Many of us are resolution-makers and goal-setters, especially when New Year’s rolls around. So how do you and your spouse work toward a goal or keep your relationship moving forward? 

For quite some time, we were resolution-setters, too. We would choose a goal, hope, pray, and put in the effort. We tried to maintain enough steam to pursue the goal and stay on track all year. However, as you know, resolutions and even the best intentions don’t always have staying power. 

Choosing WOTY As A Couple

So we decided to change it up. Now, we choose a Word of the Year (WOTY). But here’s the critical part: we choose our word as a couple. Together, we decide on an area of focus for our marriage and attach a word to that goal. By selecting a word or even a phrase, we find it’s easier and more effective to maintain. It’s a constant reminder of what’s important to us and our marriage. And a bonus is we don’t have to feel guilty if we fall off the resolution bus; we can always go back to our word for the year and reset our sights on the marital goal.

Our clients shared how intentionally choosing a Word of the Year helped restore their marriage. They were on the brink of divorce – to the point of documents filed and a court date set. But God stepped in and spoke to the wife, telling her not to go through with the divorce. She listened, and she and her husband decided the following January to choose a word of the year and stick to it. They chose the word together the first year after the very close call. It was a regular reminder that neither of them was alone in their fight for their marriage, and in fact, they had another in the middle with them. God was walking them through. 

The following year, they selected the word build. And continued to choose their marriage first, building on the foundation God had already given them. 

Choosing Intentionally

That’s a convincing illustration of the power of a word, isn’t it?

We’ve found the process of discovering your word is an intentional practice. As a couple, take time and step away from your daily busyness, reflect on where your relationship is or has been, and envision how you’d each like it to move forward. Then listen. Be deliberate about your listening and reflecting. Finally and most importantly, take the time to pray and ask God for direction in choosing your word together. Seek Him.

Once you’ve settled on a word, it’s helpful to write it down and reflect again. As a couple, can you truly commit to this word for the entire year? Unlike a New Year’s Resolution, which tends to fizzle out quickly, a Word of the Year can bring intentionality to your marriage all year.

Once you’ve worked through the process together and discovered your word, write it down and post it where it can be seen frequently. In your office, on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator. Give yourself visual reminders of your word, and repeat the word to yourself and your spouse often. 

Tracking Your Word Is A Blessing

If this is your first time choosing a WOTY, we encourage you to find a place to track your words year over year. We have a running list of my words over the years, and it’s truly a blessing to see how God has brought us through and kept us moving forward to the next thing. All through the power of a word and a Word of the Year. 

Have you and your spouse chosen a word for this year?

We’d love to hear the 2023 word or phrase you’ve chosen together and why!

The Bible tells us the power of a word in no uncertain terms. 

Words According to the Bible

Right out of the Book of Proverbs 18 (v.21), we read:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Words aren’t something we necessarily give frequent thought to, let alone pause and intentionally decide upon. 

A Resolution Or WOTY?

Many of us are resolution-makers and goal-setters, bright and early at the beginning of a new year. For quite some time, that was me, too: I would choose a goal and hope and pray to have enough steam to pursue the goal all year. However, as we all know, resolutions don’t always work long-term!

So I decided to change it up. Now, I choose a Word of the Year (WOTY!). It just made sense to me. By selecting a word (or sometimes a couple of words!), I find it’s much simpler and more effective to maintain an area of focus for myself. It’s an easy, daily reminder of what’s important to me. I don’t have to feel guilty if I fall off the resolution bus; I have my word for the year!

I like to review my previous year’s successful and not-so-successful endeavors, and my WOTY will often reveal itself through this process. In seeking a word, I dig deep and allow the Lord to work in my heart. It feels like a natural extension of where my heart is and where I should focus for the upcoming year.

Intentional Practice

I’ve found that discovering your word is an intentional practice. Take time and step away from your daily busyness, reflect on where you’ve been, and envision where you want to go. Then listen. Be deliberate about your listening and reflecting. Finally, take the time to pray and ask God for direction in choosing your word.

Once you’ve settled on a word, write it down and reflect again. Can you commit to this word for the entire year? Unlike a New Year’s Resolution, which tends to fizzle out quickly, a Word of the Year can bring intentionality all year long – and sometimes, it rolls right on through to the next! 

Once you’ve worked through the process and discovered your word, write it down and post it where you can see it – in multiple places! In your office, on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator. Give yourself visual reminders of your word, and repeat your word often. 

Tracking Your Words

If this is your first time choosing a WOTY, I encourage you to find a place to track your words for each year. I have a running list of my words over the years, and it’s a blessing to see how God has brought me through and then to the next thing; all weaved into my words of the year!

2023 is unique for me. Rather than a WOTY, God gave me a phrase of the year: peacefully scared. Isn’t that a lovely thought? Even in the midst of situations that would typically cause fear in me – I choose to stand in faith and receive His peace. Over everything. When things look out of control from the outside, I can remain peacefully scared in His presence. 

Please Share Your Word

How about you? What God-inspired or insightful word have you chosen for your year?

We’d love to hear the 2023 word (or words) you chose and why! 

Merry almost Christmas! 

It’s time to celebrate Jesus and have cherished time with family and friends. 

But what if things aren’t so merry and bright with your relationship?

We’ve developed some practical tips to help keep you focused on each other and the real reason for Christmas.

  1. Look for the ‘little things’ – and have a heart of gratitude. Even when things are stressful, focus on the small, happy things, and be grateful.
  2. Talk about the reason for the season, and share with friends and family.
  3. Pray together regularly – and make prayer a priority. 
  4. Have you made your list for Santa yet? If not, get it done as soon as possible to reduce stress. 
  5. Discuss your Christmas budget, and agree with your spouse on the amounts to be spent.
  6. Understand and accept that things (and people!) are out of your control. Remind yourself of this fact often.
  7. Mind your busyness! Remember B.U.S.Y. = is Being Under Satan’s Yoke. Slow down. We all know how very quickly time passes – why rush it with busyness?
  8. Prioritize your to-do list for the season. And stick to it!
  9. Surround yourself with friends and family who will support you and your spouse during the holidays. 
  10. Try to remember that your actions and words can hurt your spouse. Don’t let a moment’s stress cause pain for those around you. Take a breath and pause before you speak.

We pray that you can slow down and enjoy each treasured moment this Christmas season. Be intentional about showing extra love to those around you – and always remember the REAL reason for this season!

Merry Christmas, and may you find reasons to celebrate every day this Christmas season. 

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” 
Luke 2:10

It’s a Wonderful Life. If you’ve seen this classic Christmas film, you no doubt walked away feeling uplifted and encouraged about life. But maybe your real life isn’t feeling so picturesque right now, and you’re wondering just how to get back to that wonderful, peaceful place. 

Life can still be beautiful, even in the pain and the mess.

But how, you ask? Here are a few tips that might help you find some glimpses of the loveliness that is your life.

  • Cultivate a grateful heart

When we are stuck in our own stuff, it’s hard to see past the discouraging things in our lives. But – the hope and joy that will come with a shift toward a grateful heart can change things! Take the time to write down at least one thing each day for which you’re thankful. Start small each day, and watch your grateful list grow!

  • Do your best to avoid a negative attitude

I know it’s not easy! And it won’t mean rainbows and sunshine every day. But intentionally working toward a positive rather than negative attitude can help you refocus and move toward seeing the beauty in your life.

  • Pursue your calling and purpose

God has called you. You are chosen, and He has plans for you. What passions has He laid on your heart? Follow your God-given passions relentlessly and watch the pain fade as you affect those around you for the good. Your life’s purpose will become more apparent. 

  • Help others

You can find fulfillment and happiness by helping others – especially during the holiday season. When we are the hands and feet of Jesus through our care for others, our problems become dimmer, less ‘big.’

  • Give yourself grace

Understand that this is a season. While doing your best as you walk through this challenging time in your life, allow yourself the same grace you would extend to others. And know you are never alone! He goes before you, and promises to be with you. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us: ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’

  • Remember, you have hope!

Because of the baby boy sent to us over two-thousand years ago and His great love for us – there is hope!

I pray during this Christmas season, you can find that life is still beautiful. 

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Over the years, as I’ve gained experience and wisdom, one of my goals has been to be more intentional with my life. Deliberate daily actions, from my prayer life to my relationships and thoughts. And especially in my healing. You see, when pain and hurts are left unchecked and not processed, they can grow larger and larger, allowing bitterness and unforgiveness to take hold. So I’ve decided to intentionally take steps in my own healing. 


When Tim’s affair came to light, I was completely and utterly devastated.

I was left feeling unprotected, vulnerable, and unworthy. The decision was entirely mine: begin taking daily steps toward healing or allow the heartbreak to take over my life. I chose to be intentional about my healing so our marriage could be restored. I can’t say it was easy, this decision of moving forward and facing the pain. It was indeed a journey, full of down and discouraging days – but also full of self-discovery and drawing nearer to God.

Being Intentional In Acceptance

The process began with acceptance. Although it hurt, I had to accept the reality of Tim’s affair. This first step can be a doozy, especially when our hearts would rather deny the facts – but it’s necessary to move forward. I needed to make changes and do things differently than I had been doing. 

I needed to get unstuck and find my value again outside the circumstances. When feelings of unworthiness crept in, I would hold fast to God’s love for me and continue to look to Him for my comfort, peace, and worth. I reached out for help from friends, counselors, and coaches. I leaned on them for wisdom, discernment, and support. 

Intentional Healing

By intentionally seeking healing, my heart and mindset were changed – and our marriage survived and began thriving again. 

Are you in a season of pain and hurt? One that feels as if it will never change or improve?

You can begin walking toward healing by starting with intention

Accept the circumstance for what it is, and then choose what needs to change in your life. Hold tight to God’s promises and His love over you. Then take action – intentionally

Psalm 139:13-14

For you formed my innermost parts;

    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 

  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Diana would welcome a chance to speak with you about your healing — no obligations, no pressure.

Communication: a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. That’s Merriam-Webster’s definition. So how do you define communication? Better yet:

Communication in Marriage

How is communication in your marriage?

Most counselors and coaches (including us) agree that communication is foundational to a solid marriage relationship. It’s crucial for each spouse to be able to safely express feelings about a situation or experience – whether positive or negative. Take a moment and think about the last ‘opportunity for growth’ (aka disagreement or argument!) you experienced as a couple. Did your wife believe you would acknowledge her feelings and listen to her?  Did your husband have the space to honestly air his thoughts and concerns – without judgment? 

How do we go about communicating well?

When we express ‘how that makes or made me feel’, we are learning to express our own feelings in a safe way – and in a way that will also protect our spouse from feeling attacked and rushing to the defense mode. By using this communication tool early in the conversation, doors will remain open, rather than walls being built up with ‘you’ statements. 

Scenario One looks a little like this: Husband approaches Wife with the statement, “You always …. (add your own storyline here).” Immediately, Wife feels she’s left with no choice but to defend herself. As a result, communication is shut down from the beginning, leaving no chance for healthy discussion and resolution.

Scenario Two plays out this way: Husband approaches wife Wife with the statement, “That situation made me feel this way.” Wife can now honestly communicate her feelings as well since Husband has opened the door for genuine discussion.

Building Trust

How we relate and communicate is essential to building trust. Most women want to know they are being heard and their feelings to be validated. Typically, men want to know they are valued and heard (as well). 

This rings true on a general relational level as well. Women need love (and to feel loved), and men need respect (and to feel respected). In fact, this comes straight from the Bible. Ephesians 5:33 tells us, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” 

It doesn’t get much more clear than that!

So, the next time an ‘opportunity’ arises, let’s take a moment and remember to safely express ourselves and allow our spouse that same chance. Keep those lines of communication freely moving, and build that strong foundation.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

If you find that you’re struggling with effective communication in your relationship, we would love to help.

Life is sailing along quite smoothly: a great job, picture-perfect kiddos who are active in all the things, a supportive spouse, and a wonderful church you attend with your family. You’re living out everything you’d ever wanted and dreamed of as a little girl! 

But what happens when things don’t go as planned?

Your job is downsized due to economic conditions, causing financial strain and, in turn – marital issues. Perhaps your spouse’s parent becomes chronically ill, and your family is now the caregiver. Even our sweet and fun little ones can become difficult and even a little rebellious as they hit the teenage years. Maybe you’re just disappointed in your marriage. You’ve both drifted, and now you’re left feeling disconnected. Or perhaps there’s been a betrayal.

These unexpected (and very unwanted) situations in our lives can leave us feeling out of control and utterly unsure of which way to turn. 

So, what can we do when life takes a turn in a direction we weren’t expecting? 

Gather support. For yourself and for your family. 

Does your church have pastoral or counseling care? Take them up on it. 

Seek out coaching or counseling. 

Be wise and reach out for help!


Keep talking with your spouse and your family. Shutting down will build walls. 


Prioritize your needs, too. 


Most of all, cover your situation in prayer. 

When I received the very unwelcome news of Tim’s affair, needless to say – I was devastated. 

It was definitely not in my plans! 

But, I took steps to take care of myself, get help and support, and work through the situation – day-by-day. 

Years later, I’m so grateful that I did.

If things aren’t going quite as you expected today, what steps can you begin to take to turn things around?

Visit Coach Diana at

Are Relationships Like The Movies?

Don’t we enjoy a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy? Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love and
then maybe run into some trouble. They figure it out, then the boy proposes to girl (always in
quite the grandest of styles!). Next? They get married, and then, of course, they live happily
ever after.

Or do they?

You know it’s not always the rosy picture painted in a romantic comedy if you’ve been in a
relationship. It isn’t all flowers, candy, and hand-holding while strolling the beach with a
gorgeous sunset as the backdrop.

Love Is A Verb

While these are all beautiful things, love over time is so much more. Love is a verb. It’s an active
experience, and it’s a choice.

It’s not enough to assume your spouse knows you love them. Putting the ring on is certainly not
the end! It’s not even enough to just say the words. Actions and commitment speak. Loudly.
Once the honeymoon phase wears off, daily intentional acts are vital to the relationship.

Showing love through the act of washing dishes

What are some tangible ways to remind your spouse of your love? For example, remembering
the way he enjoys his cup of coffee, sitting through (part of anyway!) the football game and
cheering on his favorite team, helping her with the dishes, even though it’s not the most
enjoyable task, taking care of the kids so she can take a bubble bath – these are all little things
that go so far in showing your spouse how very much you love them each day.

Love With Purpose

If your spouse appreciates physical touch, giving hugs and holding their hand will fill their
tank. Do they need to hear affirming words? Let them know how much you appreciate
everything they do to take care of you and the home. Maybe your spouse needs some quality
time with you in this oh-so-busy world. Make the time – purposefully.

When we show love to our spouse through words and ongoing actions, it sets a rock-solid
foundation for the relationship.

So today, will you do more than just ‘feel the feelings’ toward your spouse – will you take the
actions that demonstrate real love to your spouse?

1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

I believe most of us have that ‘one’ friend, family member, or acquaintance; you know the one. You beeline for a completely different aisle when you see her in the grocery store! No time for this today!

Why? The negativity, self-pity, and same-ole-story routine can be just plain exhausting.

She’s choosing bitterness.

Bitterness is a choice. We can remain stuck in unforgiveness, anger, and resentment – or we can choose the better option of forgiveness, joy, and contentment (yes, it is possible!). 

How we choose to respond to unexpected and unwanted situations in our life will determine if we remain caught in bitterness or if we move forward to healthier emotional outcomes.

Let’s face it. Life is going to throw us some curveballs. Job loss, broken relationships, illnesses, and the death of loved ones – just to name a few. Yet, through all of it, we get to choose. Will the roots of bitterness take hold? Or can we make the (hard!) decision to choose hope, peace, and even freedom? 

To break free is not the easy choice – this, I know! 

As we are walking with my son, Matthew, through health issues, I get to choose. Do I stay in faith and remain positive and hopeful, even when the unknown is so hard, or will I let the fear and anxiety creep in and take hold? 

When Tim revealed his affair and my world came tumbling down, I had to choose. Would I walk the road of unforgiveness or take intentional steps toward forgiveness and healing – even when it seemed impossible? 

At times, it seems as if these decisions and choices must be made daily. I know this well. But, making the better choice to draw near to God, to set your mind on healing and joy over anger, negativity, and contempt – will allow hope to arise in you! 

Hebrews 4:31-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 

Get the Bitter or Better free resource!!

“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” – Zig Ziglar

As children, we are taught concepts over and over until we ‘get’ them. Statistics show repetition enhances our growth & learning ability. However, once we cross the threshold into adulthood, the notion of repetition for more significant learning typically ceases. Aside from attending college or trade schools for more formal education, we’re typically left to gain knowledge of valuable and important things by, well, just doing. 

Relationships can be highly impacted, either positively or negatively, by repetitive actions. 

I don’t know about you, but I certainly didn’t attend a Relationships 101 class in school!

So, where can we begin to bridge the learning and growth gap?

We can start by recalling and then taking the crucial step of implementing the tools and tips that we have learned about. 

Let’s talk about a few of those:

  • Communication – key in every marriage!
  • Enjoy quiet moments together
  • Celebrate one another, and celebrate your love
  • Believe in yourself – and believe in your partner
  • Ask the hard questions 
  • Be willing to do the work
  • Pray
  • Most importantly: Keep Christ at the center

When we are willing to repeat the actions that will positively impact our marriage and our spouse, we will see change. 

Another benefit? God will honor the efforts in your repetition! Sure, there will be days when you’re ‘just not feeling it’. Keep those efforts toward a great marriage going!

We have walked the hard road of betrayal together and seen God hold us together. Through daily, repetitive steps of intentional forgiveness, grace, and choosing love, God was at the center – fighting for our marriage. 

What purposeful steps can you begin taking (and repeating!) today for your marriage?