Can a video game show us anything about how we grow in our marriages? The answer turns out to be yes!


I was playing a video game the other day, and I realized that my avatar’s energy level was getting low. Instead of forging ahead into the next quest, I moved slowly, avoiding dangers that might completely deplete me. I continued on my journey and took care of the absolutely essential things, but I was slow and careful so I could rebuild my strength. When I was back up to full strength, I was ready for next quest.

That has been happening in my real life lately, too.


I’ve been quiet for a while—both here and on my social media accounts. I am simply moving slowly and carefully so I can rebuild my strength.

We’ve come to a new point with a very stressful family situation that has required our time and attention for most of this year. While the problem is not entirely resolved, one significant piece of it is. We are in a new phase of dealing with the problem. Much is unknown, but we can see the horizon more clearly than we could mere months ago.

A couple weeks ago I spent four days at my parents’ cabin in the UP (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) with extended family. Big Guy had to stay behind with one of our sons due to an appointment, so I was without him for a few days. Still, the lake was lovely, with warm water despite cool air temperatures. (I went swimming when it was only 65 degrees outside. It was totally worth it.) The time away gave me the relaxation I had needed, along with the opportunity to soak up care from my family. It was good—but it was hard to be away from my husband. The return home involved airing out a tent, doing camp laundry, and trying to remind myself what was in the pantry.

I am also getting ready for the school year. I’ll be teaching part-time while continuing writing and other projects. I have my mind distracted by things like a syllabus and which buildings my classes will meet in.

As for the writing and those other projects, I have been dabbling in those, with bursts of energy here and there. But I have been slow and careful, so as not to deplete myself.

It is late summer. I’m soaking up days of sunshine, puttering around the house doing essential chores, enjoying the tomatoes from my garden, and simply remembering to breathe.

This recent quietness from me has been a sign of that I am rebuilding. I am resting. I am waiting. I am preparing. I am guarding.

It is a time of strengthening.


In less than two weeks, it will have been six years since I began this journey to improve the sexual intimacy in our marriage. I’ve been reflecting on the many steps in this journey and on all the things I have learned along the way.

I’ve thought about that first year, which was incredibly hard. I forced myself to do what I knew I should do, even when I wasn’t feeling much like it. I learned to view my husband as a hurting son of God instead of as my enemy. I learned to seek God’s design for sex in marriage instead of assuming and reacting without thought. It was a total transformation of my approach to sex—and I saw very little in return.

Other than a reduction in difficult sexual tension, my marriage wasn’t a whole lot better at the end of that first year. And then, suddenly, it was. I had been going non-stop with some difficult things and much internal upheaval. My mental energy was low, and I had very little left.

It occurred to me from time to time that I could be pushing myself for further growth, but I kept hearing from God to just wait. So that’s what I did.

I continued on my journey by doing the things I had been doing, but I moved slowly and carefully, not taking on anything new.

I see now that it was a time of rebuilding. Resting. Waiting, Preparing. Guarding.

It was a time of strengthening.

And then . . . I was ready for the next phase of the journey.


We are often told that it takes three weeks to make a new habit, and in my experience that has been largely true.

When I write about doing something new in your marriage bed (whether it is a new sexual activity or a new attitude to take on), I often encourage women to take more than just the time it takes to make a new habit.

Forming that new habit can be depleting, especially since it involves our sexuality. The constant awareness and effort, along with trying to navigate the logistics and the after-effects of enacting the new habit, can be exhausting. It can deplete us.

Take time to make the new habit—and then to take more time to feel comfortable and confident in that new habit.

This extra time is when we can catch our breath and recover while trying to get ready for the next new thing.

Rebuild. Rest. Wait. Prepare, Guard.

It is a time of strengthening.


This journey up the spice-laden mountain we find in the Song of Songs is quite a climb–and when we move uphill, sometimes we need to just stand, catch our breath, and rest up before forging on ahead.

When you find yourself moving slowly or avoiding risk, it is easy to feel frustrated or wonder if you’ve failed. I invite you to cut yourself some slack while you continue with the essentials you’ve developed so far.

When you stand still and catch your breath, it is not a failure. It isn’t stalling. It isn’t giving up.

It is a pause.

It is a time of strengthening.

After all, you need to regain your full strength in order to be ready for your next quest.

Image credit by OfDoom |

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8 Thoughts on “What Does a Video Game Show About Marriage Growth?

  1. Tiffany on August 24, 2016 at 11:51 am said:

    This so related to a hike I took yesterday. I’ve been walking more and more in my quest to get rid of these pounds that have crept up on me over the last 15 years. So if the creeping was slow, some rather quickly. So yesterday my dog was pulling me to a trail off the paved ones we usually take. I knew it was strenuous but I trudged ahead anyway. The first part is all uphill with limbs and rocks and uneven paths to deal with. I took it slow and steady, had to stop for a second after some of the more intense parts of the climb. That last time I had done this particular trail was several years ago, it took me just over an hour. This time it took me 50 minutes. All the walking with the dog had made me stronger and even though it was still tough, I made it in great time and while I am sore today it’s not as bad as it was several years ago when I could barely walk the next day. So now I will rest and have decided to make that trail part of my regular walks once or twice a week. There’s a longer trail I would like to check out one day so that’s my next quest once I get better and stronger with this one. Baby steps. We will get to our goals not matter what they are.

    • Thanks for sharing! I messed up many times in trying to do better–but the consistent effort made me stronger, so each time I stumbled, it was easier to pick myself up and get moving again. The effort makes us stronger, and it is easier to recover.

  2. Good reminder!! In my marriage and in life in general it’s easy to look at a slower time and feel like a failure. I know I’ve been struggling with that in the past few weeks where it’s been a slow summer where i haven’t accomplished much, and i’ve struggled in being gentle and kind with my husband since we have been stressed. I was telling someone at a recovery meeting, “This summer has been a waste… i have nothing to show for it?” And the woman told me, “why do you need something to show for it?” Sometimes God might just want us to have a more quiet period of life. Sometimes there are slower times in our journey and it’s easy to feel like a failure in those times. It’s important as you said to look at the big picture of how far we’ve come, and where we are still going.

  3. sunny-dee on August 26, 2016 at 9:57 am said:

    This is so on point! With marriage as with anything — work, exercise, faith. My mom used to keep me home an extra day from school when I was sick to “recuperate” and I think we undervalue how important it is to rest and recover.

    Side note, I worry sometimes that I dump a load of gloom in the comments, and (worse!) off-topic gloom. I want to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog and even if some of what you’re doing doesn’t apply to me or my situation, seeing someone stretch their faith and their relationships is still a good testimony to hear. Thank you.

    • I used to do the same thing with my kids when they were sick.

      You know, when we read things that we think don’t apply for us, sometimes it is easier to absorb the more subtle lessons. I’m glad you read here.

  4. I keep trying to rest but things keep coming up! The other day it was a last minute important repair that couldn’t be out off because of the potential of it being dangerous if left undone. Last night I had to mend an injury that took longer than expected. Every day it seems there are issues and problems that require more and more of me….one kid won’t focus on their school work, another pitches a tantrum for an hour over some perceived offense, the kids break something I have to repair, the dog gets into the trash or garden and all that needs cleaning up. Now we are behind on homeschool and have to play catch up. A friend has an emergency and needs my help…..

    I keep trying to rest. I keep trying to lay down, heal, relax, but more and more and more comes up. It seems every time my head hits the pillow I am called up again…and not for piddly stuff I can set a boundary for and ignore. It is all stuff that needs addressing.

    I am literally becoming ill. My body is shutting down on me. Please pray I get the rest I need.

    • You need to take care of yourself. Stuff is going to keep coming up because that’s just how life is. While some things do require our immediate attention, others do not. Not all things that come up are created equally. A friend’s emergency does not have to become yours. Some repairs can wait. If you can’t find enough time to lie down and rest, that don’t try to do it that way. Look for five minutes when you can sit alone (even if you just go sit in your car) and simply breathe and be restful. Carve out rest in small pockets, and you’ll be better able to respond when things truly cannot wait.

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