15 years of marriage, a toaster, and a blanket


15 years? how can this be?

it seems like yesterday, he proposed to me.

but fill the years with children's births and moves from there to here,

and throw in this busy season and that busier season,

and attempt to count the every day miracles and longings of the heart,

the months of waiting and the springs of joy.

the high ups and the down lows.

the memories etched in our senses, scrapbooks, and souls.

and 15 years knocks on the door of our marriage.

"come on in," i say...


i scan the umpteenth house we've called home

and i spot this well-worn hunter green throw that has our initials "b P s" monogrammed on it. without much effort, i nod to myself that monogramming is my roots culture and that hunter green signifies our marriage era. and this throw has a story for as we opened it in the corner room of ben's childhood home 15 years ago, there was no card or name attached to it. it stands alone as the only thank you we never gave. but it has covered each body in our family on cold days and sick days. it has draped a number of sofas and has served as a play mat when the kids were learning to sit up.

it's lasted like our marriage.

now this morning, it's waded up in a basket under the table holding the manger scene, but it's there when we need it.

this monogrammed hunter green unthanked throw -

 - it speaks home. it wraps comfort. it holds consistency.


but i can't write the same sentiments about the toaster.

maybe we're on our third one. maybe fourth. i can't remember.

but we need a toaster. our offspring need a toaster, to be exact.

life flows better when eggos pop up!

i'm not attached. this toaster accomplishes its purpose and when it stops doing so, we toss it and get a new one.

i'm neither comparing ben to the well-worn throw or the toaster that gets tossed!

for ben lets me put my poorly circulated freezing feet on his perfectly warmed legs at night though it causes a sting.

he seldom tells me no and holds the door wide open to my dreams and passions.

every day he cheers me on and prays over me and leads me and provides for me.

but rather this beautifully hard covenant called marriage.

beautifully hard.

what's of great worth is beautifully hard.

i'm at the place in our marriage where i'd rather resemble the well-worn blanket that has been through the cold and sick days, the long parenting days and the hard moves from friends and family. i'm at the point of wanting our marriage to possess the qualities that are long lasting rather than 'out with the old and on with the new.'


marriage, from my vantage point, doesn't get harder nor easier. it gets better. 

the fighting through issues, when done with a unified goal, gets us on the same page.

the intense listening when we have something better to say, opens our minds to learn from the other that has something valuable to give.

the seasons that never seem to end, grow us towards each other when we say, "we're in this together."

those looks we give each other in an awkward parenting moment or across the table or beside each other in the front seats of the minivan.

my looks that clearly say, "i'm scared or confused or angry."

his looks that clearly say, "let's have fun with this. no worries!"

yes, those looks, they scream 15 years and counting!

i look back and am in awe of what we've come through, the abundance of blessings, the hand of God,

and quickly look ahead with hope that the best is yet to come.

who knows...

maybe we've got 5 more toasters in our future. those things that we need for a season, that fulfill their purpose, but don't make or break us.

those mistakes we're still going to make and those words that we'll utter that need to be tossed like the toaster.

those things that we value too much that can't really deliver a lifetime of guarantees.

yet, in this beautifully hard covenant called marriage,

 i'm hoping that well-worn blanket is covering us up on those cold and sick days when we celebrate 45 years.  those things that bind us, strengthen us, create memories, bring comfort and make us one.

because this husband of mine,

this dreamer of mine,

this gentle leader of mine

reminds me with his life that our marriage speaks home, it wraps comfort and it holds consistently.

not because of everything we have done {though it takes two},

but because we know this marriage is better because of what Christ is doing in us.


so if you ever take a peek into this beautifully hard marriage of ours, know that we're fighting for a good one so you will fight for a good one.

and we're loving each other to show our children how to love each other.

and we're not giving up because our marriage is of great worth.

and this man i started to love over 15 years ago just keeps getting more lovable.


happy new year, friends!

i'm so grateful for the stories we've shared in 2013 and am excited for what God has in store this year.

as i ask God, 'what would You have me write?', i am listing some of my favorite posts from the past year.

posts that i vividly recall writing in the late evenings with the lamp on and the kids in bed and those 'ah-ha' moments when i my hands could not type as fast as I wanted of them.


saddam's story

why we love a child who lives far from us and at the same believing God has special plans for his life.

finding your sweet spot

you were created for something beautiful and sweet! are you living it? discover your sweet spot!

dear newlywed…a long overdue note

a letter to myself some thirteen years ago. a letter about marriage and life with my husband.

learning of our daughter

a post that documents our first learning of our daughter in india. we're believing this is the year we will become her forever family.

i think of you as i write each post. i'm glad you meet me here. i'm asking God to speak creativity and His Words as this year begins...

i'd love for you to subscribe as i write you each wednesday and saturday. you can subscribe by entering your email address to the right and i'll send you an email those two days. see you back here on saturday.

let's enjoy the beginning of the new year today...

dear newlywed {a long overdue note}

dear newlywed,

it's that day you dreamed of as a little girl buried in the closet of your mother's heels, purses, and beads.

your day to dress in elegant white and envision your "happily ever after" beginning the second the back church doors open wide.

oh to get to this day that has required such plans and details and coordination. to think it's heavenly bliss from here.

{not quite sure which fairy tale cloud you were in! oh yes. the one painted so whimsically in the storybooks.}

you told him on that day, thirteen years ago, and counting

that you would hold his hand from that moment on.

oh it seemed so simple to utter

such a promise, standing love-struck,

staring lost into the bluest of eyes,

feeling secure holding both his hands.

to hold his hand. to walk with him. to journey together with your faith in Christ central.

and in thirteen years of holding hands and doing life together and sharing the sweetest intimacy,

you wouldn't believe me if i were to tell you where it's taken you. but i'm going to try.

it's not at all like the movies or the storybooks. you need to know that it's one a kind. no need to compare yours with any others. there's no two the same. and let me be the first to tell you that it's best lived embracing each other and pursuing only what God deems worthy for your life.

for the One who brought you together desires to keep you together and use you together for His glorious purposes. you're going to grow frustrated waiting on His plan and get ahead of Him because you're going to think He's slow and not doing it your way. but being on this side of things,

i caution you to use the waiting to rest.

to look towards the uncertain future with faith.

to pray daily together. for each other. your favorite times will find you in your 'blahness' in bed and your sweet man crying out to God to refresh you. to touch you. to cause peace to overwhelm you.

and that elegant white will be replaced with hospital gowns ready for labor and delivery and he'll think you more beautiful with hair in a thrown together bun, make-up-less, and panting.

and those hands that secured yours upon the altar will hold your hair back when you're sickly gripping the toilet. when you pitch your first book proposal. when you send your first, second, and third to school. when you stand before a group of people and say good-bye.

with each passing day, you'll scrunch up your nose to how selfish you can be. for marriage reveals this. in all it's purity, marriage causes selfishness to rise to the top. you'll have two choices when this happens, and not sure about all the other newlyweds out there, but for you, my dear, it will happen daily. you can let it take the stand, grab the mic, argue the loudest, express the last word. or you can deliberately and intentionally listen, serve, wait your turn, set your agenda down.

this note that i should have written you years ago, has gotten stuffed under adoption paperwork {yes, you'll adopt a little girl one day}. it's gotten lost on the zip drive, the cd, the pc, the jump drive, and in the cloud. it's had over 10 return addresses. {i don't think you could handle knowing all those specifics right now!}

but i had to write you and tell you that eventually he will wake up early like you do and drink regular coffee, instead of the frou-frou kind. you'll learn to appreciate his spontaniety and surprise yourself a time or two with something off the cuff. he'll learn to deal with your obsessive-compulsive disorder and you'll learn to loosen up and chill out.

newlywed, you're honeymoon is just getting started. he'll sweep you away to the rooftop peering at the eiffel tower and send you down a boat on the nile. he'll pack the books and force himself to relax on a hammock in mexico and you'll compliment each other when he drives the hawaiian isles in the jeep - you getting the sun and he getting the i'm-not-going-to-sit-still-adventure.

and don't fool yourself, newlywed. this won't all be learned or had by the end of year one. or even year five. and whoever said the itch happens at year seven, must have had some good moisturizer, because with each passing year, it's cause for mountaintop celebration when you can look at each other and remember the vows made on this your wedding day. if marriage were easy, then why divorce? if staying faithful were such a breeze, then why hidden affairs? it's not going to be easy and it will require you to be bold to fight for him and with him. everything imaginable will pull for your attention and pull you out of love for him. you just remember to communicate your love for him in ways that speak to his heart - to his needs. don't think you can do this alone. okay. well you can, but it will wear you out quickly and you'll get all the more mad at him and believe me, it gets you nowhere. {who am i kidding? you know me all too well.} you're going to daily need to ask God to make you into the woman HE wants you to be. He knows what that amazing man of yours needs long before you do. so instead of trying to figure him out, go to the God who made him, and let God do a beautiful thing to your heart, mind and soul that will serve him well on earth and for eternity.

what the two of you have is a gift. a gift that should be shared with the world. to display what Christ can do with two hearts that love another and love Him first. to stand by others and say marriage is sacred and selfless and sacrificial.


"she laughs at the time to come…"{proverbs 31.25}

i've learned to dream. bigger than i thought possible. i'm still as nostalgic as the little girl in mom's closet and can be in that place is a mental second, but the Dream-Giver has awakened me to what is to come. just like you then, I know not now what that is! but in my thirteen years of marriage, i'm holding one arm outstretched to the grace that blows around me and still holding the secure hand i reached for on that altar on december 16th 2000.

and about that man. his kisses wrap me up and take me in. his laughter and spontaneity lift me off my feet. his vision for God's Kingdom is biblical and practical that draws others to come alongside us in this city we call home. his fathering is full of grace and fun. his passion contagious. his morning moments with Jesus a picture on the wall in my heart. he will captivate your heart all over again. you'll see...

family playbook

i know we usually meet here two days a week, but today feels different.

like i'm about to bare my soul with you.

not that i ever try to hold anything back.

i've written it elsewhere and hope it's clear that i'm writing in the thick of it.

it's just that today, with permission from my sweet man, i want to let you inside the threads of our family.

inside how we do life together.


 it's called our family playbook.

now before we could even arrive at words put down on paper,

we had to first start living family intentionally and the way God intends.

to the best of our ability.


ben and i have put in place over the course of a few parenting seasons our family purpose statement.

i used tsh oxenreider's book, organized simplicity, as a guide.

we spent days mulling over the language we use collectively as a family to describe the values we have together.


we have rhythms in the fall that are quite different from our spring rhythms.

we revamp the playbook every semester to reflect the season we are in.

the playbook is an ongoing work in progress. we know come december/august that we can change things.

yet it hangs on the refrigerator with the kid's artwork and weekly menu and pictures of our sponsored kids.

it's a reminder that what matters most after God is our family.

it puts our intentions before us.


the playbook is written accountability.

ben states how he will maintain his values.

i declare, as well, how i will maintain mine.

together, we boldly write what our family will be known for.

what we will seek after.

how we will live together daily.


i've held tightly and dearly to this playbook for a year now.

it's 'that thing' you have and i have that tends to be tucked away inside.

but if seeing the guts of our family...

...causes communication about seeing your family succeed

...encourages you and your spouse to more time together

...brings you both to the calendar to schedule a vacation

...centers or re-centers your family around Christ

then i'm glad it's not tucked away anymore.

here it is  Pilgreen playbook .

know that it will be tucked away in the printables just at the top of your screen.

not too far away.

i'd love to hear how the family playbook sparks conversation and thoughts
 for you and your spouse. or how you are going to write one up for your family.
leave me and ben a comment or a question. we'll be around. but not on mondays!

faith {kate's story}

About me: My name is Kate Eveland Schierholtz. I am 27 years old. I grew up in Southlake, Texas and currently live in Chicago, Illinois. I graduated from San Diego State University with an international business degree where I played college basketball on a full scholarship. I have been fortunate enough to work for a wonderful business consulting firm since 2008. I feel very blessed to be married to my husband Nate, who is a professional baseball player. I have never before written about my faith or a blog article so please bear with me.


After our marriage in December of 2011, I was very excited to start our life together. We had normal goals of living out our dreams as a family. All of my life I have been extremely independent and felt like I was in the driver’s seat which gave me great confidence and comfort. I learned quickly God had other plans for us. In our first 18 months of marriage, my husband’s job moved us 8 times, to 5 different cities, in and out of 6 different homes, and to 3 amazing MLB organizations. Needless to say, it has been a struggle at times to feel normal, find my independence and feel at peace during each change. I am far from having “it all figured out” but I wanted to share 2 changes I made that have helped me “live out the Gospel” by keeping the Lord central in my life & home while everything around me continues to shift and be uncertain from one season to the next.

 Stop trying to take control & trust in God 100% – During times of instability, frequent change, and events in my life where I had prayed for a different outcome, I would become consumed with feelings of doubt, insecurities, fear, frustration, and sometimes anger. These negative emotions impacted every part of my life from my relationship with the Lord, my marriage, my relationships with friends and family, and my overall quality of life. The only time I finally felt at peace was when I truly 100% accepted that I was not in control, God was, and He had a plan for me and my family. 100% was the key for me, because when I held on to even 1%, my own doubt would keep me from feeling peace and appreciating the blessings God was providing. For too many months I missed out on friendships, opportunities to spread God’s love, and a deeper relationship with my husband because I allowed my unstable circumstances to define how I was going to live. Once I starting trusting in God’s plan, I was able to relax, better appreciate the many people and places He put in our lives, and truly see His blessings in ways I never had before.

Find peace in Prayer – Prayer was my lifeline in finding stability and being able to give God control 100%. As I mentioned, I played college basketball and was always the “player” on the court. I never understood why my parent’s got so nervous or emotional. WOW, do I have a different perspective now! As a spectator, you feel an intense sense of helplessness as you watch someone you love go through ups and downs on the field or in life. Prayer was the only way I felt relief from my anxiety & the only way I felt like I was helping the outcome by giving it over to Him in prayer.

Being in the world of baseball with Nate has brought so many blessings into my life and one of the greatest blessings is the people I get to meet. One of those great people helped me start my prayer journal. I don’t journal every day or even every week, but when I do, I spend hours writing my fears, hopes and dreams and all the prayers in between. This has dramatically changed my life and faith. Prayer journaling has been a huge factor in my ability to give God full control and allows me great reflection. It brings me to tears to go back and reread some of my prayers that have been answered in ways I never could have imagined. I also see prayers that have been thankfully unanswered and some that are still in progress. It has helped me give thanks and find such a deeper trust and appreciation for my Heavenly Father. I cherish my prayer journal because it documents my life journey, my faith’s journey, and my love letters to my Heavenly Father.


I am so incredibly thankful for all of the experiences God has brought into my life. Although I may not have understood God’s plan at the time, every move, every team, every change has only made my life and my family’s lives better. These experiences have taught me so many things about myself, my husband, how to act from love not fear, and how to “live out the gospel” in our unpredictable life.

Thank you so much to Shauna for asking me to contribute to her inspiring blog. I have never written about my faith before and I hope my experiences can help enrich your own.  God Bless you all – Go Cubs

Key Verses: Psalms 18: 2; James 1:2,3; Romans 8:38,39; Psalm 27 1-3; Hebrews 13:6; Isaiah 35:4; Psalms 23:4; Isaiah 41:10

Kate Schierholtz calls Chicago home, for now! She is a working woman and cheers on her baseball-playing husband, Nate. Maybe your story resonates with Kate’s as you, too, have made several moves due to yours or your spouse’s careers. Maybe it’s the constant unknowns or the roller coaster of emotions that come from shifts in schedules and routine. Let’s encourage one another today by contributing comments to Kate’s thoughts:

What changes have you had to make to keep Christ central despite change and uncertainty?

You can follow Kate on twitter @KateSchierholtz or leave her a note here on the blogpost today. 


sweet spot

what’s your sweet spot?

here’s my created definition of sweet spot:

that moment in time when you are most happy, most alive, and most satisfied.

when you daily give so much of yourself away, it’s hard to make time for this. plus, right now, it’s taking us a few minutes to clear the cobwebs and look back at the things that make us most satisfied, most alive, most happy.

here me say this: your sweet spots were never intended to go away. 

here are a few of mine:

when writing is flowing/ideas are coming

dipping strawberries in chocolate

curled up on the couch with a blanket watching downton abbey or anne of green gables

conversations with other moms figuring out how to give the most to those around us while staying healthy ourselves

Think of one. Jot one down.

what’s your husband’s sweet spot?

here are few of ben’s:

being on the back deck with the fire pit blazing, chatting. dessert or coffee adds to it.

walking and talking on the streets of san francisco

reading thought-provoking, change-provoking books on leadership


think of one of your husband's. jot one down.

what are some sweet spots you share together?

Here are a few of ours:


trying a new restaurant or venturing back to a favorite

dreaming about our next vacation or next adventure

no agenda saturday mornings

date nights in or out of the house

think of one you share together. jot one down.

3 things to consider: 

rediscover a sweet spot.

do not feel guilty for taking time for yourself.

make time for yourself. this might take extra work on the front end. it might take calendaring and communicating well with your husband.

put the obvious in front of you. ex: everything is prepped and ready for later. i love it after i’ve put the kids to bed and ben and i have agreed that tonight’s gonna be a “work” night, when i come upstairs and all my “tools” are sitting out, candle ready to be lit, pandora ready to be played, dishes are done, house is quiet, and i'm ready to write or we're ready to talk about our next adventure.

Indulge in his sweet spot.

this is a selfless act that reaps benefits.

as wives, we should seek this out weekly or more often.

indulging can be as simple as a question. it can be as simple as looking him in the face when he talks.

one way you indulge is by giving him permission and a push to enjoy his sweet spot.

Plan a sweet spot.

put it on the calendar. write it in your diary. tell a friend to hold you accountable.


surprise him for lunch during his workday

schedule a date night that YOU plan

mentally know throughout the day that you’re gonna seduce him at bedtime

plan a sweet spot. jot one down. give yourself a deadline or a date.


check the expiration date.

just like candy, no one wants a sweet at valentines wrapped in a halloween wrapper. in other words, it might be his favorite sweet inside, but he can see how it’s presented. make sure your motives are right. offer freshness.

don’t overindulge.

too much of a good thing can be bad for your health. selfishness can be addictive as we try to please ourselves and want others to please us as well. you and i have the world at our disposal and often can expect too much. moderation is key! personal sweet spots are to be enjoyed in moderation. mani-pedis and childcare daily to run to the grocery store might be a sign of overindulgence.

you might become irresistible. 

if you rediscover your sweet spot, indulge in his, and plan one for the two of you to enjoy, watch out!

thinking of sweet spots, another for me is giving gifts! {thanks for subscribing.}
erin richardson of alabama,  a tin filled with san francisco ghirardelli chocolates 
 is coming your way! happy valentine's day!

enough about sweet spots. i’ve got some indulging and planning to do...



i told her it would just be two minutes.
i needed to reheat my coffee. yes, i’m the type that does that.
she was just finishing lunch on her side of the country.
i was brushing off muffin crumbs from the table
on my side of the country.
with my reheated, tasty cup of joe,
i was calling my friend on ichat.
one hour of “is asher learning his shapes?” “how was danielle’s visit?” “when do you think you’ll hear about the orphanage match?” “our schedule is so full next week.” “listen to this...” “oh, and one more thing...”
then one hour of discussing a chapter from a book on marriage. truthfully engaging. brutally honest. asking the hard questions. yes, even the ones about intimacy. “are you being faithful?” “are you enjoying one another often this week?”
reminding each other that we are His first and foremost. that’s where our identity lies.
and we closed, “are you ready to receive your husband home today?”
we told each other to “close those windows” so we can whole-mindedly focus on them when they walk through the door and then into the bedroom.
we need that gal. mine is three time zones away. she doesn’t know the details of my Sundays or the names of all the girls in my small group. she does know what our marriage looked like 5 years ago when we first began a friendship and she’s walked and encourage me ever since. i try and do the same.
ben knows i have these reheated coffee talks with MJ. he’s grateful. it keeps us from being status quo in our marriage. who is speaking into your role as a wife? who’s cheering you on to have a spectacular marriage? of course, your congregation. your parents. those bridesmaids that stood beside you 4, 7, or 22 years ago in those dresses you thought were stylish at the time? find someone to check in with weekly or bi-monthly. and make sure they’ve got a marriage worth emulating.
here’s some questions to get you going over ichat or across the table:
do your kids know how much you love him?
did your kids see you hug, kiss, greet him the past few days?
have you come out of those lounge clothes and into something snazzy?
what are you doing to take care of yourself physically?
have you complimented him recently?
are you talking highly of him in public?
have you gone above and beyond to show love to him this week?
are you pleasing him sexually? and often?
are you making eye to eye contact with him when he talks?
can he tell that you love being his wife?
can he see you growing spiritually?
if i were to call him right now, how would he rate your respect level for him?
(1 would be non-existent, 10 would be royally)
did you tell me the truth to these questions?
okay, which ones do we need to revisit?!


how to enjoy the island of oahu all while encouraging a future church planting family:
say goodbye to routine as you know it.
say aloha to an island and culture where being laid back isn't viewed as negative,
rather viewed as a value.
see the island from a local's point of view, rather than a tourist's point of view.
henry's place has been moved around as commercialism has taken over waikiki. yet he still makes homemade fresh fruit ice cream served in styrofoam cups in the back room of his small store tucked in the shadow of donald trump's hotel.
stay on your time zone and wake up long before the rest of the island. this gives you the beaches and the roads to your exploring.
rent a jeep online before you go. it's the same rate as a midsize car, but way more fun. we both were happy. ben got to tour the island with the top off and i got my sun that way instead of laying dormant on the beach.
we were told to hike diamondhead but it was closed the week we were there. so we drove along the windward side of the island.
walk along sandy beach park where the waves crash against the mighty rock.
drive to the north shore where the surfers hang and wait for the perfect wave. they say they're much higher in january.
collect sea glass. that's the only treasure from the beach you can legally bring home.
every few minutes, stand still wherever you find yourself on the island and take in His creation. every mountain, every wave, every coral reef is alive and under His submission.
search out the tv show, lost, sites on the island.
we discovered the place where they filmed "the other's camp."
prepare for an eeriness to take over as you walk
where ben linus walked.
discover the waialua sugar mill (also a lost site) and taste hawaiian coffee and snow cones. farmer's market also on site.
proof that we were on the island to encourage a future church planter and no, we didn't just randomly pick two white guys and a girl on the beach.
aaron davis (far left, church planter) vince blubaugh (missions pastor in mo) and ben.
below: me and samantha davis (church planter's wife)
take the drive on hwy 99. rows of coffee bean plants.
pineapples growing up through the red earth.
the pass where the japanese planes surprised us on december 7, 1941.
snorkel at hanauma bay. this is definitely a top tourist attraction. $7.50 gets you into this national park, also known as  an underwater park. $12 gets you the snorkel gear for rent for the day.
go early to beat the crowds and secure your equipment
and spot on the beach.
this is one of those places to be still on land and underwater and be amazed at His creation again.
a local favorite, yet also featured on the food network: rainbow drive-in. it's buzzing with locals and totally laid back.
their specialty? loco moco. fries topped with hamburger, topped with egg, topped with brown gravy.
we couldn't get enough of the north shore. or the jeep for that matter. or snow cones!
matsumoto's shaved ice in haleiwa.
 rainbow with cream. oh. my.
meet the sea turtles at the mokuleia bay beach park.
 also where the lost plane crash was filmed.
stay at the wyndham royal garden for $99 a night in waikiki.
and get this...also a film site on lost as the seoul gateway hotel!
spot a rainbow.
eat a dole whip at the dole plantation. it's fresh pineapple among pineapple ice cream. plus, it's free to walk around.
would you pronounce it "like-like" highway?
or "leek-e-leek-e"?
grab an inexpensive and good bite to eat at koa pancake house on the leeward side of the island.
experience pearl harbor.
ben by one of the anchors of the USS Arizona.
appreciate your country and armed forces all the more.
meet herb weatherwax, staff sergeant, united states army, survivor of pearl harbor. (95 years old)
meet sterling r. cale, sgm, united states army,
survivor of pearl harbor. (91 years old)
not many survivors living today.
 what an honor to meet these two men.
admire the hawaiian flower.
mahalo, hawaii. (that's thank you.)
we received our time on the island as a gift.
an undeserved, yet greatly appreciated one.
we will return again.
with our children.
and to work alongside aaron and samantha davis,
church planters to oahu.


top ten marriage thoughts
from the two of us,
an imperfect couple,
who refuses status quo,
and is still very much a work in progress...

1. don't make the small things bigger than they are.

2. both of you are still a work in progress. God is not finished with either of you yet.

3. communicate about schedule and expectations every week.

4. date each other weekly. make this a non-negotiable. put it on the calendar. even if it's take-out after the kids go to bed.

5. if you want to see a change in your spouse, talk to God about it.

6. enjoy frequent sex. this is His idea.

7. dream together and spur each other ahead.

8. do what makes each other happy. [refer to no. 6]

9. bar status quo from settling in.

10. you can't make a great marriage so stay in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and keep your eyes on Jesus.