married life

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Premarital Counseling: Helpful, but not necessary; Provocative Joy; #LoveBlog2017

Premarital Counseling: Helpful, But Not Crucial

#LoveBlog2017 I’ve been looking forward to joining up with #LoveBlog for the past few weeks! If you already subscribe to the Provocative Joy newsletter, you know what I’m introducing! If you haven’t subscribed to my monthly update, you can find the sign-up box at the end of this post (it even counts as an entry in the giveaway). It’s where I get a little more personal, share blog-news and how I’m living out what I write about. I’m linking up...

Brilliant Videos on Sex and Marriage; Provocative Joy; Esther Perel; Ran Gavrieli; Adina River; Brene Brown

4 Brilliant Videos on Sex and Marriage

A couple weeks ago I asked my Facebook friends and fam why it seems to be difficult for Christians to talk about sex, even sex within marriage! I understand sex is deeply personal and elicits extreme opinions. I totally relate with anyone who feels wary to share such personal opinions or experiences with someone who will likely misunderstand when there isn’t time to give a full background or context. These conversations probably take place more than I realize. They might not...

Marriages that inspire; marriages done right; Chaz and Roger Ebert; Kim and Krickitt Carpenter; Jason and Crystal Crawford

Marriages Done Right: 3 Amazing Couples Prove It’s Possible

Crystal was in denial about her relationship with her best friend. “I began chatting with him online constantly, at first only when Jason wasn’t around, but then even when he was, pretending it was only friendship,” she says. Jason was spending more and more time with his colleague from school, and projects turned into relaxation time which turned into going out to clubs together until late at night. Since his wife made him feel worthless, unattractive and irresponsible, all he wanted...

Marriage is not for the faint of heart; Provocative Joy; lessons learned; mercy ships

5 Reasons Why Marriage Is Not For the Faint of Heart

What is the appeal to sitting in front of all your coworkers and answering pop-quiz questions about your spouse? I had to explain that one to Ruben in order to get him to agree to this Not-So-Newlywed Game. However, when I spell it out, it sounds pretty sadistic actually! As I looked through the crowd at other couples that had wisely not signed up for this Not-So-Newlywed Game, I felt like they were safer facing me than I was facing...

Making hard decisions feels like jumping off a cliff; it goes against all self-preservation instincts.

Making Hard Decisions: Diary of Miss Independent

I’ve had two or three seasons I can identify as my lowest points ever. It always revolves around making hard decisions. One of those seasons was in the midst of doing amazing volunteer work for Mercy Ships. The problem? Ruben and I did not agree about our future with Mercy Ships and the time to decide had arrived. The time would come when we’d leave our floating, beach-front, multi-purpose home. The question was whether we’d return or not. Christmas 2014 was...

Accepted to Mercy Ships and excited to serve in Benin, West Africa.

Destination: Benin, W. Africa, 2014

We are so excited to share the news on the most amazing letter received all year! We received a letter with this greeting at the top: “Hello Ruben and Ivanna! Congratulations you have been accepted to serve onboard the Africa Mercy!” The background story that got us to this point is a good one, but it might take a few different posts. For now I’ll stick with the basics. What is Mercy Ships and/or the Africa Mercy? Mercy Ships is...