Marriage

Building and maintaining healthy marriages.

It’s a Wonderful Thing to Fall in Love Later in Life

It’s a Wonderful Thing to Fall in Love Later in Life

Our children and grandchildren met each other for the first time over pizza on a Friday evening. A bonfire was built later that night. Marshmallows were toasted and paired with graham crackers and chocolate, and grandkids were sent back to their cabins sugared up (because this is what grandparents get to do). Dan and I planned an outdoor wedding weekend, having fallen in love later in life. We were surrounded by our adult children, children-in-law, and the grands. Each family occupied their own tiny cabin near a wild and clear river. Grandpa Dan flipped pancakes on Saturday morning at a cook station set up on the deck of a woodsy house. Here is where the bride and her junior bridesmaids, pre-teen granddaughters […]

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how i'm making my later in life love story one worth telling

My Later-in-Life Love Story Is One Worth Telling

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) The bunny that lives under our deck is mowing our lawn, one blade of grass at a time. A misshaped “V” of geese just flew overhead, so close I could hear the whir of their wings. A cool breeze is playing with the wind chimes, and I’m wrapped in a fuzzy, hand-knitted shawl. We live in a mountainous region. Even though there’s a feeling of autumn in the air, I am not fooled. It will be summer again and then fall, and summer again before it officially settles into fall, after which the next day will be winter. One Year Into Our Remarriage I love the change of seasons. My husband, Dan, and

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Here Are the 10 Commandments to Be a Great Stepmom

Here Are the 10 Commandments to Be a Great Stepmom

If someone had told me that I was going to be a stepmom at 21 years old, aka a bonus mom, I would have laughed in their face. Not because I hated kids or because I was rude, but simply because working to become a great stepmom wasn’t a part of my plan. Funny how life works like that, isn’t it? You see, when I was younger, I was convinced—without a doubt—that I was going to be a traveling nomad. Laugh all you want, but it’s true. I’d always loved traveling, exploring new places, immersing myself in a different culture, and writing about it. But six years after graduating, I married a divorced man with two precious kiddos and my role as

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Differing Sex Drives in Marriage—When He Wants More and You Don’t

Differing Sex Drives in Marriage: When He Wants More and You Don’t

Remember when you and your husband were in pre-marital counseling, starry-eyed and excited to begin your life together, and the counselor warned you that over time, you might have differing libidos and that it could present a problem in your marriage? Oh wait—that didn’t happen, did it? No one warns us about that. Libido: Desire For Sex Libido is defined as the desire for sex. This is influenced by a myriad of things over the course of a marriage: stress, pregnancy, differing schedules, hormones, and psychological and social factors. Some women think: This is just the way I am. I don’t have a high sex drive. And they stop there in frustration. But it’s not that simple. All behavior makes sense in

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The 3-Day Rule: My Mother-in-Law’s Secret to a Happy Marriage

The 3-Day Rule: My Mother-in-Law’s Secret to a Happy Marriage

After a quick check over her shoulder, my mother-in-law lowered her voice to a whisper and leaned in to share her secret to a happy marriage. Her playful grin told me this was something I would want to hear, so, with a swirl of my iced tea, I turned my attention from my sons and their grandfather as they played on the rope swing under the shade of their giant oak tree. Her eyes sparkled as she said, “I call it, The 3-Day Rule.” Her top-secret rule came up as we discussed a home improvement project my husband and I were at odds over, and I was thankful for the treasure of an experienced woman’s wisdom. My marriage dilemma was that I

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Strength Under Fire: 5 Marriage Lessons from a Firefighter's Wife

Strength Under Fire: 5 Marriage Lessons from a Firefighter’s Wife

Growing up in a military town, I swore I’d never marry a military guy. I didn’t want anyone owning my husband more than I did. Years later, I found myself falling for another type of man, one who runs into fires when everyone else rushes out. There were lots of things I didn’t know before falling for my firefighter, but thinking about it now, the lessons I’ve acquired as a firefighter’s wife are valuable for any marriage. I learned quick that being a “fire wife” wasn’t for the faint of heart. When my new date was called to work the wildland fire in Paradise, California, he told me he’d text me with updates. Five days ticked by with no messages as I

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I Thought He'd Propose on Valentine's Day—He Broke Up Instead

I Thought He’d Propose on Valentine’s Day—He Broke Up Instead

It was Valentine’s Day. We sat on my small, tan microfiber loveseat in my sparsely decorated apartment. The night had been perfect. Dinner at our favorite local restaurant. A bouquet of flowers along with gifts of chocolates and a stuffed animal. My heart swelled in anticipation of how I dreamed the night would end. A Change in Relationship Status I knew six months wasn’t very long, but for a girl in her senior year of college in a town where most of my friends had been engaged by now, I felt the clock ticking. At the perfect moment, just when I thought it wouldn’t happen, he would release my hand to retrieve one more gift from his pocket. He would slip from

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How-Can-We-Have-Teamwork-in-Marriage-When-We're-So-Different?

How Can We Have Teamwork in Marriage When We’re So Different?

How can we have teamwork in marriage when we’re so different? Dan and I recently celebrated a wedding anniversary. Ours was a later-in-life marriage and now we can say that we’ve been married for years.  (Two years … but still.) We reserved a cabin at the historic Weasku Inn, built in 1924 near the Rogue River in southern Oregon. It was a favorite fishing retreat for Clark Gable back in the day. A full, sit-down breakfast was dished up every morning at the lodge. Appetizers were served late afternoons; fresh-baked cookies at 7 pm; and around 8:30 each evening, hot chocolate and ingredients for s’mores were set out and a campfire was lit. Dan and I reflected on our love story—how we met

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The-Grit-and-Grace-of-a-Baseball-Wife

The Grit and Grace of a Baseball Wife

Do you have any childhood memories of attending professional baseball games? I know I do. I was so enamored by the players. The stadium was packed with fans cheering and screaming. I was star struck watching the players sign autographs after the game and thought that their lives were picture perfect. Then I married a professional baseball player, Jason Adam. Before I met my husband, I was naive to the whole baseball lifestyle. Now that I am living it, my whole perspective has changed. It is easy to stereotype people. I’m at fault for doing it often. But being a “baseball wife” has really challenged me not to be so quick to judge and assume certain things about people because I have now experienced being stereotyped myself. Reality television shows

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How Do I Build a Healthy Marriage? – 178

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | MoreFor those who are single or dating, marriage might be seen as the answer, or the end-all be-all for wholeness and happiness. While marriage can certainly offer those things, it is so much more: it’s the beginning of a lifelong relationship that requires commitment and a whole lot of work. Darlene Brock and Julie Bender get together to discuss the art of building a happy and healthy marriage through important principles like communication, open-mindedness, overcoming conflict and more. This episode isn’t just meant for those who’ve already exchanged vows—if marriage is something you see on the horizon, you’ll want to soak up this tried-and-true advice.

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I Might Be a Good Mom, But It Can Make Me a Bad Wife

I’m a Good Mom, but Can That Make Me a Bad Wife?

I feel like I’m being pulled in every direction lately. Like I can’t quite reach the mark. I remember when I was working, I used to dream of all the things I would accomplish when I was on maternity leave. The house would be clean, the kids would have beautifully cut shapes of fruits and veggies in their lunch, and my husband would get all the attention he deserves. Fast forward 10 months and one more baby later, and while I find that my house is slightly cleaner and my kids are happier because I am home and they have after-school snacks and decent lunches (no starfish though), my husband still gets put on the backburner. Which makes me feel like a great mom

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5 ways for a busy mom to prioritize intimacy with her husband

5 Ways for a Busy Mom to Prioritize Intimacy With Her Husband

My husband and I have a new tradition called “sweet o’clock.” We plan out the evening ahead of time, and I make a homemade treat, one of our favorites being a new flavor of homemade ice cream. As soon as the kids go to bed, we smile and head to the kitchen. On tough days (we are currently living through the “terrific twos” with twins), we will hint at our little secret and delicious rendezvous throughout the day. “Sweet o’clock night,” I will whisper as the kids are screaming from their high chairs or doing superhuman squirms to get out of changing their pull-up. I might be ready to pull out my own hair, or have one of those bathroom-cry moments that

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This Grit and Grace Life Podcast

A Well Loved Grit and Grace Life With Heather Brown – 151

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | More It’s the end of the year, and we’re wondering if it’s genuinely possible to balance all the parts of our life. Especially after 2020! Are we able to do everything that demands our attention, with the hope of enjoying it, too? Heather Brown, creator of the lifestyle blog My Life Well Loved, joins Darlene Brock and Julie Bender for this very conversation. When you listen, you’ll gather tips from this inspiring lady on how to grow your faith, keep your marriage thriving, and avoid mommy guilt. Heather’s hack for getting her picky toddler to try new things truly surprised us! You’ll appreciate the ladies’ different

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This Is What 5 Men Said About Women and Relationships

This Is What 5 Men Said About Women and Relationships

In today’s society, it seems that the more we strive for gender equality, the deeper the divide between men and women becomes. But sometimes we forget to take a step back and think about how men view the same world we as women are living in. We were all made equal but with different talents and purposes, and it is important to remember these different viewpoints. We asked five men for their opinions on a variety of topics and enjoyed reading their responses. We hope you do, too! 1. How do you feel about women in the workplace? Would it be a problem if your partner was the main breadwinner? Will, 24 I believe there are some positions that are better suited

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This Grit and Grace Life Podcast

Growing Family Wealth Takes More Than Money With Deb Meyer – 143

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | MoreYou’ve probably thought about investing in your family’s future. Perhaps you’ve already created plans and budgets, but you may not have considered what your family’s real priorities should be. This episode’s guest, Deborah Meyer, CPA/PFS, CFP®, and Amazon bestselling author of Redefining Family Wealth, brings a fresh look at creating a plan unique to your family. She tells Darlene and Julie that building real wealth is about so much more than money. If the word “budget” makes you break into a cold sweat and a five-year plan (in any area of your life) feels overwhelming, this episode is for you. You’ll discover the intersection of money/finance and your family’s

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This Is What You Need for a Life Long Love

You Need to Do This for a Lifelong Love

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) The other night my husband and I sat on the kitchen floor and talked until 1 in the morning. The TV wasn’t on—or maybe it was—I can’t remember… We told stories about our day and rolled our eyes over the annoyances. We discussed our individual jobs and the vision we have for what we hope to accomplish. We talked about the funny things our kids are saying and doing, watched a couple videos of them, and laughed so hard. I told him about something that has been on my heart and cried because I knew God answered my prayer. He smiled and said he’d been praying that for me too. I’m not being

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Castle Ladyhawke outside feature

7 Castles That Will Make Your Fairy-Tale Wedding Dreams Come True

Have you always dreamed of tying the knot in a fairy-tale castle? Perhaps the current situation with traveling restrictions has inhibited your destination wedding goals. Here’s a bit of great news: castle weddings are possible stateside—as it turns out, there is no need to cross the Atlantic to find a big-day location fit for royalty. These historic buildings, with their grand facades, intricate stonework, and sweeping surroundings, rival their European counterparts, delivering romance without the need to touch down on distant shores. An added bonus? Family and guests won’t need their passports or the added cost of international travel. With locations dotted all over the North American map, it’s even possible to find a drive-to destination. Check out this list of venues

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