Welcome to the CMBA Newsletter!
If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your blog, you are not alone. We sometimes find ourselves losing our focus and motivation. We wonder if we are truly doing what God has asked us to do. We try to maintain a blogging schedule or quality even when our lives get a bit more complicated. We look back at earlier blog posts and wonder if we’ve lost our touch. Or we work hard and don’t see the change we are hoping to see in our traffic or blog comments.
When you encounter these moments, take a deep breath and soak in the presence of God. Stop worrying about your blog for a few minutes, and allow God to replenish you. Take time to rest in Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The following blogs have joined CMBA since our last issue. Take some time to visit their sites and share an encouraging word.
How Do I . . . ?
Dealing with Difficult Comments
Sometimes we get comments on our blogs that are challenging to deal with.
CMBA members were recently asked,
How do you respond to comments that are argumentative or that express views that contradict your theology?
Here’s what they had to say:
- It depends on how argumentative. If they are name calling and generally being rude, I remove the post, contact the poster, and explain they are free to share their beliefs in a kinder way. Other than that, folks are welcome to share their perspectives. If someone gets on a roll (they won’t stop posting) I might ask them privately to create one last post and then let it go.
- Other theologies? It depends on what we are talking about. Minor differences (non-essentials), I’ll respond with my beliefs to give readers the option of disagreeing. It also lets folks know where I’m coming from. Significant or hurtful theologies, I’m likely to remove and contact the poster.
- If someone posts a comment that is completely disrespectful and not conducive to conversation, I will just delete their comment and that’s the end of it. It is completely acceptable to me for someone to disagree and express their views and opinions. As long as it is done in a respectful manner.
- If their disagreement is from alternative religious views, I will express my beliefs but respect theirs as well. As long as the topic remains relevant to the post they’re commenting on, I would not remove them but I may stop replying.
- If they are respectful in how they express their disagreement (theological or otherwise), I approve the comments but then comment as well, elaborating on why I disagree. The best example would be when someone is having sex outside of marriage. I take the opportunity to encourage them to study God’s Word and to search their own hearts with regard to obeying the Lord. If they are mean-spirited, belligerent or use profanity in their comment, I typically don’t approve the comment.
- I love it when people disagree with me! It’s an opportunity to test my theology, to find the holes, to figure out where I might be blind. I jump in full-on, which unfortunately often gets mistaken for defensiveness. But, the truth is, I’m just really passionate and excited to have someone to talk to about it.
Are you on social media? Follow CMBA!
- Pinterest (If you would like to be added to CMBA’s collaborative Christian Marriage and Sex board, email Bonny at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Creating the Healthy Marriage You Want
Author and hospital chaplain Phillip Kiehl has written Creating the Healthy Marriage You Want: Stop Accusing & Start Accepting One Another.
If you are interested in reviewing the book for your blog, you can contact Phillip directly at email@example.com. He is also available to be interviewed or write a guest post for your blog. If you’d like to introduce your readers to a new resource, check it out!
CMBA Member Resources
Jay Dee at Uncovering Intimacy has several new resources available for you to share with your readers:
- What do wives want? – A primer for husbands
- Spice Jar – Sexual Activities Game – Printable
- 50 Sexy Coupons – Printable
Sex Chat for Christian Wives
Looking for a podcast to share with Christian wives? Check out the new Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast. The podcast was developed through the collaboration of four CMBA members: Bonny Burns of Bonny’s OysterBed7, Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy., J Parker of Hot, Holy & Humorous, and Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife.
These are four Christian wives who want to encourage other Christian wives to enjoy God’s gift of sex in all of its awesomeness by presenting a biblical view, practical tips, and engaging discussion about godly sexual intimacy.
Marriage Check-Up eCourse
Austin and Keelie Reason from Love Hope Adventure have a five-session Marriage Check-Up eCourse guiding couples through a check-up of their marriage. Topics include communication, sex life, romance, friendship, and finances.
Behind the Blog
Meet Jessica McCleese from Better Than the Honeymoon!! Jessica recently answered some questions to help us get to know her a bit.
Tell us about your blog. When and why did you start your blog? Is there a story behind your blog’s name? What aspect of marriage do you blog about the most?
I blog at BetterThanTheHoneymoon.com, though it has gone through a few name changes as I’ve tried to figure things out. I started blogging in 2015, but I let that website go and my oldest accessible blog is from January of 2016. I basically started the blog as a way to get some of my thoughts on paper and to refer clients back to things I’ve written when need be. For example, rather than covering a topic 4 or 5 times in a week, I can have them look at the article I wrote and then we can discuss it further. This means that what I blog about at the time typically has to do with my client load. Not telling someone’s story of course, but writing on what my current clients seem to need. I’ve written about affairs, infertility, and just general marriage issues like anger and communication. As far as the name, I really was just brainstorming about my goals for my blog. Since there is a “honeymoon period” and it’s often taught that things get worse after that, I wanted to change the tide a little.
What is your favorite blog post (give us a link, please!), and why?
My favorite blog so far is When Fertile Myrtle Meets Barren Bertha. I actually wrote it and submitted it for National Infertility Awareness Week, but it wasn’t chosen. I write it out of a place of both hurt and healing. During our infertility struggle, we’ve seen 10 or so babies born amongst our closest friends, almost all of them saying they started trying after we did. The post was my way of telling them that even though infertility hurts, I love them and want to be happy with them.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
I have so many!!! But, if I had to choose I’d say Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be the glory! (I know…that’s actually part of 21 also).
What has surprised you about blogging?
How time consuming and difficult it can be! I have tons of ideas that I never write about because of all the time it takes. Maybe one day I’ll have a little more free time for this. I’ve actually just stopped working at a part-time job I was carrying, so I’m hopeful that blogging will fit into that space.
Tell us about your spouse/marriage.
My hubby, Jacob, and I have been married for 7 years. We’ve got an age difference of 7 years also (I’m older) so now that I sometimes forget my age I count up from his. We both work hard and work multiple jobs (stay away from student loans y’all!). He’s a teacher at a Christian school in our area and I’m a psychologist and occasional blogger. We both find ourselves talking to couples about their marriages and how they can relate better to one another and talking to singles about how great marriage can be. We’re big proponents of loving your spouse well and try hard to do so. My husband has been a huge strength for me (which I’ve written about on my blog) and we really just enjoy doing life together. We’re both introverts, so one of our favorite ways to hang out is with a good book and an occasional interruption to share something we’re reading.
Invite us into your writing process a bit. How do you decide on topics? How do you go about writing a post? Do you schedule ahead? What is the hardest thing about writing? What comes most easily?
I typically decide on my topics by what I hear my clients saying. So, if I have a steady stream of people talking about conflict, I’ll probably write on conflict. But, it isn’t just about what clients say. If I watch a movie or TV show, or hear a sermon, or someone next to me talking about something that I realize I’ve heard several times, I’ll make that a topic. I have a list of about 30 topics that I hope to write on in the future and sometimes I’ll draw from those when I have a break to write. Writing in general is hard for me because I put higher standards on what needs to come out than what I can do. So, I need to give myself grace there. What made writing easiest is a process I’ve been out of for a while. I used to set a timer on my phone and write whatever came to mind for 20 minutes a day during the week. I was able to get a blog ready weekly then. Guess I need to get back to that!
What piece of blogging advice do you have for new marriage bloggers?
Reach out to other bloggers! I’ve found some great encouragement at CMBA and motivation to keep going. Also, talk to people that are reading your blog. I have several people in my life that will occasionally tell me they’ve read something and enjoyed it. Don’t count on comments being he way to know if people like what you have to say. Plenty of people will be touched that may not feel safe to leave a comment. So just keep doing it and build relationships with others. There are groups that will help you do this where you reciprocally comment on each other’s blogs.
What are some reader comments or emails that stand out for you, and why?
I get more emails than comments. People email me directly and ask marriage related questions and to see if they can come see me for therapy or consultation. They typically share a lot of their own story and hurts and just ask for some quick advice. I’m always so humbled when they tell me that they feel God led them to my site. I really appreciate that because I definitely don’t have a huge audience. It’s nice to know that God is reaching the select few that really need the words He gives me.
Do you blog in your pajamas?
I actually almost always blog in whatever I’m wearing to work that day. And, many times, I actually blog at the office in-between clients. Note to self: see if I can get away with PJs at work.
What are your hobbies (besides blogging, of course)?
I love to read!!! I’m a bit of a people person and even though I said I’m an introvert earlier, I definitely have an extrovert streak. I love hanging out with people and really don’t care what it is we do. I enjoy watching movies at home with my husband after a trip to the store for food I know I shouldn’t be eating (True story: he just told me he’s going to buy cookies so we can watch some TV tonight.). I like to wake up early and start my day researching or working on random projects. I enjoy going to plays with my husband (though this is a rare treat) and I love trying new restaurants with him. And, I really, really enjoy going to Escape Room challenges. Seriously, if you’ve never done this, you should look it up now. So much fun and a great way for a couple date if you have some friends go with you.