Drum Roll Please….

Announcing the Winners of the No More Perfect Marriages Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the No More Perfect Marriages Marriage Enrichment Giveaway!  We’re so excited about this resource and putting it in the hands of not only married couples, but also engaged couples and those dating and considering marriage!  Thanks to our partnership with Moody Publishers, we were able to make this special giveaway possible!

If your name is listed below, you’ll receive an email today with next step information on claiming your prizes!

If you didn’t win, but still want to attend a No More Perfect Marriages Marriage Enrichment Event, keep your eyes here on the blog for our announcement of dates and registration information of the upcoming event!

Drum Roll please….

Our Grand Prize “Marriage Enrichment Getaway” Winners are…

Kathleen and Lonnie Hansen

Kelly and Tim Bowers

Heather and Keith Mosher

Michelle and Chris Webster

 

Our Runner Up “No More Perfect Date Night Subscription” Winners are…

Michael and Janet Wilson

Diane and Jon Wier

Christina and Jack Howell

Margaret and Randy Miller

Darlene and Bill Reed

Joy and Greg Jones

Heather and Rob Young

Laura and Jim Nichols

Michelle and Drew Nietert

Rachael and Jason Trovillian

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

A Little FOMO in Marriage Is Healthy!

Marriage Monday

Jill: It was one of the first holidays after our son moved from Illinois to California. He wasn’t making enough money to come home quite yet so he had to spend the holiday far from home and family.

Mark: When we talked to him that day he said he was dealing with FOMO. Neither Jill nor I had ever heard of that. When we asked him what it meant, he said, “Fear of Missing Out.”

Jill: While FOMO is no fun when you’re far from family on the holidays, we do think that a little FOMO could actually be healthy in marriage.

  • What are we missing out on learning by not going to marriage counseling?
  • If I keep this wall up, what will I be missing out on in emotional intimacy in my marriage?
  • What am I missing out on experiencing in our marriage by staying in the same bad communication habits I’ve had for years?
  • What am I missing out on by not pursuing learning opportunities for marriage?
  • If I don’t learn to really share what I’m feeling or thinking, what will I miss out on in our marriage?

Mark: Marriage requires a lifetime of learning. Even folks that have been married for many years have things to learn about themselves, each other, communication, conflict, and more!

Jill: Got a little healthy marriage FOMO? Want to take your marriage to the next step?  Here are some opportunities we’re a part of that will keep you growing:

Today: pick up a copy of No More Perfect Marriages!

Today: You can sign up for the No More Perfect Marriages FREE E-Challenge! This four week challenge will help you get to know yourself and your spouse even better! You can sign up here.

March 18, 2017–Mark and I will be doing a No More Perfect Marriages morning out event in the Chicago area. It’s open to the public and we’d love to have you join us!  Info and registration can be found at www.imetevents.org/

April 21-22, 2017–Mark and I are both speaking at the Hearts at Home Conference for moms in Peoria, IL. Info and registration can be found at www.HeartsatHome.org.

May 2017 — Our No More Perfect Marriage Date Night site will launch. We’re way excited about this new resource for marriages! It will be the perfect way to invest in your marriage without having to leave the house!  If you’d like to be notified when the site becomes available you can sign up at www.NoMorePerfectDateNight.com!

(We’re currently booking marriage events in partnership with local churches. Watch for events in Tyler, TX in May 2017, Springfield, IL in Feb 2018, and Fargo, SD in May 2018!  Would your church like to partner with us on bringing a No More Perfect Marriages Seminar to your community? We’d love to link arms with you to make a difference in marriages! You can request info here!)

What about you? Are you ready to take some steps to reduce the FOMO in your marriage? 

What About YOU Makes Marriage Hard?

Marriage Monday

Jill has been very sick with the stomach flu for the weekend so I get the privilege of sharing Marriage Monday with you this week.

After sharing with a group of guys about our marriage challenges and the restoration we’ve experienced, I was asked the question, “After all that, what is hard about marriage NOW?”

As I thought about his question, I found myself going through a variety of thoughts. In the past, I could easily create a list of what was hard and what was wrong in our marriage. Most often this type of question would cause me to focus on what’s wrong with Jill and most likely not include me at all. I didn’t (and don’t) want to go back to that way of thinking.

I decided to answer the question in a different way. I decided to answer it as if this is what had been asked: What about ME makes marriage hard? We all need to look at ourselves and what we bring to the table.

What makes marriage hard now? My flesh and my idealism.

My flesh: I have to work hard to keep this guy down. I’m so thankful that Jesus Christ has rescued me from me, and am thankful for His Holy Spirit who teaches and leads me. When I’m in my God zone, I do well in marriage. When I’m in my flesh zone, I am selfish, frustrated…and the toddler tirades come out.

How do I stay in the God zone? I do that by committing to grow, spending most mornings reading some Andrew Murray (my favorite is The Essential Works of Andrew Murray including Absolute Surrender) and my Bible. I journal and pray. I wake up and have coffee with Father God. This really helps me be the Spirit man and not the flesh man.

My idealism: I am doing so much better with this than I have in the past, but it is still there taunting me. If I’m not careful, the negative messages like “Marriage shouldn’t be hard.” “We’re too different.” and this weekend, with Jill being sick, “Will this ever be easy?”  Idealism wants to draw me back into discontentment and  I am deeply committed to not letting myself go back there.

What do I do to battle the idealism? I have to keep kicking out the unrealistic expectations and replacing them with realistic ones. “Marriage shouldn’t be this hard,” becomes “Marriage is hard work, Mark. You know that.”  “We’re too different,” becomes “Every married couple is incompatible in some way.” And this weekend, “Will this ever be easy?,” became, “It’s not her fault she’s so sick. Jill’s usually high capacity and is rarely down. I just need to let her heal. Let’s face it Mark, life is not always easy.” I also keep idealism in check by focusing on what is right in our marriage and what God has done.

SO I ask you today. What about YOU makes marriage hard? What challenges do you bring to your marriage and how are you willing to grow?

P.S. Pick up your copy of No More Perfect Marriages today! 

 

Triage Your Marriage Issues

Marriage Monday

Dear Jill and Mark:

My husband wants to go talk to a counselor because of some anger issues he’s been feeling lately. He set up an appointment through a program offered through his work. They set him up with a female. I feel uncomfortable with this and don’t know if I should just ignore it or if it really does matter. I thought I’ve read that men should speak with men in counseling. Just wondered your opinion on this.

Signed,

Concerned

 

Dear Concerned,

There is definitely wisdom in men seeing men counselors and women seeing women counselors. It’s just a wise part of protecting your marriage proactively. (We talk about this in No More Perfect Marriages!) We don’t think there’s anything wrong with you expressing your concern to your husband and asking if he would mind requesting a male counselor. If it becomes a big deal, though, it may be something you have to give grace on and leave as it is. We are beyond thrilled to hear that your husband wanted to see a counselor to deal with his anger issues. We’re also thrilled that he took action himself to set up an appointment. Both of those are huge and something to be incredibly grateful for. To us that’s a bigger mountain to climb than the gender of his counselor. So we think it’s valuable to express your concern, but don’t let it get in the way of him getting the help he needs.

Mark and Jill

Mark: This question came in this week and we thought it was a great way for us to discuss the value of “triaging” marriage issues.
Jill: If there’s a medical emergency, the first thing they do is triage. This is the process of sorting multiple victims to determine medical priority. This effort helps to increase the number of survivors.  It determines the priority of issues to be addressed.
Mark: When there are multiple issues in marriage, we also need to triage. This helps us determine the priorities of the issues we want to address.
Jill: In the case of “Concerned,” she had a very valid concern but it was secondary to her husband identifying that he needed help with his anger and the effort that he’d already made to seek out that help. Both of those are huge wins for their marriage!  His appointment with a female counselor was a valid concern but should not get in the way of him actually getting the help.  So she needed to “triage” the issue and determine that it was not as important as him getting the help.
Mark: We had the pleasure of interacting with “Concerned” this week and found out that her husband responded to her expressed concern by changing his appointment to see a male counselor.  We were so glad to hear that her husband responded the way he did, but if he hadn’t it might have been best for her to let the female counselor issue go for now. This puts him seeing a counselor as a top priority and him seeing a female counselor as a second priority.
Jill: Some questions we might ask ourselves when we’re triaging issues are:
  • In the grand scheme of things, is this really a big deal?
  • Is there something positive happening here that I’m not seeing?
  • What’s the most important thing that needs to happen here?
  • Is this the right time to address this issue?

What about you? Are there multiple issues you need to triage in your relationship? 

No More Perfect Marriages Giveaway

Congratulations to all our winners! You can find a list of winners here!

 

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 No More Perfect Marriages 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!

 


 

 Official Contest Rules
If you plan to enter No More Perfect Marriages Marriage Enrichment Giveaway please keep these specific rules in mind:
  1. By entering this contest, you are agreeing that you are 21 years of age or older and granting Mark and Jill Savage permission to send you email communications related to No More Perfect Marriages resources (e.g. information, news, special offers, and promotions)—don’t worry though, you can opt-out at any time should you no longer wish to receive this information. Your email address will NEVER be used for spam or given or sold to outside organizations.
  2. Only entries submitted through the jillsavage.org contest online entry form will be accepted, which can be accessed through jillsavage.org.
  3. Deadline for the receipt of a fully completed entry is 11:59pm (CT) on Monday, February 13th, 2017.
  4. 14 winners will be drawn at random from all eligible entries submitted prior to the deadline in accordance with these rules. Contest participants eligible for entry is restricted to U.S. residents only.
  5. The 4 Grand prize winners will receive the following valued at $500:
    • Marriage Teaching by Mark and Jill Savage
    • Overnight Hotel Accommodations
    • 3 meals including one meal at the Mark and Jill Savage’s home
  6. Grand prize winners are responsible for travel expense to Bloomington, Illinois for marriage enrichment weekend.
  7. 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 the second prize offering.
  8. The 10 second prize winners will receive the following valued at $75:
    • 3 month complimentary membership at www.NoMorePerfectMarriagesDateNight.com site ($25/month–available May 2017)
  9. Prizes have no cash equivalent and are not transferable.
  10. No purchase or donation is necessary to enter. One entry per person.  If you do not want to purchase the book, you may still enter the giveaway by choosing “other” in the “purchased from” drop down box” and then entering “no purchase” in the “Receipt #” box.
  11. Mark and Jill Savage reserve the right to reject or discard any incomplete or confusing entry as well as any invalid entry not completed or submitted in accordance with promotion rules, all in its sole discretion.
  12. Winner agrees to permit Mark and Jill Savage to use their biographical information (in addition to the winner’s names, photographs or likenesses, and information from their entry nomination) for promotional purposes.
Copies of the general contest rules are available at JAM Savage Ministries, PO Box 601, Normal, IL 61761 or www.jillsavage.org.

 


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?