Advice to Married People From an Unmarried Girl: Back Burner Marriages

Hey, I’m Sarah and I’m a 25-year-old unmarried girl. Even though I don’t have marriage experience, I have some ideas I think would really help married people who are going through a dry season, or who are really stressed out with work and kids.

Marriage is the hardest but can be the most rewarding human relationship, and it’s also a relationship that’s easy to give up on with the blaring voice from our culture that tells us there’s always a way out if you change your mind or somehow trip and fall out of love. I’m writing this for the couples who have hit rock bottom and don’t know what to do; for people who stand by their commitment and want to make it work anyway.

(Disclaimer: I have the utmost sensitivity towards marriages that have separated or ended due to abuse and infidelity, which I believe to be the only two acceptable reasons. My heartfelt prayers go to you.)

Here’s the Situation: When Your Marriage Gets Left on the Back Burner

Most married couples, at some point, have children. Ah yes, the precious gift of life, isn’t it a miracle? When the wife becomes pregnant, the husband is filled with excitement and adores her round belly, knowing he’s participated in creating a little human. He would gladly run out to buy chocolate raisins and blue cheese dip to suit her wacky cravings. Even after the baby is born, it’s all a marvel for the new parents because they look at the little features change and grow: “He’s got your eyes!” and “Her hair is curly like yours!” It’s one of the highlights of many couples’ lives! That’s until the late nights kick in, and the messes, the expenses, the sacrifices, the exhaustion, and the reality of immense responsibility. This is when it gets really tough for marriages. It’s no longer just about the two of you, it’s about baby’s needs. When you’re too tired from baby-caring to go on dates and be romantic, marriage can quickly feel burdensome and exhausting.


If possible, the parents should dedicate time to have intimacy and fun together, no matter what. If I was in that situation, I’d be motivated by the thought that if my husband and I aren’t 100% working together to be the best we can be for each other, we’re going to add to the stress raising a baby already brings. Do we want extra stress? No way! So we have to be proactive. (My mom always used this phrase on me during school study time and I disliked it until recently — thanks ma!) Being proactive means to prepare yourself ahead of time, in the event something should happen. You can prepare by reading books, following marriage and parenting blogs, and having another married couple to encourage you and support you through the challenges. There are tons of resources! By doing this, you can better handle conflicts and challenges when they happen (and they will).

If husband and wife make it a priority to go on dates, or have an hour together every day to talk, share and be affectionate, they will maintain and grow that deep connection even when children come into the picture. Also, it’s never too late to be proactive. Even after you’ve already entered the challenging times, or if they’re over and your children have grown up and you’re back to being with your spouse alone, you can still refresh and revive your marriage.


Mentally go back to what you thought marriage was going to be like, the moment you proposed or said, “I do.” Sit with your spouse and write down the things you both hoped marriage would be like, and try to come up with ideas for how to make those things come alive for the both of you again. Marriage is a relationship for life — you have years ahead to revive it and make it fresh, exciting and enjoyable again. Remember your dreams, set goals, and take baby steps. Don’t get discouraged when an effort doesn’t work, get up and try again. And don’t forget to reflect together and document how things have improved!

I hope this post encourages you and gives you a fresh passion to revive your marriage. Feel free to comment below or email me at if you have specific situations you’d like my totally inexperienced but genuine advice on. :)

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post. I thought it would be a neat perspective to share and I hope it helps! :) Now go, grab your spouse and get this party started!

With madddd luhvvss,


Goderich Reflections, One Year Later

Last year around this time I went with my sister, her boyfriend and his family for a mini-getaway to Goderich. We stayed at Cedar Lodge and spent the day sight seeing and shopping along the main road. The trees were in full blown sunset shades and I was cozy in my warm knit sweater. It was a tough time in my life but this getaway was the beginning of something.

I purchased a thin leather wrap bracelet with the Serenity prayer on it. I tried to memorize it in my head as we watched the sunset and I prayed for healing and peace. One year later I can truthfully say I have that peace I prayed for — my Heavenly Father cradles me safe in His love and promises. Even though I don’t know what the future will bring, He does, so I choose not to fear it but hope for it.

I don’t think it’s naive to be optimistic, or to dream, or to believe in great, powerful things. Focusing on hope leads us to hope. We go where we look. Sometimes life throws unexpected misfortunes at us and often we sink to unbelievable lows, but that’s not the end of the story.

Turn the page :).


Objection: Love Doesn’t Hurt

People say love hurts and love is pain but that’s a terrible lie. Love does not involve hurt or pain because love is untouchable. Our culture has always “loved” to equate love with affection, emotion, feelings and thoughts, when love is more than that. Love is the unshakable, unmovable, unstoppable force that drives people to do good, to make sacrifices for the betterment of others and to overcome the most earth-shaking tragedies.

The reason for this hurt and pain is not love, it’s reality. Life is not a fairy tale. You don’t always win the heart of your first crush, one mistake can ruin years of friendship, a university degree does not always guarantee a job, buying lottery tickets every week does not guarantee you’ll ever be a millionaire. We’re faced with hurt and pain because evil exists and it’s everywhere. Love is the force that sustains us, keeps us, guards our hearts and gives us hope. Love keeps us believing things can get better, love encourages us when negativity starts to wear us down, love restores, repairs and revives. Love gives new meaning to life when previous ways have failed us.

So don’t blame love for causing you hurt. If you’ve been betrayed or heartbroken, don’t punish love for the real culprit’s mistake. Don’t allow bitterness from the disappointments of this world to grow inside your heart and don’t let a bad attitude and negative thinking prevent you from experiencing love in your life. Take control of your thoughts, make active choices about who and what you invest yourself into. Remember love is not the criminal; love is the hero. When life gets tough, and it will, remember this. Love is the only thing that will get you through to the end of the road.

Love Is

With love,


“Get Off Your Phone!”

The other day I was hanging out with my boyfriend watching Stargate… actually, he was watching Stargate… I was scrolling through my phone. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but he took my phone out of my hands and overhanded it across the room! Then, holding both my hands together in his, he looked me in my eyes and sternly, but with a smirk on his face, said, “Get off your phone.”

Selfishness at the Root of the Problem

At that particular moment I wasn’t interested in Stargate. I didn’t feel like watching it. I wanted to do something else. Out of boredom I started going through my phone, not considering whether it was disrespectful. Most of us don’t realize how often we do this until someone points it out, but it’s not a good habit to have especially when we’re in the presence of another person. In my own experience, I’ve been annoyed with seeing groups of friends or couples at a restaurant or coffee shop on their phones, totally disengaged from each other yet all seated together. It doesn’t make sense to venture out of our homes into our social circles only to consume ourselves in tiny, lonely, palm-sized, digital worlds that allow limited room for face-to-face communication. We’ve developed a terrible habit substituting real interaction with digital convenience. We all experience this distaste for how technology steals away the attention of the people we interact with, yet we all fall victim to the contagiousness of mobile technology.

Communication Issues

Our obsession with mobile devices prevent us from building proper communication skills. While we spend the majority of our days occupied with the fascinations of a little device, we’re unable to interact with people the way we used to before the rise of technology. We even miss out on powerful real life experiences like music festivals and performances because we’re looking at them through our phones! I do it too and I think it’s insane!

We’ve also developed shorter attention spans and impatience. When a stranger sits beside us on the bus and says “good afternoon” we’re more annoyed they’ve distracted us from achieving a high score on Candy Crush, than interested in making friendly conversation. We’re so addicted to entertainment from mobile games and social media that we don’t get enough human interaction and intimacy. We’ve created a self-involved, self-modified digital life where we are in total control of what we choose to see and what we don’t. As a result, we forget how to show respect, listen, understand, relate, empathize and use our words wisely when interacting.

Insecurity and Intimacy

I mentioned how our obsession with our phones prevent us from engaging in human interaction and intimacy. This is a serious and common problem. One thing I’ve observed is the secrecy the online world provides. When you have a password-protected mobile device or laptop, you can keep a lot of secrets. I’ve experienced this and my obliviousness to someone’s secret life, hidden under the veils of the Internet, cost me a lot of time and caused me a lot of hurt. Life online is not on open display. It’s so easy to delete a shameful conversation or revisit a coworker’s photographs on Facebook without getting found out. There’s an ugly kind of secrecy that can develop from the privacy we have from our devices and I think it’s one of the current leading causes of trust issues in relationships. And as if the threat of secrecy wasn’t enough, our constant use of our phones can build a wall between us and the people we love.

When we’re at home watching a movie with our families and we’re browsing through our phones, our body language sends signals that we’re not interested in sharing the experience with our families. Similarly, when we’re on a date, the last thing we should do is whip out our phones to start a texting conversation with our friends. It’s disrespectful and it shows the person we’re with we’re not content with their company. Nothing is wrong with checking our phones, but constantly being glued to it really holds us back from experiencing intimate and special moments. In the end, we’re the ones missing out on life.

The Solution is Simple

Okay so we admit we’re a little too hooked on our phones, so what do we do about it? I say, let’s be deliberate about not allowing it to consume all our time. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few suggestions:

– Delete the apps you’re obsessed with and take a break
– Keep your phone in your purse or pocket when you’re out on a date
– Turn your phone on silent and keep it away from your bed when you go to sleep beside your spouse
– Leave your phone in another room during family time, especially at dinner
– Make time each week to sit together and talk, instead of just being in the same space doing different things
– Once a month go on a “retreat” by abandoning your phone and spending the day in nature

Becoming aware of how often and why we idle away on our phones will keep us from getting too dependent on having it as an appendage.

After all, what’s more valuable? Checking my like count on Instagram or watching another episode of Stargate with my boyfriend, regardless of my initial disinterest? I’d say the latter. Quality time together is much more valuable than trying to escape a moment by diving into our phones.

Disclaimer: Stargate really isn’t that boring… my boyfriend is just going through all the seasons. From now on I’m going to eat humble pie and just watch it with him! Maybe when it’s over I’ll get to pick the next show ;).

Thanks for reading!

With Love,


A Grammar Lesson in Heroism

I was browsing one of my social media networks when I came across this image:

If that doesn’t shock you, well. Culturally, we have drifted into a pattern of redefining terms based on our confusion of their true meanings, over-exaggeration of situations and events and embellishing things to make them seem greater than they are. We’ve created shortened invented terms like YOLO (you-only-live-once) and LOL (laugh-out-loud), which cause little harm, and use words like “clutch” to express how cool something is.

Despite the seemingly harmless recycling of words, this liberal way we (ab)use the English language has eroded our ability to define and use terms correctly and appropriately in situations when word use is vital. When we take a word like “hero” or “courage” and use it in situations where a person has made a personal decision for their own benefit, we begin to lose sight of the people who sacrifice themselves for the well-being of others. When you watch superhero movies, the heroes don’t become great because they do something out of selfish ambition, they do it for the greater good of mankind and for the safety of their communities and the world.

Here are some fundamental things heroes do:

– Acts of selfless service

– Accomplishes goals to build themselves up, for the purpose of benefiting others

– Does these things despite fears or disadvantages (mental, emotional, situational or physical)

– Rises above a challenge and becomes a greater quality person, and achieves a richer quality of life

It is overwhelmingly tragic how media has become so blind to what true heroism is. In all sense, how does this veteran’s selfless sacrifice and victory pale in comparison with the self-serving change of another celebrity? It doesn’t and it shouldn’t. Glorifying people’s self-serving actions in the name of heroism is wrong. We give too much credit where it is not due and it comes from our obsession with our own self-motivated interests and desires. Even if a person’s selfish action encourages others, we still cannot define them as heroes. Their action may have inadvertently caused inspiration, but they did what they did for themselves and no one else. That does not make a hero. It might make them brave, but we have to use our words carefully.

Call me dramatic but our privileged part of the world is becoming a lot like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World;” blind in our self-fulfilling desire for entertainment and pleasure. We follow trends, filter our news to nonessential entertainment and gossip, and hop on causes without using our God-given common sense. The fact that I even have to write an article like this makes me realize how consumed we are in the distractions of selfish causes and how unconcerned we are to the real crises happening around the world. As the insightful author of “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” Neil Postman, wrote:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

Attitude Check… For The Ladies

Women are incredible, inspiring, beautiful, nurturing, considerate, compassionate creatures. We love deeply and have the capacity to forgive after endless wrongs, whether they’re from our friends, boyfriends, husbands, siblings, parents or children. Women have emotions that run deep to the core of our being and they motivate us to make decisions and chase our goals. Our emotions are a wonderful gift from God that can be used to change lives for the better.

I’m writing this because I realize how challenging it is to continuously use this gift for good.

I’ve never had an issue with attitude until my 20s. I was very naive and didn’t know much about the harsh reality of the world. I was pretty carefree, joyful, positive and fearless. Now I have days when I struggle to have the right attitude about the things that go on in my life. For example: I currently work as a receptionist; the typical 8-4 weekday shift. It’s not my passion or my dream career but it’s where I can gain a decent income. There are two attitudes I can have toward it:

1) I’m bitter that I studied five years and still can’t get a job in my field, I don’t make lots of money, I dread every day I have to wake up to go to work, I’m miserable and crabby about my life not being where I want it to be; or,
2) I’m thankful I have a decent paying job, I make use of my evenings and weekends to fill my life with activities, learning and fun, and I appreciate the easy, stress-free commute to and from work.

When it comes to attitudes we really only have two basic options: we can be blessed or bitter; positive or negative; grateful or complaining. We can look at it in a light of hopefulness and strength or defeat and weakness.

Emotions can be a cool stream that guides our actions through love, or it can be a raging fire that destroys and hurts everyone around us. I speak from experience when I say it is challenging for a woman to make a decision completely exclusive from how she feels about it. Therefore, we have to practice the right attitude so when we are faced with choices, we don’t let our emotions cloud our judgement.

It is so sad to see women using their emotions as an excuse for mean behaviour:

“He betrayed me so I’m gonna make him jealous.”
“If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”
“If you can’t make me happy, I’m leaving.”
“I was hurt in the past so you’d better earn my trust, or else.”
“I’m only her friend because she makes me feel better about myself, lol.”
“You’re so pretty [I’m jealous and I talk behind your back].”

I even saw a woman at the mall, screaming at her husband while her baby in the stroller was sleeping. She must have been fed up about something and exhausted from taking care of the child, but does that honestly excuse her behaviour? What long-term effect does her attitude have on her husband and the way their child will understand husband-wife relationships? It only takes a tiny pebble to cause a ripple effect, so imagine what an asteroid could do.

If we really care about how we make others feel (and I think we should), it would be wise to take time alone to reflect and ask ourselves questions like:

  • How do I feel about myself and my life?
  • How does that affect the way I communicate with others?
  • Do I have secret resentment or bitterness about something that happened in my past?
  • Where can I get help to heal from that hurt? (I would suggest sharing it with someone you trust or getting counselling if the issue is severe, praying for healing and perspective from the One who knows us better than we do, and observing self-controlled, wise, loving women.)

I see great potential in women today thanks to our increased opportunity to lead and guide. Women do have a voice and we can impact the world for the better. I challenge every woman to reflect on her attitude as a daily practice, start her mornings with a view of awareness and gratitude (not self-criticism or complaint), and pat herself on the back for every time she triumphs with kindness despite a bad mood. When we do good, God blesses us, and when we come to an understanding of His love and mercy, we can claim the confidence that identity gives us. That means trusting who God says we are and what He says we’re worth: valuable and capable of greatness. I am inspired by women who have extremely unfortunate and difficult lives, yet persevere in a positive attitude. There is always someone in a worse situation with a better attitude.

Someday the children we raise and look after will carry on in the ways we have taught them. Let us be good examples for young women and let us impress the women before us. :)

With love,


Playtime: A Serious Priority, People ;)

Today I wrote another handwritten love letter for my boyyyyfrieeendd. At the end of the note I drew two little chibi characters hugging, obviously representing the two of us (high five and peace sign dance if you know what chibi is). Drawing the pictures made me think of how much I miss my childhood.

I have treasured memories of when we lived in a semi and I shared a bunk bed with my sister. I’d come home after a fun and educational day at middle school, quickly finish  my dinner and homework so I could run across the street to play outside with my best neighbourhood friends. I loved those years between ages 11-16, oh, how I loved those years. I spent so much time climbing trees, playing amateur field soccer, riding my bike, rollerblading, skateboarding (more like failing at skateboarding), taking long walks to get slushies from Mac’s, playing basketball, going for adventures in the conservation area, rolling down the hill in my backyard and making dance routines to pop songs, watching Much Loud and solo-moshing in my living room, drawing anime while sitting on the big rock in front of my house, doing cartwheels and handstands, pretending to be a gymnast, and all the other wonderful, creative, fun things I used to do.

I don’t have as much time or ability to do all those things anymore but I realize how important having an active and creative lifestyle keeps your mind, body and soul healthy and happy. When we focus too much on work and our priorities (if they’re not our passion) we can end up overworked and stressed out. After a few years of workaholism we can get really down and feel like life is just passing us by. It’s important to have a balanced life that includes play whether we’re 16 or 61. Staying creative is not only good for our emotions but also for our mental health.

My goal is to keep making FUN a priority. Whether it’s playing pool with the guys, cruising with my best friend, going to the drive-in, getting my butt kicked at bowling with Boyfriend, playing cards and Chicken Foot with my family or spending the day at a park, fun needs to happen! It takes a little planning and effort but isn’t life more than just work?

Summer is just around the corner, peeps. Get off your computers and go outside! Enjoy the rich life waiting for you.

With love,