Getting Back in the Family Picture


Regularly taking the family "temperature" offers ongoing diagnosis, consistent feedback, and when necessary, a prescriptive treatment plan.

There’s a popular saying, “Everybody wants to get to heaven but nobody really wants to die!” All of us long for real resurrection power in marriage, but unfortunately we limp along most of the time carrying a caseload of excuses why we can’t live it out—and ending up wounding the people we love the most. You’ll never have resurrection power until you have a funeral for those excuses.

We were in our twenties, married, in love and definitely over-committed in activities. I was working around the clock and was going to school full-time pursuing my doctorate in counseling. No matter how much my wife tried to access me, I locked her out. No time for date nights.  Weekends were spent studying rather than connecting in our marriage and family. Barb’s desire for me to let down my guard and let her in were replaced with busy schedules and excuses of getting another paper done. At night, when she would long to hear my heart and about my day, I would put up the wall of self protection and focus on my world of work and school.

She didn’t get it—I was trying to provide, study for a doctorate, advance to the next career level and pay the bills. It felt like nobody appreciated the work I was doing. Then one day, our five year old drew a family picture, leaving me out of the picture. My life went before me. It shouted of my preoccupation with me, my dreams, my pursuits, my interests.

As I scanned the family picture, there was no Dad. Every word whispered through tears from my adoring wife, every misunderstanding founded on my lack of prioritizing our marriage resounded for the first time when I looked at the picture and I wasn’t in it. I was at a crossroads and realized for the first time that the road I thought was full of success was really just self-pursuit, injuring those I loved the most.

The man who loves his life will lose it while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

I wanted desperately to heal the hurts I had caused in my marriage and turned to God for help for neglecting my family. All my dreaded selfish ambition had gotten out of hand—it had to die. Only then could God release his resurrection power into my heart so I could better love my wife.

Since I have shared that story of being left out of the family picture more times than I like to remember, the most consistent response has been, "What did you do to get back IN the family picture?" It isn't very sophisticated, but it worked! I call it "taking our temperature.” On a consistent basis, I planned a time with each of my daughters and my wife and would ask two questions: "How am I doing? What do you need from me?" 

Taking our temperature gave me consistent feedback on how my plan to re-enter my family was progressing. Did they need more time? More daddy-daughter or husband-wife dates? More listening? More sharing?

Did it work? Absolutely. Because two years later my younger daughter drew another picture and I am in the middle of it. And it hangs in my ministry office reminding me, and others who see it, on a daily basis that God is not done with us as long as there is air in our lungs.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her through the Word and presenting her as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Today I can tell you I’m on earth to love Barb, and that’s the greatest calling this man could have. I’ve been tested. I’ve faced daily battles with pride. And I have found one answer to what ailed me: surrender.

When I surrendered my fears and insecurities and let Him flood my mind and my heart, I began to experience his incredible resurrection power. I committed to die to self over and over again knowing my flesh has been crucified with Christ and he lives in me. 

Maybe you’ve hit the wall in your marriage, feel like a failure or are just plain hurting—don’t give up! We all have to make choices to die to self daily. Authentic resurrected life begins when we kneel down and surrender it all to Christ. Let him rescue you, deliver and provide the hope for you that you need to resurrect your marriage! He did it for me, he’s doing it today and he will do it for you too!

Commit your SPOUSE AND YOUR MARRIAGE to Christ! 

Only then will it explode with the power to overcome obstacles and release His power in your marriage! By focusing on Christ, it releases the power to achieve the DREAM MARRIAGE!

  • My vertical relationship with God impacts my horizontal relationship with my spouse in my marriage. Your spouse gets the overflow of your heart being full.
  • My horizontal relationship is supposed to make me into the image of Christ by softening the sharp spots—determining my weaknesses in marriage drives me to the foot of the cross.


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