22 posts categorized "Out-Love Your Husband"

The Unbelieving Spouse's Perspective

By Ann Hutchison Husband wife chat

"Can I ask you something..?" I said to Bryce a few weekends ago at the breakfast table.

He gave one of those smiles where he could see a wifely deep-and-meaningful talk coming. In true male style he braced himself. "Go on then." 

I took a deep breath:

"You really didn't like my faith a few years ago. And now you don't mind it. What made you change your mind?"

He thought for a minute.

"Well .... Over time, you showed me you still loved me. Even though I wasn't Christian."

That was interesting. See, I wasn't sure how good a job I'd done at this. I mean it's hard being married, and it's hard being spiritually mismatched. But clearly something had worked there and had made an impact on him. What an encouragement!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

We continued talking, and what he said next was somewhat harder to hear. 

"Look, when you became Christian, all of a sudden that was the only thing that was shiny to you. Everything and everyone else stopped being so interesting to you. Including me. It was hard."


But, if that was his experience I needed to listen. Did he have a point? I think he did. The things in the world do grow strangely dim when we find out that Jesus is real. And God is shiny. He is glorious, he radiates love, and he is immensely attractive. It's understandable to find God the most interesting one in your life. He is matchless. But it shouldn't mean you stop cherishing your spouse.

... and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear] (Ephesians 5:33, Amplified)

These days I know I do better at this, thanks in big part to this community and all the conversations we've had here about thriving in a spiritually mismatched marriage. I think that was confirmed by Bryce's final comment --

"Now you're more low key about it. You're not so obsessed any more. I suppose God is your top thing still, but you handle it better."

He smiled at this. Clearly the topic was not too painful anymore.

I smiled too, inside. I am just as fervent now as I was then. I guess I just carry it a little differently now.

I reached out my hand to him. "It's definitely hard being different like this, isn't it?" He nodded completely in agreement. And then we changed the subject.

Phew. My friends, I don't find it easy having those conversations and I know it's the same for many of you. It's often sensitive to raise. But on that occasion I'm glad I asked. For one thing, I'm going to see what I can do to make my husband feel more 'shiny' ((smiling)).

Have you ever asked your spouse what their experience of your faith is? Or, what do you think they'd say?

Lovely chatting and have a great weekend,


Loving when it's hard

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ann’s most recent post has lingered in my mind for a few days and I thought I’d reflect a little more on it. If that’s okay? Ian here from a sunny Sydney.

We have those between a rock and a hard place moments don’t we? As I think I’ve shared a few times before, one of Fiona’s biggest fears is that she’ll become a ‘church widow’. There was a time a few years back when I attended a couple of prayer meetings a week on top of my Sunday commitments and whenever you have some form of leadership responsibility, pastoring and caring for those you lead takes added time.

Crunch Time

Like Ann mentioned, our partner reaches a point when it’s all too much. And I especially feel for you ladies because as I’ve said a few times over the years, for many men, their wife is not just their best friend but often their one true friend. Yes, we may have male ‘friendships’ but they’re quite different to our life partner.

Every few years it seems Fiona will express her concern that there’s a big part of my life that she doesn’t participate in. It’s not just the physical aspects of attending church and such, she’s also aware of the time I spend with God.

How Do we Respond

Ann gave some wonderful counsel and it’s this aspect I wanted to spend a little more time on. Ann encouraged us to look to the Rock. To Jesus. Yes and Yes. Early in my relationship with Fiona, I probably didn’t do this believing it just would add to the issue at hand. It wasn’t until I came to appreciate how much I needed Jesus that in fact He would help me through the matter.

How? Because He’s love. That’s who He is, isn’t He? It’s His natural state. And I believe that’s what we most need in these ‘between a rock and hard place’ situations. Love.

“Christ is love covered over with flesh” – Thomas Goodwin

I found I needed more of His love so that I can love my bride ever more and also gain greater clarity over the situation at hand. And I believe our partners see this love.


If we try to manage the situation in our own strength, we’re likely to exacerbate it. But if we honestly and in all humility come to Jesus and seek His love and wisdom, He will reveal them. There’s unlikely to be a lightning bolt but rather we have Jesus as our companion.

It’s in His companionship we discover more of His love which changes us from the inside and this is what our partners see. In time. The deeper we go in His love, the more our partners will experience it and I believe we have less of these ‘crunch’ situations. Remember His love is endless and wonderfully, Jesus desires to share it with us in ever increasing intensity.

I’m more convinced that life is less about having all the answers and seeking to fix everything and everyone, but rather to walk through it with Jesus and others in tight companionship. So when the dark valleys appear we have trusted companions, one of whom is ‘clothed in love’ who will walk with us. Another of course is our beloved partner in life. They’ll be with us in the thick of it. We’ll grapple the uncertainties of the valley together.

This is the life I seek.

See you in the comments, dear friends.

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

“This isn’t what I married.” Said Bryce. “And there may come a point where I say to you enough is enough.” Rock hard place

He stood by the chest of drawers suddenly seeming distant. I sat on the bed. My heart was pounding with fear.

“Don’t you ever say to me you can’t give it up if I ask you to.”

He was talking about my church involvement. And possibly also my faith. Gulp.

One request had led to this conversation: I had told him I'd like to go to a ‘small group’ at church one evening a week. It was 2017, and I thought he was used to my faith and my church-going. But I had misread how he truly felt. As I can now see, a small group/home group is weird to someone not versed in church ways.

I was helpless and heartbroken. Helpless as to what to do; heartbroken at the fracture between us. I could not change my beliefs if he asked me to. I could change some of my behavior, but my beliefs? 

Over the next few days I scraped myself around the house, miserable. The burning in my bones wouldn’t go away. The experience of God had been too tangible for me to turn any other way except towards Him.

My friends, I'm guessing you've likely had one of these 'fracture-filled' moments at some point in your SUM? Some of us have an easier ride than others on this one, depending on how much our spouse disagrees with our faith and how much they verbalize it to us. When a spouse does verbalize displeasure at our faith it is memorably difficult and upsetting. It always calls for us to go away, think about what we can compromise on, and on what we just can't. 

Things are easier now between Bryce and me, but that day in 2017 I remember thinking to myself (crying) "I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, the rock being Jesus and the hard place being my husband!"

What on earth do you do when you feel stuck in an impasse like this?

Well, apart from having a little cry, which is thoroughly cathartic, I'd say the most helpful thing we can do is turn our face directly towards the rock-face that is Jesus. The rock-face that our spouse is even against. There is a rock on one side, a hard place on the other. Turn our face directly towards the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4). It has to be that way. Give some time to Jesus, go for a walk, say to Jesus 'Please minister to me in my pain,' and determine that you will keep on being a Christian.

Dear friends, if we do that (turn deliberately to Jesus), He will come through for us and change something in this situation, even if it is simply to give us strength.

Love for Jesus includes love for our spouse, so then we ask Jesus: "What does loving God but loving my spouse look like in this particular circumstance?"

I suppose the words 'rock and a hard place' aren't entirely unscriptural. After all there is a verse that says that Jesus is the rock that the builders rejected, and yet that rock became the cornerstone of the church (Acts 4:11). He is also the living stone rejected by men (1 Peter 2:4). I guess, then, if we are feeling we're in between a rock and a hard place with our Rock, Christ, being rejected by our other half, we're simply living out a scriptural truth!

The good news is, this particular story about my husband, me, and church has a rather amazing ending. God moved in a way that made my eyes widen with surprise. I will share that story next time I write.

For now, do you feel you're in between a rock and a hard place at the moment? If so, feel free to share in the comments and I'd love to pray for you.

With love,


Men Stuff ... Part 2

mage courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ian here again. Firstly, thank you for your engagement in the first of this occasional series of posts. I loved seeing the discussion and responding to the comments that were made.

I hadn’t planned on writing another such post so soon but the universe conspired (ie the power of 3 made me sit up and take notice) to bring some thoughts to bear that I thought might serve as a useful discussion. Firstly, I was chatting with a couple of wise men last week and we were particularly discussing how men communicate. Secondly, we’re all aware of the #metoo dialogue that has had significant airplay over the past few months. I recently read a fascinating article written by a bloke who explored how this predatory side of men had evolved and finally, one of my favourite authors, Tim Winton (an Aussie National Treasure) released his latest novel that explores the “toxic state of masculinity”.

I’m going to try to stick to the topic of communication but there are so many contributing factors that play a part in impacting how we communicate (both men and women) that I may touch on some of them.

Who Made Us

I’ve always found it fascinating that we often generalize between genders by saying women are more naturally better communicators. And in my experience I’d say that is a reasonable truism. But what is interesting is we all have been made in the image of a very relational Triune God. It’s inherent in His nature. And we’ve been made in His image: a God who passionately loves to communicate with His creation. So why do so many men, well perhaps, more significantly women, struggle with how we blokes communicate?


When I was in my twenties and married, my common response to the question “How was your day, dear?” was typically single worded: “Okay,” “Fine” or “Good.”

I’d head off to change and after doing that would be back and was now home and it was time to talk about something else. Sound familiar?

It frustrated my wife no end.

I was reminded of this when one of those wise men expressed the view that often men appear a little “numb” when it comes to expressing how they feel. And this drives our ladies crazy, as you want to get inside and understand the how and what your man thinks and feels.

Think with our Heads

Because of the way we’ve generally been raised we weren’t taught to share how we felt. Put aside all the bloke-ish ‘man up’, ‘boys don’t cry’ talk, we typically talked about what we saw, what we did, what we learnt, etc. Yes, we would often be asked “what we enjoyed” but once again we described it in terms of what we accomplished and such. So we may not have got to really discuss why we might be feeling happy or sad and what was behind those feelings.

Often our fathers had been raised through the same style of communicating. There has been a lack of good role modeling and mentoring for boys and young men, probably for generations, which has perpetrated the shaming language of boys don’t cry, don’t show fear and so on. So notions of gentleness, compassion and kindness (yes, yes, the fruits of the Spirit) have been labeled as soft traits that a strong man shouldn’t show.

This Winton novel I’m reading “The Shepherd’s Hut” provides a severe example of what happens to a young boy who is treated badly by an abusive father. He struggles to express himself well and as an escape has moments where he explodes because he isn’t sure how he should respond, doesn’t know what the right words are for how he is feeling and life for him is reflected by violence and ignorance.

Men mostly learnt to think with our heads. And emotions were something we experienced but would often struggle to understand why we were feeling a particular emotion at any point in time. It wasn’t important to us when we related with mates or work colleagues.

But it did become important when we started to get serious about a girl. However, we still would often lack the know how of how to express our feelings.

We get married and life goes on.

Interesting, I believe this cycle is changing as we see more and more younger men grappling with emotions a lot more these days for a variety of reasons, eg, more attentive fathers, family breakups. 

Remember the mission

Our work or purpose dominates us and even though we might be starving for deeper connection we simply keep on keeping on. With life. With our purpose. And admitting that we might need that deeper connection can be terrifying too. But we still relegate relationships behind our mission.

As discussed last time often it’s when something goes awry with our purpose/job that all of a sudden we begin to sense those pesky emotions.

What’s the Answer?

Interestedly, a post a couple of months ago now by Lynn’s hubby, Mike, provided tremendous insights. This statement particularly grabbed me: “Also, be intentional to understand who he is and what is important to him.” Listening, more than talking. (you've probably all heard the old “we’ve been given 2 ears and 1 mouth and that should reflect how we communicate”)

Something I’ve found is invaluable to a good marriage (and I’ve learnt from hard experience) is for both husband and wife to be actively interested in each other’s vocation. If it is the enemy then there will always be tension. Get engaged in talking about the people your bloke works with, some of the decisions he has to make and how he arrived at it. Allowing each other to de-brief at the end of a day is both soothing and practically helpful. My wife is working overseas at present but we make sure we talk on FaceTime twice a day to allow each of us to de-brief each other’s days. 

And pray. Pray some more. For great Christian men to come into your man’s life. We all need a Paul and a Timothy, a great mentor and someone we can take under our wing.

What about My Sons?

Allow them to hurt, to cry, to enjoy hugs from both mom and dad. Don’t shame them for expressing emotions. I heard Tim Winton speak two weeks ago and he said this beautiful thing about boys: they’re all born gentle and tender but somewhere along the way they lose that. Why?

One of the strongest impressions I have of Jesus is His gentleness. With Mary of Bethany, the woman caught in adultery, washing His disciples feet, allowing John to lounge on Him at the Last Supper. Jesus, is our Saviour and Lord but also our role model. He asks us everyday to “Come, follow Me.”

Sorry. I’ve gone on for too long even though there's so much more that could be said.

I do hope this has been of some use. I’m always a bit nervous about writing such posts as I can only share from my experience. And as always please do share what’s on your heart in the comments. 

Grace and peace, dear friends.

When I See You In Heaven - Chronicles Of The Donovan Clan

It’s today, March 14, 2016. Twenty-four years of married life. As I pondered my husband and our marriage this week, the Holy Spirit revealed something utterly unexpected and peculiar…. a letter. A letter to my husband as I see him in the future.

Mike When I see you in heaven...When I See You In Heaven

Mike, when I see you in heaven, will there be tears in my eyes?

Will I glimpse your face across the expanse of the Great Assembly of worshipers? Will I run to you? Will you run to me? When I see you in heaven, I believe we will both run, full-out, with every bit of intention and intensity, to reach one another.  

When I see you in heaven, will you have tears in your eyes? Will you wrap your arms around me in a fierce embrace? Will you pull away and place your hands on both sides of my face as you draw my eyes unto yours?

When I see you in heaven, will you whisper into my eyes through gulps of love and emotion, a breathless thank you.

At that moment will your heart expand as you fully grasp the impact of the years I prayed for this very moment? Will you utter deep groanings of intense joy knowing that I tarried for you in earnest prayer year after year?

When I see you in heaven, will you look upon my face and gently brush away the drops of joyful tears falling on my cheeks.

When I see you in that moment, I will place my finger over your lips to hush your words of thanks. I will tell you, “It’s our Father’s love that saved us. It’s our Father’s love that walked with me through our many years of married life. It’s our Father’s love that held me in the lonely moments and it’s our Father’s love that stood with you when you felt alone and weary of our quarrels.”

When I see you in heaven, I will join my hand in yours as we turn toward the throne. In that moment, our Father will look down upon us both with profound joy and love upon His face. In that singular moment, a life-time of battling the enemy will be revealed. The days and nights I called out to Jesus to protect you, to keep you from the lies of the enemy and to save you from his evil intentions, they all will flash before you. In that moment we will comprehend God’s purpose which placed me at your side as your life-long partner on earth. Under His full understanding we will comprehend that this tiny, 5 foot 2 blonde, girl was a commanding intercessor for your health and prosperity. In that instant you will bear witness to the relentless combat I engaged for our children.

When I see you in heaven, we will share in the greatest joy- your full salvation. Every harsh word ever spoken will be erased instantly, lost in the glory of our King. We will look upon one another’s face and realize that every hurt and disappointment is forever forgotten and forgiven. Our brokenness is instantly covered by the crimson blood of Jesus our King.

When I see you in heaven, I will lead you by the hand to the steps of the throne. With utter sobs I will look up into the face of my heavenly Father and tell Him, “THANK YOU. You gave me this man and I did not fail my assignment. I walked out many years of hope deferred and I did not stop for one moment and give in, give up or lose hope.”

“Father, I couldn’t have done any of it without your love, grace, mercy, kindness and wisdom and power. I’m utterly undone, Father, the faithful love You poured into my life over and over and over is evidenced today, as I see Mike in heaven.”

When I see you in heaven, I will turn toward the vast expanse of the saints and I will honor, celebrate and declare for all eternity the fathomless love of our Father before them as I grasp your hand. And Mike, when I see you in heaven standing there beside me, you will do the same.

When I see you in heaven, Mike Donovan, my heart will be full and we will have all of eternity to discover, recover and uncover things that were left undone or unfinished on earth. I’m so excited to take your hand and step into our eternal life in Jesus Christ, when I see you in heaven.

Happy Anniversary,

I love you, Lynn

Mike and Lynn 2 Nov 2011

Out-Love Your Spouse - The Final Chapter?

We are ending the last week of our “Out-Love” our spouse challenge. This is only the starting place. Our challenge is the beginning of a new way of life. An intentional effort to love our spouse with the love of Christ. 

I will never forget what Shelly shared with me months ago. It has forever changed my heart and how I love on my spouse. 

This is a never look back journey. Start down this road and commit to love your spouse and to love Jesus more than you love yourself.

Things can change and amazingly just as we end this focused time together, look what arrived in the mail as my husband was on a business trip. 

Imported Photos 00019
Two cards arrived. Randomly. For no reason at all.

One for me and astonishingly one for my teen daughter.

Who says a man can't change.

The timing of this is impeccable and I believe orchestrated by God just to say to me, "Lynn, see you do what I ask and I will move everything along just as it should be."

We serve an all-powerful God. One who listens to the prayers of His people. A God who loves us and wants the best for us. Our God wants us to out-love our spouse just the way He out-loves us.

So put your old way of thinking away. Continue on this journey and watch what our God can do in the lives of ordinary men and women.

BIG hugs, Lynn

PS. I will be speaking LIVE about this very journey ONLINE, November 3rd at 10 a.m. PT and 1 p.m. ET with an open Q&A following at Noon PT, 3 pm. ET. To learn more and to participate in this fantastic marriage conference from the comfort of your own home, Visit Replenish Your Soul Conference.

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Still amazed.    

How has Out-loving Your spouse challenged you, made a difference in your marriage, changed you, changed your spouse. Talk to me in the comments. Lynn

And the Walls Came A-Tumbling Down

IStock_000003877105XSmallLynn’s post yesterday talked about the walls we erect that keep our guys on the outside. I want to share with you how this translated into my life.

I walked into my marriage with the expectations I’d leaned from the pages of romance novels and movies. I’d bought into the fairytale. Everything was fine in the beginning but then the reality began to settle in.

My husband wasn’t perfect. He didn’t do the things I thought he should. He didn’t get that he had a role to play in the script I’d written in my mind and heart. He didn’t even know his lines!

How dare he let me down like that? How dare he not do the things around the house that seemed so obvious to me? How dare he not pull his weight in the relationship?

So what else could I do? I jumped in and did it. After all, these are things that have to be done and done right. You know the saying, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. So I did!

I did everything. I had to. No one else would. I took care of the kids, the house—everything. And I worked so hard to get things just right and either he didn’t notice or the kids just undid it all so that I had to do all over again.

Life wasn’t fair. Why didn’t he get that if he would just do things the way I wanted and was there when I needed him, life would be so much easier.

Let’s fast forward to a little ways into my marriage. We’d moved to Switzerland because of a work opportunity for my husband. Things started out great, then went from bad to worse. The weight of the world on my shoulders effectively doubled.

I walked into my new church one day and was approached by a soft-spoken woman. She handed me a piece of paper about a group called 1Peter3, a group for women married to unbelievers. I joined immediately and we studied the book Beloved Unbeliever together.

God began to open my eyes through this and another Bible study, Experiencing God. Not to see my husband’s faults and lack, but to see my own. I began to see how much I pressure I had put upon my marriage and my husband through my expectations. I backed off, reassessed, and started to painfully change the way I talked to my husband. I became aware of my words. My marriage began to improve greatly as God taught me to respect my husband.

Still, there was this pattern that seemed to show up. Things would go great for a while and then go down the drain again. Why? Why did this keep coming back? Why did we keep getting stuck in this place? I’d done pretty well in communicating my needs and helping to understand what I was saying without being condemning, so why did the same issues keep cropping up?

One day I was walking into my kitchen. Maybe I was praying, I don’t clearly remember. What I do remember was a very clear and sudden thought.

“It’s not him who has to change, it’s me. It’s not his perceptions that need adjustment, it’s mine.”

Like a light bulb bursting with light, this truth exploded in my head and did a number on my heart. I realized I had let go of my expectations of what I wanted and had replaced them with negative expectations. The kind where you expect your spouse to do what he’s always done, to disappoint you the way he always done, to let you down the way he’s always done.

I’d placed these negative expectations on my husband, ones he could actually meet, but never gave him a chance to do anything else. The problem was, each one added a brick to that wall around me, the one I thought would keep me from feeling the hurt of being let down. And my poor guy kept bouncing into it, feeling as if he could never do anything right.

It’s a vicious cycle. It destroys marriages. It destroys people.

I had to tear down the bricks and it would take a while. First, I had to break this habit of negative expectations that I’d developed and see in my husband the potential God had created in him. Until I did, my husband would never become the man God had fashioned him to be. And two, I had to rebuild trust in our marriage. I had to show my husband I believed in him, that I truly supported him, and trusted him. Respected him.

My desire to change my husband shifted to a desire to change me. I wanted to change. I needed to change. I was desperate for freedom! I prayed for God to change me, to change my heart, to change my thinking, and to help me love my husband the way Jesus loves him.

God took my pain and desire and used it to tear down the walls I had built around my emotions. He freed me from lies and bad habits and showed me how to affirm, appreciate and out-love my husband.

Friends, this is not easy to share with you. I have no shame admitting my path because I know God has forgiven and redeemed me and my past. But to write this out brings me tears. It’s not been an easy journey. It’s been painful but so worth it!

God is gracious, kind and faithful. I shared in our Weekend Devo what my husband did for me last week. That is not how it’s always been. It has taken work and time to reach this place of where I can love him without expectation and the more I do—the more I love my husband through Jesus—the more our marriage has healed and thrived.

For so many years I wanted my guy to fit a mold that I had created for the perfect husband. To finally release him from that and to just love and appreciate the man he is, and then to out-love him as we’ve been doing here, brought something from his mouth I thought I would never hear. He actually referred to a task that needed to be done in our home as a “job for him, a husband’s job.” Something I never would have imagined I’d hear him say.

I still stumble at times and God is quick to show me and pick me up so I can apologize to my husband. The results of this journey are still coming in. I’ve changed dramatically and my husband has responded in so many unexpected ways. Now he’s starting to out-love me. That was never my motivation for out-loving him. I wanted only to be obedient to God for the sake of my husband’s future salvation, to show him Jesus.

The world will tell you that your perfect mate will meet your every need. God will tell you that He is all that you need and will show that He’s already met your every need in His Son Jesus. When we live in this truth, we are free to love Jesus and everyone He puts in our path. We truly love because He first loved us.

God sees your desires and efforts, your pain and struggles in your marriage. He wants to show you a better way. Ask him. He’s just waiting for you to make the first move.

Praying and believing,

Out-Love Your Spouse - The Result


Why make the effort to out-love my husband. Why must it always be me to make the first move? Why can’t he change for once?


Several months have passed since I first met Shelly Weaver. She has been used by God to inspire many of us here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage to live outside of the norm and to love our spouse with the love of Christ and to trust Him to transform our marriages.  

But the most profound part of this journey that Shelly shared with me is what I am going to share with you today. This is it:

Our husbands are trapped. And, we are the ones who have them tied down in an endless bumper-car ride.

You see, over the years out of our insecurities, pain, our past failures, our selfishness, we have erected many walls. He forgets our birthday, construction begins. Cinderblock is placed down in thick blankets of cement. He works late to many nights; piles of bricks are added to that fortress forming about our tender core. Over the years, with a precision that surpasses the finest architect, we build walls of protection, defenses, higher and higher.

Until eventually, the walls are insurmountable. Your husband isn’t allowed in. In fact, even Jesus at times can’t get through because we are sealed off completely.

The walls have names; bitterness, resentment, cynicism, distrust, unforgiveness , anger, apathy, hatred, loathing, .........

And here’s the thing, our men keep bumping into these walls and bouncing away. They don’t even know they are strapped into this menacing bumper-car cycle and are at a complete loss on how to undo it all.

It’s no wonder they continue to behave and react the way they do. They don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s the same old ride, the same old reaction, the same and familiar responses.

But that all changes when we truly begin to out-love our spouse. When we choose to place Jesus on the throne of our lives, to lay down our “self” and let the Lord release our spouse from our insidious carnival ride.

When we purposely choose to forgive our man when it doesn’t make sense. We win. When we offer love in the face of anger, we win. When we live to have a Christ-centered marriage and not a spouse-centered marriage that is where our spouse discovers freedom. And the best part of this, so do we. We discover freedom.

Let me give you an example. Shelly shared this story with me about a time she went against everything within her heart and mind and chose to obey God. You be the judge.

Shelly has a teenaged daughter. I also have a teen daughter so I know the angst of living with a teen. If we could harness the emotional power of a teen girl, we would never experience an energy crisis again. With that said, I will I also tell you that as a mother, we share the emotional journey of our girls to a great extent, right along with our kid.

Shelly told me that her daughter and her best friend of many years somehow landed in a place in their relationship where their friendship was rocked to the core. Hurtful words were said and emotional wounds were inflicted and a permanent tear in their relationship resulted.

Now I will tell you that when your teen daughter has been hurt like this, you are hurt like this as well.

The girls no longer talked to one another and the life-long friendship was over. And Shelly, as most moms, was hurt, devastated and like her daughter, likely to never speak to that “mean” girl again.

However, through the transforming power of Jesus Shelly decided to be different. And in fact, ran into her daughter’s “no-longer best friend” at school. It would have been easy to speak a casual greeting of “Hi” and walk away but Shelly who was living to out-love people with the love of Christ, purposely took her emotions to the cross and decidedly started a conversation with the girl.

She complimented her and her new hair style. Exchange a smile and a kindness that certainly surprised the youth. Shelly recounted this story to me to say everything in her actions was the opposite of how she would have reacted in the flesh. But Shelly decided she was done with the walls. She was willing to take a chance of more pain and remove the walls that were recently constructed.

Shelly went on the tell me this: Lynn when I stepped out and offered kindness instead of a stoic response it opened a door. This young girl felt safe that Shelly wasn’t mad. There wasn’t a parental barrier now to deal with and that within a week the two girls had mended their relationship and it was back to where it once was. BFF’s and happy as two pees in a pod.

Shelly said: This is exactly what happens with our men. They keep bumping up against these walls we have erected and have no other choice but to respond (bounce back) in exactly the same way they always have.

BUT, when we remove those walls and allow them FREEDOM to move closer, to experience a different reaction, to see a part of us they haven’t glimpsed in a long time, it changes them. They are free to make moves toward our heart and discover what you have both been missing. They will make mistakes and it’s easy to put up those walls again but that is where our relationship with Jesus changes everything.

We can trust Christ with our pain. We can love our imperfect men out of a vast reservoir of Christ’s power. We don’t need to keep score or always be right or win. We truly can trust Christ with it all and that is out-loving our spouse. That kind of love moves mountains, it unties men who are stuck in a bumper-car night ride and it releases women to love with an open heart.

To be vulnerable, to be authentic, to be a wife that a man adores and is honored to have on his arm.

It’s about Jesus. It’s trusting Him to out-love us so we can out-love others.

This week our challenge opportunity is to trust God with the walls we have constructed. To tear them down with intention and put God to the test. Let us become so secure in our relationship with Christ that we can love others with authenticity and transparency. THAT kind of love changes everything. Husbands, wives, daughters, sons, neighbors and mostly it changes us. That is the freedom described in scripture. It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Galatians 5:1

Today, ask God about this. Ask Him if it’s true that if you actually let down your walls that there is freedom. Ask Him to pour His supernatural love into you so that you have the courage to walk where you haven’t in a long while. I realize this is really, really difficult to truly step back, forgive and trust but ask God to help you. He will.

Stop back during the week and share with me how you found the walls, tore them down and how the people around you reacted. I’m praying for a mighty change for you and your marriage, hugs, Lynn

Weekend Devo — Don't Give Up!

FlowersTherefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. — Hebrews 12:1

It's been an overwhelming week and one night I was pretty grumpy with my hubby because I didn't feel like he was doing enough to help me. Glad I kept that thought to myself and took it to God. My guy was kind and listened to me vent my overwhelming to do list. And I apologized for being grumpy.

In the meantime, God showed me "WE" would get it all done (I'd left God out of my list, imagine that? ;-) and we did get it done, which taught me again of God's faithfulness. Thank you, Lord!

The blessings didn't stop there though. I asked my hubby to grab a few things from the store a couple nights ago. He came home with five bags of grocers with items to make my life easier. Included in those items were a wedge of my favorite cheese, two jars of apple cranberry butter from Trader Joes and a gorgeous bouquet of fall flowers. I was floored, surprised and humbled. My guy had out-loved me that night.

One of our Facebook readers shared that a simple act of respect had brought a kindness from her husband that she hadn't seen in a long time.

If you're struggling with this challenge, friends, please keep going. God is faithful, always! He sees your efforts and blesses us in unexpected ways.

Praying and believing,

Who Are You Fighting With? Out-Love Your Spouse

I have been writing about walking the Christian walk in a spiritually mismatched marriage now for a long time. One thing I have discovered is that when we take on a challenge here at SUM it is met with enthusiasm and hope by many of you. 

…..at the beginning. 

Here we are in week three. Guess what? Many of you have already thrown in the towel. You have given up because you don’t see immediate results. You say to yourself, “Well Lynn, this is all very well and good for you but you don’t know "my" husband. You don’t know what I live with every day of my life.” 

That is true. 

That is also a lie. 

I don’t know the details of your life but I do know that if you are a child of God, you have every resource available to you to live in victory. So, I’m talking to all of us who may be camped in the village of discontent and living in the house of discouragement. It’s time for a refresher course in exactly what is really going on here. 

Hold on to your hats because God has given me a word today and it’s going to shake a few people up and work some change in these houses of gloominess. 

The Accuser has been busy of late. Have you heard any of these voices in your head lately?

  • You’re no good.
  • You’re a terrible wife.
  • You’re not a good Christian
  • You’re a bad mother.
  • No one will ever love you.


  • You’re not good enough.
  • You don’t do anything right.
  • You aren’t man enough.
  • You are a terrible dad. 

These voices are NOT of God. They are straight from the pit of hell. 

Ephesians 6: 10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

It’s at exactly this point in a challenge that you can and should begin to discover something new in your relationship with God and your spouse but this is exactly when the devil moves in to do his work. 

What is his work? Look at verse 11. The word -schemes. These are strategies to deceive you. Now let me be clear here. The spiritual realm is REAL. There is an invisible realm that is all around us. Let me take this a step further, it is a realm that is at war. Either we are a pawn of the devil in this war or we are living out of victory through the power of Jesus Christ. It’s one or the other. 

It’s precisely now that the enemy will do everything in his power to bring strategies to bear to deceive you, to draw you away from God and to fill your heart with partial truths and lies. And let’s be clear here again, our struggle is not against our spouse. Our struggle is against what? See verse 12. 

We are involved in an invisible war with eternal consequences and that war primarily plays out in our head. 

2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

The war is largely in our mind. 

But now get this. What happens when we resist the devil? James 4:5  You don’t need to be afraid. It’s true, you need to know what you are doing and you need to pray but you need not fear the serpent. As believers in Christ, we do not fight for victory we fight from victory. 

Write these scriptures down and memorize them.

1 John 4:4

1 John 5:4-5

James 4: 7-8 

It is our intercessory prayer for our spouse, our kids, and our life that makes every difference and can change the eternal destiny of many that our life touches. So right now, pick yourself up. Bind the belt of truth around you, put on the shield, tie up the shoes. Tell the devil, out-loud, that he MUST flee and begin again to pray with fervor and fierceness for your spouse that God will open his eyes. Pray for fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Pray against the plans and schemes of darkness and live out of the victory that is yours. 

Now repeat after me: I resist the devil and he must flee.

I resist the devil and he must flee.


By the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Amen. 

Catch up here again on Monday as we talk about the next step in our challenge and discover the pivotal point of this journey. 

In the comments, leave your prayers of power and victory. Pray for your husband by name and Dineen, Shelly and I will pray along with you. 

For me: I pray Mike is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and his spiritual eyes are blown wide open to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. In Jesus name, Amen 

(Thanks Pastor Chip Ingram, I am inspired)

Spouse-Based or God-Based?

IStock_000010120543XSmallWhat is the difference between a spouse-based marriage and a God-based marriage?

This is the question my Sunday school leader asked our group this past weekend. We’re currently doing Gary Thomas’ video series, Sacred Marriage, which goes with his book by the same title. It’s a great course, and I have loved hearing different perspectives on marriage and how God works in our marriages and uses them to refine us.

The answer to this question also fits into our “Out-Love Your Spouse” challenge. So here it is:

A spouse-based marriage is performance based. In other words, I’ll do something nice for him if he does something for me. Or, why should I do that for her? She never does anything for me? And how about this one: He was grumpy last night. No way am I going to be nice to him today.

Basically, as long as our spouse is performing to our standards, and meeting our needs, we will love them, help them, and be a good spouse in return. As soon as they stop meeting that standard, we withdraw our affection, love and help.

In a God-based marriage we love our spouse because that is what Jesus has asked us to do—love one another. We love our spouse whether they are grumpy or happy. We help our spouse without the expectation of getting something in return. We serve our spouse as an act of serving God.

See the difference? I know this challenge to “out-love” our spouse isn’t an easy one, especially if you’re in a difficult marriage. Especially if you’re in a situation where there is hostility and rebuff. But I want to encourage you to persevere, because I am confident of two things:

1. When we love our spouse from the motivation that we are serving God—being obedient to God—God sees our efforts. Our spouse may not, but God sees. And He is faithful!

2. In some way, our spouse will be affected on some level. They may not respond right away. They may not respond in a way that you’d expect. But when we are loving our spouse from the motivation to serve God—in essence, if we are loving our spouse from a place of loving Jesus—we become a conduit for the love of Christ to reach our spouse. That’s powerful!

Look at Hebrews 10:23-24:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

My friends, we heard what Shelley shared with Lynn in the video about what her pastor told her. Our calling to love and serve begins right in our own homes. God wants us to start there before He can bring us out into the mission fields of our workplace, our neighborhood, or even our friends and extended family.

Don’t give up. God calls us to love even the most unlovable. Even if that defines our spouse at the moment. And if we’re totally honest here, we aren’t always very lovable either, are we?

Last week, I did small things for my hubby, like sitting on the couch with him instead of the chair I usually sit on. I looked for little things that would make his life a little easier and his home a haven to return to. God put this on my heart as away to comfort my stressed out guy. One night, this poor guy thanked me for making dinner—twice in one meal. I didn’t ask for that appreciation. I only sought to do what God was showing me to do.

And finally, let me say that just because our spouse isn’t a believer (yet) doesn't mean we can’t have a God-centered marriage. You are the conduit to bring God into your marriage. Keep the faith and remember that through that very same faith, your spouse partakes in your sanctification (read “Sanctified Unbeliever” here) and God’s covering.

Praying and believing,

Out-Love Your Spouse - Your Ideas

Hi My Friends,

Well, I think this post is going to be a little off track and unorganized. For some reason I have another cold and the headache is persistent today, so I will be brief.

This Friday I'm going to share with you what happens in an ordinary marriage when you put the principals of "out-loving" your spouse into practice. THERE ARE some amazing and unexpected changes that come out of our efforts.

At Kathi's book Club they are sharing ideas on how you out-love your husband. One of the women said, "I also want to make a dry erase sign for the bathroom that says I love you because…. and change the message frequently for him so that he can see all the reasons that I love him."

What a great idea! I'm going to do that as well. So, what ideas do you have or what has worked for you? Can't wait to learn from you and let's help each other out with some ideas to out love, romance, delight, surprise and love on our spouse with intention. Hugs, Lynn

Weekend Devo — God's Timing

953185_hourglassBe still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. — Psalm 37:7

The biggest challenge we often have is patience, wouldn't you say? I see this all the time in others and in myself. We want things to change now, to get better, get easier, go smoother. But what if we knew those very changes we're so impatient wouldn't be as effective if they happened in our time frame? 

Our October challenge has the potential to bring amazing changes in our marriages. Some we'll see fairly quickly, others may take a while. So let's keep going and trust God not only in the results but in the timing as well. His plan and timing are always best. Amen?

Praying and believing,

Out-Love Your Spouse - It's time for the Next Challenge

I have to tell you that this first part of this challenge, God really put me to task. I discovered it is monumentally difficult, at least for me, to change speech patterns that are decades old. What is hilarious to me is that concurrent to working through this challenge, I am also facilitating a Bible study at church entitled, Conversation Peace, The Power of Transformed Speech. 

This study and the road map of Out-loving your spouse are parallel in motion. Go figure. God really wants me to “get this.” 

I am. 

Truly, I have made progress after much learning, much surrender, much apologizing, and a humbling of my pride. 


Today it’s time to move our challenge forward to the next step. 

Words of affirmation. 

If you remember the video, Shelly Weaver, shared the steps of her challenge and the next step is to be purposeful to say words to our spouse that are affirming. Shelly shared that she struggled to say, “I love you.” I thought it was brave and vulnerable of her to share that these, even simple affirming phrases were a struggle. And if you are in a rocky or challenging season of marriage, it may taste like vinegar rolling off your tongue to speak them to your spouse. 

This challenge is going to be especially difficult but I promise the rewards of this challenge are waiting. 

Shelly began to say kind things to her husband. She thanked him for what she felt were ordinary, expected, things that he did, such as mowing the lawn. I love you was spoken with frequency and she acknowledged him. 

Shelly said, “I began to appreciate and thank him for things that you take for granted or that you expect them to do on a regular basis.”

Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • You look handsome today.
  • I love you for the way you laugh.
  • Thank you for handling the garbage.
  • Thanks for helping out with driving little Joey to soccer.
  • You still rock my world.
  • I would walk through fire for you. (I said this recently to my husband and he looked like deer in headlights for a second. When he recovered, he looked gently at me and said, “Thank you Sweetie.”)
  • I so appreciate how you set a great example for our kids by ________.
  • That was a great Daddy moment (Catch him in the moment of play, reading, talking with one of the kids). 

Okay there are more words of affirmation here. We want to add to the list. So, PLEASE, if you have some affirming words and/or phrases, share them in the comments. We need to help one another. 

I’m looking forward to what this challenge brings in the week ahead. I promise I plan to explain what happens when we stick with these challenges. Big things can happen. Stay tuned and now go share some of Christ’s love with your man and your family. Hugs, Lynn

If you need to hear Shelly's story again, listen in.


Out-Love your Spouse from The Intentional Marriage on Vimeo.

The Silent Talker

IStock_000014622874XSmall So far, we’ve been talking about our words—how we use them and even when. I have to share with you that early on in my marriage, I didn’t always use my words wisely when I did speak up, but my biggest issue was not speaking up at all.

Instead I held things in, choosing my own discomfort over dealing with a conflict or disagreement. I swallowed hurts at times that should have been expressed or shared in good ways in order to seek resolution.

If you’re a “stuffer” like me, you know what happens eventually. You blow like a volcano, spewing your resentment and anger on anyone who happens to be around. I functioned this way for many years and my family likened my outbursts to a small volcano that occasionally blew just enough to let off some steam. They even had me pegged down to how long between outbursts.

The thing is, I didn’t like being that volcano. Even in the middle of a “steam release,” I can recall asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” The lesson I painfully learned was that though we had spans of what seemed like peaceful times, the waters beneath my seemingly calm exterior were slowly reaching critical mass.

The reason I’m sharing this is to make a distinction between being a doormat and actually speaking when something needs to be said. Sometimes we’re put in a position where we do need to let our spouse know they crossed a boundary, when something they said hurt our feelings, or when something they promised they would do didn’t get done.

But it comes down to how we speak up and what our attitude is. No matter how good our marriage might be, it’s not easy living with another person on a daily basis. Roommates can be changed, marriages can’t (or shouldn’t). So how do we communicate in ways that bring understanding and edification at the same time?

Let’s look at what God has to say:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. — Ephesians 4:14-16 (emphasis mine)

This is a great piece of Scripture, because even though Paul is referring to spreading the Good News, it’s a model for all communication. When our motivation and attitude stem from a desire to speak truth in order to bring understanding and peace, when we speak from a place of concern not only for ourselves but for the other person as well, we’ve shifted from a place of blame to partnership.

In marriage this is critical. It’s what I call a “we mentality.” As opposed to an “I mentality,” where we wind up speaking out of anger and resentment.

Let’s look at another great peace of Scripture:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. — Colossians 4:6

Again, Paul is referring to how the disciples were to speak to “outsiders,” how they were to witness to unbelievers.

My friends, may I propose that we are in that same place? We have an “outsider” in our very homes on a daily basis. How much more critical is it that we speak words full of grace and seasoned with salt?

Speaking the truth in love means expressing our care, our hurt, our frustration with the goal of bringing peace. Instead of seeing our spouse as the enemy in these moments, what if we spoke with the goal to restore the “we” in our marriage? What if we spoke with the objective to bring understanding and to find a mutual solution? What if we spoke with the mind and heart of Christ so that our spouse would have the opportunity to witness what that is?

Yes, sometimes it is best to not speak but other times, we need to in order to help our spouse grow and learn. Just as we need to. This is part of the function of marriage, as iron sharpens iron, we are helping each other to grow into better people. Marriage is teamwork.

This does not mean keeping our mouths shut and not speaking up when a boundary has been crossed, nor does it mean we are in a place to become critical and confrontational. It means we consider our words and motivations, then pray before speaking.

There are still times that I have to remind myself that I need to say something. No more stuffing! And there are times that as the words are coming across my lips, that I literally rephrase because I realize my words convey an “I” mentality instead of a “we.”

We are not perfect. Neither is our spouse. But as Paul says in Ephesians 4, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” In all things, I want to grow up to be like Christ. How about you?

Praying and believing,

Out-Love Your Spouse -
A Challenge, A Change, A Candle

A Challenge: 

Last Monday was our first challenge and we met Shelly Weaver who has been living with purpose to out-love her husband. She shared her desire to serve the Kingdom, feed the homeless and work in ministry but God, through her pastor, put her feet to the fire so to speak. She needed to FIRST go home and love on her unbelieving spouse. God was calling her to get her own house in order before she stepped out to help the world. 

Wow, don’t you think God is calling each of us to this very purpose? Do you believe God wants us to prove the love of Christ by loving our spouse? 

I am convinced THAT is exactly what He wants. It’s what He expects. 

Shelly shared with us the first step on this journey, (hand over mouth) she had to change her speech. She also hinted at the next step in this journey and we will talk about that more on Friday. Today and through Thursday, I am asking all of you who are joining Dineen, Shelly and me on this journey to reinforce changing our spoken words (Colossians 4:6) and this is why: 

A Change 

Over my life-time of walking with Jesus I have learned a few things about His character and about how He works in the hearts and lives of His people. 

God wants permanent change. This kind of change happens slowly in the human heart. This kind of change is the result of years of practice, surrender and prayer. The reason I’m sharing this with you is because you might be thinking this challenge isn’t doable, or it’s boring or it’s never going to make a difference in your marriage. 

Let me tell you right now that those are lies straight from the pit of hell. Reject those lies and embrace the truth that God wants for us what He has been sharing with Shelly. She has been a participant and has experienced the results of a life surrendered and committed to out-loving her husband. I will share more about this with you in future weeks. 

Fantastic surprises await those who are willing to do the hard work. You do your part and God will do His. For today, trust God that you were called to this journey to serve His purposes and He has rewards for His people who are obedient. 

So, how do we stay committed and continue to practice guarding our speech? How can we experience a true heart change? 

We pray. 

A Candle: 

I hope you picked up a candle over the weekend. On this Monday morning when you rise and pour your coffee, light that candle. Place it in a prominent place in your home where you will see if as you go about your day. 

Each time you see the flame it’s to remind you to pray. Simple one sentence prayers for you, your marriage, for your spouse, for your kids, your home, your relationships. I will be praying something like this:

(I see the flame) 

  • O Lord, I ask You to place a burning passion in me to love my husband like Christ loves the church. (Ephesians 5:25)
  • Lord, show me how to make my home a place of refuge from the world for my husband and my children.
  • Lord, reveal to me where my words hurt my husband. Help me to catch myself BEFORE I say those words.
  • Jesus, you redeem me today from destructive words I say to myself. I will believe them no more and I forbid the enemy to speak lies to me.
  • Father, fill me up with your Holy Spirit; grant me discernment and wisdom  to know when to speak up and when to shut up and be the wife that is of noble character. Proverbs 12:4
  • Lord, I want my home to be a place of beauty and rest. Help me to make it so.
  • Today Lord, help my words to bring healing and keep me from speaking words that tear down. Proverbs 12:18

Let your candle burn. Pray without ceasing. 

If you are unable to be home all day, don’t worry. Just keep the fire lit while you are home. Light it the next day and the next until it is gone. Can you imagine what can happen if we are all praying throughout the day for our spouse? The heavens themselves will bend down and take notice. Great are the prayers of a believing spouse. Great are the answers from an all-powerful God. 

Remember to give thanks for your husband, pray for your kids and their future spouses and the in-laws. Expect God to reveal some things to you. AND if you are able, perhaps light your candle, let it burn throughout the day and also FAST (learn more about fasting here)

Prayer candle As you read through this post, what prayers came to your mind? Share them in the comments today. Dineen and I will be stopping in to echo your words in prayer along with you. 

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 

I believe this with all of my heart. Praying with faith for our spouses, Lynn

(Here is a photo of my candle. It stands in the middle between my kitchen and family room. I am humbled I have the privilege to bring my requests before the mercy seat.) 

Out-Love your Spouse - Sowing and Reaping

Well how was the first week? 

I have to tell you that I have been on this journey for a few months already and I find it extraordinarily difficult. So don’t become discouraged. There are lessons to be learned and God surely had to teach me a few things this week. Sometimes He must show us how our words really affect our spouse. 

This is exactly what happened to me. Ugh! 

Last week my husband and I went for an early afternoon walk. We walk the dog several times a week when he is not traveling. We had little Peanut leashed and were just setting off down the street when God decided it was time. 

Lynn Donovan was about to discover you reap what you sow

You see, two weeks earlier, I’m ashamed to admit, I had a meltdown and zinged my husband with some unkind mean words. They were intended to hurt and to slam my point home over whatever we were arguing about. They did……. And similar to most men, he just quietly took the words in and didn’t rise to the bait. 

The next day I felt horrible about the things I said. I apologized. He said, “It’s okay.” But, you know what???? I said them. They hurt him and once they left my mouth, there was no taking them back. 

Well fast forward again to the dog walk. We rounded the corner and my husband was talking with me about something that happened during the day. I let out a tiny little comment (dig???) about the situation. 

He stopped dead in his tracks, right there on the street corner, pointed a finger at me, “I hate it when you do that. Don’t you ever say that to me again. You are out of line.” (I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact words.)

What I distinctly remember is becoming immobilized on the spot, completely stunned into silence. I felt like a hot knife had been plunged through my heart. Well needless to say, the rest of the walk was strained and very, very quiet. We didn’t speak a word. 

I walked and I began to process his unexpected and very emotional response. That is when God said in His still small voice, “Lynn, the pain you are feeling right now is exactly what Mike felt two weeks ago.” In fact, my little dig was about the very issue I zinged him with a few weeks earlier. 

I grieved as we approached our home. 

I looked up at my kind husband and just whispered, “I am so sorry. I have so much more work to do on this journey. Please forgive me. Please be patient with me. I promise to do better.” 

My friends, I have never been so convicted in my life that the area of my speech to my husband is a rotting, stinking pit that I MUST begin to pray and surrender every…. single….. day…. Sometimes hour-by-hour. 

But now more than every I am determined to do what is right. What is noble. What is pure. What is excellent (Phil 4:8).

Candle Marriage is all about a heart surrender. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about loving Jesus more than I love myself. 

O Lord, I want to love you more than I love myself. I’m asking you to remove my old heart, of unforgiveness, unkindness, selfishness, and pride. Please, Jesus, please put into me a heart of flesh and fill it up with your supernatural love, grace, goodness, kindness, peace, joy, self-control, and more. I humbly ask in the name of my Redeemer, The Redeemer of a girl with a speech impediment and a broken heart. Jesus, Amen. 

On Monday, I have a special gift for you to give to your family, marriage and your husband. Over the weekend, find/purchase a candle. It must be big enough to burn for eight hours. Don’t forget, you won’t want to miss this. 

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Amen, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Love, Lynn

Thankful Thursday - It's all about Perspective

Thankful Thursday is back here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for the month of October. Woo Hoo! We have a busy month around here and for all of you joining us today, welcome to our marriage challenge. 

Out-Love Your Husband/Wife 

If you missed the video posted Monday, I promise it’s worth your time. Just read the comments. AND join us this month to put God’s love in action in our marriages and then watch and see what our Great BIG God will do. 

I love this time of year. Our first winter storm rolled in off the ocean and I headed for my sweatshirt and jeans. I turned on the central heat to chase the morning chill away and that familiar smell of fall washed over the house. Yep, burnt dust. But, there is something about the fall colors the smell of the heater the first time it fires for the season this fills my heart with joy. 

I looked around my home and was moved to stop and just thank God for all I have. For the changing of the seasons. The provision of a job for my husband. The amazing community of believers, all of you, with whom I share my life. My husband, daughter, son and my wacky dog Peanut. I could go on and on. 

If you are struggling in your life, stop right now and write down 10 blessings that you know are from God and thank Him for each one. If you are in on the marriage challenge, make this specific to your spouse. 

  1. He’s ferociously loyal to me.
  2. He loves Fantasy Football (so do I)
  3. He is tall, dark, and handsome with blue eyes.
  4. He puts his butt in a plane every week to provide for his family.
  5. He loves his mother.
  6. He is a great dad (and can still help her with high school math. Sheesh I gave up when she was in fourth grade *grin*)
  7. He fixes computers for me and the entire neighborhood.
  8. He respects my faith even if he doesn’t get it (that was a long time coming.)
  9. He puts up with my impulsive need for change.
  10. He loves me, really loves me. 

What are you thankful for this week. If you are a blogger, join the fun. If you aren’t write your list in the comments. Honor the Lord with your thankful heart. Thankfulness is at the core of our heart change. Thankfulness is perspective that can change everything. 

Happy Thursday. I will be around to read your posts this week. Love you all, Lynn

Loving God Helps Me Love My Husband

1228973_love_1 I will tell you, in all honesty, that I cannot love my husband in my own strength. It’s not possible. I tried to for a many years and would do fine for a while, but inevitably I would run out of steam. Resentment would seep back in and these feelings and thoughts that had to with how little I perceived to be getting back. That's the self creeping in, because to out love our spouses requires unconditional love that's centered in Christ, not us.

First, I had to ask God to help me love my husband the way He loves him. To put a love in my heart for my spouse that far exceeds what I am capable of. God answered that prayer and keeps answering it faithfully, but it truly starts in my love for God. The more we love God—the more we live for Him—the more we are able to love others unconditionally.

Take a look at Matthew 22:37-39:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

You've probably heard this Scripture a lot but let's take a closer look at it. First, and foremost, we're told to love God with everything we've got. THEN, we are to love others. Maybe, like me, you thought the part about loving God came first, well, because God wants to be first in our lives. You would be right, but I also think it's because that second part just isn't going to happen unless we get the first part down.

Jesus boiled down the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, to two commands. Love God first, then love others. And in that order. As I've said before, God never seems to have only one reason for anything He says and does. He is the most efficient being there is! He doesn't just tell us to make Him first in our lives, He's also telling us that in order to be able to love others like this, we have to love Him first.

Loving God first opens the door for God to love others through us. That is how we love sacrificially.

And out loving our spouse, or anyone for that matter, means loving sacrificially. The only way to love sacrificially is through Christ. We just can't do it our own.

So, that's where we start, right there in your heart. Ask God to help you love Him more than anything else in your life, including yourself and your spouse. Then ask Him to out love your spouse through you.

Then watch what happens. You will be amazed.

Praying and believing,

Out-Love Your Spouse

Are you ready to be intentional about changing your marriage? Do you want to see God moving in your life, your heart, and that of your husband?

I know you do and so do I. So let me share this. You do your part and God will do His part.

We are setting out this month to "Out-Love" our spouse. We are going to love, serve and surprise our husband/wife. We are going to discover that when we are intentional and make an effort to change, really change, through the power of Christ, our lives, our hearts and that of our spouse can truly change as well.

I want to introduce you to my friend Shelly Weaver. I met Shelly when I visited her small group this summer. The Warrior Wives (her group) had just finished the study of Winning Him Without Words and I was invited to wrap up their study of the book.

During that evening Shelly,  by chance, happened to share a snippet of a journey the Lord set her on to "out-love" her husband. 

It's remarkable.

It's real.

It's possible because Shelly loves and serves Jesus. So, today, I'm introducing you to my friend. She will share a portion of her story and we have a challenge for you for this month. Listen in as she describes what God is doing  and then decide if you are willing to commit to honestly change your thoughts, actions and your heart.


Through the month, Dineen, Shelly and I will be sharing different aspects of how to out-loving our spouse. By the end of the month, it is our sincere and heart-felt prayer that you will also step out on your own journey and join us to out-love our spouse.

Now, please take 15 minutes to listen in. These few minutes can change everything. Hugs, Lynn

Shelly Weaver. 

Okay, start today. Pray right now. Lord, help me to see how I need to respect my husband with my words. Help me to refrain from words that harm or hurt and then Lord to begin to speak words of love, healing, and holiness into his life. Transform me Lord to be a woman who reflects Jesus to my spouse. In the powerful and life-changing name of Jesus. Amen

Today in the comments, let Shelly, Dineen and I know you also want to reflect Jesus to your spouse. Start with your words. Let me know where you struggle and how you can be specific and intentional to start to change those old patterns of speech. 

We love all of you. Just imagine what can happen in the next month with Jesus alive and working in our lives. I wonder who might be touched. Who might find Christ. Who will discover peace, love and fulfillment in their marriage. 

I promise if you begin to put theses hints into practice, things start to change. We have so much more to share with you. Looking forward to your comments, Hugs, Lynn

Replenish Your Soul

I'm psyched to be a speaker at this year's conference, Replenish Your Soul. This is an ONLINE conference for women who want to replenish their hearts and renew their marriage.

I'm especially excited because my topic is "Out-Love" Your Husband. The timing of this conference couldn't be better as this conference directly follows up the month long challenge that we are beginning here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage this Monday, October 3rd.

The conference is only $10 and it's filled with three days of speakers and topics. There are giveaways and resources to grow your relationship with the Lord and with your spouse.

At The Well is hosting the conference and they have pulled together a great speaker team. I'm humbled to be among them:


Darlene Schacht, Betty Eisenhour, Connie Hughes, Rachel Martin, Joy McMillan, Amy Roberts, Teri Lynne Underwood, Ashley Wells, and me, Lynn Donovan

Hop over and take a look. Review the great sessions that are planned. Register to attend.

Leave a note in the comments here and that enters you in the drawing to win a free ticket that I'm giving away.

My session will be November 3rd at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT. I also will be a panelist for an open Q&A on November 3rd at 3 p.m. ET, Noon PT.

Ashely and Betty have prepared a fabulous conference. I'm excited to listen in to the other speakers. AND, if you can't be on-line live, you and view the conference later as if you were there. Read more about it at Replenish Your Soul.

I count it a great privilege to share what our Extraordinary God can do in an ordinary woman's life. It's my delight to share what happens to my husband and my marriage when I live with intention and......."Out-Love" My Husband.

Hope you will join me. BIG hugs, Lynn

"Out-Love" Your Spouse/ Husband

My Friends,

As I write this today (Thursday), it's actually Rosh Hashanah, the marking of the first day of  the New Year on the Jewish Calender. It strikes me as it's interesting that we are embarking on a potentially life-changing journey today. 

It's been a long time since we have worked through a series and also a challenge here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. This October, could be the beginning of a profound and deepening relationship with our Jesus and also, do I dare say, a paradigm shift in our marriage. It's timing as it relates to God's marking of time, a new year, is perfect.

So, what is this adventure you ask?

It's the revealing of a new look on love. A way to view married love from the eyes of the eternal. And yet to bring it to life in our everyday living here on earth. 

It's about change.

If we are breathing. God is all about changing. He is consistently working out our lives to reflect Christ-likeness.

It's about changing....

Me. You. And do I also dare say, our spouse.

I will dare to say it because over the summer God has introduced me to some people who are living it out and proving it possible. I have been living this new adventure as well and can say this; It took my relationship with God to a greater depth of love, happiness and peace. 

This series will run through the entire month of October. Dineen and I have many practical examples and then challenges to propel you on this journey.

Meet with me here on Monday. Plan to spend 15 minutes with me. I have a special guest who I am so excited to introduce to you. We will share the plan, thoughts and some practical ideas to get us launched on this adventure.

It's going to be a hoot.

Excited, thrilled, hopeful, and filled with the joy of Jesus. Hugs, Lynn