PEOPLE OFTEN ASK BILL AND
ME HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER,
AND STAY MARRIED. This with each
other 24/7 living can seem intimidating or intense
to some couples However, we have created some
core habits and tools that weave our hearts and
lives together and bring intimacy:
PICK ONE WORD: We set goals together each
New Year. I have selected a word and a verse for
the year each January since I was 19. When Bill
and I got married at age 20, we continued this tradition
— this year is 39 years! Selecting a Word for
the Year, a verse, a theme and a clarifying question
helps us focus our energy.
Here’s an example. During the fall of 2010, I began
to experience some physical issues. In January
2011, at a Christian Wellness week sponsored by
First Place 4 Health, I received some test results
that slapped me in the face with the reality that my
health was at risk unless something changed!
I knew I wanted to live long and strong for God. I
also knew one of my books was going to be rereleased
under the new title 10 Secrets To Living
Smart, Savvy and Strong. I felt like none of that
was true of me at that moment. Knowing only
God has the answers, I picked up my Bible and
scanned for verses on being STRONG! When I
read this familiar passage, it brought great comfort:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not
be afraid; do not be discouraged, for
the Lord your God will be with you
wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).
Joshua, too, was discouraged, looking for help
and hope. I felt I had found a comrade in arms!
I phoned Bill, and together we elected to use
STRONG as our Word for the Year. We also chose
Joshua 1:9 as our verse because Bill wanted to
see strength increase in many areas of his life as
We decided to ask a clarifying question before
each decision: “Will this make me STRONGER?
Us STRONGER? Our health STRONGER? Our
finances STRONGER? Our ministry STRONGER?
Our love and marriage STRONGER? Our family
and friendships STRONGER?
The results? I grew in strength! I shed over 50
pounds; I went from walking to running; I moved
from health risk to health strength. Bill made new
strides in his career and his health as well.
In what area of life do you need God to make you
strong? What is the One Word you can use to focus
your life? What One Word can you hang your
heart on to hang on to hope? In 7 Simple Skills
for Every Woman, I walk women through how to
choose and then walk out their Word for the Year.
On our Love-Wise ministry website we have Word
of the Year Worksheets.
PRAY GOD’S POWER: A new habit I have integrated
into my life the past few years is to pray
Ephesians 3:20 over our life and our world each
day at 3:20. I am fond of the Amplified translation
as it expands to include hopes, prayers, dreams —
those seedlings of a calling God is whispering to
each of our souls:
“Now to Him who is able to [carry out
His purpose and] do superabundantly
more than all that we dare ask or
think [infinitely beyond our greatest
prayers, hopes, or dreams], according
to His power that is at work within us”
(Ephesians 3:20, Amplified
I pray Ephesians 3:20 with Bill on days we are together.
Some days I pray it with our grown sons,
daughters-in-law and grandkids. Other days, I pray
it with whomever I am with! I have prayed it with
postal workers, ministry friends, grocery clerks, hotel
desk agents, coffee baristas, flight attendants,
If I am alone, I pray it for my own family and whoever
sent me the last email or social media post
before the phone alarm rang at 3:20. Some may
see it as a rote prayer, but it isn’t at all that to me.
It is a reminder that God is in charge, and He is my
Abba Father who bestows good gifts.
PLAN AS A TEAM: Each Monday, Bill and I
have a Marriage Meeting where we pray over each
other and plan for the week ahead. It has been the
super glue to hold us together through some serious
Two years ago, my Word for the Year was
Adventure. As it turned out our “adventure” was
selling our home and office and selling or giving
away 90 percent of our belongings. Our move was
motivated by our need to relocate to be caregivers
to Bill’s 88-year-old parents while running our Love-Wise ministry. The following year, my Word
for the Year was BLESSING — with the goals of
counting my blessings, being a blessing and praying
God would restore and send His blessings!
After we moved from our home, we lived on our
extended family’s vineyard for six months while
searching for the perfect (affordable) live-aboard
boat. We eventually found it, bought it and moved
aboard. Living on the ocean has been a renewing
and rejuvenating blessing!
With so many transitions these past two years, it
has felt like one challenge after another. This kind
of stress can easily pull couples apart, but because
of our Monday morning Marriage Meeting, God
intertwined our hearts and lives tighter and closer.
Because so many couples have shown interest
in how we navigate these meetings, we have
created Your 3:20 Life: Breakthrough to Blessing.
It includes Marriage Meeting worksheets for 52
weeks of the year and many other life-building,
If you want to live out God’s purpose, it is vital to
discover it first. Then work together to live it out in
unity, being careful to PULL TOGETHER so life doesn’t PULL you two APART.