The Beautiful Blooms of Marriage


The last few months have been an emotional journey for me, Scott, and our marriage–death, sickness, surgery, stress, disappointment, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, worry, and devastation. It’s one of those periods in our lives that would test the resolve of any relationship. One of those times that would either kill us or make us stronger. We’ve chosen to be stronger. We’ve chosen to draw closer to God, individually and together.

We’ve spent a lot of the last few months learning, reading, and educating ourselves, going to seminars and conferences and soaking up the knowledge of every expert we can find on different marriage topics. I’ve got a lot of blog posts stored up for the future, though I’m not quite at the point where I can write some of them. I hope to get there one day, but for now, I’m still too raw.

At the beginning of the year, we were fortunate enough to go to the First Conference at our church. It was four days of incredible speakers who would give encouragement on making 2017 an incredible year. We were also doing a 21 Day Fast, and if you’ve never done that, it’s amazing how the Holy Spirit fills those voids where hunger for food used to be.

I’ll be honest, 2017 has been a rough start for me. I’ve battled depression a good part of this year and a whole host of other emotions. I tend to sleep a lot when I’m struggling with depression, and making myself work or get up and get moving isn’t easy. And to be completely transparent, these are struggles I don’t always share with Scott, because there is a fear within me of his response. Some of that has to do with trust. This is a struggle I pray daily about, so I can walk without fear and completely in Christ.

What I’m saying is that I struggle and battle with issues just like everyone. But I can also say that I’ve never felt closer with Christ than I have in 2017. Because I finally broke in my prayer closet and wept everything that was on my heart. Things that God already knew, but I finally laid them all at his feet and didn’t hold anything back.

Our pastor said something profound to us a couple of weeks back and it stuck with me. How do your prayers go? Do you ask God to forgive you and keep everything vague, going through the motions of prayer? Or do you bare your soul and truly confess, telling Him everything He already knows, but speaking the words out loud? How deep are your prayers?

I finally gave Him my all. I confessed things on my heart that had been there for years–all of those worries, the anger, the devastation, and disappointment. I’d opened old wounds and laid them at His feet. I wept. And I started the journey of healing. Don’t we serve a marvelous Savior?


During the First Conference, Dr. Henry Cloud talked about pruning our gardens. And that sometimes roses had to be pruned so the really beautiful roses had room to grow. This was a metaphor for pruning people or certain paths from our lives. Who adds value to your life? Who adds value to your marriage? Are weeds growing in your garden because of sin?

If your marriage is going to grow in the direction God intends, what areas need to be pruned so you can fulfill the plan He has for you and your spouse? Because He does have a plan.

Make no mistake about it. Satan is a liar. He’s a deceiver. He basks in our sin and looks for ways to expand it. He knows our hurts and weaknesses, and he knows just the thoughts to place in our heads that will do the most damage. That will cause us to keep sinning.

Satan hates marriage because it is so precious to God. It’s a holy covenant, and when he can separate a husband and wife with sin, just like he did with Adam and Eve, it gives him great joy. He’ll whisper things in the darkness of your mind like, “I married the wrong person,” or “I love someone else more than my spouse,” or “This person meets my needs like my spouse never can.”

Lies! God will never send you someone more perfect for you than your spouse. Please don’t fall into that trap. I watched a really great video the other day about the Jezebel Spirit, which can be found in both men and women. See if you have qualities of the Jezebel Spirit and then think about what it can do to your marriage. It’ll destroy it. You can watch it here: The Jezebel Spirit And really, it’s a whole other blog post, and I’m getting off topic.


At church one Sunday, Pastor Jimmy Evans said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, “Did you know God is standing in your future looking back and smiling at you?” How incredibly powerful is that statement? God knows our future. He has a plan for our marriages, and no matter what we’re going through right at this moment, He knows our future. And if we keep our marriages centered on Christ and follow Him, He is going to do things in our marriages that we can’t even comprehend.


Scott and I have done a lot of pruning over the last months. There are sometimes hard truths to face when pruning. A lot of facing the past, our failures, and our flaws. And sometimes there are dead vines or stunted roses we want to hold onto because they’re a part of our past or they’re familiar. But the thing about vines is that they’ll eventually take over everything and kill your rosebush, keeping the most beautiful roses from blooming.

When you get married, you’re starting a new life with the one person God has picked out for you. If we’ve learned anything through all the classes and reading we’ve done, it’s that God doesn’t mess around when it comes to marriage. After following Christ, marriage is the most important thing in our lives. The. Most. Important. More important than our children, our family, or our work. Historically speaking, society is built on the strength of marriage. And when marriages fail, societies fall.

You cannot bring your single life into your new marriage. And you have to deal with your past when you get married. Otherwise, it’s going to show up whether you want it to or not. No one, and I mean no one, belongs in your marriage but you and your spouse. And if you’re a believer, and you’re only halfway walking in the spirit, trying to cling to your old life and cling to your husband or wife at the same time, guess what? God is going to knock your feet out from under you. He will not let sin against your marriage go unchecked.

Here are different ways you might have to prune your lives to make the beautiful blooms of your marriage grow:

1.) Family – A good rule about family is that you should love them, but you don’t have to live with them or tolerate them if they’re toxic to your marriage. Provide a protected environment for your marriage so you’re not always dealing with drama or hate or lies or vicious gossip. The bible says not to be yoked together with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). We all (or the majority of us) have family members who live immorally. Who are abusive. Who live in perpetual sin.

1 Corinthians 5:11 – But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or a sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

Ask yourself who does or doesn’t add value to your marriage. Ask yourself who causes conflict between you and your spouse. Ask yourself how much stress and conversation comes because of one person’s actions. When you can answer those questions, you’ll know who to prune.


2.) Friends – This is a big one. Friends can really influence a marriage, oftentimes more than family, because unlike family, we choose our friends and typically value their advice or counsel more than that of a family member.

I’ll be honest. I have very few close friends. And by few, I mean I can count them on just a couple of fingers and my husband is one of them. My friends have changed since my marriage. When I was single and I wasn’t walking with the Lord as I should have, I did what I wanted to do and hung out with the people I wanted to hang out with. None of them were believers. NONE.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Bad company corrupts good behavior.”

When Scott and I got married I started making new friends, his friends, and we both clung to the familiar. We had a lot of friends who weren’t believers, or the kind of friends who liked saying things like, “I’m praying for you,” as they rolled out of whoever’s bed they were sleeping in that night.

Guess what? We both had a lot of pruning to do. Friends, especially non-Christian friends, from your single life are not the kind of friends you need as a married couple. You need friends who are going to support marriage a hundred percent, who are going to build your marriage up instead of trying to tear it down, and friends who are going to encourage you to go to ladies’ bible study instead of “out with the girls” to the bar on Friday nights.

(A side note for the ladies – I can’t tell you how many times pictures pop up on Facebook with a married woman drinking at a bar with all her single friends. My first thought when I see that is her marriage is in trouble or it’s going to be. Don’t do it.)

Proverbs 13:20 – “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

I’ve been burned badly by friends in my lifetime. One of the things I value most in people is loyalty because of some of the betrayals I’ve been hurt by. There was a time recently when I discovered several people I considered friends knew a terrible secret that impacted my life drastically. It was one of those moments where it seemed everyone knew but me. I very quickly did a great deal of pruning.

Here’s the thing about sin. It wants to hold onto you. It wants to dig its claws deep into you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a drug or sex addict or if you spend your days gossiping about other people. It’s all sin. You can’t keep hold of certain parts of your life and tell yourself you’re strong enough to withstand the temptation to not fall back into the same sin. You’re not.

It’s too easy to say things like, “I know Joe has a bad drug problem, but he’s such a nice guy when he isn’t using and he knows I’m clean now.” Or something like, “I know Carol and I had a sexual relationship a few years back, but that’s in the past, so there’s no reason we can’t still be good friends.” Or something like, “Martha starts awful rumors about people, and I know how she keeps hurting people with her tongue, but I can still have coffee with her in the mornings because I can listen without believing the gossip.”

You have to prune those people, those “sinful influences,” from your life so completely that your garden might look like there’s nothing there but dirt and thorny stems for a while. That’s okay. The roses will eventually bloom.

Sometimes God will tell us to get away from people who seem harmless. God isn’t just about restoration, but he’s about prevention too, and sometimes things that are okay for others aren’t okay for us because we have a vulnerability or susceptibility that other people don’t.

Let me repeat, because I’ve talked to so many people who always have an excuse for why it’s okay to hold onto those dying roses. You cannot bring those people into your marriage and expect to have a healthy relationship with your husband or wife. You’ll be giving satan exactly the tools he needs to divide you. Look what happened to Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden. Satan divided them, he came between their marriage, and they died a spiritual death. God intended for marriage to unite man and woman as one flesh.

Let’s talk about real friends. I guess this is the “harsh love” portion of the blog post. Let me tell you, a real friend isn’t just there to build you up and be your “yes” man or woman. If a friend doesn’t have the courage to tell you when you’re doing the wrong thing or you’re sinning, then they’re not a friend you need to have. If they’ll stand by and watch you make horrible decisions without uttering a word, then prune them and let new roses grow.

Now, there’s always something to be said for the way telling someone they’re sinning is delivered. It usually has everything to do with tone of voice, not just the content of what you’re saying. But as Christians and as friends, we need to be able to speak truth and light into other Christians, even when it might not be what that person wants to hear. And they might turn against you, because that’s what sin and satan does. But don’t lose hope. Keep praying for them and mentoring them. That’s what real friends do.

Scott and I are at a point in our marriage where we’re actively seeking out other married couples in the church to be with. Couples who have been married for a long time who can be mentors to us and support our marriage. We’re looking for those relationships that are going to strengthen us.


3.) Location – Sometimes you have to “prune” a location from your life. Remember that following Christ is your number one priority and your marriage is your number two priority. Your children are number three. Work and other things fall farther down on the list.

Marriage is hard. And sometimes hard decisions have to be made for your marriage. Make them anyway. It’s worth it. If moving to a different location will save your marriage. Do it. There is a lot of our “pasts” in where we live. Ex-spouses, ex-girlfriends/boyfriends, bad decisions, and a multitude of possible sins.

If these things are a heavy burden for you personally, guess what kind of burden it’s going to be on your marriage? It’s going to be compounded. Those temptations are going to stare you in the face every time your turn a corner. And it’s not fair to your spouse to bring them into situations they might be blindsided by. Prune it from your life and start fresh.

4.) Career Paths – Sometimes we have to prune certain avenues or choices in our careers. This can be a scary one, especially if your family relies solely on your job for income. Change is never easy, but in our careers, that safety net sometimes means spending our entire lives never spreading our wings and seeing what else God might have in store for us. He’s blessed each of us with unique gifts. Use them for His glory. When you use your gifts and strengths as He intended, He’ll bless you and your family.



God says in Genesis 2:24 that a man shall leave his mother and father, and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Are there things in your marriage that are keeping you and your spouse from truly becoming one? If so, then it’s time to start pruning, because other than your relationship with God, there is no relationship more important than the relationship with your spouse.

There have been a few recurring themes from many of the experts on marriage we’ve been studying.

1.) Transparency is a MUST in marriage. Secrets will kill a marriage faster than anything else.

2.) If you don’t let your past die, your future will never live.

3.) The best thing we could ever hope to do for our children is show them what a good marriage looks like.

4.) God designed marriage to be the most unified and intimate relationship on earth.

Who or what do you have to prune from your life to make these things happen?


Leah Silverii


Learning To Receive Love: An Old Dog New Tricks


I have to admit that when our pastor began talking about receiving love I wanted to balk. Of course I knew how to receive love. My wife kisses me or does something for me, and I feel loved. Right?

That is about as surface level understanding as it gets. Many men simply do not know how to receive love. I’m not talking about sexual advances or a new tie. This is the soul deep source of true, unflinching, sacrificial love.

To receive love requires a level of vulnerability. Men, this is our cue to grunt.

The protector / provider mentality is ingrained in men. It’s in our DNA and not always a bad thing. It’s when the protector’s shield cannot be lowered to accept love that it becomes a problem. Grunting now isn’t encouraged. Considering this point is.

Balance is the key to battle, business, and being loved.

I guess the first item to clarify is what exactly is love. John describes it at it’s very being. It’s a little long, but there’s no more complete explanation and description of what love is.

See below and consider how much more there is to “love” than intercourse and candy bouquets. We as men must have the capacity to give love and receive love. My obvious question was, “How do I learn to do either?”

I grew up in a household where my dad worked and protected his family. He never spoke or showed love to us. I know he loved his family, but how was I expected to know love?

Many men that I speak with share this similar experience. We’ve learned to give and receive love from what we were shown. Guess what guys? There’s much more to it, and its an incredibly liberating experience once we’ve lowered our shield.


God’s Love and Ours

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 4:7-21

Learning to receive isn’t always natural. Think about accepting a compliment, or help from a stranger. We usually shrug it off. The reaction is no different from when our partner tries to show uninhibited love to us.

Consider 1 John 4:7-21, and use it as a litmus test. Do you measure up, exceed or have work to do?

Men, it’s worth the effort.

God bless you,


3 Great Truths For Dealing With Anger



Is it okay for believers to get angry, or mad or just toss their hands up in absolute frustration over a situation?

Blended families are prime territory for emotional eruptions between spouses, kids and in-laws. The stress placed upon new families trying to make a new start by avoiding old problems often lead to situations where words are spoken in anger that are not soon forgotten.

I’ve been there. Maybe it was dealing with our kids, or a crisis situation in law enforcement, or an occasion in public where a stranger just decided to make your day turn really crummy for no reason.

We feel it as it either wells up inside or strikes like a hot bolt of lightning – ANGER.

And just when you feel yourself begin to cool off, you hear the good old stand-by, “A real Christian wouldn’t behave like that.” It never fails to spike the emotions. Do “real” Christians get angry?

Let’s look at the reality of anger and what God says about it.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26-27

Stay Calm And…

This isn’t a call to action in favor of getting angry. God encourages and makes the qualities of controlling your emotions very clear as an association of maintaining a peaceful spirit. However, God also knows that in our humanity, emotions run the gamut from deepest adoration to most vile wrath.

It is the turning of anger into a seething wrath that leads to sin and therefore the separation from God that is not an acceptable emotional response to any circumstance.

The sentence’s immediate location of the command, “do not sin,” is purposeful and serves to bottle cap the sequence of angry emotions. While it is human and okay to become riled up emotionally over an issue, do not allow those emotions to cause you to sin.

God also gives you a deadline on resolving your anger – before you rest for the night. It’s critical that:

  1. You do not allow those emotions to fester into something more serious and lasting
  2. You do not force someone who you may have aggrieved with your words to languish in worry without resolution.


A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

Speak Soft

Solomon made it very clear how to maintain the peace. He encouraged offering soft words that did not provoke others to take defensive positions, or launch counter-attacks against you. In times of discourse, hard words or insults were not the answer to resolving issues.

Believe me, I’ve encountered thousands of situations over 26 years in law enforcement that were so violent, angry and hate filled that my only options were to talk it out. Words either soothed and resolved or ignited and inflamed already high-risk scenarios.

I know it may require biting your tongue, but it’s better to feel that sting than to lose a loved one over the temptation to blurt out a hurtful string of damaging words. Take not only the “high” road, but the “highest” road by following this biblical truth. Offer words of calm, control and de-escalation in tense times.

Applying this principle doesn’t make you weak, it places you in a better position to control the outcome.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

Pretending James had offered this advice over social media today, it might read something like this:

“Yo my Facebook peeps – much luv, but I gotta vent: Y’all just need to chill and stop playing back to all these crazy posts. Social media trolls just gettin’ in your head with nonsense. Sharing this hate only help it go viral. Ain’t the way to show the Big Man’s luv. Peace out peeps!”

lil’ Jim @1:19-20 (plz retweet/like/share)

I’ll confess that sometimes when Leah has an issue that stirs both of us, I immediately want to jump into “Man Mode” and fix it. I wouldn’t take the time to listen to her words, so therefore I didn’t truly understand the problem. That formula often led to either:

  1. Elongating the issue
  2. Compounding the issue
  3. Interjecting an erroneous solution that now created a brand new issue.

What Is He Really Saying

One of James’ many key points is that anger does not produce the righteousness of God. You may feel better pounding your chest in the beginning, but that’s soon rendered useless as the issue continues to exist.

I’ll go back to my cop days to share that I’ve witnessed many confrontations where one party will insult or physically attack the other party, and then look at us and ask, “What they said?”


Please, don’t be that person. Think twice before allowing that old uncontrollable tongue to write a check that your body can’t cash.

Great Tips

Ideas for responding before, during and after angry encounters:

  1. If you’re able to, pray with the person you have tension with. Confess your inability to communicate without feeling emotional about the topic. Ask God to lead you both through a conversation without either provoking or losing tempers.
  2. If you’re in the “heat of battle,” and you’ve allowed hurtful words to fly, then stop immediately and apologize. A quick, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.” Goes a long way in turning the tide of the crisis.
  3. Post-conflict is when the damage to yourself becomes the most evident. You might grind your teeth or clench your fists until fatigue takes over. Listen to what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:26-27 – You must process that anger before it consumes you with wrath against another, guilt against yourself, or worst of all, sin and separation from God.

In the words of my old SWAT partner, “Get right – Quick.”


PS: Your kids are also watching you and learning how to “handle” situations.

God Bless,



Who Woulda Thunk It

Proverbs 4:23 Expanded Bible (EXB)

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”

I had a traffic accident recently. With several pressing project deadlines looming, I didn’t take the time to clearly process what happened. I just went on to work and added all the new items concerning the accident to my schedule for that day. Really, keeping my civility and cordiality, (vital in my career as I represent an organization in a sector of our community whose reputation tends to be slowly built and quickly trashed), while dealing with the insurance and rental companies was threatening to uncage my inner wet cat (a.k.a. meangirl – don’t judge me).

When I finally felt satisfied I’d done all I could for the day, it was nearing 8:00 pm. I decided what would help was carbs. I was in the drive-thru at a fast food place and the car in front of me suddenly stuttered and looked like it was getting ready to back up. My heart started some stuttering of its own as I had a déjà vu moment of being crashed into again.

Meangirl started getting squinty-eyed as I prepared to lay on the horn and (maybe) say something that might have been yelling and definitely would have been unhelpful to protect myself. My mind was not processing the fact that the backup lights were not engaged on the car in front of me. I was reacting to something that was not really happening. The moment passed and I realized the earlier accident had made me hypersensitive to every other car and driver in a twenty-block radius.

You know, someone might come out of nowhere and trash my car. Again. My mind did a replay – I’d experienced this after an accident in 2006. An accident that happened at the same intersection, I might add. In fact, my same car has had its front bumper replaced twice already. This is the third time.

Because I’ve experienced this before, I know that the hypersensitivity will fade. I won’t always creep along wondering if someone will run that red light three blocks away from my car. I don’t have to go overboard to protect myself because no one is deliberately targeting my car…well maybe that Allstate Mayhem guy but he’s not really real… See there, I’m back. Already. Sense of humor intact. Sense of the ridiculous fully functional and practicality reigning.

But what if my thought life took me somewhere else? What if my thought life went something like this instead?

What am I doing wrong? Maybe, I should never go near that intersection at that time of day again. Or, on that day of the week…or ever again. Maybe, if I get a different car, I’ll never have another accident. Maybe I should stop driving.

And what if I acted on those thoughts? A very troubled and distorted view of driving would become my normal and my world would become smaller.

If we are not careful, we can do this with people when things don’t go well in relationships. We become defensive, combative, aggressive, depressed… We go into every relationship leaving or believing we will be left. Do I need to continue? What to do to keep the right perspective of who we are and what we need to change? Back up and start at the beginning. What does the beginning look like?

It looks like God. Now, I don’t know everything there is to know about God. Let’s face it; if I did, He wouldn’t be big enough to help even one of us. But I do know everything about Him He put in the context of relationships. John 3:16 is a prime example. (EXB “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.”)

And I know that it is vital to our peace and joy in this life that we are able to have healthy relationships with other people. So first, we must have an accurate view of how God sees us and a realistic view of our strengths and weaknesses, the kindness of our heart, and its capacity for meanness. We cannot navigate those minefields without the help of the God who loves us in spite of all our inner wet cat ways.

Bottom line? First, pursue a friendship with God. Being His is what makes us great relationship material with everyone else.

car1Oh, and what about meangirl? I’ll leave her for another time.

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