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Month: May 2007

WHO??? Win A Free Book Too!

WHO??? Win A Free Book Too!

A crime has been committed, and it’s up to you to figure out WHOdunit! Play the game of WHO? For a chance to win a free book! You’ll need to go to the link listed by clicking on the word “Quinn” to read the opening scene….read the various clues by 6 different authors, and follow the directions to win the book. It’s a game of WhoDunit, and the clues are given by characters in each authors current book. I hope you’ll take the time to join us and play…it’s a fun story and you’ll enjoy it, I promise!

Have you read the opening scene yet? If not, then see how it all started from Quinn’s point of view. (Just click on the word Quinn to be taken to the original write up, then go to the next newest blog….and be sure you read mine too) When you get to the bottom, you’ll find links to the other characters in the room who will also give you clues….now, let’s hear from—

***”Grandfather” from Miralee’s book, The Other Daughter

Grandfather looked around the room, trying not to smile at the antics of the younger generation. Seemed like flirting and arguing was more popular than the Native American display they’d stopped to view.

“Who cares about this stuff, anyway?” The plump red-head beside him shifted from one foot to the other and pointed at the artifacts in the glass case. “It’s all hundreds of years old and I can’t imagine any of it was useful even when it was new.” She brushed her hair out of her eyes.

He searched his memory, groping for her name. Ah, yes…Jessica. “You’d be surprised how valuable those tools were to the people who used them, young lady. My grandfather benefited from similar items in his tribe and managed to survive in the Wallowa mountains.” He tempered his words with a smile.

A slow blush crept above the neck of Jessica’s baggy sweater and stained her cheeks. “I’m so sorry. You’re…an Indian?” She whispered. “I guess when you said that about your ancestors, I didn’t realize…I thought…”

He chortled and patted her shoulder. “Don’t worry, my dear, I’m not offended, nor do I have any designs on your hair.”

A frown creased her face. “Oh my gosh! Like I thought you were going to scalp me or something,” she glared and walked away.

Grandfather shook his head and grinned. Young people now-a-days didn’t seem to have a sense of humor, or an appreciation of things from the past. Too bad his FAMILY couldn’t have come…his grandson David and wife Susanne’s two youngsters would’ve loved this museum. Oops…three youngsters. He’d almost forgotten their newest addition, Brianna, who’d recently arrived on the family’s doorstep, claiming to be David’s Other Daughter. The kids would get a kick out of seeing some of the tools and pottery that his own great-grandfather had used.

Though maybe it was for the best they weren’t here, given this latest development. Grandfather watched as Quinn went from person to person, talking to them about what they’d seen. Grandfather didn’t know what he could really add, so he just went on studying the artifacts around him and bided his time.

“Ah-hem.” A deep vibrato voice at Grandfather’s elbow swung him around.

“Yes, Mr. Quinn?” Grandfather glanced at the man whose eyes kept darting from one woman to the other, but always seemed to return to Tiffany of the low neckline.

“Where were you when the book disappeared?”

“Yeah, you seemed awfully interested in all the displays in the book room,” Marina the cop chimed in.

Grandfather waved his hand in the air and smiled. “Calm down, folks. If there’s one thing my great-grandfather Raven passed down to his children and grandchildren, it was honesty and truthfulness. I’ve been chatting with Gracie and Jessica…and Marina, I spent some time with you earlier, too.”

Gracie stepped forward, swishing her long, auburn hair around her bare shoulders. “My boy-friend and my dad both have experience in the intelligence field, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think it’s a conspiracy, that’s what. Maybe someone at the museum has it in for some of us.” She crossed her arms and glared at Quinn, then swiveled her glance back to Grandfather. “What did you see, Grandfather? If I may call you that?”

“Certainly,” Grandfather replied. “Let’s see…while we were in the antiquities book room I remember you chatting with me about some of the older volumes and I shared a story with you that’s been passed down through the generations among my people.”

Gracie nodded, her face beaming. “That was so interesting! He was telling me about his great-grandfather, Little Raven when he was just a boy…why you’d never believe…”

“Pu-leese!” Rasped Marina, stomping her foot and silencing Gracie. “Go on Grandfather, then what?”

“I noticed everyone leaving the book room headed for the Native American display, and I hurried to catch up. Jessica’s foot seemed to be bothering her, so I walked the rest of the way with her and we were together almost till the alarm sounded. I’m afraid I can’t add much more.” He shrugged and pulled off his cap, running his fingers through his iron gray hair.

“Right,” drawled Max. “Then the lovely gate came crashing down, and here we all stand, trapped, tired and wanting to go home. Whoever has the book, how ’bout fessin’ up, ya hear?” She ran a hand over her fly-away hair, but only succeeded in sending it spiraling into more absurd directions.

He turned to the group. “I agree. I’m sure whoever took it simply forgot they were carrying it. If you’re embarrassed and are having a hard time letting us know, we’ll understand.”

“Humph,” snored Marina. “You might, Grandfather, but I won’t. Theft is theft and someone’s going to pay.”
***

Visit the other author’s blogs to get the other clues:

Marina by Cyndy Salzmann
Max by Jill Nelson
Gracie by Amy Wallace
Tiffany by Trish Perry
Jessica by Nikki Arana
Have you figured out whodunit? Send the name of the culprit and the six KEYWORDS to Christian Review of Books in a ShoutMail with the subject line WHO?
***
Have fun with this one? Then you’ll want to come back next Tuesday for WHO? Vol. 2, featuring historical authors Tricia Goyer, M. L. Tyndall, Molly Noble Bull, Cara Putman, and Sharlene MacLaren for a chance to win Shar’s latest release, a heartwarming historical romance entitled Loving Liza Jane.

Quick Update—House, Life and Stuff!

Quick Update—House, Life and Stuff!

We’re coming down to the wire and praying it all gets done. When we applied for a two month extension almost two months ago, we had no idea we’d need it. But our contractor (who was working on an hourly basis the last half of the job) had to move to a new job and we’ve been left to finish all the detail work inside this past two months.

We’ve laid tile floors, granite tile countertops, travertine/tile showers, trimmed out windows, put up crown moldings, hung doors and installed glass door knobs, installed all the lighting fixtures, hooked up the plumbing and did all the finish painting.

Any wonder we’re just a bit tired and I’m not spending as much time here on my blog as I’d like? Hm…wonder why, LOL! It’s 11;15 p.m. now and I should be in bed, as it’s another full day tomorrow. The bank inspector arrives at 11 a.m. next Tuesday morning and the County inspector on Wednesday. All the signed off permits must be faxed to the bank no later than Thursday morning, including the water test from our well…we get one shot at that, as we didn’t realize we needed to do it before the permit could be closed…and with Monday being a holiday, there’s no time to get another test in if this one fails. So we’re praying the water is good with nothing to ruin the results…no contaminents that accidently get in the bottle, etc.


Any and all prayer gratefully accepted! Our marriage is still intact by the grace of God, LOL—altho the past 2-3 wks tempers flare a bit more easily and tears are at the ready due to sheer exhaustion. But we’ll make it…we’ve had our son’s help these past two months, 3 days per week, and our daughter and her husband have helped with the tile, so we’re blessed!

Heading to bed and planning on hitting it hard again tomorrow….still praying for a buyer for the house we’re needing to sell…but we had an excellent showing and may have an offer coming. Praying!!!
Book Update—It’s Online!

Book Update—It’s Online!

I have to admit to just a bit of excitement as my book is now available for pre-order online. Of course, it’s not available until October, but advance sales would be wonderful.
The Other Daughter is on http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.borders.com/, and http://www.christianbook.com/ (Christianbook has an author interview).
Your credit card won’t be charged until the book ships in October, but if you decide to order one, you’ll be assured a copy as soon as it breaks. Simply type in my name (Miralee Ferrell) in the search engine to find my book.

I’m responsible for about 65% of the marketing to ensure my book is successful. The sales numbers will dictate whether or not my sequel (which I’m working on now) comes under contract. I hope you’ll consider checking out my web page and passing along this info to your friends!

You can read the opening scene of the book (so you’ll know if it interests you) by visiting my web site at http://w3.gorge.net/miralee/Author.html You can also read my bio (how she came to write this book), and a few articles I’ve had published.
Thanks for your help…if you want to cut and paste the text in this blog and email it to any friend who you think might be interest, that would be a huge blessing!
Eight Random Things About Me—

Eight Random Things About Me—

I’m finally going to cave and do this! There’s a new game going around ShoutLife right now. You tag eight people and they’re supposed to read your blog to find out eight little known facts about you, and you read their blogs, to get to know them better. I’ve been tagged by several different people, so I guess I need to take the time and figure out 8 things that not everyone knows about me……Hmmm….let’s see…..
1. We moved to Alaska for a job, a number of years ago, but not until the Lord told me we were supposed to….we had a new home we weren’t finished building and I owned a small business I had to sell, and had horses and other animals to place. But God said go, and an amazing ministry to women developed as a result.
2. We were foster parents to many teen girls over the years and still keep in touch with some of them.
3. We owned two mountaing lions…commonly called cougars, for about 5 years. They were my husband’s ‘babies’, and our female gave birth to two cubs. I could tell a lot of stories about those cats, and am in fact submitting one story to the Cup Of Comfort book for Cat Lovers.
4. I owned a Barter Exchange business, that I built from the ground up in our community, and after only a year had over 50 business taking part. It was a lot of fun and a huge success, until we moved to Alaska and I had to sell it.
5. I was a youth group leader for 4 yrs, in the early days of our marriage. Our group started with 3 junior high kids and grew to over 32 kids coming each week…and our church’s weekly attendance was only about 65 people! Most of the kids didn’t attend church, but a few ended up coming consistently and gave their hearts to the Lord.
6. I’ve sold Avon, Princess House Crystal, a product similar to Tupperware, been top in the state of Washington in sales for a Fortune 500 insurance company, sold lumber and top quality interior wood for our own saw mill, and was an newspaper ad rep for about 7 years besides.
7. My husband and I started our own saw mill, and I pulled green chain on the big circular head rig (if you don’t know what that means, I stacked and stickered the boards coming off the saw, and chucked the side cuts and slabs off to the side), a very physical job. I also spent more than one winter shoveling snow off the stacks of lumber, chipping ice off the planer when the snow blew into our pole building, and kept the steam boiler fed and going when my husband had to be away.
8. I’ve driven a school bus for our church, a fork lift for our saw mill, a Cat on our property, a tractor for plowing, a riding mower, and ride horses, too!
Whew! I didn’t think I could come up with 8 things that you MIGHT not know, but I did it!
Now, here’s the list of rules, for those of you who get tagged by me!
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. Hoping you’ll join us in this game of tag.
Author Interview—Teresa Slack

Author Interview—Teresa Slack

I interviewed Teresa, a fellow author and friend a few days ago and am posting that interview here, for your enjoyment. I hope you enjoy it and will visit the other blogs that are also interviewing her over the next few days, that I post a couple of days ago.

First, I’d love to have you introduce yourself to my readers, in case someone isn’t familiar with your work. How long have you been writing and what books have been published so far? I quit work in 1999 to focus on my writing full time. It has been a dream come true. I received my first contract in 2001 and my first book, Streams of Mercy, was published in 2004. Redemption’s Song is the second book in the Jenna’s Creek Series. I also have two other stand-alone books out, A Tender Reed and The Ultimate Guide to Darcy Carter.

Your current book, Evidence of Grace, is the third in your Jenna Creek series. Could you give us a brief summary of the book, and do the first two in the series need to be read before they read this new one? I purposely wrote each book in the series so that if someone picked up book 3 first, they could still enjoy a good story. The books don’t need to be read in order. Of course the goal is that after you read any of the books, you just can’t rest until you’ve read every book in the series.

Streams of Mercy is the book that started it all. On the day of her father’s funeral, Jamie Steele discovers he was once the prime suspect in the disappearance of an old girlfriend. Since the young woman’s body was never found, he couldn’t be prosecuted. Jamie has to find out for herself if he was capable of this crime like everyone in their small town believes. Book 2, Redemption’s Song, is the story of the catastrophic chain of events that are set into motion when one gives in to sin. Abigail Blackwood is willing to risk everything to protect the secret she’s safeguarded for 22 years, even if it means destroying the man she loves.

What triggered the desire to write this type of fiction and how was your story line birthed? The first book, Streams of Mercy, was rattling around in my head for years before I finally put it down on paper. All the others have been a natural progression from there. In Streams of Mercy, Jamie has to deal with forgiving her father, even though he doesn’t deserve it. I think we’ve all been in that situation—needing to forgive someone who doesn’t even think they did anything wrong. That’s what I love about Christian fiction. Readers can see themselves in the characters and empathize with what their situation. Hopefully the reader will take something away from the book that can help them with whatever life lesson they’re going through.

What was your favorite thing about writing this book? Any unusual experiences during your research or writing, that you’d care to share? I created a character in Redemption’s Song who wasn’t going to be a major player in any of the books. He was just mentioned in passing. When I started Evidence of Grace, I wasn’t sure what to do with him. I thought of making him crazy (Crazy people are almost as much fun in fiction as hateful mothers-in-law). I thought of using him for comedic relief. But once I turned him loose, he hit the ground running. It is always so much fun to watch a character take on a life of his own. After all, isn’t that what fiction is all about? His name is Calvin Trotter and I hope readers learn to love him as much as I have.

Can you give us a peek into the fourth book in this series, or have you started writing it yet? If so, any idea when it might release? Many, many moons ago when I was doing one of my first book signings for Streams of Mercy, a gentleman told me a story about his father that took place during the Blizzard of ’78. If you are from the eastern half of the United States and are old enough, you probably have your own Blizzard of ’78 story. I had forgotten all about it, but realized you can’t write a book that takes place in the 1970’s without mentioning the Blizzard. So Book 4 is going to begin with an episode based loosely on the story this gentleman told me. I haven’t started the book yet, so I can’t really tell you much else at this point.

If you had to compare your writing to two or three other Christian writers who write suspense or mystery, which would they be? Particularly any that the avid Christian fiction reader might recognize? While she isn’t a mystery or suspense writer, several readers have compared my writing style to Karen Kingsbury. I think because my books are character driven and the characters are so true to life. As far as the suspense element, I would have to say Terri Blackstock and Colleen Coble. The mystery/suspense I just finished is written in the style of Mary Higgins Clark. I would love to put an endorser copy in her hands if you have any influence in that area.

What do you feel sets your writing apart from other current writers of suspense? I try to blend humor with a little suspense and a little romance, no matter what I’m writing. With Tsaba House I have the green light to write in whatever genre I want so that really gives me freedom to find my voice.

Which character did you most enjoy writing in Evidence of Grace and why? Which one did you have the hardest time writing and why? I loved writing Calvin’s story and getting deeper into the character of his aunt Paige. Neither character is very likable in the beginning, yet you can’t help hoping that everything will work out for Calvin. You might even feel a little sympathy for Paige, though she doesn’t make it easy. And of course they are very funny.

The hardest character for me to get to know was Christy Blackwood. She is a tough nut on the outside, but like a helpless little girl on the inside. She’d never tell you that though. Once I got past that tough exterior, I fell in love with her just as I’m sure the reader will.

Do any of the characters reflect you or your life in any way? Not as much as with other books. All of these characters sprang forth from circumstances in earlier books, so that’s where their greatest influences came from. Basically, this book and the rest of the Jenna’s Creek series is out of my hands.

Can you share your long term plans for your fiction career? Any more series in the works? My long term plans are to keep writing until they put me in the ground. No one ever retired in the Bible, and I don’t plan to either. I have finished the first installment in a contemporary mystery series. I love the story, but my publisher has decided not to do anything with it until after the last Jenna’s Creek book is released.

Author Interview Posting Soon

Author Interview Posting Soon

Christian Author Teresa Slack will be joining me on May 16th, just a few days from now, to talk about her new book Evidence of Grace, releasing this June. I hope you’ll join me back here on Tuesday!

In the meantime, she’s appearing on a number of other blogs and each interview will be unique. Or, you can check her out on her own blog or website. Hope to see you Tuesday! Miralee

http://www.teresaslack.com

May 14–Molly Noble Bull www.shoutlife.com/mollynoblebull
*May 15–Karen Phillips http://sky-highview.blogspot.com/
May 16–Miralee Ferrell www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com
May 17–Makasha Dorsey www.dorseypublications.com
May 19–Toni V. Lee http://tonivlee.blogspot.com/
May 30–Sally Bradley www.sallybradley.com
May 31–Bonnie Winters http://inkitblog.blogspot.com/
Todd Michael Greene
*June 4–Suzanne Woods Fisher NO WEB ADDRESS SO FAR
June 6–Margaret Daley http://margaretdaley.blogspot.com
June 8–Angela Benson www.shoutlife.com/angelabenson
June 14 Teresa Dickhover www.shoutlife.com/gracenotes
*June 15–Official release date–
How To Be A Generous Wife

How To Be A Generous Wife

I’m a member of an email group headed by a gal named Lori. She sends out a daily post that encourages women to be a generous wife. I’m giving just a sprinkling here of what she’s shared recently and I’ll post her link at the bottom so you can subscribe for yourself if you’d like to. Just one per day comes in, so it’s not obnoxious.

I was sitting here trying to come up with a tip for tonight and thought to myself, “what do I really want to say to these ladies?” At the bottom of my heart is the desire to encourage y’all to be generous, to have a loving and giving heart toward your husbands. Our world wears us out and teaches us to be stingy and before we know it we are meting out what our husband’s “deserve” or are looking for ways to get out of having to give to our husbands. How does that happen so quickly and easily? As believing wives we are so much more than that. We are His expression to our husbands and our families. We can be filled with His goodness and love and share that with our sweeties. So today’s tip is to spend time with God today so that He can encourage you and build you up. From that place we have His strength and ability to love, forgive, and be really, really, really, really, really generous. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV

Just thought that today we might pray for those women on the list who are married to unbelievers. Pray for their ability to be loving and understanding. Pray for their ability to stay faithful in prayer for their husbands and to speak truth in a peaceable and gracious way. I think that for many there is also a sense of loneliness and grief over their marriages. Pray for hope and encouragement for them and for friends to come along side them. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up … 1 Thessalonians 5:11a NIV

I was visiting with a lady this evening and she was sharing with me something that the Lord taught her about relating to her husband. She realized that for years she had told her husband when to do the things on her “honey do” list, being rather demanding and not very thoughtful. Today she asks her husband for help, but is caring and respectful about his time use, letting him choose when it is convenient for him to do household fix ups. She is seeing the fruit of her thoughtfulness. 🙂 (Thanks, Sunflower Lady!) I was deeply impressed with this lady’s humility. It’s hard to own up to being thoughtless, yet she was very transparent and wanted to share what God was doing in her life. I am happy to pass on her story so that we too can learn from her example and humbly allow God to show us those areas where we have acted thoughtlessly or carelessly toward our husbands. May we all be as gracious and willing to change. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 NIV

Let him know that you are his #1 fan. Support his efforts, applaud his abilities, and praise him sincerely. [daughters of Jerusalem:] What kind of beloved is your beloved …? [Shulamite:] My beloved is … outstanding among ten thousand. Song of Songs 5:9-10 NAS

I’ve always had a desire to offer true hospitality in my home, both to my family and to anyone who wanders in. As I have grown in the Lord and seen His emphasis on hospitality, I am even more motivated to learn how to bless my family and guests with a welcoming home filled with warmth and care. That said, I read a really neat book (actually I read it a few months ago, but am just remembering to mention to y’all). A Life That Says Welcome (by Karen Ehman) is a very thoughtful book that is about more than sticking a couple of flowers on your dining room table. The author talks about heart issues and shares a lot of fun and practical examples that reveal the nature of true hospitality. I don’t often recommend books, but this one just stuck in my heart. If y’all have a few extra dollars, I encourage you to pick up a copy. Whether you are a newbie or a long time homemaker, you’ll find creative ideas and encouragement for the journey. Your husband will bless you, as will all who enter your home. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13b NIV

Stretch a bit in your conversations with your husband. Open up new areas for discussion. At a loss for what to say? Share something that you recently read in a newspaper, magazine, or book. A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. Andre Maurois

Lori’s Site addy: http://www.the-generous-wife.com

How To Spell Love With Your Wife

How To Spell Love With Your Wife

Ladies, this short article is written with men in mind, but I think it’s appropriate for both husband and wife. There are times we have the same feelings of irritation when our husbands ask us to do something, especially when we’re busily involved in something we believe to be ‘important’. I hope you gain from this insightful short story. Hugs! Miralee
Paying Your “Do’s” How to Spell Love with Your Wife
Key Bible Verse:
My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).
Bonus Reading: Ephesians 4:31-5:2
“Honey, would you please—”Before my wife Katherine could complete her request, my thoughts cut her off.What does she want this time? I wondered. I was exasperated. It was Katherine’s third intrusion into my schedule that morning.
My thoughts continued. Just because my office is in the home doesn’t mean she has the right to butt in anytime with her silly requests. I have work to do!
Inside I was ready to erupt, but I managed to put a cork in it. I offered a weak smile. “What can I do for you, sweetie?”
“I need something down off the top shelf in the kitchen.”
I thought, Why can’t she use a stool? But I got up from my desk and tended to her need.
That evening Katherine fixed a supper with all my favorites. During the meal she told me how much she appreciates me. “I know I interrupt you sometimes when I really shouldn’t. But I want you to know how special you make me feel when you push aside your work to help me with even the littlest things.” A big smile beamed across her face. “I love you, Mike.”
Boy, was I glad I’d put a cork in it!—Mike Raether in Montana
My Response: Am I letting snippy responses erode our relationship?
Thought to Apply: If I treat my wife like the queen she is, she’ll treat me like the king I am.—
REGGIE WHITE (former Green Bay Packers defensive end)Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today International/Men of Integrity magazine.
Four Things Every Man Needs To Know About Women

Four Things Every Man Needs To Know About Women

Girls, it’s your turn to have the men in your life get some advise about you! If you agree with any of these, you can sweetly suggest your man take a peek at this blog, or just share these with him. Hope you enjoy!

Four Things Every Man Needs To Know About Women

By Randy Carlson

To feel understood is to feel loved. And guys, one of the most precious gifts we can give our wives is a commitment to understand them with our whole heart. This kind of understanding requires a break from our traditional male comfort zone. It’s the challenge of consciously stepping aside from our male viewpoint and trying to see the female perspective. If you’re a man who can do this with ease, your wife is a blessed woman! For the rest of us, it’s a daily contest of resolve over selfishness.

The Apostle Peter reminds us that we are to live with our wives “with an attitude of understanding” (I Peter 3:7). The instruction is clear — get behind the eyes of your wife and you’ll get a fresh view of the world. Barriers to intimacy evaporate in the warmth of understanding and insight. Let me share with you four rules I have learned from peeking at the world from behind the eyes of one woman, my wife, Donna:

1. Every woman wants to feel secure with someone. The question is, does your wife feel secure with you?

Security is more than money in the bank and a two-week vacation every summer. If a woman feels even a hint of broken trust, then a rule of love is violated. She deserves to be number one on the list of your human priorities. Check in with her often and let her know there are no hidden secrets.

Donna is my top confidant and advisor. We don’t move on any important decision unless we agree before God. I have learned the hard way that God has given her spiritual and human insight I often miss on my own.

2. Every woman wants to be loved by someone. The question is, does your wife feel loved by you? Love is a decision of the will.

Here’s a guarantee: When you love your wife there will be periods of personal sacrifice as you focus your attention and concern on her needs. It’s the one + one = one intimacy principle that makes loving our spouses a great pleasure. In the long run every deposit of love we put into our marital bank accounts will come back to us with principle plus interest. The law of the harvest works in marriage. What we sow we reap.

3. Every woman wants to be needed by someone. The question is, does your wife feel needed by you?

God created people to need and be needed by one another. The powerful attraction a man and woman feel toward each other flows out of the reservoir of need. Early on in most relationships there is the, “I’ll meet your needs because you meet my needs” response. While that’s a low level of love, it is where most relationships start and, unfortunately, where some stay.

Over time, however, a growing marriage becomes an experience of, “I’ll meet your needs because I love you.” The “score-keeper” is replaced by a “love-keeper.”

4. Every woman wants to feel understood by someone. The question is, does your wife feel understood by you?

The fact is, your wife wants you to read her mind. If you’ve been married more than two weeks you’ve probably experienced the feeling of getting caught, not only on the wrong page, but also in the wrong book.

When teaching couples how to stay in love with each other, I remind them of this little intimacy formula: Reality – Expectations = Disappointment. True understanding begins with clarification, and if necessary, modification of expectations.

Over the years I’ve also discovered that we men are often guilty of misreading routine for satisfaction. We wrongly assume that without fire there is no heat, and miss the smoldering embers of frustration deep inside our spouse.

Violating most of these four rules is something we might get away with for awhile; but, not for long. Problems in the marital realm are much like the physical realm. Neglect over an extended time is costly. When we violate enough rules, enough times, the game is over – and we lose.

Illness or death to the physical body, and illness or death to the marital union, are each the result of neglect. Our marriage is a precious gift–one worth honoring and caring for.

Randy Carlson is the President of Family Life Communications Incorporated and Parent Talk Radio. Thanks to Patricia Possert for assisting with this article.