Marriage & Family

Blog posts, written by Heidi, available through Concordia Publishing House, on Marriage and Family…

Why the Fallen World Matters in My Marriage

“First I need to see my husband as broken. Not broken to fix him, not broken like the world would see him, but broken and fallen just like me…”

Riding the storms of marriage

“We remember that we got married for reasons other than baseball. We got married for times like this, for joy and for sorrow…”

When Contempt Threatens a Marriage (3 Ways to Respond)

“We want to be heard and understood. We want our spouse to get the point, to see from our perspective. The thing is, we get so desperate to make our point sometimes, to be heard, that we trample over the very one we treasure…”

What’s Love (and Respect) Got to Do with It?

“I’m not talking about a marriage that’s any easier than your neighbors’, or a marriage that’s “happier” or more “successful.” I’m talking about a marriage that’s fulfilling through the hard work and effort of each spouse…”

What’s Love (and Respect) Got to do with It? Radio Spot

30 minutes, KFUO Faith and Family, with host Andy Bates, Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, and me!

Men Who Pray (and the Women who Love Them)

“She wants you to pray with her not only because this is a work of the Church on earth, but also because she wants to know you and she wants to share all of it—the joy, the suffering, the struggle, the wrestling, the confidence before the throne—with you and with her God.”

Stopping the Marriage Blame Game

“Psalm 18 (above) tells us that we are blameless, that we are free from guilt, that our hands are clean. This is because we have Jesus. We can offer love and forgiveness and real, palpable grace to our spouse by seeing him or her as God does in Jesus—blameless.” 

The Best Christmas Gift for Your Marriage

“We aren’t wrapped up in all things material; we haven’t lost the real meaning. But we have managed to ignore an opportunity that I think God may be presenting to us to honor our marriage. We think we are sacrificing what we want or need so that our children can have a few special items, but what we’ve really done is send them a message: “You matter more than our marriage.”

The Marriage High Five

“In the good and the hard of marriage, giving ourselves permission to recognize what is good and what is hard can go a long way.”

Finally Finding My Knight on a White Horse

“As a married woman, I still put a ton of pressure on my husband. I want him to fill me. I want him to be funny when I need him to be funny. I want him to be intensely romantic, but not embarrassingly sensitive. I want manly and rugged and handsome and artistic and well-groomed and . . . and… and . . . I want it all. But that is not his job. That is His job.”

Naked and Unashamed

Naked. Unashamed. If we cannot be naked, be ourselves, stripped of all the societal small-talk niceties, able to share our inmost thoughts and beliefs, able to be right and wrong and everything in between, then we have opened the door to shame. And that is something God did not intend for our marriages.”

A marriage that bends but does not break

“When you ask couples whose marriages have stood the test of time, over and over the answer you will hear is that there were good times, and there were bad times, and then there were really, really bad times. There were the “almost” times. Almost done. Almost lost it. Almost gave up. Almost walked out. What was the difference? What turned “almost” into “not quite”?”

The Best Way to Encourage Your Husband

“Husbands also have to live in this culture of ideas. Whether our husbands are pastors, teachers, businessmen, engineers, landscapers, or anything out there in the world, people have ideas and opinions about what they should do, how it should be done, and how it is judged as successful.”

Why the First Year of Marriage is so Stinkin’ Hard

“That first year was special, memorable, exciting, and mostly . . . it was hard. Since that first year, I have heard from countless couples the same thing—good and hard, wonderful and a struggle, a time for joy, a time for learning, and a time to batten down the hatches…”

Radio Interview – Why the First Year of Marriage is So Stinkin’ Hard

On the air with Andy Bates at KFUO discussing grace and growing, particularly in the first year of marriage.

The Law and Gospel and Grouchiness in Marriage

“The Law applied to motivate in marriage leads to death. It slowly prickles and smothers my beautiful husband’s soul. Every time I think it will work—“maybe he’ll listen to me more now, he’ll do what I want, and our life will be so much better because I know best”—it doesn’t work, no one listens more, no one’s life improves, and we grow further apart, the ice fields we need to cross to share forgiveness and restoration growing wider. That is not the marriage I want to live in…”

Naked and Unashamed: Around the Table

“Imagine how many conversations would be missed without our tables. Husbands, wives, children, and friends all find a safe place as they gather around food and drink provided by a God who loves us. Sometimes there is laughter and joy, sometimes tears, sometimes even anger and frustration—all expressed appropriately in this very safe place. This is around the table at its best.”

The Plank and the Log – What to do when your spouse gets on your nerves

“When we feel that prickle of nerves on the back of our neck from something our spouse is doing, instead of grumbling and mentally eating our spouse alive, let’s try something different. We’re going to lean into it…”

Open Doors, Closed Doors: Family, friends, drama, and boundaries

I love people. I really do, but I am completely aware that they come with drama. I’m sure you are too. I know I’m not the only one going to great lengths to remain hidden, sneaking upstairs before the door-visitor can spy me. The question is … how much? How often do I put up real and imaginary closed doors to my heart, my life, and my home? When am I just hiding from the things that matter in life, the people who are very much valued by God, because relationships seem like so much work?

Marriage and Mexican Sponges: Why repair attempts matter

Repair attempts help us to return to that tenderhearted place where the forgiveness of Christ can roll out of our hearts. When emotions overload and we feel like we’re coming undone, we need Jesus to step in and remind us that our spouse is the very image of God, His precious child, dearly loved, by Him and us. A repair attempt reaches out the hand of kindness so that forgiveness can happen. But how does this work?

Blended Families: A Place Where Grace Can Reign

“You, blended family members, are not a less-than version of God’s plan. You may be imperfect, but God knows nothing better than bringing grace into all the imperfect places in life.
My family is imperfect. Your family is imperfect. The family down the street is imperfect. All of us, every last one of us are imperfect and in need of a perfect Savior. The blending of a family gives us a chance to see His grace in action in a way we wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. That’s a beautiful thing…”

Who are your marriage rockstars?

“Marriages across the globe are a mess, and if we do not intentionally seek help and wisdom on this topic, we, too, will find ourselves, at one point or another, in the thick of a giant marriage mess-ball. In fact, the mess will find us all on its own. No worries there; life is just messy. We’ll get our turn at life trials and marriage trials; no questions there. So whom can we turn to when they come? And the even better question . . . who can help us prepare a solid marriage foundation for the stormy season to come?”

O Christmas Tree: Grace in Imperfection

“Christ came to dwell with us in the imperfection. This is the message of grace at Christmastime. The world is imperfect. I look around at my tree ornaments and I see other reminders of this imperfect place I live—a pink ornament I made to remember my friend Melissa, who lost her battle with breast cancer last year; a ceramic Joseph and his colorful coat in which Joseph is missing a foot; a church with a crooked cross on its roof; another ornament that declares me a fantastic pastor’s wife, with a very noticeable hairline crack down the middle. That seems about right…”

12 Days of Physical Touch: A Christmas Gift for My Husband

“Christ’s example shows us how touch shares the gift of presence in a real and tangible way. When we are present in little ways with our spouse, we share Immanuel with him or her. It’s important that we use words to proclaim the Gospel, but physical touch drives home the message. It transforms those words into a visual and physical Gospel action…”

3 Places to Never Argue with Your Spouse

“We are the free people of Christ, not only in the church building, but in our marriages as well. We can use this freedom to learn more from one another when differences rise up, or we can bite and devour…One way we can avoid the biting-and-devouring syndrome, or minimize it at least, is by paying attention to what is going on around us when we are arguing. The where of the argument can have a great impact on the how.”

Ministry Marriage Live Stream Event with Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Wellness as One Flesh, The Help and the helper, Guarding our marriages, weird ministry marriage dynamics, marriage and vocation, marriage as mission field, and more.

Should we argue in front of our children? Being Naked and Unashamed in Disagreements

“The honest truth is that some questions have no perfect answers no matter how long you search. For us, the title question was one of them. My husband attests that he never heard his parents argue. They resolved discussions quickly or took it into the bedroom away from little ears. My parents raised the roof with lively discussions that were sometimes humorous and sometimes less than pretty. Dave and I have attempted a happy medium… I’d like to share with you not an answer, but four things I have learned that may help you contemplate this in your own marriage and family…”

The Difference between Love and Glory

“We want people to fill us. We want our spouse to be all we need them to be, to find us attractive, but not bug us too much, to work hard and provide or keep the house organized and steady, but be available when we ask for something else, to know just the right words to say and when to keep their mouth closed and just listen. But…”

Ask this question before turning on the screen

My concern with our entertainment choices is not exactly what we watch, but what place we give it in our lives. We can use media as a connecting tool, or we can let it weasel its way in to become the center of our homes. This doesn’t happen overnight. It happens accidentally and unintentionally, and the consequence we can feel, but may not be able to identify, is disconnection to Christ and to one another.

Love, Honor, and Cherish…Your Mother-in-Law

“I never quite appreciated my mother-in-law until I had a twelve-year-old son. A son who started wearing deodorant and giving bracelets to girls, and who no longer wanted his curly hair tousled in public. Someday, he will win the heart of one very lucky girl, and this mama will have to set aside my own desires to have him eat me out of house and home forever, and let him leave and cleave. So, now I’m interested. How do we do this better? How do we leave and cleave as an immediate couple and as an extended family well? I have three quick suggestions…”

I Do Every Day

“Marriage is a giant vortex of daily. Daily getting out of bed to morning breath and deciding who is going to make the coffee, daily paying bills and cleaning up after one another, daily partnership and accountability, daily laughter and conversation, daily sin and forgiveness…We need a reminder in the daily of it all that He is faithful, without fail, every day…”

Holy Spirit, Mi Casa es Tu Casa

“Acts 2 doesn’t just give us the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. It gives us concrete ways we can build our families and homes up, letting the Spirit move and breathe between our four walls, letting Him do His thing—helping, comforting, guiding, counseling—every day in our homes…”

We are Not Less Broken

“He calls our lives beautiful, complete, and good, even though He knows the pain, He knows the darkness we have sat in. The problem is that we are not God and we do not see the whole picture. We do not see complete, through Jesus-colored lenses. We still see broken and so often we like to think that we are exempt…”

The Marriage Sandwich

“And so, at our house, and when I work with couples clinically, we embrace the marriage sandwich. This sandwich does not have turkey, lettuce, or mayo with a side of chips and a pickle. This sandwich holds the gift of time for each other…Marriages, like individuals, also need to be fed.”

My Quest to Love, Honor, and Not Throw a Fit

“The safety and security of marriage is a beautiful thing, so beautiful, that it would behoove me to treat it as special, not ordinary. I want my husband to hear words that build him up, not my momentary lack of judgment. I want him to know how highly valued I see him as, instead of letting my emotions rule and trashing him in the heat of my fit. How do I get there? Ephesians 4:13–14 shares wisdom and a promise…”

Hold Fast

“My marriage…It wasn’t anything like the adventure days. Every date night had to be pre-planned and usually ended in a run to the drugstore for Children’s Tylenol for someone. The romance of waking up together in a new location was a million miles away and felt beyond reach. I mourned the loss of this more than anything. Would my husband and I ever be that version of our One-Flesh selves again? Witty, in-love, fanciful, and creative? Then, one day, the season changed…”

I Noticed…

“‘I noticed’ expresses gratitude in a small way, but also acknowledges individual worth and value. We live in a world that is busy, hectic, and generally unconcerned with anything outside of self. We can use the words “I noticed” to reflect, in the midst of the dailiness of life, the value God gives each of us…”

What Luke 2 Can Teach Us about Marriage

“Treasure up the words, the thoughts, and the quiet that you don’t know how to fill for your spouse. Give an open and safe space for the work of figuring this life out… Shine these promises as a light by speaking them gently over your spouse and family…”

Marriage as a Process, Not a Product

“Why do I expect my husband to just get it? Why do I want the perfect marriage today—no arguments, no rehashing, no challenges? Just as I am growing and my husband is growing, in truth and love and in the fullness of Christ’s sanctification, so is my marriage…”

Searching for the One Whom My Soul Loves

“Life rarely holds easy answers. Does God want me to marry? When will He bring me a spouse? How do I embrace singlehood well? There are no easy answers, no simple responses applicable to every one of us, but we don’t have to ask the questions alone. This is what the Church is for. This is why God gave us community around the Word…”

The Power of Pursuit

“This is the power of pursuit. The power of knowing you are wanted, not just valued, but worth going after. My husband and I rarely operate on pursuit level. We operate on get-er-done level. There are people to take places and things to be organized for this life to run smoothly. His simple text served to remind me that pursuing cannot be forgotten…”