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The Happy Wife: An Interview with Arlene Pellicane

We chatted with author and speaker Arlene Pellicane about her book, “31 Days to a Happy Wife.”

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What does it take to have a happier marriage?

Just ask author and speaker Arlene Pellicane. You see, not only is it her personal quest for 2014, but it’s also the focus of her newest book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife.

It’s a book I had the privilege of reading before it hit bookstore shelves and Amazon shopping carts. And it’s one I couldn’t recommend more highly. Not only is it an easy read — organized into thirty-one daily readings — but it’s a great reminder that our daily choices matter to our marriages.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Arlene about her new book. Here’s what she had to say.

What inspired you to write 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife?

Two reasons come to mind: There are so many wives who seem unhappy with their spouses and they tend to complain about their men. I wanted to help these women find an out — not through divorce — but through gratitude, being thankful for their marriages instead of letting resentment rob them. The second reason is to give young people the hope that marriage is something wonderful to experience, instead of something to be avoided. Children, teens, and twenty-somethings need to see healthy marriages modeled all around them.

The book is divided into five “becoming” areas. What are they and why is each of them important?

I’ve taken the word HAPPY and used it to express skills in marriage that we can improve to become more joy-filled:

H — Becoming Hopeful — this acts as the foundation for transformation
A — Becoming Adaptable — you’ve got to be able to roll with life
P — Becoming Positive — optimism has many benefits
P — Becoming Purposeful — keep growing as a spouse so you feel alive
Y — Becoming Yielded — allow God to take control of your heart and home

You introduce this idea of turning bothers into blessings. What does this mean and how is it helpful in the day-to-day of marriage?

Every day, your spouse will do something to get on your nerves and believe it or not, you will do the same to him! If you focus on the things your husband is doing wrong (or not doing at all), these weaknesses will grow large in your mind, leaving very little room for respect or admiration. So don’t think about the “bothers” (Why doesn’t he talk to me? Why does he leave his laundry on the floor? Why does he watch so much football?). Instead, focus on the blessings. What does your husband do right? What do you appreciate about him? My husband makes our family a green smoothie every morning. Some days it tastes good, other days, we’re just drinking to our health. But that green “bother” is really a “blessing” if I can remember to see it that way.

arlenepellicaneWhat does it mean to be a “professional wife”?

We have goals in different areas of our lives. At work, there are new skills to learn, sales numbers to hit. As a parent, you have certain things you want your child to master. But when it comes to being a wife, sometimes we are direction-less. If we can think of being a wife as our profession, we can ask some good questions: ow am I doing as a wife? What are a few areas of improvement for me to work on this year? What is working really well (ask your husband for feedback)? What’s a new skill I want to learn as a wife (it could be cooking, giving massages, or joining your husband on a morning run)?

As you were writing, did you find yourself convicted and freshly motivated in certain areas of your own marriage? If so, can you share one example?

Yes, I have positive peer pressure to be happy — no matter what is happening! The other day, James had the kids out later than I would have liked on a school night. When they got home, I was not very happy about it and that was plain by the look on my face. But then, I walked myself through the acronym HAPPY and asked myself, “Am I putting my hope in God? Am I being adaptable with how the evening turned out? What’s something positive I could think of about tonight? How can I be purposefully gracious to James? Am I yielded to God and James’ leadership?” I honestly run those questions in my mind whenever I am feeling unhappy, and it helps me focus on how to redeem a situation and make the best of things.

Before we close, I have to ask: What’s your favorite way to unwind?

Laying in bed with two pillows under my head, covers pulled up, and a great book in hand to read. In quiet! I also love vanilla lattes and good movies.

Enter to Win a Copy of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife!

31-Days-Happy-Wife

We are excited to have one copy of Arlene’s book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife, to give away. Enter here for a chance to win this helpful and encouraging read!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ashleigh Slater is the author of Team Us: Marriage Together and the editor of Ungrind. As a regular contributor at several blogs and websites, she loves to unite the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage others. She has 20 years of writing experience and a master’s degree in communication. Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband Ted and four daughters. You can follow her on Instagram here.

19 Comments
  • :)I’m trying to build my christian book collectionn, and this looks like a great addition!

  • Amy

    I’d love to win. Always great to get new ideas and a fresh perspective! :)

  • Oh I’m really focusing on marriage this year & would love to win this happy title!

    • Congrats, Rachel! You are our winner. I’ve sent you a FB private message.

  • Angela O

    Thank you! These exact thoughts have been instrumental in turning around some huge “sticking points” in my marriage. I can honestly say I am a happier wife, thanks to God’s grace.

  • Melissa

    I’ve only been married for almost two years now, and I have lately been troubled by bad moods, and although I would never consider divorce, my husband worries that I’ll “wait till the kids are grown” (we don’t have any yet)… I really need this book! I would love to be a happy wife for him! And Him!

  • Alisa Ward

    So excited to read this book – I love the idea of turning “bothers” into “blessings”, something I need to remind myself of!

    Hope to win a copy :)

  • Lori Kennedy-Stewart

    Would love to win!

  • Marlo

    This looks like a great book!

  • Ann

    I would love to read this book! Looks very interesting indeed. Someone will be very blessed that’s for sure.

  • Sarah Keeling

    I would love to win your book. I am a Missionary on the field and so in Need of something to help me out, I feel so far away from good older woman and help in the hard things of marriage and someone to help me love this wonderful man that I call mine. Sarah

  • Peggy

    I’d love to win this book and put it to good use…always looking for inspiration to improve my marriage.

  • This sounds like a good book to read and live!

  • crystal

    Blessings!

  • I LOVE this! I love the idea of saving marriages and modeling healthy marriages for others!

  • Debbie

    Would love to read and apply this to my marriage!

  • Mary Jo

    Your book looks like just the one my homeschool mothers’ group needs to jump start some serious improvements in our marriages. Thank you so much for this giveaway and a chance to win! Blessings!

  • Sam

    This looks like such a great read! Enter me please :)

  • Stephanie

    This book sounds like a simply laid-out plan to rewire our behaviour, sounds like a great read!

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

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The Happy Wife: An Interview with Arlene Pellicane

by Ashleigh Slater time to read: 3 min
19