Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is Boredom Beating Your Marriage?

Couple_bored_2475394bLet’s face it … we live in a culture where we’re quickly bored.  We change jobs … channels … and conversation topics in the blink of an eye.  Today’s media knows this and bombards its ADD audience with sound bite messages every 15 to 30 seconds …

Unfortunately many of us who are married … have lost interest in our spouses and our marriages!  We stop having meaningful conversations … and even stop fighting because we don’t care … we stop dating and trying to impress each other … our love life becomes routine and predictable … we value our relationships with friends more than we do each other … we’ve grown into couch potatoes … who feel more like brothers and sisters than we do husbands and wives … does any of this sound familiar?  If so, boredom may be beating your marriage.

Boredom is an enemy of marriage and intimacy.  New research tells us that bored spouses are rapidly drifting toward divorce … believing a new spouse will bring back the excitement.

So how do we keep from getting bored in our marriage?  We can’t change spouses like we do TV channels … so let’s see if we can find some ways to beat boredom … before it beats us:

Look for ways that you can become a more exciting spouse … it’s not your spouse’s fault that you are bored … you’ve become boring!  Start by remembering what you loved to do together when you were dating?  Rekindle some of those activities.  Now look for some more fun things that the two of you can enjoy together … get some bikes or kayaks …plan to visit every park in your region …  take dance lessons … start a garden … join a book club … plan a vacation or trip together.

Attend a marriage conference or retreat to get some helpful information and encouragement to strengthen your relationship.  Deepening Intimacy is an adventure in itself because it involves getting to know all there is to know about each other … and I’ll bet you two still have a lot to discover about one-another.

Knee to Knee … Nose to Nose Questions

1 – What are some symptoms we are seeing that may indicate we’re getting a little bored in our relationship?

2 – How have I become boring?  Why?  What do I need to do to remedy this?

3 – What were some of the fun things we did while we were dating that have stopped?  How can we bring some of those back into our lives?

4 – What are some new things we can do together that would help us beat the boredom that could beat us?

5 – What’s our plan?  What are the first three things we are going to do to break out of boring?  Set your goals … execute your plan …


Join us for a Marriage Retreat! (Early Bird Prices NOW through June 1st)

 Lancaster Host Resort, PA – Marriage Retreat and Special Guest Musician – Matt & Kim Goss – October 9 – 11, 2015

Dr. Bruce and Karen McCracken, founders of House on the Rock Family Ministries will lead you and your spouse through a weekend filled with laughter, romance and re-connection.

Bruce and Karen have been married for over 40 years and have been leading couples events for 25 years.  They bring practical advice for couples … filled with grace that has been tempered by their experience together.

Matt and Kim Goss have been married for 19 years. Matt has been on staff as Worship Pastor of LCBC Church in Manheim, PA since 1999.  In that time the church grew from 700 to over 10,000 people! He is a featured worship leader and speaker at Integrity Music Seminars and many other conferences each year.

Kim is also a prolific singer, songwriter and worship leader. Her much anticipated debut CD was released in Feb. 2011.


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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The Key to a Successful Marriage Revealed!!

marriage-keyPeople ask all the time what is the key to having a successful marriage.  What’s fun about that question is that every marriage expert has a different answer … but I believe the one who created and ordained marriage has the best answer …

He says in Ephesians 5:25 … Husbands, and I might add wives here too, love your spouse like Jesus loves His … yes Jesus has a spouse … it’s you and me …members of His church the bride of Christ.

There’s the key … learning to love your spouse like Jesus loves you!  Stop and think about that … who loves you more than Jesus?  Ah nobody!

We’re coming up on the most sacred time of year … Holy Week … when we celebrate Jesus’ sacrificial love for us …His death and resurrection to redeem us from sin and death.

Paul helps us understand the loving attitude that Jesus had in His willingness to leave heaven and come to earth to die for us … in Philippians 2 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit … but in humility consider others better than yourself … Have this same attitude in you that was in Christ Jesus …”

Jesus believed that our need for salvation was greater than His need to remain comfortable and stay in heaven … so He came to earth to die a death He didn’t need to die … to pay for sins He never committed …

He wasn’t worried about His selfish ambition … or vain conceit … He was despised, rejected and crucified!  Who wants those as goals for their lives?  Yet He was willing to suffer this because He loves you and me more than He loves Himself.

So there’s the secret … when I can learn to love Karen more than I love myself … and I demonstrate that by my putting her needs before satisfying my own personal comforts and reputation … and when she does the same for me … we will be experiencing the successful marriage that God has intended us to enjoy.


Join us for a Marriage Retreat!  2 Great options!

Cape May, NJ – Marriage Retreat (Click for details and registration) – May 15 – 17, 2015

Our accommodations are neighboring Victorian Beach Houses … one block from the beach. Between the houses, we can accommodate 8 couples … so invite another couple to join you! Ticket prices cover all costs and meals for the weekend …

Topic: Back {to} Naked … getting back to what God intended … which unpacks the areas of emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy.  This has been a favorite of many couples … and there will be ample time to relax and enjoy the house and the beach.

 Lancaster Host Resort, PA – Marriage Retreat and Special Guest Musician – Matt & Kim Goss – October 9 – 11, 2015

Matt and kim goss

Dr. Bruce and Karen McCracken, founders of House on the Rock Family Ministries will lead you and your spouse through a weekend filled with laughter, romance and re-connection.

Bruce and Karen have been married for over 40 years and have been leading couples events for 25 years.  They bring practical advice for couples … filled with grace that has been tempered by their experience together.

Matt and Kim Goss have been married for 19 years. Matt has been on staff as Worship Pastor of LCBC Church in Manheim, PA since 1999.  In that time the church grew from 700 to over 10,000 people! He is a featured worship leader and speaker at Integrity Music Seminars and many other conferences each year.

Kim is also a prolific singer, songwriter and worship leader. Her much anticipated debut CD was released in Feb. 2011.


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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3 Greatest Pieces of Wedding Wisdom!!

Can you remember some of the wedding advice you got once you announced your engagement?  Here are some of the “gems of wisdom” I recall:  be sure to treat her like a queen … weird in-laws just get weirder … and my all time favorite … The secret of a happy marriage … is still a secret …

Karen and I have a marriage that has grown from good to great over our 40 years together.  We are best friends and love each other more today than we did on our wedding day.  That’s because there is a lot more we have come to learn and love about each other.

We also know, by experience, that neither one of us is perfect.  We have grown in our commitment to focus on each other’s good qualities, which I hope outweigh our negative ones.

Identifying and acknowledging these good qualities about each other are a vital part of cherishing your beloved.  First, focus more on your spouse’s strengths than weakness.  Second, serve your life mate by being willing to give more than you expect to get back.  And … third, reflect on how thankful you are for being blessed by having your beloved in your life.

Since the word cherish is a verb … it requires some action!  So, take out a piece of paper right now; and in two minutes write down between five and ten things about your spouse that you are thankful for.

Next, take two more minutes and think of five to ten special things that you can do over the next week for your beloved that will make his or her life easier and demonstrate your cherishing love!?

Finally, follow through with your to do list.

Keep a journal of how doing these love projects made you feel towards your spouse?  How did doing these things make you feel about yourself?  What impact did this activity have on your children as they noticed you performing these acts of kindness towards each other?

Use this little project to help demonstrate how you cherish each other!


Join us for a Marriage Retreat!  2 Great options!

Cape May, NJ – Marriage Retreat (Click for details and registration) – May 15 – 17, 2015

Our accommodations are neighboring Victorian Beach Houses … one block from the beach. Between the houses, we can accommodate 8 couples … so invite another couple to join you! Ticket prices cover all costs and meals for the weekend …

Topic: Back {to} Naked … getting back to what God intended … which unpacks the areas of emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy.  This has been a favorite of many couples … and there will be ample time to relax and enjoy the house and the beach.

 

 Lancaster Host Resort, PA – Marriage Retreat and Special Guest Musician – Matt & Kim Goss – October 9 – 11, 2015

Matt and kim goss

Dr. Bruce and Karen McCracken, founders of House on the Rock Family Ministries will lead you and your spouse through a weekend filled with laughter, romance and re-connection.

Bruce and Karen have been married for over 40 years and have been leading couples events for 25 years.  They bring practical advice for couples … filled with grace that has been tempered by their experience together.

Matt and Kim Goss have been married for 19 years. Matt has been on staff as Worship Pastor of LCBC Church in Manheim, PA since 1999.  In that time the church grew from 700 to over 10,000 people! He is a featured worship leader and speaker at Integrity Music Seminars and many other conferences each year.

Kim is also a prolific singer, songwriter and worship leader. Her much anticipated debut CD was released in Feb. 2011.


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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A Valentine’s Gift Better than Chocolate, Roses or Hearts!!

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day and you romantics will be finding, if you haven’t already, clever ways to express your love to your Valentines with chocolates, hearts and roses!  Hopefully you’ve got all that covered … but there may be a better way to demonstrate our love

Today is a day to celebrate love … and we know that God is love … and that He is the source of the unconditional and unbreakable love we all need to make our marriages thrive.  So, let’s take a look at a familiar passage … I Corinthians 13 … that never stops teaching us something about love … to look for an even better Valentine’s Day gift for our beloved.

I’m going to break it down into Paul’s outline of:  what love is … what love is not … and what love always does …

What love is

  • Love is Patient … it’s forgiving and extending grace while we are in process of growing Christ-like … it’s steady and persevering …
  • Love is Kind … it doesn’t speak or act harshly … it is considerate … calm and gentle …

What love is not

  • Love is not jealous or envious it doesn’t feel discontented … it’s not longing for what another person or couple has …
  • Not proud and boastful it looks for ways to put others first …
  • Does not dishonor … love doesn’t embarrass, belittle, disgrace or bring shame to others …
  • Love is not proud and egotistical … it isn’t demanding its own way … to have my needs met first …
  • Love is not angered easily … doesn’t fly off the handle quickly … is looking for connection …
  • Love does not keep score of wrongs … doesn’t hold grudges and is willing to forgive and move on …
  • Love does not delight in evil … but looks for ways to bring help and healing …

What love always does …

  • Love Rejoices with the truth … it celebrates the good things … and even the “challenging” things that we know are coming from God to make us better …
  • Love Always protects … love looks for ways to shelter our beloved from harm …
  • Love Always hopes … it is expecting and desiring the best …
  • Love Always keeps on loving … even when the loving feeling isn’t there …
  • the unconditional love of God never fails … we can rest on this assurance of His unbreakable love …

Take a minute to ask your beloved:  “Which one of these descriptors of love do you need from me today?” …

I’ll bet that meeting that need in his or her life will be the best valentine’s gift ever …


More Gift Ideas … Join us for a Marriage Retreat!  2 Great options!

Cape May, NJ – Marriage Retreat (Click for details and registration) – May 15 – 17, 2015

Our accommodations are neighboring Victorian Beach Houses … one block from the beach. Between the houses, we can accommodate 8 couples … so invite another couple to join you! Ticket prices cover all costs and meals for the weekend …

Topic: Back {to} Naked … getting back to what God intended … which unpacks the areas of emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy.  This has been a favorite of many couples … and there will be ample time to relax and enjoy the house and the beach.

 

 Lancaster Host Resort, PA – Marriage Retreat and Special Guest Musician – Matt & Kim Goss – October 9 – 11, 2015

Matt and kim goss

Dr. Bruce and Karen McCracken, founders of House on the Rock Family Ministries will lead you and your spouse through a weekend filled with laughter, romance and re-connection.

Bruce and Karen have been married for over 40 years and have been leading couples events for 25 years.  They bring practical advice for couples … filled with grace that has been tempered by their experience together.

Matt and Kim Goss have been married for 19 years. Matt has been on staff as Worship Pastor of LCBC Church in Manheim, PA since 1999.  In that time the church grew from 700 to over 10,000 people! He is a featured worship leader and speaker at Integrity Music Seminars and many other conferences each year.

Kim is also a prolific singer, songwriter and worship leader. Her much anticipated debut CD was released in Feb. 2011.


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!

sign up

Leave a comment

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Why You Should Stop Saying, “My Spouse …”

If you’re like me … when you exchanged your marriage vows, if they were the traditional ones, you may have made one promise that you don’t know how to keep.

Do you remember pledging … to love, honor and cherish?

Did you ever really stop to think about what those words mean … and what that promise is supposed to look like?

Do you know how to cherish your spouse?

Let’s take a minute to explore the meaning of this vow and some ways you can use it to rekindle the spark in your relationship.

Let’s Define Your Vow:  Cherish means to hold dear, to treat tenderly, to keep in mind fondly.  It is an action word that is naturally combined with tender emotion in the way you hold, treat and think about your spouse.

So one way you can enrich the emotional connection with your spouse is to begin thinking and treating him or her as your beloved.

We’ve stopped using the term “beloved” today.  Yet it deserves to be revived and used in each modern relationship, because it encourages you to see your life-mate through loving eyes.  Can’t you hear the difference … between the emotionally void word … spouse … and the heartfelt word … beloved?

Well now that we are trying to see our life mate through a new lens of being our beloved … let’s look at the Biblical passage that this vow comes from … to see what cherishing looks like:

That phrase comes from Ephesians 5: 28 – 30:   In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

So, we are to love our spouses … to cherish them … to treat them … the same way we care and pamper ourselves … or if we need an even more challenging standard … the way Jesus loves you and me … His bride … the church.

What are some things that may be hindering me from acting tenderly … towards my beloved? 
Here’s some that come to mind:

  • Are you blaming your spouse … so your punishing not cherishing?
  • Are you waiting for your beloved to change?
  • Do you focus on what you are not getting out of your marriage?
  • Have you given up hope that you can revive the spark of love and passion?
  • Do you expect your beloved to live by your rules, desires, beliefs?

Once you recognize your blocks, are you willing to release them and improve your relationship?


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!

sign up


Sick of the Cold … Plan for a Marriage Retreat in Cape May, NJ … May 15-17, 2015 (our only Cape May retreat this spring!!)

Cape May, NJ – Marriage Retreat (Click for details and registration)

We’ve also just posted information for a large retreat we’ll be doing October 9-11, 2015 at the Lancaster Host Resort with Matt and Kim Goss leading worship for the weekenddetails here!

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Tips to Evaluate the State of Your Marital Union!

Two weeks ago the president delivered the State of the Union address … RELAX … I’m not here to discuss politics … but it got me thinking … what would I say if I had to deliver an annual assessment of my marital union … to Karen and the rest of our family.  So let me challenge you with those same thoughts …

These speeches always start with good news … the things we’re doing well and the things we can celebrate … how many of these can you say?

  • We’re communicating on a rapport (emotional) versus report (fact) level?
  • We’re making regular spiritual connections?
  • We’re making regular physical connections?
  • We resolve our conflicts / issues with win/win scenarios?
  • We’re an effective parenting team?
  • We enjoy regular “alone time” together?
  • We are serving the Lord together?
  • We feel “safe” to share how we really feel with each other …

Let’s go through that same list and see what things need to be strengthened … or improved …

Now it’s time to do a little strategic thinking … what are some threats to your marriage that may be lingering on the horizon?  There are active threats … things you are experiencing now … and future threats … the things you don’t even see coming …

  • Money: job changes, bankruptcy, retirement …
  • Parenting failures: your children’s failures
  • ex-spouses, step children, empty nest
  • In laws: your lack of “leaving,” and their intrusion, control
  • Addictions: alcohol, porn, romance, gambling, shopping
  • You’re having that same fight over and over again
  • Emotional … physical … spiritual intimacy
  • Leftovers: emotional baggage and unresolved issues from prior relationships
  • Broken Trust: hearts and eyes begin to wander, boredom, emotional or physical infidelity

Health: chronic conditions illness grows worse

Commitment erosion / apathy with God and spouse … stop caring

Changes in your & spouse’s needs … aging

Let me challenge you to spend some time this week as a couple to go over the state of your marital union … and to talk about how you plan to strengthen your strengths, minimize your weaknesses and eliminate those threats …


Sick of the Cold … Plan for a Marriage Retreat in Cape May, NJ … May 15-17, 2015 (our only Cape May retreat this spring!!)

Cape May, NJ – Marriage Retreat (Click for details and registration)

We’ve also just posted information for a large retreat we’ll be doing October 9-11, 2015 at the Lancaster Host Resort with Matt and Kim Goss leading worship for the weekenddetails here!


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!

sign up

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Only 4 Days Left for our Matching Gift Campaign ($13,000 still needed)

You can double your IMPACT on marriages thanks to a $20,000 End of Year Challenge Matching Gift Grant where all gifts made from now till Dec. 31st will be doubled!  Help us receive the full match by donating today!


 

So far we’ve raised $7,000 towards our $20,000 End of  Year Match to Transform Marriages!!

With only 4 days to go, we need your prayers!PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

I’ve copied our full letter below.

Thank you for your support!

 

 

Bruce

 

 


Thank you for making 2014 a year of explosive IMPACT for thousands of couples and the gospel!  Let me share the IMPACT you’re a part of …
Our Online Explosion!! 

 Last year we launched our “Fan the Flame Dates” website on Valentine’s Day with the goal of revolutionizing the way couples receive marriage help.  We used to schedule quarterly date nights at local restaurants.  Couples had to have “our date” open plus the extra money for a night out and babysitting.  Busy schedules and the financial crisis of recent history devastated this “old” model; forcing us to look for and develop a new way to encourage and enrich couples.

Fan the Flame Dates.com was born allowing couples to get the same quality teaching … ANYWHERE … ANYTIME … and ANYPLACE for FREE!!  What surprised me was our web presence treansformed us from being just a regional ministry … to an international one …we’re now ministering in all 50 states and 45 countries … that’s a world wide IMPACT!

 But here’s what excites me even more (and I hope you too!):  In 2013 we had 5,600 couples watching; this year we’ll have over 21,000 couples watching!!  That’s a360% increase in ministry!  What’s fun is our website tells us how long couples are engaged with our material … we can see if they simply click on the video and leave quickly or stay to watch longer.

Here’s what we learned … in 2013, those 5,600 folks watched a total of 17,340 minutes of our material.  This year our viewing time has skyrocketed to 84,750 minutes (that’s 1412.5 hours)!! That’s an insane growth of 488%.  So not only are more couples, like you, visiting and accessing our videos … they’re staying longer to learn more!
Here are some comments we’ve received from a few of our Fan the Flame couples:

  • “Thank you for putting these videos out … I can’t wait for the next one in the series!”
  • “This video needs to be posted online … every single day for people to watch!”
  • “As a pastor, I shouldn’t say this, but I’m much more comfortable talking about my marriage with my wife in the privacy of our home, then in a group setting at a retreat.”

You’ve seen those commercials … “but wait there’s more!”?  Well let me share some more exciting IMPACT news.

Our NEW online Marriage Devotionals
In March 2013 we began writing and posting our new weekly marriage Fan the Flame Marriage Devotionals.

In less than a year we have over 22,000 readers!

If you’re not getting these … Click here!

What’s great about this medium is our devotionals are being shared by our readers via social media … extending our ministry IMPACT into their networks.  Here’s why that’s thrilling:  One young lady, who was struggling in her marriage, was so encouraged by one of our devotionals that a friend of hers posted … that she called us for help and came to one of our new Marriage Intensives!  OK … since I’ve mentioned “intensives” let me introduce you to another new ministry we began this year to IMPACT couples for Christ.

Marriage Intensive Retreats

Our Marriage Intensives are for couples experiencing significant marital problems.  Couples receive over 15 hours of face to face coaching designed to help them identify and address specific issues and needs.  These intensives are much more powerful than one hour counseling sessions every other week because they keep couples focused on their issues for an extended period of time.  They’re like having 9 months of counseling in one weekend!

The results are nothing short of miraculous and we give God the glory!  One couple had already filed for divorce … yet they both wanted to give their marriage “one last chance”.  On our second day, God showed up in an incredible way … showing them both how they created a cycle of sin, frustration and distance in their marriage … and how they could break free from it!!  Their renewed commitments to each other and to their marriage are a tribute to how God works through forgiveness and grace.

HOW YOUR PARTNERSHIP HELPS IMPACT MARRIAGES

As 2014 comes to a close, we need approximately $55,000 to meet our financial obligations for this year.  We received over $12,600 from the ExtraGive, but won’t get those funds until 2015.

I’m excited to see how and where God is going to use the IMPACT House on the Rock Family Ministries has with couples in 2015.  With your continued prayer and financial support, we can make this a reality.

Would you please consider a gift towards our total year end needs of $55,000?  Your gift will make a huge IMPACT on marriages and families in our community and region.

Thank you for your support to help make a difference!!

Bruce R. McCracken, Ph.D.
Founder and President

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