“Flowers for the first time in about eight years!”


“Flowers for the first time in about eight years!”

This is the text we received from a wife who attended one of our recent marriages intensives. Robert and Nancy were referred to The Clearing by their pastor. In fact, it was their pastor who raised the scholarship funds necessary for the couple to attend the Marriage Intensive and save their marriage.

Married for two decades, the two came in convinced that divorce was the only solution for their seemingly hopeless disconnection and apathy.

Four days later upon completion of the intensive, Nancy confessed, “I have been fighting the wrong enemy. I can hardly wait to get home to our teenagers to discuss with them the truth we have learned and the changes that have happened within us!"

Her husband agreed, saying  “I feel ‘brand new’ and grateful for a fresh start. I have broken free from my 'victim stance.’ My feelings and choices are my own responsibility. Taking care of my heart is my job, not my wife’s.  The best thing we both said to each other while we were here is ‘I'm sorry.’"

At The Clearing, we help couples find the pathway toward the healing and restoration of their marriage. We have a unique, Christ-centered model that condenses months’ of counseling into just 4 days.

Do you know a couple who is overwhelmed and not sure where to get the help they know they need? The Clearing can help. Connecting them is easy. Encourage them to visit  clearingretreat.org and click on “I’m ready to save my marriage.”

Please consider telling your Pastor about The Clearing!  Research shows that he most likely met this week with a couple needing a Marriage Intensive. Encourage him to email Deborah at Deborah@clearingretreat.org or give her a call at (979) 885-8121.

How to Apologize 101

To put it plainly, if you find your marriage falling short in the areas of forgiveness and apologizing, rest assured that you are not alone! Many, if not most, marriages face this challenge. Perhaps forgiveness wasn’t modeled well for you growing up, or maybe different life events have made the process of forgiveness extremely difficult for you. Whatever your scenario, there is hope for you to learn the art of forgiveness in your marriage! 

Have you or your spouse ever found yourself saying things like “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “If I offended you, I’m sorry.” These are not actually true, genuine, repentant apologies and often cause feelings of blame on the offended party. Instead, let’s challenge that way of thinking. Better, more heartfelt words of apology would look like, “I’m sorry I did/said ________. You matter to me and I don’t want to offend you.” 

Likewise, biblically speaking, it is in the best interest of the marriage and of each individual to forgive quickly. While it may take time to process and even heal from offenses, forgiveness can and should be immediate. Withholding forgiveness and dragging situations out is a breeding ground for bitterness and leaves room for issues to be left unresolved, causing even more damage.

Just as we have been forgiven by Jesus, as His followers He calls us to forgive freely and willingly. This may be challenging at first, but with time it will not only become more natural, it will improve the overall quality of your marriage and your own emotional health!

Want to dig even deeper? Learn more about our Marriage Intensives here.

Play Together, Stay Together!

If you were to choose a few words to describe your marriage, would the word “fun” be included in the list? Think back to the days you and your spouse were dating; I bet “fun” would be a perfect description of your time together during that season. So often, settling into the (wonderful!) routines of life leaves less room for the spontaneous fun we enjoyed during our days of courtship. Instead, we have to be very intentional to work it into our new routines.

Here are a few easy suggestions for keeping your marriage fun: 

1.   Laughter.  I bet you love to hear your spouse laugh. You probably love it even more when you are the one making them laugh! Keep the mood lighthearted by making each other laugh. Whether it be through silly text messages, inside jokes, or playful banter, make laughter a daily requirement!

2.   Date Night. Remember to continue dating your spouse! Make an effort to regularly arrange childcare and get out of the house together for a little while. Don’t feel the pressure to make every date fancy. Sometimes going grocery shopping together or exercising side-by-side is a relaxing alternative to dinner and a movie! 

3.   Travel. It is healthy to value an adults-only vacation. Whether this looks like a staycation in your city for the night, or planning a big trip each year, look ahead into your schedules and plan something. Bonus: It’s just as exciting to plan and anticipate a trip as it is to go on it!  

You and your spouse chose each other for many reasons, and at least one of those reasons was because of the fun you have together! Don’t let the busyness of life squeeze the fun out of your marriage. Be intentional about having fun with your one and only!   

Stop, Drop and Roll: Tips on Taming Your Tongue


The Bible says our tongue can be a “flame of fire” (James 3:6). Alternatively, our tongue can be used to praise and encourage! We can determine the entire atmosphere of our home with the types of words that we speak and the attitudes with which we deliver them. Which category does your tongue fall under? Fire or praise? How do you think the atmosphere of your home is being shaped by your words?

Sticking with the “fire” analogy, let’s apply some fire-fighting techniques to the topic of controlling our tongues when we are faced with a potential blaze!

Stop. In the face of a conversation that is about to run out of control, stop and think; don’t say something out of heated emotion that will cause permanent damage to your relationship.

Drop. This conversation may need to be revisited later when emotions have cooled down and attitudes have had a chance to soften. It’s ok to drop a conversation and pick it back up in a day or so!

Roll. Be willing to move on with a good attitude. Honor your spouse with joy if they ask to continue the discussion later. Be able to “roll” along with grace for the good of your relationship.

When we choose to put out a fire instead of letting the room fill up with the smoke we’ve produced with our negative words, our relationships and home life will improve dramatically. Consider today how you can stop, drop, and roll your way to a more peaceful marriage!

How to Cultivate Your Wife's Potential

Husbands, the covenant you share with your wife is unlike any other friendship you will ever experience. In no other relationship do your words and actions have such power and hold such weight. When stewarded with wisdom, your words and actions can bring out the very best in your wife!

Here are three practical ways you have the ability to cultivate the potential within her:

1.     Believe in her dreams: You are designed to be her biggest encourager! Don’t take her dreams lightly or scoff at them. Use your influence to help her develop the confidence she needs to run boldly towards them.

2.     Be emotionally available for conversation: If you want to see your wife flourish, open up your heart (and schedule), to allow her to share her day, heart, and needs with you. And then she would love your feedback!

3.     Encourage her through her low points: There will be times when your wife is unsure of herself and may lack the confidence needed to keep pursuing her dreams or to get past a roadblock. Be her biggest fan and remind her of who God created her to be and what he has called her to do!

We hope you have enjoyed this two-part cultivation series. Husbands and wives have the unique ability and responsibility to help each other grow into the fullness of their God-given potential. Even if this has not been the atmosphere of your marriage to date, you can start now!

The Clearing is a resource for you to renew and strengthen your marriage. If you would like more information on how to participate in one of our upcoming Marriage Intensives, please call 979-885-8121, or visit the Intensives section of the website. 

How to Cultivate Your Husband's Potential

God has designed marriage in such a way that spouses have the ability to see the potential in each other, maybe even before the other can. By design, your words and actions as a wife have the ability to help your husband grow into all that God has for him and for your family.

Here are 3 crucial ways you can help cultivate his potential:

1. Verbal encouragement: TELL him you are proud of him. TELL him you believe in his dreams. While you probably think these things, speaking them is what breathes life into their ability to be transformative.

2. Embrace his interests: Women connect through words; men connect through experiences! He feels love and connected to you when you join him in his favorite activities and events.

3. Be his first and last supporter. Life is full of ups and downs, but if he knows he always has you on his side, unconditionally, it will give him the confidence to pursue his dreams!

The Clearing wants to help strengthen and renew your marriage. We have upcoming Marriage Intensives April 22-26 and May 20-24. For information on how you can attend, visit our website, www.clearingretreat.org or call us at 979-885-8121.


Extending Grace in Your Marriage

We’ve all been there. We have a fight with our spouse that leaves us feeling frustrated, hurt, and unheard. Our natural reaction could be to shut down, or perhaps, to lash out. Neither of these extremes are helpful. In fact, they are damaging to our marriage.

Below are 3 things you can do to extend the grace that you, yourself, would like to receive.

  1. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We’ve all heard this before, but it remains true! Just because your spouse has hurt you, you do not have the biblical freedom to return the hurtful behavior.
  2. Kindness goes a long way. Proverbs 15:1 says that a gentle answer turns away wrath. It will feel very unnatural at first, but in your moment of frustration or hurt, speaking a kind word instead of a hurtful word will help diffuse the situation.
  3. Do your part, not God’s. Your responsibility is to obey the Word of God. Once you have offered kindness, you must put your spouse’s behavior and reaction in God’s hands. God sees and honors your obedience.

Following these guidelines has the ability to change the way you and your spouse communicate and, therefore, the atmosphere of your home. Obedience to God’s word always produces results!

Do you or someone you know have marriage that’s in need of a fresh start?

Ask us about our upcoming Marriage Intensives:
April 22-26
May 20-24

To learn more about The Clearing and what we offer, call us at 979-885-8121.


How to be a Bridge Builder in Your Marriage

Falling in love is easy. Getting married is exhilarating. But building a great marriage is tough work! Every marriage is built on the quality of its communication. A Bridge Builder in a marriage knows how to communicate in a way that builds the marriage up, not erodes it.

Here are three qualities of a Bridge Builder:

1. A Bridge Builder shows care. When your spouse is talking to you, stop what you are doing. Put down your phone and look them in the eyes. Let them know you are fully engaged!

2. A Bridge Builder shows positivity. It is so easy to criticize our spouse’s actions, dreams, and opinions. Instead, choose words and tones that communicate positivity and encouragement.

3. A Bridge Builder shows grace. Changing your spouse is God’s work, not yours. Put your spouse in His hands and enjoy the person you fell in love with!

Everyone can learn to show care, positivity, and grace to their spouse. Practice becoming a Bridge Builder in your marriage and see your connection strengthen every day!

The Clearing is available to help strengthen and renew your marriage. To this end, we host marriage intensives monthly.  For information on how you can attend, click here or call us at 979-885-8121.