How to Adore Your Spouse with Christa Sterken


Christa many things, always changing.  To the outside world she is a wife and mother, a home school teacher, a writer, a photographer.  She is deep and always observing, loving and loyal, a truth teller.  A friend to walk the journey with.

Ready… Set… Learn!

Could you share with us a senzu bean of wisdom?

I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.  ― Ernst Fischer

Tell us how you started your path to “adore your husband?

There are two reasons.
First, after witnessing the decline of too many friend’s marriages, I started to take stock of how valuable marriage was. The gift of a lifelong partner. I wanted to learn to celebrate that, and teach others to do the same thing.

Second, I grew tired of hearing peers complain about their spouses to each other. I observed how destructive this habit was, as each complaint reminded another person hos discontent “they” were. I resolved to work towards changing this pattern. I started with myself.  Becoming aware of the words and attitudes coming from my own mouth. Were they encouraging or discouraging?

How can we Adore our spouses, especially when they’re not adorable?

Ha, forgive my amusement, but honestly…take a look in the mirror.

I found it easy to be hyper critical of my spouse until I learned I had plenty to work on myself! We can’t change another, and I don’t make light of how hard it is to love someone who is far from lovable.

Working on our own self takes the focus off of our imperfect spouse. For me, my relationship with God allowed my love for my husband to grow. The love overflowed and he was the recipient.  And, he was drawn to that woman and returned the affection I had desired.

What practical tips do you have for couples to overcome disagreements and fights?

1.     Stop trying to have the last word. It only extends the length and severity of a disagreement, because usually the last words just get uglier.

2.     Instead of rehearsing the next line of an argument, while your spouse is still talking, concentrate on what they are truly saying. Listen carefully before responding.

3.     Try not to assign blame. Exhibit grace, to yourself and your partner, recognizing that a couple is on a journey together. Blaming divides, sometimes irreversibly.

What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced in your marriage and how did you overcome it?

Communication has been the greatest struggle in our marriage.

I want to talk everything out right away and get it settled, like yesterday. My husband is the opposite. He wants to think things out and then sum up his thoughts with as few words as possible. I like tidy endings; that isn’t a priority for him.

We had to learn to really listen to what the other was saying, without assuming we already understood their intent. It has been a long process learning  to de-escalate issues before they ballooned out of proportion. He understands now my need to externally process and I respect his need to process internally.

Could you name three books that sky-rocketed your relationship and why you recommend them?

1.     Without a doubt, the Bible is number one. It was a major shift as I learned what kind of person God desired for us to be in regards to loving others.

2.     A current favorite is What’s It Like to Be Married to Me?: And Other Dangerous Questions by Linda Dillow. Whoowee!!! What a challenge, it is in your face honesty. Challenging and no holds barred topics.

3.     The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This book was instrumental in helping me understand the differences of our needs. What speaks love to one person might be completely different for a spouse. Eye opening.

What would you tell your younger married-self?

[Tweet “Quit being a “right” fighter. There is no winning in marriage when you aren’t on the same team.”]

What do you think the Christa of 10 years from now, wants to tell you?

Today is a gift, you’ll never again have a chance to love like you did this minute. Slow down and enjoy it.

How can people find out more about you?


Twitter   @CSterken

My book is a free gift for blog subscribers  — Adore: Ideas For Treasuring The Gift of Marriage

They can read about it here, and sign up on the right side of the screen . I don’t mind if you give a copy away to a reader, I can send you the pdf.

How do you ADORE your spouse?

About the Author Alex

Racquel Narciso says August 23, 2013

Love this, Christa! Taking this to heart. 🙂

    Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

    So glad to hear that Racquel!

Anastacia Maness says August 23, 2013

Great post, Christa! One way I adore my husband is by participating in the hobbies that he is interested in. That is why I participate in karate class instead of just watching. What you said is absolutely right. We can’t be selfish and have a happy marriage.

    Alex Barker says August 23, 2013

    WOW! You participate!? That is amazing. Your husband is one lucky man.
    Does your husband participate in your activities?

      Anastacia Maness says August 23, 2013

      He does actually. He encourages me in my writing. He reads everything I write and is my biggest fan. He is also an artist which goes along well with my writing. I’m working on writing a book that he can illustrate for me.

        Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

        What a beautiful shared project…look forward to the finished piece

        Alex Barker says August 25, 2013

        What a cool partnership! My wife will be editing my podcasts. It’s been a learning experience and a wild ride!

      Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

      He sure is Alex, Anastacia is an awesome and inspiring lady

    Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

    Love that tip of participating in our mates hobbies! When we were young I branched out into playing some sports, his thing. He has yet to create art projects with me 🙂 But, he does support my efforts

      Anastacia Maness says August 24, 2013

      You should ask him sometime, Christa. Make it something fun and simple on a date night. You might be surprised. 🙂

Charles Hutchinson says August 23, 2013

This is really great stuff. Communication is a key factor in every relationship but most important in marriage. There is so much give and take that can be displayed through our communications — like, not having to have the last word.

    Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

    Thanks for joining the conversation Charles…

    Alex Barker says August 25, 2013

    So I practiced that this weekend. My wife was trying to make a point about something we were discussing. I initially wanted to continue talking about how my view was right. Then I just shut up.
    Oddly enough, my wife ended up talking herself over to my point of view….

Anne Peterson says August 23, 2013

Great post Christa. I love the part where you talk to the younger you and the more mature you. It’s wise to think ahead to what we want our relationships to have been. The biggest thing God has taught me in marriage is that it’s not about me. It’s about us. Sometimes I act as if it’s just me. Then God reminds me.

    Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

    Anne, I wish that was a one time lesson, the “it’s not about me”. I just had to be reminded again myself 🙂

    Alex Barker says August 25, 2013

    That’s great Anne!
    How has God taught you about your marriage being about “us”.

      Anne Peterson says August 25, 2013

      Years ago, God taught me that I did not honor my husband. God showed me I would treat my friends a certain way, and my husband another way. He showed me my husband ought to be treated better than my friends.

      In reading a book entitled, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, I was also challenged to see maybe the whole idea about marriage isn’t how another person can make me happy, but instead, what I can do to make my spouse happy. In that book, I saw that we have the wrong idea when we look at marriage.

      For much of my beginning married years I cared more about being right than I did about my spouse. God showed me how wrong I was.

        Alex Barker says August 25, 2013

        Great book! And a humbling experience. Thank you for sharing your story Anne!

TCAvey says August 23, 2013

Great interview. Headed to sign up for your blog now!

    Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

    Look forward to getting to know you!

    Alex Barker says August 25, 2013

    Christa has a great blog with a passion for helping marriages everywhere. You can’t go wrong!

Amber Hurdle says August 24, 2013

My husband and I came from failed marriages. Because of that it is truly not hard now to let go of things that don’t really matter to be genuinely appreciative of things that do. We both seek first to understand each other and find ways to partner to succeed as a couple in parenting, in each other’s businesses and in each other’s interests–in everything. I would encourage anyone married to not only communicate constantly, but learn each other’s love languages. Two people always looking for ways to invest in each other creates wealthy love accounts full of deposits that can afford the occasional withdrawals.

    Christa Sterken says August 24, 2013

    Glad to hear your wise perspective Amber, especially appreciate the last sentence!~

    Alex Barker says August 25, 2013

    Great point Amber! Communication is key. and many times, I forget that simple idea.
    How do you increase your communication with your husband Amber?

Tom Dixon says August 25, 2013

I’ve been blessed to have a solid and happy marriage for 13 years now. We’ve been through a lot together – including eight moves and seven states. I think we are friends because at times we haven’t had any choice! There is much we can improve on – and i know I need to do a better job of listening and being present (and not on the laptop or iPhone). I’ve found assuming positive intent to be huge – as well as figuring out if the difference makes a difference or not. Checking out your blog now – thanks for the great post!

    Alex Barker says August 25, 2013

    Yes Tom!
    I call that positive intent, “The Judgment of Charity.” It’s a Puritan term meaning that whenever someone acts towards you, you always assume the best intentions. You may not like their motives, but their intentions are usually genuine

Life Rebalanced says August 26, 2013

Excellent points about focusing on how we can change ourselves instead of our spouse. Marriage can be a great joy and a great struggle so it is always nice to see others share their insights.

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