Valentines Day Recap

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As Christians, we know that we are to love.  Jesus said that our greatest and second greatest commands were to love God and others.  So, in some ways, Valentine’s day is as important of a holiday as any of the rest, because it celebrates Christianity’s primary characteristic.

If we are to love each other, we might as well get good at it!  Here are some of our favorite posts about how to show love to your spouse and kids.  Enjoy!

God’s Love

Happy Valentine’s Day 

God loves you!  So what else matters?!?!?!

Valentine’s and Parenting:

We love our kids, and this is a great time to show them.

Valentine’s Promises For Your Kids

Valentine’s Wreath 

Vital Words For My Girls

Vital Words For My Boys

Conversation Hearts of Love

The 1 Corinthians 13 Mom

Valentine’s and Marriage:

Here are a few of our posts about marriage.  You can find more by hovering over Men and clicking on Husband or hovering over Gals and clicking on Wife

The Foundation of Marriage Series

These books and concepts have been foundational to our marriage.

The Foundation of Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Sacred Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Your Most Important Customer

Foundations of Marriage: Proceed With Caution

Foundations of Marriage: Love and Respect

Foundations of Marriage: For Men and Women Only

Other Fun Marriage Posts

Guys – Creative Date Nights

It’s hard to think of good ideas, so here are a few to get you started.

Marital Intimacy Troubleshooting – Men

“Marital Intimacy” is a code word so that our posts don’t get blocked by your internet filters.  This topic is critically important to every marriage, so it stands to reason that we should try to tackle problems in this area.

Warning Husbands: T Minus 8 Days to Valentine’s

Don’t mess this up guys – it’s the same day every year.  Right after Lincoln’s birthday.  Right before Washington’s birthday.

Fun Game to Play – Spouses Only 😉

This may leave you blushing.

Gift Ideas For Your Hubby!

This may also.


Valentine’s Day is a great time to reach out to the ones you love.  We hope some of these ideas are helpful.  What ideas do you have?

It’s My Wife’s Birthday – Now What?

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Your wife’s birthday – it happens every year.  A lot of husbands struggle to bring much creativity to this area of their lives, so I hope that this post will help change that.  C’mon guys – we’re problem solvers!  That is what we exist and get paid to do!  So we can tackle this opportunity in exactly the same way as we would approach any other high risk, high reward situation.  This is a day where you can show her that she is valuable, and, more importantly, you value her.  This is a day that she can really feel that you delight in her.  If you can achieve that, your efforts will be worth it.

Holy Birthday To You

It appears that God may have given you marriage to make you holy.  (See here.)  If that is true, consider your wife’s birthday the annual High Holy Day.  This is the number one day for you to serve your wife unselfishly, with nothing expected in return! OK, Mother’s Day could be #1, depending on how many kids you have and how old they are, but your honey’s birthday is at least a close second.  So this is a day where you will be focusing in on who she is and how you can bless her.  Here are some ideas.

The Basics

Make sure you remember her birthday.  Make sure you get her a card.  Most years you probably should at least get a $7 bouquet of flowers from Walmart or the grocery store.  (You’ll be there buying her card anyway!)  : )  It is hard to convince her that you care about her if you mess up the basics because you are a rookie or you have gotten lackadaisical over time.  Start strong!  Continue Reading…

13 Marriage Lessons From 13 Years

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For our 13th anniversary we sat down and reminded ourselves of 13 lessons we have learned about marriage.  Some of these we learned the hard way.  Others we have learned from wise teachers in our life.


  1. Never stop dating
  2. Life changes and your spouse changes. Keep learning about your spouse and adjusting and growing.
  3. Keep laughing. Don’t always be serious.
  4. Do ministry together.
  5. You are your spouse’s biggest cheerleader, not critic.
  6. Put your spouse before your children, in your mind and in your actions.
  7. When in doubt, serve your spouse.
  8. Go to a marriage retreat (or similar getaway) every 1 or 2 years. (Put time and effort into your marriage continually.)
  9. Pray with your spouse daily.
  10. Actively work on YOU and who God created you to be.
  11. Practice talking with your spouse about important things, like God, money, and sex.
  12. You are on the same team – your spouse is never the enemy.
  13. Life isn’t a cake walk, but it is better with a partner!

Continue Reading…

Accountability: Guardrails For Life’s Dangerous Road

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Last week I told you that accountability leads to vulnerability, which is talking about things that matter.  It also helps you to keep from driving off a cliff. 

Life is a highway.  But most days it is less like a Disney Cars highway and much more like Trail Ridge Road.  What does that mean?  Well, if you’ve ever been to the top of Pike’s Peak, or driven Trail Ridge Road or the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Part, then you understand the picture I’m trying to paint.  This highway has a large dropoff on one side, and so if you veer that way, you’re toast!  The one thing between you and certain death is the guardrail.

One Missed Turn

Guys – life is like that.  Marriage is like that.  Will Rogers said “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”  Work, marriage, parenting, church, and leadership in all sectors of life…all of these areas are challenging road races.  If we are driving through life thinking we are Lightning McQueen, then we are putting ourselves in a pretty vulnerable spot.  Even if you’ve made it halfway or 75% of the way up the mountain, it just takes one missed turn to throw it all away. If we don’t have a guy we can talk to about the deepest and darkest parts of our life then we risk driving off into the chasm:

  • Affairs
  • Addictions
  • Selfishness
  • Materialism
  • Lies
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Deception
  • Loneliness
  • Rage

The list could go on and on.


Guardrail Installation

No, Seriously

It’s in my blood to be a positive person in general.  (Literally. My blood type is B Positive.)  But this is serious enough that I can’t really afford to be light-hearted.  Accountability is the guardrail that keeps us on life’s winding road.  We all get dumb ideas in our heads from time to time.  Sometimes these dumb ideas are just plain sinful.  If we have an accountability partner who we meet with regularly, chances are pretty good that you will be able to talk to him about this dumb idea and he will help you steer back in the right direction.  You may bang up your fenders a little, but at least you will keep it on the road!  You will make mistakes.  You will do things that you regret, but your weekly meeting will wake you up before you have a fatal crash.  Accountability doesn’t make you perfect, but it keeps you from going over the edge.

I often wonder how many marriages could be saved if guys would just take this mountain road more seriously and do the hard work of installing some guard rails.

How about you?  Do you have any guardrails in place?  Do you have a guy who knows you well enough to ask you the hard questions?  Are you setting up the course for a safe race, or are you just depending on good luck and quick reflexes? 

Here’s a Guardrail Right Here:

Learn more about OPL’s take on leadership by clicking on the Guys – Leadership menu, or by searching for “Leadership” in the search box.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!


Other Resources

Wife Accountability Series: Wife AccountabilityWife Accountability PartnerThe Husband’s PerspectiveThe Questions, The Rut

Beautiful Pictures:  Rocky Mountain National Park

Beautiful Pictures:  Glacier National Park 

Guardrail Installation Photo Credit:


Warning Husbands: T Minus 8 Days to Valentine’s

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Hi guys,

As I was trying to figure out what to post , I realized that Valentine’s Day is only a week away!  So, as a public service announcement, I wanted to pass the word along to you so you are not surprised.

Here are a few appropriate posts for the season.







Maintenance Required



Communicating and Receiving Love



Guys – Creative Date Nights



Fun Games to Play – Spouses Only


Learn more about OPL’s take on love and marriage by clicking on the Guys-Husband or Gals-Wife menu.  Or search for Marriage in the search box.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

Foundation of Marriage: For Men and Women Only

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“My wife is so complicated and irrational – I could never figure her out!”

“My husband is so simplistic and childish – all he thinks about is conquering something and sex.”

True?  False?  On the surface, there is some truth to these statements.  Men and women are certainly very different from each other, as different as Huck Finn and Cinderella.  But when married people stop at this level of understanding, it makes them into 1 dimensional cartoon characters and robs them of any chance of deep and lasting intimacy.  It sets the stage for a life of the man in his man-cave and the wife out shopping with the girls, living miserably ever after.

That’s not what we want. 

Dana and I want to spend our entire lives getting to know each other better and more closely.  I want to figure out what I can do to make her life better, and do it!  She wants to find out what I really need, and provide it!  This is how we can be the couple that is still flirting with each other and having fun together in our 80’s!  Today’s book helps us to do just that.

The last post in our series of Marriage Foundation books is actually about couple of books:  For Women Only and For Men Only.  These two books reveal the very practical, deep, down things that a husband would like his wife to know, and that a wife would like her husband to know about her.  The books are drawn on research that Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn have conducted, where they asked good questions and got real answers. We did these books as a Bible study with our marrieds group, and it made for good conversation about how the opposite gender really thought about serious issues.  We felt like it took the principles of love and respect and 5 Love Languages and went a practical step further.  Of course they are presenting results that won’t be true 100% of the time for your or your spouse, but our group found the themes to be helpful starting points to understanding our spouses more completely.   Continue Reading…

Foundation of Marriage: Love and Respect

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Quick:  Who wrote “Respect,” the popular 1960’s song? (answer below)

We have spent a few weeks going through the foundation of marriage, recommending books that have played an important role in forming our own marriage.

Today’s book is Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs.  Here is the summary from their website:

“A wife has one driving need – to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need – to feel respected. When that need is met, he is happy. When either of these needs isn’t met, things get crazy.”

Ephesians 5:21-33 contain some of the clearest direction for husbands and wives, and Paul ends the passage with this simple line:

So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The culture we live in has ruined the idea of love.  And it has buried the idea of respect.  This book tries to re-define love Biblically, explaining how a husband can lay down his life in agape love.  And then it tackles the even greater challenge of explaining how a wife can show her husband that she respects him.  Continue Reading…

Foundation of Marriage: Your Most Important Customer

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His Needs, Her Needs- Part 3 in the Foundation of Marriage series.

You have probably heard the term ‘the customer is always right.’  And although many customers are very wrong, the adage still makes sense when you are running a business.  If people don’t like the delicious pistachio ice cream you are selling, then it would be in your best interest to find out what kind of ice cream they want and start selling it.  Sure, you can offer free samples and try to persuade them, but if they don’t like it, then it does not do any good to argue with them.  Give the customer what they want.  Serve your customers!

In the same way, you are truly serving your spouse only when you are serving them in a way that they enjoy.  See our review of the 5 Love Languages for an introduction to this foundational principle.  Today’s review is of another book that approaches this same concept from a different angle: His Needs, Her Needs – Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, by Willard Harley.  Continue Reading…

Foundation of Marriage – Sacred Marriage

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Last week I mentioned that a few books have helped us create the foundation for marriage.  Today we are going to highlight one of those books:  Sacred Marriage.  We were introduced to this book after several years of marriage, and it has become the foundational principle to all else that we think and write about marriage.

Selfless Service

I suppose that is a redundant phrase:  Selfless Service.  But I think it is important to use both words, because too often even our service to others is rooted in selfishness.  The thought, down deep, is “I will do this for her because of what it will get for me.” We may not even be cynical or calculating – sometimes it is just a simple reality.  “If I don’t do the dishes, she will be grumpy.  And that is slightly worse than doing the dishes, so I will do them.”  The point I am trying to make is that Gary Thomas turns marriage inside out with this question:

“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  Continue Reading…

The Foundation of Marriage


With the right foundation, you can construct a building that will touch the sky! 

I grew up in Illinois, so when I think of tall buildings I think of the Sears Tower.  This 110 story building is 1,450 feet tall, and is estimated to weigh 222,500 tons.  Truly impressive! But without the right foundation, it would be about as sturdy as a single column Lego tower on your living room carpet.  How do you build a foundation for something as magnificent as this?  They dug a hole 100 foot deep and attached anchors directly into the bedrock!  According to some sources, it took as much as 2,000,000 cubic yards of concrete to do the job.  Now that is a strong foundation!

What Kind of Marriage Are You Building?

Building a marriage also takes a lot of effort.  If you want your marriage to stand tall through all kinds of winds and storms, and if you want your marriage to be an inspiration and a blessing, then you will need to invest in a strong foundation.

A wise man once told me that the secret to every relationship is to go above and beyond.  (I’m serious – he was literally a “wiseman!” He was holding myrrh, and he was in our Christmas production, so pay attention!)  To successfully make a strong marriage foundation you have to go above and beyond.  It is not easy, but it is very simple:  Continue Reading…

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