Who Are You Pursuing?

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So lately, Zach + I have not been on the same wavelength. Such as- we fight constantly + are basically living the life of ‘I don’t like you + you don’t like me’. We’ve been walking next to each other like pissed off roommates because someone didn’t do the dishes on their night. I’ve been struggling with my pride of not wanting to say sorry when I should. I feel validated because my feelings seem legit.

If I had to say what this all stems from, it would be stress + lack of time. Since the end of January we have been eat, sleep, breathe Airstream renovation and for the past 6 weeks we have been SUPER frustrated because we’ve missed every deadline + honestly for a control freak/timeline girl/master planner, I am just not okay with this. I had a plan…Why did it fall through? Zach is working his butt off, but we still keep coming up short. We mark one thing off the list + 3 things get added. Our patience is thin. We haven’t made time for a date night + most nights we go to bed feeling like we’re drowning in our ‘to do list’ for the next day. If I add in the chaos the kids bring to the picture we look like an episode of Jerry Springer.

The other day I was trying to talk to God about my feelings, because Zach is obviously not understanding me + doesn’t care about my feelings- (insert the rolling eyes emoji). I was trying to reason why I am so frustrated with Zach. There are many reasons that are all surface level; Airstream not complete, no us time, etc. But the main one under the surface was I don’t feel pursued. And for me that’s a sucky feeling. Watch any chick flicks and the girl always wants to be swept off her feet + given those butterflies in her stomach. She wants to be {pursued}. Zach is so stressed + I’m a professional nagger so I wasn’t really pursuable at the moment. Add in that I’m a control freak and nothing is staying on plan. I look like a hot mess trying to keep it all together. My poor husband is probably like “why in the world would I want to pursue the wicked witch of the west”?! HA! And it’s not like you can control someone pursuing you, so my mood is obviously funky and I’m acting like a teenage girl going to God spilling about how awful my husband has been. And wanna know what He said to me………?

God-“Colleen, when is the last time you pursued me?”

Me-“Seriously God, do we have to make this about you?! I’m trying to throw my pity party.”

God-“Well, have you been pursuing me lately?”

Me-“…...No….”

God-“Hm, well how do you think I feel when you don’t pursue me??

Me-(*crickets*)

That seriously was our conversation.  I try to put it behind me saying that God didn’t really say those words because I was still on the ‘poor Colleen bus’.

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Then as always I got to thinking + in the last month our schedule has been nuts + I’ve been putting my Jesus time on the back burner because I’m trying to juggle too many things. And it was almost as if God slapped me across the head and said “Why would your husband ever pursue you if you aren’t pursuing me?”. And it is so true. I’m much happier when I’m pursuing God. I have more joy, peace, and positivity. You name it! When I’m not pursuing God I’m grumpy, entitled, and honestly just a (b)wi*ch. I don’t know who would want to pursue me when I act like that!

Our God is a jealous God. He doesn’t want to be put on the back-burner. He doesn’t want an idol or in my case my ‘to do list’ put in front of him. So me going to Him complaining about not being pursued was like the pot calling the kettle black since I haven’t been pursuing God.

I was listening to Air1 today on the radio and they asked if you’ve been praying for the person who rubs you the wrong way or if you’ve just been complaining about them. They said you could not change a person by nagging them… you can only pray for them. I almost changed the station because I hate being wrong + really didn’t want to hear that truth nugget. Right then I said “okay God, I can’t make the Airstream go by any faster by nagging so I’ll pray. I can’t make my husband pursue me, but I can pray about it”. And that’s all I can do, is pray. And I can get back to pursuing God so I’m a much nicer person to be around + in return things will smooth out.

I hope you don’t read my blog posts and think I’m trying to air out my dirty laundry, because trust me- nothing about posting these blogs are easy. Who wants to share their weaknesses + when they fall short… not me! But I feel there is a purpose for this space + if God wants me to share my weaknesses to help others then “here I am God, use me”. If you were stuck in a negative headspace lately, just remember I was/am right there with you! Try to seek what is under the surface that is causing the problem and how you can address it!

XO Colleen Cashio

"You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you." Exodus 34:14

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belongs to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Testing the Waters..

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Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in the mud? Like you keep splashing in the same puddle over + over? If you have ever been to my house after a rain you know my backyard looks like a swamp. For any mom that is a nuisance, but for a little boy it is a treat. Since the weather hasn’t been miserable we have been trying our best to enjoy as much time as we can outside. The fresh air + sunshine are my sanity during this season of sleepless nights. The other day it rained really hard + Ezra couldn’t wait to go play in the puddles. So off we went with our rain boots to splash in the puddles. Of course the first thing he grabs is his lawn mower. We joke that cutting grass will be his first business, because he is pushing his mower every chance he gets. Starting out the water was crystal clear, but as we continued to walk the same path over + over the water became a big muddy mess. It made me think of my prayer life. Sometimes I bring the same request to God over + over again. I go back + forth walking my line reasoning with Him on why I need Him to answer this request + how I want it answered. In the Bible it clearly says to always pray + always be thankful. But sometimes I think I go overboard with the same request; like God didn’t hear me the first time. As if He doesn’t know my every thought + what’s in my heart. I think God wants me to bring every request I have + lay it at the cross. Give him every worry, every fear, every trial + totally give it to Him. Walk away + trust that He has my best interest ahead. I don’t think He wants me to repeat myself a thousand times. I think He wants me to say “Lord, here is my request, thank you for listening to what I want; but more than what I want, I want your will to be done.” For control freaks like me that is really hard. Subconsciously I try to micromanage everyone around me, even God. I try to fit Him into a tiny box. When I focus on ‘my prayer request’ I miss out on the true requests I need to be lifting up to Him. I love how God speaks to me using everyday situations. Sometimes I’m too distracted with everything going on to notice His whisper. In this season of life God is realllyyy working on my control issue. He has clearly shown me I am not in control + the best way forward is to sit in the passenger seat while He drives. It is a very scary thing not knowing what tomorrow holds or trying to control what will happen tomorrow. But slowly.. And surely, I am focusing more on receiving His peace + letting the puzzle pieces fall together; even if they are coming together slower than my preference.

When Zach + I sit still and beg for a response from God every time we hear, “I will show you the next step right when your foot is about to go down on that step.”Which is super scary, because basically we are walking down the stairs waiting on the next step to come + hoping that we aren't going ahead of God + skip a step all together + fall on our faces. Because trust me that has happened too many times. I love my husband, I truly do, I love bouncing ideas off to him. I love that God has made my mind the way he has, but sometimes I think it can be my worst enemy. In hopes to speed up our next step, I will make 1001 plans from beginning to end. You know the ones where you stay up half the night thinking how each thing will play out. Get your hopes up, like wow God this has to be it. This has to be what you've been waiting to tell me. All to find out the next week that brilliant plan won't work, am I the only one who does this? Hopefully not!

Just like this week, Zach + I felt God tell us to finish the airstream and I’ll show you what is next. So not only did I give up my salon + work because he told me to become a stay at home mom, but now that means Zach has to quit his job to devote finishing the airstream. It’s not just a weekend project. If we want to finish this; it’s a full time job. IT. IS. SO. MUCH. MANUAL. LABOR.

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So, as happy as we were that we heard from God, we were also like what? No? Not possible? We can't financially afford this. We have kids, bills, responsibilities, etc. So to our human nature we said ok God, sure we will do what you say. Gosh, I could dedicate a whole post or maybe a book to all the crazy ideas/dreams we came up with of what direction to go in once the Airstream is complete. I’m sure our friends are tired of hearing us talk about life, because we always have something new! The most solid idea I will mention was Zach going to Aircraft Mechanic school. Long story short, we said YES, this must be what God meant.. finish the airstream, and we will live in it so Zach can go to school + we can conserve money. We went as far as reaching out to multiple schools, reaching out to RV parks, locations. We made our budget + found where Zach could work part time after school. We had a game plan! We had it all figured out! We were so relieved. The only downfall was my car couldn't tow the airstream, so we were still looking for a car to trade in for mine that would allow us to not have a note since we knew we couldn't afford it. We settled on a used Expedition. (just keep this in mind for later on in the story) We figured out everything- how much Zach could make after school, what connections we could use to find him a good job, etc. But then it didn't feel right. We didn't feel settled about this grand epiphany we just had. Student loans from schooling meant debt and school meant very few hours for work, which meant slim to none for family time.. Then we noticed an Aircraft Maintenance Internship. BINGO! So Zach applied and waited. He even called directly to the company trying to speak with the Supervisor explaining his resume and things of that nature. Eventually an email was sent that the position was filled. There goes that idea. So, we kept tucking it to the back burner + kept reminding ourselves what we heard from God was "Finish the Airstream + I’ll show you what’s next" (In a James Earl Jones voice, so Zach says). This was in the middle of January + now we are at the end of April. And God still has not shown us the next steps. As I write this all Zach has left on the airstream is, grouting the tile in bathroom, backsplash, + we need to make cushions for the couch. And my dad has to do one thing for the electrical, but that is it. We are pretty much done.  Now we are grasping at the end of our rope, because we don't know what is next. Travel? Redo another airstream? Flip houses? We are at such a loss + God is quiet. Our plan was to move into the airstream, but now we are questioning it. Do we sell it so we can make money to reinvest in a business of flipping RVs. Do we see about getting a line of credit or loan? Zach + I strive to not live in debt; we absolutely hate it. The thought of us going to get a loan stresses me out to the max, probably because we have always been self employed + while I love that, its also a curse because you never know exactly what you'll make that month. Another way God likes to test my reliance on Him (que the eye roll). So, as we sat + talked at the kitchen table our options were, sell the airstream to have cash or get a loan. We left it as that, because toddlers + babies don't make talking about life choices the easiest. 

Then an idea came to me. Sell my car + we will have enough money to scrape by paying our bills, buy an airstream + flip it. Side note: we have had our car for sale since January and no bites, only 1 low offer. Also we haven't found an expedition we want. (And Zach knows every expedition on the market, because he is constantly looking). So when I said to Zach, let's sell my car, use that money + share a car for the next few months, his response was heck no. He didn't want me going without a car + he didn't want us to downsize our vehicle that much. He said well it really doesn't matter, because no one has bought our car. Well, guys...We talked about this at lunchtime on a Sunday. I felt complete peace about selling my car and downsizing to one car. We checked our emails later that evening + he got an email from someone interested in my car. The price we were comfortable selling it for also. Oh, and she messaged at 1:09pm...right after our discussion. Now if that isn't ironic I really don’t know what is.. It's exactly like what God said.. Finish the Airstream + I’ll bring the next step. The couple came to pick up my car two days later. We would have never come to the conclusion to sell my car and use the money last month, because we were so stuck on getting an expedition for more room and more towing capacity. If we would have gotten a halfway decent offer on my car we would have taken it and settled for an expedition. We would have been stuck with what God didn't want. That’s why He didn't reveal our next step till it was literally in front of us. Now it all makes sense. Things don't always work out where they make sense, but this time it did. God always has perfect timing. We may try to rush it along, but all we will do is have restless nights trying to control our next step when our Creator already knows the ending of our story. 

Have you ever gone through life thinking where in the HECK am I going? What am I doing? Who am I becoming? Mhmm been there and I’m probably there now. Am I wasting God’s potential because I put my gift of hair on the side to raise kids? Am I even doing my kids justice as a mom? Because at the end of most days they have worn me out to the max. Zach and I are in a crossroads of what to do next?! It feels like we have been walking the wilderness into the deep deep woods for the past four years of marriage. But, maybe that’s exactly where God wants us. He wants us to lose everything to find Him and His purpose for us in life.

I’m letting you in on these parts of our life, because I think it’s best to not stuff them in a box, on the top shelf in my closet. I want them out in my living room for our guests to see. So they can see there is hope when you feel like giving up. To understand how to not take life so seriously; no one gets out alive anyway. I encourage you to write down what success means for you. Are you and your family heading in the direction you want to go? In the direction God wants you to go? It’s never too late to do a 180 and turn things around. Maybe God has had you in the wilderness like us. Don't give up hope, wait on Him!

XO Colleen Cashio

(PS, that's not dirt on Zach's upper lip...it's a mustache he tested out.. Next time you see him, ask him why! + Please look at HJ's face!)

(PS, that's not dirt on Zach's upper lip...it's a mustache he tested out.. Next time you see him, ask him why! + Please look at HJ's face!)

 

* This is our life update some think we’re crazy, we think God has a sense of humor.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God. And at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
— 1 Peter 5:6-7
“O my people, trust him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
— Pslams 62:8
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all cirumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How I Took My Spouse For Granted

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Zach + I have a little bit of a different story than most couples starting out. From the time we started dating we were always together. Within 6 months of our relationship we moved to Arkansas + 2 months after that we moved to London for 3 months. We moved back to Arkansas at the one year mark in our relationship. Then our life turned upside down when Zach had brain surgery + wasn’t able to work. When I say we were together 24/7, I literally mean 24/7.  And while that sounds nice being with the person you love ALL the time, it does have its downfalls. I am forever grateful that we’ve always been together, but these are two ways it hurt us.

 

#1 It gave us a false sense that we knew everything about each other.

Which is so far from the truth. We are constantly changing + evolving as a person + as a couple. If we don’t take the time to study our spouse we will miss so much. We can start to compare them to the old- which in a sense is holding them back in life. It’s okay to like the old person, but we need to embrace, love, + support the new one + grow our relationship in the process. Just some examples of how Zach has changed:

-He drinks black coffee now, when it use to be like “do you want some coffee with that sugar?”

-He eats + loves all fruit + veggies. If you ask his parents they’ll tell you he lived off chicken nuggets, skittles, + sopapillas. Funny story; the very first meal I cooked Zach was a turkey burger stuffed with spinach + feta and our bun was a portabella mushroom. And y’all HE never said a word about not liking the food. He ate EVERY single bite! He didn’t tell me till months later that he only ate that food because he liked me :P And now he actually enjoys vegetables HAHA

-He use to be obsessed with sports. To the point he even had an app that was dedicated to just sports rumors. It talked about who was maybe going to trade who ETC.  Recently he went through a pretty drastic season in life + with the help of God + others he removed idols from his life. Come to find out sports had become an idol to Zach. Not saying sports are bad + an idol for everyone, because they aren’t. But for Zach it was. (An idol is something you put before God, we all can have them + they’re normally all different for everyone.) Don’t get me wrong, Zach still loves LSU and all things baseball, but it has drastically changed. He put God first in his life + sports naturally took the back seat. He even told me the other day he hasn’t checked baseball in two weeks, I had to ask him to repeat himself because that is so not Zach. His passions, wants, + dreams have changed throughout the years as well. Luckily, I love all the changes that have been going on with him, but what if I didn’t? If I hold onto the old Zach I’m also holding onto the baggage + keeping him trapped in the past. I’m holding him back from moving forward with God’s purpose + calling for his life. That’s why it is so important to spend time with your spouse, really connect with them, and listen to their heart with an open mind + heart.

#2 I took our marriage for granted.

Since I shared just how much time together we got you might be able to understand why I took it for granted. Once we got married + had kids we were still always together. So why would we need to take extra time to stop + connect? If we know what we are doing 24/7 what is there to connect on? We know everything going on – WRONG. It is even more vital for us to stop + connect. Because always being together gives us a false sense of knowing everything. Yes we may know the facts, but we don’t know what is going on internally + how we feel about certain situations. Zach is always getting onto me because apparently I’m an “assumer”. When many of our arguments happen, Zach usually points out that I assumed one thing or another. Once we stop the cycle of life + get on the same wavelength we argue less. Connecting looks different for everyone, but for us it is super hard to fully connect while our kids are awake. They are in constant need of our attention + talk non-stop. No matter how tired we are, once we get the crazies to sleep, we sneak out of bed + go to the living room to hang out. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes it gives us a chance to connect. It’s not perfect every night. Sometimes our “to-do” list in our head has a louder voice distracting us, but we try to let our hearts connect to have a healthy marriage. Once you + your spouse truly open up about the thoughts racing through your mind, what God has been laying on your heart, or sins you’ve been trying to conquer; that’s when you’re truly “one” as God designed it. If we miss this opportunity, we miss so much more than just extra hang out time. Don’t miss this precious time connecting with your spouse. Learn from my past mistakes, because it took a good 3 years into our marriage for us to finally “get it”. With two young kids, a business, + trying to figure out this thing called life we were being stretched thin. It would have taken way less energy + way easier to skip this step. But trust me if you make it a habit you will put your spouse + relationship in a box that isn’t growing. That is what God created y’all for. He created your marriage to move mountains together.

So start connecting. It’s not too late.

XO Colleen Cashio

 

Wedding Photographer - http://cassiejonesphotography.net

Walking Through Life

I asked a friend how she would describe life groups + this was her response. "To learn more about our God and how to serve Him while learning to serve each other; while growing our faith, friendships and families. To grow - in turn - our communities with the ultimate vision of growing and being a part of God's Kingdom." Life groups are our church's verison of Sunday school that happens all throughout the week. There's women's, men's, co-ed, kids, marriage, etc groups. There is a group for everyone and anyone. They happen in the morning, mid day and evening. All different days of the week. There really isn't an excuse that can excuse you from not being able to make it to one group. It's in these groups that you will find 'your tribe'. 

Different seasons can be hard in life, but luckily I found my tribe in life groups. I try to walk with some of these girls weekly. We keep each other in check + walk through all seasons of life together. Recently Zach + I went through a patch in our marriage that required the help of our God given friends. They came into our storm cloud and stayed with us pointing us to more of Jesus + less of us. They fought for us until our dust settled. Do you have friends like that? Ones that will drop what they are doing + help you? Let me back up, Zach and I moved to Heber Springs around 5/6 years ago. We immediately got planted into our church and dove into 'lifegroups'. It is in those groups that we met our forever friends. 

I've been blessed to make friends that have walked with me on my best days and my worst days. They are always looking to help. What I love about these friends is they always see the best in me. They aren't afraid to tell me how it is + point me to the Word of God. They're slow to give me ‘their’ advice but fast to send me scriptures. 

Everyone needs friends like this.

One statement my dad use to preach to me in high school was... “You are who you hang out with”. I remember rolling my eyes every time he told me. Obviously he was trying to encourage me to have good people surrounding me, but as a teenager all you hear is “you don’t accept my friends”. Now as an adult, I totally get what he means – don’t tell him you read this on my blog though :P When we surround ourselves with positive people we have positive attitudes; + visa versa.

I hear so many people tell me that it is really hard to make genuine friends. I agree with that, it is really hard in today's world of social media to make true friends who have your back + don't want to just find out the dirt on you. Social media can make us feel like we have 'many' friends, but the friends that really count are the ones we can run to anytime of the day or night with no judgement. Look for those friends. Relationships grow from time spent together. Put yourself out there...take a risk! Join that group you've been on the fence about. If for some reason you join a group, but you don't fit perfectly "crawfish your way out" (imagine a crawfish backing out of a crawfish hole). That's how our pastor explains how easy it is to get out of one group to find the group that is for YOU. In those groups is where you will find your tribe.

XO Colleen Cashio

Click this link to see what life groups are in your area, make sure to click what campus you are attending! https://newlifechurchar.infellowship.com/GroupSearch

Choose to encourage yourself or life will overwhelm you.

Long story short, when Moses had his staff in the air they were winning the battle. When his staff fell they would start to lose. Moses didn't have enough strength on his own to keep his arms up that long, so his two friends came next to him in battle to help him hold his arms up. They succeeded because they stuck together. We need friends to help us get through life.-     

"As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses' arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset." Exodus 17:11-12

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

Hello, World!

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4 Ways To Encourage Your Husband

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Are you a natural cheerleader? I was a cheerleader in middle + high school… but when it comes to the cheerleading of others, that’s one of my downfalls. Being someone's cheerleader does not come naturally for me. I veer more to the realist side in life, which can be good in some areas. Other times it can be bad, especially in the avenue of cheering on my husband. If he comes to me with a dream, the human part of me easily crushes that dream because I point out negatives. One of my goals for 2018 is working towards being a better motivator in the relationships around me, especially my husband. Let's be honest. We need more positive people in the world. There are already too many ‘Negative Natalie’s’. At least that’s what my husband calls me when I crush his dreams. Here are some practical ways I am trying to plant seeds of encouragement in my husband; I hope they help you too.

1.   Point out all the things he is doing right - I'm guilty of finding the flaws + making them WAY bigger than they are. Which in turn sends Zach into a downward spiral of feeling worthless + unloved.

2.   Help guide him to the things he's good at - instead of looking for his faults. Look for his strengths + build those up. We all have downfalls in some areas, instead of dwelling on those help build each other up

3.   Make him feel wanted – Give eye contact when talking even if you are juggling a million things; laundry, dinner, kids. Getting frustrated when his story is going on to long + you have stuff to do is a sure way to get him to shut down. Men already don’t like to talk + open up as it is, so if he wants to talk… LISTEN + TALK

4.   Verbal reassurance but also physical reassurance- I'm not the best at letting my husband lead, but God designed marriage for the husband to be the leader. I trust God didn't make a mistake in this, so I have to trust my husband to take charge + lead our family. It can be hard taking a step back for someone who is a "fix it" person (see a problem, fix it - that's me) but when I see Zach actively seeking God + reading His word I have ease letting go of the reins. It wasn't always that way. Zach didn't always seek God wholeheartedly. He took his own path, which he will explain in his very first post coming soon. 

What gave me inspiration to write this post is that Zach will be sharing part of his testimony very soon. I am learning how to be positive + help encourage him to share his story. Sharing things close + personal to us can be difficult, but we really believe that stuff happens in our lives so we can help others. It’s hard to help people if you haven’t been in their shoes before. It’s not impossible, but it is easier if you have some past experience. I am so proud of the man Zach is becoming, + I have no doubt God is going to do amazing work through him.

 

XO Colleen Cashio

Hello, World!

"The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

"A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh...Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:31,33

The Power of a Praying® Wife
By Stormie Omartian

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How 15 minutes saved our marriage...

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Marriage isn’t easy. As you may already know. Zach + I went through a rough season of marriage, the kind where it’s broken + dry. Maybe you’ve been there, you are there, or think you’ll never be there. I was 20 when we married + thought those dry seasons were only for “older married people”... Boy was I wrong! By nature, I am a lazy person. If I want something I have to work for it. It normally doesn’t just come naturally. I was so use to Zach + I’s relationship that I became lazy + comfortable. For our six-month wedding anniversary we found out I was pregnant. Before then we were involved in a marriage life group + working on our marriage. But honestly, what is there to work on being 6 months into something that you plan to be in for 60 plus years? Even though we dated 2 years prior to being married + had gone through pre-marriage counseling, we still didn’t have a great foundation for marriage. We were both naïve, immature + brought some past baggage into our relationship. We thought we had it all figured out + even though we learned great things going through marriage ministry life groups, we never diligently applied them to our lives. That’s a huge thing I’ve learned so far in this journey. You can learn everything under the moon, but if you don’t apply the principles it’s just wasted knowledge. Just an example I remember learning about, but thought, “yea, ok whatever”. A women once told us, “always take care of yourself for your spouse, never stop trying to impress your spouse”, “care how you look, don’t always be in super comfy clothes”. Back to my laziness; I was so comfortable with Zach that I was always in “comfy” clothes, no makeup, + buns. And this was before I had the “mom” excuse. LOL. Now don’t get me wrong, you want to feel 110% comfortable in your skin + your spouse should always love you on your ugliest days. But ladies, its nice to dress up for your man + feel good about yourself. Staying home now can be a struggle for me, because it’s always easy to just stay in lounge outfits. Which, if you see me 7 out of 10 times I am in workout clothes (even though I didn’t workout ha). But I am chasing around a toddler + a baby, so I need stretchy clothes. On the days I spend 5 minutes throwing on basic makeup I feel best about myself.

So we got caught in the day-to-day routine + put our marriage on the back burner. We let our to-do lists grow bigger than our marriage. Work, small kids, + lack of sleep will do that to anyone. Until Ezra was 17-18 months he woke every 1-2 hours to nurse. Not kidding at all! Not because the kid was hungry.. Just for comfort. So glad that season is behind me because it was a draining season. By the time Ezra was 2 we had left him maybe 4 different times ranging in 30 min – 3 hours. I’m that mom that doesn’t like to be away from her babies! Once our marriage went through a break it or make it moment, we had to regroup + figure something out. We realized we got so involved with the day-to-day hustle we really never had alone time. Kids wake up early + by the time bedtime came we all passed out at the same time. So we decided to implement a new routine in our day.

No matter how tired we were, after our kids went to sleep we would sneak out of bed + spend at least 15 minutes alone with each other.

Another thing for Zach + I is that both kids are in bed with us. While that is highly controversial for some, it works for us. When some say they don’t know how you have a sexual relationship with your spouse – our answer is; “Somehow Harvey got here unplanned”. We love them being in our bed and wouldn’t trade it for the world. They are only so little so long, but I totally understand it doesn’t work for everyone. Before kids I said I wasn’t going to be ‘one of those weird people who let their kids sleep with them’. Ha! Now look at me, I ate my words. Our downfall wasn’t so much that our kids are in our bed, but it's that Ezra takes 30 minutes in bed tossing + turning before going asleep. Before we knew it we fell asleep from exhaustion. Once we got into habit of making ourselves stay awake until they fell asleep, it came natural. We snuck out of bed + went to the living room. At first we set a 15-minute timer on our phone because we were so tired. We pushed through because we knew how this would play a key part into getting our marriage back on track.

It is vital to connect with your spouse!

Yes, that means husbands totally connect with your wife, engage in what she’s talking to you about. Ask questions! And wives, stop + pay attention to your spouse. Give him all of you not 25%.

Stop thinking about everything that happened today or didn’t happen.

Stop making your to-do list for tomorrow.

Stop thinking about the dirty dishes or piles of laundry.

If all else fails + you’re too tired to function, just cuddle. Touch speaks as loud as words sometimes. I soon realized that not having your kids Velcro-ed to you + spending true alone time was nice. REALLY nice! If you’re having a hard time coming up with stuff to talk about, make it fun… Pull out a board game, Google the newlywed game + pick questions to ask each other. We noticed we went from having a hard time filling those 15 minutes to making ourselves go to bed after 2 hours because we would be zombies the next day. You’ll be amazed at how energized you feel after you connect with your spouse.

--Unmarried readers, stop here –

Another thing you can put on the list is making love. Yes, I said it. That is a great way to connect with your spouse. Who cares if you know its planned + not spontaneous all the time. Most women plan the days they wash their hair, so why can’t we plan on making love? Life gets chaotic and if you get stuck in the motion sex will be on the back burner. As this is true for most women, it isn’t for men. God created this amazing gift for marriage, now go enjoy!

This is what truly has saved our marriage. Stopping the day-to-day cycle + enjoying each other’s company. It’s not rocket science + we aren’t the first to discover this, but its amazing what will happen when you start planting seeds in your marriage. It’s easy to get into a rut. It’s not how long you stay in it, it’s all about how you recover + rebuild afterwards. You need your spouse + your spouse needs you. We look forward to ending our day together now, no matter how tired we may be. And lets face it the grass is never greener on the other side, its greener where you water it.

XO Colleen Cashio

“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:7-9 NLT

"So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 NLT

 "In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." 1 Peter 5:10 NLT

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