Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dealing with Disappointing Our Kids

Just about a year ago, I watched Roger "compete" (I use this term loosely because it was definitely more about fun than competition) in the 24 Hour Mountain Bike Relay with a group of old friends.  He loved it, the vibe of the whole event was right up my alley, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it too.  Before the race was even over last year, I told Roger I was IN for next year.  I've been excited ever since!

So when it came to race time preparations, we prepared the tent trailer, pumped up tires, lubed chains, prepped food, packed coolers, and headed to claim our spot down at the race venue the day before everything got started.  Roger and I were JACKED!  So excited for the adventure together!

We ended up needing to go down to the park one more time that evening so brought the kids along.  They both love camping and were so excited to see the tent trailer set up!  At this point it became obvious to both of us that our daughter, Emma, was bummed to be "left out" of all of this excitement and adventure.  We tried to explain that it just wasn't going to be a great situation for kids when both parents are racing... especially with the lack of sleep... but she wasn't consoled.

Even the next morning, she was still bargaining to come.  She wasn't willing to compromise and come down for a daytime visit, but wanted to be a part of the whole event and stay overnight.  All or nothing.

So we chose nothing.

Our usually-super awesome kiddo was having a reeeeeeally hard time being selfless and happy for her parents to have this adventure together.  I get it.  She's 10.  It's hard to be selfless period, and much much harder when you're 10.  But it kind of surprised me that even when reminded about the countless swim/cross country/track meets that we have rallied for - her events - she couldn't rally for us.  She was bummed.  We were bummed and disappointed.  I even had a bit of a pit in my stomach.

BUT, we left anyway.  We knew she was in great hands with our niece and parents and left it all behind, even her disappointment.

Because, it's okay to choose us.  In fact, it's good to choose us.

Much of our life revolves around our kids, their needs, and their activities.  We choose them with happy hearts many, many times. We LOVE being active, involved parents.  We wouldn't have it any other way!  However, we've learned the hard way, that there are also times where we need to choose our marriage over our kids.  When Roger and I are close and connected, the whole family is so much better for it! Aside from filling our tanks and helping our marriage thrive, it makes us healthier, happier, and better parents too!

And beyond doing it for me, for us, for our marriage, we are also doing it for our kids.  We are teaching them that they will have an identity beyond being a mommy or daddy and that someday, they too will need to choose their marriage over their kids... and that their relationships and families will be better for it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Truth Sucks... But Only at First

Not that long ago, Jessi and I were driving down the road in Moscow, Idaho where it was snowing extremely hard.  The roads were white with snow and becoming quite dangerous.  As we were driving, we noticed a newer Subaru Outback with a spare for one of its wheels.  You know the kind, the ones that look like they belong on a wheelbarrow?  The family of four looked quite comfortable inside, and likely going someplace close by judging by their clothing and lack of items in the car.  Maybe one of the kids’ sports games? I wondered for a moment why they would be driving in these conditions with a spare?  Seemed dangerous.  Why didn’t they just take a few minutes and take their flat to the tire service center?  Seemed like an easy thing to do, and considering the weather, likely a safer thing to do as well.
Granted, it’s always easy to judge someone else’s situation.  Who knows, maybe they stole the car as it sat on the side of the road with the spare recently changed?  But it got us thinking…how often do we drive with a spare in our life?  In our relationship?  How long do we travel thinking that we will take care of something when it becomes convenient?  

How bad does it have to get before we decide we “have to” change the spare?

How long are we willing to go before doing an honest self-assessment of our marriage? And when we do, how long until we take action to actually DO something about it?

Getting honest is hard because the truth can suck… but only at first.

Everyone thinks they want the truth, thinks they want to know the whole story, thinks they want the answers to the tough questions… I know I thought I did.

Then I actually had Jessi look me in the face and lovingly tell me that parts of our marriage weren’t working for her.  And even though I had parts that weren’t working for me either, it was so hard to hear.  So hard.  

It’s actually kind of surprising, because it’s not like I didn’t know things weren’t perfect.  She was living in the basement, we were going to counseling and pretty much in marital crisis.  Obviously things were not in good shape. You would think I would be prepared to hear some of what I already knew.  But somehow hearing it out loud was different.  It was raw and brutal. So hard.

So hard in fact, that there was even a fleeting moment where I wished that I didn’t know.  My feelings were hurt.  A moment where I wished I could turn back the clock and erase the truth I now knew.

Ignorance is bliss, right?


What I soon discovered is that the hard conversations and the truth about where we REALLY were (not where we wished we were), were the starting line to a journey towards a thriving marriage.  

It built intimacy.  It built trust. It was a building block for a healthy foundation for our marriage to rebuild upon.  

So where do you even begin with uncovering the truth and coming to grips with how your marriage is really doing?

For us, it started with a recommendation from our counselor to check out the marriagebuilders.com website as part of our “homework” for the week.  In investigating the site, which has a lot of great resources on it, we came across Dr. Harley’s Emotional Needs Questionnaire and agreed to take it and go over our evaluations together.

The basis of the inventory is that there are 10 basic emotional needs: affection, sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, domestic support, intimate conversation, financial support, physical attractiveness of spouse, honesty and openness, family commitment, and admiration.  

The inventory has you rate each emotional need in terms of your level of need in that particular area, your satisfaction with the way your spouse meets that need, and it also gives you the opportunity to share information about how you feel that need could be better satisfied in your marriage.

There is also a section at the end of the questionnaire where you rate the 10 emotional needs in order of importance for you.

A couple of thoughts:

1) As horrifying as it is to sit and go through each of these categories and see how the “ratings” shake out, having these conversations in a calm discussion as opposed to the middle of a fight makes a WORLD of difference.

2) Prepare to be shocked.  We now commit to take this survey every year and each time we do, we learn something new.  As I take the inventory, I can't help but think about how Jessi will answer the questions.  Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I’m off.

3) Every time we have had the courage to be honest, we have grown as a couple and our marriage has improved in that area… even though it can be uncomfortable to talk about at first.

4) The book “His Needs, Her Needs” goes in depth into each of these 10 emotional needs if you want more information about them.  When we think about putting effort into meeting our partner’s needs, we focus in on the top 5 for the majority of our energy (you get the most “bang for your buck” here).  This year Jessi even took a picture of my emotional needs rankings to keep it in her phone.  She said, that way, when she is thinking about how to fill my love tank, she doesn’t just do what fills her tank (you can see how this could easily happen when affection is #9 ranking for me, but #2 for Jessi).

5) One thing we have added in our responses (not included in the inventory itself) in each emotional need category is what IS working and going right.  It’s an opportunity to praise each other as well as makes the constructive feedback a little easier to hear when it’s sandwiched between some positives.

This growing opportunity not only helped us get to know each other better, but helped us put effort towards the areas where our marriage needed it the most.  One of the added and unexpected benefits was that it also gave us some things to celebrate.  It was nice to go into this feeling overwhelmed with a marriage that wasn’t working and come out of the experience feeling like although we have a few major areas to work on, we also have some areas that we are good at.  We don’t suck at everything! Hooray for us!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

10 Lessons We've Learned About Quality Time

I don't really like running all that much and I especially don't like running uphill.

One day while running with Roger, he gave me some great advice.  He said don't sit and stare at the top of the hill, just keep your eyes on what's right in front of you, it never looks as steep.  Great advice for running and for life.

Sometimes when I work on goals, the end goal looks really "steep" and nearly unattainable.  But if I keep my eyes on the baby steps in front of me, it's not nearly as intimidating and somehow it's easier to take those first steps.  It's important to look up to see where I'm headed, but not to stay focused there.

One of the goals we have worked so hard on is spending quality time together.  We mentioned that we work and plan to spend 15 hours a week of time together. That's quite a bit of time if you start to really lay it out on your calendar and can be intimidating at first.

Why 15 hours a week?  Because Dr. Willard Harley recommends that couples need that much time in order to sustain a feeling of being in love.  Roger also loves his obvious statement that people who are in love are never the ones talking about divorce.  Since we don't ever want the "D" word to be in our vocabulary again, we choose to make the time a priority.

We wanted to share some of the steps we've taken and what we've learned along the way to get to 15 hours of quality time a week, something we believe is a critical component in helping our marriage thrive.  It's definitely not a prescription, just sharing what's worked for us.

1) There are no shortcuts and no substitutes to quality time.  When we don't spend the time, our marriage suffers.  We are less connected, less patient, less giving, less intimate, and become increasingly self-centered.

2) Being intentional is KEY.  You can't make it to 15 hours without planning ahead and making arrangements in advance, especially if you have kids.

3) It doesn't have to be a big chunk of time to be meaningful.  We often retreat to our office or bedroom for just 15-20 minutes to reconnect and have some uninterrupted conversation.  We also share coffee and breakfast together most mornings before the kids are up to connect before the day gets started.  It's only about 20 minutes, but it's a great way to start the day.

4) Intentional does not always mean intense.  We have one date night a week planned where we just hang out and have fun.  Sometimes we ride bikes, eat out, go for a walk, enjoy a cup of coffee... play.  Our focus is on enjoying each other and our time together.  No issue resolution, no major kid talk, no scheduling... just FUN.  We laugh, flirt, chat, dream, plan trips... anything that's enjoyable to us both.  It's often on these dates that I'm reminded what an intelligent, handsome, hilarious man I married.

5) It's important for us to have a "business meeting" each week.  We set aside a couple hours every Sunday to sit down and do our family business for the week.  This communication isn't nearly as fun, but is extremely important to the flow and function of our week.  During this time, we go through each day of the upcoming week, share what's on our schedules, talk about our kids' schedules and do a lot of division of household/kid needs. We get specific about pick ups and drop offs so that there are as few miscommunications during the week as possible. This is where we plan out our 15 hours a week and then look at when we can spend quality time with our kids, family, and friends.  We map out time for exercise and other appointments that we have.  We use Google calendar (and share our calendars) so we can know the day's agenda no matter where we are.

6) Keeping the slate clean.  During our "meeting" on Sundays, we also make time to bring up any small conflicts or issues from the week that weren't able to get fully resolved for whatever reason.  This helps keep the issues from compounding and keeps the slate clean.  At first it's hard to ask the question, "How do you feel like we're doing this week?", but even a hard conversation is worth it and brings us closer together.

7) Asking questions (and of course listening to the answers) is a great use of our time together. I've learned so much about Roger from asking questions.  Not just the tough ones, but asking about his goals for the future, dreams for our family, and even what he would like me to pray for him about have led to some great conversations and even changes in our lives.  More on this later, but I love working to be a Roger "expert".

8) Going on dates doesn't have to be expensive.  We do lots of our "dates" at home before the kids wake up and after they go to sleep.  We do trades with friends for babysitting and ask for babysitting from our parents and niece for Christmas and birthdays. A lot of times we go for walks or bike rides (so we can still talk) which doesn't really cost a thing.  Also, we try to do more "coffee dates" instead of dinner dates because it is incredibly less expensive... I've also been known to pack and bring food with us.

9) Getting away is great, but we don't have to go far. Although there's definitely something to be said about the get-away weekend Roger planned for us at Grouse Mountain Lodge complete with flowers, champagne, luxurious meals, and a couples massage... it was awesome... but that is definitely the exception, nowhere close to the norm.  It's special to get-away somewhere new, but not necessary for meaningful quality time.  Often in the summer, you'll find us out on our chaise lounges sharing coffee, our daily devotional and some connection time.  It's not exactly a "get away" but yet, that's exactly what it is.

10) No excuses.  There are a million reasons why we've put our marriage on the back burner.  But we've learned the hard way that NONE of those seemingly critical "emergencies" are as important as the health of our marriage.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Building A Stronger Marriage in Daily, Ordinary Ways

We had NO idea what would happen when we listened to our calling to share our story and put it out there.  I honestly don't think we got much farther than scared half to death.  Well, I can't describe what has happened really, but it's clear that this is exactly what we're supposed to be doing.  The messages have come in regularly from friends, from family, from strangers - people connecting to it all in all kinds of different ways.  Some of the messages are just giving support and encouragement, others sharing their own stories, others needing prayer for their broken hearts and struggling relationships, and some sharing of other beautiful tidbits.  We feel so incredibly honored to be engaging in the dialogue.

The whole idea was to use this blog as a resource for encouragement.  Because, let's face it, there are days we ALL need it.  We sure do. The encouragement doesn't need to come from us our our story, but from anywhere and everywhere... and hopefully your stories too.

Here's an insanely amazing and touching "sermon" about building a stronger marriage.  I watched it through twice today.  I was touched, moved, got goosebumps, cried, and was inspired.  IT IS SO SO GOOD (thank you so much for sharing, Jen).  You need about 45 uninterrupted minutes to watch the whole thing, but I promise it is worth every. single. second.

Everything the author Shauna Niequist talked about really hit home.  I love her practical thinking about ways to build a stronger marriage in daily, ordinary ways. 

If you're not inspired by the thought of watching a "sermon", try giving it 15 minutes. 

On the chance that this session (as it is the current message) gets catalogued it is called Stronger Marriages by author Shauna Niequist on February 16, 2014.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

When Teammates Aren't Enough

One of the tough reality checks during this process was coming to grips with the fact that our life and priorities were totally out of whack.  

You are married to a good person, you live in a comfortable home, you work in a profession that you enjoy and has meaning,  you love your child, you have your health... what is there to complain about? In a seemingly "great" life, it's hard to really own the fact that although you love the different parts of your life, when you put it all together it's not a life you love.

How does that happen?  How can you love the parts of your life, but not the whole?  It happens when you are not living your life in congruence with your priorities.

It's really easy to say that your relationships with God, your spouse, and your family are the most important things in your life, but are they really?  When you get real about the way you spend your time, how you use your energy, and where you invest your resources, does it match what you say your priorities are?  For us, they didn't.

From the outside, things looked really good.  We were a great team...supporting one another, cheering on one another, covering child care while the other trained, and then swapping.  Sometimes, one would train in the morning and the other would train in the afternoon, then we would grab dinner and sit across from one another on our computers as we answered emails and perused social sites. We were good...training partners...teammates...roommates...but not necessarily a couple.  We mastered the schedule, or rather, the schedule was our master.

Don't get me wrong, having a teammate you can trust and count on and know that they have your back is great...but you typically don't marry them.  You meet them for a few hours a week when the team comes together to figure out how to perform as task as a unit.  But have you ever tried living with your teammates for any duration of time?  "Tolerating" and "being in love with" are pretty far apart on the relationship spectrum.

One of the harsh realities was that there was too much investment in our hobby of triathlon.  We spent a lot of our time, energy, and resources planning, training, racing, traveling, maintaining equipment, logging, communicating with sponsors, volunteering with our triathlon club, putting on events, etc.  Before we knew it, triathlon had the largest piece of our pie.  It became easy to justify because we did lots of our training together, were still very involved parents, traveled as a family, and spent a lot of time with friends during our training.  But that wasn't being honest with ourselves.

We also were guilty of putting our daughter before our marriage.  We found many, many hours to play/read/draw/dress-up/spend time with her, but never made that time for each other.  We sat through every swim practice, every ballet practice, every soccer game, every school conference... we even adjusted our whole lifestyle so that Jessi could stay home 2 days a week with Emma.  But in looking back, we were depriving her of one of the greatest gifts we could ever give her, parents who invested in each other the way we would hope and pray that her spouse would invest in her. 

Truth be told, when we peeled away the excuses, we were failing.

Even though so much of what we were doing was good, even at times great, we weren't honoring God with our commitment to our marriage.  We put each other and our marriage on the back burner and justified it with the fact that we were being good parents by spending quality time with our child, honoring our athletic talents, putting on great community events to promote health and fitness, and volunteering to help children.  

But even great things, when prioritized higher than your marriage, become not-so-great.

So what did we learn from all of this?  When we looked at our calendars and schedules, they should be a reflection of our priorities.  Our children/work/hobbies should not be at the top of the list, even though they are extremely important and an essential piece of the pie.  Giving our marriage the "leftovers" was a critical mistake.

As a part of this amazing journey of rebuilding, we have learned to design our life with our marriage at the forefront, giving our time and energy to that first.  And in doing so, it's amazing how there's more energy for other parts of our lives.  When our marriage is nourished with the energy and time it needs to thrive, we work as a united team and everything else in life just seems better, brighter, happier, and easier to manage. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I listened to this amazing podcast sent to me by my beautiful friend, Carla.  It talked about the power of sharing your story... it talked about the importance of having mentors... it talked about making an impact.  I listened to it twice grabbing all kinds of inspiration each time.  Carla knew it was perfect for me in this journey, just another thing I love about her!

One of the take-aways for me had to do with baby steps.  I think about it in the context of fitness and nutrition all the time. It's kind of a no-brainer, but I hadn't really thought about it in terms of relationships and marriage.

This really got my mind turning. What were our baby steps in rebuilding our marriage?

This journey of rebuilding started from a place where I was living in the basement, had given up emotionally and was pretty much checked out of our marriage entirely. I was tired of caring, tired of trying, tired of losing, tired of all of it really.  I didn't feel optimistic anymore.  I didn't even wish or hope or pray about a healthier marriage anymore.  When I look back on that time, I still get a stomach ache and my eyes fill with tears.  I was so broken.

For whatever reason, the moment I hit the wall was the moment Roger got the strength and courage to carry me.  And that was a heavy weight.  Dead weight.

When we reflect back on that time in our lives, neither of us can really explain how that switch happened or why he finally heard and saw how done I was.  With great regret, we wish it would have happened earlier... our work would have been far less difficult had we figured it out before it got so far gone... but it didn't.  We had so many challenges ahead of us.

We had Mt. Everest to climb and I wasn't walking.

At the time, Roger did something that was instinctual and not really planned, but was our first baby step.  Insane amounts of time together.

This was not fun and romantic time together like much of our shared time is now.  This was terrible time.  I wanted to be left alone and Roger was RELENTLESS.  He just kept me talking, yelling, sharing at any opportunity that I would open up.  And when I wouldn't, he was still there.  I remember falling asleep talking (me in the guest bed and him in the doorway sitting on the floor).  I would wake to him bringing me coffee before Emma woke up and engaging in more conversation.  I kept sharing every hard memory, emotion, and feeling until they were all out of me.  Roger listened for the most part.  He shared too, but did a lot of listening.  He kept apologizing and owning his part of every situation I brought up.

He knew I had to somehow empty my tank of all of the hurt before we could refill it with anything else.

Other than incredible strength from God and his insane ability to continue on through pain (it's the athlete in him I think), there's no other explanation for how he endured almost 3 months of that torture.  Because it took that long for me to even begin to look at my part in our mess and start to own up to my own behaviors that contributed to our loss of intimacy, love and trust.  It took almost 3 months for me to apologize for much of anything.  That's a long time to carry dead weight.

During those 3 months when we were in the depths of the dungeon, we spent nearly every waking minute together except when we were at work (although we often spent lunch time together).  We hardly communicated with friends or family during that time and just focused inward. The minute our daughter went to bed, the conversations started again.  We woke up early and were talking until she woke up.  Our family was together all. the. time.

Again, we were in survival mode, so this "strategy" wasn't really planned or suggested by our counselor, but it just sort of happened.   Later as we learned more and read more about emotional needs and staying in love, we learned that undivided time together is the FOUNDATION for a marriage.  Without knowing it at an intellectual level, we were taking our first baby step, time together.

Since then, we have learned a lot from author, Dr. Willard Harley.  In his book, His Needs, Her Needs, he talks about how couples need to spend 15 hours a week together to stay "in love" and that couples in crisis need to spend more than that.  He said he prescribes couples in crisis to spend up to 30 hours a week together.  The rules of this time are very well spelled out.  No kids, no screens, no friends or family present, and no phones.  You can share recreation together as long as you can still share conversation.  You can have sex.  You can talk. You can be present together.  That's it.  So... watching a movie together doesn't count.  Neither does having family dinner with your kids or going out to dinner with another couple. It's pretty black and white.

When we were in crisis, we were probably doing exactly what he was suggesting (spending 30 hours a week together) without knowing that was any kind of strategy or prescription from a book or counselor.  The difference in our situation is that we spent time together...tough time...rather than what we used to do which was pull away.

At the time we actually read the book and the suggestion to spend this kind of quality time together as a couple, we were in a much better space and much further along in our journey (and our miracle, Owen, had entered the picture).  We calculated up our time spent together and realized we were at about 8-9 hours per week.  We wondered if there would really be a difference between that amount (which we were pretty proud of) and 15 which seemed like a tall order.  So, we did our own experiment to find out.  It took us almost a month to hit the 15 hour mark and, without a doubt, we can say that there was/is a BIG difference for us.  HUGE.

I will also say that the intimacy in all aspects of marriage at 15 hours of time and undivided attention a week is like driving a Porsche for the first time.  It corners like it's on rails!  But if/when you slip back (we have done that many times too), you won't be satisfied driving your Toyota anymore, even though it does the job just fine.

So there are lots of reasons and excuses why scheduling 15 hours a week is hard to do. (Note I said "scheduling" - it won't just happen by chance - we tried that :).  It takes more than a little effort.  The payoff, however, comes back ten fold.  It's sort of like sleep.  Sleep takes more time out of your day, but it makes your waking hours more productive, you have more energy and you make better choices when you're awake.

We choose not to live in a world of reasons why we can't do it.  We choose US and realize that EVERYTHING in our lives is better when our marriage is thriving.

The first time we hit 15 hours a week!
We started to use the #15hoursaweek hashtag on our pictures and posts to share our goal of spending more couples time together.  This was our babystep in our journey to follow God's calling to encourage other couples.

So... here's to baby steps! No matter how fast or far you're moving, just keep moving forward.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Are You Ready For Me Yet?

So... I've had this blog set up for a long time now without a single post on it.  Each time I pull up any of the other blogs I work on, this blog title stares at me, almost as if it's asking, "Are you ready for me yet?" The answer has been NO.  To be perfectly honest, the answer is still NO in many parts of my head and heart, but I just know that I need to.

In my Bible study, we are reading a book called Love Does by Bob Goff.  Although I'm not finished reading it yet, there are many, many parts that speak to me and pull at my heart.  From my reading this morning, "One of the reasons our life with God gets stagnant is because we stop taking Jesus' invitation to live risky, courageous lives.  We stop trying to do the things Jesus calls us to because they seem too scary." When I read these words, I know exactly what it meant for me.  That's why I'm here, writing this post.  I want to live with courage in spite of the fear.

What is the fear?  Vulnerability.  I know there are people out there who make assumptions about me, about us as a couple, and misunderstand our intent and motivation for sharing parts of the journey. Some of them even say mean things.  It's hard to stand up if you know people are going to point their fingers at you. Really hard. I don't want to live a life in fear of what other people think. So, here I am.

Roger and I have known for almost 4 years that we have a calling to share our story. Why our story?  Why is it worthy of sharing? I don't totally have the answers there.  We just know that we're supposed to put it out there to encourage couples in their journeys to stay in love and to stay together.

There was a time in our marriage when everything felt broken.  Saying it was a "tough time" or a "rough patch" seems like some politically correct statement that comes a far cry short from describing the heart break, sleep deprivation, total overwhelm, and fatigue of that time in our lives.  We realized the foundation of everything was crumbled, compromised, and in need of a major remodel... oh yeah, and we were emotionally broke. We didn't know where to begin.  We were so incredibly devastated and in over-our-heads.  We wished we had known more people that we could have turned to for encouragement in our marriage.

It runs a parallel theme to when we had a miscarriage.  People hold that experience so close and suffer in silence.  Yet, so many others go through the same experience and feel alone at a time when support would be so helpful.  I really have wondered why this is?  Regardless, it is something that happens to 1 in 3 women, yet when it happens to you, you feel like you are one of the only people in the world that has had to go through this.  Struggles in marriages are the same.  But rather than 1 in 3, it's...well... everyone.

So here I am.  And because I'm here, of course we're here.

We don't have answers.  We screw up all the time. But good news is we work our tails off at being good to and for each other.  And believe it or not, after 20 years together and 17 years of marriage we're more in love and happier than we've ever been.  I'm proud of that.  We're proud of that.

We're taking the risk to put our story out "here" to tell anyone who's interested that rebuilding better and stronger is possible.  It's the best thing that has ever happened to our marriage.

We've also never worked harder at anything.

We want to use this blog to share what we're working on, what we're thinking about, the books we're reading, what we're learning, what's working and what's not.  We'll both write because we believe in the power of hearing both perspectives.  And since we're both writing, we'll share funny stuff too - thanks to Rog. :)  We also hope you'll share too.  We're always inspired by great ideas/books/stories/strategies that people have shared with us and been brave enough to put out "here" too.  We're even more moved by stories of perseverance through struggles. We plan to ask some of those brave people to write posts for this blog.

A great marriage is anything but easy... just so incredibly worth it.

JUMP!  (That's the leap of faith we just took!)