scuffed around the edges—where the grace is

I stand in front of an old church.
The worn fibro is dirty, weather marked and scuffed, like my hightops. 
The weatherboard was painted fuchsia pink, who knows how long ago, and why?
The skinny cross perched beneath the roof’s ridge is a little bit crooked.

Aren’t we all though?
Aren’t we all a bit bruised, and a bit broken? We’re a little bit scuffed around the edges and we’ve tried to paint ourselves brightly, but it’s tiring isn’t it, all this pretending? It’s tiring, keeping our halos straight with all the doing.

I’ve been the Pharisee on the street corner, praying loud and alluding to a holiness that doesn’t exist. I’ve been the disciple that whispers to Jesus to hurry on because I’m hungry. I’ve been the rich man who can’t experience the presence of God because I don’t want to let go of my grasp on the world. I’ve been the woman at the well, and missed the point—seeing what’s in front of me without understanding the heart of Jesus.
I’ve seen in black and white, I’ve lived as judge and jury. I’ve done good and looked good without any real goodness. I’ve been a legalist, and I’ve been blinded by pride.
I’ve tried and failed a hundred ways to save myself.
And Jesus says He didn’t come to call the self-righteous, but the ones who fail to measure up.
And suddenly I’m glad not to measure up.
I’m glad to walk with a limp and wrestle with doubt and sit at the table with the scorned and the outcast.
Jesus reaches out without hesitation to touch our leprous skin, wash the dust from our tired feet.

And now, grace abounds and walks around the edges of our everyday experience.*

My edges are scuffed but that’s where the grace is.
I’m worn out by religion but the person of Jesus offers something more.
I’m tired of trying, but I don’t have to—I can’t save myself anyway, and grace abounds.

Grace abounds.
Grace abounds in the mess; when churches are burning and when muslims are hurting, when Christians are judging not loving, grace abounds.

I won’t hide my limp or pretend piety or try to straighten my wonky halo.
I’ll stand over here at the edges, scuffed and dirty—where the grace is—and make room for you, too.
We are not saints, we are not perfect and we are not very loving at all* but there’s grace here.
And this is the divine mystery: that it was for our broken hearts, our mess and our mistakes that He died.
He died loving us; seeing past our mess, seeing through our mistakes—despite and because of our shame.

He died so we could be free from the doing and the earning. Now we don’t have to paint ourselves in bright colours or try to cover our brokenness.
Nothing we can do can save ourselves.
Here, at the cross we can allow Him to touch our scaly skin and see our broken parts; accepting the gift He holds out, so that our hurts can become our hope.

It’s a Good Friday indeed.


* Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
Richard Rohr

rambling: on living a quiet life

I love the word rambling.
To ramble to me is to walk without a particular destination in mind, just to walk for the pure enjoyment of walking. And when you’re walking for the pure enjoyment of it, you notice things you wouldn’t have before.
Then there are the rambling words. Snippets of sentences, poetry, stories, ideas—they ramble through my brain at a pretty constant pace. If I pay attention, I can pull them out, write them down.
Like this phrase that’s been repeating itself in there lately, live a quiet life, mind your own business, work with your hands… it’s from a scripture in the Bible* and it’s been speaking to me.

We escaped suburbia on the weekend for a sneaky getaway for a few days.
We stayed at our favourite caravan park, pitched our tent so that it nestled under the peppermint trees, and spent days being the only people on glorious beaches with white, squeaky sand and turquoise waves.
We climbed over rocks, swam in our underwear, and caught salmon from schools of them right behind the breakers. We had no phone reception and played board games at night, drank tea from enamel cups and slept on blow up mattresses. All of my favourite things.

Live a quiet life.
There’s so much pressure to shout. To advertise everything we’re doing, to hustle, to ‘make something’ of ourselves. We’re shouting about our accomplishments, about our travels. Shouting our opinions—loudly voicing exasperation at the state of the worlds politics/religions/inequality. And I’m not saying I’m not just as exasperated as the next person, and I am not saying that those of us who are being a voice for the voiceless and standing up against injustice are wrong, not in the slightest.
Those of us though, who sprout opinion in the form of venomous personal attacks from behind a screen are shouting, and need to stand down.
Those of us trying to hustle to be seen and heard amongst the noise of the crowd, take a deep breath and ask yourself why.
Live a quiet life.

Rise early, sit with hot cups of tea, read books, have long conversations on the phone as you mindlessly fold the laundry, pray for the friends whose names cross your mind as you’re driving or doing the dishes.
Sit patiently with your little people to help with homework, or listen to long-winded stories about the latest YouTube video or Fortnite game, give embarrassing hugs at school drop off, eat slices of apple with them in patches of sunshine on the front verandah.
Pop the top off a Corona and sit with your soulmate, clink the neck of your beers together and grin, remembering why you chose each other.
Live a quiet life.
There’s so much beauty to be had in this quiet life—deep breaths of it that fill your lungs with gratitude—none of it can be conveyed in an Instagram post or 140 characters of clever words.

There is more room for the sacred, here in the quiet life.
The rhythms of the every day become soul-filling when we’re not hustling and scrambling and trying so hard to snatch more more more, something else, something brighter, shinier.
In the quiet, we can hear so much better.
Notifications off. Minding our own business, working with our hands (to stop them from scrolling, perhaps).
Rambling, content in the here and now.
Living a quiet life, enjoying the view.


*1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

live brave

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. – e.e. cummings

I’m sitting here, at my desk and the washing machine is whirring in the background.
The lights are on this morning because it’s overcast—a tiny taste of autumn that I know we won’t see much of until later in the month, it often stays hot all through March and into April here.
I’ve been scrolling through photos from last night’s intimate book launch.
Amanda and I gathered our respective circles, and we celebrated with pancakes and champagne. (You can get a copy of our little book here.)

And today I woke up in awe of humanity.
Some of our friends toasted to our braveness and vulnerability last night.
And it does take courage to produce, create and deliver something into the world—but when I was speaking to that circle last night I wanted to applaud them all for being brave too.
It takes courage to do a whole lot of things.

I was thinking about one of our friends who’s considering going back to University to study teaching—he’s done his fair share of brave, and this is another big leap.
I was thinking about a precious woman and her marriage that she’s been fighting for for years, making the brave decision to lay down the fight.
I was thinking about the courageous ones who are working on their own manuscripts, facing their own past to bring healing into the world with their words.
I was thinking about the ones who wake up in darkness, and struggle to shift it throughout their day, but they soldier on, bravely, for their families.
Then there’s the woman who’s embarked on her own business, invested every penny and worked around the clock—it doesn’t look like it’s taken much, but she’s given it everything she has and I salute her too.
I was thinking about the ones who have bravely laid down their own dreams, sacrificed or delayed their plans, for someone else in this season.
There is so much brave in the world.
There are so many who have walked night seasons, who know struggle and pain and continue to get up and embrace the fresh mercies of a new day.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that some faith traditions acknowledge as the beginning of the ancient Lent season. A period of repentance, and fasting, and recognising our deep and always-failing humanity, and waiting expectantly for Hope to arrive.
Alicia Britt Chole, in my favourite Lenten devotional 40 Days of Decrease, says in Day 1:
I invite you to consider Lent as less of a project and more of a sojourn. A sojourn is a “temporary stay at a place.” And a “stay” is about presence, not productivity.

Regardless of whether you acknowledge Lent or not, I think ‘Embracing Slow’ is always a good idea.
Presence over productivity.

Going against the grain is never comfortable, but comfortable doesn’t require bravery.
Are you purposing to slow over this season?


embracing slow: a journey of unhurried grace

What does it mean to embrace slow, in a world that glorifies busy?
How do you stop and fill your hurried soul, in the midst of the demands and pressures of all the responsibility that you carry?
I wholeheartedly believe that Jesus held the key, when he spoke to Martha.
She was a woman just like you and I—concerned with outward appearance, laying awake at 2am wondering how she could tick everything off her to-do list, and resenting anyone who wasn’t hustling as hard as she was.

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”

The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.” Luke 10:38-42 TPT

Making a practice of stopping and sitting at His feet is the key.
How often do you sit down attentively to the Master?
To stop and still, and hear his voice, refusing to be pulled in every direction?
To listen to your breaths. To brew your tea leaves and wait until the flavours steep into the hot water.
To pull up a yoga mat and practice.
All of it is practice; the hearing, the stilling, the daily discipline.

This is the heart of a devotional book that Amanda Viviers and I have written and compiled together.
We’re releasing it in time for Lent, so that in the lead up to Easter we can intentionally slow together—but it can be read and used at any time of year.
We’ve left space for you to reflect and scribble. We’ve added Bible verses for you to go and explore.
It’s a beautiful compilation of stories and thoughts on slowing down in our every day, and we are praying that it helps lift the eyes and still the hearts of every reader that goes on the Embracing Slow journey.

So, keep your eyes on our socials for the release date and links to our online shops.

I’m so excited.


ink on paper: having and holding real photos

It’s a funny thing, this technological world we live in today.
How mostly our insides are lived on the outside, so they don’t resemble insides very much anymore.
The public sphere trumps all of the spheres and we’re bombarded with the pressure of identity creation, and content production.
All this, swirling around in my thoughts for months doesn’t have a lot to do with todays post, or it has everything to do with it. (And I am quite aware of the irony that all those swirling inner thoughts are shared out here, in the public sphere!)

Last year I spent months cleaning up my iPhone’s camera roll. I haven’t had a new phone in about five years, so it was full – full of blurred shots I should have deleted, screenshots of recipes I’d never tried and just a whole bunch of junk really. So every now and then I’d sit down and delete a few hundred, keeping only the good ones. It took ages, just going through slowly whenever I had a minute or two.

Then I backed them all up, moved them off onto my external hard drive.
Which felt like a feat in itself, but now what?
Five years worth of photos sitting inside a little rectangular piece of metal.

I’m a big fan of print anything. Books, magazines, photos—they’re all better in their non glossy, tangible, dog-earable form. I wrote this article a couple of years ago, about printing photo books, which, to be honest I haven’t really done a whole heap more of. Other than calendars for the grandparents every year, I haven’t printed much at all.

Until I realised that all those memories were going to be stuck in the dark and bottomless land of the digital unless I did something about it – and made it easier for myself to do continue to do that something again and again.
That something was a photo book, which should hit my letterbox soon, and I can’t wait!
It’s full of 2018’s best memories, both from my real camera and from my iPhone.

And I’m developing a system, where I archive all my photos, iPhone included, into a folder to make it easier to print the coming year’s photos into a book. I’m also trying to name them instead of leaving them generic, so that I can find what I’m looking for on a whim.

Then, I decided that wasn’t good enough, that I need to start printing and framing for my walls.
So I started with two.
I’ve never really been that person that has family photos on the walls, but I would like to try to be at least a little bit like her.
So I found a disc with my wedding photos, found the one photo of all of them that I actually like (they are actually all horrible, I hate them!) edited it so that it was in black and white, and sent that one and a photo from our holiday off to Fred Snow for printing.

My prints are stunning. The texture is so beautiful I was hesitant to hide them behind the frames.
But frame them I did—thank you Ikea—and they have made me so, so happy. The biggest is from our recent trip north, and the spot we climbed down and snorkelled, the five of us all together in this secluded bay at Sandy Cape. And as we climbed out we’d spotted a sea lion who’d come to see what all the fuss was about!

They’re sitting alongside a beautiful print of the ocean at Gracetown by my crazy-talented bestie. Then there’s an original watercolour that was painted especially for me by an incredibly talented artist I’m thankful to know – it came with a timely word of prophecy that I’ll never forget. The framed print of sunset at Cottesloe has the Indiana in the background, which was our wedding venue – it was a gift from my parents for our first wedding anniversary. And my inky words—reminding me that this little two-man team I’m in is the greatest in the world.

Now, it feels a little bit more like home, a little bit more like us.

All of that to say: lets take photos to capture memories, not just for the sole purpose of sharing them online. Print them, frame them—share them—let your memories escape your phone camera roll.


create beyond fear

Toward the end of last year I’d found time to journal more often.
My love for writing was returning, after losing it in the midst of two years of slogging out essays, assignments and news articles.
The ease of sharing with the world, however, wasn’t returning with it.
I felt again, stuck and stupid.
I’d wrestle with my longing to write and share, ultimately concluding that there was already too much white noise in these online spaces, that there’s no room for my voice, and that others can articulate ideas so much better so why bother, and who even cares.
If I’m honest, I’ll tell you I still have to shush those lies almost on the daily.
I’m much kinder to others: wholeheartedly believing that they have a story to tell, that there is room at the table for them.
It’s about time I spoke just as kindly to myself, and stopped allowing seeds to doubt to grow.

The ten-year-challenge roaming the internet (where you post side by side images of you ten years ago and now) remind me of just how far I’ve come.
Despite that, I feel seventeen and thirty all at once; I know there are parts of me that have grown—parts that are sure, carefree and unconcerned about the thoughts of others—and parts that still want to be seen by the cool kids.

I think being brave with our lives is extraordinary. And extraordinarily terrifying.
Not just for those of us who dare to take up space in an online world of perfectly curated Instagram feeds, but for those who walk out hard days, hard marriages, difficult decisions and every day life, and just keep showing up. On the daily.

And being brave with our lives means that people like me—the quiet ones, the wall flowers, the background ninjas—we have to stop waiting for permission to be granted like some great golden gift bestowed by someone at the very head of the hierarchy. (You loud, audacious, party people don’t have to wait for permission either!)
We don’t need anyone’s permission to be wholly, uncompromisingly ourselves.
I love these verses from Romans 12:

If your grace-gift is serving, then thrive in serving others well. If you have the grace-gift of teaching, then be actively teaching and training others. If you have the grace-gift of encouragement, then use it often to encourage others. If you have the grace-gift of giving to meet the needs of others, then may you prosper in your generosity without any fanfare. If you have the gift of leadership, be passionate about your leadership. And if you have the gift of showing compassion, then flourish in your cheerful display of compassion.
Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.”

If your grace-gift is dance, then may you dance with wild abandon.
If your grace-gift is writing, then may you scribe the poetry of heaven.
If your grace-gift is music, then may you hear a new song and sing a new tune.
If your grace-gift is food, then may you delight in the kitchen, and be surrounded at the dinner table.

Whatever it is you have, you can bring. We are all called to push boundaries, to pioneer new days, and to come to take our place at the table, or on the dance floor, or behind our computer screens and offer our gifts without apology.

This year I’ll be writing without apology.
Without comparison, without wondering if anyone’s even reading.
Writing because of my need to write, and because my love of words is stronger than my need to impress or captivate.
Because I’m brave enough to come and offer what I have.

May you offer your grace-gift to the world too, there is room for all of us.


just rest

Our gingerbread houses were a little bit crooked but piled high with all the good stuff.
We cast votes on the strongest gingerbread house, or the most liveable, or the tastiest, or the most creative.
Today, on Christmas Eve we’ve cracked them open, breaking off pieces to eat.
Our lead-up-to-Christmas traditions are done and dusted today, the advent calendar is finished and the anticipation for Christmas day is almost over.

We broke out the Christmas tree early this year, mid-November, and the kids berated us a week later for making it feel close to Christmas when actually it was too far away.
I tried to explain that the anticipation of something is often better than the reality.

Yes, our Christmas day will be filled with family time and good food and presents (because lets be honest that’s what they’re really anticipating) – but the lead up to Christmas is so much better.
It’s a daily reminder that something good is coming. In expectation of the greatest gift, we walk out our days in wonder of this season – full of drives around streets with Christmas lights, baking, playing our favourite carols and choosing the perfect gift for our favourite people.

I have the same expectation of 2019 – and the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is how to walk in wonder in the midst of the not yet. To be grateful for the days we have now, to find joy in what I hold in my hand in this moment, and to see the good in what’s right in front of me. I know there are gifts coming, there are answered prayers coming, but I’m learning not to let that knowing, that expectation, steal joy from my every day.

What I’m believing and hoping for will one day come.
But right now, I can be content in what I already have, without having to acknowledge the missing or the broken.
It is the simplest mindset shift, but one that has brought so much rest.

Rest in the anticipation.
Rest in a good God, who doesn’t hold out on us.
Rest in gratitude for the right here, right now.
Rest from striving, from the hustle, from the doing-in-order-to-gain.

I’ll be reminding myself in 2019.
It’s okay, it’s all going to be okay.
Just rest.

Merry Christmas.


the broken, the unseen

Yesterday, I posted a photo on Instagram that, when I checked in again later, had received more likes than any of my recent posts.
It was a happy photo taken weeks ago, of me with a perfect fringe and a hot cup of tea in my manicured hands. And my caption was all good news! Because I had good news and I did really just want to share it with the world.

In that moment, I was grateful. So grateful that I’d received word that I was eligible to graduate university (see?! Good news!). Grateful that my kids nailed this year at school, and kind of awestruck that I’d just been given the gift of an amazing woman’s first book – she signed me as her editor!

I’m not downplaying any of that news – but later, after I snapped at one of my kids, with a cold that I’ve not been able to shake for almost two weeks and is e x h a u s t i n g while wearing my dirty active wear and my frizzy fringe pinned back I felt this twinge of guilt.
I’d just shared this incredible highlight on my Instagram – but it in no way encompassed a complete picture of my life. It can’t – I’m so aware that it can’t.

It was a reminder again, that what we see online is like looking through a keyhole. We see only what we can through a tiny window, but there are other rooms in there completely invisible to us. Other struggles. Ugliness. There are uneven edges on the shortbread, messy and imperfect (but completely adorable) salt dough ornaments that are far from Pinterest-worthy.

Most of the time these rooms, these spaces in our lives aren’t kept as secrets, but they’re kept private. Visible only to the ones who come through the door and sit in those spaces with us.

This month after I got some bad news, my friend arrived at my house with wine and chocolate. She told me she was ‘dropping in’ – but she lives almost an hour away! Yet she drove all the way to sit in one of those rooms, invisible to the public, but completely accessible to her.
About a week later, she patiently witnessed a little tantrum I had with tears and all, hugged me big and loves me still. Another space that was too sacred to be presented to the world.

All that to say that not all of my life is my highlight reel.
BUT I am learning not to dwell and focus on what is missing and what is broken.

The other day I read this verse in Micah that says,
The breaker [the Messiah, who opens the way] shall go up before them [liberating them]. They will break out, pass through the gate and go out; so their King goes on before them, the Lord at their head.*

I sat, feeling in my bones that brokenness is the way to breakthrough.
Sometimes what’s difficult in our lives is exactly what’s needed to break through, to bust out, and to liberate us.

There is much, much in my life that is not right.
There is so much that I’m hoping for, so many anxieties that I’m trying to lay down, so much of what’s ahead is unknown.
But I hold on to the hope that I’ll be liberated from the things that feel binding,
break out knowing a King goes before me,
and I trust that it’s all going to be okay.

And while I wait, I’ll celebrate every victory.


the worst habit in the world

I recognised recently this thing that I do that needs to stop.
It’s called self-deprecating and I didn’t really even know I’d been doing it.

See, I finished university last Thursday.
Like, completely and utterly finished the double degree I’ve been working at finishing circa 2013.
My friends and my husband and my kids have watched me dedicate myself to finishing, watched me complete my final two years full time, watched me juggle study with family, with ministry, with life.
And they’re proud. Because I am surrounded by friends who get proud when their friends achieve things. They’re so proud.
In all the congratulatory messages and love and gifts (seriously, gifts, I have amazing friends!), I’ve shown gratitude. And yes, there was part of me that was relieved and proud.
However the one stand-out thought that just kept rising above the others was, yeah but so what?
I don’t even have a job yet.

Hang on a second.

After few days it dawned on me.
I’d just achieved something.
Actually achieved something measurable, and tangible.
I finished a university degree, with a double major, full time, while raising children and being married and living life… yet all I could see was what’s missing, what’s lacking and what’s broken in my world.

There was something wrong with my perspective.

And upon reflecting these last few days I’ve realised that it’s this self-deprecating thing that I do, that I’ve always done, is because in my mind nothing ever measures up to the standard I have, or compares with what someone else is doing. Always the thought, yeah it’s okay, but have you seen what they’ve achieved?! Have you seen how amazing their life is?

So I decided to take a different look.
I looked at my life as if it was someone else’s for a moment, and I saw it so differently…

Wow. She just finished university, and she walked that journey with so much grace and courage and determination. She didn’t quit when it got hard, and she persevered and managed her time like a freakin’ boss!
Not only that, but you know, she’s been leading the women’s ministry at her church as a volunteer for four years. She hasn’t made excuses for her lack of qualification, or skills, she just let her passion to see women living their best life drive her to run events, and expand vision, and shared her heart for Jesus.
Did you know she even preached the Sunday sermon back to back at both morning services at church on Mother’s Day? What you might not know is that in between services she cried and didn’t want to get back up there again, in front of the entire congregation, but she pulled up her big girl undies and did it anyway!

Did you know that she’s been editing books for people on the side this year?
Not only that but she just last month was approached to edit an amazing book and is getting paid to do it?!

Not only that, but she’s grown so much in her photography that she’s shot FIVE weddings this year! As in, been asked to be the photographer. I’m not even kidding.

That girl, the one I’ve just written about.
She’s actually pretty incredible.

She’s freaking out about the next season, she’s wondering where God is in it all, she’s still hoping and waiting for the right job (but, when you see her, please tell her to calm her farm, she’s only been finished uni for 5 days).
But she needs to stop playing down her accomplishments and start owning all she is, and all she’s becoming.

I think we all do.
There will always be that which is missing, or lacking, or broken.

The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters! *

We need to be standing on tiptoe – maybe that’s what it takes to be able to see the good, or the achievements amidst what is hard, or stretching. But do it, stand on tiptoe; to see your own growth, achievements, met-goals, and also to cheer on the people in your circle.
Watch them be unveiled, and celebrate their successes, even while you wait for your own.


* Romans 8:19

10 things I’ve learned after 13 years of marriage

We celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary on Monday with dinner out with the kids in tow, and it was actually my most favourite anniversary ever. I blearily cupped his face in my hands as I walked past him in the kitchen at 5am, as he ate his porridge. “Happy anniversary” I whispered.
When he got home from work, an hour before the kids got home from school we exchanged cards, and his contained the letter I’d requested (more on that below). We snuck out for a coffee and shared a big slice of strawberry roulade at our favourite cafe.
Then Indian for dinner and even after we ate we lingered, catching eyes across the table as the kids shared their hearts and talked about the biggest issues they’re facing right now: bullies, friends who use swear words at school, and being kind to the kid that’s annoying. If anything makes me happy its that. Quality time with my people.

And then, as on all anniversaries, I pondered the beginning, thought about the growth and marvelled at where we’d ended up.

And I’m a rookie, really, when it comes to marriage – there are many who’ve made it work for much longer – but there are a few things I think I’ve learned so far:

1. Don’t be scared to ask for what you need.
We can’t read each other’s minds. I spent too many years wishing he’d express his love in ways that were different than how he did. Now, I sneak a reminder in every now and then, “love me with your words please?”. And when he mentioned getting me flowers for our anniversary I told him: you know what I’d love even more? A letter. He’s not wired with an endless supply of words of affirmation like I am, it doesn’t come naturally but he knows that’s the way to my heart and a letter was delivered – full of words of love and gratitude. Those words don’t mean any less because I asked for them.
Sometimes, we just have to express what it is we need. Most times, our partners had no idea but are more than happy to oblige.

2. You’re not their parent.
Self explanatory. You are both grown adults. You’re both responsible for your own stuff. Just like you, they have to deal with the  consequences of their own decisions – whether they’re the consequences of a late night, or too much junk food, or lack of preparation for something that needed more, don’t own that.
Don’t nag them like their mother. It’ll stress you both out.

3. Lower your expectations.
You’re both going to let each other down. A lot. But it happens less, and it feels less painful when your expectations aren’t ridiculous.

4. You don’t have to like the same things.
We are totally opposite in so many ways. I’m bookish, he’s sports-mad. I’ve given up fighting against the time he spends playing cricket over the summer (he’s compromised so it’s not the entire summer!) and he doesn’t complain when dinner is eggs on toast because I can’t stop reading. We celebrate the things we love together – good movies, cafes, camping trips, board games – and don’t try too hard to feign interest in stuff that just doesn’t interest us!

5. Don’t rely on each other for happiness.
It’s too much pressure. Way too much. And your soul needs so much more: friendships, solitary time, exercise, prayer – whatever it is that fills you, you need that too. Making you happy is too heavy a burden to bear for your favourite person.

6. Stay in a posture of gratitude.
I find when I’m intentionally seeking out the traits and actions that I’m grateful for, it’s easier to shake off little annoyances like the socks on the floor or the times he doesn’t answer my phone calls.

7. Dream together, always.
Sometimes life kicks your butt. Finances aren’t working, or someone gets sick, you don’t get that job, or you just get lost in the mundane and loose the joy. Dreaming together is what’s kept us on the same page. We often snuggle up and whisper into the dark, before we sleep, or chat excitedly on long car rides with the music up loud. We dream about when the kids get big, we get excited about the next holiday, the plans for the next 5 years or dream and scheme ways to smash the credit card debt. Whatever it is you’re dreaming, do it together. It’s fun.

8. Prioritise sexy time.
Life gets busy and it’s easy to collapse into bed, too late, too tired.
Honestly, sometimes you just gotta schedule it in. Set a minimum for the week. Aim for more. Send eggplant emojis. Whatever makes it work, make it work. It’s important. And good for both of you.

9. Learn compromise.
It really is all about laying down your own life for someone else. Constantly.
And sometimes that’s about as fun as it sounds.

10. It’s daily.
Every day. The little things – either good or not – can make or break a marriage over a long period. Choose every day to love and keep choosing. Choose love in your speech and your actions and your thoughts. Every. damn. day.