All posts by Kathy

Kathy Burrus is a marriage coach who offers an authentic, caring environment to help you and your spouse find your next step toward hope- green, life-giving hope!.

Just to clarify

So I asked Rennie if he would be willing to ‘guest’ post on this website.  He hesitated.

‘”Don’t you want to write something?” I queried!

“I don’t mind writing something”, he replied.   “But I’m afraid people will think that I/ we think I/we have got it all together.   We don’t!”

But we still love each other, don’t we?


And we are still learning and figuring things out  at each new season of life, right?


Can you write about what you/we are learning in the process?

Sure!  As long as they don’t think I think I’m an expert in this area!

So… here is an overall disclaimer. 

Ren and I don’t pretend that we have it all together.

Neither do we do all the right stuff all the time.

Don’t even begin to think that we do!

Or that we think we do!

We don’t!

But… we are still learning- just like you.   I dare say we are getting  more adept at it, but if we waited till we ‘had it together’ this blog  would never have a post in it.

Plus we are willing to share what we are learning as we do! Maybe you are too!  We’d love to hear from you.

Join us in the journey, won’t you?

Place of Beginning Again!

Marriage is full of seasons; of times in our life that are adjustments ‘places of beginning again’

Ren & I are at such a place. Both of our girls have recently married. We are officially empty nesters- though our girls haven’t lived at our house for a while now.

We felt that more than we expected, With greater intensity- as Brie & Jason left for their honeymoon and Cait & Jack returned to their new home as 2 month old newlyweds, we were very aware of that empty nest.  There was great sadness that came with that.

But the sadness was soon replaced with the awareness that we are ‘two again’.  While we love our girls and their new husbands dearly, they are beginning their own lives, their own chapters.  They are making their own choices.  While we talk often with them, it’s time for Ren and I to think TWO NEW.

It’s been an interesting process.  We’ve had many conversations, spiritual conversations.

We’ve pondered our 8 lane highway

Spiritual Growth








As I’ve looked at my vision- I then talked with Ren about what he wants to be true in each area.

It is interesting to hear us process.  We are not “two again” like we were when we first got married.

We are “TWO NEW” for the first time in our 50’s.

We are “TWO NEW” for the first time in the sandwich generation – love and care for our parents, love and care for adult children.

It’s a new place- a different place.  What do we want to be true of us in this place?  We’re not dead yet, we have a lot of life ahead of us.  What do we want to be true in the next place of life?

What do you want to be true for you?

Let’s talk!  Add a comment below

Reflections of the Old Year and New Marriage

2013! I love looking back!  Mostly because there are always precious memories of a year that I want to remember.

This year is no exception!  It will be a year I remember forever!

This time last year, Brielle and her then fiancé, Jason Augsburger were setting the October 4th date for their wedding.  Within a few short weeks, Caitlin’s guy, Jack Andrews, proposes and she says “YES!” They choose July 26th for their wedding.  And shortly after Cait’s wedding, my dear friend Pat calls to say she’s engaged, and asks me to be her matron of honor.  This was extra exciting because Pat is ‘older than me’ but this is her first marriage.  Her joy is great! It didn’t take too long for Pat & Bob to choose a December 7th date!


WHOOSH! Three weddings in less than 5 months! Along with all of Caitlin and JackView More: dress fittings, bridal shows & bridal showers, reception coordinating…!   And of course, each one was completely different from the other.  Each Bride had an incredible vision for their day!  We are so grateful for each amazing man that has entered our life as a son-in-love.  Jason & Jack are truly gifts, not only to our girls, but to our family. Oh, and we are grateful for you too Bob!

All these weddings have stirred in Ren & I thoughts of our early days of marriage; the hopes & dreams, visions and expectations of two young people who thought we knew each other really well.  Only to discover that there was a lifetime of learning ahead.

Whether we are just starting our married lives, or we’re ‘starting again’ at some new place in our journey, it is not too late to connect with the vision you want for the rest of your life.

Need some help!  Let’s talk!  There are some excellent tools to help you and your special one enjoy the marriage you always longed for.  Ren and I are on the journey of a lifetime!  You can be too!

Your great marriage starts with you!

Hope Springs!

Friday night, Ren and I went on a date!  Actually it was more like a double date with 4 other couples.  We had a great time!  We started the evening by going to the movie HOPE SPRINGS, staring Tommy Lee Jones & Meryl Streep!  I was so curious about it.  I mean the title is about HOPE and the topic is about marriage and that’s what Green HOPE Coaching is about too.  I was terribly curious what they might do with it.  Apparently, so were quite a few others!

It’s a dramedy- you know real life drama with the inevitable comedy mixed in if you are willing to see it.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple’s specialist (Steve Carell, can you imagine?) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough – the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their bedroom hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place.

Now a lot can be said about it, and believe you me, we did say a lot about it when we met for dinner/desert afterwards.  But primarily, we could all identify with the place Kay & Arnold found themselves after 31 years of marriage.  We could see things they were doing that led them there.   But more importantly, we could see how were were on our way there if we didn’t take some steps toward the marriage we longed for.  The conversation ended (I am a relationship coach you know!) with each of us identifying one thing we could do to help us grow together in our marriage instead of apart.  It was amazing at the very practical things we came up with. It isn’t rocket science to have a great marriage.  It’s simply one right choice after another.

So what’s the one right move you can make today that will move you closer to your spouse?  

Leave me a note to let me know what step you are taking.  One reason is that the act of writing it here will hold you accountable to your action.  But the second reason is that you never know who NEEDS you to share honestly how you are finding HOPE in your marriage, so they can find HOPE in theirs!

HOPE Springs!  May you find it flowing freely in your relationship too!


What’s your Love Language?

How many times do we go out of our way to do something really great for our spouse- something we would really love if they did it for us- only to have it fall flat when we give our offering?  We’re left with our mouth gaping and our hands empty in shock.  Too often, our response is to quickly think, “Well, if that’s how he/she is going to respond, I won’t bother to try next time! We’ll see how they like that!”

Unfortunately, that happens far to often!

We work hard to learn to communicate with our spouse, but many times we forget to learn what our definitions are regarding love.  I say, “I love spending time with you!” and I mean, I love the time we spend together sharing our hearts and hearing your dreams and fears.  He says, “I love spending time with you” and he means I love working together on a project, or cuddling together in bed.  Both show love, but sometimes we’re not meaning the same things as we try to communicate.

Gary Chapman, in his book 5 Love Languages, challenges us to learn each other’s language.  To get clear on the vernacular that makes your special someone’s heart soar.  And to know what you love, so that you can be tell your partner what you need from them.

The 5 Love Languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Physical Touch

Find out your love language here! Encourage your spouse to take the assessment too!  There are tools to help you identify ways to speak the love language of your partner with great success.  Your marriage will thank you!

You would think by now!!!

Last week, I had one of those AHA moments.  Actually it was more like “DUH!” with a big smack on the forehead to go with it!  Ren & I have been married 33 years now.  We dated 5 years before that!  You would think by now,we would have figured out our relationship to the point that nothing ‘new’ would jump out at us.  But there it was, and I almost had to laugh!

I’m a life and relationship coach, right?  I ask a lot of questions by trade, but that’s been a part of who I am for most of my life. If you know me, you know that.  You can only imagine what it’s like to be married to me!  Ren is most often gracious when it comes to the barrage of questions that come flying at him at the end of a day.  He doesn’t always think to tell me things that I would be interested in knowing, so I’ve learned to ask.   And he’s learned to stop and think about the day so he can share it, rather than just blasting through it and on to the next.

The problem comes when my questions seem to hit a nerve.  I can’t help it if sometimes my questions are used by the Holy Spirit to prompt him to think about what God might be saying to him in the moment. (Yeah, I know, Ren didn’t fall for that either.)

Well, Ren’s really good at being a student of me.  He works hard to know who I am, what my love languages are and trying to think of me during the day.  He can tell when I answer the phone if I’m feeling strong or not.  No, he’s not perfect at it- but he does work hard.  He often asks me what I need from him!  I don’t always know, so I have to think about it.

The past couple of weeks have been very busy!  Ren’s been dealing with some changes at work and I’ve been focused on the LEISHA’S HOPE event.  So this past weekend, we were both feeling the need to reconnect with each other.  We both know that a good time of physical intimacy would take care of Rennie’s need, but…!  I was really struggling!

‘So what do you need from me? ”

“I…    I need…  I need you to…  I need you to ask me questions!”  That’s it!  That’s what you would think I would know by now!

I’m asking Rennie questions, because I love questions.   I’m loving Rennie like I need to be loved, but not in the way he needs to be loved.  I need Rennie to love me like I try to love him- by asking questions.  I need him to care about me enough to want to know not just what happened in my day, (which he often asks about) but, more importantly, how it affected me.   One of my love languages is quality time- but to be more specific, it’s quality conversations, which includes quality questions.  Of course, all that is assuming that quality listening is connected to that.

I often hear people say, “I never know what to ask!”  I understand. Some of us are just think that way.  But I didn’t start out being good at them.  I loved them, but I didn’t always know what to ask, and still don’t.  Often we just need a couple of things to get the conversation going, whether it is with our spouse, family member or even a complete stranger.  So I created a question prompter.  Click here for your own copy. I practice my questions ahead of time, so when the opportunity presents itself, I have some ready.  You can too!  Pick out a couple that you know will get things rolling.

So what was your favorite…?
(book, part of the movie, genre to listen to) That’s a great place to start.


How did you feel about … ?
Ren doesn’t like that one too much, but I love it!  You know your spouse- you’ll figure it out soon enough.

My favorite is:
What are you hearing God saying to you today?

So it may not seem like a huge deal to you!   But would your spouse love for you to ask them questions?  It seems we get so caught up with ‘just the facts’, and we never take the time to seek to understand what those facts are doing to us or to them!

How often do we try to love someone, only to feel like that love is rejected or at least not appreciated.  When in reality, we are loving as we long to be loved.  If they did to us what we are doing to them, we would be thrilled.  But they are not!

We’ll talk more about LOVE LANGUAGES in the future (cause I’m reading the book right now).  But in the mean time, how about planning some time each day to sit with your spouse and ask a question.  See what happens!  You might be surprised!

Ren was!Wink


What will they say about me when I dead?

How did you do with that last post?  Was it intimidating? It was for me too the first time I did this!  It actually was in high school, then again in college and several times in life since. Each time I’m challenged to consider who am I really investing in – and who do I really WANT to be investing in?

Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers and NY TIMES best selling author, says “This is an incredibly powerful question.  To answer it, you have to  ‘fast forward’ to the end of your life and look back.  The exercise forces you to think about the things and people that matter most.”

Mr. Hyatt selected 6 key audiences that mattered most to him:  God, spouse, children, parents, colleagues and friends.  You may have others.  He then simply answerd the question,

“How do I want them to remember me?”

For example, under “My spouse’ he said this:

By Gail:
I want Gail to remember how I loved her, understood her, and helped her accomplish her dreams.  I want her to remember specific times that we shared together-times we laughed, times we cried, times we spent discussing things that were important to both of us, and times we just held one another and watched the sunset.

When I wrote mine for Rennie, it was “I want Rennie to say that I truly KNOW him, deeply LOVE him and honestly Respect who he is!”  

But I also included “I want to be known, loved and cherished by him!  Why did I include that part?  Because he is always asking what I need from him, and instead of saying, ‘I don’t know!” I could tell him!  Now I sometimes have to work at identifying what he can do to show that to me- but that’s another post.

Other relationships that are important to me are:

  • God
  • spouse-Rennie,
  • children-Caitlin, Brielle & Leisha (she may be in heaven, but she still impacts my life)
  • Parents- they live far away, so that is especially important to me.
  • Family & Close Friends
  • GHC Community

One way to consider who yours are is to identify the roles you play and what relationships you care about most in each role. You might have different groups, but it’s important to realize that you will really only be effective if you have less than 7.  Any more than that and you probably aren’t being effective anywhere!

Who will the people be that care about you enough to come to your funeral?
What will they say about you when you are dead?

It’s worth considering now!

So…you got a plan?

Most couples, well actually, most people are ‘passive spectators’ of life. They may even be very busy people, urgently trying to get things done. They may plan for their careers, or the new house, or that great vacation. Yet they never even think of spending that kind of time and energy to plan their life. So naturally, they probably aren’t doing the planning work on their marriage either.

I know! I’ve been there! We’ve been there! Somehow we get so busy planning pieces of our life that we don’t take time to look at the whole of life. And where we want to be in the long haul.

But I have had the opportunity to stop and look at the big picture of my life during the past few weeks. I’m not ‘done’ with it- but already we are both seeing some significant outcomes in some major areas. The changes haven’t been easy, but I think Ren and I both would say, it is ‘transformational’!

For instance, one thought that has really challenged me came from Linda Dillow, in her book, What’s It Like to Be Married to Me?

In your mind’s eye, visualize yourself going to a funeral of a loved one.  Picture yourself driving to the church, parking the car, and getting out.  As you enter the sanctuary, you hear your favorite song being played, you see the faces of friends and family and feel the sorrow of loss and the joy of having known that is so evident on their faces.  As you walk to the front of the church, you come face-to-face with—you!  With disbelief, you realize that this is your funeral- 30 years from today.  The people gathered together are here to express their love and appreciation for your life.  

Numb with shock, you are led to a seat and handed a program. You open it up and see that there are to be 3 speakers.  

Now think long and hard!

  • Who would those 3 speakers be in your life?
  • What would you like them to say about you?
  • What character qualities would you like them to have seen in you?
  • What kind of relationship would you want him/her to describe?
If one of those speakers is your spouse,
  • what do you want your husband/wife to say about you after many years of marriage?
  • What kind of love relationship would you want him to describe?
  • What kind of love would you have wanted him to have received from you during all these years?

If you really take time to think about this, you will discover who and what is really important to you; and what your deepest values are.   To begin with the end in view helps you align your values with your choices- and that begins transformation.  You begin living in the context of what is most important to you!

So…what is it?  What do you want to be about?  What do you want to be true of you?

You got a plan?

(We’ll talk more about that in the next post!  I’m sure you’ve had so much fun doing this exercise, you’ll want to know more!  Ok!  So I know it’s work!  But you are worth it!  And so is your marriage! See you soon!)


Does this look familiar

I’ve recently ran across this commercial that is being aired on ME TV (Memorable Entertainment) featuring Jackie Gleason and his wife on The HoneyMooners! I got tickled seeing it again, thought maybe you would too!

So if your relationship had a song for it, what would your song sound like?

Why don’t you give us the title for it below?  Or perhaps you need help writing a new song?  Then sign up for your complimentary 30 min strategy session.  Let’s see what your song as a couple could sound like!  It has the potential for greatness!

Don’t forget to let me know the title of your song as a couple.

Remember, Your great marriage starts with YOU!

“Whatever you do in bed, we support it!”

It started some interesting conversation at our house. No, it wasn’t the first time we had seen the Sealy© commercials (in case you haven’t seen them two of our favorites are AfterGlow Commercial  or Mattress Apartment commercial ) But this particular evening, we were both in rare form.

You see, Sealy’s tagline is ‘whatever you do in bed, we support it’!

I bet you can begin to imagine some of the places we went with that. But it got me thinking. The commercials make things look so … positive! But I know for a fact that it isn’t always.

For one thing, so often our bedrooms serve multi-purposes. They become part office with books and computer finding space to land, or laundry room where folding needs to be done, or the catch all room for those things that need to be put away but haven’t yet. Hmmm?

For another thing, just because two people marry doesn’t mean their bodies are on the same clock as far as when they need to go to bed, or how long they need to sleep. That often brings up issues having to do with ‘the bed.’

And that’s not even mentioning all the other things that can distract us –

  • One mate likes a little light on in the room- the other likes it dark
  • One prefers to fall asleep with the tv on- the other likes quiet– and dark
  • One has BRILLIANT ideas as she lays down in bed that she really must write down before she forgets
  • The other is asleep almost before he closes his eyes.
  • One wants to cuddle up as they fall asleep, the other just wants some space to spread out

All that brings up the issues that get discussed such as:

  • Tomorrow’s schedules
  • Today’s finances
  • The kids and their concerns
  • The in-laws and their concerns
  • The fact that he doesn’t take out the trash
  • The fact that she didn’t even act interested when he came home from working all day
  • The way that he tries to ‘get playful’ all of the sudden
  • The way she avoids his obvious intentions for sex

…You get what I mean!

What we do in bed isn’t always the romantic version Sealy supports. One quote I read the other day said, “For I’ve been born and I’ve been wed. All of man’s peril comes of bed.” Isn’t that the truth? We have a little spat that turns into a bigger deal at bed time. We have a bad day and take it out on the spouse and it is especially evident at bed time.

Sometimes it’s two people on opposite sides of the bed with their backs to each other and their hearts hardened to one another. They aren’t talking, but honey let me tell you- their silence is speaking volumes.

Sometimes it’s two people completely worn out and not connecting at all- all day- not to mention all night.

Sometimes it lasts for more than a night- or a week- or months.

Hmmm? So here’s my question?
Do you support everything that goes on in your bed?
…or even in your bedroom?

Think about that for a while!

  • If you answer yes- check with your spouse and see if they feel the same way.
    Are you willing to really listen to what they might have to share with you.
  • If you answer no- what are you willing to do about it?

Either way, check back here- cause I’m hear to tell you there is hope! But we’ll talk about that next time.

Always remember- Your great marriage starts with YOU!