Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Ring Matters

Last week I commented to a coworker that his lunch smelled good and I asked him what he was warming up in the microwave. He broke into a mile-wide grin and said, "Would you believe my wife has made me lunch everyday?" I laughed and congratulated him, and told him that was great to hear.

Troy (not their real names) and Angela got married on Easter Sunday of this year. They have been a couple for the past seven years and have been cohabitating  for the last six, and just got married within the last two months.

I asked Troy what else has changed in the few months since his wedding and he said, "Almost everything! It's really weird. Things are calmer around the house, we're not on edge and everything is going really, really well!"

I asked Troy if anything else significant has happened, other than changing her last name, and as he laughed he said no, that was all. He said he can't really understand the difference, but he likes it.

I took this opportunity to explain to Troy that I knew what the difference-maker was. I told him the ring really does matter, and more than that, it's the commitment.

Even though they have been living together for the past six years and have built a relationship, they have always had "an out." As long as they were only living together and not married, they didn't have the same level of commitment that they now share.

When things get toughand things get tough in every relationship—it's easier to toss in the towel and break up without the ring and the commitment of marriage.

I told Troy that the commitment he made to her when they got married means more to Angela than he can imagine!

Most women want commitment and security, and when they don't have those, they are unsettled.

Troy listened intently as I described what Angela was feeling and he soaked it up like a sponge. He nodded in agreement when I explained that they no longer had "an out" when things got tough and that the commitment they now shared was not only binding legally, but also in the sight of God and their witnesses.

You see, commitment will get you through when the storms of life are pounding away at your anchor. They will allow you to stand firm, without wavering in your convictions.

Without having a predetermined resolve that you will stick by your spouse when life gets tough, thoughts of doubt and despair may creep in and begin to take hold in your heart.

The ring is a reminder of that commitment.

It is no secret or surprise that bad things happen in life. Sickness, job loss, disappointment, financial setbacks, and countless other challenges appear in our path on a continual basis. Challenges and problems cannot be avoided and oftentimes cannot be controlled, much less result in a preferred outcome.

What you can control, however, when you face these trials and tribulations is your response to them. How will you handle these setbacks? Who will you turn to for comfort, and who will you turn to for solutions?

Will you play the blame game and try to find fault in others, or will you accept the fact that bad things do happen to good people and work together to find a way out of the mess you are in?

The answer lies in your resolve and commitment to one another.

It is easy to fall victim to your circumstances and to find fault in your spouse for your current or ongoing problems. Resolve and total commitment to one another is paramount in determining the success in your relationship.

We encourage couples to commit to love their spouse, regardless of the circumstances that come their way and to learn from every setback and failure.

I applaud Troy and Angela for taking the bold step at this point in their relationship and making the commitment of marriage.

He has clearly witnessed a positive change in the atmosphere at home and in the way he and Angela communicate with one another.

And, to top it all off, now he gets home cooked left-overs for lunch everyday!

Life is good! Way to go Troy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who Are We?

Meet Jason & Debby Coleman. They were married September 30, 1989 at a very young age (Debby turned 19 on their honeymoon – Jason was 21). They dated for several years and had what they like to describe as a “fairy-tale wedding” and expected to “live happily-ever-after.”

However, reality struck immediately. Jason spent an inordinate amount of time at work and Debby sat at home, alone, far too often. Within the first several months of this storybook wedding, disaster struck. Before she knew it, Debby was involved in an affair. It lasted for several weeks, until Jason discovered the secret life she was living.

As they tried to piece their shattered lives back together and Jason was fighting hard to understand forgiveness, he was struck with a potential life-threatening injury that put him in the hospital. His right lung had collapsed.

The reality of becoming a divorcee, and possibly a widow, at the young age of 19 hit Debby hard. She decided that she wanted to be married; she did want a life with her husband, and for the next several months they diligently tried to repair their marriage.

After a couple of years of trying to recover on their own and nearly ending up in divorce court, they began marriage counseling and learned how to communicate with one another and how to truly love one another unconditionally.

Today their marriage is amazing. Couples are naturally drawn to them as others try to discover the “secret” of their happiness. In response, Jason and Debby have written a book “Discovering Your Amazing Marriage,” which was released in June 2010.

They have an amazing story of tragedy turned triumph, of rising from the ashes, and they are an inspiration for couples going through the throes of potential divorce.  They would love to share their story with you of how they overcame the immense challenges!

Visit for more information.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dream House: Blueprints to a healthy and happy home

Book review: Interesting, Informative, and Applicable!

When a friend recommended this book, I was intrigued by the sub-title: Blueprints to a healthy and happy home. When I think of blueprints, I think of step-by-step guidelines for building something. Blueprints are precise, concise, and sequential. That's exactly what I discovered in this book, Dream House. The ideas presented by the author are genuine and intertwined with personal stories and application, rather than a punch list of "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots." His ideas are clearly laid out, to the point, and he drills down to the core of the issues. He discusses raising children at different stages of life as the chapters unfold.

Many, if not most, Christian self-help books are overly "preachy" and tell you what to think. What I appreciated most about Dream House is that the author doesn't TELL YOU what to think; he shares his heart about what HE thinks on the issues and how he has applied them in his own life. There are several stories he shares where he made mistakes with his kids and had to seek their forgiveness. This brings realism to the book that readers can relate to. On many pages I found myself thinking back to events in my own life with my wife or kids and thinking, "Yep, been there. Made that mistake too" or "Oh yeah, that does work well!"

I have many half-read self-help books gathering dust on my bookshelf because I couldn't get through the overbearing tone of the author. Not this one. I finished it and I've already suggested it to several others I know. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter which makes for a good small group study too. I understand that many people are apprehensive about new authors, but this new author's debut is well written and enjoyable! A 5-star recommendation!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are You An Emotional Hoarder?

This past decade has given birth to numerous ‘reality’ television shows. Most of us have watched Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, or one of the dozens of reality shows that have sprung up like weeds. Today, you can flip through the channels and find shows like Housewives of Atlanta, American Idol, Fear Factor, The Apprentice, America’s Next Top Model, Pimp My Ride, Deadliest Catch, and dozens more. Shows depicting tattoo artists, pawn shop owners, storage unit bidders, wife swappers, home remodelers, fishermen, singers, and dancers give viewers a wide range of choices when it comes to reality television. These shows have come a long way from what is commonly known as the "granddaddy of the reality TV genre," Candid Camera, which made its debut in 1948.

One of the reality-based shows that will usually grab my attention is “Hoarders.” According to the Hoarders website, this show takes a fascinating look inside the lives of two different people whose inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of personal crisis.1

In each story they feature a house filled with personal belongings and garbage that has been stock-piled and hoarded for what appears to be many years. In numerous episodes, the house is so cluttered with possessions, trash, human and animal waste, and even dead animals that the house is in jeopardy of being condemned by the Health Department.

Have you ever considered yourself a hoarder? Not in the same sense of these people who hoard “stuff” to the point where they endanger themselves, but do you hoard emotional hurts and offenses from the past? Has your spouse, or someone close to you hurt you in the past and you’ve held on to that pain, refusing to forgive the offense? Are you hoarding issues or un-forgiven sin of the past that are not resolved?

Just as it is unhealthy for people to hoard possessions and useless junk, it’s equally damaging, if not more so, to hang on to grievances and offenses of the past. If you have unresolved anger buried in your heart, it has a tendency to fester and grow, and has the potential to prevent you from living a life full of joy and peace.

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “And don’t sin by letting anger con­trol you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Anger, or conflict, can have a devastating effect on your relationship. It causes us to be critical of one another and it is divisive. Additionally, anger often leads to an escalation of the current issue at hand.

Unresolved conflict can escalate minor disagreements into major problems and these problems can increase in both importance and intensity. Unresolved conflict can burn within you and cause you to harden your heart towards the person with whom you have the conflict. It can grow and multiply and before you know it, you have become bitter and angry, and you may not even realize why.

Similar to people who hoard possessions, once you harbor unresolved conflict or un-forgiven offenses, you begin to hang on to offenses more readily and tuck those memories away. The more conflicts and issues that you tuck away somewhere, the easier it is to avoid confrontation and resolution and the easier it is to ignore emotional pain.

For several years in the early stages of our marriage, Debby was what she calls a “stuffer.” She would stuff her emotions deep within her heart and would not talk about her true feelings. When I would do or say something offensive, she had a tendency to add that to her collection of past hurts and she would refuse to discuss issues with me. Basically she was an emotional hoarder.

Because of the way she handled disappointment and hurts, by stuffing and hoarding them away, we would not discuss many of our problems with one another until something triggered her and she couldn’t hold back any longer. All the past offenses and pain that I had caused, and all the emotions that she had stuffed away would burst forth and we would engage in horrific emotional combat, slinging insults and lobbing emotional hand grenades at one another. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” (NIV) We were acting quite foolishly during those times!

Usually our fights would last deep into the night and would expand to include so many unresolved issues of our past that we typically could not remember what had triggered the fight in the first place. We were in this cycle for several years and had one of these blow-out fights about once every three months.

We weren’t able to break out of this rut until we began to clear out all the clutter and emotional garbage out of our life. When we finally surveyed our stockpile of shattered dreams, shredded emotions, discarded needs and broken promises, we realized that we needed help. We needed an intervention. Like so many of the people on the Hoarders show, we couldn’t clean up our mess on our own.

We found a biblical marriage counselor who helped us step by step in clearing out the garbage and clutter from our emotional home. He walked us through the unresolved conflicts of our past and helped us find the courage to deal with problems as they surfaced, rather than stuff them away to be dealt with at a later date.

Today we continue to have conflicts, like all married couples do, but we have learned to deal with them immediately and directly and have moved our marriage from mediocre to amazing.

When Debby and I have disagreements with one another and we heed the words of James 1:19 which says, “Understand this my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry,” we typically find resolution and compromise that we can both agree to and we are able to avoid additional conflict.

We learned how to communicate with one another and how to discuss our conflicts and problems. God’s Word has plenty to say about keeping our communication pos­itive and uplifting. Proverbs 15:1 instructs us to avoid words that stir up anger, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” When we have arguments or disagreements, we are to avoid say­ing anything that will add fuel to the fire of disagreement. Proverbs 13: 3 says, “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (NIV) We find in Proverbs 15: 4, “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

From watching the reality show, I’ve seen how difficult it is for people to part with their possessions and useless junk, and I’ve seen them fight to hang on to certain items they just can’t let go. One thing they all have in common is that they needed someone else to walk them through their mess and encourage them, each step of the way, to rid them of the excessive clutter that is damaging their very way of life.

In our interactions with married couples, we have talked with many people who think they are ‘just fine’ and can maneuver through life without guidance. Often these same people are experiencing a mediocre marriage, wherein they do not communicate with their spouse and yet they wonder why their marriage isn’t thriving and healthy.

Take some time and survey your heart. Are you hoarding offenses and hurts from the past? Are you stuffing disappointment and anger and refusing to resolve problems between you and your spouse? Open every closet door and look in the dark, secret storage rooms of your heart. Do a thorough house-cleaning. Take the first step in clearing out your junk and free yourself from the emotional baggage you are packing through life.

As you discuss an issue and resolve conflicts with your spouse, it is important to use phrases such as “I feel” rather than, “You make me feel.” This demonstrates that you are taking responsibility for the way you feel, rather than putting blame on your spouse for causing you to feel the way you do. This small shift may change the attitude of your spouse and have a positive impact on the resolution of the conflict.

We encourage you to seek biblical counsel and advice as you tackle emotionally charged conflicts from the past. There is no shame in seeking counseling. In fact, that may be just the step your spouse needs to see you take to begin the road to recovery in your relationship. If you need a marriage counseling referral, feel free to e-mail us at

~ Jason Coleman
“Discovering Your Amazing Marriage”


Friday, October 28, 2011

Dating – 5 Key pillars to build your foundation upon

As a couple is dating and their relationship deepens, it is important that they have a solid foundation in several key areas. Every relationship will be tested, to some degree, and their ability to weather the storms of life will depend on the strength of their core values. We suggest the following five key components for a solid foundation to build your relationship upon.

1. Communication

When a couple is dating, they are typically communicating constantly. Or so they are led to believe. They discuss their interests, their pasts, their common experiences and hopes and dreams for the future. They spend an inordinate amount of time together, laughing and talking with one another and they never seem to run out of things to talk about. I know that when I was dating, I spent an incredible amount of time on the phone with my fiancé Debby, and that was long before cell phones hit the scene.

In spite of spending hours on the phone with one another, we discovered soon after we got married that we really had no idea how to communicate with one another. Oh, we were accustomed to talking quite often, but once we were married, we found it hard to get one another to understand what we wanted and needed.

We hadn’t discussed our goals and expectations in detail, and we found ourselves going in opposite directions.

It wasn’t until we learned how to truly communicate with one another, and listen intently to one another, that our relationship began to flourish. In the first five years of our marriage, we fought continually due to unmet expectations. When we learned the importance of clarifying our expectations to one another, our relationship began to thrive.

I learned how to listen to Debby and validate her feelings and she learned how to communicate with me in a way that demonstrated love and respect. If we would have learned the importance of communication while we were still dating, we could have avoided many of the challenges and problems we faced in the first few years of our marriage.

2 Trust

Just as good communication is important, so is the building of trust. Trust is one of the primary foundations of a successful relationship. Without trust, it’s hard to build a relationship that will last. Trust is a vital component to any relationship and without trust, there could likely be misunderstandings and shattered confidence in one another.

There are so many aspects of trust when it comes to a relationship. Trust is confidence that we will be true and faithful to one another; assurance that our lover has our best interests at heart, and a belief that our partner will support our dreams and aspirations.

3 Compatibility – common interests

One aspect that may appear to be trivial to some may indeed be one of the most important components of a solid and long-term relationship. I’m talking about compatibility. While most people take compatibility for granted, it is extremely important in a relationship that will develop and grow over time.

Generally a couple that has been together for any length of time will share common interests and goals, or there would not be many reasons for them to be together. It may not always be through shared experiences or interests that we meet and begin to develop an interest in one another, but rarely will a couple establish a long-term relationship without sharing common interests, goals, and priorities.

If a couple does not share interests and only has their own individual hobbies and interests, they will find that over time they drift apart from one another and will spend less time together. This is always detrimental to a relationship.

4 Compromise

The art of compromise is a critical component in any relationship. Compromise simply means that each partner gives up some of what they want or need to give their partner what he or she wants or needs. There are times when we need to set aside our individual desires for the sake of the relationship and we make compromises.

A key component of compromise is acceptance. We have to accept one another as we are, and often that leads to compromise. If a couple doesn’t learn the importance of compromise while dating, they will undoubtedly struggle to accept one another and will have difficulty compromising later in their relationship. If they get married without learning how to communicate and compromise, they will have rough waters to navigate in the years to come.

5 Respect

Far too often we see couples who have no idea what mutual respect is. They talk to each other with language and terms that would make a sailor blush. They do things that set each other up for failure, rather than creating an environment of mutual love and respect.

Couples who treat each other with respect and hold one another in high regard build up one another’s self esteem and confidence. When there is mutual respect, the relationship will grow and develop in a healthy way and they will deepen their commitment to one another. Everyone wants to be treated with respect, and when that happens, the natural response is to reciprocate that respect. It becomes a ‘win-win’ situation and that has an impact on every other aspect of the relationship.

~ Jason Coleman
“Discovering Your Amazing Marriage”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Marriage Workshops

Debby and I had the opportunity these past two weeks to teach marriage and parenting workshops at the Awana Ministry Conference in both Spokane and Everett, Washington. We shared our story to approximately 120 people and met some great couples.

We shared some thoughts on how we model and honor Christ in our marriage and encouraged couples to live a Christ-centered marriage.

We are humbled to be used by God to encourage couples to choose to stay married and we are grateful for the couples that have trusted our words and suggestions.

We introduced a Small Group Study Guide that was written to accompany our book "Discovering Your Amazing Marriage." The study guide takes the reader into a deeper study of God's principles and can be used individually or in a group setting. For ordering information, e-mail us at  The study guide sells for $6.95 and bulk discounts are available for a small group.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" contest

Jason Coleman and Debby Miller Coleman, authors of Discovering Your Amazing Marriage have been selected as Finalists in The Christian Authors Show "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" contest! Please support us by voting for us in this contest! Click the link below, click on the large red seal on the home page that says "50 Great Writers...", scroll down to the "Click Here To Vote" link, find our name in the list and follow thru the instructions. Very simple, takes a minute or two is all, and we appreciate your vote and support!!!

The Christian Authors Show

Not sure how long the voting is open for, but we'd appreciate support! The Grand Prize is a 2 minute book trailer video!

THANKS in advance for your support!