What Your Kids REALLY Want for Christmas


629I love Christmas time. I love the smells. I love the lights. I love that people tend to show kindness a little more often. I just love it. Even buying presents now is wonderful. Thank you, Amazon!

What I don’t love is having to miss every other Christmas morning with my two older kids, who are 12 and 10. Since my older daughter was 3 (and my son only 1), they have spent every other Christmas morning in a different home. While we have all adjusted to living this life as a divorced family, we would be lying if we said it was fine. They have other siblings at their dad’s house and a little sister at mine. They will miss every other Christmas morning of watching their siblings’ excitement as well. Continue reading

How Important is Sex to God in Marriage?

intimacy blurredGod made sex between a married couple beautiful. He delights in it. Sex in marriage honors and is pleasing God. Becoming one flesh in marriage is symbolic of the covenant God has made with us in the union of Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32 NIV reads… “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” That’s how BIG of a deal marriage is to God. It is compared to the union of Christ and the church, the most important covenant there is.

Marriage is not easy. When the honeymoon is over, it’s difficult to stay in tune and on the same page about sexual intimacy and expectations. Watch our original film ‘Storms‘ and see if you can relate. It won two awards for outstanding actress and outstanding actor.

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About Phil Stevens

Christ follower, happily married, proud father, producer, actor & social media strategist. I love to create things that glorify God. Love God. Love People.

Is Discontentment Poisoning Your Marriage?

DoctorsatyourhomeYears ago I wrote a post on trying to conquer envy. I wrote it during a time where I was trying to overcome the struggle of comparing what I had (materially) to those that seemed to have more.

An “AHA” Moment

Recently, I had an AHA moment. While talking with my husband, we were discussing why some marriages break down. Normally, I would say marriage breakdown is due to lack of communication, but many times it begins with LACK OF CONTENTMENT.  I realized that many broken marriages are a result of discontentment in the life stage they are in.  Many of us have dreams of the life we would be living, but sometimes the reality does not match that dream.  As a result, we become embittered and resentful that we are not living the life we once imagined.  Once we allow bitterness into our marriage, it becomes very easy to blame our spouse.  Words then become weapons that we hurl at each other because our anger overwhelms the sorrow we feel.if-only

“We have no money because you don’t make enough!” (lack of contentment in finances)

“If you only would lose some weight.” (lack of contentment in physical appearance)

“We never go on weekend getaways like the Joneses.” (lack of contentment in lifestyle)

“Why don’t you ever think to surprise me, like her husband?” (lack of contentment in relationship)

In each of these statements, there is an implied fault that is given to our spouse:  My life is not good enough and it is YOUR fault.  Continue reading

Hoarding Secrets – Are You Making a Mess in Your Marriage?

girl-messy-room-srI’ve watched the show Hoarders just a handful of times. I found myself completely shocked and asking, “How does that even happen?” The truth is that no one just wakes up and decides to create that kind of mess. It happens over a period of time, often months and years; it starts little by little. A small mess is made and is not cleaned up…then another, and another. Over time, the mess gets bigger and bigger until you feel overwhelmed, like nothing can be done. Hope is lost. Eventually, the mess continues until it becomes so unbearable that it destroys your life.

This isn’t just true of the people whose story is told on the show. It is a common story for many, including myself. I’m not talking about the literal mess. I’m talking about the figurative messes we sometimes create. Whether in relationship (no one just goes from happily married to cheating on their spouse) or finances (that mountain of credit card debt didn’t happen over night), it just takes one small mess after another being left unresolved to create such a similar state of disarray in your marriage as the homes we see on the show. And just like the owner who can no longer walk through rooms piled with junk, at some point, you too will have to deal with the situation. The truth always finds a way of coming out.

So what can be done? If I want to grossly generalize what happens on the show, I would narrow it down to three basic things. Continue reading

The Launch of Our (FREE) Marriage Study Guides

Pressure Points Free ResourcesI remember when God put it on my heart to help marriages. In 2008, I was a facilitator with a ministry that helped people cope with divorce. Having gone through it myself, I knew it was a great ministry. But my heart ached. Each person represented another broken heart. Another broken family. And I wanted the ministry to disappear. I wanted there to not be a need for it. I wanted to be on the other side. There just wasn’t a ministry that existed to take a proactive approach to marital conflict. The only options I knew of were church small groups helping each other and marriage counseling. Nothing on a wider scale. Despite my heart longing to do something to help, I was stuck. Continue reading

Big Holiday Expectations – Does it Help or Hurt Your Family?

july 4thHow will you handle the holidays?

The above question is often addressed in premarital counseling. Answering it gives you both the chance to share the traditions and expectations you would like to incorporate in your new family. Reflecting on the festivities of our youth is a good starting point, but it is important to remember that our expectations are not only passed down to us from our family, but they can be influenced by our ever-changing culture.

In my marriage, our holiday conflicts have less to do with childhood experiences and more to do with a self-imposed rule of participating in social norms. See if you can relate to any of these confessions: Choosing “the perfect” Christmas card takes up more time and energy that I care to admit. I am panged with guilt on Easter morning when my children aren’t dressed in fancy new Easter clothes. I wallow in pity when we aren’t attending a grand fireworks display on the 4th of July because my husband has to work. Can you relate? Continue reading

About Darby Dugger

Darby is a wife, mother, speaker, blogger, and author of the devotional, For the Love of Our Husbands. Following the same format of her book, Darby posts a weekly prayer for wives to pray over their husbands. She also writes about her own weaknesses as a wife in hopes that God will redeem all of her messes.

Little White Lies: 5 Steps on How to Be Truthful with Your Spouse

shhhSet up a new pattern in your marriage… Stop lying

Your marriage can never fully grow and receive God’s FULL blessings unless you live on wings of integrity, truth and full disclosure. I’ve heard it said once that secrets are healthy in a marriage. That sometimes it’s better that… they just don’t know things. Secrets and lies are Satan’s tools. They are NOT of God in any way, shape or form. They live in walls like termites and eat through the foundation of your marriage bit-by-bit until your marriage is ruined and infested with lies and deceit. Let me ask you, if you are keeping secrets in your marriage, where do you draw the line? Is it Godly? Does it make you marriage better?

So why even lie?

Often the motivation for lying is usually tied up in self-esteem and self-preservation. We lie in an effort to create the best possible version of ourselves in our spouse’s eyes. Sometimes we do it to avoid hurting their  feelings, which also has the bonus effect of ensuring spouse (again) maintains their good opinion of us. It gives us leverage, our sins can’t used against us if they don’t know. We can preserve their trust in us. We can avoid punishment or judgement. All lies. The truth is, we dishonor God, our marriage, and we corrupt ourselves by lying. When we lie we give ourselves permission to move the line wherever we choose to for our own selfish gain. Lying is selfish. It’s wrong and it’s not Godly.longnose

What does the Bible say about lies?

  • Romans 2:16 – On that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
  • Luke 12:2 – Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
  • Revelation 20:12 – And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

How should I ask for forgiveness in my marriage?

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About Phil Stevens

Christ follower, happily married, proud father, producer, actor & social media strategist. I love to create things that glorify God. Love God. Love People.

Misery Loves Company

My husband, Jason, and I are in a season of life where we are trying to make some important decisions that impact our entire family. This has been a particularly painful season because we can’t seem to agree on which direction to take. Some days the weight of these disagreements seems so heavy I can barely breathe. (This is a good time to point out that I’m a little melodramatic.) One night, while already in a melancholy mood, the song Broken by Lifehouse came on the radio. I related to these words, “I’m falling apart, I’m barely breathing, with a broken heart, that’s still beating.” Those few words so eloquently described how I was feeling so I immediately downloaded the song.

At the time, I viewed the song as a catharsis of sorts. I could relate to the lyrics, felt understood as I sang along, and appreciated the emotional release it seemed to provide. However, it didn’t take long before I became more depressed in our marriage. I dwelt on the heart ache that our difference of opinions caused and I communicated that pain to my husband. For several days in a row, I listened to that song (and few other equally depressing tunes) throughout the day. I was blinded to the fact that my mellow playlist was actually aiding in my sadness.

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About Darby Dugger

Darby is a wife, mother, speaker, blogger, and author of the devotional, For the Love of Our Husbands. Following the same format of her book, Darby posts a weekly prayer for wives to pray over their husbands. She also writes about her own weaknesses as a wife in hopes that God will redeem all of her messes.

Clinging to Him, After Adultery (Part 1)

“I want to get married,” he said. 

Under different conditions, those words would have caused me to jump for joy with the excitement and anticipation of a bride-to-be.  There was one small problem…. we were already married.  The perplexed and befuddled look on my face accompanied my confused response.

“We are married.”

“No… I want to marry Jan.”

adultery (mad)With those two short sentences, my world began to crumble.  I was stunned into stillness.  No immediate tears, no screaming, just shock.  You see, he had been doing a medical residency working long hours, even 36-hour shifts.  He came home and fell into bed each evening.  I thought I was doing my part to help his career, supporting the family with my corporate job by day and taking care of our 6-month-old daughter in the evenings.  I knew we weren’t spending much time together, but I chalked it up to the rigors of the medical profession.  I believed it was for a season until he could get out of training and establish his own practice.

If you had asked me even the day before how I would react to this news, I would have told you that I would either have melted in a puddle of tears or grabbed the nearest chair and hit him with it.  But I didn’t react that way at all.  Yes, I had been betrayed.  Yes, it hurt more than any pain I had experienced in 28 years of life.  But in the midst of the hurt was love, the most difficult oxymoron to explain unless you’ve experienced it.

Our original short film, ‘Cheater‘ (based on 1 Corinthians 7:2) captures a raw conversation about the husband’s infidelity. It is possible to heal a marriage after the fallout of infidelity, but only through transparency, counseling, forgiveness, restoration and with God.

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About Phil Stevens

Christ follower, happily married, proud father, producer, actor & social media strategist. I love to create things that glorify God. Love God. Love People.

You Won't Like It When I'm Angry

Ah, the famous words of Bruce Banner. Right before he turned into a green-skinned, musclebound, hulking monster full of rage and capable of utter destruction!

It actually makes you think. When we get angry, are we capable of that level of destruction? Does our temper ruin people’s lives? Hurt feelings? Tear down? Scar? Manipulate? Do people walk on egg shells around you?verbal-abuse-2-312

They say that the people whom you love the most have the most access and power to hurt you. That’s pretty scary. If my spouse chooses NOT to control their anger, it could rock my world. I would always be somewhat vulnerable to their attacks. That’s a lot of power for one person to have to your heart.

So let’s turn that around.

YOU have the power to break someone else’s heart. Are you in control of your anger? Do you take opportunities to tear down your spouse? Do you bully him or her when you aren’t getting your way? How about your children? Are you bullying them? Do they have an unhealthy fear of your temper? You do realize that children are innocent and have no defense from their parents. Why should they? It’s so confusing to them as they don’t know whether to cry, run, trust, shut down, internalize, lash out, ignore, hide, etc. That’s extremely sad.

dynamiclifedevelopment8066Our very own original short film, ‘Angry‘, captures a raw and realistic conversation between a married couple who’s family is suffering as a result of the wife’s anger issues. The husband is somewhat numb and passive to these attacks. You’ll notice that he’s been on the receiving end of her anger several times and defaults to a stand-offish defense. However, there’s a point in the film where he courageously decides to address her brokenness to protect his children. Simply put, if you can relate to this film on either side, then you need help.

Who are you negatively impacting with your temper? Your spouse, children, friends or family? We encourage you to face your brokenness and seek help regarding your temper. Consider immediate counseling for you and your family to begin the healing process from the fallout of this. The quality and health of your marriage and children’s lives depend on you or your spouse seeking help with your anger issues.

What did Jesus say about anger?

‘This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.’

-James 1:19-20, NASB

Let’s Chat!

  • Why do you think the husband finally confronted his wife about her temper?
  • What do you think he said that ultimately softened her heart and caused her to break down in tears?
  • How does a parent’s anger issues impact a child?  How does it shape their behavior?

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About Phil Stevens

Christ follower, happily married, proud father, producer, actor & social media strategist. I love to create things that glorify God. Love God. Love People.