September 2, 2019
by Jay & Christa

Communication: Can You Hear Me ?

Ok, So…. If you’re like anyone else in a marriage you want to be heard. Problem is, Ya Need to Listen as well ! You’ve heard it said, there’s always 2 sides to a coin, there’s always 2 sides to a story, it takes 2 to tango and so on…

A lot of times, couples tell us ” He just doesn’t listen ” or ” she just doesn’t listen ” It’s NOT about listening, It’s about Hearing What is being said. If You stop and Hear what Your spouse is saying, You will then understand where your spouse is coming from and what they are trying to convey to you.

It will save You a lot of frustration & fighting.

In the book ” Communication: Key to your marriage, H. Norman Wright writes ” Here are 3 questions to help you think about yourself as a communicator “.

  • Is communicating with your spouse difficult for you ?
  • Often —– Sometimes —– Almost never
  • Does your spouse seem to have difficulty understanding what you mean ?
  • Often —– Sometimes —– Almost never
  • What do you think your spouse would say about your ability to communicate ?
  • Often —– Sometimes —– Almost never

Keep in mind, We are not trying to start WWIII by you answering these 3 questions honestly. Just wanting you to look for insight as to why or why not you are a good communicator. The answers to these 3 question’s will for sure tell you. It may be a Big problem in your marriage or maybe not. You’ll soon find out.

” What Husbands and Wives say to one another can turn their marriage in different directions ( and in some cases cause them to wind up going in a vicious circle ” ). – H. Norman Wright

” A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger ” – Proverbs 15:1

Please let us know how it goes. Hopefully good and possibly a breakthrough for some.

Have a Great week !


December 7, 2014
by Jay & Christa

What to Do When Your Christmas Isn’t Full of Peace on Earth

The Holidays can be filled with magic and wonder, but for many,  this season can be filled with heartache, frustration and depression.  What should you do when your Christmas isn’t full of  “Peace on Earth”?

This is exactly how I had been feeling for many years.  I just wasn’t into the holidays.  I thought of them more as something that was getting in my way. Oh sure we used to celebrate the holidays in style.  I loved every minute of it.   But changes in our family; one crisis after another and financial whoas left me a bit of  a Scrooge.  “The holiday’s are so much work.”  “The kids probably won’t be here much anyways.” “I hate the holidays, they just make me think of what I have lost.”  “We don’t have ______ to make it Christmasy.” holiday D

I just felt like if it wasn’t”just the way” I think Christmas should go, then it could not be “Christmas”.  This was my holiday reality.

Then today as I listened to a children’s choir sing about Mary and her baby, it hit me.  The first Christmas was anything but organized, magical, or peaceful.  Things were NOT happening the way that they had planned.  Mary and Joseph were engaged.  I’m sure they sat and talked for hours about how everything would happen. Then life was completely turned upside down.  Mary was pregnant.  She wasn’t even married yet and worse, it wasn’t Joseph’s baby.   Now she had to explain it to her fiance.  She was young, scared and alone.  When she finally told Joseph he was understandably upset.

Joseph was in love with Mary.   The woman he loved was pregnant with someone Else’s baby!! That could put a cloud over anyone’s holiday plans.  (Imagine that holiday dinner.)  He had a lot of thinking to do.  What was he going to do?   Engagements were as binding as a marriage.  He could either get her into a lot of trouble or because he loved Mary deeply he could divorce her quietly.  He decided to quietly let her go.  Mary&Joseph

After things got straightened out and Joseph heard the truth from the angel, he made up with Mary, things got better and they lived happily ever after…..wait no they didn’t.  Things got worse.  Taxes had to be paid and Joseph had to travel very far away to pay them. This was before auto deduct.  The problem was that Mary would have the baby any day now and he couldn’t leave her alone.  So he packed everything up for the ultimate holiday road trip.

Mary was tired and worn.  She hoped the baby would wait to be born until they could get back home.  Unfortunately that didn’t happen.  The baby decided NOW was the time.  There was no place to have the baby.  Every place they tried was full.  Hungry, tired and cold they finally found an old barn (or some say a cave) to rest for the night.

From Mary and Joseph’s perspective this looked like God’s plan had gone wrong.  It felt like God was no where to be found.  How could Joseph and Mary celebrate the birth of the Savior in all this disorder.  Nothing felt right. But God had a different plan.  In the middle of their mess and confusion, God was working out the biggest plan our little planet would ever see.  He was bringing his son into the world to save his people.

That night they did celebrate.  Our Savior was born despite the fact that things were not the way Mary and Joseph thought they should be.

Mary and Joseph

Do you feel that Christmas just isn’t happening the way you thought it should happen?  Do you feel that you could enjoy the holidays if only_________?

God’s plan is still being carried out in you whether you feel it or not.  God is still with you and still has a purpose for your life even if it feels like a mess.  There may not be money for elaborate gifts.  You may have lost someone very dear to you this year.  Your family may be scattered all over the country.  You may not even know if you will have a place to stay starting in the new year.  Mary and Joseph know.  They know that life doesn’t ever go the way we planned.  However they also know that the Savior of the world was born to save.  That is something to celebrate.

This year I will be celebrating.  Not because there is the perfect amount of gifts under the tree and not because everything went as planned this Christmas.  I will be celebrating because my Savior came into the world into the arms of two imperfect people with two messed up lives.  If God can pull off his ultimate plan in them, then he can pull off His plan for me and my family despite our mess and despite all that goes wrong.

Merry Christmas!

by Christa Hannold




September 7, 2014
by Jay & Christa

Greater Love

Let’s go over something that has bothered me for a long time.

Ephesians 5:22 says “Wives submit to your husbands”   Some husbands (at least in the church) have used this passage to get their way in their marriage.  They could not be more wrong.  The very next verse in 5:25 says “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”   I don’t think men realize the depth of that statement. In a nutshell, he is saying- you are to sacrifice everything in order to love, honor and cherish your wife.


In 5:28 it says husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.

God put you together for a reason and that reason is to care for each other, be there for each other.  In Proverbs it says Blessed is the man who has someone to help him up, whoa to the man who does not have anyone to help him up.

Keep in mind, your wife is not a maid, punching bag, sex toy or a person to constantly degrade and yell at.

She has been chosen for you by God Proverbs 16:9

Serve each other. Put down the remote, your phone, newspaper or whatever is distracting you from your spouse.


John 15:13    Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Love Wins

May 19, 2013 by Jay & Christa | 1 Comment

Guest Post by Amy Schutte:

The first time we met was for a quick drink. Four hours later I walked out of that restaurant with the knowledge that I had found my safe space.

We were quite different. There was an age gap, a divorce and kids to be reckoned with but it didn’t stop me from seeing those deep dimples and kind heart. It didn’t stop me from diving in and holding on.

And when he introduced me to his littles, there was a safe space there – for all of us. And when we got engaged, dated long distance and tied the knot two years later we both knew that no matter what, we would go above and beyond to love each other.   

We are a family of two and then of four every other week which creates a different dynamic than many of my newly married friends but sometimes I want to wish a blended family on every new couple—just for a little while because there is so much grace and love going on over here.

I love reading or receiving marriage advice from people but it can be overwhelming so in our family we try to keep it simple and live out these three principles:

1.      Be kind. Kindness when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, kindness with actions (even those boring “chores” can be a way to love on your spouse – also cards, thought-of-you-today gifts, warming up the car in the winter and mowing the grass in the summer. Do these things. And make sure you say thank you for those little kindnesses). Kindness when we disagree and kindness through our words. You know the Bible verse—“Love is patient, love is kind…”  It’s so important and it can be so hard sometimes.

2.      Be brave. Apologizing is brave. Saying thank you for something can be brave. Speaking up about finances, sex, kids and parenting is brave. And as long as you are brave with kindness attached— things can be worked out.

3.      Love wins. It really does. Love smoothes edges. It helps families (blended and otherwise) feel included. It powers through when it’s hard to be brave and kind. Haven’t read your wedding vows in a while? Pull them out and look over them. Those are giant love promises you made to each other.  Love in action is powerful.

Marriage heals us and breaks us open, it changes us and makes us more of ourselves and more of our spouse. I like to watch people in relationships closely. I watch the ways we hurt and love each other. And I notice those safe spaces – try to create those today in your marriage and your family.

When your husband tells a less than funny joke – give him that smile he is craving. When your wife is training to run a race and didn’t have time for the laundry today or a hastily prepared dinner is handed out – give her an encouraging word. When your kids bring home a poor grade from school, remind them that your love is not dependent on a letter.

It is easy to be busy, tired and run-down but the simplicity of being present with your relationships and offering a soft place to land is the best thing I can offer you. It’s the best thing we can offer each other.



Amy joined Team Schutte in 2012 when she married her favorite person in the world and became a bonus mamma to his two kids. She blogs over at and is a marketing guru by day and a birthday party princess on evenings and weekends.

She loves anything to do with glitter, swedish fish, foreign countries and adventures with her family.


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February 17, 2013
by Jay & Christa

Finances Take a Toll on Marriage

Let me be open and honest about our finances…


Years ago, Christa and I (Jay) were taught  “Credit cards are the way to go.  “Build your credit” we were told.  “As long as you can afford the minimum payments it’s ok.”   “Get as much credit as you can.”

WRONG!  All of these statements couldn’t be further from the truth.

Over the past 25 years we have been close to bankruptcy twice.  In 2009, we lost our home.  Finally, at the end of 2010, we decided to do things God’s way.

Our church offered a class on finances called Financial Peace University taught by Dave Ramsey.  Now here in 2013 (after some very hard work and sacrifice) we are very close to being completely debt free. No Credit Cards! Cash or Debit Only!

End the insanity of “You Must Have it Now.” – You don’t need it now!  Save for it and pay cash.

Christa and I don’t fight nor argue the way we used to when we were stressed and up to our eyeballs in debt.

Now we are able to build wealth, help others, build the ministry of Say I Do Forever, and most of all…

…Love God and each other.

Remember the 3 biggest stresses in marriage are


May God Show You the Right Way!


December 31, 2012
by Jay & Christa

A New Word for a New Year

Last year at this time, right before the New Year I read an article about choosing a word for the new year.  I chose (or rather it chose me) the word DEBT.

  Why would I choose such a word you ask?

Well, we were working hard on paying off all our debt left over from saving a business during the recession.   It seemed to be all we could focus on.  It interrupted our everyday life with stress and worry.  So we set out on the new 2012 year with one goal in mind; to clear all of our debt by the end of the year.  It was a pretty colossal goal.  We had no idea how we would accomplish it but we prayed about it and asked God for His help.

Half-way through January, Jay received a job offer that was too good to pass up.  But that would mean I had to work harder at the shop to cover his job of taking care of the tuxedo side of our business.  After much prayer Jay decided to take the job and I and our staff agreed to take on the extra work.  Almost one year later we are 2 months from reaching our goal.  Although we didn’t make our goal of having everything paid off before the New Year, we have made some adjustments and are happy with how far we came.  It is only because of God that we are this close to our goal.  He found a way where we saw no way and He gave us the strength to reach for that goal.

Today as I look back at 2012 and as I look forward towards 2013 I have to pick a new word.  About a month ago I thought I knew exactly what my new word should be. ABUNDANCE!  After all, I have had a long hard year and I think it would be nice to have an abundant year.  So I set out for that to be my word.  Until yesterday at church, when the new word hit be between the eyes.  The pastor talked about how we look back on our year to see our accomplishments.  No matter how many accomplishments there are, there will also be a sense of failure for the things we didn’t do.

He asked us to change our focus.  What does God want to accomplish in your year?  For no matter what happens in your year, God is working and molding you into who he wants you to be.  The life of faith offers freedom from the fear of the unknown. The life of faith offers freedom from the fear of failure.  I don’t know what 2013 will bring. The thought of what might happen can strike fear in me.  If I am living in the Life of Faith I know that no matter what happens in the economy, in my family or in my marriage, God is in control and he is doing something in my life.

I chose the word FAITH to be my word for 2013.

I will work hard to accomplish what I set out to accomplish.  I will strive to be healthier and more in charge of my finances.  I will try to be a better mom and a better wife. But in the end I will have FAITH in God to see me through, to help me find a way where there seems to be no way, and to help me grow in areas I need to grow in.

Happy New Year Everyone! May you get to the end of 2013 with a greater understanding of God’s love for you.



December 3, 2012
by Jay & Christa

Counting the Cost

Have you ever thought about how much your decisions cost?

Everything has a cost, bad or good.

If you bought a new car right now it would obviously cost you the down payment plus the monthly payments.  It could also cost you something else if you were paying for it with money you were going to use elsewhere.  Maybe you were saving for a vacation.  In that case, the car cost you a vacation. It could also cost you more hours at work and time away from your family.

What about the cost of eating that piece of cake?  The cost is small but what if you were on a diet and promised yourself, you would not eat any desserts this month.  Then that small piece of cake would cost the calories you saved for another meal, or cost you a day of losing the weight you wanted to loose.  Even worse it could cost you your pride or trust in yourself.

Every day we are faced with hundreds of decisions.  Some small, some large.  Each one has at least one cost involved.  Do you stop before each decision and count the costs?

In 2 Samuel 11 you can read about the great King David and how he forgot to count the cost before making a decision.  We find King David on the roof of the palace because he was unable to sleep.  While on the roof he spots a lovely lady who is bathing.  Her name is Bathsheba, and she is married to Uriah, one of the soldiers who has gone off to war.  Her beauty overwhelms him and he sends someone to find out about her and bring her to him.  This short affair was supposed to be in secret, but now she is pregnant and he has a mess on his hands.  His attempts to hide his sin fails and turns to murder. Uriah is killed, the new born baby dies and the effects of this one bad decision ripple through his entire family and the rest of his life.

King David’s bad decision cost Uriah his life, Bathsheba to lose her husband and the life of her unborn child.  King David’s family was torn apart, he would lose two sons and his remaining years would never be the same.  One moment in time could have changed everything.  What if he would have stopped on that rooftop and counted the costs?  What if he would have made a different choice?

What seemingly small decisions are before you right now?  Have you counted the possible costs?

If you keep Christ and your spouse in mind in every decision you make, you won’t make poor choices that you’ll have to apologize for later.

…Or that could destroy your life.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with a new car or a piece of cake. Taking into consideration the cost, these are good things.  Take a moment before each decision to count the cost. Then proceed or flee.


October 6, 2012
by Jay & Christa

Husbands, Some Focus Required

A few weeks ago I drove 14 Hours to a Promise Keepers event in San Diego, Ca.  It was well worth the trip.  Approx.: 160 men made a commitment to Christ, to be Better Husbands, Father’s and Men.  Just as a lot of others did during the other 4 PK events I was Blessed to attend.  As these Men went down to the front , It made me realize how many there are, wanting and willing to make a difference.  So many men are addicted to Porn, Drugs and / or Alcohol.  They hide their little (or should I say) Big secrets… They feel embarrassed, worthless or that they can’t possibly make a difference.  Nothing could be farther from the Truth.  There is Freedom in Christ!  How do I know?  Because I was once there… NOT Anymore.  The Weight and the Chains of the past are All Gone.  Life is so much better now.  I AM a Better Husband,Father and Man of God.

I have heard time and time again, that all wives want are Husbands that can Lead.  Strong, Courageous Leaders for their Families.  Wives want security as well.

 A Husband who Cares
 A Savings account
 A Husband who shows interest in what his wife is saying.
 A Husband who has His Priorities straight

Here is My take on it and how I think My wife sees it.

1. Spiritually Strong
Praying With and For My Wife.  Leading My Wife and Family that is Honoring to God.

2. Mentally Strong
Looking to God for Guidance, No matter what comes My way.

3. Financially Strong
Giving God at Least 10% of my income, more if at all possible
Financially Helping Others ( Widows and Orphans Especially ) Whenever possible

4. A Healthy Savings Account
Reduces a Wife’s stress level

Keep in mind,  A listening ear is Very Important.  My Wife and I often here “ He never listens “ We as Husbands Always Hear our wives, But rarely “ Listen” to what they are saying.  All they (Wives) want is a “ Listening “ ear…. And IF We don’t, They WILL find someone who Will.

In conclusion, I learned Long ago to apply what I have mentioned.  Life is Better and My Marriage is Better for it.

Try implementing them, Things Will Change.


PS – Pray with Your Spouse, It does Wonders!

June 3, 2012
by Jay & Christa


Today, it was finally warm enough to go outside without my coat.  As we were walking from the car into church I could feel the sun on my shoulders and I ‘strolled’ along,  not feeling I had to hurry for anything.  That wasn’t the case last week.  I almost ran towards the church, my arms crossed and a look of determination across my face as I battled the cold and the wind.

Our business has its seasons.  We own a Bridal Shop and we are well aware of seasons.  During the busy season we work long hard hours hardly stopping during the day to even grab a bite to eat.  During our slow months, we catch up on all that couldn’t be done during our busy season. I like both seasons because without the busy season there would be no money to pay the bills and without the slow season we would never catch our breath.

As in everything, life has it’s seasons too.  Our marriage has seen it’s fair share of seasons. We’ve been through the season of dating and all the excitement of young love – discovering all that we had in common. We’ve been through the Newlywed season- discovering all that we didn’t have in common or all that we had different ideas about. Parenting was another season.  This in itself has seasons.  The baby years (I remember not having a lot of sleep or money in this season), childhood, adolescence (I remember not having a lot of sleep or money in this season either), and finally empty-nesters. We have been through seasons where, we had all we needed and seasons where, times were extremely tight.  Seasons where, shear disaster struck and it was all we could do to hang on.  (Twice we lost everything we owned and started from scratch)

The love feeling in marriage has its seasons…  Years where love was exciting and years where love was frustrating.  Years where, you are best friends and years where, you are worst enemies.  Years where, you cling to one another and years where, you need some personal space. These changes are normal and exist in every marriage and even every relationship.

I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons lately. Mainly because we just finished prom season and are now fully engaged in bridal season.  Although I enjoy this season, I am looking towards October knowing that I will be able to rest.  Our busy season, makes it difficult to keep up on other areas of our life; like these blogs for Say I Do Forever.  But I know, during our quieter season we will have the time for these again.

I ran across a passage in the Bible that helped me realize that God is ok with whatever season we are in.  Ecclesiastes 3 says:  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,                                   
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Are you in a wonderful season with your marriage?  Embrace it.  Dwell in it.  Enjoy it.

Are you in a hard, miserable place in your marriage?  Understand that it could be a season.  Seasons will change.  Things will get better.  Work hard to improve your communication and be understanding that your spouse may be going through a hard season of their life.

Maybe you are in a season of healing or waiting.  Don’t get impatient.  Don’t feel guilty about taking time away from “life” to find some quiet time for yourself.

Is it time to weep or time to laugh, time to mourn or time to dance?  Where are you in life?  Where are you in your marriage?  God is with you.

For now, we are in a busy season.  The blogs will be sporadic.  Our prayers and thoughts are still with you and your marriages. We will do our best.  This is just the season we are in.


January 29, 2012
by Jay & Christa

23, Going on 24

Christa and I have been married for 23, going on 24 Years.  While we have had Many Rough spots, The Smooth spots have Won out in a Big way!  Whenever we get to a place where we think, “I’m Done!, We’re Done ! It’s Over!” ….  We take a step back, Regroup and say ok, Let’s roll up our sleeves and work this out.  100% of the time, when we do this, We Succeed in Our Marriage.

How do we pull it off?  How do We Succeed? …

God is How!  I don’t know how many times, when we are in an argument (usually about something stupid)
I stop and Listen to God telling me, Why, are you two arguing about something so petty as this?

Remember my words in Colossians 3:12-17  “ Therefore, As God’s chosen people, Holy and dearly Loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord Forgave You.  And over all these virtues put on Love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the Peace of Christ rule in your Hearts, since as members of one body you were called to Peace.  And be thankful.”

WOW!, Suddenly, the petty stuff we were arguing about, doesn’t even matter anymore.  Talk about Humbling.  God has seen us through Many Trials since we’ve been together and I’m sure there’s more to come.  But that’s ok because, God IS the 3rd Strand in the rope that holds Our Marriage together.  As the Bible say’s – A three cord strand is NOT Easily broken – Ecclesiastes 4:12.

When we rely on ourselves to  “Fix” our marriage, we will fail every time.  God Heals, Strengthens and Repairs.