t show off” when we have a celebration.

Allow yourself to experience all the rawness of today including negative emotions, positive emotions, or lack of any emotion. You won’t fall apart, become lazy, or a narcissist, as you may fear. You will be real. Authenticity is being real in this moment.

Positive thinking has it’s place when people become stuck in a negative rut. But authenticity is revolutionary. When you are honest about what you are feeling right now, you will thrive in ways you never imagined. Intimacy thrives on being real. When you are authentic with your spouse connection increases.

Wisdom is knowing what it’s time for.

Lean into today. Sadness or joy, stillness or action, hurt or healing.

You have permission. Stay there a bit. Spend time right where you are now, it will make all the difference.

What is it time for in your life today?

Related posts:
What your spouse really needs in times of loss
That Kind of Exhausted
4 Steps to Overcome Loaded Loss
Minor Loss Matters in Marriage

7 Relationship Hacks to Make the Most of Your Time Together

Copyright:  / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo


We’re all busy. Marriage can be especially difficult when you have no time together.

The couples with the best relationships find a way to make the most of the time they have together.

Time is a valuable resource. Make the most of it.

  1. Look at each other. What you are looking at has your attention. Communication works better with eye contact. When you look at your spouse you can better understand their body language. Looking at your phone does not count as spending time together, even if you are posting how much you love your spouse on Facebook.
  2. Touch each other. Physical touch is an amazing way to connect emotionally when you have time together. Brief affectionate touching is all you need for wonderful connection. Touching all the time is going to end up awkward and impractical as a three legged race.
  3. Team up on tasks. Doing projects and spending time together are not mutually exclusive. Go to the store together, clean the garage together, make lunch together, clean mud off your toddler together. If you wait until you have uninterrupted time together, you will be out of time. Divide and conquer is a good strategy to get tasks done but it rarely ends up allowing for more time together later.
  4. Eat together. You have to do it anyway, do it together. Nourishing your physical body can also nourish your emotional connection.
  5. Exercise together. The benefit of exercise is both physical and relational. Couples who sweat together stay together. This Psychology Today article agrees.  Go for a run together, it could be just the adventure your relationship needs.
  6. Go to sleep together. When you go to bed at the same time you maximize your time together. The bedroom setting also allows for more private conversation and increases the likelihood of sex. Ok, this is not exactly guaranteed, especially when you have children, but it’s still a great idea.
  7. Wake up together. Morning time may not be your prime time, but starting the day together can set you up for a great well connected day. It works for Jon and Jenny Acuff.


What would you add? What relationship hacks have been the most helpful in your marriage?

From Average to Exceptional


The Seattle Seahawks football team is back on top. They recently secured the number one seed in the NFC assuring home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They are the defending Super Bowl Champions but earlier this year they didn’t look like champions. Their record early in the season was 3-3. They struggled and looked average, disappointing coming off their dominating Super Bowl win.

As a Seahawks fan, I was concerned.

Then they went on a 9-1 run winning their last 6 games with suffocating defense, a trademark of their successful championship year.

What made the difference?

Their coach Pete Carroll had this to say “We just weren’t playing for one another. As simple as it sounds, (doing so) was transformational.”

Playing for one another was transformational.

I like it. That will speak to marriage too.

Individual efforts matter in football and in marriage, but without playing for each other your marriage will never progress beyond average.

You and your spouse are on the same team. I know it may not feel like it at times. You may have got off track and started playing for yourself. Selfishness sneaks into to the best football teams and it can occur even in the best marriages. Make the necessary adjustments to win in your marriage.

  • Stop your selfishness. Attending only to your individual desires will not help your marriage win.

Playing for each other in your marriage will transform your connection from average to exceptional.

Like coach said, it sounds simple, but the results speak for themselves.

Helping your marriage move from average to exceptional is the goal of this blog. I share weekly posts encouraging deeper connection in your marriage.