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125 Ash St
Lino Lakes, Mn 55126


By providing a safe and effective therapeutic environment, Amanda Nephew Therapy Services is a catalyst of change for men, women, couples and families to engage in personal growth, to create healthy identities and to strengthen their relationships.   


Engaging in personal growth to create a healthy identity is a journey. Keep checking back here for things I find inspiring and helpful. 

Filtering by Tag: Gary Thomas

Intimacy Needs To Be Intentional

Amanda Nephew

With social media so accessible it’s easy to follow authors, speakers, pastors and others who have inspiring thoughts. A couple times a week I’ll read through them, but a few months ago I read something that stopped me in my tracks. Gary Thomas, the author of “Sacred Marriage,” wrote, “Married couples: the small patterns of relating you set today become the concrete realities tomorrow. We can get used to living without intimacy.” Ugh. That last part is what got me: We CAN get used to living without intimacy. This invaded my thoughts, my emotions and it made me reflect in a couple of ways.

I thought about one of the most common presenting problems I hear from couples: feeling emotionally disconnected. The problem with disconnection is that it does not just happen after a big event or a more vulnerable time in the marriage but it can often occur at anytime (slowly and often unnoticed). The impact of living without intimacy can cause us to feel lonely, rejected, unsettled, unsecure and unknown. So, what is the antidote?

Well, that’s a loaded question, but a main way to fight against loss of intimacy is being intentional. A few ways we can be intentional is

1.) Stay curious. When we start to make assumptions about what our spouse is thinking or feeling, we allow the slow leak to start. We keep the slow leak going by then acting on those assumptions instead of asking for more information or clarification. We put more weight on what we believe is reality instead of what our spouse is really experiencing.

2.) Be affectionate. You might not always feel like it, but that is the perfect time to dig deep and show your love and care. When we allow a pattern to play out of not being curious and not being affectionate, we can pull away and find ourselves disconnected. The harm is that, like the frog in the boiling pot of water, we keep adjusting to the lack of intimacy so slowly that we don’t even realize it’s occurring.

Being intentional will create and maintain intimacy. 

Being Sharpened

Amanda Nephew

Cute little wall hangings with quotes or verses on them are so popular right now. They are everywhere! I recently saw one with the words of Proverbs 27:17 so gracefully written on it. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”  I found it a little ironic that the font was cute and the letters were sparkly, when in fact the act of being sharpened can be painful and often times difficult to navigate.

I meet with a lot of couples for premarital counseling and one thing that I am intentional about bringing up is that when we get married, we will learn just as much or even more about ourselves than we will about our spouse. The actual act of sharpening is built into the design of marriage. We now have a sounding board who is always in front of us. Our spouse (and kids) are reflecting back to us our good, bad and ugly. BUT, we can choose whether we allow ourselves to be open to the discovery or not.

When we are open to it, we allow ourselves to be transformed though humbly admitting the yuck and taking responsibility for it. When we choose to not be open, we become hardened and resentful toward the ones who are just doing their jobs. (Assuming it was done in a safe manner). When we harden our hearts, we miss the opportunity for a better way. We miss the opportunity for growth.

In the book Sacred Marriage, author Gary Thomas says, “Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance.” We need to be honest with ourselves, our spouse, and God about weaknesses revealed to us in order to grow out of them. We are doing it right when we create an emotionally safe space so our spouse can actually say what we need to hear in order to be sharpened and then in return we are led by the Spirit to bring up what we see in our spouse. Iron sharpens iron.

It is a great honor to be transformed in the context of a marital relationship. Let’s live out the Word (no matter how uncomfortable) by sharpening each other out of a spirit of love.