Category Archives: Marriage

Random Thought Thursday: August 28, 2014


You better really enjoy being with your spouse once all of the kids have moved out. If not, you’ll be in quite a bind. Don’t neglect your marriage while the kids are living at home. Build into it and enjoy one another. Michelle and I did, and we’re really enjoying the empty nest.


I recently attended Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit.  It’s a yearly gathering of some 200,000 leaders from all over the world who desire to be better leaders.  One of the speakers this year was leadership guru Joseph Grenny who talked about the importance of having crucial conversations – which are conversations that need to happen but are very hard to have.  He said that if we don’t have these, we will end up acting out our frustration with the other person – which will only make the situation worse.  He claims that not having these kinds of conversations is what often stops the growth of relationships, organizations, etc.  His question is one I pose to you: What crucial conversations (in your marriage, at work, in your family, etc) do you need to have that you’re not having now?


A couple weeks ago, I took my son, Taylor, to Denver to see one of all-time favorite rock bands, Stryper.  He likes them too.  What a show! All 4  original members and all over the age of 50. 50 must be the new 30 because they are better live now than they were 20 years ago when I first saw them live.


If you’re looking for a good movie to watch, let me recommend a couple of recent releases – all about food – that Michelle and I have really enjoyed over the last few months…

The Lunchbox
Harvard University analyzed their delivery system and concluded that just one in a million lunchboxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. This is the story of that one.

Hundred Foot Journey
It is a story about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian restaurant and a traditional French one represents the gulf between different cultures and desires. It focuses on the rivalry and resolution of the two restaurants and is based in Lumière, France.

Chef Carl Casper suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner, he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife, his friend and his son to launch a food truck.

The Real Truth About Marriage and Divorce

50% of all marriages will end in divorce. This is the stat that I’ve come to believe because that’s what “they” say (whomever “they” are). The same “theys” also say that this number is not much different among Christians – 50% of Christian marriages will experience divorce as well. Not good news for the institution of marriage.

However, I can happily say that the “theys” are wrong! Recent studies show that the divorce rate in our culture is not nearly as high as “they” say it is, and that Christian marriages are actually faring even better. Here is the real truth about marriage today:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married are still married to their first spouse. And the 28% who aren’t includes everyone who was married for many years until a spouse died. No one knows what the average 1st-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, it is probably closer to 20–25%. For all marriages (including 2nd marriages and so on), it is in the 31–35% range, depending on the study. Regular church attendance lowers the divorce rate anywhere from 25–50%. (The Good News About Marriage, Shaunti Feldhahn, Multnomah, 2014)

According to Glenn T. Stanton, the director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colo., many people who seriously practice a traditional religious faith – be it Christian or other – have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice. Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes — attend church nearly every week, read their Bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples — enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public and unbelievers.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending conservative Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans.

Professor Scott Stanley from the University of Denver, working with an absolute all-star team of leading sociologists on the Oklahoma Marriage Study, explains that couples with a vibrant religious faith had more and higher levels of the qualities couples need to avoid divorce: “Whether young or old, male or female, low-income or not, those who said that they were more religious reported higher average levels of commitment to their partners, higher levels of marital satisfaction, less thinking and talking about divorce and lower levels of negative interaction. These patterns held true when controlling for such important variables as income, education, and age at first marriage.”

This is all good news! Contrary to popular belief (and contrary to what “they” say), marriage is not a dying institution in our culture, and the marriages that are most vibrant and secure are those where God is central.

21 Years Ago Today

21 Years 2

21 years ago today, I married the love of my life.  We haven’t changed much, have we?

Michelle is my best friend, my fellow adventure seeker, the one who laughs at my humor (most of the time), my soul-mate, the mother of my children, the grandmother of my grandchildren, my sounding board, my lifelong companion, the beauty I never grow tired of looking at, my joy, and definitely my better half.  I love living life with her, and I really do thank God for her every day.

20 Years…and Counting

20 years ago today, Michelle and I were married in an evening candlelight ceremony in Milwaukee, WI. Here are some of the highlights (and low-lights) from that wonderful day:

Wedding Party_4

I forgot to shave. Although I was only able to produce a bit of unorganized peach fuzz at the time, it was awkwardly noticeable.

We walked the aisle in a quaint church in northern Milwaukee – where Milwaukee Brewers Hall of Famer Paul Molitor attended.

We both wrote our own vows and read them to each other.

The ring Michelle gave me was engraved with the words “I love you forever.” After about 10 years of marriage, I grew out of it and had to have it resized. Don’t laugh. Do you see how skinny I was?

A few years ago, it was stolen when our home was robbed. I wear a new one now.

Speaking of stealing… during the wedding, an old high school “friend” of Michelle’s stole valuables out of the purses of the girls in the wedding party.

Our kiss was perfect – not too short and not too long. Not gross at all. I use our kiss as the standard for all the weddings I do now.

Us_2When we walked out of the church, it was not as a family of 2 but of 3. Two-year old Emily was in tow. The only way we were able to keep her by our side during the ceremony was by feeding her a steady flow of Tic-Tacs.

Michelle’s father married us. His words were sweet, but his homily was bit long if you ask me…but no one has. He cried when he did Emily’s wedding, but didn’t cry when he did ours. Not sure what that means…

A friend and cello player from the Milwaukee Philharmonic Orchestra played a beautiful medley of hymns before the ceremony.

Our reception did not include dancing as we had just graduated from a Christian university where dancing had been prohibited. Legalism sucks. This is the one thing we regret about our wedding. Wish we would have danced.

Although legalism was rampant, my brother – and some of my good Christian friends – “made” me have a drink the night before. I had 2. A strawberry daiquiri and a rum and Coke. The guys wouldn’t let me finish my “girlie” drink until I had something a bit stronger. Thus the rum and Coke. I finished both…and didn’t feel so well. Those were the first 2 drinks I ever had.

After the reception, we met up with all of our friends at our little apartment, opened our gifts and celebrated until 3AM. No alcohol. Legalism, remember?

At 3AM, friends drove us from Milwaukee to Chicago where we caught an early morning flight to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We were exhausted, and both of us slept almost the entire way there.

Once we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, we……..

I really can’t go into detail on that, but here are some more pictures from the our wedding day:





The Importance of Punctuation


An English professor wrote these words on the chalkboard and asked his students to punctuate it correctly.  All of the males in the class wrote: “A woman, without her man, is nothing.”

All of the females in the class wrote: “A woman: without her, man is nothing.”

Punctuation is powerful!

Father of the Bride

IMG_7522My little corner of the blogosphere has been quiet lately, and for good reason.  My oldest daughter, Emily, is getting married this Sunday (February 14).  She is marrying a young man (Aarron Rogers) whom both Michelle and I approve of and like a lot.  Good thing, huh?!  I’ll be performing the majority of the ceremony.  My father-in-law (a pastor as well) will do the beginning of the ceremony so that I can walk Emily down the isle.  Family and friends are coming from all over the country, and my entire church is invited to the wedding.

Needless to say, this is a busy time in the life of my family, and this week promises to be busier and even more stressful!  If you think about it, please pray for us this week.

And, when things calm down a bit, I will re-enter the blogosphere.  Lots to blog about, but no time to do so.  Gotta go meet with Franck.  Talk to you soon!

Forgive Ted Haggard? Are You Kidding Me?

Gayle HaggardEvery once in a while, a story of forgiveness comes along that causes you to pause and take note.  An article in today’s Denver Post did just that to me.  It’s an article about a book written by Gayle Haggard called, Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour. Gayle is the wife of former pastor and national Christian leader, Ted Haggard, whose secret life of of drug use and homosexual liaisons were revealed in 2006.

In the book, Gayle reveals that almost from the day she learned of Ted’s indiscretions, she knew she would try to forgive him.  She says she wrestled with the question: “Will I be the woman who washes her hands of the situation and walks away from Ted, or will I be the woman who loves him and shows forgiveness?” She knew the choice was hers.

As a matter of fact, in the days after everything came out in the open, Ted actually encouraged her to leave him, claiming that he was so toxic that he would ruin her.  But ultimately, she chose to stay because she says that she knew that Christians are called by God to forgive, and she says that she wanted to be the person who remained faithful to her Lord, husband, family and church.

I’m pretty sure that what Gayle Haggard has chosen to do is something that not many Christians would choose to do themselves.  I often overhear married Christians proclaim that if they ever caught their spouse cheating on them that they would leave – which always makes me feel very troubled.  I’m sure glad the Lord doesn’t leave me when I “cheat” on Him.  On the contrary, He proclaims that He will never leave me regardless of what I do, and He willingly offers me forgiveness when I betray Him.

I have great respect for Gayle Haggard, and I find her forgiveness of her husband incredibly inspiring and Christ-like.  May the Lord help all of us to extend grace and forgiveness to those who hurt us just like Gayle has.  Just like He did.