Fireproofing Your Marriage with a Giveaway from Cindy Dagnan

Okay—I am not a big movie buff. Not usually up on the latest new releases nor know who is playing opposite whom. While I can recognize many of the big stars, I don’t seem to be able to tell you their names. But this one thing in current cinema happenings I know for sure.


Last weekend I told you our president Lysa at Proverbs 31 Ministries had previewed it and raved about its virtues. Now that I’ve sat with my hubby through the entire film (crying through nearly half of it) I can testify first hand, it is MORE than worth the price of the ticket.

Why it is not a film that boasts an A list of stars with name recognition and Oscars under their belt, God has His imprint all over this story. It was made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, the same folks who brought the world Facing The Giants. You can read about them and their movie-making ministry here. And it stars Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains and Left Behind fame, a man of integrity who, by the way, refuses to kiss another woman –even in a movie—in fact it is really his wife standing in for the leading lady in the tear-jerking kissing scene.

So again I’ll say it: Run, don’t walk, to the nearest theater. Take your hubby. Renew your vows. Take your teens. Talk about love and respect as God does in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 25-33. You won’t regret it.

Until then, read on here on my little blog for more marriage advice as I again host my friend Cindy Dagnan. She talks this week about her wonderfully practical book Chocolate Kisses for Couples. You can even leave a comment and win a copy!!! Here is my interview with her:

 Cindy, for those who weren’t with us last spring when we featured Who Got Peanut Butter on My Daily Planner, tell us about you and what your life looks like.


I am a preacher’s daughter, a wife, mother of four girls and a recovering Type A personality.   When I have to drive into town twice a week for errands, my highlight is stopping at Starbucks for a grande non-fat hot chocolate with whip and a regular blueberry muffin.  It’s the simple things, really.

What nudged you to write Chocolate Kisses for Couples?

 Like most of the stuff I write, it’s a subject that intrigues or interests me or that I desperately NEED to work on, but can’t find something that doesn’t seem to “expert-y.”  Sometimes, books that are so well-meaning just overwhelm you!! You know?  And Greg and I had just begun doing some mid-marriage work that was really hard.

Todd and I just celebrated our 22nd anniversary last summer. I know marriage isn’t a walk in the park. What do you find most challenging?

 Keeping in front of me the fact that there’s someone to think about besides me.  I didn’t really think I was all that selfish, but you know, my sweet husband often says, “I don’t care what we do, honey.  It’ll be fine.  If you’re happy, then I’m happy!”  And he MEANS it!!!  Sadly, I’m not always the same.  Turns out I’m ALSO happy when I’M happy! :)  This does NOT speak well of me, girlfriends.

How do you and your hubby overcome this challenge?

 I pray about our marriage DAILY.  We scrabble to have time together each week and a go-out-together date each month.  It’s hard to juggle kids, schedules and finances but ooohhh, so worth it!  In fact, we’ve just returned from our annual anniversary get away — one night and parts of 2 days that blessedly remind us that we are friends and lovers, not just mommy, daddy, cook, gardener and bill payers.

Now, what would you say is your favorite part of marriage?

 Having someone that knows you so intimately and for the most part, adores you anyway.  Greg CRACKS me up!  He is the most supportive person of all that I try to do.  He is so knowledgeable in his field [he’s a Police Chief] and yet so funny.  We’ve been having this running toilet paper gag all week and it’s my turn to get him back….you’ll have to ask him.  Or else, you’d have had to be there! :)

In what ways have you personally grown as a wife in the years you have been hitched? Anything you wish you could go back and do over?

 I am so much more secure in the strength of Greg’s love and God’s watch and care over the whole thing.  When we started out, I had been hurt so badly.

What pep talk can you give any wives who may be a a hard spot or just at a place of ho-hum boredom in their marriage?

I interviewed several couples married 50, 60+ years and they ALL basically said the same thing:  “If you young people would just stick with it, you’ll find that EVERY marriage takes work and some of it just stinks.  But the SWEET part always, always comes after some really rough times.”  I think we girls grew up on fairytales and someone did us a disservice by not telling us that ALL marriages that last take ingenuity and effort — ALL of them.  Even the good ones!  NO, ESPECIALLY the good ones.  They don’t just happen.

Any other marriage wisdom you’d like to impart?

Don’t give up!  Dig in, hang on for all you’re worth.  People are counting on you — your children; the world; the marriage skeptics; those people who witnessed your union and those tremendous vows.  Trust that God can change ANY marriage — yes, even yours, precious girlfriends and then storm the gates of Heaven. 

Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us this week!!

You are most welcome!


Okay gals, now here is the scoop. You can win a copy of Cindy’s book on marriage by leaving a comment any day this week about marriage. Let’s stick to answering one of the three following questions:

1. How do you Fireproof your marriage by making it a priority over other demands of life?

2. If you saw the movie Fireproof—what was the part that most touched you?

3. Or—if you are in a hard place now in your marriage, in what area is it? Showing respect? Making time? Communication? Finances? (The rest of you, feel free to jump in with any encouragement you have!)

You have until 6:00 pm EST Sunday night to leave your comment. Winner will be announced on Monday!




  1. Hi Karen,

    Our church hosted Lysa for a Ladies Conference last month. I subscribe to the Encouragement for Today devotions. I loved the one you wrote entitled “Dime in My Pocket”. May I please have permission to reprint it in our ladies quarterly newsletter? I believe that all of our ladies would benefit from reading it. The analogies are great & so relatable to today’s typical routines. As I was searching the P31 site for a contact, I found your blog. Love it! Lu-huv it! Can’t wait to read your books!

    About the response to the marriage question, my husband & I have been married for 13 years. We have three beautiful girls (11, 8, 5) & a very busy farm. Keeping our marriage in-tact has been a rewarding effort & many lessons learned. Like most of the other posts have indicated, communication is integral. Early in our marriage we were exposed to personality & love language tests. When the opportunity presents itself, I tell young married folks to attend workshops or read the books “Personality Plus” by Florence Littaur or “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. To “fireproof” our marriage, I have armed myself with knowledge of my husband’s makeup to be able to effectively communicate with him. It has made an amazing difference in understanding him, his thought process, what makes him feel loved & honored, & helps me know what to do or say for him to communicate with me. We have recently been reading “Capture His Heart” & “Capture Her Heart” by Lysa; they are another goldmine of great tips.

    The second thing I do to “fireproof” our marriage is to tastefully edify, edify, edify him. I do it when we are alone, I do it in front of our girls, I do it among our peers. Some gals might call this “inflating his ego”, but I don’t. It usually sounds something like this: “My husband continues to amaze me. Last week he . . .”; “Let me ask my husband. If anyone knows the answer to that questions, he does.”, etc. It’s done tastefully, sincerely, expecting nothing in return. When I tapped into that wonderful skill, it was amazing to see the defenses & walls subtly come down spiritually, emotionally, & communicatively.

    Sorry to get so “wordy”! Thank you for your great work!

  2. Sweet Mari—
    I wonder, if it is too much for you to go, if he’d go by himself to see it. It is so powerful and I have heard countless stories of men who have bee so convicted by the Holy Spirit through the actions (and inactions) of the lead character.
    I will be praying for you. Hang in there and let’s trust God together for a miracle!!!

  3. Karen,
    My husband and I saw the movie last weekend. Excellent!! Should have brought a box of Kleenex along with everyone else in the theater!

    We have been married for 21 years. We have 3 teenage sons. My husband has been a truck driver all of our married life which has placed pretty much everything (running house, running and disciplining the kids, etc.) on my shoulders. Watching this movie made me realize the resentment I have towards him at times. I don’t really feel as if we are a “team”. When he is around I am still in charge. The movie made me realize that I need to “step back” when he is at home and allow him to lead which is not always easy.

    Someone once said that the qualities that drew you to your spouse are usually the qualities that annoy you about that person–so very true. My husband is sooooo laid back and I am soooo not. God has a sense of humor and I believe that he brought us together to balance one another. And my God doesn’t make mistakes. So….we just keep “plugging away” and call on HIM at ALL times!

    blessings to you!
    Kim from PA

  4. We are in a hard place right now and it seems worse this time almost like he has given up, so I’m left to fight alone (in the spirit) and I’m exhausted! I’m 13 weeks pregnant and very lonely, I can’t even bring myself to go see the movie with him. I can pray, but I am feeling discouraged in his disinterest in our marriage. Trust, it’s non-existent after repeated betrayals and respect, oh that’s a tough one! God has been so faithful to love on me and be my daddy, but (now I sound like a whiny baby) I want my husband!

  5. We were not able to see this movie (yet). We wanted to so much, but it did not play in our town and finding a sitter so we could go out of town did not work. The closest showing was 45 min. away. We’re hoping it will still be showing in a few weeks for us to work something out. Anyway, one way we try to fireproof our marriage is dates. Although even as I say that it has it seasons where it doesn’t happen (like the last 9 months while I’ve had a nursing baby). But we still strive to get it done. We’ve been trying to work that out recently….getting back to date nights. Cause going out to WalMart at 11 p.m. isn’t making the cut anymore.

  6. Shawn and I have been married for 3 years it will be 4 July 16. I really struggle with trusting him, respecting him, and nagging. More often then not I have to open my mouth and it ends up biting me in the butt. I can see now what my words and lack of respect have done to our marriage.

  7. I haven’t been able to see this movie yet but have heard a lot about it. Our church is actually using material from the movie for a small group setting. I saw only the trailer and it looks really good. I can’t wait to view it myself.

    I’ve been married for almost 4 years now and we have a beautiful 2 year old. My husband and I have said from day one that our family is only as strong as our marriage so we have made a conscious effort to do everything we can to strengthen our marriage best we can. We have date nights when we can, we make sure that we sit down and communicate (because we all know this is hard with the busy-ness of life and with a toddler), and we try not to get too busy. That’s my big thing right now… I try not to fill up the calendar as we need time as a family to grow together and laugh together and even pray together. My 2 year old prays at all meals. I think that praying together is so important.
    Thanks for posting this. I love reading your blog. It’s so encouraging!!!!

  8. First I want to say I love Cindy Dagnan! I got to hear her at Hearts at Home in March and immediately fell in love with her ability to blend humor and seriousness. What a talent!
    Anyway, my hubby and I are going through a hard time right now because we decided together that he would quit his job and stay at home with the kids for at least 4 months while I finish my last semester of my bachelor’s degree. We just couldn’t juggle a job for him, job for me, 3 kids under 5, and a degree.
    It’s been a struggle, but also such a blessing to see how God is providing. Within the first month of hubby being unemployed we had money come in from about 10 different sources that we weren’t planning on. Don’t try to tell me that God won’t bless you for tithing! I believed it before, but now I’m living it!
    It’s been a big adjustment for our family and the first couple of weeks were very trying on our marriage, but we’re making it and I know we’ll look back with fondness on this time. Thanks for letting me share!

  9. I Loved Loved this movie! I recommend that eveyone go and see it! I cried and laughed.

    I think the one of the hardest but most important things we do to “Fireproof” our marriage is date night. We weren’t always so purposeful in this area but God has done a huge in our 9 years of marriage. There are times when I just need to be my husband’s girlfriend. After a long week at work for him and after a long week of homeschooling we just need time to invest in each other. It is the best thing we can do for our marriage and for our children!

  10. Karen,
    My husband and I have been married 3 years now, but together for almost 10! We’ve been through so much! We haven’t been able to get out to see the movie, but hope to.
    The biggest obstacle for me in our marriage is definitely my stubborness. I was brought up in a family that gave me whatever I wanted. I guess I didn’t realize how selfish I can be until I met Paul! Even after almost a decade my selfishness has been known to come out roaring! :) I’d rather do things MY way. I love him so much and he’s such a great guy. We’ve really had to buckle down and learn about what God calls marriage to be. Although I still struggle at times to be as patient as I should be when things don’t go my way, I’m learning to take it easy. I can “go with the flow” more readily now.
    I’m also learning that it’s ok to be wrong….my way isn’t always the only or best way! I’m working on admitting when I’m wrong…..
    I’d really LOVE to see Fireproof!

  11. Hi Karen,
    I saw the movie last weekend with my husband and loved it! He even enjoyed it, too. I was so proud of him for being willing to go see it in the first place. We’ve been married for 16 years and these last couple of years have been the hardest on us. We made another move 2 years ago and his job has been more demanding than ever. Recently, I’ve been much more open with him about feeling like we’re drifting apart, not connecting, etc. (I tend to keep things inside.) We both need to communicate more and that we need to learn to have fun together again. (We have 2 children, 11 and 8.) We’re making much more of a concious effort together. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of “life.” We’re getting back on track with date nights, limiting criticisms and trying to have fun together. When we first got married, we promised 100 years together and we’re going to keep our promise.
    Love your blog!
    God Bless!

  12. Karen,
    My hubby and I have been married 14 years. We’ve had lot of rough patches, but those patches have been few and far between since we’ve accepted that God has a plan for our marriage and He is the solid foundation we build it upon. We are busy with school, work, activities, etc., so we try to connect as much as possible when the kids aren’t around. My hubby calls me everyday from work just to say hi and that he loves me. I try to do little things for him to make his life easier. We find time to sit and talk without distractions, even if it means we’re tired the next day. Communication is key – most of our problems stem from a lack of it. To me, this is one big way we fireproof our marriage. It allows us to know what the other is thinking or feeling about something and how to lend support. When you stop talking, that signals a problem.


  13. I can’t wait to see the movie! My husband and I have been married 15 years and have 3 beautiful girls. We have the hardest time spending quality time together. With him getting his PhD, 3 children, church, and work our lives are crazy busy. We have to remember to take time for each other. Can’t wait for the Hearts at Home conference this weekend. I am so ready to go hang out with the girls!

  14. Antoinette–Thanks SOOOOOO much for your sweet comments and for posting about me on your beautiful website!! I’ll pop back over and visit again. I appreciate you!

  15. Karen,
    What a wonderful post! This is what we all need, isn’t it – encouragement to keep on keeping on. I love what the advice of the 50*60* years of marriage said – (paraphrased-) “Just hang in there. Don’t quit.” So true. Speaking from the heart of someone that just celebrated 32 years!

    I’ve read some of your books most recently and wrote about them in my blog. I thought you’d like to see what I wrote so I’m leaving you my address to peek at when you get the time.

    I loved your book on organization so much, that I went online and bought several other books – The Heart That Says Welcome (I blogged on that one, too) and still to read – the one about Christmas and the one called a Simple Home.


  16. Now that our children are older and 2 of them are “babysitting age” we can go out to lunch at a local diner, just my husband and me. We do this one day of the weekend. It’s so good to be able to talk without interruptions from the kids! Even though they are not babies they still wander through, make noise, and overhear conversations we don’t need them to hear.

  17. Hi Karen,

    My husband and I saw the movie this past weekend and boy did it hit home. My husband is a Battalion Commander at a Fire Dept. and we have a daughter that has a brain injury. I felt like I was watching our lives on that screen. We have been in all of those scenes. I can say though that God is awesome. WE are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary on Oct. 3. We have found such strengh in Christ to get us through this adventure. After seeing the movie I have had a changed heart. It made me realize the importance of understanding unconditional love. The same love that Christ gives us…freely!! My hubby and I went right out after the movie and bought the book “The Love Dare” that the movieis based around. WE bought one for each of us. What a wonderful movie. Such integrity!! We will own this one.

  18. My husband and I have been married for 24 years. We try to have a date night every week. Sometimes this is difficult with kids and work but we make the effort for each other. Also we try to find things we can laugh at together. I would say to make your husband your best friend and also show him respect. You have to work at your marriage.

  19. My hubby and I have been married 4 years and have a 16 month old daughter. One of our biggest struggles is keeping up communication while so busy with daily life (I know those with 2, 3, 4+ kids are thinking I’m not even busy yet), and to remind myself that our marriage needs to come first, so that our daughter has two loving parents to look up to. Thanks for your comments – they are good reminders.

  20. We are coming up on our 21st anniversary and are right smack-dab in the middle of our mid-life crises, or at least that’s what I’m calling it. He’s busy regretting the past and I’m struggling move ahead. Jesus is the only reason we are still reasonably sane and at least appear to be functioning well. Not every day or week is bad, but the devil does like to keep punching when we’re down. So I guess we’re in a hard place right now. I haven’t lost hope that God can use this all for His Glory and I do keep praising Him in this storm, even though it’s hard.

  21. One of the things that make our marriage of 8 years work is the respect that we have for one another. Neither one of us will do something if we know that it would hurt or upset the other. Plus I love that we can sit down and pray together….praying together makes a big difference in a relationship!

    In God’s love

  22. Karen,

    I saw the movie over the weekend and LOVED it. Every married couple should see this movie. I have a great marriage (most days :) ) and I learned a few things that I can do even make it better.

    I look forward to hearing you this coming weekend at the Hearts-at-Home conference in Grand Rapids.


  23. Oh – my I just blogged about a movie mysellf. God is good to supply Christian families with wonderful media.

    I have been married 37 years!! Celebrate! Celebrate! The years have not been easy – some down right rocky. We fireproofed our marriage by agreeing that we made a commitment to God when we stood before the altar. “Breaking up is not an option,” has been our motto. I am amazed at how He blessed our obedience.

  24. Great post! I can’t wait to see the movie!

    One way that my hubby and I fireproof our marriage is by not being alone with the opposite sex. My hubby doesn’t go to lunch with a female co-worker, and I don’t travel alone with a male. It works for us!

    Love ya tons!

  25. My husband and I have been married for 12 years and while good honest communication has always been a struggle for us, our biggest challenge right now is disciplining our children. We have two girls (6 and 3), and I always seem to be playing “bad cop” to his “good cop”. I’m at home with the kids and he travels a lot with work, and I’m always struck by the difference in their behaviour when he comes back home. They suddenly assume they don’t need to listen to me since he is there to rescue them. Getting on the same page and working together to parent is definitely our biggest challenge!

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