Beautifully Bound: Back Together

We met the Farris’ at a recent marriage conference. We were blessed by their story and believe you will be enlightened by their wisdom. Thank you, Tracy and Sylvia, for sharing your Beautifully Bound journey of reconciliation with our readers.

How long were you married?

20 years this Dec. 21


How long were you separated?

Though we were not physically separated, we were spiritually separated somewhere between 3-5 years.


What was the catalyst for you coming back together?

The catalyst that caused us to come back together was the understanding that our marriage isn’t merely for us. But it’s a ministry for us and others.


What does it mean to be “Beautifully Bound” to you?

To be committed to the marriage. To God, yourself and your spouse. In the harmony, trials, and challenges, victory and celebration all in the beauty of our heavenly Father God.  


What is the most powerful advice you have ever received or most powerful question you pondered during your time of separation?

The most powerful advice was that no one else on earth was created for us but us for each other. Many may catch our attention but no one else can handle us but each other.Farris Quote 2 (1)


What was the most difficult thing about being apart? The most difficult part is the actual feeling and experience of disconnection one from another. Knowing that what you have or had is no longer there.


What is the hardest part about coming back together?

Trust and Forgiveness. It’s one thing to say we trust and forgive but it’s another to live as you trust and to live as if you’ve been forgiven. Another area that was hard was sex. Each person wants to be validated with the assurance that they are the only King or Queen in the marriage.


What advice would you offer couples who are currently in the reconciliation process?

To recommit to God as individuals and as a couple. Focus on,

  • communication
  • compromise
  • capability
  • commitment
  • confession ( love for each other).

Take time out for each other and as an individual. Don’t lose your identity in the other person but allow your individual identities to make one whole identity. When people see you they should see God, you and your spouse. Build each other up with support, encouragement, validation, reassurance, and acceptance.

Farris Quote 2

What advice would you offer couples who are contemplating separation?

We would render this question. One simple word and question, “Why”? Many people focus their emotional decision on the circumstances of the effects of rejection and so forth. But how often do we focus on the “why” we felt rejected? People see the ripples in the water but have no idea why there are ripples in the water.


What will you do more intentionally now that you are back together?

Set boundaries. Work on being on the same sheet of music. Address the “why” not the ripple. Prayer, forgiveness, laughter, quality time, commitment, and communication. 

For more marital wisdom connect with the Farris’ by joining their Facebook Page Ambassadors Marriage Session “Inspired to Inspire.”


Bound - Sepia
Graced Lettering

If you would like to build your marriage on a solid foundation, nurture lasting love, and connect with other couples visit our Solid Marriage Support Facebook Page.

Date Night Ideas

Why date night? Because you both work hard and deserve to play hard.  Date night is a scheduled break to keep your lines of communication from breaking down. It’s a time to dream, plan, and create together. Date night is a way of saying, “You are a priority to me.” Date night can be fun, productive, romantic, or silly. But being intentional about date night is a serious matter. Why date night? Why work? Why gym? Why chores? Because they are all important to the overall health of your marriage and family.

Date nights serve several purposes but one that is most important is fostering a feeling of lasting love. Being deliberate about date night is a simple way to invest in your marriage that yields great reward. Dating your spouse is a wonderful way to decompress from stress and strengthen your commitment to one another. Date nights give you something to look forward to and are a great way to share new experiences with your spouse. Below are a few date night ideas.


Edit Date Night Ideas

If you don’t currently have a weekly date night here’s your chance. Grab your spouse and follow the steps below.

  1. Agree on a night of the week or day of the month to have a standing date night. 
  2. If you have small children, select another couple you could swap date nights with. (If you don’t have small children, pay it forward by offering to babysit so a couple can have a standing date night.)
  3. Create a plan by listing restaurants, local activities, and landmarks that interest you. Take turns with your spouse. Keep it handy so you are never at a loss for things to do.
  4.  Create a date night budget.
  5.  Ready, set, DATE! Be READY on time. SET boundaries with technology. (Take your date night selfie but wait to post. That way you can focus on being present and loving your spouse well.) DATE keep your word. Bear in mind that everything else you do in life like work, fitness, church activities, get done because they are standing activities. Date night is equally important.

What are some of your favorite date night ideas? Please share in the comment section below.

One of our favorites is playing the “Ungame for Couples” while waiting for dinner at a restaurant. It’s a non-competitive game that encourages listening.


Boundaries in Marriage

Solid Marriage Support2

On December 17, 2018, my husband and I will celebrate 19 years of marriage. It blows me away that we have now been married for longer than we had been alive when we met. As a high school junior and senior we became besties. 25 years later we are still fostering friendship. We’ve made it our tradition to not just celebrate our anniversary, but to celebrate the covenant of marriage.

In honor of our anniversary, we use to host marriage enrichment events called “Covenant Parties.” A Covenant Party was a reception like evening filled with sharing, dancing, dining, communication games, and a vow renewal ceremony. As much as it seemed special when we first began hosting, with each passing year, the word “covenant” sounds more and more antiquated. The more old school it may sound to the masses the more meaningful it becomes to me. Modernization might be great for marketing but often diminishes meanings that we need to be reminded of.

There’s a scripture in Proverbs that says,

“Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.” (22:28 NKJV)

This is referring to land markers which were pretty important in biblical times. A stone indicated where your property ended and where your neighbor’s started. Removing a landmark was a way of stealing property. Can you imagine what it would feel like if your neighbor changed your property line? The results could be costly and your rapport with your neighbor would be changed forever. When sacred concepts lose their meaning, I believe the enemy gains ground, and we lose territory.

Take notice of the two signs below.



There is a big difference between private property and a public park. Private property implies that the land belongs to someone, and they have reserved it for their own private use. Public access indicates that the area is open to the public. In marriage, It is just as important for husbands and wives to have clear boundaries as it is for a landowner to have proper signage posted. My husband and I set clear boundaries early on in our relationship and the more words like “covenant” seem to have lost their meaning the more meaningful words like “boundaries” have become to us. Boundaries preserve what is good and protect from what is toxic. Affairs are not intentional, but being intentional about setting healthy boundaries can help safeguard you against an affair.

Boundaries front 2018

Early on in our marriage one of our favorite couples asked us an interesting question. They said, “Do you all love each other enough to share if you ever found yourself having feelings for someone else?” That question led to us to do 3 key things if we ever found ourselves feeling chemistry with someone other than our spouse.

  • See it

  • Say it

  • Be set free

When we confess our faults and feelings to our spouse we can expose the enemy and safeguard our marriage against temptation. Below are a few questions you and your spouse can answer to aid you in the process of setting healthy boundaries in the 5 highlighted categories. (Think of preferences, pet peeves, pitfalls, and triggers in the following areas.)

1.  What boundaries would you like to see your spouse have at work?

2. What boundaries would you like to enforce amongst friends?

3. What are some ways to set physical boundaries?

4. What are some necessary emotional boundaries? (Guard your heart.)

5. What are some boundaries to implement with strangers?

This year we will celebrate our covenant by sharing tips, tools, and testimonies that will help you build your marriage on a solid foundation, nurture lasting love and connect with other couples. We hope you find this information useful. If you like it share it with your friends and invite them to connect with us on Facebook


Something to Love

When I was little I wondered if I was adopted. My personality was so different from my siblings; adoption was the only explanation for my pensiveness. I was a melancholy middle child who was always aware that I was different.

The irony is, I looked just like my father’s side of the family. So, I knew I was at least his. The older I got, I started to look like my mom, there went my adoption theory… Alas, I was hers also. I had no idea of what to do about my inner yearning to belong. What do you do when you feel like you just don’t fit?

I found something to love. I loved my stuffed animals, baby dolls, Barbies and I babysat. I had best friends, boyfriends and bold dreams of someday having a big family. Fast forward into my future, I am now a married mom of six.


My youngest three sons are adopted, they are ages, six, seven and eight. As much as my childhood adoption daydream was my answer to “being different,” for them I wonder if it is what makes them question if they fit in.

When our boys are feeling forlorn, I am the first to notice. I can detect when they feel dejected and naturally it burdens my heart. Hands that were made to help, have often been used to hurt and steal. I prayed and prayed to God for answers and He showed me, they need something to love.

I went to the local thrift store and found three little stuffed bears. I brought them home, put them in the washer and told our boys the bears needed someone to handle them with care. The boys were exhilarated. The eight year old named his bear after himself and said he would call him, “Junior.


Our first trip to the store with our newfound friends was the most stress-free experience we have ever had in public. I kept thinking, “Wow! I wish I would have given them bears when they were one, two and three.” Someone asked me, “Aren’t they too old for bears?” My response was, “We are never too old to learn how to care and we all need something to love.”

The same God who prompted a precious birth mom to share the gift of life, compelled someone to donate three little bears to fill a void in our boy’s lives. If your heart is longing for something, take note, it’s not always about what you can get. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Our boys did not need another lifeless object, they needed something they could pour their lives into.

Love you to life!


Our three little bears when they were one, two and three.

How Stress Left Me Blessed

Too Blessed To Be Stressed

Have you ever heard the saying, “Too blessed to be stressed?”  It’s a “pinteresting” thing to say. I believe when we are blessed we should look for an opportunity to help someone decompress from their stress. One of the ways we shared our blessings was through adoption. In 2011, my husband and I embarked upon an adoption journey of 3 little boys ages 1, 2 and 3. We already had 3 biological children ages 8, 10 and 12. Our biologicals, up until that point, were easy peezy lemon squeezy; and our adopted babies were rough, rugged, and raw. Daily, I felt like I was waking up in a war zone. Life quickly became so fragmented that stress was a catalyst for me becoming whole.


It Hurt So Good

The collision of everyone’s personalities darkened our once radiant world. Through the power of hindsight, “it hurt so good.”God sent our boys to turn our world right side up. If I were writing this blog in 2011, I would’ve told you that daily my goal was to not be the Mama on the news. I was in a fragile state, I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly, I couldn’t think clearly and my emotional exhaustion turned into physical exasperation. The phrase “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” holds true if you learn to recover from what was trying to kill you. What doesn’t kill you can diminish your quality of life and can eventually lead to death. Stress is a silent killer that has made an attempt to take me out. However, if stress didn’t threaten my health, sanity, and existence; I would not have reached my current state of physical fitness, soundness of mind, and abundant living. Stress was a blessing in disguise!



Your Secret Source of Strength

Is your life full of things that would cause someone else to cringe? Having clear vision concerning what God has called you to do can prevent you from internalizing someone elses anxieties.When we first adopted our boys I asked God to send people into my life who would see them as a mission field and not a battlefield. Mission field folks said things like, “God called us to partner with your family during this journey.” Battlefield people projected their doubts, fears, and worries onto us. Don’t allow someone elses perception of your life stress you out. If the things you do bring you joy then they have a built-in element of strength that empowers you. Do not let someone elses fear rob you of what fuels you. The secret source to your super power might be someone elses kryptonite.

Too B.U.S.Y. Stressing to be a Blessing

Why busy yourself telling someone what you do, or why you do it, when you can be getting those things done? Busy can be the enemy of effectiveness. Prior to our adoption we were busy doing lots of good things. I had to quickly identify the difference between good things and God things. I once read an acronym for the word “busy,” (Being Under Satan’s Yoke). No one wants to be under Satan’s yoke. God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light. Stress sent me into energy saving mode. I took a 9 month break from social media, stepped down from ministry, and joined an adoption support group. For a second it felt like I was committing social suicide. However, laying down life as I knew it took our family from a state of being overwhelmed to overjoyed.


Years ago I read a book called Cultivating Contentment, the book’s message was “don’t compare, don’t compete, and don’t complain.” Just do you, and know that by doing you, you are encouraging others to be the best version of themselves they can be. “Comparison is the thief of all joy.” When we choose not to compare, our lives complement one another beautifully. When we refuse to compete, we place ourselves in a position to collaborate. When we resist complaining, God receives glory out of our good works, and we draw people unto Him. I’m honored that God chose us to be the forever family for our boys. We set out to raise them, yet he has used them to cultivate growth in areas that we didn’t know were undeveloped.


And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. Genesis 12:2


Once our boys entered our world it changed the dynamic of our lives in so many ways. One of which was the way we managed our time, and who we chose to do life with. When you are blessed you don’t always recognize the relationships, and situations that drain you. But when you are stressed, you can quickly identify the little foxes that spoil the vine. Stress can be a conduit to give you the urgency to guard your heart, implement self-care and set boundaries that should have been in place all along.

From Stressed to Blessed

Are you currently stressed? Do you want to be blessed? If your answer is YES; refuse to compete, resist the urge to compare, and don’t complain. Give yourself permission to create. And before you know it, stress could leave you blessed.


Identify a time in your life when you had to eliminate sources of stress to accomplish a greater goal?