My wife is the “Chuck Norris” of marital fighting!

Alicia and I had only been dating a few months. It was early spring and I was in the middle of renovating a house I had recently bought. I’m the guy that never really sits still. I’m working away getting this house ready to rent and she shows up just to be supportive and spend time with me. That evening she tells me, “WE NEED TO TALK.”

In past relationships this was the death sentence for anyone I ever dated. “We need to talk” meant there was about to be conflict and I grew up with conflict being ugly. So when the slightest bit of conflict reared its ugly little head, I would cut bait and run.

After she told me this, I decided it was time to send her on her way. I gently told her I could see this was not going anywhere good so we probably just needed to break up. There it was, that look on her face that she still uses today. It’s that spinning roundhouse kick to the face Walker Texas Ranger became so famous for.

She didn’t yell. She didn’t scream. She simply said I’m not going anywhere until we figure this out. I had no idea what to do with this style of fighting. She was not willing to let me just run away. We sat down that evening and she shared her heart with me. How much she cared about me and that she was willing to calmly work through this. I was speechless! I had really never encountered conflict from this perspective.

Conflict is never fun – yet conflict is inevitable. And the truth is, most of us stink at it. Conflict will immediately test a person’s self confidence and expose most of our insecurities. We can sometimes feel attacked when we engage in a tough conversation and instinctively respond in an unhealthy way.

The result is a snowball of verbal punches that we later wish we had never thrown – and, which create wounds that hurt. Yes, the wounds may heal; but, they do leave scars.

So how do we engage in conflict in a healthy manner that brings peace and harmony to a relationship?

Run…But Not Far

Do not, under any circumstance, engage in conflict while emotions or tempers are flaring. Go away, calm down, gather your thoughts and allow the person you’re fighting with to do the same.

When you are emotional, you are more likely to say and do things that will only cause more damage to the situation.

Engage

Come back together when both parties are calmer and agree to come to a resolve. State the goal. The objective should always be to restore peace. Agree to not communicate in an ugly way. If it starts to get ugly, choose to stop, back off, and then engage again later when both of you are calm.

State the Facts

Try to keep a clear grasp on what the facts are. What is the true subject of disagreement? Understanding what the problem truly is will certainly help with paving the road to a solution. Be honest about how the situation makes you feel.

Opinions are just that – opinions – and you know what they say about opinions. Keep them to yourself, do not let your opinions bleed into dialect. It’s okay to communicate how you feel, or how a situation makes you feel, but just giving your opinion will not get you very far.

Time Together

Marital relationships are forever changing. Different stages of life brings different challenges and more opportunities for conflict. The more time we spend with someone helps us understand how they tick. We should take something away from every conflict that can help us in future situations:

  • Learning how each other responds.
  • Knowing sensitivities.
  • Allowing for each other’s faults.

Taking the time to learn the intricacies of your partner and how they are wired is a huge benefit to any relationship. Time together is the only way to achieve that knowledge.

In February of this year, Alicia and I will have been married for nine years. These nine years have not been perfect by any means, but there has always been peace in our home. The main reason is because she is the “Chuck Norris” of marital conflict.

When I start getting wound up and sticking my chest out ready to fight, she gives me that humble little look and down I go.  Her ability to handle conflict in our marriage has created an environment of safety and respect for me as a husband and a sense of security and protection for her as a wife.

When Sorry Is Not Enough

Associate Pastor | Music Minister

Last year, Dylan and I planned a surprise for Cheryl and the girls.  He was away at college and Savannah was on the Homecoming Court.  We informed the girls that Dylan just couldn’t make it home because of scheduling and pressing issues at college.  They were all quite disappointed but certainly understood.  

The afternoon of Homecoming, Dylan came home to surprise them.  We were able to capture on video each emotional reaction.  It was a moving moment.  Each reaction to seeing him was quite emotional. It will go down as one of those “special moments” for our family.  

Click Here To Watch Video

After posting this video on social media, I was asked multiple times, “What did you do in your home to create an atmosphere where your kids love each other like that?”  I spent some time trying to answer this question.  After making lists and being thankful for the Grace of God that made up for our shortcomings as parents, this is where I landed on the answer to that question:  

One of the most important things we did to create peace in our our home was to teach our kids to appropriately apologize.  

It is so important for each person in your home to be able to apologize well!

In a world where the words, “I’m sorry” have become cheap and somewhat meaningless, here are the 4 components to a real apology that will lead to peace and reconciliation in your home.

  1. Say “I’m Sorry”

The first step is to say “I’m sorry.” When we say this, we are showing regret.  Regret is when we recognize that we did or said something wrong that affected the relationship with another.

When saying “I’m sorry,” we trained our children to:

  • look each other in the eyes  
  • speak clearly and with sincerity
  • control their body language when they said “I’m sorry” – meaning we would:
    • make them fold their hands
    • place their hands in front of them
    • then speak to the other person  

Doing this helped them settle themselves, which led them to “be in the moment.”

Always remember, the words “I’m sorry” should never be followed by the word “but.”  This is a bad practice and usually tries to excuse our behavior.  

  1. Say “I Am Wrong”

When we say “I am wrong,” we own the offense.  We cannot excuse it away.  

Our children had to name the offense.  If they lied, cheated or stole something, they had to say it out loud and verbally own it.  They were not allowed to make an excuse for their actions.

Saying “I am wrong” is so important to having peace in your home!  

Do you know anyone who always has to be right?  Do not be that person!!  When we always have to be right, we have the tendency to crush the spirits of the ones we love, we close relational doors and we narrow the path to reconciliation.  

Remember, the goal of a real apology is to restore the relationship not just “right” a “wrong.”

A home where people freely admit they are wrong is probably a relationally healthy home.

  1. Say “Will You Forgive Me?”

This is such an important part of an apology.  When we ask another person to forgive us, we take a position of humility and give up control.  Wow – I know those are concepts that we may not hear much about these days.  When we ask for forgiveness, we are placing it in the hands of the other person.  

Giving up control trains our children to have humility and helps them understand that life is not all about them, their desires and wants.  That is a good thing! 

It is so important to train your children that they are part of a family and the well being of this group is more important than the individual.  

In our home, after one child forgave the other, I would make them “hug it out” or sometimes I would pray with them. This would be a sign that they were forgiven and they could move on!

  1.  Change Your Ways and Make It Right

When we continue to apologize to the ones we love but we don’t change our actions or words, then it nullifies our apology.  If I lie to Cheryl, apologize to her, and then lie to her again next week – how does that make her feel?  

It is important that we remember a real apology is not to just “right the wrong” but, more importantly, it is to restore the relationship.  

That is why this 4th step is so important.  It solidifies that we are serious about making things right with those we love.

Doing all 4 steps should become an important practice in your family.  When we practice these steps, it closes the offense and buries it!  There is freedom when we are able to be freed from guilt and we are forgiven.  

When we let conflicts go unresolved…

When we don’t deal with the hurt…

When us being right is the highest value…

We are leaving relational trash in our home.

When we choose to live with this trash everywhere, the path to reconciliation with the ones we love becomes narrow.  

Here is the GREAT news!  It’s never too late to start saying “I’m sorry” and giving a real apology!  Start today – example it, encourage it, make it a part of your family’s culture.  You will never regret making things right with the ones you love!

I Don’t Want To Live Without You

Three years ago this past Friday my wife Aly was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Aly and I were incredibly blessed to be able to celebrate her life together on Friday.

We had many conversations during her treatment that looking back now truly blow my mind.

When a spouse is sick there are conversations and thoughts that should never pass through the mind much less the lips.

Many of you have heard of ‘for King & Country’ and their music.

I came across this song and story this weekend and was needless to say, moved.

Here are the lyrics to the song.

What do you do when you don’t get better
Strong arms get to, get to weak to hold her
Oh God give me and just enough strength to make it through
Sleepless this madness is walking me out to the ledge
And stands there beside me shriving out on the edge
Oh God all I, all I ask is a little relief
Just a moment of peace

I don’t want to live without you
I’m not ready to live without you
So let’s dance a little
Laugh a little
Hope a little more
Cause I don’t want to live without you, without you

This thorn in my side
Though it cuts and stings me
As opens these eyes
I’ve never seen so clearly
And oh God I thank you
Cause you bring me to my knees
Back on my knees

I don’t want to live without you
I’m not ready to live without you
So let’s dance a little
Laugh a little
And hope a little more
Yes let us dance a little
Laugh a little
And hope a little more
Cause I don’t want to live without you, without you

I heard a voice from the other side
Singing “hold fast, love last”
As winter turns into summertime
Singing “hold fast, love last”
Heard another voice from the other side
Singing “hold fast, love last”
As winter turns into summertime
Singing “hold fast”

So let’s dance a little
Laugh a little
And hope a little more
Yes let’s dance a little
Laugh a little
And hope a little more
Cause I don’t want to live without you
No, I don’t want to live without you
Without you

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3 Ways a Newlywed Husband Can Please His Spouse

Beck, take this first year of marriage and really focus on your marriage.” Those were words of biblical counsel given to me by my late mentor, Billy Hornsby, as I approached my upcoming marriage with Jodi nearly 13 years ago. Unfortunately, those were words I did not heed as I should have during that first newlywed year. Yes, I wanted to have a godly marriage, but my focus may have been more zeroed in on other responsibilities and dreams such as entering “full-time ministry.” I, excuse me, WE paid a dear price our first year of marriage simply because I didn’t take the time to make marriage my main earthly, relational priority.

“A newly married man must not be drafted into the army or be given any

MOM, Get in the Game!

This is a guest post by Stacy Frost. She is married to Jarred and mom to Jase and Annie. Stacy is an elementary teacher in Ouachita Parish. You can friend her on Facebook.

The other day I came across a blog post titled, “Moms, put on your swimsuit!”

The post was about moms getting past their self consciousness and getting in their swimsuits and making memories with their kids this summer.

It was a great post and really hit home with me.

A couple of weekends ago we took a trip to the Audubon Zoo with Jase.

There was a neat little splash pad/water area and we all changed into our swimsuits and headed towards the fun!!! However, once we got to the action I spotted a cozy little area where some other moms where gathered and sat with my towel wrapped around me.

I watched Jase and Jarred go down the slides and splash

How To Unlock Your Husband’s Potential

Director of Development

What is the #1 deciding factor as to whether your husband reaches his potential?

For me, as a 29 year old man who has been married for almost 8 years, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt how to unlock your husbands potential.

Yes, I can tell you!

So much of a man’s life is defined by what he has failed at.

Sports, job, friendships, parenting, marriage etc.

Men are their own worst critic. They have a running score of where they have dropped the ball.

I can promise you beyond any shadow of a doubt this side of God Almighty, there is only one person who can

Our Perfect Instagram Marriage

Director of Development

We all know what the perfect marriage on Instagram and Facebook looks like. The perfect, physically fit, beautiful parents, with the kids laughing so effortlessly in the perfect setting.

We look at these people and idolize them. They look cool, or beautiful, or funny, or smart, or just plain fun.

What I have come to realize is that these people do not have the perfect job or family, as it appears. So why do we compare ourselves to these people?

We all know couples who portray everything to be the perfect picture of life, only to find out they’re about to divorce. How does that happen? Didn’t they just show a picture of them kissing last month? I don’t get it.

Here’s the truth:

If your marriage is half as good as our marriage appears to be on Instagram then you should write a book.

The problem is not Instagram or Facebook. It just so happens that social media gives us a great picture of how we live.

Do people around you know what you don’t put on social media? Are we all walking around with the idea that no one knows we’re struggling?

I wish Instagram had another button or two available. Maybe a ‘You have no idea the argument that went on before this smile pic’ button.

Now more than ever, we can be the most fake people on the earth. We can show our pretty, perfect happy lives and it be a total facade.

Then there are the other people (all of us can relate) who can feel like

Are You Ready for Your “Ruth”? A Note to Men.

Family Ministry Staff Member/ The Way College Ministry Director

Proverbs 31:10 (ESV) says, “An excellent (or a virtuous) wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” This word virtuous comes from the Hebrew word chayil, which means strength or power. However, it is not referring to physical strength, or to a woman who is very strong-willed. No, the writer here is describing to us a woman who is of strong character, morals, and values. A woman of strong principles, who lives in modesty, and with dignity. A woman who exhibits a strong mentality.

Notice that the verse asks who can find this woman? Do you know what that says to me? Gentlemen, if we want to find a woman like the one being described in this passage, we can’t do it within

4 Ways Money Has Helped Our Marriage

All marriages have something in common – they all have to deal with money. And unfortunately, over 50% of divorces are primarily over financial disputes.

Joey and I have been married almost 11 years, and to this day, the biggest blow-out fights we have had have been over money issues. Joey is what Dave Ramsey would call a “budget nerd.” He crunches numbers and plays with spreadsheets in Excel like a teenager on Xbox. I, on the other hand, am what Dave Ramsey calls