So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Obviously as a divorce mediator, I’ve seen a lot of divorces. A mediator tries to help couples come to agreements about property division and custody and/or visitation of their children so that they may maintain a little more control over their lives than if a judge makes the decision for them. I believe my marriage stays stronger because I see what to avoid. I won’t lie, I also occasionally come home terrified that my own marital demise is just around the corner, mainly because so many couples come in and husband or wife had no idea there were any major problems, while the other spouse had been plotting divorce in their mind for months, sometimes even years. Below are the most common culprits causing marital ruin.

1)    No communication. 

Here’s where the partner arrives to the divorce mediation clueless about why this divorce is taking place because their spouse never communicated with them that they were unhappy. This can go either way, but the main issue I see is women expecting their husbands to read their minds. Neither spouse can correct problematic behaviors if they have no idea there is a issue. Talk about it. Talk about the good, talk about the bad. Talk like you did when you were dating, not at each other, not critically. Just talk.

2)    Putting the children before your spouse.

When a parent comes to mediation acting as if they are their child’s only parent, I know where some of the problem lies. Don’t forget you and your spouse are on the same team, not you and little Johnny against Mom or against Dad. If you don’t agree with your spouse on how to parent, talk it out after Johnny goes to bed, but never in front of him. No matter how good little Johnny is, if he knows he can get his way by pitting you against one another, he will. The other parent ends up feeling disrespected and unloved, which leads to disastrous results, especially if it becomes routine behavior.

3)    Immaturity

Some people come into a divorce fighting over an Xbox. For real. Obviously, that’s not the real crux of the problem, but what is a problem is the ‘Me, Me, Me Generation’. Are you fighting over petty things? Don’t fight over who didn’t wash the dishes. Again, you are on the same team. If you are consistently putting the other person first, your arguments are saved for the things that matter and truly need to be discussed. When you argue, ask yourself if what you’re fighting for is worth possibly damaging your marriage.

4)    Financial issues

Get on the same page financially. When I meet a couple who has completely separate finances, a lot of the time they have never truly trusted each other. A budget can help squash arguments about where the money is going. Usually if you can conquer #3 and make mature decisions that will include financial issues.

5)    Couple quits dating.

Wife, remember when you’d get all dressed up and you’d show up at his work with those cookies you made him? Husband, you’d compliment her and tell her she was the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen? Yeah, that. Oh, wait, you were just dating then… Don’t quit dating. That’s how you won each other over and that’s how you keep each other wanting to come home to you.

6)    The extended family interferes.

When a thirty year old man shows up to his divorce mediation with his mother, sometimes that’s been the case the whole marriage. I’m all about family support but when a person marries, their spouse should be number one. Momma shouldn’t be making any decisions for the couple or worse yet, couples should never make comparisons between their spouse and their parent. No marriage ever became stronger by wifey saying, ‘Well, my Daddy always…(blah, blah, blah)…why can’t you?’

The Take Away 

If you are old enough to get married, you’re old enough to act like a grown up. Ladies, men respond to feeling respected. Men, ladies respond to feeling loved. If Wife gets her feelings hurt and reacts negatively to Husband, Husband feels disrespected, so he retaliates and a cycle begins. (Or vice versa). Be mature enough to step up and break the cycle, be on the same team and put each other first. Most of all, go love your person, you chose them for a reason.

You may also like: My Marriage Isn’t Fair

Don’t quit dating. That’s how you won each other over and that’s how you keep each other wanting to come home to you.

Beth Keck

Elizabeth Keck lives with the man of her dreams, her two wild boys and beloved dog, Ellie. She’s a foodie who loves coffee and writing about faith, french country decor and her crazy life at

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections