I knew I was in trouble when the seminar leader asked us to open our personal calendars. It was a setup, and I was caught.

Let me back up. Ten or fifteen years ago, I attended a half-day seminar designed to help men become better husbands and fathers. The only reason I attended was so some other men in our church at that time would go and learn a thing or two. After all, why would a Christian counselor like me need to go? I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the topic. So I went simply to support the other men.

The leader took us through a process of identifying our values and priorities. He had us look at our lives from God’s perspective. We answered questions that dealt with managing our time, setting a good example, and leading our families. I remember thinking that I could teach the seminar!

Then he had us list our priorities in order. For me this was a no-brainer—I placed God first, Nancy second, and my kids third. Each of us shared our lists; honestly, the answers were not that different. I was so proud of all the guys with me.

Just when I was ready to pack up my briefcase to leave early, however, the leader threw a He asked us to do one more thing: get out our personal calendars and open them to that week. Now, remember, this was before smartphones and tablets and calendars that sync. These were the write-it-down-on-the-date calendars. I pulled out my calendar and opened it. Then he asked us to circle every appointment and activity that reflected time spent with our priorities. I picked up my pen—and then laid it down. I looked at the week’s appointments and activities. I turned to the next week and looked back at the previous week. There was no time set aside for God, my wife, or my kids. The seminar leader had me. Yes, I had intended to spend time with my top three priorities, but I had planned to work them around my schedule instead of working my schedule around them. Ouch! The truth hurt, but it changed how I handle my priorities.

Most of us have a lot to do and too little time to do it in. It is easy for our lives to get out of balance. In my new book 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage there are practical steps to help get your life in balance. It takes some work and some rearranging, but the benefits are amazing!

A Better Marriage


If I asked you to tell me three things that would improve your marriage, what would you say? What is the first thing that comes to your mind? Since finances are consistently listed as one of the main things couples fight about, your answer might include more money. Depending on your sex drive and your spouse’s sex drive, you might think you need more sex. If you are both really stressed in your work, you might wish for a long, relaxing vacation for the two of you.

Unfortunately, the difference between what we think will improve our marriage and what will really make it better could be a huge gap. We often think in the short term: What will make me feel better today? Sometimes we apply a bandage when what we really need is a trip to the ER. Certainly more money, more sex, and more trips can help, but would they really make a lasting difference in our marriages? What would change things today, tomorrow, next year, or ten years down the line? What would be your answer to that question?

Often when we look at our marriages, we fail to look below the surface. So many of the things we pursue are temporary. They make us feel better for a while, and then they are gone. No matter how much money we amass, the things we spend it on get old. The shiny new thing that we had to have to make our life better soon finds its way to the trash can or becomes a “garage sale” item. As amazing as sex is, we cannot build a marriage on sex alone. (Sorry, guys!) Sex has to be a part of the picture—don’t get me wrong—but it is not the whole picture. A vacation can rejuvenate us and give us a deserved and needed time-out, but all vacations end and reality sets in again.

If so many of the things that we pursue in marriage are only temporary fixes, what is the answer to what we truly need to improve our marriages? We can find the answer when our focus changes  and we ask,What lasts not only today and tomorrow but forever? That narrows it down, doesn’t it? The answer is God—and why not? If I want to know everything there is to know about something, where do I go? I go to the one who created it or built it. If I want to know how to have a great marriage, where do I go? I go to the One who created it.

God will always have the answers to make my marriage better. He created me, and He created Nancy; He brought us together in this marriage. He has the keys to our marriage. I can seek Him and His answers for my marriage, or I can continue seeking bandages. My bandages will eventually wear out and lose their allure. My God never wears out. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I have a proposition for you and your spouse: Try living out your marriage God’s way for thirty days. In that time period, pray together for your marriage. Pray for each other as husband and wife. Pray bold, strong prayers—that is, don’t just pray that you’ll have a “good” marriage; pray for a marriage that will turn heads. When people ask you what is different about your marriage, you can tell them. Go to church together. Read God’s Word together. If you need a little help in this area, get our 30-Day Experiment for Couples. This week it is free with a pre-order of my new book “7 Secrets To An Awesome Marriage” (

If you don’t have the money, email me and I will send it to you for free!) This proposition is not about selling books or giving you a list of to-do items to check off. It is about building God-honoring marriages around the world. You can start honoring God and pursuing greatness in your marriage today!