Did you realize there are three different levels of commitment in marriage? And only one of them helps secure the happily-ever-after you dream of. Are you choosing it? Take a look and discover the choice you can make, beginning today! Fine it here: Commitment
Week 2 of our challenge is about pursuing your mate. How long has it been since you’ve had a “Hubba bubba hey baby!” moment? You’ll find some tips to telegraph that message this week. Here’s the link: Week 2 ICYT Hope you’ll take a moment to leave a comment – fill us in on the steps YOU took to let your loved one know you are still on the chase!
Deb recently guested at My Faith Radio with host Susie Larson. If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to the podcast here: MyFaithRadio
Divided loyalties, inside jokes, new traditions… entering marriage can bring a host of emotions and tensions between a spouse and his or her new family. Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy the process. Listen as Deb DeArmond returns to talk about how to establish healthy in-law relationships.
Susie and Deb explore:
• Common stereotypes of difficult mothers-in-law (Marie Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond,for example).
• How mothers can train and raise their children, specifically their sons, to leave.
• How a daughter-in-law can “turn the mirror” back toward herself and look at her own heart and posture first.
• How to respond prayerfully to a distant or hostile in-law.
• The right way for a man to honor his mother while cleaving to his wife.
Come join us on a journey to take your marriage to the next level – regardless of where it is today. Good marriages can become great, broken marriages can become whole. We’ll be exploring the power of choice and discover the ability to transform relationships with four little words: “I Choose You Today.”
My newest book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last will provide us a roadmap to highlight intentional, purposeful choices that will benefit every marriage relationship. “I choose to respect you. I choose to romance you, and I choose to laugh with you” are just a few of the chapters we will explore. The book is a quick read that would serve well as a devotional for couples or individuals, as well as those engaged to be married. Filled with anecdotal stories, tips, tools, and insights that provide a practical approach to enhancing the life you are building together.
Here’s what others are saying about the book:
- “It’s often been said that our choices define us. That’s true personally, but it’s also a key to our relationships. Deb DeArmond has provided a practical and insightful book detailing 31 choices we can make as husbands and wives that have the potential to transform even a good marriage – and make it a great one.” —Greg Smalley, Vice President of Family Ministry, Focus on the Family
- “There is no deeper joy in life than great love. Fortunately for us, I Choose You Today gives us a clear roadmap to achieving it with our spouse. Every couple- married or not- will benefit from reading Ms. DeArmond’s book. -Meg Meeker, M.D., best-selling author of Strong Fathers,Strong Daughters and Co-host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk radio broadcast
While we’re learning together, we’re going to have some fun! Prizes, giveaways, and lots of other surprises.
So sign up today Here’s the link: IChooseYouChallenge
And remember -with all this 50 shades of crazy… it is refreshing to hear God’s perspective on a healthy marriage. Happily ever after is not a fairy tale, it’s a choice!
My new book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last, officially releases today! It’s now available in both paperback or electronic book at Amazon, ChristianBooks.com and even online at Target!
I invite you to join us for our upcoming 31 Week Challenge. It’s going to be great fun with free tools and resources, drawing for prizes and opportunities to share your story and hear that of others. You will be automatically enrolled for the challenge and eligible for the freebies by subscribing to this website.
I hope you will take a moment to read about the book here. I genuinely believe that whether you are engaged and hoping to start strong, a newlywed finding your way, or a long time married seeking to refresh or sustain your relationship, this book can help. It’s worked for my husband, Ron, and I for nearly 40 years.
What if you could hang on to the happily-ever-after feelings from the day you said, “I do?” It could be as simple as four little words: I Choose You Today.
Words have the power to create. They also have the power to destroy. Everyday you have the power to choose which it will be for your marriage.
The spoken word carries extra weight. God spoke the world and life into existence. We enter into new life in Christ, by the confession of our mouth. We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Faith, spoken moves mountains. Our words can bless or curse. Words count.
What if we could enrich and preserve our marriages, breathing life into them through a daily profession of commitment to our relationship—one that aligns with the Word of God? Regardless of how we feel in the moment, choosing to bless, not curse our union?
I Choose You Today is based on the principle that marriage and love is always a choice—one that benefits from a daily-renewal of our commitment. Christ followers are charged to live in God’s truth. Feelings are not the basis for truth; feelings are subject to change. God’s Word is the basis for truth. The title of the book is built on the line included in the wedding ceremony: “I choose you to be my lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold….” Choice is a gift from God. We must choose marriage, choose our spouse, and choose to live in a way that pleases God. The book’s chapters contain thirty scriptural principles – or choices – that support marriage and help develop behaviors that support healthy relationships. Inspirational stories, conventional wisdom and thought-provoking questions help you explore your choices and commitment to each other . . . every day of your marriage.
Greg Smalley, Vice President of Family Ministry at Focus on the Family says this about I Choose You Today:
- “It’s often been said that our choices define us. That’s true personally, but it’s also a key to our relationships. Deb DeArmond has provided a practical and insightful book detailing 31 choices we can make as husbands and wives that have the potential to transform even a good marriage—and make it a great one.”
Dr. Meg Meeker, bestselling author and co-host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk radio broadcast offered her review of the book:
- “I Choose You Today gives us a clear roadmap to achieve great love with our spouse. Every couple—married or not—will benefit from reading this book.”
James tells us: “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!” (James 3:5 MSG).
What will you choose today?
The cover for my new book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last, has been visible on all the online bookseller sites for months. So I thought it was time to share it with all of you, here at Family Matters. The publisher, Abingdon Press, did a beautiful job and I couldn’t be more pleased. I hope you like it too! Look for it beginning January 6, 2015.
By Deb DeArmond
“My day was fine. And yup, dog is all squared away,” he responded. “Did you check on whether we can change seats to sit together on the outbound flight?”
“No, I forgot. I’ll do it as soon as we hang up. Any mail today?”
It’s what often passes for communication when one of us is traveling. It’s necessary, I guess, but hardly the fascinating conversation of a couple still in love.
It happens at the end of long days, full schedules, and juggling priorities. We’re often really exhausted when we finally connect, usually just before bedtime.
It’s what I’ve begun to think of as transactional conversation. Essential to running our lives, but not really covenantal connection kind of stuff.
What does that mean?
Life requires us to accomplish tasks, run businesses and households, pay bills, get the kids enrolled in hockey, etc. They are the transactions that keep our lives operating smoothly. When those transactions don’t take place or don’t take place in a timely manner, life can be stressful. So it’s a good thing to support one another in getting this stuff done.
But to create connection that keeps a marriage vibrant, healthy and alive, we need so much more. When you research synonyms (similar words) for the word intimacy, you discover descriptors like closeness, understanding, confidence, caring, tenderness, affection and relationship. That’s marriage at it’s very best—it’s difficult to achieve, and even more challenging to sustain over the lifetime of your love. And checking up on the mail and the dog is not going to get us there. We yearn for genuine intimacy from one another.
Intimacy is a result of connection, and it’s not limited to sexual connection. But sexual connection without intimacy is simply one more transaction. Check it off the list. Done.
So how do we move from transactional to covenantal?
One of the greatest challenges in our marriage came at a period when God was really blessing my business and Ron’s ministry. It also meant we were apart 2-3 weeks every month. Weekends were filled with to-do lists that had to be accomplished when we were really tired. We were both aware our connection was fading in and out like a bad FM station.
As we discussed this problem, one small idea grew into a really good plan. We decided to select a book together and read it on the road. We spent Monday (often on an airplane or the evening of arrival) reading the agreed upon chapter. Each night after that, we talked about our discoveries, our surprises, and the things that really impacted us from the chapter at hand. We didn’t hurry through a section. If there had been a lot to discuss, we might let it run into the weekend or the following week.
We chose books on subjects we were both interested in, mostly topics to support marriage, parenting, life in Christ, and so on. It was enlightening, and fun, and it strengthened our connection. For a couple who spent their first date talking for nearly 8 hours straight, it shouldn’t have surprised us, but it did.
I’d never plan a business activity or conference call without giving some thought to what I wanted to accomplish in that interaction. If you just show up and say, “So, what’s up?” you are likely to be disappointed with the outcome. Because we’re both traveling less often these days, the transactional communication is easier. It occurs throughout the day as we go about our lives. But we recently realized the covenantal connection was slipping; we found ourselves disappointed in the outcomes of our life together – and intimacy was suffering.
Talking about it was not easy, but necessary. You see, God asks us to cleave (stick like glue) to one another. We are most satisfied and most able to honor Him in our marriage when we manage the transactions and celebrate the covenant.
So, we’re returning to that really great former plan. We’ve committed to a shared devotional several times a week, which always creates a great discussion about our life together in Christ, our relationship, and our hopes and dreams for the next 39 years. We’re planning our free time on purpose, for a purpose – covenantal connection.
For you and your spouse, it may be planning something you both really love to do – a hike together, camping in the mountains, coffee while the kids stay with grandma or a great concert in the park. Be intentional. Talk about the stuff that lasts a lifetime: hopes, goals, dreams, and more.
Wouldn’t it be nice to experience intimacy as more than a transaction? Go covenantal – you’ll never go back!
Bald heads, bad comb-overs, and enough bi-focals to start a bonfire. I was among my peeps.
We assembled to watch a music icon take the stage and transport us all to a sweet time in life—our twenties. That’s quite a voyage for most of us, judging from my fellow concertgoers in the event hall.
James Taylor, at age 66, continues to capture our hearts with his songs about love gained and lost, odd characters he’s known, and life in his beloved North Carolina. And I could sing every word without missing a beat. Odd, since I can’t remember where my car keys are most days or the time of my next appointment without consulting the calendar. Even if my last look was only an hour ago.
Music is the ultimate time machine. I hear the first few lines of “You’ve Got a Friend,” and I’m 16 again driving to the beach with a car full of girlfriends or dancing with my first love at the senior prom. Great memories. Good times. Easier times.
Does it happen to you?
I married my first love – my high school sweetheart, 39 years ago this week. Sitting together in that concert was a trip in the way back machine. I remembered how I saw him when we first fell in love. I was reminded how much I appreciate him, how much I love him, and how much I need him. When we first married, a simple look was all the reminder I needed. But years, and kids, and jobs, and broken toilets take their toll. I get caught up in the stuff around me and forget he was the man of my dreams nearly 40 years ago.
He still can be today.
But love and marriage are not feelings. They are choices every day. I must choose to put him before my job, my friends, and myself. I must choose to be patient when he’s on my last nerve, and to be praise him when he’s down – or when he’s rescued me (again) from a flat tire. It’s my choice today—and every day— to honor the choice I made nearly four decades ago.
John the Beloved wrote about first love in the book of Revelation. “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first,” Rev. 2:4 (NLT). First love is tough to maintain, whether you are a new bride or the Bride of Christ.
When I first met Jesus, my desire to spend time with Him was overwhelming, even if it meant skipping an evening with friends. Days without Him felt empty, and without purpose. Bible Study was something to look forward to, because I knew He’d be there. Really quite similar to those early months of marriage. He’s still the same Jesus. But just as is true in life with my husband, I have been given the choice in my life to remember the Bridegroom. And the more often I choose Him, the greater my desire for Him.
Sweet Baby James took me back to the prom. Sweet Baby Jesus takes me to the Father. Climb aboard the way back machine – it’s the ride of a lifetime.
You can find a link to listen to a recent interview I did with Dr. Tim Clinton on Life, Love and Family Radio. We talked about the mother-in-law/daughter-in law dynamic. We also discussed that man in the middle! Take a listen! Deb DeArmond on Life, Life and Family Radio
By Deb DeArmond
The grin on his face said it all. He was re-living a victory from earlier this morning.
“Don’t say a word,” I warned.
“It’s my magical power, you know.” He began to chuckle. Then guffaw.
I nearly spit coffee right into his face as I got caught up in a stream of laughter. It was funny. Now.
I spend a lot of time on my computer. Hours daily. Between writing books and my real job designing corporate training, Mac and I are joined at the hip, which, believe me, makes it tough to reach the keyboard from that position. But I digress.
You’d think that someone like me might have become tech savvy over the years. Nay, nay. I often find myself staring at the screen asking what just happened or what does that mean? Rich text, imap, and file extension, are among the terms that leave me in utter darkness. I office at home, and as a result, my husband has had a second job for years. He’s my tech guy. The pay stinks, but there are some decent benefits.
I keep believing that one of these days, I’m going to be successful at managing the electronica when a problem occurs. There is no evidence this is a realistic belief, but nonetheless, I pursue it and attempt to fix it myself. It’s become a pride issue, I’m sure. And it’s as yet, an unfulfilled dream.
“Haven’t I shown you how to do this before?” Ron often asks.
“Probably, but I’ve slept since then. I’m on a deadline, so can you just fix it, please?”
Printer issues, programs that won’t open, messages that read, “Word has encountered a problem and needs to close,” drive me crazy. I especially dislike that last one. I have a problem and you need to stay open! But no! It’s all about you!
Yesterday, Ron tried to talk me through adding a new printer to my computer so I could access it wirelessly.
“It’s easy,” he promised. Sounded good.
Did I mention we were trying to do this on the phone? Each time he told me to perform a function, I did just as he directed.
“It should now give you a choice. Pick the Canon printer and hit save.” He sounded so confident.
“It’s not giving me a choice. I can see it listed, but it won’t let me save.”
“Yes, it will. Hit save,” he responded.
“No. The save button is not illuminated. I’m hitting it. Nothing happens.”
I was beginning to get frustrated. After all, I was the one sitting there looking at it. I began pressing keys, moving to another window where I was sure I’d find the answer. Then another.
Now Ron, too, was aggravated. He was becoming frustrated with my impatience and my insistence in trying to move ahead on my own. It didn’t end well. And I still couldn’t print.
I apologized when he arrived home, explaining my deadline wasn’t forgiving. He was— forgiving, that is—and let me off the hook. Work was done for the day.
So this morning as I sat at my desk, I asked him to please come in and help me set up the printer. He came in and stood next to my desk, telling me which windows to open for the process.
As he stood behind me, I did exactly what I had done the day before. Exactly. And now, the save button was illuminated, screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!”
He smiled. Caught my eye and snorted as he tried to suppress a giggle. He went back to whatever he was doing before I asked for his help.
It’s a pattern at our house.
The running joke is that all he needs to do is darken the doorway of my office and the problem instantly resolves. He doesn’t even have to touch the computer. On occasion, he may set one foot in the door and voila! All is well. It’s as though, sensing his presence, the computer cowers before him. If we could just put that in an aerosol can and sell it, we’d be in the money.
So now, sitting across from me over coffee an hour later, he laughed, enjoying the moment. Again. And I chose to enjoy it with him. As frustrating as it may be, it was funny. It reminded me, again, how much I need him.
Isn’t that just how God deals with us? Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take, (NLT).
We struggle and fight with a problem, running on ahead of His instruction, when it would be so much easier to acknowledge our need for Him and ask for His help. In fact, sometimes just His appearance in the doorway, a step into the room, and peace floods over us. Stress dissolves, the solution becomes visible, and we are confidently back on track.
And, I’m pretty sure, God might chuckle at His children as we run from pillar to post, but I am certain he does not guffaw.