Welcome to the CMBA Newsletter!
Marriage Ministry Matters is CMBA’s monthly newsletter. This issue celebrates our October 2014 Words of Wisdom blog challenge, helps us think about a blog mission statement, and lets us know about Jay Dee from Sex Within Marriage.
The following blogs joined CMBA since our last issue. Do visit their sites and share an encouraging word.
Blessed are the Pure in Heart – Andrew Budek-Schmeisser
Love Hope Adventure – Keelie Reason
howsyourlovelife – Jennifer
Intentionally Refined – Troy & Taryn
Fresh Faith Bites – Melissa
Heart of her thoughts – Njeri Olang’
Something to Stu (stew) Over – Stuart L. Tutt
Make Us One – Dennis & Debbie Jordan
Enhancing the Dance – Jessica McCleese
TimandConsuela.com – Tim & Consuela
CMBA Blog Challenge!
It was great to see so many of our voices sharing the Words of Wisdom they’ve received from family, the Bible, friends, and blogs and books.
Here’s who participated:
If you participated and your blog isn’t listed, please email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org to get yourself added.
If you participated, be sure to include the challenge button on your blog!
From the Forum
The CMBA Member’s Forum is a safe place for us, away from the eyes of our readers, where we can gain insight, encouragement, practical help, and prayers.
This month’s featured thread is about how to deal with upsetting comments.
How do you deal with comments and emails that disagree or are hurtful?
How Do I . . . ?
Do You Have a Mission Statement for Your Blog?
Plenty of businesses and organizations have a mission statement. A ministry benefits from one as well. (See “Marriage Blogging a Ministry or a Journal?”)
Whereas a vision statement is designed to describe our ultimate goal (e.g., healthier Christian marriages), a mission statement gives an overview of how we are working toward that goal (e.g, encourage Christian couples as they cope with the challenges of parenting).
A vision statement tells us why. A mission statement tells us who, what, and how.
When we blog from a Christian perspective, our mission statement is truly a mission.
Why is it a good idea to have a mission statement?
- It’s handy when you are asked what your blog is about or you need to provide a brief description of your blog. Take a look at the CMBA Member Directory. Quite a few CMBA members have a mission statement as their blog description. See? Handy.
- A mission statement helps a first-time visitor get a quick sense of the big picture of your blog. Your About page invites visitors to learn about you and the blog. A mission statement can to the same thing, but because it is shorter, it will appeal to different readers.
- It helps you plan and make decisions about your blog. Measure your ideas against your mission statement. This will give your blog a focus and consistency. Even if you go “off-mission” every now and then (for instance, writing to wives when you usually write to husbands), being consistent with your mission helps your readers know what to expect from you. You may have plenty of great ideas, and a good mission statement can help you decide whether to address those ideas on your own blog or perhaps ask to guest post on someone else’s.
- Your mission can be inspiring. If you go through a rough blogging patch and need to be reminded of what God has called you to do with your blog, just read your own mission statement.
How do you write a mission statement?
Begin by jotting down the answers to some questions:
- What do you want to accomplish with your blog?
- Who do you most want to read your blog?
- How do you want these readers to benefit from reading what you have to say?
- What specific aspects of marriage do you most want to write about?
- What audience and purpose does your own marriage story best prepare you to address?
- How do you approach your subject matter and readers? (Do you share your own successes and failures, present research studies, focus on scripture, or bring a professional expertise to your writing?)
- What has God shown you about what you should be doing with your blog?
Use your notes to write a sentence that includes who your audience is, what aspect of marriage you write about, and your unique approach.
Even if you decide not to include your mission statement on your blog, the process of writing one is an exercise that will help you clarify what you are doing and even re-inspire you.
If you would like to have some folks look at your mission statement, start a thread in the CMBA Member Forum.
A Few Resources on Mission Statements:
The CMBA Mission:
Are you on social media? Follow CMBA!
Have you had a chance to look at Shaunti Feldhahn’s The Good News About Marriage?
She challenges what we all think we know about the divorce rate and about whether or not people are generally happy in marriage.
Check out what some CMBA members have said about the book:
- What’s the Real Divorce Rate? To Love, Honor and Vacuum
- Great news about marriages: 80% are happy, Marriage Gems
- Seven Gifts the Church Should Give America for Her Birthday, Journey to Surrender
Behind the Blog
It’s fun to get to know the person (or people) behind a blog. The plan is that each newsletter will feature one blog. We will provide a list of questions; it’s up to the blogger which questions (or how many) to answer.
Meet Jay Dee at Sex Within Marriage!
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?
Sex Within Marriage is a blog devoted to…well…sex within marriage, specifically from a Christian perspective, and everything that entails. The only story behind the name is that I’m not that original when it comes to naming things.
What is your favorite blog post (give us a link, please!), and why?
My favorite post is probably “Is Sex a Need or a Want?” It has by far generated the most posts since it was written, and I continuously receive comments from wives saying how much they appreciate the perspective I shared. So, it’s my favorite because it seems to have helped the most people.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
I’m a big fan of Solomon’s writings. My favorite is probably 3:3 if I have to pick one verse, because that was our wedding verse. However, if I’m allowed to choose a longer passage, I’d probably go with Proverbs 1:2-7, because the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom are so central to my life, this verse teaches me that there is way to do it that honors God, because it’s too easy to pursue knowledge and wisdom for my own glory.
What has surprised you about blogging?
I started Sex Within Marriage in order to share resources I had found, books, blogs, etc., to help people in their marriages, because I felt I didn’t have any help in my own when we got married. What surprised me most was that people were far more interested in my own perspectives, thoughts and opinions than in me sharing other peoples. I am constantly shocked and humbled at how many people care to actually read the words I write, even if they don’t always agree with them.
Tell us about your spouse/marriage.
Let’s see. My wife is a stay at home wife. She homeschools our 4 children. We’ve been married 13 years (since we were 20). I’m not sure what else to say. It’s too big of a question to cover everything, but I can’t think of anything simple to share.
A brief history would be that we had a bit of a rocky start that led to my wife becoming a refuser for the first 8 years of our marriage, and then her perspective changed and she no longer said no. I had my own struggles that I also overcame which helped me to be a much better husband to my wife. For the last few years things have been great, we’ve never been happier (my wife wrote this paragraph for me).
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?
My topics come from a few peoples. Sometimes they are just a stray thought in my head that makes me think “I wonder if I could turn this into a blog post”, or it’s a sermon that I think could be adapted to marriage. Or, it’s an issue in my own marriage and I’m working through how to resolve it. More recently a lot of my posts revolve around my surveys, which in turn are based on questions from readers or my own hypothesizes.
For my survey posts, the process is fairly simple: come up with a hypothesis, write some questions to ascertain the reality, post the survey and do the data analysis, and then post the results.
For my more “traditional” posts, I generally just sit down and start writing. I’m afraid there’s no trick to it. My goal is to become more structured, which I hope will turn me into a better writer, but so far, it just all comes out in a massive stream of consciousness. Often my largest issue is that my fingers can’t keep up. After I’m done, then my wife reads my post and points out the sentences that either make no sense due to a word I skipped, or a typo, or she clarifies her thoughts that I may have misinterpreted, and adds her own perspective if she desires (lately she hasn’t had the time for that last step).
What piece of blogging advice do you have for new marriage bloggers?
Blogs start slowly but grow exponentially. Every word is an investment. In January 2012, my first month of blogging, I got a grand total of 170 views on my blog (a lot of them probably myself). But I wasn’t focused on the numbers, I was focused on helping people, if it helped someone, it was worth the effort and the time. Well, it helped me. Writing helps me process my own thoughts, so I had decided that even if no one came, I was going to continue writing.
Now, nearly 3 years later, we get about 65,000 views a month, and I’m still considered a small fish when it comes to marriage blogs. Most of the bloggers I talk to have communities that eclipse, and often encompass mine. And that’s okay. Because I’ve got my one person that was helped through my blog: me, and it continues to help me. Thanks be to God, I occasionally hear about other couples who have been blessed by my writing, which is just a huge bonus. So, I will continue to write. God willing, if this trend continues, there will be 350,000 views a month by 2018 and maybe I’ll get a couple more emails of couples who have been helped.
What are some reader comments or emails that stand out for you, and why?
There are a few:
The first time I got an email from someone saying I had helped save their marriage was awe inspiring.
The first time Paul Byerly linked to a post I had written and told everyone it was a must read was just shocking.
Another time Paul commented on one of my posts and said “I do want to compliment you on being consistent and logical with your application of your opinion. You have elevated this conversation to level I have rarely seen.” And that was a valued compliment from someone who disagreed with my position, but was willing to extend his regard despite our differing opinions.
But the top of my list was probably this:
I got an anonymous email from a wife asking me, in short, if her husband still finds her desirable. Since it was anonymous, I had no way to ask follow-up questions, or even respond over email. But, I could tell she was hurting, so I created a survey asking couples about their attraction to their spouse. In 12 hours, we had 100 responses from Christian couples, over half of them husbands, and I wrote the post “Does my husband still find me attractive” in the hopes that this hurting wife would see it. In it, I shared that the data showed that over 95% of husbands found their wife attractive, and 51% said they found them even more attractive than when they first got married.
The night after I posted the results, I got another anonymous email, and you could almost hear the tears of joy and thankfulness in the text. She was floored that I not only answered the question, but went through the trouble to rally over 100 people to help answer it so there would be doubt in her mind, and then did the data analysis and write a post, all in about 24 hours. She was so thankful, and I felt so happy that I could help.
That is probably the one that stands out the best, because it wasn’t just me. I could not have done it without my growing community of readers, and together, we answered a burning question for at least one wife. Since then, I hope many more have read it and it has brought them peace as well.
Do you blog in your pajamas?
I don’t wear pajamas. See “Want more sex, go to bed naked.” . I should clarify, I do wear a housecoat, and will blog in that, but I don’t blog naked.
What are your hobbies (besides blogging, of course)?
Well…I have quite a few. I tend to get obsessed about whatever interesting thing I find next, so over the years I have collected a few.
I enjoy languages and have tried Japanese, Biblical Hebrew, Lao, Spanish and Dutch, Shona and know a smattering of words in another dozen languages or so. If this is posted in November, there is a good chance that I’ll be in The Dominican Republic testing out my Spanish while doing mission work.
I have a love of technology, which extends to my blog, but also learning new programming languages and techniques and more recently my eldest daughter and I have been delving into robotics and electrical engineering.
I’ve been an audio engineer for church since I was 16, and I quite enjoy that. We just got a new digital board at church (a Roland M-200i with a half dozen M48’s for those audio engineers out there), and I am loving learning how to use it coming from a background of analogue boards. Our worship service are quite a production these days and we have a lot of fun.
I like math…I know that sounds weird, but I do. I quite enjoy the data analysis I do only blog of all the survey results. And occasionally I help kids in my church with their math, physics, chemistry, whatever …when the subject matter has extended beyond the parents’ ability to help them, they come to me, and … don’t tell them … but I find it a lot of fun.
I love to read, I probably own close to 1000 books on a wide variety of subjects. A lot of SciFi/Fantasy from my childhood, but in the last half a decade they’ve shifted towards non-fiction, particularly marriage, relationships, business, investing and finances as well as church management since I hold a few leadership positions in our church.
And for fun, when I want to relax, I learn about theoretical physics. I love learning about string theory, particle theory, quantum mechanics and the like, unfortunately I don’t get to use that information very often.
In the last few years I’ve taken up running, which is something I never thought I’d enjoy, but I’ve gotten to the point that I miss it if I haven’t gone out for a run in a while.
And I quite enjoy computer games. One of my favorite pastimes lately has been playing Minecraft with my eldest two children (8 and 6).
And lastly, I love discussing theology. The application of biblical principles in everyday life is a topic that never bores me and never ceases to inspire my thoughts. My blog is really an extension of this core drive of mine: the belief that God knows what is best for us, and that His Word has every day applicable advice for every aspect of our lives: be it friendships, business, finance, parenting, running a church, and yep, even sex.
Image courtesy of Nick Coombs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net