Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

Let’s talk about creating a happy marriage. 

My husband and I are approaching our 15th anniversary. He’s still my best friend. I’m still his confidante. We like each other. We want to be together. I miss him when he’s gone. He wants to come home to me. We choose each other. Not because it just happened or because we got lucky. I mean, soulmates are romantic, but are they reality? I love my husband deeply. He is truly my favorite person. But our marriage isn’t perfect. It never will be. But it is good. It is a blessing. Here’s to 15 years of marriage, and dreaming of 50 more! 

Know People Will Fail You

Sometimes intentionally, most of the time not. We are human. We are selfish. We cannot meet all of each other’s needs. We don’t even know or understand all of each other’s needs or expectations. So wives, husbands, prepare for this. I promise you it will happen. At some point you will disappoint each other. Here’s a tip, don’t put all your faith or expectation or emotional stability in another person. Put all of these things in Christ. Jesus will fill these holes that another human being cannot. But the thing is, our marriages, our spouses are not supposed to be this for us. We are imperfect people working towards perfection. It will not happen. Just, Jesus. 

Make Your Spouse Your Person 

I really hope you began your relationship as friends. I really hope you enjoy being together. I really hope you have fun together. I really hope you talk. If we are talking marriage goals here, your spouse should be the first person you think of when you have news to tell, when you are having a bad day or when you are just bored and wanting to hang out. This Is Us style, guys. This is you. This is your person. This is the person you chose to spend your life with. Go do it! Do life together. 

Learn To Forgive

I mean, if you are going to be a part of any relationship for any period of time, this is gonna have to be a part of it (see #1).


Let’s just get this out of the way now. We all screw up. We mess up. We do things wrong, make bad choices, or just plain get lazy. And selfish. Goodness we are such selfish creatures. But now that we’ve acknowledged that. Let’s get over ourselves. Humble ourselves. Say we are sorry for hurting each other. (Whether we meant to or not.) and move on. “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” 

Make Time For Each Other

I hear people say all the time you should date your spouse. I agree! But sometimes dates don’t look like the movies or the posts on social media. Sometimes dates look like two tired people in sweats watching movies and eating ice cream. Sometimes dates look like going on a walk and holding hands. Sometimes dates look like grabbing a quick cup of coffee in between meetings. Intentional time together. Hold hands. Talk. (I’m not even going to tell you not to talk about the kids. You guys, maybe that’s just your phase right now. That’s OK!)


You guys, sometimes in the chaos of life with jobs and kids and decisions and debt and stress, listening is just really hard. Listening well is loving well. Listening tells your friend, your spouse that they matter. Put your phone down, text back later, make eye contact and listen. 

Don’t Talk About Your Spouse Unless You Would Say it in Front of Him/Her

Don’t talk about your spouse unless you are building him or her up. Gentle, encouraging words are sweet to the soul and precious in marriage. (Obviously, if there is a problem in your marriage that you’ve addressed with your spouse and you still need help, please find a trusted, wise person to counsel you.)

Fight For Each Other

I’ve seen a lot of marriages dissolve. It hits me hard every single time. I’m so heartbroken. This is not how marriage should be. I want you to have the joy and peace and friendship and love that I know marriage can be. Sometimes marriages are just so broken. Sometimes one person isn’t willing to work for it. Sometimes, I get it. But you guys, maybe we give up too easily? Maybe we fight each other when we should fight for each other? Maybe we brush things under the rug so often that we finally explode. Maybe we need to deal with the small things. Have a conversation. Bring it up. Love hard. Do the hard stuff. Because soon those things become the big things. The impossible. The hardened hearts. Maybe it’s OK to disagree and find resolve. 

But what if . . . some things just aren’t worth fighting about? What if we chose to forgive? What if we chose to be patient? Have grace? Have mercy? What if we prayed more and talked less? What if take a breath? What if we respond instead of react?

Show Respect

Can we just respect each other as people? It’s pretty common that the people closest to us are the people we take for granted. What if we treated our spouses better than we treat other people? What if we put them before ourselves? Before our friends? Before our families? Before our kids? Before our jobs? This is the person you chose to spend your life with, just sayin’.

Be Kind

Be thoughtful. Figure out how your spouse feels loved and then do those things. And at the same time, express how you feel loved. We can’t read minds, you guys. And different phases of life will call for different ways to be love to each other. The nature of life is that we are always changing. The seasons change, our needs change, our perception of love can even change. When we were 20, both working and before children, we would go shopping. He would buy me clothes and we’d eat out at nice restaurants. We’d walk downtown and visit little shops. We’d get dessert and coffee. Basically, we spent money. Then we had a baby and even those rare date nights became rarer. We stayed home. I quit my job. We rented movies and ate store-bought ice cream. We’d go for walks, push a stroller. Then more children came and to bed they went. We’d turn on our favorite shows, eat some ice cream, and snuggle on the couch until we fell asleep. That feels like love. He takes out the trash. I wash the clothes. He knows I hate going to the store so he runs all the errands. When he has to be out of town for a job, he stocks up so I can stay home. I try to make him cookies for his long drive. I text him pictures of the kids. He calls me when he gets a chance. Kindness counts, you guys. Just be thoughtful. Know how to love. And choose to do it. 

Set Boundaries

This is huge. Other people will not understand. You may miss out on some stuff. You may even lose some friends this way. But in the end, your marriage, your person is more important. We have boundaries in our marriage. We chose each other once in front of our family and friends. But we continue to choose each other, day in and day out. This is key, we agree on our boundaries. No one is forced into this and it’s not “house rules” or anything. We agree that we want to set high standards for our marriage. We want to have boundaries so that we have no doubts, no temptations, no accusations, no worries. We chose to set boundaries to protect our marriage. We chose to set boundaries before anything might happen, not because it has. Our boundaries are not a punishment. Our boundaries are for safety and security and stability. Our boundaries include not hanging out with or being alone with someone of the opposite gender. We have chosen not to put ourselves in questionable situations. Or in situations where the atmosphere may not coincide with our belief in marriage. 

Be Your Spouse’s Biggest Fan

Seriously though! I’ve seen husbands and wives compete with each other. I don’t mean a friendly competition of Monopoly (even that I’ve seen go awry!). But I mean actually get jealous of each other. I’ve seen couples try to outdo each other, tear each other down, or, quite frankly, be mean about things. Let’s just stop, OK? Let’s cheer each other on. Lift each other up. Encourage each other. We are on the same team. 

Grow Together

People change. Seasons change. Life changes. Have grace for each other. Let the ebb and flow become a natural part of your relationship. It’s OK to mix things up a bit. Maybe red was my favorite color before but now I like gray. Maybe I wanted to go to school to teach preschool but now I’m a writer. Maybe he wanted to create beautiful pieces of furniture but now he’s building greenhouses. Maybe we homeschool now but we send our kids to school later. Things change, guys. It’s OK. Love is a choice. Repeat that with me. Love is a choice. A choice to love, through change and growth

Know Bad Things Will Happen

It’s not if, it’s when. We know for certain life does not always go as planned. Jobs get lost. People hurt us. Sickness. Death. Fire. Flood. Car accidents. Infertility. Miscarriage. Depression. This world is broken, so broken. Let’s choose right now to let these bad things bring us closer together. It’s not easy. It’s actually one of the most difficult things to do. When we are hurting we tend to lash out, we lean more toward pushing away and hurting people rather than leaning in and letting them in. We tend to want to protect ourselves, defend ourselves and build up walls. Tear them down. Let your spouse in. What if he/she has walls built up? Love that person until it hurts. And then love some more. (Also, it’s OK to seek professional, outside, neutral help. It’s actually quite brave. And responsible. And commendable.)

Dream Together

It’s beautiful to remember the past. It’s fun to talk about the beginning. It’s therapeutic to talk about the memories. And it’s a blessing to talk about the future. Dream a little. What risk would you take if we were to start over? What will we do once the kids are grown? Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world? Would you ever want to change careers? Live somewhere different? If we are financially successful, what would we invest our money in? We’ve talked about a camper or a cabin in the woods. We’ve talked about retiring and traveling the world. We’ve talked about having a greenhouse and animals and our own little farm. We’ve talked about where our kids might be and how we’ll follow them. (Or not.) We’ve talked about what I will do once our kids are grown and I am no longer a stay-at-home mama. We’ve talked about what life will be like when our kids are teens. What we want them to know, how we want them to grow and when they leave home, how we want them to be rooted in love. Some of our dreams may come true. Some of them already have! Some of our dreams may change. Some of our dreams may seem a little silly, but we don’t care. As long as we are together, we choose joy. We choose each other. We choose to dream, big and small. This is our greatest adventure and we choose to do it together.

You may also like:

Dear Husband, Let’s Make More Time For Us

The Two Most Important Words in Our Marriage

For a Marriage That Lasts, Remember Why You Chose Each Other

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Tiffany Nardoni

As a little girl Tiffany wanted only to be a wife and a mother. Life was planned and goals were set. Things were working out, until they weren’t. Dreams were shattered when Tiffany and her husband, Jeff, lost their sweet Thao, their firstborn son. Picking up the pieces isn’t easy, but God is using this unplanned life for something good. Tiffany currently resides in the midwest with her husband and their four children. Her favorite things include homeschooling, adventuring, coffee and writing. Her first book, Still (when all else fades away), was released last year in memory of her son, Thao. You can find out more on her blog,

To the Mom Going through a Divorce

In: Living, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman holding young girl outside, blurred background

To the mom going through a divorce: you can do this. I’ve been where you are, staring at a mountain of changes and challenges that felt insurmountable. The crushing ache of divorce, of family disruption, of building a new life, and helping my son through it all seemed endless and impossible. But eventually, I made it through to the other side, and I want you to know: the pain won’t last forever.  The first year following a divorce is an overwhelming puzzle of putting your life back together. And when there are kids involved, there is so much more to...

Keep Reading

Let Us Grow Old Together

In: Marriage
Couple kissing in kitchen

Dear husband, May our love grow in millions of ways, but may it never grow old. This life we’re living is fast, fierce, and full of beautiful memories in the making. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I realized that one day, probably before we know it, we will have grown a whole legacy of love together. See, I was at a first birthday party this weekend, and it was everything you would imagine it would be—family mingling, children playing, sounds of laughter, an abundance food. RELATED: At the End of Your Life, This is What Will Matter to...

Keep Reading

Let’s Stop the Negative Talk about Marriage

In: Faith, Marriage
Square, wooden arch with floral and fabric in field, color photo

Growing up, I remember hearing many negative phrases used about marriage—on TV, by distant relatives, anywhere, really.  “The old ball and chain.” “All my wife does is nag.” “You’re happy in your marriage? You must still be in the honeymoon phase.” These are just a few examples of the many things I have heard for years that create a negative connotation around marriage. I never really thought much of it until I fell in love and got engaged to the man of my dreams. Can you guess what happened next? “Just wait . . .” I heard entirely too many...

Keep Reading

You Will Survive the Starting Over

In: Living, Marriage
Woman walking with two kids on beach

It might be uncomfortable. It might be awkward. You might have to tell your 3-year-old that you won’t be living with her dad anymore. You might scream, cry, and curse—quietly, so she can’t hear you through the thin apartment walls. You might have to buy secondhand furniture and be okay with the fact that nothing matches. You might have to bury your pride and call your friends to help pick up your child when you need an extra hand. RELATED: Overwhelm Isn’t Just a Season For a Single Mom You might lose friends when your brain is at max capacity...

Keep Reading

Dear New Mom, Give Your Marriage Some Grace

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Family of 3 with baby on bed

He cried when our daughter was born. Twice. I clearly remember his choked voice when he kissed me and thanked me for bringing our baby girl into the world. But by the time we got home, the diaper was on the rose. The baby was crying. His wife (me) was constipated. And the house took on a perfume of spoiled milk. Pre-baby and post-baby, people talked about engorged nipples. Moms and dads rant about sleepless nights and diaper explosions. There are books written about baby weight, burping, and tummy time. But no one talks about the fighting. And we fought....

Keep Reading

Co-parenting Is about the Kids, Not Your Feelings after Divorce

In: Living, Marriage, Motherhood
Girl holding parents' hand

This is likely to step on a few toes, but is something that absolutely needs to be addressed: co-parenting and blended families. When people think of co-parenting, many things come to mind—good and bad, of course. The fact is some relationships between co-parents can be amazing, and some can be an absolute nightmare. You know what? That does not matter. Co-parenting is about coming together in every possible way to make things right for your children. The children did not decide their parents were going to get divorced. The children don’t have a say in how they feel about things....

Keep Reading

The Beautiful Ugliness of Marriage

In: Marriage
Couple standing holding hands by water

I never realized how beautiful and ugly marriage can be at the same time. Interwoven so tightly together and made known to us, these moments were what we agreed to when we made our vows to each other so many years ago. The beautiful and the ugly—for better and for worse. Ugly. It’s a strong word to use. But when we’re experiencing these moments, it feels that way, doesn’t it? Just ugly. The ugly moments when we fight and utter words to each other we would never utter to anyone else within earshot. The ugly moments when we argue in...

Keep Reading

As An Adult, Navigating Your Parents’ Divorce Is Complicated

In: Grown Children, Marriage
Older couple sitting apart unhappy on couch

“Gray divorce” is a term that refers to divorce in couples over 50 years old. There are plenty of reasons why people decide to get divorced—in some cases, after decades of marriage. Many couples at this phase of their life are experiencing empty nests for the first time and are finding that once their kids have left the home, their relationship is not where they hoped it would be. No matter what the reasons may be, the reality is a lot of adults with families of their own are navigating their parents’ divorce. I am one of those adults facing...

Keep Reading

We Need Valentine’s Day Because February Sucks

In: Living, Marriage
Annoyed woman holding heart

I figured out why some human in the past created Valentine’s Day in the middle of February. Because, like my plant, we’re all just barely hanging on. We’re alive, but we are having to let go of some pieces of ourselves in order to say we are even “okay” or “fine,” the two most dangerous words in a woman’s vocabulary for men. Spring is coming, but it’s too far away; the cold and dreary days are taking a toll. RELATED: What Is Hygge and Why You Need It This Winter Commitments are overwhelming and exhausting, but we are already starting...

Keep Reading

I Am in Love with Two Men

In: Grief, Marriage
Two men in the back of a van, color photo

I am in love with two men.  It started years ago. My marriage of 11 years, which led to four sons, was wonderful and comfortable and safe. I had trained myself to never look twice at another man out of respect for my husband Aaron. I enjoyed being married to the right man. And yet here I was, thinking about another man. A man named Jason, who happened to be friends with my husband. I knew Jason was a man of integrity, kindness, and faith. It had been a long time since any man had noticed me, and though I...

Keep Reading