Category Archives: HOTRFM

Restoring Love … Reflecting God!

restoring love ... reflecting God

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Thank you for your generous support!

Building marriages together,


Bruce McCracken
President and Founder
House on the Rock Family Ministries

 

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You Can Help Couples Experience Life-Changing Marriages!

You Can Help Couples Experience Life-Changing Marriages!

The ministry of House on the Rock has far out grown our initial regional geographic boundaries! Today, we’re helping couples in all 50 states and 45 countries!

In 2013 we launched our online: “Fan the Flame Dates.com” … and were thrilled to see over 7,500 couples grow their intimacy. In 2014, we were blown away as that number exploded to 22,500 … and in 2015 we’re projecting that more than 35,000 couples will watch our videos. What’s even more exciting is that our weekly Marriage Devotionals with their short, practical suggestions for couples to “Fan the Flame” of their marriages are being seen by over 40,000 couples each year!

listening earThis growth has amplified a question that we’ve heard for years: “Do you guys offer marriage counseling … we need more help?!?” 

This year we responded to this growing need by launching our 3-day “Fan the Flame” Marriage Intensives geared for couples facing major challenges in their marriages. For many of these couples this is their last hope to save their marriages and begin the process of restoring their relationships.

The results have been nothing short of miraculous … and we give God the glory!!


Over 85% of our couples are growing and thriving together!

 

Here’s one couple’s experience …

(From Pre-Intensive Questionnaire)

I can’t talk to him without him getting so defensive. I stop talking, but usually after we argue, he’ll scream then walk away too. We never resolve anything!

(After Coming)renewed couple

I’ve already noticed that we are more cognizant of the way we talk about things and when we’re listening together. I’m pleasantly surprised by my husband being so open with these changes. We’ve made goals for each other and am really hopeful

Another couple’s experience …

(From Pre-Intensive Questionnaire)

I feel like there is no point in expressing anything to him because he doesn’t hear me.  I feel very devalued and insignificant because of his lies, affairs, and lack of caring. 

(After Coming)

My advice to couples is go! My marriage has been changed and yours can too!

 

stressed couple 2But here’s what’s scary!!

Neither of these couples could have come to our marriage intensive if they hadn’t received some financial help …

We ask couples for $3,000 to attend our 3 day intensive. I know some of you are saying to yourself … that’s pretty expensive! And I understand … but the reality is our costs to house, feed and give these couples over 20 hours of powerful coaching adds up quickly.  And every participating couple has said that this is a lot cheaper than a divorce!

The truth is … our intensives are over $1,500 cheaper than those offered by Focus on the Family and Family Dynamics Institute. But there is something else that we do that they don’t … we offer scholarships and payment plans to make these marriage saving events more available … I hear from couples who initially balk at the high cost of an intensive say, “that’s do-able” … after we explain the ways we can help.

Here’s how we make it work for them. We offer “needs based” scholarships that award up to a 50% discount … and we offer a payment plan for couples. By giving these two options, we’re able to mitigate the financial concerns for most of the couples who want to attend.

We Need Your Help!!phone calls

We receive 3-5 phone calls and/or e-mails every day from couples who want to save their marriages.

Right now we are adding more ministry locations and training more qualified coachers to host and lead our intensives. Our vision is to see these spread from our two local venues out into western PA and throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

The more couples who attend our retreats, the greater our need for cash reserves to offer these scholarships and to make the payment plans a reality.

The demand we are getting mandates our offering a marriage intensive every weekend in 2016! Additionally, our goal is to serve thousands more couples via our online “Fan the Flame Dates!”

 We have a financial target of $75,000 by year end to help us meet these ministry goals!  

 coupleprayWould you please consider a generous gift … to partner with us in strengthening and keeping these marriages together so they can reflect God’s love to the world!?!?

Thank you for making a difference in a couple’s life!

Bruce R. McCracken
Founder and President
House on the Rock Family Ministries

  1. Via Check to House on the Rock – 222 S. Market St. Suite 102A – Elizabethtown, Pa 17022
  2. Via secure online donation at hotrfm.org
  3. Via the ExtraGive – Nov. 20th … at www.ExtraGive.org

House on the Rock Family Ministries is a registered 501c3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Filed under Fan the Flame Marriage Devotional, HOTRFM

Do I Need Marriage Counseling??

Here’s a question I get a lot, “Is our marriage at the point where we need counseling?”

While that’s a pretty loaded question … and every situation is unique … let me see if I can offer a few thoughts that might provide some clarity.

Just like the fact our wedding rings tarnish and show signs of wear over the years … marriage relationships can get worn, weary and show signs of neglect if they’re not routinely “cleaned.”

How do you know if your marriage is just in a tough season … or if you’re experiencing something much more significant?

Here’s a few behaviors you should be on the lookout for:

1 – Communication Goes Silent – The foundation of relationship is the ability to communicate with each other. If you stop sharing your thoughts and feelings … or don’t feel safe enough to communicate what you’re really thinking, you’ve entered a downward spiral that needs addressed.

2 – Constant Negative Communication – Every couple knows that arguments and conflict are a part of life. As I’ve shared on many occasions, if you don’t have conflict … you don’t care … but if your communication is nothing but negativity towards each other … and doesn’t end in positive resolution … you start laying a foundation of disdain, contempt and anger towards each other that warrants professional intervention.

3 – Non-existent Physical Intimacy – While frequency may change over the years, tapering off completely … or having physical intimacy with no emotional connection is not normal.

4 – You’ve Had or Fantasize about an Affair – We’ve seen many couples overcome affairs … through heartfelt forgiveness, rebuilding of trust, and a renewed emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy … but it takes time … hard work … and more often than not, the guidance of a third party to navigate challenging path.

Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety”

If this list hit too close to home, we’d love to chat further with you about our marriage intensive retreats … or help you get in touch with a personal counselor or pastor to help.

 

 


Take Your Spouse on the Marriage Retreat of a Lifetime at one of the nations Top 10 B&B’s (only 7 tickets left!)

Join us at the Twin Pine Manor – February 5-7, 2016

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Click for more information as well as reservation details.


Additional Resources to Grow Your MarriageMarriage intensives

What is a “Fan the Flame Marriage Intensive”?

Our marriage intensives are more than a couple’s weekend retreat. They are intimate, personalized coaching sessions designed to help you identify and address your specific needs. Intensives are more powerful than one hour counseling sessions because they keep you both focused on your issues for an extended period of time. You will receive over 15 hours of personalized counseling, coaching and marriage building exercises that will fan the flame of your marriage back to life.

Upcoming Intensives
 – Dec. 4-6, 2015 (Sandy Cove) Md
– Jan. 15-17, 2016 (Black Rock Retreat) Lancaster, Pa
– Feb. 26-28, (Sandy Cove) Md

Click here for more information or to schedule a Marriage Intensive now!

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Filed under Fan the Flame Marriage Devotional, HOTRFM, Marriage/Family

Are you a “Safe” Spouse?

Have you ever lied to your spouse because you were afraid of the negative consequences?  Do you ever find yourself hiding your true feelings because you’re fearful of what your spouse might think or feel about you?
If you’re like most of us the answer is an embarrassing “Yes!”  And that means that we are not feeling totally safe in our marriages.

It seems to me that there should be no safer person on earth for me to be with than my wife!

I say that because God created us to be connected … we are created in His image and our marriages are to mirror the love that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have for each other … they are one … there is no fear … there are no secrets … they enjoy being together …

When God put Adam and Eve in the garden … they were naked and unashamed … they were totally open and honest … there was no fear …

Fear comes from the fall … when the first couple sinned they became afraid of God and each other. Satan was successful in not only breaking the relationship between God and man … but in shattering the beautiful intimacy that husband and wife were designed to experience … So … whenever we don’t feel safe in our marriages … we need to understand that we’re not were God wants us to be …because  God has not given us a spirit of fear …

Here’s a definition of a safe marriage: 
An emotionally safe marriage is one in which you feel safe enough to say what and how you truly feel, knowing that your spouse will make every attempt to understand … and may even come to respect your point of view.

It’s easy for us to blame our spouses for our not feeling safe … we think … if she didn’t have a such a quick temper … or if he would emotionally connect and really try to empathize … I’d feel safer …

The first question we want to ask is:  “Am I a safe spouse?!”  Does my life mate feel like he or she can be totally open and honest with me?

If not … ask the Lord to help you become a safe spouse …

 

A huge THANK YOU!!! … to all who gave and prayed for our End of Year financial needs.  We received almost $5,000 over our matching gift goal … putting us on solid ground to start 2015!


Join us for a Marriage Retreat at one of the Top 10 Bed and Breakfast’s in the United States – Feb. 27 – Mar 1st, 2015

outside shot

Twin Pine Manor – Ephrata, PA  (Click for more pictures and registration information)


Additional Resources to Grow Your MarriageMarriage intensives

What is a “Fan the Flame Marriage Intensive”?

Our marriage intensives are more than a couple’s weekend retreat. They are intimate, personalized coaching sessions designed to help you identify and address your specific needs. Intensives are more powerful than one hour counseling sessions because they keep you both focused on your issues for an extended period of time. You will receive over 15 hours of personalized counseling, coaching and marriage building exercises that will fan the flame of your marriage back to life.

Click here for more information or to schedule a Marriage Intensive now!

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Last Minute Gift Ideas for Your Spouse that Won’t Disappoint!

Wondering what do you get your spouse for Christmas?

I am one of those last minute shoppers … who ventures out on Christmas Eve … wandering the mall … in search of that perfect gift for Karen … sometimes I know what I am looking for … but many times I am praying it will jump out and say “Here I am!”

Honestly … that’s how I got into this insane habit … I had a great streak going of seeing something nice on a mannequin and saying: “I like that … Karen will like that … let’s get it and get out of here!”

I’d have it wrapped … then head home … place it under the tree … and wait impatiently for Christmas morning …

And on Christmas day she opened it and loved it!

But there’s got to be a better way to choose a gift … so we’ve played with that all time greatest Christmas gifts for a true love list … the 12 days of Christmas for some inspiration … hum the tune in your head as you read them …  but don’t sing the parentheses! …

The promise of no one else but me  (unconditional commitment is foundational to marriage)

2 listening ears  (one for facts and one for feelings)

3 little words (I love you!)

4 financial planners  (to help secure your financial future)

5 dates together  (give some quality time and attention to each other)

6 sexless backrubs  (relieving stress … )

7 TV shows a turned off  (so you can tune into each other)

8 encouraging words (speak life into each other)

9 nights of nookie (the exclusive love language of married couples … enjoy!)

10 10 minute devotions  (spiritual connecting builds intimacy)

11 tingling touches  (don’t lose those loving “feelings” hold hands, etc … )

12 acts of kindness …(take some chores off your partner’s list!)

Why not figure out a way to “wrap up” one or more of these for your true love this Christmas?


Join us for a Marriage Retreat at one of the Top 10 Bed and Breakfast’s in the United States – Feb. 27 – Mar 1st, 2015

outside shot

Twin Pine Manor – Ephrata, PA  (Click for more pictures and registration information)


Additional Resources to Grow Your MarriageMarriage intensives

What is a “Fan the Flame Marriage Intensive”?

Our marriage intensives are more than a couple’s weekend retreat. They are intimate, personalized coaching sessions designed to help you identify and address your specific needs. Intensives are more powerful than one hour counseling sessions because they keep you both focused on your issues for an extended period of time. You will receive over 15 hours of personalized counseling, coaching and marriage building exercises that will fan the flame of your marriage back to life.

Click here for more information or to schedule a Marriage Intensive now!

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Filed under Fan the Flame Marriage Devotional, HOTRFM, Uncategorized

6 Practical Steps to Get Off the Marriage Emotional Roller Coaster!

Is your marriage riding an emotional roller coaster?  If so, you may be what Professor Murray calls a “volatile” couple.

Volatile couples, as their label implies, are unstable; doing their marital dance on the devoted / divorce borderline.  Spouses are like microwaves and flash freezers.  Their emotions, whether positive or negative, instantly heat up and “boil over;” or plunge to “cold as ice” rapidly.  This couple can be intensely romantic and passionate one moment and burst into loud heated animated arguments the next.

These couples can go either way when it comes to divorce; but research says “Volatiles” have more unhappy moments than joyful ones.  Their feelings about their marriages are also caught in a cycle.  They fluctuate from: “we’re doing great!” … to: “we’ll be OK, if we can get through this issue.” … to: “we’re done … it’s over … I can’t take this anymore!”

So what can a volatile couple do?

  1. Understand that volatile emotions have physical and emotional root causes.  You want to see a medical or counseling professional to help you get to the bottom of these out of control emotions.
  2. Unresolved conflicts often lead to anger issues … you want to seek help in developing your communication and conflict resolution skills.
  3. Stop waiting for things to get better! Don’t listen to your thoughts that we’re OK … realize that ‘hoping for change’ is not an effective strategy for dealing with your problems.  Set a plan of action.
  4. Take the first steps yourself … even if your spouse isn’t ready to join you in this process.
  5. Emotions are not bad … they are a gift from God but they do reveal what is in your heart. (Luke 6:4) The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
  6. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you control your emotions. God wants you to experience His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Additional Resources to Grow Your Marriage

**Marriage Retreat Special Expanded for New Retreat Dates**

(Sept  12-14) (SOLD OUT)
Oct. 3-5 (4 rooms left) (click here)
or Oct. 24-26 (6 rooms left) (click here)
or Nov. 14-16 (8 rooms left) (click here)
(price includes room + 4 meals)

Didn’t get to the beach this year, but still want a great time with your spouse and a chance to grow your marriage?
Use discount code – “getaway100” to join us in beautiful Cape May, NJ for a weekend retreat — for only $299.00!! Limited number of tickets available.

capemay-250x183

 

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Filed under Fan the Flame Marriage Devotional, HOTRFM, Marriage/Family

The Greatest Marriage Lie!!

In my years of working with couples and talking about their marriages, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone declare they’re leaving their spouse because, “I deserve to be happy in my marriage! God wants me to be happy doesn’t He?”

I understand the root of their reasoning.  We serve a good God who wants to shower good things on us.  Why wouldn’t He want us to be happy… to have a good marriage instead of a miserable one?  God wants us to experience the “abundant life!”  Add to that the power of our belief in the American dream of healthy, wealthy and happy and we have some faulty thinking.

Unfortunately, this is one of the greatest lies the devil whispers to couples today!

When you feel unhappy in your marriage, what do you?  You start making a list of all the things your spouse is doing, or has done, that upset you.  You begin to think of all the other people that seem happier than you.  You begin to punish your spouse by fighting with them, or emotionally withdrawing from them.  You start to keep an internal “tally” of all the reasons you’re not being met half-way by your spouse?

Stop!!

Are those actions of the Holy Spirit?  How can we say God wants me to be happy when we are disobeying Him and His Word?

Isaiah the prophet knew of this problem thousands of years ago when he shared “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6)

“Deserving happiness” is just another form of selfishness and can be the most dangerous threat to your marriage.

God commands us to die to self … to think of others more highly then ourselves … to transform our minds daily.

When you start serving your spouse, and seeing how you can meet his or her emotional, spiritual and physical needs … when you start to make him or her happy … you’ll be amazed how God will transform your mind and your marriage!


Additional Resources to Grow Your Marriage

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Join Us for a Marriage Retreat in Cape May, NJ

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Filed under Fan the Flame Marriage Devotional, HOTRFM, Marriage/Family