The Crowded Marriage.

Let’s start by stating the obvious…it’s been a little over 8 months since I have posted to Normal Marriage. I realized this when, on a trip back home, I ran into a niece who asked me if I had kicked her off my Normal Marriage mailing list, because she hadn’t gotten a new post in “forever.”

I could give you a lot of detailed reasons for why it’s been so long, but the long and the short of it is life crept in and crowded Normal Marriage out.

Ever had that happen? Ever had the demands of life crowd out your marriage? The demands of life come in all shapes and sizes…

Read moreThe Crowded Marriage.

Is Your Marriage on the Calendar?

It’s New Year’s Day (2019) and this is a picture of our new calendar. I know, it’s old-school, but, every Christmas I create a new calendar featuring pictures of my grandchildren. I saw it this morning, and I started thinking about how much calendars are a part of our lives.

They are in our phones and our computers. We hang them on our walls and put them on our desks. In them, we put things that are important to us. Things we don’t want to forget or miss.

So here’s the big question…Is your marriage on the calendar?

As a pastoral counselor and a husband of nearly 39 years, I believe a calendar is one of the most effective tools you have for strengthening your marriage.

Read moreIs Your Marriage on the Calendar?

The Jagged Journey of Markets and Marriage.

The Stock Market is not for the faint of heart, because it’s not a smooth ride. It’s a jagged journey of ups and downs. Likewise, marriage is not for the faint of heart, because it also is a jagged journey of ups and downs.

We all want our marriage to continually and consistently get better and better. If it were a a graph, we all want a nice, straight line that keeps going up and up. But marriage is not like that. It’s a little more like the stock market. It can be doing well one minute, and then there’s a change or some new information that rocks the boat and causes some jagged dips in the line. In fact, if you took even the best of marriages and plotted their satisfaction and happiness on a graph, the line would be jagged with many ups and downs.

Read moreThe Jagged Journey of Markets and Marriage.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a brief reminder on this Thanksgiving Day that giving thanks should be more than just a day on the calendar. It should be the practice of our life and marriage. It’s true that some people seem more naturally thankful than others, but giving thanks is something at which you can practice and get better. I’m thankful to each of you for reading Normal Marriage. Happy Thanksgiving!

How Indifference Can Wreck a Dream and a Marriage

A Disturbing Dream

The other night I had a disturbing dream. I don’t have many disturbing dreams, but this one shook me to my core.

In my dream, my wife and I were separate…and she initiated it! She seemed to have little interest in being around me, and asked me not to contact her. Her indifference toward me was beyond painful, and it was clear that her indifference towards me was going to end our marriage.  But that was not the most disturbing part of the dream.

Read moreHow Indifference Can Wreck a Dream and a Marriage

Things You Need to Know Before You Get Married…or Divorced

“I wish I had known this before I got married.” I hear this a lot as a counselor. Sometimes it’s said in jest, and sometimes it’s said in frustration.

Before we get married, we think we know what it takes to have a good marriage. It’s only after we’re married that we begin to find out how much we really don’t know. The things we don’t know can bring an end to the honeymoon phase of marriage, and if left unaddressed, can bring an end to the marriage itself.

What is it we need to know before we get married…and before we get divorced?

Read moreThings You Need to Know Before You Get Married…or Divorced

The Steps to a Great Marriage

The steps to a great marriage. You see a lot of titles like this if you spend any time on social media. Everyone is giving you three steps to this and four steps to that. In fact, the experts tell social media writers that these are the types of headlines that get the most clicks.

For example, I received an email the other day from an organization that I follow. The email listed 6 of their most recent post. Four of the posts started like this…

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How To Stay Together When Others Are Coming Apart

Romantic couple on bench – Vintage photograph

As a Teaching and Counseling Pastor, I come across marriages of all shapes, sizes, ages, and stages.

There are those in the very beginning of their marriage. They have no kids, all the time in the world, and life is just one long extended date. But then there are those who’s marriage is down the road a bit. They are in the throes of raising children, battling time demands, and often living more like like room mates than spouses.

I see some who are deeply in love, while others are so distant they’re thinking of getting out. Some started their relationship officially with an elaborate and well coordinated wedding ceremony, while others had no wedding ceremony at all. They just began living together and have continued down that same ambiguous track.

In the face of all of this diversity, I find myself asking questions like…

Read moreHow To Stay Together When Others Are Coming Apart

How the Heart of a Marriage Survives a Near Fatal Heart Surgery

In the following guest post by Debbie Latour, you will hear how a married couple faced a dangerous heart surgery and came out stronger in love, life, and faith.

When you’re divorced, middle aged, and are given the gift of happily-ever-after with a second marriage, your optimism for the future is renewed. The birds sing again, the stars twinkle brighter, and the dark cloud of a failed marriage gives way to a clear, bright sky.
As we age, certain aches and pains are expected. However, you do not anticipate that less than a month in to a new marriage, you’d hear that your husband has an aneurysmal ascending aorta. His cardiologist sent us home with the recommendation that its growth be monitored and checked in a year.
For the next year, I watched this incredible gift from God, knowing he had a ticking time bomb in his chest, praying that this was not the day it ruptured and my happily-ever-after came to a screeching halt. I lived that year in absolute fear.

Read moreHow the Heart of a Marriage Survives a Near Fatal Heart Surgery

How To Be A Better Person

If you want to know how to be a better spouse and have a better marriage, it starts with learning how to be a better person.

Right now, my spouse is probably laughing her head off at the idea that I can tell you how to be a better person. She would be the first to tell you I have a long way to go in that department. And the idea that I could give you all the answers you need on how to be a better person in one short blog post is pretty laughable also.

But I can give you the basic building block for how to be a better person. Then, you can take those basic building blocks and build on them in a way that best suits you, your situation, and your need.

Here are the basic building block for how to be a better person:

Read moreHow To Be A Better Person