Communication Is The Key To Prevent Your Marriage Train From Derailing


As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I enjoy driving for Lyft and Uber.  I enjoy the freedom of scheduling my own hours, listening to music and sports radio all day long (without driving Karen crazy) and talking with my rider’s.  Being able to hear and understand some of my customers though was difficult at times because I’m completely deaf in my right ear.  Karen may call my disability, “Selective Hearing Disorder” but I really have a hard time hearing people who talk to me from the right of me, especially in the car.  All the road noise will pummel my good left ear while drowning out the words spoken by anyone in the passenger seat.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy hearing aids.  They aren’t normal hearing aids though.  Sound coming from my right side is captured by a transmitter in my right ear and transmitted over to a hearing aid in my left ear by a wireless signal.  Hallelujah, the deaf can hear…at least that’s what I thought until this morning.

Most mornings, Karen and I have been getting up at 7:00 to go swimming in our community pool before I take off driving for Uber and Lyft.  This morning I woke up a little before seven.  Karen was sound asleep so I decided to let her rest while I powered up the computer, opened up EveryDollar (our monthly budgeting tool) and did some much needed tweaking.

Karen joined me at the computer around 8:30.  She was disappointed I hadn’t woken her at seven to go swimming.  She asked what I had been doing so I told her I was working on our budget.  The following is the short version of the conversation that ensued.

DISCLAIMER…The following conversation is presented to only state the facts, not as a vehicle to pass judgement or take sides.

Terry:  I was working on EveryDollar.

Karen:  When are you planning on actually doing it?

SIDE NOTE:  I had actually began EveryDollar in February but temporarily stopped in May because of all the craziness from the move to our new home.  I had told Karen numerous times I would resume the budget beginning June 1st.

Terry:  I’ve told you numerous times I’d start June 1st.

Karen:  I don’t remember you telling me that.

Terry, while vigorously scratching his head in frustration:  I’ve told you at least five times.

Karen:  When I’m in this much pain from my neck you know I don’t retain things.

Terry:  You seem very irritable this morning.

Karen:  It’s not just the pain I’m trying to deal with today.  Yesterday was four years since Mom died, I’m adjusting to living here without a car and….

Terry:  What does that have to do with EveryDollar?

Karen answers with tears welling up in her eyes:  Sometimes you need hearing aids for your heart instead of your ears.

Our marriage is like a powerful train chugging down tracks laid by our communication to each other.  Once in a while, like this morning, those tracks we lay are full of defects and our train derails.  When that happens, we both have to dig deep into our tool chests to begin repairing the damage done to our relationship.

What tools do you ask?  That’s a good question.  Let me tell you.  Our tool chest is the Bible and every tool needed to repair a damaged relationship can be found inside.

1.   The first tool is actually a lubricant for the prevention of a breakdown and is found in Ephesians 4:29.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”

2.   The second tool is listening.  We don’t listen when we concentrate on a snarky rebuttal or interrupt.  Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening — that is his folly and his shame.”

3.   The next tool is to share a response which is sincere and proper.  I may have heard what Karen said, but my heart had tuned her out.  I ignored the advice of Galatians 6:2.  “Share in each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”  Romans 12:15 gives further insight.  “Be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep.”

4.    The final tool is a sincere apology.  James 5:16 says to, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  And don’t wait to make amends.  “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and give the devil a foothold.”  Ephesians 4:26-27

So the next time your marriage train begins to wobble on poorly laid tracks of communication, grab your Bible and take out these tools before your locomotive derails.









A Summer to Remember

DSC_0425There is something magical about family reunions….especially when nine angelic-faced grandchildren come home for three weeks of getting reacquainted.  My oldest daughter, Katie, her husband Jason and five young kids live in Leesburg, Florida.  Our second daughter Jaymi, her husband Matt and their three children live twenty-minutes from us on Camano Island, Washington.  Our youngest, Michael, his wife Signe and their daughter live in Chandler, Arizona.

For over a year, I ached for this time together.  Every Christmas season, Karen loves to watch all the special holiday movies on the Hallmark channel, and this past season was no different.  The only difference this year was I found myself crying halfway through every sentimental show, while thinking about how much I wished we could all be together for the holidays.

You know how sometimes we look forward to something so much, that when it finally arrives, our expectations were built up so high the actual experience never had a chance to live up to all the hype….this was not one of those times.  This was three weeks of heaven on earth.

Of course bringing four families together, with nine grandchildren ten and under, is like throwing a lamb into the middle of nine playful tiger cubs. Playtime becomes competition time real fast.  Over the course of three weeks we went through three boxes of band aids, filled the ice bag numerous times, kissed many owies, massaged a few bruised egos and I almost resorted to wearing earplugs a few times.

The sweet times though far outnumbered the sour:

  • The Cheshire Cat’s grin was nothing compared to the joy on Jacob’s face as he smashed his first home run over our front yard fence.
  • I was so proud of Logan when he included his little sister Maya in a “boys only” game of basketball.
  • Singing my #1 hit single Papa Loves Hannah to my inconsolable youngest granddaughter and having her fall asleep in my arms.
  • Having my grandkids begging me every night to tell them a new Buster Story, which I had introduced to their Mom’s and Dad years earlier.
  • Making them Swedish pancakes and watching them gorge themselves while giving me the two thumbs up sign and telling me I should open a Papa’s Pancakes restaurant.
  • Pulling my ten-year-old Caleb and five-year-old Jonathan onto my lap and kissing them until tears rolled down their cheeks from laughing.
  • Watching three-year-old Brooklyn gently caress the tight curls of her cousin, Esther.
  • Granting the wish of two-year-old Joshua by letting him vacuum our living room.  (The highlight of his trip)

All these wonderful moments paled in comparison to having the time to strengthen long distance relationships with our grandchildren.  Phone calls work great to stay in touch with our children but not so much with the grandchildren.  Their attention spans are as short as Jonathan’s lizards he catches in Florida.  Skype is better but Katie’s four boys spend all their time jockeying for position to show us their latest toys or reptiles caught that morning.  Esther on the other hand loves to Skype and is a prolific talker.  Her mother, Signe speaks Danish to her which is fantastic but we can never tell if some of her words are in Danish or typical twenty-month-old  jibberish.  (We’re slowly learning some Danish words though)

Let me describe for you, in a sentence or two, some insight into each of our Grandchildren from oldest to youngest:

  • Logan – Papa’s boy.  Always a hug, always a smile, always sports, DSC_0188 (4)always a conversation starting with, “What did you and Ama do yesterday?”
  • Caleb – Our freckle faced leader.  A ferocious competitor, passionate DSC_0188 (3)debater, little sister’s protector, speedy soccer player and Buster Story lover.
  • Jacob – This gentle spirit drifts silently among his cousins.  Never DSC_0628demanding, but demands justice and peace.  Papa’s pancake eating champion.
  • Maya – Compassionate and selfless.  Her smile can light up a room, DSC_0182melt your heart and make you laugh.  Will make some lucky man a great wife someday.
  • Jonathan – The pint sized whirling dervish of constant motion.  Part DSC_0394snake charmer, part magician, part gladiator and 100% little boy.
  • Brooklyn – The little princess (and has a wardrobe to prove it).  Dainty DSC_0205 (2)in size but strong in spirit.  Her beautiful blue eyes are as deep and mysterious as her personality.  Ama’s girl.
  • Joshua – Golden haired little helper.  Loves to vacuum, loves to sit on DSC_0389 (2)Ama’s lap, loves to vacuum, loves to play, loves to vacuum, loves to fetch the baseballs hit by his brothers and cousins.  Oh….did I mention that he loves to vacuum.
  • Esther – Our bi-lingual beauty.  Her many words flow as effortlessly DSC_0212 (2)from her lips as her ebony locks flow around her sweet face.  Loves, loves, loves Molly our Golden Retriever.
  • Hannah – Sweetness in diapers.  Loves to be sung to.  Will be as tough DSC_0744 (2)as her brothers but as gentle as her mother.


I miss them already and hope to bring them all together again in two years.

Can you describe your loved ones in a few sentences?  Try it and share your descriptions with us on our Desire to Inspire website:

The first person to share on our website will receive a copy of Karen’s book, Trust Me My Child.  Through the simplicity of our daughter playing in a mud puddle, Karen was able to recognize the love of God and His peace that passes all understanding.