Make the Weeks Leading Up to Valentine’s Day Count!

The FREE 4 week No More Perfect Marriages E-Challenge is here! It’s a great tool that will strengthen your marriage in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day!

You can sign up and share with your spouse or both of you can sign up and have them delivered to your individual inboxes! (If your spouse isn’t interested, it can still help you as a husband or wife!)

No More Perfect Marriages Giveaway

Purchase No More Perfect Marriages by February 13, 2017 to win a chance to be one of FOUR Grand Prize winners for a marriage enrichment weekend with Mark and Jill Savage (including dinner at their home!) and TEN 2nd prize winners who will receive FREE 3 month subscriptions to the new No More Perfect Marriages Date Night site (available May 2017)!

Simply purchase the book from your favorite online bookseller or local bookstore and enter the information on your purchase below! (You must submit your information below by midnight CST Feb 13, to be entered into the drawing.)

Winners will be drawn and announced on Feb 14, 2017! Happy Valentine’s Day!


Grand Prize winners responsible for travel expense to Bloomington, Illinois for marriage enrichment weekend. Once on-site, 1 night hotel and 3 meals provided for winners. If a grand-prize winner is unable to make the trip to central Illinois on the specified weekend, another winner will be chosen and the original winner will receive a complimentary 3 month subscription to the No More Perfect Marriages Date Night site (available May 2017).


What’s Your Plan for Investing in Your Marriage in 2017?

Mark: Several years ago Jill and I took a ballroom dancing class. I admit I was NOT excited about this activity. However, I knew it was important for us to do some different activities in order to keep our relationship fresh. I knew we needed to invest intentionally in our relationship and to change things up every once in a while.

Jill: I was excited about taking the dance classes together. More than dancing together, I just looked forward to being together one night a week. We got in a habit of taking the class and then going out for dessert afterwards. We learned swing dancing, salsa, the two-step, and the waltz. Today we can only swing dance. For some reason that one stuck in our brains…but it was the only one!

Mark: February is a great month to start a new “habit” for your marriage. Use Valentine’s Day to make a weekly/monthly plan to do something together as a couple. You don’t even have to leave home to make investment happen.

Jill: Maybe it’s a commitment to turn off the television and play a game together one night a week (Bananagrams is one of our favorite games to play as a couple). Maybe it’s praying together after you turn out the lights. Maybe it’s signing up for a dance class.

Mark: And what if you’re willing but your spouse is not?  Determine to BE the right person in the midst of that disappointment. Ask God to show you how to love well, even when it is hard. Commit to stand in the gap for your marriage and pray.

Jill: If you’re looking for something to do together for the next four weeks, you, or you and your spouse can sign up for our FREE No More Perfect Marriages e-Challenge. You’ll receive a once-a-week quick-read email that will link to a short quiz for each of you to take to better know yourselves and each other. Then we encourage you to talk with each other about your quiz results.

Mark: Whatever you do, do your best to make 2017 your year of marriage investment!  We’re going to do our best to help you do that here on the blog and with all kinds of resources we’re creating to go along with the No More Perfect Marriages book that will be released in just a few weeks! We’re excited and we hope you are too!

Are You Making Your Spouse Pay a High Price for Honesty?

Marriage Monday

Jill: I’ll never forget the night I came to Mark after my evening shift at the dinner theater where I was employed. We’d been married five years and had two kids. I ran a daycare during the day while Mark went to school full-time. Then in the evenings I took a shift as a actress/waitress at a local dinner theater.

Mark: Jill and I were meeting each other coming and going. We didn’t have time to invest in our marriage so we were drifting apart without realizing it.

Jill: My dance partner at work was showing interest in me and I began to look forward to going to work more than coming home. The temptation was great to pursue this new relationship, especially when it felt he had more time for me and was more interested in me than my husband. I KNEW what I had to do. I had to be honest with Mark and move this dangerous situation from the dark into the light.

Mark: Back then, I had an issue with rage. When I didn’t know how to control a situation, I would use anger to control. It wasn’t healthy but it was all I knew.  That night, however, I experienced something different. I knew Jill and I were compromising our relationship with our crazy schedule. I understood how she could possibly feel drawn to someone who was showing more attention than I was. When Jill told me what was happening, I listened and then instead of reacting…I responded.

Jill: Because Mark often got angry, I was obviously scared to talk to him about this. I pulled up all the courage I had and when he responded with dialogue instead of reacting with anger, I was so relieved. He made it EASY for me to be honest with him!

Mark: I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life and in my marriage, but I got it right that night. Jill and I talked deep into the night and made some decisions that would allow us to begin to invest in us once again.

Jill: Too often, we make our spouse pay a high price for honesty.  We explode. Blame. Point fingers. Play the martyr. Whether it’s confessing that we’ve slipped back into using pornography, or sharing our concern about feeling attracted to someone at work, expressing the feeling of being at the bottom of the priority list, or even communicating that we forgot to do something our spouse asked us to do, our spouse needs to know we’re a SAFE person to be honest with.

Mark: To dig in practically to what this looks like in real life, let’s use the word SAFE for four steps in responding to our spouse’s honesty:

-Sit. Sit and listen. Stay in the room and listen to his or her heart. Allow them to express their thoughts and concerns without disagreeing with any of it.

-Ask. Ask questions to better understand. You can even say “Tell me more…” and then encourages your spouse to keep talking.

-Forgive. Choose to forgive, if your spouse communicates something to you that needs forgiveness. You won’t feel like it, but you’ll have to forgive in order to move forward. Forgiveness isn’t once and done. You’ll forgive that night and then probably have to forgive again the next day when you think about it once again.

-Engage. Engage the problem. Don’t minimize it. Don’t cast blame. Resist the urge to tell your spouse this is his problem or this is her issue. In marriage, this is OUR ISSUE and we have to tackle it TOGETHER. Work together to find a solution.

Jill: When we make our spouse pay a high price for honesty, we make dishonesty more appealing. Dishonestly and intimacy cannot co-exist. We have to make our marriage a safe place for honesty. That way our intimacy can deepen, we can engage in helpful dialogue, and we can work together to move from where we are to where we want to be.

What about you? Are you making your spouse pay a high price for honesty? 

What Do I Do?

Marriage Monday

 

Mark: When I was a kid, I remember vividly going to a State Park with my mom and step-dad. I ventured out on a path, took a few turns, and ended up lost. I was freaking out trying to find my way back to my family and I couldn’t find the right path home. Finally, I rounded a big set of trees and there was my mom who had been looking for me.

Jill: Sometimes life is like that. We venture out, take a few right turns and then a few wrong turns and end up at a place we don’t expect.

Mark: I was recently texting with a friend of mine who has been struggling in his marriage. “Praying for you, my brother. I’m praying about whose path you are on. Are you on His path or your own?” His response, “Wouldn’t know, Mark. His path isn’t working and I’m walking it alone and my path is getting me nowhere.” I responded, “His path always works…but you have to surrender to Him…that is how it works. Our flesh always fights His path.”

Jill: Our flesh is a powerful enemy and will always fight God’s path. An unsurrendered heart is fueled by the hurts of our past and by our own selfish desires. Our flesh—doing things our way instead of God’s way– will always lead us to ruin and ultimately death. Maybe not a physical death, but the death of relationships, of dreams, of accomplishments, and even of our own character and integrity.

Mark: Romans 8: 5-7 NIV says it this way, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

Mark: I definitely understand now more than ever the control my flesh can have. It was my flesh that led to my infidelity. It is my flesh that causes me to think selfishly or pridefully. I’ve come to understand that, for me, my flesh is fueled by unrealistic expectations, desires, anger, wanting the easy button, and a desire to run away when things get hard. All of this doesn’t go away without a spiritual fight and without resolve to do what’s right rather than what I feel like doing. The strength and courage for resolve are found fully in surrender. Waving the white flag that says, “Your way, God, not mine.”

Jill: My flesh can raise up so easily, too. When I’m tempted to be think of myself before Mark, when I’m tempted to blame rather than accept responsibility. When I’m tempted to choose anger instead of forgiveness. That’s when I know I have to get back on the right path of surrender.  More of God…less of me.

Mark: Are you asking “what do I do?” Is God whispering direction to you, but you want other options? When we surrender to God, it is then that we find life and peace. It’s then that relationships flourish or can begin to heal. It will likely feel backwards than the direction our world screams. But surrender is still the right path. It will move us from the wrong path and help us find our way home.

What fuels your flesh? Where in your marriage do you need to raise the white flag of surrender and move from the wrong path you’re on to the right path God wants you to be on?

The Power of Grace

img_7047Mark: Jill had a rough day last Wednesday. She couldn’t sleep and so she got up in the night and decided to do a few things to the blog she’d been wanting to get done.

Jill: I know just enough HTML code to get myself in trouble…and I did just that.  I researched a change I wanted to make, cut and pasted the code to make the change, and took the whole blog down! If you got the blog post last week about joining the No More Perfect Marriages launch team and then tried to submit the form, you likely got an error!

Mark: She was so frustrated with herself. I tried to be compassionate and reassure her in the midst of her frustration, but there wasn’t much I could do for her except pray. I did that throughout the day.

Jill: Our daughter Anne could be called our “webmaster” and she worked throughout the day to get the blog up and going again. We were so grateful for her help. Somewhere around 3pm she finally got it back online! I was so relieved!  Just a few hours before, though, God had really tugged on my heart about the need to give myself grace. God gives us grace, which is undeserved mercy. We have to learn to give both others and ourselves grace when things go awry in this imperfect life. Grace is when we accept ourselves as a human who make mistakes.

Mark: Sometimes the hardest person to forgive and extend grace to is ourselves. Yet it so important to do so when we get things wrong….and we will get things wrong!

Jill: What meant the most to me last Wednesday, though, was knowing that Mark was caring, compassionate, and praying for me. His support–without lecture–was a balm to my frustrated heart.

Mark: Of course, I did want to FIX IT, but that just wasn’t possible. There wasn’t anything I could do. And Jill was frustrated enough with herself that reminding her that she should leave the coding to the professionals wasn’t going to be helpful in that moment.

Jill: With this situation fresh in our minds, here are some guidelines for navigating things well when a spouse messes up:

  • Offer words of encouragement. Remind him/her that they’re human and not perfect. Be empathetic with their frustration.
  • Resist sayings anything that is corrective. It’s not the right time.  Keep.Your.Mouth.Shut unless it’s kind, caring, or compassionate.
  • Pray. And let your spouse know you’re praying. If you’re both comfortable, pray aloud for your spouse. This moves both of your eyes from the mountain to the Mountain Mover.

Mark: The best part of Jill’s mistake is that we’re extending the time to sign up for the No More Perfect Marriages launch team to this Wednesday and WE NEED YOU!  We’re looking for both individuals and couples.  We need everyday people who just want to take their marriage to the next level. You don’t have to be on every social media outlet. Your spouse doesn’t have to participate, but is welcome to if he or she wants to. Need the details?  You’ll find them HERE as well as the form to submit!

What about you? Of the three steps above, which one do you need to work on most when your spouse messes up?  Would you consider being part of the launch team? 

WE NEED YOU on the No More Perfect Launch Team!

nmpma-launch-team-fb-cover

When we think back to five years ago, there was so much pain in our marriage. Sometimes, however, the best things in life come out of the worst situations.

Honestly, that’s the beauty of God’s redeeming work in our life. He brings about beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:1-3), if we’ll let Him do his best work through the cracks in our lives.

That’s what we feel about the No More Perfect Marriages book and accompanying FREE video series which will both be available on February 1.

Many of you have been a part of our journey from broken to restored over the past five years. You’ve watched first-hand the power of God’s redemptive work. Some of you are just now learning about our story and this new resource. Regardless of when you’ve joined our journey, we want YOU to be part of spreading the hope to others!

Will you be a part of the No More Perfect Marriages Launch Team?

We need you. YOU can make a difference in marriages. Would you be willing to take the No More Perfect Marriages journey and then share it with someone else?  Both individuals and couples can be part of the launch team.

As a launch team member, you will get an advance digital copy of the book, No More Perfect Marriages, access to a private online study of the book during the months of January and February, access to a private Facebook group, and a few more fun surprises!

As a member of the launch team, we ask that you:

  • Read the electronic copy of the book and participate in the online Facebook study (if you’re not on Facebook, you can still be part of the launch team but you’ll just not be able to be part of the discussions)
  • Spread the word on your social media channels and in your sphere of influence (small groups, one-on-one conversations, moms groups, men’s groups, etc)
  • Write and share a blog post about what you’re learning from No More Perfect Marriages (if you’re a blogger)
  • Leave an honest review on at least three book seller’s website (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, Goodreads, Family Christian Stores, etc.)
  • Interact with the launch team community in January and February and off and on through May (we are planning to release some additional No More Perfect Marriages accompanying resources later in the Spring and we’d like you to be some of the first to know of and spread the word about some of those!)

Is this something you’d like to be part of? Simply complete the form below by December 14th. The launch team will be limited to around 300 people, so please don’t wait (if both you and your spouse want to be part of the team, please have each of you fill out the form). There’s a lot of excitement about this real, raw, relateable resource that will be help good marriages become great and hurting marriages find hope and healing. 

We love hanging out with you in the blog and social media world and we are excited about the possibility of partnering with you to make a difference in marriages all over the world!

 

It’s getting exciting!

Mark: This past Friday, Jill and I had the privilege of making group curriculum videos for the No More Perfect Marriages book. We decided to turn our renovated kitchen into a video studio to share about our renovated marriage.  We’re so excited to share this book and it’s accompanying resources with you!

Jill: It was a long day of filming, but we’re hoping the videos will be useful for couples to watch together as well as a small groups and moms groups and men’s groups to use as a group study.

Mark: The book will be out February 1, but if you enjoy Marriage Mondays, and you’re excited about No More Perfect Marriages, you can become a part of the launch team! On Wednesday, we’ll be opening up 300 spots on the book launch team!  We’ll share more info on Wednesday, but we wanted to give you a heads up to think about whether you and/or you and your spouse would like to be on the launch team.

img_3139Jill: The launch team will read a pdf copy of the book and participate in an online discussion via Facebook (if you don’t do Facebook, you can still be on the launch team–you just won’t be part of the book discussions), and then all we want you to do is share (on social media, on your blog–if you have one, or just in one-on-one conversations) any part of the book that is encouraging you/challenging you/moving you to a different place in your marriage.

Mark: Be thinking and praying about this. We anticipate the 300 spots will fill up quickly so that’s why we wanted to give you a heads up.

Jill: I hope we do a blooper reel from our recording day. There were some hilarious moments when words just didn’t come out the way they were supposed to!

Mark: With us preparing for these videos, getting ready to form the launch team, and putting finishing touches on the book, you have been very much on our mind. We want nothing more than to help good marriages become great and hurting marriages to find healing. We’d love to know if there is any way we can be praying for you and your marriage. If so, please let us know either in the comments or in an email at jillsavagespeaking (at) heartsathome.org.

Jill: And please be praying about being part of the launch team. We need you!