Focus on the Family

Greg Smalley

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as the vice president of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family.  In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises.

Prior to joining Focus, Smalley worked for the Center for Relationship Enrichment at John Brown University and as president of the National Institute of Marriage. He is the author of 17 books including “Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage,” “The DNA of Parent and Teen Relationships” and “The Whole-Hearted Marriage.” He and his wife, Erin, co-created “Ready to Wed,” a complete premarital curriculum for engaged couples and the online Focus on Marriage Assessment. They also released “Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets to a Lifelong Romance” in 2016.

Smalley’s passion for marriage began as a young boy. He is the son of the late Dr. Gary Smalley, a family counselor, president and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center and author of 40 books on marriage. Smalley regularly attended his father’s conferences and absorbed the importance of marriage. He frequently had people come up to him at events and say, “Your dad saved my marriage.”

Smalley knew early in his career that he wanted to be more hands-on in helping couples. After receiving his doctorate at the Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University in Southern California and a counseling degree from Denver Seminary, he and Erin led intensive marriage seminars around the world and trained pastors, professionals and lay leaders on how to effectively work with married and engaged couples.

Married since 1992, Greg and Erin live in Colorado with their three daughters, Taylor, Murphy and Annie, and their son, Garrison. Smalley brings at least one child to every age-appropriate event, exposing them to the crucial role marriage plays in the family and society.

The Smalleys – who with help overcame their own struggles early on – make a point to study a marriage book together every Christmas.

A photo of a husband and wife sitting on a couch, with the wife comforting her husband, who is obviously stressed. If you're the wife of a stressed-out husband, maybe these tips will help you support your husband through work stress.

How to Support Your Husband Through Work Stress

Is your husband moody, angry or fearful? He may have difficulties at work. Dr. Greg Smalley offers practical methods that his wife, Erin, has used to help him navigate these work-related challenges.

A man sits on an airport bench, slumped over in stress. Here are some tips to keep business travel from killing your marriage.

How to Keep Business Travel From Killing Your Marriage

Kim and Randy learned to live independently while Randy was traveling for work, but they lost the sense of unity that’s critical for a marriage. Here are tips to fix the troubles caused by travels.

A man and a woman, in silhouette, sit on a box, backs to each other, arms folded. In these divided time, navigating political issue in marriage is important to maintaining relationships.

Navigating Political Issues as a Married Couple

Political issues can be challenging in any relationship, but they’re especially challenging for a married couple. No matter how serious your political differences may be, those differences should never impact your marriage covenant.

A young man proposes to a woman on a dock on a lake in the mountains. Are you ready to wed?

Are You Ready to Wed?

How will I know that I’m ready to wed? Dr. Greg Smalley is often asked this question by engaged couples, so he offers his personal insights on how couples can better understand love.

A bride slips a ring on the finger of her groom. Traidtional marriages vows are still important. Here's why.

5 Traditional Marriage Vows: What They Mean and Why They’re Still Important

There’s a reason traditional marriage vows have endured for centuries.

A father in law greets his son in law as the daughter embraces her mother in the background. Check out these 12 questions every father in law should ask his future son in law.

12 Questions Every Father Should Ask His Future Son-In-Law

What questions should you ask a young man who wants to marry your daughter?

A couple on the couch argues. Why do couples fight? Most often they fight about trivialities and nothing.

What Do Couples Fight About? You’ll Be Shocked by the Answer

All couples fight. And it feels as if we’re fighting about something. But when we look at our conflicts, they can sound pretty insignificant. Big things don’t ensnare us as often as the little things.

Fighting can help your marriage if you learn to have healthy conflict. A man and woman in a fight, The man pleads his case as the woman looks away, arms folded across her chest.

How Fighting Can Help Your Marriage

Healthy conflict can facilitate communication, understanding, trust and respect if we choose to manage our differences and disagreements in nourishing ways.

A man and a woman sit on a couch, holding each other's hands. Apology in marriage is a key step to conflict resolution in a relationship.

Apology in Marriage is the Fifth Step to Conflict Resolution in L.U.V.E.

Forgiveness is vital in marriage. The key is to seek an apology after we truly understand our spouse’s heart. Here’s a four-part process to a sincere apology.

Christian Empathy in Marriage is key to conflict resolution in your relationship.

Empathy is the Fourth Step to Conflict Resolution in L.U.V.E.

Empathy is more than feeling sorry that your spouse is burdened or troubled. Empathy takes place as you carry your spouse’s burdens.

A young couple sit on the couch with their arms around each other. Validation in your marriage is key to conflict resolution.

Validation in Marriage is the Third Step to Conflict Resolution in L.U.V.E.

Validation is safely allowing your spouse to share his or her thoughts and feelings. The message is that it’s okay to think and feel the way he or she does.

Photo of a man actively listening to his spouse to strengthen their relationship.

Listening is the First Step to Conflict Resolution in L.U.V.E.

Active listening is a powerful tool in any relationship, but is an essential skill in marriage.

A young couple sits on the couch, with the woman putting an understanding arm on the man's shoulder.

Understanding is the Second Step to Conflict Resolution in L.U.V.E.

Couples often find themselves in avoidable conflict. But how can you avoid it?

A woman and a man sit on a couch having an open-hearted discussion to resolve conflict.

To Resolve Conflict, Open Your Heart

Before you can begin to talk over the conflict like reasonable, loving adults, you have to pry your closed hearts open again.

A couple sites on a balcony discussing their issues. Humility in marriage conflict is key.

Humility in Marital Conflict Makes a Difference

Pride leads to conflict in marriage, so what are you doing to nurture humility in your own heart?

A wife comforts her husband. It's important for wives to help their sexually abused husbands.

Helping Your Sexually Abused Husband

Was your husband was sexually abused as a child? Don’t be afraid to take it slow with him, as healing takes time and patience.

husband and wife rejoicing over good news they are reading Supporting your spouse's goals is good for your marriage.

Supporting Your Spouse’s Goals Is Good for Your Marriage

God has placed passions in your heart—and also in your spouse’s. Encourage each other in following dreams, even if you have to step out of your comfort zone to do it. You’ll enjoy a richer marriage.

A husband and wife sitting on a couch talking to each other. There are four types of communication to strengthen your marriage.

Four Types of Communication to Strengthen Your Marriage

The key to a great marriage is communication. What kind of communication? Dr. Greg Smalley recommends couples have four key marriage conversations.

photo of Dr. Greg Smalley pushing his wife Erin on the swings. They have a love that has and will last a lifetime.

Lifetime Love: Advice from Couples Who Made Marriage Last

We’d be wise to listen to those who have been married for a long time. They have important information for us. These five lessons can help us build a strong foundation for a life-long marriage.

Shown from behind and the waist down, a barefoot husband and wife holding hands, looking out at the ocean

Recovering From an Affair

Whether you or your spouse recently confessed extramarital affair, we want to help you recover from the affair amid this overwhelming pain.

A couple holding hands on their wedding day.

Are You Planning for a Marriage or Just Your Wedding?

Planning for “the day” or for a lifetime? Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley discuss the benefits of preparing for marriage and the beauty of God’s design for marriage.

An angry young couple sit on a couch engaged in a heated argument.

What Does the Bible Say about Fighting in Marriage?

It’s normal to have conflict — and it’s unavoidable. According to the Bible, what matters most is how you handle the fighting in your marriage.

A close-up of a bride and a groom at the wedding, with the groom putting the wedding ring on the bride's finger.

9 Reasons to Get Married

Why is marriage more than a formal declaration of love and commitment between two people? Learn about nine good reasons to get married.

A woman hugs her husband after receiving a gift celebrating an anniversary.

Anniversaries Are as Important as the Wedding

Celebrating an anniversary shows that marriage is a priority in our life. It gives us a chance to pull back from the daily grind and relive a moment that changed our life forever.

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Best of 2023: How to Stay Crazy In Love With Your Spouse (Part 2 of 2)

In this best of 2023 broadcast, Greg and Erin Smalley discuss the importance of couples prioritizing time together, connecting on a deeper emotional level. They stress the importance of physical intimacy in marriage; urging men to care for their wives and encouraging women to “prepare” themselves for intimacy. (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Best of 2023: How to Stay Crazy In Love With Your Spouse (Part 1 of 2)

In this best of 2023 broadcast, Greg and Erin Smalley discuss the importance of couples prioritizing time together, connecting on a deeper emotional level. They stress the importance of physical intimacy in marriage; urging men to care for their wives and encouraging women to “prepare” themselves for intimacy. (Part 1 of 2)

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Learning to Dream Together

Do you and your spouse take the time to talk about your dreams for the future? This program features an episode of the new Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage podcast, hosted by Greg and Erin Smalley.

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Connecting Spiritually With Your Spouse

Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley share today about their own struggles and joys in connecting in marriage. They emphasize having first of all, a relationship with God, which enables true spiritual connection with one’s spouse. The Smalleys outline some great practical ways in which spouses can better relate on a spiritual level.

Photo of married couple cuddling by the fire. God's amazing design for sex gives them joy and freedom in their sex lives.

God’s Amazing Design for Sex

It’s not an exaggeration to say that sex is an integral part of the marriage relationship. God designed sex that way! For a husband and wife, the sexual act is the focal point, the symbol, and the physical expression of the leaving, the cleaving, and t …

The Reactive Cycle

The Reactive Cycle

Someone just “pushed your buttons” and you’re ready to push back. That’s the Reactive Cycle. But is there a better way to handle conflict?

Marriage 911 logo on a red background

When to Refer a Mentee to a Licensed Christian Counselor

Refer a Marriage 911 mentee to a licensed Christian counselor when you believe their well-being requires specialized support.

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Avoiding the Chore War

Shared responsibilities are a key to a successful marriage. Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley describe how they came to realize that household chores was a bone of contention in their marriage. After identifying the problem, working together, and communicating expectations, they were able to resolve a lot of conflict. Host Jim Daly’s wife, Jean, highlights common reasons for a couple’s “chore wars” and shares additional insights for creating a positive home environment, communicating expectations clearly, and reaching a win-win situation for both spouses.


Praying for a Friend’s Marriage: How and What to Pray

Praying for a friend’s marriage doesn’t require eloquence, but it does guard that marriage against the demonic forces trying to dismember it.


Social Media and Marriage: 10 Ways to Be Positive in Your Posts

If you’re intentional and purposeful, you can use social media to honor marriage and promote positive messages about it.


Couple Friends: Double Dating to Strengthen Your Marriage

Along with a couple’s relationship with God, it takes a supportive community of friends to keep a marriage strong.


How to Support a Friend Going Through a Divorce

Knowing what to say when a close friend goes through a divorce is difficult, yet there are several ways you can ease your friend’s burden.

How to Achieve True Rest

At some point, our Christian culture has rewritten the greatest commandments from loving God and others as yourself to loving God and others instead of yourself.

The Billy Graham Rule: Should You Have Opposite-Sex Friendships?

God wants us to have friends. And that can include having opposite-sex friendships. But those friendships should come with boundaries.

friends in park hanging out with picnic

Three Ways Your Imperfect Marriage Can Bless Others

No marriage is perfect. Sometimes, the marital struggles you’ve had to overcome make your help all the more valuable.

11 Characteristics of Married Roommates

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming! (Song of Solomon 2:15, NLT). What are married roommates? The phrase “married roommates” can look very different depending on the couple. …


Are You Lonely in Marriage?

What COVID Taught Me

Treasure your spouse's differences - photo of Greg and Erin Smalley walking while holding hands

Treasure Your Spouse’s Differences

A marriage insight from Dr. Greg Smalley

Shown from behind, a couple sitting on a bench outside. His arm is around her, their heads are leaning against each other.

Reconnect Through Meaningful Conversation

It takes intentionality to overcome the tendency for talk with your spouse to morph from meaningful to administrative. Deep, meaningful conversation is a must for couples hoping to stay connected.

Man and women walking in field holding hands

Dealing With Your Child’s Divorce

It’s hard to describe the pain of walking through your child’s divorce. Here are some ways to deal with the hurt and be a safe place and a firm foundation for them.

Young couple moving a chair and extending grace

Extend Grace When Your Spouse Behaves Badly

During those moments when your spouse is acting rude, can you extend grace in spite of how they’re showing up? Can you protect your marriage by not reacting or not engaging in an unkind way?

Close up of a man's hand typing on a laptop as he sits in the dark

How Pornography Impacts Marriage

Pornography — whether used infrequently or as an addiction — is a big deal. And it can have a major impact on a marriage.

How to Align Your Dreams as a Couple

I wasn’t fully on board with my wife’s dreams to adopt. But we finally found ourselves on the same page. We have some suggestions for aligning your dreams so that you’re headed toward the same goal.

An African-American man and woman hold hands and talk

Protect Yourself from Marriage Burnout

Many couples are experiencing marriage burnout because of pressures and daily aggravations related to the pandemic. Some people mistakenly start to think that something is wrong with their marriage.

a couple looking at a phone a phone together and laughing

The Divorce-Proof Marriage

The number of people pursuing divorce was 34 percent higher during the period of March through June 2020 compared to the same time the previous year. But by following eight straightforward guidelines, most marriages can thrive.

Upset couple sitting on their couch. Her back is turned to him. They're both in deep thought.

Intimate Details: Rebuilding Trust After Your Spouse Shares Personal Information

What could be the impact of sharing intimate details about your spouse without their blessing? And what can you do about it after it happens?

a man and a woman share dinner

The Tremendous Value of a Husband and Father

Many people in our culture believe that fatherhood isn’t important or is obsolete. But a husband and a father can make a great difference in their family by using the strengths and skills God has given them.

couple embrace at sunset

What Will Marriage Be Like in the Future?

What will marriage be like in the future after the coronavirus? The impact of the pandemic stress on couples will either strengthen or weaken their marriage.

married couple wondering about the future

Un-Quarantining: 8 Important Questions to Ask Your Spouse

It’s time to start gradually getting back to normal. What are your and your spouse’s expectations for this next stage? And how do you readjust — yet again?

daughter and husband kiss mom

Recognize the Value of Your Wife This Mother’s Day

God desires for you to deeply grasp your wife’s value. Here are some ways to cherish your wife and to recognize her value.

A woman rides on a man's back

How the Coronavirus Can Change Your Marriage … for the Better

Many couples are dealing with difficult issues caused by the coronavirus. But it’s possible to build a stronger marriage by adopting new habits.

Close up of five smooth stones and a wooden slingshot lying on a wooden table

Facing the Giants in Your Marriage

Some marriage challenges seem too big to handle. If you’re facing giants in your marriage, here’s a battle plan to help you defeat them.


Quick Pecks and Flirty Texts

Build strength in your marriage through loving routines

An upset young couple sitting on a couch with their backs toward one another

How to Manage Conflict During the Coronavirus

It’s never easy to manage conflict in a marriage. The coronavirus has added even more challenges. Learn how to work through the conflict.

wife removing wedding ring to signal divorce

Don’t Divorce Because of the Coronavirus Quarantine

Being quarantined together doesn’t help some couples grow closer. The added strain makes existing problems worse.

Smiling woman sitting up in bed as husband brings her breakfast on a tray

Love Is a Sacrifice: An Easter Reminder

Love is a sacrifice. We should treat our spouse as someone of great value and care for their needs. But sacrifice should be motivated by love, not fear.

husband comforts wife grieving loss

Coronavirus: Helping Your Spouse Grieve Loss

Whenever we experience loss, we become vulnerable to getting stuck in the grief process. We need to grieve to restore balance. A husband or wife can provide healing for a grieving spouse.

a man and woman sitting on a couch have a serious discussion

10 Ways Your Marriage Can Survive the Coronavirus Quarantine

The next several weeks won’t be easy. But there are things you can do to lower the stress level and find peace during the coronavirus quarantine.

small act of kindness breakfast in bed

Generosity in Marriage: Small Acts That Make a Big Difference

When you show your generosity, you’re expressing an important underlying message that your spouse needs to hear: ‘You matter. You’re valued.’

wife doesnt want to hear husband

‘Just Relax’ and Other Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Wife

Saying “Just relax” might be the worst thing a husband can say to his wife. Why? Because she hears: “I’m not taking you seriously.”

a couple checking their marriage health

A Marriage Health Checkup Plan

To determine marriage health, couples need to monitor their relational fitness to catch problems they might miss. Here are some questions to help you.

husband and wife talking on pretend phone

To Keep Your Marriage Strong, Learn How To Listen Well

Active listening is important when you’re talking to your spouse. Here’s how to focus on your spouse’s feelings and deepen your relationship.

Two men sitting in a coffee shop. One looks troubled, and the other has his arm on his shoulder to comfort him.

How to Help a Friend Who Has Marriage Problems

We need the encouragement of friends and family — not just when a marriage begins, but to keep it from ending. Our loved ones can make the difference between relationship life and death.

Is Your Marriage Worth Imitating?

Our kids are constantly watching us, and how we treat our spouse is probably how our children will treat their own spouse someday. Your marriage is your child’s blueprint for intimacy and relationships.

growing in intimacy

How To Strengthen Your Spiritual Connection In Marriage

Building a shared spiritual relationship can feel like a roller coaster ride. But Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley have discovered three key experiences to help strengthen a couple’s spiritual connection.

Laughing young Asian couple looking at a smartphone

Conversation Starters for Date Nights

The goal of a great marriage conversation is to affirm what your spouse is doing right, to exchange ideas and to offer suggestions for the future. Use these questions to get that process started.

An unhappy marriage between a man and his wife

The Unhappy Marriage: Saving Your Broken Relationship

Why are we unhappy in marriage? How can we repair our broken relationship? We can find healing through commitment, communication and Christ.

The Key to a Happy Marriage: Feelings!

Being a better husband doesn’t mean that you can fix everything, it means being emotionally responsive. And there are three components to that: accessibility, responsiveness and engagement.

Discover What Rejuvenates You … and Your Marriage

Taking time to rest—physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally—is in the best interest of you and your marriage. God doesn’t want you to be an empty, exhausted person with nothing to give.

Maximizing Everyday Moments in Your Marriage

We’re too busy. Instead of waiting for long, uninterrupted blocks of time to strengthen your marriage, take advantage of key moments that happen every day.

Married couple looking sad because they feel lonely in their marriage

This Two-Step Process Can Cure Your Lonely Marriage

Maybe you never learned teamwork. Maybe you came from a broken home. Or the dynamics of your marriage may make it difficult to connect. Whatever the reason, loneliness in marriage can be overcome.

How to Appreciate Your Spouse’s Unique Personality

Just as a flavors can spice up a dish, differences improve our marriage. While differences bring variety, they also create challenges. So how can a couple use their differences to strengthen their marriage?

Shown from behind, a seated couple looking out their home window

The Lies Your Heart Believes Affect Your Marriage

Painful wounds can cause us to forget who God made us to be, and we start believing lies that affect what we think about ourselves and how we relate. That’s especially true in how we relate to our spouse.

When Your Spouse Goes Through a Faith Crisis

A serious illness or the death of a loved one can shake a Christian’s faith to the foundation. So when your spouse has a crisis of faith and stops praying, what can you do to encourage him or her?

Couple taking golden retriever for a walk on hillside above town

Faith Conversation: Meaningful Worship

Explore ways to make worshiping with your spouse more meaningful. You might try serving together or reading a book related to faith. Even small steps can help you to worship more intimately as a couple.

Happy parents receiving good news from a doctor about their daughter who’s lying next to them in a hospital bed

Keep Your Marriage Strong During a Crisis of Illness

Health scares can test the strongest of marriages. So, when someone — or everyone — in the family becomes sick, what are the best ways to manage the marriage relationship and remain a strong team?

Illustration of a couple standing outside in their neighborhood at night holding hands and looking at each other

Your Marriage Needs Community

Family and friends have an active role to play in marriages. What can you do to build a community that encourages healthy relationships for husbands and wives?

Formula for an Actually Amazing Love Story

Every popular romance story portrays a loving bond so special it comes just once in a lifetime. How can you ensure that your own romance has a lifetime filled with those happy-ever-after endings?

The Most Romantic Gift

True romance is more about being captivated by your spouse than buying flowers or chocolate. And captivation is all about curiosity and interest — being allured by your spouse.

Faith Conversations: The Highest Virtues

Scripture indicates that one virtue — love — has supreme value above all other virtues. But when you don’t feel particularly loving, you don’t have to try to muster romantic feelings for your spouse.

Unrealistic Expectations and Time With Family

When pressure to have the perfect holiday builds relationship tension, we need to change our unrealistic expectations. Then we can better appreciate the time spent connecting with family members.

Faith Conversations: Offering Understanding

Appreciating our husband’s or wife’s emotions can be difficult. But we can give our spouse a special gift by seeking to thoroughly understand him or her before reacting.

Are You a Selfish Spouse?

Although he wasn’t willing to admit it at first, Dr. Greg Smalley felt that God was making him aware of how selfishness causes issues in his marriage. Greg shares some of the things he’s learned.

Middle-age couple standing together outside. He’s affectionately holding a rose up to her face.

Saying ‘I Love You’ With Random Acts of Kindness

Complacency and routine can push out the small, but important, acts of kindness in a marriage. But it’s not too late. You can start showing kindness to your husband or wife today.

Grit: Successful Marriages Need Passion and Perseverance

So many marriages end in divorce because husbands and wives simply give up. They lack grit. Couples who wish to succeed in marriage need passion and perseverance.

Young couple sitting outside looking unhappily at each other while he's on the phone

White Lies Are Still Lies No Matter the Intent

Lying is almost always about protecting self.  When we’re tempted to lie, we can ask ourselves, What does this fib do for me? Then we can ask, What are the personal and relational costs of this lie?

Happy husband and wife smile for photo

How to Pursue Your Spouse in the Long Run

After years or even decades of marriage, how can you pursue your spouse? Three things — understanding, action and serving — can help you get on the right track.

Wooing Your Spouse Should Last a Lifetime

When we find the love of our lives, we don’t want her or him to get away. We woo. We chase. We cleave. But we often stop our pursuit when we get married.

Happy couple; husband sitting, holding a tablet with his feet propped up, wife standing, hugging him from behind

Husbands, Want a Better Marriage? Listen to Your Wife!

When your wife says there’s something wrong with your marriage, guess what, there’s probably something wrong with your marriage. And for the sake of that marriage, a husband would do well to listen.


Dealing With Common Challenges in the Bedroom

It’s time to look at some of the real-world issues that may be preventing you from reaching your full sexual potential as a couple.

Sexual Healing

The bottom line is this: physical intimacy is an incredibly important component of any marriage.

Does ‘Yada, Yada, Yada’ in Your Marriage Mean it’s ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’?

The phrase “yada, yada, yada” is used to indicate that something was predictable, repetitive or boring. But the Bible intended to communicate something very different through the Hebrew word yada.

Is Your Smartphone Coming Between You and Your Spouse?

The smartphone has become a “third wheel” in many marriages, causing husbands and wives to feel they are competing with their spouse’s phone for time and attention.

Faith Conversation: A Beautiful Love

All the excitement about Valentine’s Day makes it easy for us to spend a day focusing on romantic love, but committing to act in love all year long is more difficult.

Young, somber-looking couple sitting in a field; man in foreground, woman in background

Managing Stress Together

What do you do when you’re stressed out? When you deal with stressful events in unhealthy ways, you create new problems in your relationships. But there are ways to constructively deal with stress.

Don’t Go It Alone

God created us to be in relationship — with Him and with others. This is why we need to be intentional about regularly connecting with other like-minded couples. We need a strong community surrounding us.

Married couple in kitchen preparing a meal together

Chores and Your Marriage

When you share the chores with a teammate mentality and when your goal is to out-serve each other, you can bring an end to the chore wars in your home.

Woman in green holding a coffee cup, with her husband out of focus behind her reading a book

Why Couples Stop Talking

Good communication is the lifeblood of a successful marriage, so when spouses stop talking at a deep level, their marriages slowly die. A marriage will only be as good as a couple’s communication.

Happy husband and wife cooking a meal together in their kitchen

Giving Your Spouse Grace

Grace believes the best about your spouse. It fights through the messiness of a particular moment or behavior and remembers that your spouse is a son or daughter of the Most High King.

The Hidden Benefits of Dating Your Wife

Date night is a fantastic way to make sure you and your wife are connecting positively and enjoying each other’s company on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate.

Couple going on a Christmas date, both wearing Santa hats, and the man passing the woman a red wrapped present

A Christmas Date

This date idea will give you the opportunity to invest as a couple in the well-being of someone else. You’ll likely experience a deeper marital bond and sense of intimacy through serving together.

What Scripture Taught Me About Manhood

There are many culturally perpetuated stereotypes about men: They’re tough, highly competitive and obsessed with sex and sports. But what does Scripture teach about true masculinity?

Better Bedtime, Better Marriage

One of the most sacred times in a marriage relationship is from the time that you and your spouse get into bed until you fall asleep. You can be intentional with this time at the end of each day.

Make Your Bed, Change Your Marriage

Dr. Greg Smalley hated making the bed but realized his resistance had become selfish. Read how he decided to serve and sacrifice for his wife.

Couple sitting together with their arms around each other, gazing out at beautiful sunset

Holding Tight in the Hard Times

It’s not only possible to survive a crisis, but difficult times can also be redeemed by God and transformed into experiences that will help make your marriage stronger. 

A happy husband with happy wife in background

Sex — A Word to Husbands

Sex is a wonderful gift given by God to a married couple as a means of experiencing a sacred union.

Contempt in Marriage

When we express contempt, we can become truly mean and disrespectful. But the antidote for contempt is to see the positive — what is true about your spouse.

The Story of Us

The way we tell our past story reflects how we feel about our present marriage relationship.

Twenty More Ways to Invest

A mentor is someone you can turn to for wisdom and support — and someone who can help you make the most of your marriage.

Misconceptions About Family Leadership

What does spiritual leadership mean to you? When preconceived notions are inaccurate.

Honoring Marriage

In marriage, honor involves recognizing the worth of your relationship and putting that appreciation into action.

Build a Future

Commitment is a passionate decision to be with your spouse for a lifetime and to proactively build a future. A husband and wife must decide to love each other for a lifetime.

Marriage Is a Battle . . . But Not Against Each Other

Every marriage has a mortal enemy, a mighty nemesis named selfishness. Dr. Greg Smalley offers insights on how to win the battle in your marriage without fighting each other.

New Year, New Purpose in Your Marriage

Dr. Smalley encourages couples to find a cause that they’re both passionate about, and then trust the Lord to use them and their marriage in the new year

The Worst Marriage Advice Ever!

Some marriage advice is helpful and given with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, other well-meaning counsel is misguided and useless. Here’s a summary of the worst marriage advice I’ve heard.

Young daughters have a play tea party while parents watch in background

Marriage Lessons From a 4-Year-Old

The word cherish implies a specific attitude and means that you recognize your mate’s incredible value. You have the opportunity every day to choose to see how incredibly valuable your spouse is.

Marriage Notes: I Feel Loved When

The best way to understand how you can nourish your marriage is to ask your spouse to finish this statement: “I feel loved when …”   The answers are a gold mine of  information.

Fight for Your Marriage When Your Spouse Is Emotionally Distant

When we feel threatened, we build emotional walls that don’t allow our spouse into the deepest parts of our hearts and minds. The emotional distance can cause marital problems.

An upset husband and wife sitting apart on a couch with their heads in their hands

Marital Infidelity: Recovery for Both Wounded Spouses

Infidelity is a pain that’s far too common to far too many. If you’re dealing with a cheating spouse or admitting that you are a cheating spouse, there’s still hope for restoration in your marriage.

Restoring Your Marriage After Admitting to Infidelity

Maybe you’re thinking, How did I get here? Or maybe you deliberately sought comfort outside your marriage. Here are tips to help you pursue healing in your marriage after being unfaithful to your spouse.

Does Your Wife Feel Loved?

A husband should care for his wife with the same intensity he nourishes his own body. So husbands must spend time every day doing things that help a wife feel loved. 

Get Through This Year’s Football Season With Your Spouse

It’s that time of year again — changing leaves and cooler temperatures. Football season is here. Does your spouse feel like a football widow?


Focus on the Family’s marriage experts have found that genuinely thriving couples typically excel in twelve key areas of marital life.  One of those areas is mutual nourishing.

Christian woman practicing self-care by reading a book on a wooden porch

You Can’t Give To Others What You Don’t Already Have

The great commandment teaches that self-care is not selfish — it’s actually foundational to a healthy marriage.

Growing Stronger Through Stress in Marriage

Challenges, stress and painful trials are going to be part of your life together. The key to a thriving marriage is to learn how to manage the crises that are inevitable.

How Trials Can Strengthen Your Marriage

By developing a healthy pattern of coping with stress and change, you’ll be more likely to deal with issues as a married couple.

God Can Use Your Past to Shape Your Future

In John 5, Jesus heals a crippled man and then tells him to pick up his mat and walk. Can our “mats” help us be grateful to and dependent on God—even in marriage?

It’s a Crazy Time of Year

Working together as a couple to conquer back-to-school stress.

No Losers

When conflict arises in a thriving marriage, both partners win when they remember that, ultimately, they’re on the same team.

No Losers – Date Guide

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Priming The Pump

How can a couple keep the fires of sexual passion alive in the middle of the humdrum, day-to-day routine of the average marriage? Believe it or not, this is a fairly common question. If it’s come up recently between you and your spouse, take heart. You’re not alone.

Priming the Pump – Date Guide

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Creating a Safe Marriage

Your spouse’s heart will open only when it feels safe. But what does feeling safe really mean?

The Parts and the Whole – Date Guide

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The Parts and the Whole

What is a marriage? It’s a question well worth pondering.

The Center of the Circle – Date Guide

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The Center of the Circle

The parallel between romantic love and God’s relationship with His people is a theme that runs all the way through Scripture, and it has a great deal to teach us about the spiritual dimension of marriage.

Recognizing Spiritual Leadership in the Little Things

Spiritual intimacy can be a confusing issue for many couples. Dr. Greg Smalley offers personal insights on how husbands can be spiritual leaders and wives can see beyond basic spiritual disciplines for intimacy at home.

Two young couples hanging out in a kitchen, enjoying each other's company

Invest in Your Marriage with Mentors

We can’t emphasize enough (both from research and personal experience!) how important it is to have the support and encouragement of a veteran couple to walk alongside you!

Contempative husband as frustrated wife stands in background with arms crossed

Infidelity — To Tell Or Not To Tell Your Spouse?

If you’ve been unfaithful in your marriage and you’re wondering what to do now, Dr. Greg Smalley explains 10 reasons to have a talk with your spouse.

Heart Talk – Date Guide

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Heart Talk

The best research indicates that healthy marriages are always built around a solid core of open, honest, and empathetic person-to-person conversation.

Should Christians See 50 Shades of Grey: A Husband’s Perspective

Sex should always join two people together in love — it should always strengthen a relationship and not weaken it. Sure, sex involving bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism might be legal as long as both people give their full consent — but it is anything but beneficial for a marriage.

True Romance on Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, use flowers, chocolate and cards to heighten your romance, but spend your time being curious and asking questions.

Outside the Box

The way to stay excited about being together is to sprinkle in a judicious pinch of spice now and then.  It’s all about “getting outside the box” every once in a while.

Outside the Box – Date Guide

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The Thrill of Commitment

We live in a culture that has either forgotten or rejected the idea of marriage as a covenant.  Couples who want to go the distance in their relationship need to rediscover it.

The Thrill of Commitment – Date Guide

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How to Navigate the Stress of the Family Holiday Road Trip

What is the key to surviving the holiday family road trip with your spouse?

A Time for Singing

Ecclesiastes says that there is a time and a season for everything.  December is the season for singing.

Back view of a couple silhouette hugging and watching sun on the beach

Back to the Future

If cherishing is to be pushed to an even higher level in a couple’s present experience of marriage, it will happen because they find ways not only to keep in touch with the past, but to project the past into the future.

You’re on the Same Team

In a marriage there is no such thing as a win/lose scenario when you are on the same team.

a happy couple smiles for a photograph

10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship

10 keys to help make your relationship with your spouse more loving.

Creative Problem-Solving

When was the last time you and your spouse truly viewed yourselves as a team?

Foreplay Redefined

Every couple knows that sexual intimacy, celebrated regularly and passionately, is vital to any healthy marriage. What many don’t understand is that sex is more than just sex.

Sub-Creators and Co-Creators

God, the grand Creator par excellence, is inviting the creatures who bear His image to join Him in the ongoing work of creation.  And He’s asking them to do this together.

The Heart and Soul of Date Night

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.‚” Mark Twain

couple intimacy husband kissing wife's forehead

A Deeper Level of Intimacy

Spiritual friendship is eagerly helping each other know, serve, love, and resemble God in deeper and deeper ways.

Treasure Hunt

Whether you realize it or not, you are living every day of your life in the presence of a precious hidden treasure.

Vive la Difference!

“When two people always agree, one of them is unnecessary.‚”

Secrets and Mysteries

Is it possible to keep a healthy sense of mystery alive in a familiar, long-term relationship?

For Life

NFL coach Mike Shanahan has said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Unwrapping the Present

Studies show that the average couple spends only four minutes per day engaged in meaningful conversation. Four minutes! Can couples really expect to foster intimacy with so little time devoted to positive communication?

Remembering the Past

Sometimes, the sweetest, most tender memories are those that happened during moments that were unplanned and that may seem unremarkable to the casual observer.

Two couples laugh and talk together around a kitchen island.

The Nuts and Bolts of Double Dating

Looking for ideas to use when getting to know another couple? Take a look at these double date tips.

Cherish: Recognize Your Spouse’s Value

Honor isn’t based on behavior or subject to emotion. You grant your spouse value whether they want it or deserve it. Honor is a decision you make and a gift you give. This is exactly what the apostle Paul encouraged the early Christians to do when he wrote, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10).


This date’s focus on community affords you the perfect opportunity to phone up another couple — or couples — and enjoy a group date.

Date Night

Did you know that making it a priority to regularly go on dates with your spouse can lead to increased satisfaction in your marriage?

Smiling, happy couple standing on a city street. She’s got her arms around his neck as they look at each other face-to-face.

I Cherish You

Thriving couples need to be intentional about treasuring, honoring and cherishing one another. Do these things characterize your relationship with your spouse?

Laughing husband and wife having fun while riding a flying merry-go-round

Laugh and Play Together

A marriage that can ascend to the heights of intimacy requires careful navigation and routine maintenance.

Nourish: Treat Your Spouse in Valuable Ways

When you treat your spouse with compassion, it creates a safe environment to share your deepest thoughts and feelings.

Remembering the Good Times

Deliberately call to mind the highlights of your life together.

Sharing the Load

Couples with thriving relationships make it their goal to function as a team, because the most important thing is how they work together, not what other people think.

The Power of Healthy Conflict

Healthy conflict can actually take your marriage to deeper levels of intimacy.

To-ma-to, To-mah-to

Healthy conflict can actually be a pathway to deeper intimacy in your marriage.

Finding Common Interests and Hobbies

Developing common interests and hobbies can decrease conflict in marriage and strengthen the idea that you and your spouse are a team.

Close up of a woman's hands holding a scrap of paper with a handwritten, affectionate note saying thank you

How to Show Thankfulness to Your Spouse

It’s important that you take time alone with your spouse to tell him or her directly why you’re thankful. This should involve not only thanking God, but also thanking your partner—directly and specifically—for the things he or she does that bless and enrich your life. Not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the year, we should make a concerted effort to express gratitude for our spouse and to our spouse!

Road Trip

Whether we’re talking about Date Night, or any other time that you and your spouse have time together in the car . . . it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey!

The Curious Thing About Marriage

Since our mate is always growing and changing, we need to maintain the mindset of a lifetime learner.

We’re in it for the Long Haul!

With the mindset of marriage being an adventure in which husbands and wives stick together through thick and thin, the words “until death do us part” take on a whole new meaning.

The Hidden Value of Conflict

Rather than making it our goal to resolve arguments, we must learn how to manage our conflicts.

Let the Good Times Roll

Thriving couples cultivate common hobbies and undertake shared adventures through regular Date Nights!

Blowing with the Winds of Change

As the weather cools and the seasons change, we couldn’t pass up talking about a critical component of your thriving marriage — mutually satisfying physical intimacy.

The Doorway to Intimacy

Conflict doesn’t guarantee intimacy, but it is an open door to discover our spouse’s most important feelings and needs.

Love in Action

A working definition of nourishing is demonstrating your love. It involves a conscious resolution to identify your spouse’s strengths and find creative ways to stimulate them.

A husband hugs his wife on a cloudy day.

Blessing Your Spouse

The blessing is what we all long for – acceptance and affirmation.

One in the Spirit

Cultivating romance and fostering spiritual growth with your beloved takes discipline and intentionality

More than Words

Relationships change over time. In the context of marriage, this means that there will always be something new for you to learn about your spouse

Healthy Individuals

Marriage encompasses the spiritual and physical act of two lives becoming one. But can that union truly thrive if one or both of the individuals involved is feeling unfulfilled?

Giving Together

This month’s Date Night will give you the opportunity to take a break from the holiday grind—the stress, the worries, the overcrowded schedules, the race to find the perfect gift, and other stressors—and invest as a couple in the well-being of someone else.

Keeping the Peace at Any Price?

If we avoid conflict or pretend it doesn’t exist, the greater the problem will become.