How Do You Keep a Marriage on Track?

Remains of a fight between Mark and I linger in my mind, even though we’ve said sorry and tried to amend it. 9 am is grey. Quiet clouds wait overhead, and a muggy wind blows the maple leaves in desultory turns. The world waits for the storm and we recover from ours.

Phone calls interrupt and God steps in too. He injects humility, whispering reconciliation and calming truths. I write out the verses I’m studying that morning in Psalms, and then stop to laugh with God. Mixed in among cheerful inspirational verses is the phrase, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah…” (Psalm 95:7,8). Knowing some of the history behind those verses, I am still intrigued. I stop and study the notes at the bottom of the page. Meribah means “quarreling.”

“Very funny, God.”

Mark and I talk, reach out, apologize. Owning our assumptions and attitudes,  our voices are muted, soft. Our words stretch toes cautiously, stepping onto sore topics, tender areas.

“I’m sorry…” Words follow, describing.

“Me too. I…”

Two or three topics we’ll have to circle back to later, but our hearts are good now, and a peaceful joy seeps in.


Last week, I wandered through my kitchen, pointing a compass at the microwave.

“What?! Why does North keep changing?!” I exclaimed.

“It doesn’t,” Mark replied.

We laughed and I assumed it was user-error, me trying out the compass app on my phone. Wandering through the house, I located North, South, East and West, taping tiny white papers with their coordinates onto my walls.

And I don’t know about you, but what helps me rekindle a flame in my marriage is to keep coming back to God and his word. Orientating myself daily to God’s truth, to his compass words of life, refocuses me.  Sleepily pouring French-press coffee each morning, I grab my Bible, my journal, and a smooth-rolling G2 pen. “Good morning, Abba Daddy God,” I scrawl across cheap notebook paper, and time in his presence orients my life, guiding me, and it rekindles a flame in my walk with God, and in my marriage and family.

Not Sure Why You are Receiving this Email?

Sorry about that. You requested these, but technical difficulties stopped you from getting them until now.

You requested to receive occasional stories and resources from Jennifer Dougan to rekindle a flame in your walk with God, in your marriage and family, and in your sphere of influence.

Jennifer speaks often at MOPS/MomsNext groups, at the Set Apart conference, at churches, retreats, camps, home school co-ops and more.

Welcome! If you no longer wish to receive these emails, though, you may unsubscribe at any time.

Otherwise, Jennifer would be honored to have you join the 1100+ people who have been getting to know each other over the last 13 years or so here and doing life together. (Catch up on last week’s special post and announcement here!) 


Share this post:


  1. Liz Mills on July 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Like your new website

  2. Dolly on August 10, 2020 at 10:52 pm


    Thanks for sharing how God is true North in your marriage. Lovely new look to your blog 🙂


    • Jennifer Dougan on August 18, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Dolly, Sorry for my delay in getting back to you. Thank you! I was so excited to re-do my website. The wonderful Micah J. Murray and Steve Goerger at AuthorBlog Design made this one.

      It’s nice to talk with you again. 🙂

      Jennifer Dougan

Leave a Comment