Mastering Communication in Marriage for Husbands

By Bob Bunn
Manhood Journey

Of all the challenges couples face, communication in marriage might be among the most difficult
to master. In part, that’s because opposites really do attract. You’re wired one way. Your spouse
is wired differently. 

Even in the best situations, you’re going to have differences of opinion, and that’s going to make
effective communication in marriage harder.

Create Communication Playbook

So, understanding that marital communication can be hard is a great first step toward making it
work in your relationship. Thankfully, godly husbands can improve communication in marriage.
You and your wife can work together to get better at talking to one another and resolving issues
that inevitably pop up as you do life together. 

Another significant step is to lay down some personal communication rules for your life. These
are the communication guidelines that you will honor and the boundaries that you will refuse to
cross as a husband. You can share them with your wife and maybe even use them to set some
broader rules you both will follow.

 But ultimately, you can only control your own approach to communication in your marriage. So,
start with you.

5 Tips for Mastering Communication in Marriage

As you consider the nuts and bolts of your communication playbook, keep a couple of things in
mind. First, give it your full attention. That might mean getting away from distractions and
writing things on paper to add a sense of accountability. Do whatever it takes. 

Second, take care of this sooner rather than later. Even if it pushes you out of your comfort zone,
you will be glad that you have these tools in your toolbox the next time you face a
communication challenge in your marriage.

 There is no magic number when it comes to your rules for marriage communication, but, as with
most things, simple usually works better. In the list below, I’ve offered seven ideas for healthy
communication with your wife. These have come through personal experience, and most are still
a work in progress. After all, communication in marriage is a lifelong project.

1. Start small.

You’ve probably been to parties or meetings that included icebreakers to help people get to know
each other better. Well, you can use the same idea to spark better marital communication.

Your conversations with your wife don’t always have to focus on the big stuff. In fact, talking
about the small things in life actually sets the tone for bigger discussions down the road. They
are the mortar that keeps the bricks in place and ensures the wall is secure.

2. Spend time on the big stuff.

Several years ago, I was on vacation with my family at the beach. As we were sitting under our
umbrellas, three young women walked up to my parents and asked for their best advice to ensure
a lasting marriage. Without hesitation, my dad told them to make sure they and their spouses
were on the same page with faith, family, and finances. 

He was absolutely right because those three areas often become the hottest topics for
communication in marriage. They are the big rocks that can shatter a marriage or provide an
immovable foundation. You may want to add other things to your list, but however you define
the “big stuff,” it deserves your full attention as you learn to communicate in marriage.

3. Be OK with space.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s a really good chance that you and your wife approach
communication differently. God has wired each of you in a unique way because you need her to
see things you miss, and she needs you to do the same for her. You complete one another.

So, if you’re struggling to resolve an issue, it’s all right to call a timeout and take a break, as long
as you promise to come back together after you’ve both had a chance to process. This
demonstrates respect and helps keep emotions in check. It also makes your conversations a “safe
space” where thoughtful and honest communication can happen.

4. Don’t just hear. Really listen.

If two people enter a conversation, you can be sure that each of them comes in with preconceived
ideas about how that talk should go and what it should accomplish. Unfortunately, those
expectations can also hinder communication because they keep us from really listening to the
other person.

So, instead of trying to read your spouse’s mind or assuming you know what she’s thinking, truly
listen to her words. If necessary, ask some clarifying questions. Your first tendency is probably
to speak, but good communication means listening well.

5. Avoid “always” and “never.”

For me, this is one of the hardest things in my marriage communication playbook to put into
practice. I lean toward the dramatic, especially in moments of conflict. And I have to bite my
tongue to avoid using blanket statements like “You always do this” or “You never do that.”

These are dangerous little words because they are rarely (if ever) true. No one “always” or
“never” does anything. Yet, they represent easy weapons for accusing, criticizing, or assigning
blame. They rehash the problem, which makes it harder to focus on finding a solution.

6. Be aware of non-verbal communication.

Actions really do speak louder than words, so you’ve got to recognize the power of body
language and other non-verbal cues. Every sincere point you make can be wiped away with a
negative physical cue.

Of course, you can learn a lot from your wife’s non-verbal communication. When you were
dating, you probably studied your wife to learn as much about her as possible. Don’t stop now!
Keep learning about her, including the signals she provides when the two of you talk.
Understanding what she’s saying beyond her words can pay big dividends in marital

7. Don’t be afraid to get help.

Let me be very clear about this. You should never let fear, shame, or guilt keep you from seeing
a professional counselor. Somewhere along the way, we’ve got the idea that seeing a therapist
means we’ve failed or that we’re admitting defeat. Actually, nothing could be further from the

If you and your wife are struggling with communication in marriage, talking to a professional
can be the wisest move you could possibly make. Even strong marriages hit rough patches.
Getting the help you need with marital communication or any other issues shows strength and

Look for Communication Obstacles

In the Song of Songs, Solomon mentioned the “little foxes that ruin the vineyard” (Song of
Songs 2:15). He was talking about the supposed “little” things that creep into a marriage and
cause big problems. In addition to listing action points, your playbook can also help you identify
the “foxes” that pose the greatest threats to communication in your marriage.

For example, you might have issues that have damaged the trust between you and your wife.
Those problems need to be addressed before communication can thrive. You also might need to
watch for bad habits, like interrupting or picking the wrong time and/or place to raise the topic
for discussion. Recognizing and avoiding these obstacles can strengthen your skills and lead to
more effective communication in your marriage.

What is a disciple in Jesus?

By Bob Bunn
Manhood Journey

After a night of prayer, Jesus called twelve men to follow Him. Over time, they’ve become
known as His disciples. But they weren’t His only disciples. In fact, He’s still calling disciples
today. But what is a “disciple in Jesus,” anyway? It’s a word we see in the Bible and hear in
sermons, but we don’t use it much in everyday language. As a result, we never really stop to
think of ourselves as disciples. And we don’t think about what it means to be one.

If we claim to be a follower of Christ, though, we need to know what being His disciple requires.

Defining a disciple

The term “disciple” comes from the Greek word mathetes, which refers to a pupil or student. In
Jesus’s day, it described a young apprentice who sat at the feet of a recognized leader. If you
were Jewish, that was probably a rabbi. If you were Greek, it was probably a philosopher.
Sometimes, the religious side even got mixed up with politics. For example, the Pharisees and
Sadducees were religious sects, but they also held a lot of political influence.

But one thing sticks out about the role of a first-century disciple: imitation. Discipleship wasn’t
just “book learning.” Disciples had to live out what they were taught—and actively transmit
those teachings to the next generation. Discipleship is heart knowledge rather than head

That held particular significance when Jesus enlisted His disciples. He came to earth with a
mission, and He called His followers to put His teachings into practice and mentor new
generations of disciples to do the same. His disciples didn’t just pick up a part-time job that they
could pursue at their convenience. They became lifelong learners in His school—and accepted
His mission as their own.

Starting with Jesus

Ultimately, the answer to What is a disciple? starts with Jesus. After all, you really can’t
understand what it means to be His disciple until you understand what He’s all about. You need
to see Him as He really is if you’re going to embrace His authority.

Of course, the world has its opinions. Many think Jesus was a nice guy who got a raw deal from
the Romans and Jews. Others believe He was a great ethical teacher, along the lines of
Confucius, Muhammad, or even Moses. But those all fall short of Jesus’s true identity.

Rather being the nice guy next door, Jesus is God’s Son and the Savior of the world. He is the
all-powerful Creator and is worthy of all worship. What’s more, He is the only way to God. No
one can have a relationship with God apart from Christ.

Once Jesus’s followers got a handle on being a disciple, they were more concerned with
worshiping Him and bringing Him glory than anything else. While they demonstrated love to
everyone, they refused to compromise the truth that Jesus had shared. Obviously, that lack of
“tolerance” created problems, but His disciples chose to suffer instead of backing down from
their commitment to Him.

What being a disciple looks like

Internet searches provide a wealth of suggestions about what a disciple of Jesus should be. But
it’s best to draw our conclusions from Scripture. God’s Word offers the most reliable picture of
Christ and Christian discipleship. It’s a lifelong adventure, but here are three biblical qualities of
Jesus’s disciples.

Disciples in Jesus are transformed.

When an individual genuinely comes to Christ, everything changes: their hearts, minds, and
affections. Their ultimate goal shifts toward obeying Jesus and bringing Him glory. It’s not they
have to give up everything that’s important to them, but they start filtering everything through
Him because He is more important.

Disciples in Jesus are servants.

Jesus was a servant who put the needs of others before Himself (Mark 10:45). He also was a
servant in the sense that He obeyed His heavenly Father’s wishes at every turn. He never got
ahead of the Father, and He never operated outside the Father’s purpose. Jesus challenged His
disciples to serve one another in love. In fact, that loving service would be how those outside the
church would recognize His people (John 13:14-15).

Disciples in Jesus produce fruit.

In John 15, Jesus said He is the Vine that provides life, while His disciples are branches that
survive only by staying connected to Him. The ones who remain in the Vine produce fruit (John
15:5). They bring glory to Christ through their lives and draw others toward His kingdom. True
disciples can’t help but point others to the Savior.

Each of Jesus’s disciples left something behind. For guys like Peter and John, it was their fishing
boats and nets. For Matthew, it was his tollbooth. Eventually, all of them surrendered their idea
of the Messiah as a conquering king in favor of Jesus, the Suffering Savior.

If we’re serious about becoming a disciple of Jesus, we will have to surrender something as well.
It will be different for each person, but it will probably be a difficult choice. In the end, though, it
will be the best decision we ever make because being His disciple is worth it.

Nothing else compares.

The Importance of Fathers in Society

By Bob Bunn

If you want to see how our culture views the importance of fathers in society, just take a look at
television and movies. Dads were once elevated as wise and loving role models, they are now
more likely to be portrayed as foolish and lost. On one end, they are bumblers who don’t have a
day’s worth of common sense. On the other end, they are manipulative abusers who will do
whatever they can to get their way. Even worse, in some cases, fathers are nowhere to be found
at all.

Whatever the case, it’s not a pretty picture. It’s also not an accurate portrayal of what genuine
fatherhood means.

For decades, research has consistently affirmed the importance of fathers. What’s more,
academic studies and anecdotal evidence have emphasized the damage done when fathers don’t
step up and fulfill their family responsibilities.

So, let’s take a few minutes to set the record straight. Fathers are incredibly important. In fact,
the importance of dads really can’t be overstated. And, among all the reasons why the world
needs involved and active dads, one stands out as most vital to families and society.

Dads and God

Fathers have a lot of responsibilities that make them important, but none is more significant than
the role they play as the primary spiritual leaders of their homes. From ancient times, God has
called dads to talk to their children about Him and to lead them toward Him in a meaningful
way. Of course, that does not diminish the role and influence of mothers, but the Scriptures seem
to emphasize fathers.

In addition, children often define their heavenly Father through the filter of their earthly fathers.
If the human relationship goes south, it’s harder for kids (and, later, adults) to believe God really
cares about them and wants the best for them. The power of projection is real, which makes the
way a father approaches his spiritual role so important.

What Makes Dads So Important

Thankfully, a dad who takes his spiritual obligations seriously is more likely to take other roles
and responsibilities seriously. In the list below, I’ve identified five additional areas of influence
that underscore the importance of fathers.

Fathers set the tone.

The importance of fathers can be seen through the spirit cultivated in their own homes. Through
their words, actions, attitudes, and priorities, dads create a culture. In the best cases, that culture
will be open and loving. In the worst cases, it will be marked by fear and repression. While each
person is responsible for their own actions, dads set the tone for the rest of the family.

Fathers influence identity.

All children long for acceptance and affirmation, especially from their fathers. Encouragement
can raise kids to incredible heights, while disapproval (or even the perception of disapproval) can
be devastating. When it comes to shaping identity, the importance of dads can’t be overstated.

On one hand, boys look to their fathers to learn how to be a man. On the other hand, girls look to
their fathers to set the standard for other significant men in their lives. The way fathers relate to
their kids goes a long way toward determining how those kids develop mentally, emotionally,
and (as mentioned above) spiritually.

Fathers establish discipline.

Fathers are important because they provide an example of good discipline. While husbands need
to work in conjunction with their wives on matters of discipline, they should never abdicate their
role in setting boundaries and enforcing consequences. Also, children who are disciplined with
love (rather than anger) learn to deal with rules better as adults.

Of course, the key to disciplining children is learning to discipline yourself first. Thankfully,
Scripture can provide great insights into both sides of this discipline equation.

Fathers nurture security.

Often, children get into trouble at school or in the community because they struggle to feel a
connection at home. In many cases, they don’t experience the comfort that comes from a father
who intentionally provides a sense of security. Kids need to know that dad has their back.

Interestingly, the best ways dads can offer this security have nothing to do with tough talk or
aggressive actions. Instead, they communicate security through things like physical affection and
a healthy relationship with their spouse. When kids experience these elements at home, they
don’t need to look for security anywhere else.

Fathers provide for families.

In one of his last known letters, Paul told his friend Timothy that Christian men who did not
provide for their families were worse than men who claimed no relationship with God at all (1
Timothy 5:8). While such men might have eternal security in Christ, God will hold them
accountable for shirking the responsibility He has given them to care for their wives and kids.

But we also need to remember that the importance of fathers in this arena is not limited to
financial concerns. Healthy dads know how to balance work and family time. This also has the
added benefit of teaching kids about the value of hard work, while reminding them they are not
defined by a job or position.

Every Intentional Father Matters

When you consider the importance of fathers in our society, you might feel a little overwhelmed.
That’s understandable because it’s a really big job. But you also need to understand that you are
not alone. Organizations like Manhood Journey have a variety of resources that can equip you to
be the man and father God has called you to be. What’s more, you can find other men who are
going through the same struggles and want to make the same positive impact on their children’s
lives. You can learn and grow together.

Most important, you have the blessing and support of your heavenly Father. He created you and
He loves you more than you can imagine. He wants you to succeed, and He’s standing ready to
guide and direct you.

Fathers are important. God says so. Research affirms it. The commitment you make to become a
living example of the importance of dads in our society will speak volumes as well.

The Biblical Definition of a Man

By Bob Bunn
Manhood Journey

Moving targets are always harder to hit. You have to adjust for things like speed, distance, and
direction. Even the slightest shift drastically affects your chances of success.

Today, men face the challenge of hitting a moving target. We want to know what it means to be
a man, and what it takes to fulfill the roles we’ve been given. But the world’s standards keep
changing. That’s why we need a biblical definition of a man. 

While the world’s ideas of manhood around us may shift like sand on the beach, God’s view
never changes. The Bible’s definition of man is he who is steadfast and immovable. While time
might alter the messages we hear about manhood, the biblical definition of man remains true.

What Does the Bible Say?

Regardless of the translation you use, the word “man” shows up thousands of times in the Bible.
But it makes its first appearance in the very first chapter of the very first book: “Then God said,
‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness’ ” (Genesis 1:26, CSB). After a few
days of creating everything else in the world, God turned His attention to His highest creation:

That initial reference uses the Hebrew word adam, which is where the first man got his name.
While that term can refer to human beings in general (mankind), it can also refer to an individual
man. The Bible emphasizes the distinct nature of that first man when God created the first
woman (the Hebrew word, issah) from Adam’s rib. The difference in wording suggests a
difference in form and function.

So, while men and women are both humans created by God and both hold a special standing in
His eyes, they were made to be different. That’s a foundational principle when it comes to
identifying a biblical definition of man.

The Stuff That Makes a Man

It makes sense that the biblical definition of man begins by setting him apart from his partner.
Regardless of what the culture might preach, the Bible is clear that men and women are unique.
Again, both hold value as the pinnacle of God’s creative work, but a proper understanding of the
Bible’s definition of a man has to start with that truth.

As we dig a little deeper in His Word, we find that God reveals more truths about what it means
to be a man from His perspective. The following list includes five primary truths drawn from
Scripture that strengthen our framework for a biblical definition of man. 

1. Man is created in God’s image. The theological term is imago dei, which is Latin for “image
of God.” And like the distinctions between man and woman, this truth is drawn from Genesis.
Even before Adam was created, God declared that human beings would be made “in our image”
(Genesis 1:26). The narrative goes on to explain that God followed through on His word. He
“created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27, CSB).

The biblical definition of man includes humanity’s reflection of its Creator. We reveal God to the
world in a special way. Over the centuries, scholars have debated exactly what that looks like,
but one thing remains clear. The Bible says a man has value and purpose because he is made in
the image of God.

2. Man has work to accomplish. The psalmist said that God made man “ruler over the works of
(God’s) hands” (Psalm 8:5-6). From the very beginning man was given the responsibility of
watching over the garden and taking care of everything God had created (Genesis 2:15). While
we want to avoid becoming a workaholic, part of man’s value is tied to the responsibility and
trust God bestowed on him.

You may not be a farmer, and, like me, you may know nothing about taking care of a garden.
But God still has given each of us purpose by giving each of us work to do, and our work does
provide for our families. In fact, Paul told Timothy that anyone who did not provide for his
family was worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). The biblical definition of man involves
embracing work for His glory (Colossians 3:23).

3. Man is an eternal being. In his essay “Weight of Glory,” C.S. Lewis stated that “ordinary
people” do not exist: “You have never talked to a mere mortal.” That’s because every
person—including every man—is an eternal being. We all will live forever. The only question is
our final destination.

The Bible’s definition of man emphasizes our eternal nature. As followers of Christ, we believe
that living is Christ and dying is gain (Philippians 1:21). We believe that being “away from the
body” means being “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). The fact that we will live
forever should influence the way we live as men right now.

4. Man is built for relationships. A look at the biblical definition of man reveals that we are
wired for relationships. We are not made to go it alone. From the Bible’s point of view, being a
man is a team sport. Men like Moses and Joshua, David and Jonathan, Jesus and His disciples,
and Paul and Timothy underscore just how seriously God’s Word takes our need for
relationships. One biblical writer compared our need for relationships to iron sharpening iron
(Proverbs 27:17).

First and foremost, we need a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Beyond that, we need
family and friends to keep us sharp. We need our lives to intersect with mentors who will help us become better husbands, biblical fathers, better friends—better men. No consideration of the Bible’s definition of man would be complete without focusing on relationships.

5. Man has moral options. God could have created us to love and serve Him without question.
But He loved us enough to give us a choice. And while the narrative of Eden reveals how our
freedom led to our frailty, it also reminds us that we have options for salvation.

Of course, sin has left its mark. We are broken and we are imperfect creatures who desperately
need a Savior. But we are not beyond hope. The biblical definition of man states that we are
moral agents, free to choose God over self. In fact, we are never closer to experiencing true
manhood than when we embrace Him.

The Perfect Man

If you’re searching for a living illustration of the Bible’s definition of a man, look no further than
Jesus Christ. He is the perfect Man. He is our manhood mentor and role model.

As the perfect Man, He set a standard that’s impossible for us to reach. He is a target none of us
can come anywhere close to hitting. But His example is worth studying and, as best as possible,
emulating. Through His life, we can learn about strength and service, honesty and humility, faith
and forgiveness.

He shows us a new way to be human. He teaches us how to embrace the biblical definition of

These Times Call for Courage

Brett Clemmer
Man In the Mirror
President and CEO

What is Courage?

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at
the testing point.” We are certainly at a testing point. 
All around us, Christianity is being challenged. As Aaron Renn has said, while Christianity at
one point was viewed positively, and then neutrally, it is now viewed negatively. As he wrote: 
Negative World (2014–Present): Society has come to have a negative view of Christianity. Being
known as a Christian is a social negative, particularly in the elite domains of society. Christian
morality is expressly repudiated and seen as a threat to the public good and the new public moral
order. Subscribing to Christian moral views or violating the secular moral order brings negative
consequences. 1

Carl Trueman, author of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, and its companion, Strange
New World, further points out the obsession our modern culture has with self-determination.
“The sovereign self is the psychological equivalent of democracy,” he writes. “It functions on the
assumption that what I feel is me and that what I will is what is right and good.” 2  To put it
another way, my feelings are who I am, and what I want to do is always right and good.  
To argue against this mindset is dangerous in today’s world. To tell someone that their feelings
are not valid or true is the ultimate form of bigotry. It’s the denial of someone’s “own truth.” To
question someone’s motives is to insult them at the core level. 

When the World is Upside Down 

So when it seems like the world has gone crazy (e.g., people saying that up is down, black is
white, or good is bad), how do we respond as Christian men? At the end of 1 Corinthians, Paul
exhorts the believers: “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do
everything in love. (1 Cor 16:13 NIV) 3  Paul’s words are a guideline for us as men living in this
difficult culture.

BIG IDEA: We are called to be courageous in the face of life and the world’s challenges. 
At the core of this directive is courage. To be courageous, you must be vigilant (on your guard)
and firmly rooted in the gospel (standing firm in the faith). And courage is exercised in godly
strength and abiding love. As godly men, our stand for the gospel is a stand for truth. But we

must understand the truth itself is under attack. The truth of the Spirit of God is “folly” to the
natural man, (1 Cor 2:14), and the wisdom of this world is “foolishness” to God  (1 Cor 3:19). In
other words, you’re going to have to pick sides. 

So brother, what will you choose? Will you follow the winds of culture and its ever-changing
definitions of morality, truth, and goodness? Or will you follow Christ and his word? When all
others around you contradict what the Bible teaches, will you take up your cross and stand for
God’s truth? Again, to quote Carl Trueman, “We are all creatures of our culture, but Christians
are called to be creatures of the Word of God.” 4

1, accessed April
24, 2022
2 Carl Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive
Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 34.
3 Interestingly, the ESV translates “be courageous” as “act like men.”
4 Carl Trueman, “The Importance of Being Reformed,” Reformation 21, October 10, 2014,

The Effects of Attachment Styles in a Relationship

Connection. Bond. Intimacy. Vulnerability. Trust. Support. These words describe the benefits of
a relationship. As humans we are created for a relationship with God and with one another. In fact,
forming relationships with people is vital to our emotional and mental wellbeing, and even our
survival. We need each other. We need to feel connected to another human being and while that
doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a romantic relationship there are health benefits to being in
a healthy one. A healthy committed relationship, like a marriage, can result in less stress, healthier
behaviors, and a greater sense of purpose. One of the best ways to have a healthy marriage is by
understanding and having an awareness of another’s attachment style. Knowing which attachment
style you and your spouse lean towards can help inform how you respond and relate to each other
in settling conflicts, showing love and needing support. Having a better understanding of one
another’s attachment styles, can aid in having a happy, healthy marriage.

You may be wondering what an attachment style even is and where it derives from. Therefore,
let’s discuss where it all begins. It begins at childhood, well, even sooner than that, more like at
birth. An attachment style is formed from the moment you, as a baby, enter the world. Your
environment and connectedness to your parents determine which attachment style you’ll most
likely end up having. If a baby is immediately given to the mother and she nurtures, loves, and
is present a bond of trust begins to develop. When a child’s needs are consistently met through
comfort and peace it brings to shape the baby’s ability to trust and have a positive worldview.
However, if a child is brought into the world and the environment is not nurturing, chaotic, and
distressing it can be a traumatic experience for the child. When the parent or caregiver is
inconsistent in fulfilling the child’s needs it can heighten a state of anxiety, as the child is unsure
on whether or not the caregiver will respond. Therefore, the attachment occurs through the
emotional bond between a child and a parent or caregiver. It is through these types of scenarios
that can lead to different attachment styles. There are four types of styles and each one measures
how an individual responds to relationships, whether through avoidance, anxiety, or closeness.

Secure Attachment

A person who has the secure attachment style likely had a caretaker that was consistently nurturing
and emotionally available. Therefore, as an adult this person has an easier time trusting others,
recognizing what they need and speaking up about it. This person feels secure and comfortable in
their relationship and giving their spouse some space doesn’t lead to feelings of insecurity or
anxiety. Although being a person with a secure attachment style doesn’t mean they never get angry
or jealous, it simply means at the end of the day they trust their partner and know they can be open
and honest with them.

Dismissive- Avoidant Attachment

A person who is dismissive avoidant is someone who likes their independence and comes across
as not needing or wanting acceptance from others. This person tends to be emotionally distant and
struggles with expressing and discussing emotions. The individual with this type of attachment
will avoid being vulnerable and will even pride him or herself on not depending on anyone. This
person often has a high self-esteem but doesn’t assess others very well. In fact, they can be very
charming, and inviting but also very inward-focused. They can easily dismiss people when they
become irritated with certain qualities of others or with certain demands that affect their time. This
individual tends to have an internal battle when they find someone who could be a great fit for them because even though their mind desires the connection, their emotions find their partners
love as an anxiety trigger and as a threat. This person tends to cope by pushing the person who
loves them away.

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment

A person who has an anxious-preoccupied attachment style is considered to be more on the side
of insecure. This style often comes from an early environment, in which the caregiver was either
emotionally unavailable or inconsistent. This person usually has a low self-esteem and desires a
ton of attention and reassurance from their partner. They tend to fear that the person they love
doesn’t really love them back or will abandon them. This individual seeks to find security and
safety within the relationship. They see their partner as someone who completes them or saves
them from either themselves or a situation. The relationship becomes a part of their identity,
making them more possessive or clingy out of fear of losing their partner. However, this behavior
can end up pushing their partner away.

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

A person who experienced childhood trauma may have this attachment style because they most
likely didn’t receive care or comfort from the person that was supposed to take care of them.
Therefore, their behavior tends to be a combination of being anxious and dismissive. They tend to
perceive themselves of giving a lot more in the relationship than they’re receiving, which can lead
to them resenting their partner for not meeting their needs. Yet they struggle to communicate how
they feel and even identifying what exactly they do need.

No attachment style makes a person “bad” or “good” it is simply a way to identify what your
natural tendency is bent toward. It can bring awareness to a relationship and help them know how
to communicate better. As two individuals who love each other grow and gain a better
understanding of one another it can transform a person from an insecure attachment into a secure
one. We all have a little dysfunction in us, as we’re all born sinners, but we can let God transform
us into a new person by changing the way we think. Then we will learn to know God’s will for
us, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Rom. 12:2).

How to Pray for your Spouse

Need a miracle? Need God’s power to move? Pray! Prayer connects us to the God of the universe.
God has made a way for us to enter into His throne room and have a conversation with Him.
Through prayer we can see the hand of God move, we can tap into His power and strength, and
ultimately invite Him into our situation and into our lives. Prayer not only builds our relationship
with God, but it CHANGES things and even more it changes us. Prayer opens the door for the
Holy Spirit to move and to see the fullness of what God has in store. We become more alive and
more engaged with God the more we open ourselves to him in prayer.

Prayer makes incredible impact and through it we can see the supernatural. So why not tap into
this supernatural power on behalf of our spouse. Prayer is one of the greatest and most tangible
ways we can fully love our husband or wife. It’s a chance to come alongside Jesus as He sits in
the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us (Romans 8:34) and stand in the gap for our
spouse. Don’t stand on the sidelines as a spiritual battle wages war over your husband or wife,
instead get in the fight against the enemy and combat him by covering your spouse in prayer. The
enemy is out to kill steal and destroy (John 10:10), this is why Paul tells us in Ephesians to not
only put on the full armor of God but to pray, “Pray in the spirit at all times and on every occasion
stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (vs. 6:18). So here are
a few ways and suggestions on how to pray more specifically for your spouse.

Pray your spouse would have a deeper relationship with God

If your spouse already lives for Jesus pray that he/she would continue to trust and remain in Him.
Pray that their heart would be receptive and open to what God is speaking to them. Pray John 15:5
over your spouse, “ I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them,
will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” Ask God to produce much fruit
in your spouse and they would not do anything apart from Him. Ask God to increase your spouse’s
faith and that God would truly be Lord of his or her life. If your spouse doesn’t follow Jesus, pray
that they would come to know God, that God would reveal Himself to them and they would
accept salvation.

Pray that your spouse would have strong, godly friendships

Whether we want to believe it or not the people we spend time with have influence on our life. So
pray that those who surround your spouse would be people who bring encouragement and who
are also pursuing Jesus, so that they would “motivate one another to acts of love and good works”
(Heb. 10:24).

Pray for your spouse’s responsibility

Pray for your spouse’s job, whether that is away from the home or at home caring for children.
Pray that your spouse finds joy in what they are doing day-to-day and that they will have favor
with their bosses, co-workers, friends, and acquaintances. Ask God to give your spouse strength
and wisdom to fulfill their responsibilities and that they would prioritize family time. Pray that
God will help you and your spouse to be wise and good stewards of what God has given you such
as money, a home and even time. Pray against stress and worries life can bring and that your
spouse would not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present their requests to God (Phil. 4:6).

Pray protection over any mental, emotional, and spiritual temptations your spouse may

Cover your spouse’s heart, mind, and soul by asking God to place a hedge of protection over them
from the lies of the enemy. Pray that your spouse would recognize the difference between the lies
and what is true and that they would take any negative thoughts captive. Pray that your spouse
would not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of their mind.
So that they will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect
will (Rom. 12:2). Ask God to bring out in your spouse the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

Pray for your spouse’s relationship with your children

Cover your spouse’s relationship with your children with prayer by asking God to build, protect
and strengthen the relationship. Pray that both you and your spouse would be a good example and
role model to your children and that you and your spouse’s relationship with Jesus would be
contagious to them. Pray that your husband or wife would love your children well and in a way
that is specific to each child. Pray for patience, grace, and discernment as your spouse seeks to
teach and train your child. Pray that he or she would be faithful to respond to the needs of your
children with love and affection. “Fathers do not aggravate your children, or they will become
discouraged” (Col. 3:20).

There is so many different ways to pray for your spouse, but you know your spouse best and what
may be heavy on their heart so be sure to take that too into consideration. As you pray for your
spouse be mindful to also thank God for your spouse as well. Your spouse is God’s gift to you,
don’t take advantage of them but rather recognize how precious they are to you. Be intentional to
not only speak gratitude to God about your spouse but to fervently pray for them, whether you
have a list of what you want to pray or if you just take a moment to pray what’s on your heart for
them the main point is…. just do it. Just pray and always include your spouse. Remember God
loves your spouse even more than you do and as you pray God will do a mighty work. “And we
know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Rom. 8:28).

Blended Family Tips

Maybe your first relationship ended in heartache or divorce, or maybe a tragedy or illness
took your first love leaving you alone with your children. No matter the circumstance
your heart opens up once again to fully love someone else and the two of you decide to
get married. However, this time the holy union includes children. When two people make
a commitment to do life together and one or both come with children from a previous
relationship it is called a blended family.  

A blended family can offer experiences that are both rewarding and challenging.  Joining
two separate families together as one can bring about a sense of uncertainty whether as a
stepparent or as a stepchild. Any family can have its challenges when seeking to have
harmonious relationships with one another but blending families together tends to have its
own particular struggles and triumphs. It can take years for a blended family to become
fully comfortable with one another. Not only are the new couple getting to know each other
better but relationships with biological and stepchildren can add its own complexity to the
mix. This can cause stress, worry and frustration that may leave you questioning whether
or not you can build a healthy blended family. 

Blending a family is not easy and will come with its own set of growing pains but no matter
how difficult it may seem, with open communication, mutual respect, lots of love and
patience obstacles can be overcome and a bond can form. So, you may want to buckle up
and get ready for a journey that will absolutely have ups and downs but as long as you
don’t lose focus and give up it will be worth it. Here are some tips to help either prepare or
guide you through the journey of blending families. 

Nurture Individual relationships and Commit 

No matter if the new parent has kids or not, having someone new enter the household can
cause disruption to the original family structure. Even if the new member(s) to the family
are awesome there is still an adjustment period because kids will still be loyal to their
biological parents. So, instead of expecting one big happy family right away, take things
slow and build relationships from the ground up individually. Stepparents and
stepchildren need to have time alone together to truly get to know them and hear their
heart. It’s important that the stepparent appreciates, values and respects who their
stepchildren are and what they like. The best way to do this is by having one on one time
without instructing, teaching, or critiquing. Allow the child to discuss whatever is on their
heart; follow their lead.  

A stepparent should make it a priority to set aside a few minutes at a time, adding up to at
least an hour each week, of special time with their stepchildren. This time together offers
an opportunity for the stepparent and stepchildren to find common interests and create a
relaxed and safe space. Getting to know each individual on a more personal level can help
build a foundation that promotes a strong and loving relationship. Parenting roles and relationships will be tested but if a true commitment has been established, it will be easier to see that this too will pass.

Support children during transitions 

A blended family coming together is full of transitions, from new people moving in to
possibly the back-and-forth days between biological parents. This can be tough for children
and big feelings may erupt leading to big reactions. Small incidents may push the child over
the edge, or they may try to test you and push your limits by talking back and showing
disrespect. There may be tears as the child longs to go back to the other parent’s home. As
emotions erupt it’s important to support the child by recognizing transitions are hard and
by offering eye contact and a listening ear.  Allow the child to cry or share their feelings,
instead of them burying emotions. Make room for big feelings, especially during transition
times, and be willing to give the child extra attention. 

Laugh and make memories together 

Blended families have a separate past and memories without their new family members
and if reminiscing occurs it can make those who weren’t apart feel left out and like
outsiders. No one wants to feel like they don’t belong in their family because they don’t
share history, so it’s important to be intentional in making new memories. Having common
memories will build the family unit and when past memories arise create a space that
allows all members of the family to relive an older moment. As hard as it may be to hear
stories you weren’t a part of, it is still important to acknowledge that everyone has a past
filled with different experiences. 

One of the best ways to not only build memories but also a sense of closeness with less
tension is laughter. Laugh together, play together, be willing to be goofy, and then trust
will follow.  

Be respectful of other parents 

One of the greatest ways to create a successful blended family is to recognize there is more
to the family than the newlyweds and kids, the ex. Oftentimes the ex of either one or both
partners will be a part of the picture as children go back and forth.  This simple fact may
raise some tension in the new spouse, especially if hurt and pain was previously involved,
causing irritation and frustration. However, the best thing a stepparent can do is honor and
support the rights of the biological parent.  When frustrating moments arise, keep any
negative comments or tension away from the children. No matter how much conflict a child
has witnessed all children desire their parents to be respected. A child should never be in
the middle of conflict between parents. The heart's desire of a child is for their parents to
get along and to feel loved by both. A relationship between stepparents and stepchildren
can build on a strong foundation when the biological parent is shown respect. 

Build a strong martial bond 

When a couple gets remarried without children, they can take the time to build on their
relationship, get to know each other and create a strong marital bond.  However, when
newly remarried couples enter a marriage with children, couples can become more
consumed with the wellbeing of their children rather than each other.  When a couple
focuses on strengthening their marriage the benefits not only affect the couple but also the
children. When children see love, respect, and open communication between parent and
stepparent there is a greater sense of security.  Enjoy your marriage, have regular dates
and some alone time. Have a unified parenting approach, when children see arguing or
disagreeing, they may feel more inclined to come between the two of you. 

No matter how difficult things get, remember God brought your families together for a
purpose. You are secure in His love and if He is for you, who can be against you?  Don’t
stray away from His wisdom and guidance because with Him all things are possible.

Mutual Respect in a Marriage

To honor a person is to respect them; in fact the definition of respect is “a feeling of deep  admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.” However respect in a marriage requires a step farther than just a feeling it  requires action, a declaration of value for another person. Respect could even be defined  as how you show true appreciation towards an individual. Therefore marital health and  resilience is often determined by how well a couple respects one another. Marital  satisfaction tends to hinge on mutual respect, which ultimately brings a deeper  connection between the husband and wife. Simply put, respect sees the whole person and  not just someone you can get something from. Scripture says it this way, “Do nothing out  of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”  (Phil. 2:3).  

Respect in a marriage is a two-way street as both individuals crave and deserve it equally,  not one deserves it more or above the other. Each spouse should offer respect simply  because they recognize the value of the other. Mutual respect is vital in a marriage. It  truly matters! It is a sign of a deeper connection that includes trust, support, and the  knowledge that, without a shadow of a doubt, you love and appreciate each other fully.  When respect is absent in any kind of relationship the result often ends in conflict or  disinterest and, in a marriage the lack of respect, can lead to its destruction. Therefore  here are some ways to show respect towards your spouse. 

Display Trust 

Oftentimes when there is a deep connection between two people trust goes without  saying. However a person only gains trust through their actions and whether or not  they’ve proven trustworthy. As you are supportive and dependable trust will be granted.  This trust can be demonstrated by simply being real in every area of your life and not  constantly trying to hide your flaws. When true colors are shown your partner can fully  love, respect and accept you. Be open and be willing to confide in one another; reveal  what’s on your heart, by being vulnerable. Don’t keep secrets from one another, speak the truth and keep your promises.  

Thoughtful Communication 

To have a healthy and thriving relationship you must know how to communicate with each  other well. Express to your spouse what you need or want, don’t assume they can read  your mind. When you have a disagreement, fight fair by sharing what you are feeling and  what’s bothering you without blaming or pointing the finger. Respect, however, even in  an argument seeks to find a solution without tearing the other down or to meet only your  agenda. Communication goes both ways meaning there is a time to speak and share  what’s on your heart and a time to listen. Respecting your spouse means you are listening  with the intent to fully hear and know. However communication can go beyond words, it can include doing something you know your spouse enjoys such as wearing the perfume they like or by picking up your socks and putting them in the laundry basket  rather than leaving them on the floor.  

Accept Differences 

God has wired both of you in such a special and unique way. In fact, it was probably  those differences that drew you towards one another. Therefore respect your spouse by  not criticizing their ideas or interests. They see the world through a unique lens, which  can offer you a different perspective. You each have your own personality traits, talents,  quirks, and past experience; therefore showing respect means you appreciate all that your  spouse brings to the table. There is value in your differences. Mutual respect gives a  person the freedom to be exactly who they’re created to be without fear of judgment.  Celebrate your differences and don’t compare yourself to one another as you are both  individually masterpieces.  

Give Space 

Having mutual respect for one another means you recognize certain needs. Therefore you  may need to define boundaries and what you need to refresh and recharge. This may  include giving each other some space. Space may mean you welcome your spouse home  with a kiss and don’t force them to talk about their day, or you don’t guilt trip them when  they want to go out with friends. Allowing time alone or with other people without  hovering shows maturity and respect. It is important that you and your spouse have your  social needs met through healthy friendships outside of the marriage.  

Champion Each Other 

Show your respect and love for your spouse through encouragement. Putting your energy  and focus on speaking life over your spouse will communicate that you care and  acknowledge who they are as a person. You can’t go wrong in being your spouse’s  greatest cheerleader. Champion each other by celebrating each other’s victories and build  them up when the road gets tough. Don’t complain about your spouse in front of family  or friends. It is disrespectful to shine a negative light on your spouse when you have  grievances with them. The same goes with contradicting your spouse in front of others.  Championing your spouse means you have an undivided front and remain on the same  team.  

Respect can ultimately strengthen a marriage; the more consistent you are the stronger  it’ll be. Romans 12:10 says this, “ Love each other with genuine affection and take  delight in honoring each other.”

Communication Tips for Married Couples

Communication gives a person the opportunity to know and be known. It is the  foundation of all relationships, whether you’re communicating with a friend or with your  spouse. Communication gives two people a chance to connect, build, trust, be vulnerable,  and to learn from one another. A good conversation brings people together, but bad  communication can cause distance and disconnect. Good communication in a marriage,  however, is absolutely vital especially in keeping the marriage healthy. When a husband  and wife know how to communicate well they feel respected, validated, and understood,  making it easier to work out any misunderstandings or frustrations. 

Good communication can be sweet, especially when you love one another with kind and  loving words. Proverbs 16:24 says this “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul  and healthy for the body.” When words are communicated well then it opens up a space  for two people to bare one’s soul, to laugh, to cry and to create an intimate bond that is  founded on trust and understanding. When there is good communication there is a good  balance of positive interactions that range from listening and validating a person to  expressing appreciation, affirmation, and compliments, all while using a soft and sweet  tone. Don’t forget body language, this too is included with good communication and may  involve some physical affection. There must be five times as many positive interactions  than negative ones for a couple to thrive and have a happy, healthy marriage.  

We are all broken and no matter how wonderful the marriage, or relationship, might be, a  disagreement or frustration will occur and the way you respond will determine bad or  good communication. Bad meaning you are raising your voice, name calling, or  degrading your spouse. Negative things will arise in a marriage, your buttons will be  pushed but it’s possible to have a frustration, or complaint, that can be responded to well.  This all begins with how you communicate regularly to one another. So let’s discuss  some ways you can cultivate good communication within your marriage. 

Be Curious 

When your spouse is genuinely curious about how you are doing or how your day was,  you feel valued. You may have been married, or in a relationship, for quite a while and  think you know all there is to know about the love of your life but there is always more.  In fact you may be surprised what you might come to know when you become curious.  

Take time with one another and ask questions like: What was the best part of your week?  When did you feel closest to me this week? What’s something I can do to make your day  or week better? What can I do to make you feel more loved? These questions offer space  to be real, vulnerable and open to one another and through them you will gain better  

understanding. Being curious also means you must be intentional, intentional in spending  time with one another, maybe turning off all devices and taking time each day to look in  each other’s eyes and catch up. It is in those moments that your communication skills  with one another will build and grow. 

Listen Well

There is a reason God created us with two ears and only one mouth. We need to listen twice as much as we talk. Being an attentive listener means we are not  only listening with our ears but with the heart. Fully listening gives the opportunity to  empathize and understand before responding. However so often it’s easy to only listen to  respond, anxious to speak and get your point across. Although being attentive with your  listening will help you see more clearly your spouse's hopes, fears, and emotions. Your  marriage and communication will drastically improve when you can learn to listen  without judgment and being anxious to jump in. When your spouse feels listened to they  will feel validated and respected. Listening well will bring you two closer together. It is  when you are willing to push your own agenda aside and fully listen that issues can get  resolved. 

Remember the Golden Rule 

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” (Matt. 7:12). How would you  like to be treated? Do you respond well to nagging, shouting or unkind words? Most  people don’t. However the only person you can truly change is yourself. If you desire to  be fully listened to and heard then you too should practice listening well. If you would  like help with different tasks around the house you should be quick to see how you can  also help your spouse. If you want your spouse to show more affection or kindness than  you should start by showing them. Instead of being quick to point the finger, recognize  how you would like to be treated and then treat your spouse that way. Often people will  reciprocate how you respond to them. 

Pray Often 

Marriage. Communication. These things can be difficult when you are going about them on your own strength and abilities, in fact when you do it alone you will most likely fail.  However when you incorporate God into this process, He becomes the glue that holds us together and the teacher that teaches us to live out the Golden Rule. He offers strength, wisdom,  discernment, and love. He helps us see our spouse fully as we allow Him to mold and  mend our marriage as well as the way we communicate to one another. The best way you  can invite Him in is through prayer. Phil. 4:6-7 reminds how powerful prayer truly is,  “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and  thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace…” Prayer aligns our marriage, the way we speak, and our actions with God. “Pray continuously” as  1 Thess 5:17 states. Pray for your marriage, communication, for your spouse and even for  yourself. When a heated moment arises the best way to simmer down is through prayer and opening a door for the Holy Spirit to rearrange your heart a bit. Pray individually and  pray together! Prayer will build your marriage and help you be more aware of what God is doing in your own heart and mind.  

Be Quick to Forgive

Remember you love this person! Love keeps no record of being wronged (1 Cor. 13:5b). Anger, resentment, and unforgiveness can cloud your judgment making it difficult to  communicate and listen well. When these emotions are allowed to fester, bitterness can  take root in your heart. Then you will lose sight of what is good and worth valuing in your marriage. Therefore you must be “slow to become angry” (James 1:19) and quick to  forgive. Mistakes are inevitable because we are all human but it’s the way you  respond that can make or break a relationship. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to each other,  tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” 

If you can learn to communicate well, your marriage will flourish!