About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Robin, your posts make me want to sit down and have a sweet tea with you and discuss whatever topic you are writing about:). Great ideas and a good reminder.

    • Amanda,

      Know what I’ve been thinking about for the new year? A monthly google hangout for online friends. Then we could ALMOST do what you’re talking about. Thoughts?? 🙂

      • I think that would be a wonderful way of connecting people Robin. I know I would value being able to ‘chat’ with other like-minded ladies and build a community. Will you let us know through an (in) courage post when you start it up?

  2. Robin,
    Having had one failed marriage…I really take to heart the heartfelt and practiced advice you have given me/us! I am looking forward to my upcoming marriage, in January, to a godly man who cherishes me like the daughter of God that I am. Will you pray for me that I can spend less time comparing my marriage to others and more time slipping him notes in his lunch for the day? As always, LOVE your posts!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Ahhh, Bev….you’ve been the walking wounded {{hugs}}. Yes–I’ve already been praying over this post, that during a time of year when so many aren’t able to read, that those who would be encouraged by it (or challenged by it), would find it.

      I’ll pray this very thing for you and your new marriage.

      And thank you, always, for your VERY encouraging words!

    • Bev,

      Prayers that this marriage would be a lasting testimony to the love you both have for God and yourselves! 🙂

  3. This year one of the things that did not get as much attention as I would have liked was our marriage. We are fine, but I miss one on one time with my husband. He’s not the type to surprise me with a getaway so I will have to take it into my own hands. Thank you for the inspiration, Robin. And I love that quote.

    • Southern Gal,

      It is SO EASY to let little things chip away at our relationship, when we don’t even realize it until a chunk has been whittled away! “Investing in marriage” isn’t a typical New Year’s resolution…so my prayer is that for *some* this post would be timely and important…and maybe even a relational game-changer.

      For God’s glory alone… 🙂

  4. Amen to this! Although my husband and I are very happy in our marriage, we have put a LOT of sweat and tears into it this past year behind closed doors. There are deep, and often personally difficult lessons to be learned even in happy seasons.

    Thank you for putting up this post as an example of how we can make sure our “on-line” lives don’t project an accidentally sugar-coated version of marriage that might cause our sisters to stumble without speaking badly of our spouses or sharing information that should remain private!

    • Jamie,

      Facebook/social media updates reveal a moment, a glimpse, a snapshot. NOT the whole picture! Ugh, pinterest, too! They can KILL me if I get sucked into the comparison thing (marriage, life, family, etc.).

      Good for y’all for taking time to tend one another. I know it’s making a real difference in your lives :).

  5. Wise words, Robin. Yep….even in the midst of a good season there are bumps. Yes, I know that from very recent experience! 🙂

    • Karen,

      I used to take those good seasons for granted, barely even saw ’em. In our case, opposites attracted, so years into our marriage, I realize that can make for a very **interesting** marriage :). Never a dull moment??

      S o m e t h i n g like that….;)

  6. Robin- Thank you for the words of encouragement. Turning 50 this year and have been doing a lot of reflecting about my life, goals, but mostly about unmet goals etc. On a bad day I can find a way to blame my husband for the things in my life that I have managed to not follow through on. I know it’s wrong but it is a way for me to not take responsibility for my own issues. If you looked at my life you would see a wonderful life, full of God’s goodness and blessings but it is so easy to fall into that place of comparison. I actively battle this because I know it is a way that the enemy can paralyze women of our generation and I will not live in this place. I love how God used your words to keep me in the good fight! I love this post and thank you for your honesty. It blessed me and my marriage.

    • Sarah!!!!

      I turned 50 this year, too, and I can totally relate to your comment! I’ve realized the past year that I blame my husband for things, too; things that ultimately were up to me. Now that I’ve seen that tendency, I can do something about it, ya know?

      Thank you for encouraging me with your honesty. 🙂

  7. This year I struggled to buy my husband a card both for our 18th anniversary and Christmas. Every one I read painted this blissful picture I felt I could not relate to. For an entire year I have asked for a weekend away without kids… it has yet to happen. Oh we have been away.. but somehow they have always managed to be there.. even on the “fun” date I suggested for our anniversary. He brought them too . So in desperation, making a choice to love rather than react to what is before me, I suggested we use our Christmas money for Family Life Weekend To Remember. He has agreed and I am floored. There is one scheduled in a few months right in our home city and I am going to pray hard that I will continue to choose right thinking and remember who is really the enemy! Investing in our marriages is one of the greatest gifts we can give our family and for those involved in church leadership…NO SHAME!

    • Oh, Julie…I hope you make it!! (I don’t think that’s the same thing as a Love & Respect weekend, another GREAT teaching/encouraging-marriage conference).

      Your comment made me smile; I cannot buy cards that aren’t honest. You have to look hard to find the ones that speak your truth.

      I applaud you for trying to restrain REACTING to him when his choices didn’t mirror your own. That’s hard.

      Please let me know if y’all make your conference and what his thoughts are? (praying over you now….)

  8. I know posts like this are important, but I am so tired of them. So tired. I don’t want marital bliss or perfection. I would settle for simple kindness.

    • Hi Anon,

      My first thought was did I write this as if marital bliss/perfection were the goal? Mercy–that’s the exact OPPOSITE of what I intended. I don’t think either are possible! (I’ll have to reread to see if I imply that…).

      But…my heart goes out to you; many of us could say “I would settle for simple _____” and fill in the blank with our own void :(. I understand your weariness; if you’re committed to your marriage for the long haul–forever–low seasons can seem like forever!

      I’m praying for you, sincerely right now…mostly that through this time in life you’ll see God in ways you’ve never seen him before, growing closer in intimacy with him. When you’ve been hurt/disappointed, even that is hard to believe….

  9. Guilty!
    I’ve recently been bragging online without realizing it as such. 🙁 Thanks for the reminder, and ideas on how to build him up privately!
    A saying we have framed in our home:
    “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
    We daily have to live it!

  10. Thank you so much for giving me hope in the midst of trying times. I’m hoping that these suggestions will help me right now.

    • Jill.

      Hope–is a Person and an assurance. I’ve had those seasons of hopelessness (in marriage, in life) and my strongest encouragement is for you to trust what your head knows…and pray that your heart will believe it. Act on what you know to be true and right, not on what you’re feeling (or not feeling).

      I hope that makes sense; and I’m praying for you, Jill.

  11. 25 years of marriage and I still appreciate being reminded of personal reminders to my love. We are guilty of this too much. My husband suffers from PTSD and evenings, days go by without touch or talk. I love your reminders to me to love as 1 Cornithians 13 commands, as Jesus loves us.

  12. Thank you for your words today. As I read this I am reminded of the commitment marriage is. Finding out my husband had a month-long affair was, oddly, not the worst thing that happened to our marriage. It brought to light the shortcomings of our relationship as it was in shambles before the affair, for far too long. We have separated and though I never thought couples who physically separated would ever recover, I believe we may. Funny thing about those ‘nevers’ – they seem to come to fruition more often than not.
    If you would, please pray for our marriage, my husband and for me. Thank you again for your post.

    • Danyl,

      Prayers for your marriage. May God intercede and heal this marriage. I pray God allows you to forgive your husband and you two can reconcile.

      Blessings! 🙂

      • Thank you Beth. We are working on it. Remaining separated for now, but spending quality time together and learning to talk, share, forgive and move forward. We spent Christmas together and with my family, and it was the best one in a number of years.

        I think it will be a long road as some days my emotions get the better of me. We (both) have immense support from wonderful friends who love us and want the best for both of us and we are learning what that best is.

        One thing that people said over and over was ‘you always looked so happy.’ Proof that things aren’t always what they appear.

  13. Robin,
    Thank you for your honesty and your advice. This was such a great post that truly hit home. I too have had the thorny valleys to battle….more than the happy moments to be honest. I am in tears because your post refreshed my thinking and helped me gain new perspective on marriage. Yes, we do not know what the other marriages have that makes them appear so happy, but we shouldn’t compare…hard as it may be not to… I too ask for prayers that my marriage can find more of the couple time that we lack so immensly and even if we can’t spend the night away (due to having no one to watch our children, and opposite work schedules) if we can just find more time to communicate on a deeper more loving level and as you said respond in love and with respect that will fill my heart with enough for now….
    Thank you and thank you for sharing your story. God Bless!
    Hugs and blessings,
    Kristy

    • Kristy,

      One night when both are home try asking him to just sit with you and talk/snuggle. No pretense, just the two of you.

      Perhaps you could go for walks together without the children. One thing that I do is send my hubby dayspring e-cards and tell him how much I love him.

      Praying these suggestions will work for you! Blessings 🙂

  14. Robin, you keep making the right choices…one of them choosing NOT to compare as you’ve pointed out and your marriage WILL change. Out of our 29 years together, 20 of them weren’t FB or noteworthy, weren’t good, weren’t anything that anyone would be slightly jealous of. Finding the form of communication that worked best for us changed everything…and continues to be the reason we are happier today than when we married. God bless you in your marriage relationship!

  15. Thank you for your post! I have been struggling lately with facebook and social media and all the “perfection” that is posted. Not that I want people to air their dirty laundry but it all seems so fake and I’m just really bothered by it. Mostly I think because I have realized how easily I buy into the lie of perfection. I know in my head it doesn’t exists. I am not perfect. My marriage is not perfect. My children are not perfect. But I struggle in my heart with wanting to be/wanting things to be perfect. I am resisting this lie and all the places it comes from and I am proclaiming truth. God is perfect and loves me and accepts me in my imperfection.

  16. Terrific post, as usual Robin! 🙂

    My marriage, like all others, has it’s ups and downs. Lately I’ve taken steps to “redefine” our marriage. I will ask him to just sit and talk about life, work, etc. Then we can both better understand what’s going on in our lives. I also sneak a few Dayspring E-cards to him from time to time just to thank him for being there for me during trying times in my life.

    This January, 2014, we will celebrate 10 years of marriage. To celebrate he would like to go to Myrtle Beach and rent a house for a few days. We shall go and have a good time.

    The other while talking he offered to have a “Beth” day. Kind of a holiday just for me when he cooks, and does special things for me.

    I am truly blessed to have him for a hubby! God put us together and I praise Him for it! 🙂

  17. I am also guilty of looking at photos of happy, attractive couples and wishing I had that. I have been married before, more than once. I should be happy. I picked my current spouse because he was good to me and my kids. I don’t think I’ve ever really loved him or been attracted to him, I just knew I was safe. I feel awful being this shallow person, and I just wish I thought my spouse was cute or handsome, so I could feel good about being with him. I’m almost embarrassed about him and I’m totally ashamed of myself. I should be happy he is a good man.

  18. Love your post today and need to put most of it into practice!! Thank you so much! Just one wee thing, for me, that in the last couple of months I became gravely ill. My lovely man cared for me through it all for one week when I was slipping in and out of consciousness, before finally being admitted to hospital. We are senior citizens, and I am not given normally to uttering sweet nothings! But I wad so overwhelmed by his compassion and tender care that I posted a tribute to him on Facebook to say how much he meant to me. But it was a one- off! And we go through stormy seasons as well. Just saying………

  19. Oh my goodness, how this hit home for me! It was like you were reading my mind/heart! Thank you for encouraging me today!

  20. What you have to say is so full of truth! We so often forget to tell our spouse face-to-face how much they mean to us. After 30 years, our love stays young and fresh – in spite of the many rough roads – because we take the time to flirt(!) every day. And yes, to the embarassment of the young kids we are now raising. But our love is so very strong.

  21. Robyn, while I know that this was written primarily for the “married ladies”, the truth be told it could have been an open letter to all married people — “married gentleman” included. 🙂

    With that said, I’m going to break the rules here and leave a comment.

    Thank you for writing this.

    Not because I think my wife needs to read this, but because I need to read this. There’s a tremendous amount of wisdom in this post, and I believe that God is using the storms that you and your husband have weathered to provide this wisdom to others who might be on the verge of their own.

    You’ve given me personally a lot to think about — mainly in the context of how I can recalibrate my life in a way that’s consistent to the husband that God wants me to be.

    And with that, the woman who I cherish unconditionally can feel the way that she should.

    Loved beyond her ability to comprehend.

  22. This could not have come at a better time. Thank you. The last several years we have been thru tests and trials. Cancer, other illness, children, travel, moving across the country twice. And now we are embarking on a new challenge, another move, and a new job. I was thinking last night I wished that we were more like “those other couples.” The ones that the wife is polished and manicured (as I sit barely awake, slouching, with my chipped coffee mug) whose husband send flowers for no reason and guys lavish gifts, and dotes over his children. But you know you are exactly right. We invest in what is given to us, and it is ours to love and nurture. It’s perfectly what I needed.

  23. Loved your transparency and the way you encouraged, (not the ooey gooey kind of encouragement but the let’s get you unstuck and move you forward kind of encouragement)!

    Having been been married almost 37 years I can truthfully say it was not our love for one another that has kept us together, it was someone else’s love for us that did! We started off on the wrong foot in so many ways and in the 4th year we were headed to Divorce Court. It was at that point God invaded our lives but and the healing began, but not like you see in fairy tales. The healing and growing came (and continues to come) through poverty, difficult life circumstances and those dark nights!

    The next marital crisis came smack in the middle of attending seminary! We didn’t see that coming! After all we were doing God’s work! But in the midst of doing God’s work we had not invested in each other and our excuse was we had no time and no money. We became more intentional about carving out time together even if we packed a lunch and sat in the food court of the local mall listening to the man tickling the ivories, while drinking a cup of flavored coffee we got as a free sample from the coffee shop. Slowly we overcame that crisis realizing God had a plan for us that the enemy didn’t like.

    In all the years of marriage and ministry the greatest times (looking back) were in those darkest nights. Strength and trust grew. Remarkable stories were born in those darkest of nights, from which we draw today!

    Although our love for each other is stronger than ever, and we are best friends and we work together 24/7 and we can’t imagine that day that we are not together – we still have struggles. But we’ve learned to look at those struggles as times of strengthening and growing NOT times of destruction. A time to wake up out of the hum drum of life and put some wonder and adventure back in it.

    When you look at us you can know that our marriage didn’t get where it is without scars. In fact if you look closely and lean in and listen you may just get a glimpse of the battle wounds. You may even find a fresh one! Don’t judge from a superficial observation. Give us the chance to show off our scars and battle wounds and hopefully help you move forward. In your marriage. Scars aren’t shameful covering them up and pretending they aren’t there is.

    So with that said we are off for a drive over the mountains To see what we can see and to visit with friends we haven’t seen in a while!
    Thanks again for your wonderful insights! May you enjoy many more years together!

  24. Wow all of these posts came at the right time. I am struggling with myself and asking questions like..” why am I not attracted to my husband of 29 years”, “how do I get him back interested”. He is a faithful mam and he
    loves me soooo Mich and I love him too.
    But, the affection only shows up when we ho away. Shouldn’t that caring, intimacy be at h at home? I fimd myself being distant and avoiding him and he’s drifting away from me. What can I do? It shouldn’t be this way. We’ve been together so long. How do I rekindle this marriage?

  25. I truly agree with your article. I have been thankful for the husband God gave me, I have not been happy how he excludes me from everything and now for our 15th anniversary he tells me he hadn’t loved me for more then 7 years. I have cared for him in all his illness, cooked meals from scratch, ironed his clothes, taken care of home and yard. Worked to help financially, and helped him in his business plus raise our son. To be told that I didn’t do enough. He moved out without warning. I don’t know where I went wrong. I always told him how good he was at his work quality and ethic. And found out he goes around tearing me down with others. Never bought me a birthday present or anniversary, Mother’s Day, valentines, Christmas present. Yet he always got a present from me for all celebrations of him. I always thought he had a bad memory for dates. Not that he didn’t care.

  26. Wow it was really good to read your post today. It’s helpful to know that others struggle. It is so often true that no one seems to struggle in their marriage but I realize that I never share what is going on with my marriage either so no one knows how I am struggling everyday either. What is hard for me at this point is that I have tried the things that you listed and it hasn’t yet been very successful. Sometimes it is tempting to give up. I know that it is the enemy that put’s that thought into my head. You are so right when you say we can change ourselves and not our husbands. God has really shown me that I need to learn to trust Him and He truly is the only one who loves perfectly. The only relationship that we know we will never be abandoned, never be betrayed, never be taken for granted. I carry many wounds from my past from before I married, then I married a very wounded man. At 20 and 23 we had no clue!! 35yrs. later wounds and scars hold pain, shame and disappointment that through time have brought the same issues to our relationship. Sometimes my husband even says he feels nothing anymore and He feels like I want him to feel things He just doesn’t feel and why should we talk anymore because nothing changes and he doesn’t think it ever will change. It is hard but in the roughest times God has been even closer to me and I believe in the changes I know through Him are possible! He has healed my wounds so I know that He can and will heal my husbands wounds. God is teaching me to live one day at a time with him and trust him to show me what I do next. Thank you for your honesty! It’s good we are not alone!! Blessings to you!

  27. Another blog about marriage…it seems that (in)courage is all about married mothers, and leaves other women in the dust. You have to fit a very specific demographic to relate to the majority of the posts here.

    • Anonymous, I’m sad to hear that you feel that way but grateful you shared honestly. I also hope that if you continue to read (in)courage you’ll find something to meet you where you are. While many of the monthly (in)courage writers are, in fact, married mothers, not all of them are. Some are single, some working mothers – or working singles, some married without children, and others married mothers whose children are grown. I pray you find the community and encouragement you’re looking for, whether here or in another place.

  28. I am so thankful for finding this blog or should I say for the Lord leading me to this blog. Sometimes you do need a third wheel. What I mean by that is , someone that is not family, nor a church member or someone familiar. I needed another perspective and to hear other stories of testing and triumph and it has helped me. This blog allows us (married women) to be transparent and not to be judged for being real. It allows us to releave our stress. It gives us another avenue of prayer, support and understanding. It helps us to be free and we need that breath of fresh air. Thank you for starting this blog because I didn’t want to go to my pastors they are my relative and I didn’t want to be embarrassed. So keep doing what you are doing and continue to pray and seek the Lord for guidance because what you are doing has inspired me so much already. Thanks for listening. God bless.

  29. I’ve asked my husband for help in finding what might help our marriage… No response. Now what?

    • Poppy,

      When you seem to be rowing the boat on your own its time to reevaluate and seek God in prayer for your husband, yourself and your marriage. Its amazing how by just seeking his face he works everything else out.

  30. Oh my, I could write a book on the ups & downs of marriage as we will celebrate 50 years of marriage next June (if I don’t knock him in the head with a ball peen hammer first..LOL) Seriously, we have had a roller coaster marriage; but I must tell you that 2013 was the roughest year of my life dealing with cancer all year and my husband stepped up & helped in so many, many ways. That is what commitment to God is all about. Hang in there no matter what & depend on God every moment! God gives us strength to endure all things. Have a blessed New Year!

  31. As a single lady who typically skims over the “married” posts I read this with fascination- and then felt compelled to write one to my single friends over on my blog (hope you don’t mind Robin- you inspired me)

  32. I’ll chime in my voice with all the others to say, thank you, Robin, for a great reminder on the importance of investing in that single most important relationship we have on earth! My marriage is good and healthy, but sometimes that makes it easy to get complacent. I want to have a mindset of investing in my marriage this year!

  33. Thank you! I love point 3 and 5. And your saying on the photo!
    This is good to read as a newlywed. I strive for the lovey dove while my husbands points out more of the reality. The goal is not to be lovey dove 24/7, the goal is to honor our commitment and to not only serve each other with that, but our Heavenly Father. That is still hard to for me to fathom. And although in my vows I said that I knew love wasn’t a feeling but a choice, I struggle with that daily.

  34. Once upon a time, I would have said ‘great post and good reminders for the normal ups and downs of life’…and it’s still a great post…and once upon a time, we used to do the things you recommend…but ‘once upon a time’ is LONG gone, and I just don’t have a marriage with ‘normal’ ups and downs…I have a totally dead partnership (for the sake of the kids) in the wake of shattered vows…
    We maintain an in-house separation for logistical reasons, but after 3 years with 2 different marriage counselors, I do not believe that my husband wants to be married…he simply doesn’t want to be divorced.
    So, we co-exist…mostly in an awkward near-silence, punctuated by lies in answer to my questions, and hellish silent treatment when I confront any of the lies.
    There was no anniversary celebration this past year…25 years under the same roof, but not really a marriage…what do you celebrate? The wedding of years ago didn’t actually yield a marriage…and I was too ignorant to recognize that…until years of my husband’s fantasies had cemented me as a villain in his mind.
    And now, I’m tired…tired of trying, but mostly tired of failing…

    • Muchalone, my heart breaks for all of you as you are not living through the hellish silent treatments alone. They are leaving scars and buried wounds that may not show up immediately but eventually will. You have a right to live in peace as does your children and your husband.
      I chose the same path you did at a great cost to my children and myself. I divorced my ex-husband and was with him in the doctor’s office when he literally dropped dead of a heart attack. As I sat on the floor next to him waiting for the county coroner to come pronounce him dead again, my only cognizant thought was that I could finally get on with my life without being afraid of what he’d do to me. Because of 25 years of existing in a destructive, chaotic relationship, neither one of my kids have ever had a healthy, sustained relationship. We teach our children how to love but also how not to love and you need to recognize your value and move on. It won’t be easy but just as God helped me, He is there and waiting to help you. May you find that you’re not “muchalone”.

  35. It is refreshing to read encouraging words relating to this topic. I’ve been married for three years and with two babies. This past few weeks have been tough on me and consequently on my marriage because I’ve felt very disconnected from my husband. Its true remarkable how God has used you to point out that not every marriage is picture perfect but that we have to work at it and persevere in the mist of the storm. I too have fallen into that misconception that everyone else is having a great marriage but that maybe mine is not as great and that there is something wrong. This year I’ve made a resolution to seek God’s word and face more because as I said when I married my husband, I want God to be the center of our marriage and I know with Christ all things are possible. Its possible for him to change attitudes in my life that will in turn help my marriage. At the start and the end of the day its all about how our relationship is with God that will be reflected in our interpersonal relationships be it with our spouse, children, on so forth. Once again, thank you for the encouraging advise. God bless.

  36. Thank you for sharing! I am pinning this post on my “Marriage” Pinterest board. It really spoke to my heart.
    Blessings
    Rachel