Blog - Imperfect Homemaker

Is Swagbucks Legit? How I Paid for my Kids’ Christmas This Year

I was asked recently whether Swagbucks was a legitimate way for stay-at-home wives and moms to earn money. My answer at the time was “Nah. It's not really worth the time.” It's not that the site itself isn't legit (it totally is – I've had an account for years and received any payouts I've requested) I just didn't feel like most people would earn enough to make it worth the time spent. Most of what I had earned was from referral credits I accumulated when I owned a deal blog years ago, and I didn't think it was fair to give the impression that the general public would earn as much as I had.

Well…fast forward a little bit and I've totally changed my tune! 
I tried using Swagbucks for a month and see how much I could earn doing only things that anyone can do.
It was enough to pay for all my kids' Christmas and birthday gifts!

Once again, the money I earned was from doing things that anyone can do, and I didn't spend an exorbitant amount of time doing them.

Is Swagbucks legit?

Now…you're not going to get rich off Swagbucks or really earn an actual income, but if you're just hoping for a little “mad money” then I think you're going to find Swagbucks to be an amazing little hobby that you can use to afford Christmas presents or some other little “extra” you may not normally be able to afford.

Maybe you're wondering what in the world Swagbucks even is. A basic explanation is that you complete online activities such as taking a surveys or searching the web through the Swagbucks search bar. When you do, you are awarded with…well… Swagbucks. Then you can redeem those Swagbucks for gift cards or actual PayPal cash.

I'm going to share the specific ways I have found to make using Swagbucks worth my time. I know we are all busy, but I also know many of us could use a little extra cash. So hopefully making use of Swagbucks will be a blessing to your family as I share some of the most time-effective ways to earn a little extra money. 

1. First things first, create a Swagbucks account here. (Important note: If you want to redeem your Swagbucks for PayPal cash rather than gift cards, make sure you sign up with the same name and email address that is on your PayPal account.)

2. Get familiar with the point value. (1 Swagbuck = 1 cent, so 500 Swagbucks are worth $5.00)
Each activity will tell you upfront how many Swagbucks you'll receive if you complete it.

Ready to start earning Swagbucks? Read on for the best ways I've found to rack up your total quickly!

3. Go to “Discovery” Tab.
What you'll want to do is look for high paying offers and easy tasks. When these two overlap, that is the sweet spot!

So, for instance, I would consider 500 ($5) or more swagbucks a decent amount — although, the higher the better of course. I've earned up to 10,000, which is $100!

Here's an example of an easy, yet high paying task:

Notice all the squares underneath. These are all the offers available. When you click on one, it will show a little pop-up box with all the details of that offer. This particular offer says that if you download the Upside app and use it when you purchase gasoline, you will receive 1000 Swagbucks ($10.00.) It will cost you nothing to use the Upside app; the only purchase you're making is for gasoline, and you'll make an extra $10! Not bad for taking the time to download an app!

More examples of tasks I've done that have provided a large return for a small investment of time:

-Download apps (earn an average of $2.00 each)
Be sure to read the terms. Sometimes there is a requirement to play to a certain level of a game before you're awarded the Swagbucks. I don't find these to be worth my time. I prefer to choose offers where I can download the app, receive the Swagbucks, and then delete the app.

-Sign up for a company's email list (earn $.25 – $1.00 each)
You can set up a separate junk email address for these so you don't fill your regular inbox with junk mail.

-Sign up for a free trial to a streaming service (earn $5 – $10 each)
I always set up a calendar notification to remind me to cancel before the free trial is over.

-Sign up for a food delivery subscription (earn $30 – $60 each)
I do the math to make sure I will be earning more than I spend on the box. Usually there are special offers on the boxes that make them very inexpensive. For instance I just did one where I spent $13 to get the first box delivered. I'll earn $60 from Swagbucks and then cancel the subscription, making it a $47 money-maker.

-Click and earn offers (1 to 2 cents each.)
There are many of these available to do. All you have to do is click on a link for an advertisement and you'll immediately earn 1 or 2 swagbucks just for clicking. Why do I do these when they only pay a couple cents? Because it only takes a second or two to click. A penny per second equals a $36/hour pay rate. Even if I only spend a few minutes doing this, it's completely worth my time. All the Swagbucks add up. 

-Upload receipts. I don't always do this, but if all the other offers are sparse I will take a few minutes to upload some of my grocery receipts. Depending on what I've purchased I might earn around 20-25 cents on each receipt.

-Take surveys. This is one I personally don't do that often, but other people I know find that they earn enough on Swagbucks surveys to make them worth their time.

-Use the online shopping portal. Any time I need to make an online purchase, I go to my swagbucks account first, or I click through my chrome extension. Swagbucks will reward me with a certain number of swagbucks just for shopping through their portal.

If you install the Chrome extension, you will see a pop-up like the one on the right hand side of the above web page. Any time you're shopping online you can click that purple cash back button, and you'll receive Swagbucks back in your account after you've made your online purchase.

If you don't wish to install the Chrome extension, you can just go to your Swagbucks account and click through the shopping portal.

Things to be aware of when using Swagbucks:

-There will be many, many offers that are not worth your time or trouble. Don't be disappointed, just keep looking because the great offers are in there among the not-so-great.

-As I already noted, you'll probably want to use a junk email address when signing up for advertiser's email lists. Additionally, it's my personal preference not to sign up for magazines or free samples where I have to give my mailing address. (Ordering an actual product is different.) But for the free sample type things, I feel like I start receiving a lot of additional junk mail when I give my address out.

-Always, always read the terms of an offer. You'll need to follow the instructions correctly in order to receive your Swagbucks. For example, it might say to sign up for a free trial of a service, but then in the fine print it will say that you have to stay subscribed past the first month in order to receive the Swagbucks. (These can still be worth it; just check the price. For example, if I stay subscribed for one month to a service that is $5 a month, but I'm earning $20 in Swagbucks I'll still do it!)

-Take a few minutes to keep yourself organized. Keep track of the offers you've completed and make a note on your calendar to make sure your Swagbucks have been awarded. (Occasionally something doesn't track properly and the Swagbucks might not show up in your account. If this happens, I just do a chat with Swagbucks customer service and they have always fixed it right away!)

Here's a screenshot of my Swagbucks earnings. (That's worth over $1,100 that I've redeemed in the form of Paypal money.) In the upper right hand corner, you can see an additional $83 worth of Swagbucks that I have not cashed out yet. And I also have another $100+ worth of pending Swagbucks that will post when the 30 days of a free trial offer is complete.

If you're tight on money and are looking for a legit way to earn a little bit extra from home, I highly recommend giving Swagbucks a try!

Here is the link once again to sign up —> Click Here to start earning Swagbucks!

A Wise Woman Builds Her House

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. (Proverbs 14:1)

Perhaps when you read that verse, you think something like, “If I want to be a wise woman, I need to build my house. Hmm…how do I build my house?”

I’ve asked for people's thoughts about this verse on social media before, and all of the answers I received were along the same line. Everyone was thinking something like, “A woman can build her house by doing a, b, and c” ; and the a, b, and c were things like:

  • Put others’ needs first
  • Keep my home clean and clutter free
  • Make my home inviting for the family
  • Do things together as a family
  • Have supper together every night
  • Schedule in rest time, family time, chore time, Bible time, and exercise time
  • Control my mouth – speak kindly to others and don’t complain
  • Be organized
  • Be frugal
  • Prepare nice meals for my family

Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing these things. Speaking kindly to your family, spending time together, and using your time wisely are all beneficial things to do for the ones you love.

But if we are not careful, we can fall into a great big trap of believing that our godliness as a homemaker is proven by how many boxes we can check off on a list.

I want you to understand that the “godly homemaker list” only brings bondage. The more things you manage to check off the list, the more things you will think of to add to it. – “I did a, b, and c, but my family would really benefit if I also did x, y, and z.” If you believe that you must figure out ways to build up your home in order to be a wise woman, you will forever find yourself unsatisfied (because you will always think of some good thing that you're not doing!)

When you measure your success or failure by a list, you are setting yourself up to fall into one of two ditches:

1. Perpetual guilt that you can't seem to do all the good things on your list.
2. Pride that you are doing good things better than someone else is.

When you measure your success or failure by how many “homemaker-y” things you do and how well you do them, you've got things backwards.

You see, when you try to figure out ways to build your house and work hard to do them, you are living life out of our own wisdom and strength.

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…”

Psalm 127:1

We can never build our houses apart from the Lord, and we cannot be wise apart from him. 

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

So, my friend, how do you build your house?

You walk in the wisdom of God.

Through wisdom is an house builded: and by understanding it is established. (Proverbs 24:3)

Listen to the words of Jesus:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4)

And here’s what Jesus says will happen when you listen to his words:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

Do you see? When you try to build your house on any other foundation, it will not stand!

When you try to check the boxes of what you think a “godly homemaker” is supposed to look like, you’re building your house on the wrong foundation.

But when you build your life on the rest that Jesus Christ offers you; when you abide in him; when Jesus IS your life – everything else will flow from that!

The foolish woman focuses on DOING. Yet all her best efforts will fail.

The wise woman focuses on BEING. And because she is not living through her own efforts, but through the power of the resurrected Savior, she can never fail.

A plant doesn’t have to try hard to bear fruit. The only way a plant bears fruit is to simply be. The roots do the work of providing everything the plant needs to flourish and be fruitful. Likewise the fruit we bear can only and ever be a result of simply abiding in the vine.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him…” (Colossians 2:6)

Does it feel impossible to do *everything* you're *supposed* to be doing? 
Maybe it’s time to ditch the checklist and simply abide in the vine.

*Doing* all the things to build your house is not what makes you a wise woman.  That's backwards.

But when your life is hidden in Christ – when you rest from your efforts to do, and you learn to simply be who you are (a new creation, filled with all the fullness of God!) – you will find freedom and rest like you’ve never experienced before!

Be a wise woman, my friend, and follow Jesus’ invitation to abide in Him.

When you do, your life will bear much fruit! You can cease from your efforts and stop living in either guilt or pride, and the people in your home will experience the power of Jesus' grace as it fills your own heart and spills over onto them.

If you want to read further on this subject, here a couple of great suggestions:

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman

The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley

How to Pray for Your Husband When He’s Not a Godly Father

In the past I’ve shared some characteristics of a Godly father that I've observed.

But what if your husband is not a Godly father? What if he:

-Disciplines the children too harshly
-Undermines your parenting
-Speaks disrespectfully to you and allows your children to do the same
-Does not show interest in teaching the kids spiritual things
-Does not spend time with the children
-Does not help you care for the children

No doubt it’s hard to watch your children not receive the loving care that they deserve from a father. No doubt it’s hard to do all the work to teach them and take care of them and not to receive any participation from your spouse.

I imagine that if your children’s father is this kind of a man that you have already spent time in prayer, asking God to change his heart and help him be the right kind of a father. (Read: 10 Ways to Pray for the Father of Your Children.)

But what if nothing is changing?

Where do you go from here?

What I am about to share is by no means a comprehensive answer. Without knowing you, I can’t possibly offer insight into your unique situation. I only want to give you some options to think about.

If you are unsure if there is something deeper at play, I encourage you to check out one of these books, which will give you much more information than I can provide here: (affiliate links)
Is it Me? Making Sense of Your Confusing Marriage

The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

In the meantime, here are some ways that you can pray for your husband when he is not a godly father.

How to pray for your husband when he's not a godly father

1. Pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal areas of his life that are not submitted to God.

Sometimes an area where we ourselves have grown is not the same area where our spouse is growing at the moment. Maybe he is learning other things right now and the areas of needed growth that are so clear from your perspective are not something he has seen yet.

Important to note: God is faithful to answer our prayers; however, this is not a guarantee that your spouse will change. When God does the revealing, your husband must make the choice to act on what God reveals to him about his character.

Why doesn’t he change? God will never force anyone to change. Obedience to God is a voluntary choice, and it is up to your husband to make that choice.

What to look for: Is there evidence of spiritual growth in other areas of your husband’s life? I am not speaking of outward shows of religion. Anyone can read their Bible, pray, sing spiritual songs, and say spiritual words. These are outward behaviors. But is there evidence of an ongoing transformation of your husband’s inner life? When there is an area of his life that has not been a reflection of Christ, does he humbly repent and submit that area to the Lord? Although he may have areas that still need adjusting, is his overall demeanor characterized by the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance?

If there is not evidence of an ongoing inner transformation into the image of Christ, it is not likely that you will see him become more Christlike in his parenting either.

2. Pray that God will give you the words to speak to your husband.

“You are not your husband’s holy spirit.” Many wives have heard these words and believe that it is wrong for them to speak up when they see something in their husband’s life that is not Christlike.

But while it is true that it is not our place to dictate to another believer what he must and must not do, it is also true that as believers we are called to:

-exhort one another so that none will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13)
-provoke one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)
-restore the one who sins, in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1)
-speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)

You can speak the truth to your husband in love, asking God to give you the wisdom to know what to say to him. (James 1:5) 

If you feel that speaking truth into your husband’s life and calling him to a more Christ-like way of life will only make him angry or cause negative consequences for you, that is a much bigger problem, which leads me to the next point.

3. Pray that you will have wisdom to know how to protect your children.

If speaking up to your husband is only going to create negative consequences for you and your children, I encourage you to do what is necessary for everyone’s safety and well-being.

I am not saying to keep your mouth closed and go on living as if there’s nothing wrong. 

I am saying that if your husband has already demonstrated in the past that his response would cause distress to you or your children, then there is no sense in trying an approach of talking to him. He has already shown what is in his heart. Your priority now is to protect your children.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

Being an agent of mercy and justice for your children – protecting the vulnerable from one who is misusing his power over them – is a godly thing to do.

Do they need emotional protection?
Do they need physical protection?
Do they need spiritual protection?

Your unique circumstances will require a unique response. This is why praying for wisdom is so important. God has promised to give wisdom to those who ask him, so prepare yourself for His answer. Look for the places that He might be providing information you can use to make wise decisions that will protect your children.

4. Pray that your children will understand the love of God in spite of having an imperfect earthly father.

Many children struggle to understand the love of God when their earthly father is harsh or indifferent toward them.

Yet God shows his love to people in many different ways. He can show his love to your children through you, their mother (II Timothy 1:5). He can show his love through his beautiful creation that he has given for them to enjoy (Psalm 19:1). He has given them his written word by which he reveals his love for all mankind (II Timothy 3:15). Love them, teach them who God is, and point out to them the beauty of God’s love as  shown in his creation of the world around them. Pray that they will understand who God is and that their tender hearts will not become hardened to the idea of having a relationship with him.

What if your husband is not a believer? You can pray the same prayers from this post either way. You can pray that God would draw your husband to himself, understanding that God will never force anyone to come to himself. You can pray that you would have wisdom to know what words you should or should not speak to your husband; you can pray that you will have wisdom to protect your children; and you can pray that your children will understand the love of God.

Dear Christian Mama,
I close this article with a prayer for you.
Father, I ask that you will give your wisdom to this reader. I ask that you will help her know that words she ought to say to invite her husband to a place of repentance. If her husband is willing to humbly grow in Christlikeness, I ask that you would give her a spirit of graciousness and not of criticism. If her husband is unwilling to submit to you, I ask that you would make that clear to her, and show her what she should do to protect her children's tender hearts as well as keep them physically safe. I ask that your presence would be unmistakeable in her life, that she would know your deep love for her and be able to pass it on to her children.

Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

One of my all-time favorite hymns is Great is Thy Faithfulness. 
Every line of the lyrics contains such encouraging scriptural truth. One of my favorite lines, though, is “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”


God gives strength for today

  • The Lord is the strength of my life (Psalm 27:1)
  • God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)
  • I will go in the strength of the Lord God (Psalm 71:16)
  • When my own strength fails, God is the strength of my hearts (Psalm 73:26)
  • He gives strength to those who have no might (Isaiah 40:29)
  • God strengthens us with his might in our inner man (Ephesians 3:16)
  • I can be strong through the power of the Lord (Ephesians 6:10)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)


God gives bright hope for tomorrow

  • I do not need to worry about tomorrow. If God takes care of the birds and the flowers he will take care of me. (Matthew 6:25-34)
  • The scriptures provide evidence of God's faithfulness in the past and give us hope for the future (Romans 15:4)
  • Christ's resurrection provides a powerful reason to place my hope in him. (I Peter 1:20-21)
  • The God of hope fills me with joy and peace (Romans 15:13)
  • God’s love offers comfort, hope and strength for the tasks ahead. (II Thessalonians 2:16-17)



Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me


The phrase “Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow” contains so much encouragement that I made a downloadable print of it and added it to the private resource library (it's free for email subscribers!)
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow artwork
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Why is Marriage So Hard?

Although I don’t know the intimate details of everyone’s unique circumstances and would never pretend that I know all there is to know about marriage, I would like to address the question, “Why is marriage so hard?”



Why is it important to talk about marriage being hard?

There is a prevailing sentiment that circulates in conversations about marriage, especially in a Christian context, that marriage is hard. For most people it seems to be a given that marriage is hard. I polled my followers on both Facebook and Instagram, and the vast majority said they agreed with the statement that marriage is hard. I think one reason this thinking is particularly prevalent among Christians is that no one wants to be that person who “takes the easy way out.” Most Christians believe that divorce is never an option, so they remind themselves and others that “marriage is hard” (and often add “but so worth it.”)

But the reason we need to talk about this is that the definitions different people have of “hard” can vary widely.

For one person, they may be thinking that it’s hard to hold in critical words when their spouse puts the toilet paper roll on the wrong way. Maybe it bothers them a lot and they have a feisty personality, and they’ve had to work hard to respond to little irritations with grace. For another person, they may be thinking that marriage is hard because life keeps them so busy that it takes a lot of effort to regularly make time to connect with their spouse on a deep level.

These are totally legitimate reasons to feel that marriage is hard, and there definitely is a certain amount of effort required to build up and maintain habits that make for a healthy marriage.

However, there are a great deal of people who are not hearing anything like what I’ve just written when they hear that marriage is hard. Many people are being horribly mistreated and abused by their spouse, and they do not even realize it because they have always heard that marriage is hard.

Consider some of the following:

  • “I was constantly walking on eggshells. I bent over backwards and tolerated things that most people would not have to deal with because I thought marriage was supposed to be hard.”
  • “I was always told that marriage takes sacrifice. So when my husband was using pornography and verbally abusing me, I kept sacrificing and giving him more and more of myself. I was told that if he cheated on me he would come back to the haven that I’d created for him.”
  • “I should have seen the red flags of abuse, but because I had always heard how hard marriage is I thought it was normal. I thought it was all my fault because marriage was supposed to require a lot of sacrifice.”
  • “My husband treated me horribly and cheated on me. I spent the whole marriage working hard to sacrifice my own selfishness so we could have a good marriage.”

Do you see why this is so important to discuss? The number of women who tell me that all the books and sermons about marriage they’ve read/heard only made it more difficult to recognize the abuse is astronomical. I believe that most people who write and speak about marriage mean well, and from their perspective they’re not speaking to someone in an abusive situation. But when you’re in the midst of abuse, it’s very confusing (purposely so on the part of the abuser), and the victim does not realize that what she is experiencing is abuse. She only knows that…
“Marriage is hard.”
“You have to sacrifice.”
“Marriage requires lots of forgiveness.”
“You have to set aside how you feel and keep your commitment.”

I don’t want to be a part of contributing to an abuse victim’s further confusion and entrapment, do you?
So, when we make statements about marriage being hard, do you think we could all work together to define exactly what we mean?

In no way am I discounting the particular aspects of marriage that you have truly found hard. I’m not asking you to minimize your own experience or telling you not to say that marriage is hard when you really have found it hard. But, can we be sure to clarify that “life is hard, and navigating those hardships as a team takes work, but it should never be your spouse who is causing your life to be hard”?

Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime? And did you know that those statistics are the same among churchgoers as among those who do not attend church? Abusers love to infiltrate the church and put on a mask of goodness because church people are so quick to believe the best about others and readily forgive offenses. But this means that the women you associate with in your ladies Bible studies, the ones you chat with in the restroom, and the ones sitting near you in the service may be trapped in an abusive relationship. Rarely do people speak of abuse and teach others how to recognize it. It’s not usually on the radar as something that needs to be said in church; it’s more often perceived as something that occurs “out there” in a bad neighborhood somewhere. So when those godly women in our church who have been targeted by an abuser come to our Bible studies and listen to our conversations, they only know that “Marriage is hard.” They don’t know that “Marriage shouldn’t be hard because your spouse makes it hard.”

So why is marriage so hard? Let’s look at some examples of real, legitimate reasons a person might find marriage hard:

  • Some seasons of life are highly stressful for both spouses (loss of job, illness, grief, etc.). It takes extra work to remain gracious when we feel emotionally drained.
  • Misunderstandings take place, and it takes work to communicate and find out where things went sideways.
  • Life is busy. It takes work and planning to go on dates or spend dedicated time together.
  • Some people enter marriage expecting a fairytale life which doesn’t exist. When life isn’t endless romance, but instead includes bills, housework, and waking up to a bedhead spouse, they find themselves resentful of the life they now live, and have to work to process how they feel and come to terms with reality.
  • Past trauma can make it difficult to trust your spouse, even if they are a trustworthy person. It takes work for the injured spouse to overcome those emotions, and it takes patience and grace on the part of the other spouse.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, and it can be hard to swallow our pride and apologize when we’ve said something unkind or acted selfishly.
  • What you thought was a given due to your family background (e.g. the table will always be formally set for family dinner, and we will always use proper manners at the table) may be the opposite of what your spouse thought was a given (this is our safe place to relax; let’s use paper plates and not be so formal with our manners.) It takes work to compromise on situations that aren’t harmful to the other person, but can damage the relationship if we always insist on our own way.
  • Marriage can be hard when one spouse is chronically ill and the other has to carry a larger portion of the load.

All of these hard things can be overcome when both spouses are humbly submitted to the Holy Spirit’s working in their lives. They can face the misunderstandings, the stresses of life, and the little annoyances together. But it’s so important that we highlight the fact that the hard things in marriage have to be overcome together as a team. One person cannot single-handedly keep a relationship strong — a relationship takes two.


On the flip side, if any of the following examples are reasons why you feel like your marriage is hard, it is important for you to realize that these are NOT normal or legitimate reasons for your marriage to feel hard:

  • Your spouse expects you to keep everything perfect at home but doesn’t do their part to help
  • Your spouse tells you that you are being lazy when your work doesn’t meet their criteria
  • Your spouse treats you like a child, inspecting and criticizing everything you do
  • You are expected to take the blame for your spouse’s bad behavior (“I wouldn’t get so angry if you would just ____.”)
  • Your spouse twists every discussion around, confuses you, and makes you feel unsure of reality
  • You discover lies and deception on the part of your spouse and feel that you are supposed to just forgive and move on
  • Your spouse is addicted to pornography
  • Your spouse blames childhood trauma or an alcoholic father for their current bad behavior
  • Your spouse requires you to have permission to go places or spend time with friends
  • You don’t feel to safe to say what you really think or want
  • You have to ask permission for money to buy household necessities. You find it difficult to prepare meals with so little grocery money, yet your spouse always has enough money to buy the things they want.
  • You are distressed at the cruel way your spouse treats your children or pets
  • You feel pressured to have sex with your spouse any time he wants it or in ways that make you feel uncomfortable
  • Your spouse makes mountains out of molehills. For instance, if everything is not 100% spotless at home they will be enraged.
  • Your spouse repeatedly hurts your feelings, puts you down, belittles you in public or in private, expresses disapproval about everything you do.
  • Your spouse regularly makes decisions that impact you without regard to how you feel about them
  • Your spouse accuses you of being selfish or ungrateful when you try to address a problem or express a need
  • Your spouse does not want to spend time with you; never wants to hear about your day; is not interested in your life or your feelings
  • Your spouse does not protect you when you are vulnerable. You are still expected to keep up with housework even when sick or in pain.

This is destructive behavior on the part of your spouse. If your marriage feels hard because of your spouse’s destructive behavior, scroll to the bottom of this post for some resources that will give good advice for your situation.

For those who do not find marriage hard due to any of the reasons above, let’s talk about ways that we can discuss the reasons why marriage is hard while also being extra clear about what we mean.

Perhaps we could start by using the word “but…” in our conversations.

  • Marriage is hard because miscommunication happens sometimes, BUT we resolve it in a healthy way.
  • Marriage is hard because there are a lot of real-life responsibilities that have to be taken care of, BUT we work together as a team to get them done.
  • Marriage is hard because life throws hard things at you, BUT we support each other through life’s seasons of stress and grief.
  • Marriage is hard because it’s difficult to make time to connect with each other, BUT we enjoy being involved in other’s lives and it is worth the extra effort.
  • Marriage is hard because it requires me to give up some things I want for the good of my spouse, BUT my spouse does the same for me. We both look for ways to serve each other.
  • Marriage is hard because sometimes my spouse unknowingly hurts my feelings, BUT I feel safe to discuss it and know I will never be blamed for being “too sensitive.”
  • Marriage is hard because it requires work to develop tools for being an emotionally healthy person, BUT we both take responsibility for doing that for ourselves. I am not required to carry the emotional load of us both.
  • Marriage is hard because I have past trauma that makes it hard to trust people, BUT my spouse always tells me the truth and has shown by their actions to be a trustworthy person.
  • Marriage is hard because sometimes we do or say unkind things, BUT we apologize to each other and make it right.
  • Marriage is hard because sometimes we have strong opinions that are opposite of our spouse’s, BUT we both work at seeing things from the other’s perspective and don’t insist that the other person adopt our viewpoint.

If the main thought you have about marriage is how hard it is, something is wrong. Marriage is intended to be a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church, and should therefore be a safe place, full of joy and blessing.



In the words of some of my friends who are abuse survivors:

  • “Two are better than one. If being part of the two actually makes your life harder then what’s the point?”
  • “Life throws a lot at you, but marriage should be a team working through things together. If the team itself is hard, the team might not be working.”
  • “For better or for worse means no matter what life throws at us, not no matter what you do to me.”
  • “Life is hard. Marriage should not make it harder.”
  • “Hard is not the same thing as harmful.”
  • “Every marriage has circumstances that you will have to work through, but it should never be your spouse who is causing the hardships.”
  • “The hard work of marriage should be about becoming who God wants you to be, not about putting up with your spouse’s bad behavior.”

So the answer to the question “Why is marriage so hard?” is that we live in a world that is broken down by sin. We have unrealistic expectations about life, we are sometimes selfish, and we have to deal with many hardships that come along as the result of an imperfect world. But marriage should never be hard because of the destructive behavior of our spouse.

Can we work together to make sure we are very clear in the way we speak of marriage?

So many who heard the conversation about marriage being hard testify that instead of knowing the blessing of a God-honoring partnership, they experienced this:

“My love for God and desire to serve and sacrifice even when it was hard kept me in a destructive marriage for too long.”
“I didn’t recognize the abuse in my marriage because I thought it was normal for things to be that hard.”
“I went into marriage expecting to suffer as a direct result of my spouse. I thought I was supposed to suffer.”
“I was led to believe the abuse was my fault, and that I had the ability and responsibility to change him by loving him more, meeting his needs better, and working even harder around the house.”
“I couldn’t even imagine marriage being something good. I thought it was supposed to be terrible.”
“I was taught that it was wrong to say anything bad about my husband, so when things were hard because of him, I went along with the idea that it was because marriage is hard.”


How do you think we can change the way we speak about the realities of marriage? How do you think we can address the genuinely hard aspects of marriage while making it clear that marriage itself should be a blessing and a joy; not a hardship to endure?

Resources for those who wonder if their experience of hardship in marriage is beyond the range of normal:
(Disclosure: some of the following are affiliate links.)

The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick
Is it Me? Making Sense of Your Confusing Marriage by Natalie Hoffman

While you wait for your books to arrive, you can spend some time taking this quiz and watching this webinar.

5 Things Christ’s Resurrection Gives to Believers

Yesterday we spent some time as a family reading and discussing the scriptures from The Power of the Resurrection collection.

My heart is always blessed to read and think about Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross. But this sacrifice would mean nothing if it weren't for the victory over sin and death that he proved through his resurrection.

As I thought about the sequence of the scriptures, I identified 5 major things that Christ's resurrection provides for the believer.


1. Deliverance from the penalty of sin

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:19-22)


2. Hope of eternal life

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)

3. Freedom from sin's power over us because Christ, who conquered sin, now lives in us

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:8-11)


4. Security that once made alive with Christ we can never be condemned

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:31-34)


5. Comfort that we will spend eternity with the Lord along with our believing loved ones who have died before us

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18)


There is so much to ponder and be grateful for when we consider Christ's resurrection! Easter time means so much more than a special service or new clothes. It's about the abundant, new life that is provided through The Power of the Resurrection! (Click here for the entire collection of resurrection verses.)




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