Tag Archives: how to improve marriage

The Marriage Knot: 7 Choices that Keep Couples Together

Ron and Jody Zappia were still newlyweds when their marriage began to unravel. Stunned by the crisis, they committed themselves to learning how to tie the knot of marriage so that it would hold them together for a lifetime. Almost thirty years of marriage later, Ron and Jody are sharing what they have learned in their new book by Moody Publishers, The Marriage Knot: 7 Choices That Keep Couples Together.

The Zappias learned that the marriage knot is not simply tied at the wedding altar and then forgotten. The knot must be strengthened through “everyday choices,” practices which we can learn from the Scriptures (21). “Choices” is the optimal word here because marital success is based not on the whims of our emotions but rather on the decisions of our will. Love is not something that happens to us; it is something we choose to practice.

Marriage Knot

The Zappias list seven choices that we can make to strengthen our marriage bond:

  1. The choice to grow spiritually
  2. The choice to love unconditionally
  3. The choice to serve sacrificially
  4. The choice to please (physically) regularly
  5. The choice to persevere persistently
  6. The choice to communicate respectfully
  7. The choice to bless abundantly

That does seem to cover everything! 😊

Ron discusses each choice in a separate chapter. At the end of each chapter, Jody shares a few comments from her perspective. Although Jody’s sections are very short, they are significant contributions to the book.

Whenever I blog about new marriage books, my goal is not so much to critique the writing or even to evaluate the book as it is to glean items that may be encouraging or helpful to you. There is much in this book to do just that, beginning with the title itself and the core premise of the book. It is important for husbands and wives to remember that marital unity must be strengthened every day. We either reinforce or weaken our marriage ties day by day and choice by choice.

Marriage Knot

Like a three-stranded braid, your marriage is woven together as you move toward God and toward your spouse.  You move toward God by trusting Him and obeying Him, and you move toward your spouse by forgiving and connecting.

Here are some “gleanings” from The Marriage Knot:


Your “marriage is your greatest tool to be a witness for Christ in this world. It is your greatest testimony to bring other people to a knowledge of God, to introduce His power, grace, strength, and love.” (21)

Choose to Grow Spiritually

Regular “church attendance decreases your chances of divorce anywhere from 25 to 50 percent.” (34)

Choose to Love Unconditionally

We need to “learn to accept the other and live with glaring shortcomings. That’s called loving acceptance. Sometimes marriage is about learning to manage the tension rather than completely alleviating it.” (51)

“If you’re having trouble in your relationship, I guarantee you’re having trouble with forgiveness.” (58)

“Being unforgiving can be like a hot coal in the palm of your hand. The tighter you squeeze, the more it burns.” (58-59)

Even when you can’t trust your spouse, you can still focus on loving him or her. (63)

Choose to Serve Sacrificially

When Satan tempted the first couple in the Garden of Eden, “Adam took a step back when he should have stepped forward.” And Eve “took a step forward when she should’ve taken a step back.” (69)

Men, stop “guilt-tripping yourself for not being the spiritual giant you think you ought to be. Be done with that. Simply commit to do your part in the spiritual growth process and watch God work!” (73)

Choose to Please Regularly

“Satan likes a marriage without sex as much as sex without a marriage.” (96)

“Hopelessness is never from God, only from the enemy, and the withholding of sexual intimacy is what invites the enemy into your struggling marriage. It’s not a good plan.” (98)

Premarital sex tells your partner that it is “okay to have sex outside of marriage.” (106)

Choose to Persevere Persistently

Sometimes God “wants us to remain under life’s weight to produce something in us that we can’t produce in ourselves.” (115)

Choose to Communicate Respectfully

“When it comes to your marriage: your speck is always a log, and your spouse’s log is always the speck.” (136)

“’Be careful with your words: once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten’.” (137)

Choose to Bless Abundantly

“Prayer is the greenhouse of hope!” (153)

Praying with your spouse “creates an intimacy that precious few will ever experience.” (153)

Moody Publishers is graciously offering a complimentary copy of The Marriage Knot to one reader of MannaForMarriage. If you would like to receive a paperback copy of The Marriage Knot, leave a comment below by March 28, 2019, to be entered into the drawing. (Be sure that I am able to contact you for your mailing address if you win.)

May God bless you as you make the choices each day which will strengthen your marriage knot.

Celebrating Easter in Your Marriage, part 1

Easter week is a special time of celebration for Christians. We remember the days leading up to the crucifixion of Christ, and we celebrate His resurrection from the dead. In fact, Resurrection Sunday is our highest holy day: it is the greatest event in history, and it is our greatest reason for joy.

During the next several days, Christians will be meditating on the profound spiritual principles that we can learn from Christ as He walked through that Holy Week. We want to apply these truths, first of all, to our relationship with Christ. However, we can also apply many of these principles to our marriages, too. (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)

For each day of the Passion Week, I would like to share with you some thoughts that we can apply to our marriages. I will include Palm Sunday through Wednesday in today’s post, and I will send Thursday through Resurrection Sunday next week.

Easter Thoughts for Your Marriage

Sunday: themes of welcoming and praise

Easter: 010-triumphant-entrySunday is the day we call Palm Sunday, the day of the Triumphal Entry. Christ rode into Jerusalem as the gentle King, and the people welcomed Him with praise.

Prayer: LORD, I welcome You to this marriage. I lay branches of adoration before You. I spread garments of praise to welcome You. I lay myself before You in worship.

Thank You for being the gentle King who comes to us, to be Immanuel to us, to be the God who is with us. I ask you to reign with gentleness over our home. We need Your wisdom to guide us and Your peace to govern us.

I praise You, King of Glory, who comes to us, even in our brokenness and darkness. This is an awesome thing! “Who is this?”

This is Jesus.

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.”

Action:  How can I offer affirming words to my spouse? How can I be a welcoming presence to my spouse? I receive my spouse today as a gift from God.


Monday: theme of cleansingEaster: 006-cleansing-temple

On Monday, Christ cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem.

Prayer:  LORD, I pray that my marriage will be a dwelling place for You, a kind of temple for You. We need Your cleansing. Please reveal to me where I have brought defilement or impurity to my marriage. Help me to turn from it. Show me my part in cleansing our marriage.

Action: How have I “robbed” my spouse? Have I withheld from my spouse affection, loyalty, respect, or support? How have I bartered when I should have given freely?

Tuesday: theme of anointing

Easter: 010-jesus-anointed

With lavish love, Mary anointed Jesus with expensive perfume.

Prayer: LORD, I want to pour out to You my full obedience to You in this marriage. I pray that this offering of myself would be like a sweet aroma to You. I pray, too, that the Presence of Your love in my life would be like a pleasing fragrance to my spouse.

Action: How can I anoint my spouse with honor today? I want to say to my spouse, “I choose you!”  How can I show lavish love today?

Wednesday: theme of rest

Prayer: LORD, thank You for the places of rest that You give in the midst of our busyness and chaos. I pray that You would open my eyes to the need for “quiet streams” in my marriage. Help me to let go of “rushing” so that our spirits can rest; help me to let go of “pushing” so that You can prepare us for what You know is ahead of us.

Action: I want to be still, and know that He is God. How can I build needed rest into my marriage? Where does my spouse need renewal?


Blessings to you and to your marriage,

Move from Isolation to Intimacy in 6 Steps

Did you realize that the Old Testament tabernacle has amazing truth for marriages?


I share six steps that move us from isolation into intimacy in this article for StartMarrriageRight.com:

“Stepping from Isolation into Intimacy.”



I would love to hear your thoughts.  And as always, you are invited to join us on Thursdays as we fight on our knees, praying for our marriages.

Blessings to you,


photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net