Our Favorite Parenting & Marriage Resources: Part 1

Resources for marriage and parenting are great because you can use them to invest into your most significant relationships. God gave us a responsibility in the lives of those closest to us and it is our privilege to gain wisdom in areas that will help us in these relationships.

These specific resources are all about marriage! We share the great influences in our lives and how they have impacted our marriage and especially our intimacy. Being willing to invest into your marriage by reading a marriage book or following an a social account that gives marriage encouragement helps build your stamina for the marriage journey and directs your heart toward your spouse! Its always good to learn!

Our desire is to share with you the resources that have impacted us along the way! We hope these books and websites help you grow as a husband and wife after God! If these resources we share do help you, be sure to send this to another couple who could benefit from it!

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– Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

– Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

– Today, we’re gonna share with you our favorite marriage and parenting resources. Hey, thanks for joining us this week for this new episode. It’s gonna be a fun one. We just want to invite you to subscribe to our channel so you get notified whenever we upload an episode.

– Also, with today’s episode, we are gonna share our favorite resources but we know that you guys have resources that have helped you as well, so we want to hear from you in the comments. Also, get out that pad of paper and pen, use your phone, whatever you need to take notes because in this episode, we’re giving a lot of resources and we want you to be familiar with them. If you have to look ’em up more later to figure out what’s gonna help your family? What’s gonna help your marriage? What are you gonna jump into next? Maybe some of these resources will be that thing. So, make sure you have something to take notes.

– Yeah, and we’re gonna share with you in the description all the links to these things but you want to write ’em down. You want to go and check ’em out for yourself and explore the things that we’re talking about today. So, the way this episode’s gonna work is actually gonna be two parts. We’re gonna do marriage resources first and then next week’s episode will be parenting resources. We’re gonna record them both now, though. But, it’s gonna be fun. You’ll be able to look forward to the parenting one’s next week. We’re just gonna jump into the marriage resources, things that we’ve used, that we love, that we support and we tell other people about. Without delaying anymore, why don’t we just jump in to the first resource.

– So, the first resource is and, obviously, it’s the most important resource that we wanna even mention about. But, it’s the Bible.

– It’s the Bible. We use the English Standard Version Bible, the ESV. That’s our favorite version to use. It’s what you call an essentially literal translation, meaning they translate it as close as possible word for word from the original text. They didn’t do phrase for phrase or idea for idea like some other translations. This is essentially literal. My Bible isn’t a journaling Bible. It’s just a regular old two column Bible. I love it. Jennifer, why don’t you tell ’em about your ESV version?

– Yeah, mine is also the ESV, but it’s the journaling style Bible. I like the shape of it. It’s almost, almost square. But, it has this fabric material and they come in different colors and variations, mixed in with some leather. If you open it up, on either side of the scripture there is room for notes and journaling.

– Which you like to do. You’ll put notes in there. Like, when you come across something that’s good for you as a wife or as a mom and you’ll write it down, like, “Oh, I need to remember this.”

– Sometimes it applies to what I’m going through in our season of life so I’ll put the date with something that really stood out to me about what we’re going through or circumstances.

– Which has been really cool because there’s been times that you’ll find yourself in another section that you’ve been before and you’ll read your note and it’ll be applicable to something we’re currently going through and you’re like, “Oh, that’s crazy.”

– Or it’s something that we were through that was hard. You know, through our marriage or with the kids and I think, “Oh, I can praise God for this “because we’re past that now.”

– So, we wanted to talk about the Bible first because this is the most important resource. All the resources we’re gonna be sharing, they’re all good and they’re all supplements is what we call ’em.

– Yeah, the Bible is foundational.

– This is the foundation of what we use for everything in our life. But, it’s been the most valuable and the most important thing in our, specifically, our life and our marriage. So, we just want to encourage you, if you don’t have a Bible, get a Bible.

– And one thing that I just want to mention is just sometimes, we can be overwhelmed with resources at our fingertips or we go out in search of, “I need something to help my marriage. “I need something to help my parenting,” and we neglect the Bible. So, we didn’t want to pass over that. We just want to cut straight to the point and say if you’re going to look at anything, fill your mind with anything, fill your heart with anything, please don’t neglect the Bible. Don’t skip over that crucial step of building up your foundation no matter what it is. No matter what part of your life you’re looking to build up, you should be looking towards the Bible.

– Yeah, and a rule of thumb for us, and we’re not always perfect at this. We should never be filling ourselves with more other extra-biblical things than the Bible. The Bible should be the thing we fill ourselves with the most. The Bible tells us to meditate on God’s word day and night. We just want to encourage you that you should be running to the Bible first and foremost and then be finding your encouragement and your inspiration on other things outside of that. But, make sure that the Bible’s the thing that you filter everything through. That’s our encouragement to you guys. So, let’s just go to the second resource. This is a book that I read a long time ago. I’ve dealt with pornography in my life for pretty much almost my whole life. I’ve been free of it for the last three years. One of the books that helped me was this book called Wired For Intimacy. It’s written by William Struthers. He’s a clinical psychologist. He’s a professor of psychology at Wheaton College. This book’s pretty incredible. Instead of just pornography being an issue that’s just a spiritual thing like, “Oh, I just need to pray more.” “Oh, I just need to repent more.” “I just need to get in the word more,” which are all very good things and they’re very important things and very necessary things. This book takes away the mystery of how our brains work, especially as men. I read through this and it talks about all of the way our brains are wired and how God created us as sexual beings and how dangerous pornography and lust is because what it does is it interacts with the natural things, the way God made us, but in an unhealthy and an unnatural way. So, he walks through in a very clinical way but with scripture and other things. He shows you, he’s like, “Hey, this is how your brain works. “This is why you get so addicted to it. “This is how you can start thinking about it. “These are steps you can take to start walking “in purity and holiness.” It’s a pretty incredible book. I’ve told other people to read this book. It’s called Wired For Intimacy. It was very insightful. It taught me a lot about how my brain works, which is a pretty incredible thing because God made my brain and He made it to work a certain way. When we introduce things into our life, such as sin, oftentimes, we get addicted to those things because those sins are playing on natural tendencies in us. So, we just want to encourage you with that one. That one’s called Wired For Intimacy. I don’t know if you’ve ever read it, Jennifer.

– I actually didn’t but I remember as you were reading it, there was, along the way, standout things that you would share with me and I just thought, “Oh, man, that’s really powerful.”

– Yeah, and it actually wouldn’t be a bad thing for you to read, for wives to read because it helps, it would help you understand how our brains work. But, there is another book that we’ll get to in a second similar–

– Well, I was gonna share the one that I feel like, looking into sexual intimacy in a marriage. And just how to understand it because I think, especially in the early years of marriage, I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know why God created our bodies the way that He did. I didn’t understand why we struggled and just my perspective of sex was a little bit skewed. So, one book that I really wanted to mention was No More Headaches by Dr. Juli Slattery. That was actually the first marriage book that I ever read. It’s stopped me in my tracks. It was, like, it was mind-blowing for me because I just remember thinking, like, “I never considered sex that way.” I never considered my relationship with you in light of the things that she mentioned in that book.

– Doesn’t she bring up similar things just talking about how our brains work, how we emotionally–

– Biological.

– Biologically.

– Yeah, just the way that our bodies work. She also brings in other marriage stories throughout the book using them as examples. So, I just found it super relatable and understanding. I just, I love that book.

– Yeah, I remember, similarly, when you were going through that book, you would stop and just tell me all of these things. You’re like, “Hey, I’m learning this. “I’m learning this, did you know that?”

– Honestly, it excited me about our relationship, specifically sexual intimacy and initiating and enjoying it with you even amidst our hardships during that season. So, yeah, I would encourage anyone that either wants to know more about sexual intimacy or has that, maybe, problem, issue, in that area of their marriage to read that. So, Aaron, do you want to share a little bit about this next book.

– Yeah, so this next resource is one of the first marriage books that I ever read. It’s by a guy named Gary Thomas and it’s called Sacred Marriage.

– And it’s available on audiobook, too, ’cause that’s how you–

– Yeah, I listened to most of it and then we bought the books. This is the devotional gift edition. But, it’s pretty incredible. It’s one of the books that began to open my eyes to marriage being more than just our relationship together. But, it being a ministry, it being a godly thing, something that’s used to refine us and make us more holy and to make us more righteous and to give us God’s perspective on the world. I was reading this around the time that we started finding healing in our marriage. Gary Thomas, he writes so profoundly and he uses lots of history. He has a story in there that I loved about Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd and their relationship when he was doing the Gettysburg Address. There’s just lots of cool things like that. Anytime married couples ask us what resources we recommend, Sacred Marriage is at the top of the list. We tell them all to go get a copy and to keep it on their shelf and to read it every once in a while. It was just an incredible book and it totally began to shape our perspective of the way we see marriage now.

– So, another resource that I want to jump into really quick is, it’s a book, but it’s more of a devotional. It’s called Experiencing God.

– Yeah, there’s a book version of it, too. But, we did the devotional.

– Well, you went through it first with a men’s group that you were a part of. You just kept sharing about it with me. You’d be like, “Oh, and then there’s this and there’s that.” So, I actually bought my own copy and I went through it. Then, I encouraged another group of women that I was doing a Bible study with to also go through it. So, we just really loved that devotional.

– What’s funny is we always talk about our tool belt and all these things in our life that help shape the kind of people we have in our worldview based off of what God desires for us. This is one of those. This Experiencing God book, the whole point of it is to walk you through understanding how to discern the will of God in your life and to know when He’s speaking and calling and inviting you into His work.

– What I love most about it is it asks you some really big questions that makes you stop and think about your life and think about how God is at work around you and in your life. I just really love that it forces you to consider those things.

– The premise of it is that God’s already doing something and there’s something that’s happening near you or around you or in your life and He’s saying, “Hey, you want to come be a part of this with Me?” So, it really helped to start seeing, like, like God’s will isn’t so ambiguous and so mysterious. It’s actually pretty clear. There’s a section that you read and then there’s some worksheets that you go through and you answer questions and then you go read scripture.

– It’s not marriage specific, but it definitely is a great initiator of conversation between a husband and wife. That’s what we experienced.

– Especially if you go through it together.

– And so, that’s a really great resource for you.

– So, another resources is something that we actually got invited to when we were at the darkest part of our marriage. Like, when we were getting close to either calling it quits or making it work and someone invited us to a thing called Weekend to Remember. You might have heard of it before. If not, it’s by Family Life. It’s a non-profit organization that’s all dedicated to parenting, marriage, family, centered around the Bible and Christ. Weekend to Remember is, it’s pretty incredible. They’re all over the country.

– So, all throughout the year, on different weekends there’ll be these conferences that you can go to. It’s usually like a Friday night, Saturday type thing. They’re at really nice places. Ours was really close to our house. It was about a 20 minute drive.

– They’re not very expensive.

– Yeah, and a lot of people show up.

– Yeah, a lot. So, you go there and there’s speakers and they have exercises for you to do as a couple.

– Yup, little handbooks that you can use.

– Many, many marriages have been saved through Weekend to Remember. They have vow renewals at the end.

– Yeah, that was really cool.

– Just, by the time you leave, you just look at your marriage a different way, you’re communicating on a better level. We’ve encouraged tons of couples to go to Weekend to Remember, actually hundreds of couples. So, if you haven’t heard of it, we have a link in the description. Go check out Weekend to Remember. Even if you’re not struggling in your marriage, it’s a great thing to go experience. It could be like a date, couple days. Like, you go on a date with your spouse. But, if you are struggling–

– Even more so.

– Even more so. Weekend to Remember has been an amazing resource for marriages all over the country. People have found healing and restoration and reconciliation. It’s an incredible thing. We always endorse them and support them. So, check that out.

– So, the next set of resources that we’re gonna give you are websites and social media accounts that we just really love. We support them. We found a lot of tools and encouragement and things for our marriage through them. So, I’ll just start out with FamilyLife.com. They have a whole blog site that, like you already mentioned, articles on marriage, on parenting, and so be sure to check them out.

– Yeah, they have marriage devotionals. They have the Weekend to Remember. That’s one of their things. They have all sorts of resources for every aspect of your family life, marriage, all of that, parenting. It’s a pretty incredible thing. So, the next one we’re gonna talk about is friends of ours. You know, a lot of these people are gonna be friends of ours. Not because they’re our friends and then they had resources, because of the world we’re in, we’ve connected with a lot of these people on a personal level. But, Fierce Marriage by Ryan and Selena Frederick. They have a blog. They started their marriage blog right around when we did, I feel like. They’ve written books since then. They have a book called Fierce Marriage. It’s their marriage story that has similar themes as ours but they’ve gone through a lot of different things, struggles and issues, and found reconciliation and found strengthening in their marriage through that.

– I just really love them because I feel like they’re authentic, they’re transparent.

– They totally are.

– They go live a lot on social media and they’re very engaging. So, if you guys have questions that you need answered, you can just ask them. I also just love their graphics. If you follow them on Instagram, I feel like they’re so encouraging. They’ll pull up these marriage quotes and just remind you daily that your marriage is valuable. It’s just encouraging.

– They also have a podcast. So, all you gotta do is search Fierce Marriage in your, wherever you get your podcast at. Their podcast is incredible, it’s bigger than ours. It’s just doing so well.

– They’ve been doing it longer than us.

– They’ve been doing it way longer than us. But, their content’s awesome. We just want you to go check out Fierce Marriage. What’s the next one?

– The next one is by some, actually, close friends of ours and mentors, Matthew and Lisa Jacobson.

– Yeah, they’re actually our pastor. For a while, he was your literary agent. But, more than that, they’ve been marriage and family mentors for us. They’ve just poured so much into us. Helped shape a lot of the way we think and believe and just opened up the Bible to us in a new way. Which has been pretty incredible. What’s their first site?

– Yeah, they have a site for husbands and a site for wives. So, there’s FaithfulMan.com and then there’s Club31Women.com.

– Faithful man, they have a podcast that’s launching soon. He blogs on being a husband, on being a father, on just being a godly man. You know, being faithful. That’s why it’s called Faithful Man. And then, Club 31 Women, you’ve been following her for a long time.

– A long time, yeah. She has a lot of articles on marriage, being a mom and just different types of relationships. Sometimes, she’ll have an article on moms with their daughters, things like that and articles for boys. It’s just really good stuff. But, she also has contributors on her site. So, you’re not just getting one perspective, you’re getting several on these topics. It’s just really, really awesome. One thing that I want to mention about how I said that they’re actual close friends and mentors of ours, this isn’t about a website or that type of resource, but we do want to encourage you guys that community and surrounding yourself with people that you look up to, admire, want to pull that wisdom from is really important.

– That’s the best resource that you could have.

– Yeah, aside from the books and the websites and the social media accounts that we’re sharing with you, which are all awesome, we want to encourage you to be people who are willing to get into those relationships that are gonna help cultivate your marriage and help cultivate your relationship with your husband because those people are willing to ask you hard questions, see where you’re at, see if you’re growing, keeping you accountable. And just enjoying life together ’cause that’s important.

– I want to highlight what you’re talking about as well. Again, the most important resource we have is each other as believers. Other Christians who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them, who are walking in holiness, who are practicing righteousness as 1 John tells us. We have a whole episode on community and the importance of it. We’re commanded in the Bible to walk in fellowship with one another, to walk in single-mindedness and in love. So, we just want to encourage you. That’s one of the things that Matt and Lisa have totally transformed our way of thinking and as how we see community, how we see fellowship. One of the other reasons they are so valuable and their resources are so valuable, is their life has fruit. They’re older, they’re as old as our parents. They have, how many kids do they have?

– Eight.

– Eight kids. Eight children that they’ve all raised. They’re good examples. It’s not like they’re peers with us and we can only see the fruit that we have. They’ve been living longer, they’ve been walking with the Lord longer, they have been having children longer. There’s lots of things that they have in their life that we get to look at and say, “Wow, I want that.” So, we listen to them.

– The great thing about it is their hearts are for sharing. Like, they are so open and so willing to just give, give, give and they do that even through their blogs and their sites, their social media. Constantly giving out that encouragement, constantly trying to help fuel people’s hearts for marriage because it is hard. Marriage and parenting is hard.

– We need as much help as we can give.

– Yeah, we really do. So, I just love them. I love their willingness to share and be a resource.

– Yeah, so I want to bring up our next resource. It’s by our friend Dale Partridge. I used to work with him. We’ve known him for, what, eight years now? So long, and him and his wife have a podcast called UltimateMarriage.com. They just launched a few, like a couple months ago.

– And Ultimate Marriage is actually part of a course, too, that you can take. They open it up seasonally for marriage.

– Yeah, it’s a weekly mentorship that they do. It’s pretty incredible. So, we want to just send you on over to UltimateMarriage.com. They have a podcast. They have that mentorship program that you’re talking about. It’s awesome, it’s growing.

– I just want to mention that if you’re an entrepreneur, if your a family is living, maybe, self-employed or you own a business, Dale’s a really great resource for that because he’s been doing it for so long and he wrote a book called Saved From Success that has been really instrumental in helping people, encouraging people in their family life.

– He wrote it with the idea if giving them the biblical perspective of success because the world says success is more money, more work, more affluence.

– Which I think, especially as an entrepreneur, like, you do have those drives and you want that kind of success.

– Well, all of the people we follow, that’s what they’re encouraging. And Dale says, “Actually, success is having a powerful “and successful marriage and having children who love God “and having money that you give.” He just gives all these biblical perspectives on true success which is really cool. So, go check out UltimateMarriage.com.

– So, the next one we want to bring up is Beating 50 Percent. This is a great marriage resource. I would say, specifically, social media. I just love following them. They have a hashtag on Instagram called #WeekendIDos. I follow it because it’s–

– That’s a cool thing to do.

– What they do is they encourage people to post what are you doing this weekend with your spouse? Are you going for a date? Are you on a retreat? Are you just doing something fun? Staying at home? Whatever it is, post a picture, share your story, use the hashtag. So, I started following it and I get so encouraged because I see these people just so in love, so having fun and just living their best life and living their best marriage out and I just love that. I get so encouraged by it.

– Yeah, and their whole point, it’s called Beating 50 Percent, and the idea is that we are giving more than just 50 percent, we’re giving more than average. We’re gonna go above and beyond. We’re gonna keep being happier and being more in love and more cherished and more romantic and continuing to say, “I do,” every single day. They’re super encouraging. They’re young, but they love the Lord and they love encouraging people. So, go check out Beating 50 Percent.

– The last site that I really wanted to highlight was AuthenticIntimacy.com. One of the founders is Juli Slattery, Dr. Juli Slattery. She is the one that wrote No More Headaches and a ton of other books. She did the forward for Unveiled Wife, which I thought was so incredible. I love her heart for sharing biblical truths in regards to sexual intimacy. I wanted to highlight this website, you guys, because they share so many articles on communication. They cover topics like pornography and answering those really hard sexual intimacy questions that people have. They talk about parenting. They talk about what happens if your kid sees porn? And how do you walk through that? How do you navigate that with them?

– Tons of hard things that she talks about.

– Really hard conversations.

– She just hits them head on. I think she has a book that answers all of the hardest questions about sex for Christians.

– They also have a podcast called Java with Juli.

– That’s been a good resource for you. She’s actually kind of become friends with us over the years. So, we just want to encourage you to check out that site. She does an incredible job. She loves the Lord and she’s got a heart for encouraging marriages and especially women in this mentality of intimacy, of sex, of our roles. She’s just been a huge resource for us, for you specifically. And has become a friend with us over the years. She’s pretty incredible. So, we want to encourage you with that. The last resource I want to talk about is our resources. We wrote a set of devotionals called Husband After God and Wife After God. It’s a 30-day devotional to walk. Husbands and wives, ideally, you do it together. But, we have couples all the time doing them separately. We have one partner doing them and the other one not. Just depends on your situation.

– We also have small groups going through them.

– It walks through, just the biblical idea of marriage. And as a husband and as a wife and how God desires us to be towards each other.

– Just so you guys know how it works, there is 30 days in those devotionals. Every day has a topic with a little bit of either story/teaching and then a challenge. It also has questions that will prompt you, either write ’em in your journal or take those questions and go have a conversation with your spouse about it.

– Our second set of books is called 31 Prayers My Husband and 31 Prayers For My Wife. We wrote these books to encourage couples to pray. For some reason, prayer’s hard for some people, and we get that. So, this isn’t to replace your prayer life, this is to help start it. It’s just to be an encouragement, inspiration, to show you the kinds of things that we should be praying for and how to pray. Just to make you realize, it’s not as hard as it might feel. So, this is a 31-day book. Everyday is a different prayer on a different topic on a different need or thing that your spouse might have.

– There’s also journal pages between each prayer so that you can make it more personal. You can write out a list of what you’re praying for for your spouse or you can rewrite the prayer and just make it more personal. You can use it for whatever you want.

– Yeah, so we just want to encourage you with those. We wrote those for you guys. We wrote those because they’re a thing that we needed. So, we wrote them, published them and now everyone has access to them. We just wanted to share all these resources. They’re things that we’ve used over the years that have helped us. They helped shape our view of marriage. They’ve helped shape our view of ourselves and our roles in our marriages and as parents. They have pointed us back to God. They have kept us on the right track. We hoped that you would check these out and that you would go research them Maybe buy a couple copies of them for yourself and hopefully they encourage you in your own marriage like they have for us.

– I also just want to share a resource that is not quite finished yet, but it’s in the works. That’s our Marriage After God book. We’re really excited about that. It was one of the reasons why we started this podcast. It was one of the reasons why we’re just sharing these types of episodes because we want to encourage couples even more than we already have. We just have a heart to draw husbands and wives closer to each other, closer to God. So, Marriage After God, it’s coming out next spring/summer.

– Again, we want to encourage you guys that as we went through these resources, if anything sparked your memory of things that you’ve been through that have been instrumental in your own marriage, we want to hear about them. So, please share them in the comments.

– So, thanks for joining us for this week’s episode. Again, this is only part one. Next week we’re gonna do part two, which is gonna be our favorite parenting resources. So, stay tuned, get subscribed so that you get notified when we upload that episode. Thanks for joining us and we look forward to having you next week. Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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