The Hard but Good Work of Being Sanctified by Marriage

Prior to marriage, I thought a spouse would always build me up and just make me feel good about myself. At times this is true. However, there are also moments where God is using my husband to teach me things about my own heart that I need to work on.

As much as I don’t like to admit I can be a pretty sensitive person. I don’t like hearing or accepting criticism. I tend to already be harsh on myself so when others point to something negative about me it can sting.

I especially become defensive when my husband makes a comment to me about something he has observed to be true. Yet, from my perspective, I perceive he is wrong.

For example the other night he made a comment that “I’m only happy when we do extravagant things”. At first, I was dumbfounded because I enjoy staying home and cuddling on the couch with a movie and pizza. However, I do love dressing up and going out for a nice dinner (which rarely, like once a year happens).

I don’t think my desire to go out is unreasonable. I’m female, I like the anticipation of a special night. Plus it’s fun to take my time getting ready and to have my husband’s undivided attention. Plus as a new mom, I need to get out of the house.

However, perhaps in his eyes, I place too much value in going out and spending money. Whereas, in my mind, I’m happy saving money and staying home. Either way, it doesn’t matter who is right.

The point I’m making is instead of reacting defensively what if I took his critique of my behaviour and analyzed it from a place of humility. A goal I have this year is to become less defensive and more open to change.

Less pride and more humility

I hope I don’t come off as a spoiled brat to my husband, but what if sometimes I do? Are there areas in my heart I need to work on? Can I accept his insight from a place of humility instead of pride and insisting he’s misinformed? Yes.

I am not perfect, neither is he.  Yet there is a lesson I can glean from this interaction.

In reality, my response shows the state of my heart. A closed heart would insist I’m fine, I have no areas to improve. An open heart would be willing to listen to my husband and examine if there is truth to his statement and what changes could be made.

I love my husband but sometimes his words can pierce my heart in a sensitive spot. I have a choice to make. I can either let his words draw us apart or together. It’s my choice.

I want to have a healthy marriage. I want to continue to grow as a person and become more like Christ. When situations like this arise instead of letting them weaken me I choose to let them be a tool to strengthen me.

Sometimes though I have to overlook comments that I know are untrue and remember what I know my husband thinks of me. There are times where I need to give him grace as he also does to me. (I just had a baby so he’s been putting up with a lot of hormones lately).

To clarify I’m not advocating to be a doormat or to be passive. Scripture should be the starting point to determine whether a comment is valid. If something you husband says directly goes against scripture hold him accountable. At that point, it’s not your opinion he’s against it’s God’s.

Instead, I’m asking that we show more humility towards our spouses. To consider we don’t have it all figured out.  Perhaps God has put this person in our life to help mould us into the person He desires us to be.

One final point, pray. Pray for yourself but also pray for your hubby. Pray that you would allow God to strengthen your marriage and make you both more like Christ.

The next time your spouse makes a comment that at first feels unloving before lashing back with a prideful response take a moment and humbly consider their words. Are they in line with scripture? Is this an area you need to work on? Will you let this interaction draw you apart or closer to your spouse?
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4 Ways To Stay Connected with Your Husband After Having a Baby

Becoming a mother has been a transformative experience. I can live on a lot less sleep than I thought, I can be awoken from the deepest of sleep if I hear my baby stirring and I care much less about my needs or wants now that I have this little life depending on me.

However, it can be easy for me to get so caught up in baby care, especially during the newborn weeks that my husband can take a backseat. Of course, this isn’t intentional but her needs often take priority during this season of life. Now that my baby is just over five months and we are more settled into our parenting roles this is the advice I would give to a new mom who desires to keep her marriage healthy while navigating into parenthood.

1. Know Your Love Language and ASK FOR IT

A lot of the time we are told to know our partners love language so we can love them better. I agree it is important to study your spouse and learn how to fill their love tank. However, when you are postpartum and sleep deprived it’s so important to take care of yourself so that you, in turn, can care for others.

Personally, my love language is physical touch. For me, I need at least 20 seconds of a good, cuddly hug from my husband. After that, I feel so energized, cherished and taken care of. Instead of expecting my husband to read my mind when I’m feeling down I will ask or tell him I need a hug.

If you don’t know your love language take this quiz and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to help you be the best version of yourself for your family.

2. Get Creative With Date Night

Pre-baby date nights were easy. We could stay out late and be spontaneous. Post-baby we’ve had to make a few adjustments. Such as bringing our baby to dinner with us, eating out on a less busy night like Sunday and bringing my nursing cover. As long as we don’t stay out too long, our baby has done great whenever we’ve gone out to eat.

Another option for date night is having your hubby run out to grab a pizza (feta, pineapple, peppers and buffalo chicken was a recent favourite) and then watching a movie after your baby is in bed.

Date night can be tricky with a new baby but it’s not impossible to set aside time for just you and your hubby. Even if the baby has to tag along with you it is important to have intentional couple time.

3. Check in with Your Hubby

One thing that helps me feel connected to my husband is our chats before bed. This doesn’t happen every night because he works continental shifts where he works nights sometimes. However, we often catch up when he gets home.

If we don’t see each other at night we will text throughout the day. I try to be intentional to encourage my husband. I thank him for working hard for our family or I’ll send him pictures of our baby.

4. Affirm Actions You Appreciate in Your Husband

Along with encouraging my husband, I try to notice the things he does well and point them out to him. When we magnify positive attributes in our husbands they are more likely to keep doing those things. If your hubby is really good at responding to your baby’s needs or comforting her be sure to point this out to him.

Positive affirmation is rewarding and people will keep doing things they are appreciated for. Refrain from criticizing and try to speak about the good your husband is doing instead.

A new baby brings a lot of changes to a couple’s dynamic. It can be easy for both mom and dad to shift attention off of each other and onto the new bundle of joy. However, it is important to remember that the best thing you can do for your baby is to have a healthy and thriving relationship with your spouse.

The point is to not put pressure on yourselves, these are just suggestions you may not have thought of or already do. Either way, it’s important that you make an effort to care for your marriage.

Remember staying connected doesn’t have to include a formal or scheduled date night. It just takes remembering to communicate with your spouse, telling them what you need to feel loved, affirming what they are doing well and making time to do things you enjoy together with or around your baby’s schedule.

 

My Husband Bought Me Donuts and I Cried…

My husband bought me donuts and I cried.

Maybe it’s because I’m hormonal. Even though I’m six months postpartum.

I cried because of his kindness.
These six donuts were around $20.
These were not ordinary donuts. They were locally made foodie, novelty, bakery donuts.

That we drove 20 minutes to get at a chic downtown shop.

I didn’t find out the price until later that day when he casually mentioned that he wanted to tell me something about the donuts.

At the time I was setting up the tv to watch the hockey playoffs with him.

He explained how the bakery didn’t sell donuts by the dozen or half dozen. Instead, they are individually priced. Therefore for our six donuts, it had cost about $20. 
I stopped what I was doing and went over to him and hugged him. With my face in his chest, I started crying.

Previous to buying the donuts, on the car ride there he informed me I had gone over my data limit for the month on my phone. As a result, we would have to pay an extra fee. With one income it’s not very considerate of me to be so careless.

My husband graciously explained to me how I need to be more careful and consider the time he puts in at work to pay for our families needs. I totally understood and felt awful. I also felt like I had let him down and I was disappointed in myself.

To me, our donut trip was ruined.

Until later that day when I learned despite what I had done, he still bought us donuts and coffee because he knew how much I wanted to try this place.

My husband was a picture of the gospel to me.

He showed me love and favour when I didn’t deserve it.

I cried when I found that out.

If I’m being honest I feel like I disappoint my husband a lot of the time.

I’m often too critical towards him or I complain too much about our circumstances.

I fear that he doesn’t like me.

My thoughts are wrong. He loves me.

He loves me despite my shortcomings.

I want to remember the day he bought me $20 donuts and coffee.

Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot Book Review

What is one topic you wish the church talked more openly about?

Perhaps it’s sex?

I’m not talking about the standard chat of don’t do this until you’re married or don’t look at porn or don’t dress a certain way.

Why can’t we have an open, judgment-free conversation on sex?

Can we for once celebrate the act God created for our enjoyment?

Can we stop shaming people into ‘purity’?

Can we instead look at sex with a view of the gospel and tell people that no matter what your past, or what you’ve done or has been done to you that you have inherent worth.

That you were created by a King who loves you and wants to give you an abundant Life.

The answer is YES.

Why does it matter what we do with our bodies and who we connect our lives with, sexually? Because you and I were created by a King, a King with specific guidance and direction for us. A King who is incapable of creating worthless things. We were created in the image of God. In that perfect image, created with everything of God-everything wonderful and spiritual and eternal-stamped into our DNA. We are not just here, we aare HIs. And that changes everything.

As you may know from my Instagram I am on the launch team for the book Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom.

You guys this book is so good and timely. I wasn’t sure before I started reading it I would get through it quickly because I have a baby and I’m busy. However, once I started reading I could not stop. I devoured it in three days. I kept stopping to share snippets with my husband.

Mo shares her sexual testimony from being exposed to her dad’s porn, to hooking up in college and having her own porn struggles to awkwardly trying to embrace sex as good once married.

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I couldn’t relate to every aspect of her story but I really identified with the chapter on her and her husband’s struggles while dating. Let me tell you that season of my life was hard and full of challenges. I wish I had a resource like this book during that time.

Also as a parent, I learned a lot that I want to one day teach my daughter.

Such as having a pure heart produces pure actions.

That although we struggle God wants to change us.

One point that really resonated with me, was this: we don’t sin because we want to be bad. We sin because we think our way is better than God’s way. We think obedience means forsaking something good or we’re going to miss out. Whereas obedience brings life and protection from consequences, pain and separation.

No matter if you’re married, single, dating, in school, young or old you’ve probably believed a lie about sex, your identity and what God has to say about your worth. Mo breaks all these topics down by sharing her honest and hard struggles and how God broke into her story to share there is a better way!

“I think we are often scared to hand over our struggles because we’re intimidated by the extent of the process we think will be necessary to work through things. But if I know the tiniest bit about how God tends to work, I know that HIs fierce compassion and our faith to believe He can break chains in our lives have the power, at times, to collide and bring instantaneous relief.”

If you’re looking for a refreshing view on sex in the context of hope, healing and soul refreshing truth be sure to check out Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot.

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Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage

A lot of the time life can feel unfair. Part of this feeling comes from expectations being unmet. I certainly expected my present circumstances to be different. I thought I’d work before having a baby, that I’d be in my own home, that I’d live near my family and friends. However, that’s not how life turned out. At times I feel jaded, sad and to be honest angry. I want control of my life.

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with this idea of control over my life. It doesn’t seem fair at times that my expectations of my current reality are unmet. I want to call the shots and know where my future is headed.

Instead of trusting in God’s timing.

Instead of submitting to my husband’s leadership over our family.

Instead of dying to self daily. 

I don’t want to give more grace or forgiveness or understanding or kindness than is being shown to me in return. When as a Christ follower that is exactly what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to follow Jesus example and be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving to those who mock me or treat me wrong. Yet my flesh fights so hard against what I know the spirit wants me to do. Consequently, I often give into the flesh because it’s easy and I’m tired.

My dissatisfaction with certain aspects of my life spiral into a cycle of being miserable. If I’m not happy my thinking is why should the people around me be happy too (the people that I care about and love most). Therefore I’m going to complain, nag and not be as grateful as I should. In my sinful and selfish heart, I want to make it known how I feel.

The common thread here is “I”. Being that I’m married and it’s no longer just “I” but two people striving to be one, I can’t continue living my life through a single self-centred lense.

Yes, it’s not fair that I can’t sleep through the night because I have to feed our precious baby from my healthy and fully functional body. It’s also not fair that my husband has to shoulder all of the financial burdens of our family. I’m only giving one simple example of how our life together isn’t always fair in our share of duties, I could go on. Trust me I’m pretty good at keeping a list of how unequal our contributions are (at least that how it feels sometimes).

I always thought I’d be that wife that wouldn’t mind giving more than I’m getting in return. In reality, I’m actually pretty selfish and would rather be served than serve. At the core of dying to self is serving others. True service like Jesus demonstrated is done out of love without an expectation of receiving anything back in return. Often I want recognition, praise or a returned favour. To me, that’s fair-to give and then get. However, that’s not what I’m called to do.

Perhaps so much of my unsatisfaction which stems from unmet expectations could become obsolete if instead, I decided to truly serve without expectation. If I’m only living for the praise of men I’ll have received my reward here instead of a true reward from God.

Too often I’m focused on earthly things, the day to day minutiae instead of an eternal perspective. Where the annoyances that seem so monumental are less irrelevant than they seem and perhaps they are meant to sanctify me. If life was easy and fun and comfortable I wouldn’t need to change anything or question how I could improve. It’s beneficial to me in light of eternity and becoming more like Jesus to undergo unfavourable circumstances.

I want to resolve to have a changed perspective during 2018. I want to remember that “hard is not the same thing as bad”, to die to self as I serve my family and to live for the praise of my heavenly Father over the temporal praise of men.


Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galations 1:10

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Galations 2:20

Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage | Courtney Kramer

Loving My ADD Husband

My husband was diagnosed with ADD as a child.

As a result, he found it difficult to focus in a traditional school setting. The decision was made to homeschool him. He thrived being able to complete his schoolwork in the morning and expound his boundless energy playing the rest of the day.

His ADD wasn’t a bad thing it just required a few adjustments and some understanding of how his environment can help him thrive or struggle.

Although with age and maturity he has outgrown a lot of his ADD tendencies at times I can see evidence of it.

For example, he doesn’t like to sit still for long periods of time. Often he will pace the room while we’re having a serious conversation or start tapping rhythms with his fingers (he’s a drummer) when bored.

At other times he can be highly sensitive both emotionally and physically. I have to be aware of how I share something that’s bothering me in order to not be overbearing or insensitive to his feelings. On the physical side, he doesn’t always like to be touched while my love language is physical touch. He is also sensitive to the feel of certain fabrics and prefers very soft fabrics over anything rough, satiny or overly smooth.

Change for him provokes a lot of anxiety. Starting a new job, moving, me being 39 weeks pregnant are all things he is constantly concerned about.

He goes through phases of being very dedicated to certain hobbies or activities. Not to an extreme or unhealthy level but with a strong desire to be successful. Usually, this habit manifests through various types of games, sports or his cars.

His dedication also extends to me, family and friends. He makes connecting with others a priority. Whether it’s a text throughout the day or driving long distances, relationships are important to him.

Finally, he has incredible attention to detail and is skilled at spatial orientation. He can at times be a perfectionist, while I could care less if something is less than perfect. He is also a confident AZ licensed driver.

I may not understand all the aspects of his ADD but I can appreciate all the ways it makes him a great husband.

For starters, I’m happy being a homebody but he gets bored if we never go out. He encourages me to be more social and introduces me to active things we can do together like working out, going for walks or seeing a sporting event.

I also appreciate his go-go-go approach to life because it allows him to be a tireless provider when he has to work 12-hour shifts.

Secondly, he has taught me to be a better communicator. At times I can be too brash or dramatic in expressing myself. Instead, I’m learning to state the facts, not get caught up in emotion and to have more empathy when needed.

Furthermore, although I don’t like seeing him worry or feel anxious about things I appreciate his deep care and concern for my wellbeing and our growing family. I know I can count on him to take care of us. Even if for him, that means starting a new, more challenging job while his wife is very pregnant and having to relocate soon after the baby comes.

Finally, when my husband commits to a task he’s all in and he will do his very best to achieve a good outcome. For example, I have never questioned his dedication or commitment to me. Every day he affirms his love for me. He’s the one who makes sure we resolve conflicts. He stresses the importance of our relationship with Christ over our relationship with each other. He prays for us, for me and for our life together. He encourages me in my pursuits. He stands up for me in front of others. He’s certainly not perfect but I know his commitment to our marriage does not waver.

Perhaps at one time, his ADD was seen as an obstacle to succeeding academically or otherwise. I don’t see his ADD as a flaw or hurdle to overcome. Instead, I see it as a gift that has made him into the most amazing, caring, sensitive, driven and talented husband and soon to be father.

I hope that our baby girl can learn these same incredible traits from her daddy.


Loving ADD Husband

4 Unexpected Ways Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

You may have just read that title and thought “Courtney what are you talking about? You don’t know my husband, all he wants to do is irritate me.” Yes, I don’t know your specific situation, but I do know that if we change how we perceive our circumstances it can affect our relationships profoundly.

4 Unexpected Ways Your Husband Wants to Make You Happy

My husband isn’t perfect either. He leaves his dirty clothes on the floor even though the hamper is positioned for his exclusive convenience. Sometimes he makes annoying comments or is on his phone too much. We all have our quirks and no one is perfect. I do a lot of things that he doesn’t like either. This is expected in marriage because we tend to marry our opposites in terms of personality. Which research suggests is not a negative but rather having the same attitudes and values has a bigger impact on relational success.

Back to happiness and our husbands, if we look at the big picture of our relationship most of the time our husband’s goal is to make us happy. This was kind of an epiphany when I discovered this because it changed the way I saw my husband’s overall behaviour. As a result, I started seeing his actions as more favourable towards me.

His Career Choices

Career changes and choices can be a touchy subject, especially when it involves moving. If you can openly talk as a couple about how each of you feels and why you feel this way it can lead to a depth of understanding. In the beginning, it may feel like your husband is not on your side and wants to change everything. In the end, you realize these decisions are not easy for him either and the ultimate reason why he’s choosing this is to provide the best life he can for your family.

Honestly, as a female whose role is not to be the provider but rather the helper and support to her husband I will never understand the great burden my husband bears in his effort to provide. With this perspective, I can display more empathy in how I relate to my husband when he wants to pursue a new or different job. I realize his motive behind his choice is far from selfish.

For some, your husband’s work may look different. Perhaps he works long hours or even two jobs. I remember when I was younger my dad ran his own business during the day as an onsite truck mechanic and exhaust fabricator then at night he drove a septic truck. I would cry because I hardly ever saw my dad. Thankfully that time was only for a season and he was able to switch jobs. He chose to work that much because he had a family to care for and he was trying his best to give us a secure and happy life. At the time it wasn’t easy for us but looking back I can see his motivation was in the right place.

The Small Things

Career choices and changes are certainly a major area where males strive to make their wives and families happy. Husbands also try to provide happiness in smaller things. For example, maybe your husband surprises you with a large tea at 6 in the morning because he was thinking of you. The timing wasn’t ideal and he woke you up, but his intention was to make your day and show he cares about you.

If we can reframe how we perceive this interaction and affirm our husband’s intentions instead of tearing down their sometimes fragile self-esteem. We can encourage them to keep doing nice, thoughtful things for us (isn’t that what we all want?).

Whereas if we react in a negative or condescending way that takes aim at his pride he is likely to feel insulted and less motivated to repeat a behaviour meant to please you. Even if you didn’t want to have tea at 6 am it’s still important to genuinely thank your husband for thinking of you and being so sweet.

Treating You

Another way husbands try to make us happy is through treating us. One way they demonstrate this is by taking us out to dinner. Although I’m perfectly happy making food at home, I really appreciate it when my husband suggests we go out for dinner. I realize this is a rare treat and he wants to make our time together extra special.

Furthermore, husbands want to see their wives well dressed, with nice makeup and hair. At times the level of aesthetic desired by the wife isn’t always feasible. For example getting your hair done every six weeks or your nails. Sometimes though your hubby may spend some extra money and take you shopping. It might make the budget a little tight but to him seeing you smile is worth it.

As wives when our husbands make this extra effort to treat us it is so important we express how much we appreciate it. For him spending money, might put on more pressure to provide and if we are ungrateful he might think “what’s the point of doing nice things for her?”.

When He Gives in to You

This one may seem a little more obvious, nonetheless, it’s important to recognize that when your husband purposely chooses to put your preferences over his he is doing it to demonstrate his love and to see you happy.

A few ways my husband has demonstrated this is by going to see Beauty and the Beast with me, ordering pizza when I didn’t feel like cooking, giving me 20-second hugs (he knows that’s my love language even if it isn’t always his), letting me choose the restaurant. I know these are small examples but it’s really the insignificant things that add up to make a fulfilling relationship.


You may have heard the phrase that “Marriage wasn’t designed to make us happy but to make us holy”, while I agree with the overall sentiment of that statement. I do also think God intended for us to receive great joy in being in a relationship with others. Happiness can be defined in different ways as I noted above. It can be a self-sacrificing gesture, a desire to make someone smile or to simply the daily effort put into a relationship. Overall if we can remember that our husband desires to see us happy we can avoid a lot of negative and unfounded thoughts.

Perhaps by making the effort to make someone else’s day it also makes your day.

What are some of the best ways your husband tries to make you happy?

Enough with Cliquey Church Social Groups: Why we Need to be Intentional in Creating Community at Church

A few weeks ago we were visiting a couple from our church who have a young baby. As we were talking a sad reality came to light. It seems that social connections at church are largely determined by the presence of children or one’s marital status.

Not until this couple had a child did some of the other women in her age group begin taking an interest in her. Perhaps this was because they couldn’t find any commonalities other than being of the same faith, age, gender or also being married. Maybe they were too preoccupied talking about their children they forget about other conversation topics. Whatever the reason it’s unfortunate that one has to be a mother to be noticed by those in her same demographic.

This occurs not only on a female to female basis but on a couple level. A couple may be married in their mid 20’s and not have any children. At the same time there is another couple around the same age who do have children but beyond a cordial acquaintance level these couples will never really hit it off. Perhaps the couple with children want to prioritize making friends with other families so their children will have friends or maybe they feel that beyond being married they have nothing in common with the other couple.

Dating couples and individuals also face the same kind of dismissive attempts at friendship. Based on the fact that they are not in the exact same stage of life despite being the same age. As a result, they are disqualified from interacting on deeper than acquaintance level.

How Does This Cliquey Behaviour Begin?

Most times it starts when an individual moves from being single to the highly idealized state of being a boyfriend or girlfriend.

As soon as a couple starts dating they “need” couple friends. So little by little, they decrease the amount of time they spend with their single friends. Or soon after a couple gets married suddenly all the married people have something super in common with them and start to notice them. The downside to these seemingly natural but isolating behaviors is that people who are not married,