Moving On… Final Post here at Successful Christian Remarriage

This will mark our final post here at Successful Christian Remarriage.

Our marriage is stronger than ever. We will continue to offer our prayers and advice to those who want their remarriages to grow. We feel that God is leading us in other directions, so we will be migrating the posts on this blog to another website. This blog will be shut down in the upcoming months of 2016.

The advice that you have come to expect from this blog will become available on Loraine’s author website at www.lorainenunley.com

“I Do… Over? A Christian’s Guide to Remarriage” will continue to be available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Thank you to all of our readers. It has been an honor to share our journey with you. We pray that God will continue to bless your remarriages every day.

Moving On... Final Post at www.successfulchristianremarriage.com

Happy 13th Anniversary to Us!

This week, we will be celebrating our 13th Anniversary! Of course, every year that we have together is a gift from God, but every year that we mark an anniversary also reflects God’s glory in our marriage. Every year we push further past those nasty statistics that doomed our marriage from the start.  (Check out this post)

If you are beginning a remarriage or struggling with your remarriage, please take encouragement from our story here, here and here.

Your remarriage can beat the odds too! 

Has your remarriage beat the odds? Please share with us in the comments below.

“Y” Is For You

Here’s a riddle for you: What do you have in limited resource but can give a lot of? What doesn’t cost anything, but can cost dearly?

The answer is TIME.

Celebration of birthdays is a big thing in our household and one of the more memorable ones was one where Time was the theme. Each member of our family spent individual time with the birthday person. The activities included things like having a meal together, playing miniature golf, ice skating, going to the movies and other things. It was a busy time, but it left our birthday person feeling pretty special. This got us to thinking about time and how we use it. We are each granted only so much time. There are only 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 12 months in a year. Not only is our time limited in its counting but also limited by the amount of time we spend here on earth as God deems it. Ecclesiastes tells us that there are times for everything – a season for every activity. The Bible also tells us that we do not know the amount of time that God will give us here on earth. So time is an important commodity. This begs the question – How are we choosing to use our time? The best way that we can spend our time is by giving it to others. If you want your treasures to be built up in heaven, then giving your time to God will need to be a priority. If you want to build up your marriage, then giving time to your spouse will be the priority. Even spending time on yourself can be giving your time to others. The stressed out husband or frustrated wife can benefit their families by taking time to themselves to relax, de-stress and recharge their batteries.

How will you choose to spend your time today?

“R” Is For Reminiscing

Our children love to hear stories from their childhood. We enjoy telling them the stories. We like to walk down memory lane. Reminiscing is a good tool to enhance your relationship with your spouse. We reminisce quite often about our first meeting, first date, wedding proposal, wedding ceremony, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, etc. These memories are special to us and when we talk about them, we are reminded of those good and exciting feelings that accompanied the memory. Anything that reminds you of your love for each other is something that you should cultivate. Reminiscing is definitely one of those things. This is a simple thing and yet a very powerful tool for building your marriage. Remembering happy times reminds us of good feelings and our love for each other. Remembering the sad times or trials reminds us of how good God has been to us and how thankful we are to have each other. We also reminisce about memories that are things we can laugh about because laughter is always good in your relationship. Don’t take your spouse or your marriage for granted; remember your love for each other and all the hard work that you have invested in this relationship. Always be thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom, put you together. Never stop reminiscing.

“N” Is For Non-verbal Communication

“The look of love, is in your eyes…” What would you do if you could not talk to your spouse? How would you communicate to them? There are going to be times in your marriage when you will not be able to communicate with each other verbally. The better you know your spouse and the better your relationship is, the better you will be at nonverbal communication. Not only is this important, as all good communication is in a marriage, but the more of your senses that you use in your relationship with your spouse, the more you enhance it. Personally, we love using the sign language sign for “I Love You”. It is simple, can be done with one hand and can be understood from quite a distance away. For example, when we are pulling out of our driveway and our spouse is standing at the front door or a window, we use that sign like you would wave. But it means more. We’ve used that sign across crowded rooms. We use it enough that our children know it and use it as well. What about a wink? There is something exciting about a wink from your spouse ;o). What about a particular facial expression? Is there an expression that your spouse makes that fills your heart with love? Perhaps there is an expression that fills you with laughter? Let your spouse know about it. There have been times when we have been in heated discussion and the right facial expression lightened the mood and kept the conversation from going down the wrong path. There have been times when we have been stressed and the right expression from our spouse diffused it. It is all about how you make each other feel. So what is your look of love?

Traditions – Happy Birthday Jesus!

Some traditions that we hold dear in our family are the ones that revolve around birthdays. It is so important, in fact, that Loraine has written a book about it.

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40 Birthday Celebration Ideas

(Like the shameless plug?)

One tradition that we have is the birthday dessert. We would say cake, but not everyone likes cake. Our son, for instance, doesn’t like cake unless it is an ice cream cake or in the form of Twinkies (which we did one year).

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The birthday person gets to pick what dessert they want. We have had many things, ranging from regular birthday cake, to pies, cupcakes, cheesecakes, ice cream cakes, cookies… Well, you get the idea. If it’s sweet and we can find a way to stick a birthday candle in it, we do it.

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When our children were very small, even before our remarriage, we added Jesus to the birthdays that we celebrated. What a great way to get your family involved in the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior. This tradition has carried on into our remarriage.

First we bake a cake. Yes, the cake for Jesus is usually a traditional cake. Not that it has to be, just that we pick something that is liked by our whole family. Jesus doesn’t typically get chocolate since our son does not care for it, but we believe that with all of the wonderful flavors that God created, He probably doesn’t mind that we don’t use chocolate. And yes, we make the cake. Making it involves more effort on our family’s part so this is part of the gift that we are giving Jesus. Our Christmas schedule dictates when we make the cake. Some years, we have done it on Christmas Day and there have been years when we have made it before.

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We always celebrate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas, no matter what our schedule is like.

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Our celebration entails all of us gathering at the table. We light the birthday candles and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and then we blow out the candles together. Then everyone gives Jesus their gift. Our gifts are not material, they are heart gifts. Some gifts are different types of promises, like the promise to show our love to others more or to read our Bibles. Some gifts are declarations of things like our love for Him or our gratefulness for all that He does for us. When our children were little, we had everyone say what their gift was out loud, but as our family has grown and matured, we have become more private with those gifts. We now write our gifts out on slips of paper, no names (Jesus knows who is giving them) and put them (unread) in a designated gift box for Jesus. Then we enjoy the cake and our fellowship with each other and God.

Does your family celebrate Jesus’ birthday? If so, share your celebrations with us.

Traditions – The Christmas Tree

Christmas tree decorating has been a long standing tradition around our household both before our remarriage and now. The past few years this tradition has been met with mixed emotions. Two years ago, our oldest son, who lived with his mom in another state, was killed a few hours after we did our traditional Christmas tree decorating. So now this ‘feel good’ tradition is tainted by the grief that we feel over his loss. It has been tough to keep the tradition up, but time does heal and this tradition has become even more important to us since.

Every year each family member buys (or makes) a new ornament to put on the tree. After quite a few years, we have amassed a large collection of ornaments that have special memories attached to them. We put up our tree, get out our boxes of ornaments and separate them so that each family member can put their ornaments on the tree. As you might imagine, with so many special ornaments, it takes quite awhile to put all of them on the tree. There are so many “hey, remember this one?” moments and so many stories. We will put on Christmas music, make hot chocolate and just enjoy each others company as we decorate. It is also at this time that we have added another tradition to our repertoire: After we have finished decorating our tree, we now light a special candle (with our sons name and passing date on it) in his memory.

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Traditions – Operation Christmas Child

A tradition that we have carried over from our former marriages is making boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Since we have a blended family, this is a great tradition to continue. Our children enjoy picking out items to pack in the boxes. If you are interested in adding this tradition to your family, here is how you do it (see also http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/ ) :

1. Get a box.

When Operation Christmas Child (OCC) began years ago, it started with shoeboxes. Now, OCC has special boxes that you can purchase. Our church donated to OCC so that they could offer us the boxes for free. We have heard that some of the Christian book stores are also offering those boxes. If you don’t have a shoebox or can’t get one of OCC’s boxes, a plastic “shoebox sized” box works just as well. In fact, many people prefer to use the plastic boxes so that the children will be able to keep them for later use.

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2. Pick the child that you will be giving to.

Boy or Girl. Ages 2-4, 5-9, 10-14. We did three boxes this year. Typically, we have each child do a box and then the adults do one. Our children picked a Girl (age 5-9) and a Boy (age 5-9). We chose to do a Boy (Age 10-14), as that is the group that receives the lowest amount of boxes every year.

3. Make a list of what you want to include in the box.

This began as a wish list. We listed the obvious things, such as the necessities like toothbrush, toothpaste or soap and the nonessentials like toys. Then we began to put ourselves in the shoes (pun not intended) of the children we were giving to. What would they like or need. Those items that we felt were absolutely necessary to the box, we marked with an asterisk. The great thing about this is that there is lots of information on the web to help you with ideas.

NOTE: One of the most moving things we read when researching what to put in our boxes, was a child’s thank you for receiving simple white underwear. It was from a upper age boy who talked about the embarrassment he felt not having underwear and how he cried when his box included some. We had not even considered the idea that the pre-teen children would benefit from things like underwear, deodorant and feminine products (for the girls)

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4. Go shopping.

Do this as a family. Dollar stores are great places to begin. Here is a list of things that we purchased for our three boxes: For all three boxes, we got pens, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener, solar calculators, pencil case, combs, toothbrush, toothpaste, toothbrush case, wrapped hard candies, wash cloth, mild soap, flip flops, underwear, socks and marbles. For the younger boy, we added hot wheels car, ball and stuffed animal. For the older boy, we added playing cards, hot wheels car, deodorant, ball, and tools. For the girl, we added stickers, notebook, doll, and stuffed animal.

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5. Assemble your box.

Even though we purchased new items, we took almost everything out of its wrapping so that we could fit the most things possible inside the box and so that the children would not have a lot of trash to get rid of.

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We put pencils, pens and erasers inside of pencil cases and tucked hard, wrapped candies into the little crevices.

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We rolled up clothing.

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We took the bars of soap out of their boxes, put them into sandwich bags and wrapped them in wash cloths.

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Basically, we stuffed the boxes.

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6. Add a label to the top of the box.

Check mark a boy or girl label for the age group that your box is for. You can get these labels in the pamphlets with the free boxes, or they are available to print on the OCC website.

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7. Close up your box.

Close your box and put rubber bands around it to keep it closed. You can wrap your boxes with wrapping paper, but if you do, wrap the lid separately from the bottom because the boxes have the be opened by the staff of OCC before they can be shipped.

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8. Donate for shipping costs.

Each box costs $7.00 to ship. You can write a check for the shipping and put it inside the box or you can pay it online – it is considered a donation. We chose to pay it online because that option allowed us to print off labels with tracking on them. When our boxes are shipped to the children, we will be emailed to tell us what country our boxes went to. It’s just an added bonus!

9. Pray.

As a family, pray over the boxes. Pray for each of the children receiving them and for God to use the boxes to draw these children to Him.

10. Drop your box off.

Take your box to a collection site. You can find one online at OCC’s website. Our church is also a collection site so we will be taking our boxes there.

Can I Get A Witness?

Every day a couple is pledging their love and faithfulness to each other in a public fashion.  Whether it’s a twenty thousand dollar affair or standing in front of the justice of the peace, when people get married, they do it in a front of others.  It is an important part of a wedding to have witnesses, for legal as well as personal reasons.  We tend to forget, however, that the witnesses do not go away after the wedding.  Throughout our married lives, we have many witnesses to our relationship.  Our families, our friends, even complete strangers are witness to our marriages and how we conduct ourselves in them.  So when we think that our actions in our marriages only affect ourselves, we may have to rethink that notion.  What are our witnesses observing?  Do they observe a healthy, Godly marriage, where each person is a valued partner?  Or do they witness anger, hurt and destructive behaviors?  Do people want to emulate your relationship or are they thankful that they are not living your life?  Does your marriage make someone want to know God or want to run away from Him?  While it is not what people think about us that is our priority, but rather what God thinks of us, it is still something to consider about how our marriages can be used to glorify God in what others see.  Our wedding speaks to the public but what does our marriage tell them?

Thanksgiving 2013: We are thankful for…

As a remarried couple with a blended family, there are always things to be thankful for.  Here are a few of the things that we are thankful for on this Thanksgiving Holiday:

  1. Jesus Christ, our salvation
  2. Each other
  3. Our children
  4. Strength in our marriage
  5. A sense of humor
  6. Date nights
  7. Slap happy conversations in bed late at night
  8. Memories to reminisce about
  9. Gentle touches when stressed
  10. Supportive words