We couldn’t do this without your support. Will you partner with us?
Please read, and thanks for your prayerful consideration!
By God’s grace, this blog has helped and encouraged thousands of marriages around the world. It’s become clear to us that we need to spend more time writing and creating tools to help those same couples in their marriages and walks with Christ. To do that, we need more time. To get more time, we will need support partners.
After much prayer, we finally feel the timing is right to ask you – our readers – for support. We believe this is the most biblical approach for sustaining this ministry. If you’d like to read more about our thought process, please watch the video below.
If you’re passionate about the message of Christ reaching marriages around the world, please consider partnering with us financially. We’ve created three levels of support below. Thank you for your prayerful consideration and generous support. Together, we can guide and encourage couples toward Christ for generations to come!
WATCH: A message from us to you
You are called to steward your resources well, so you probably have questions; we’d expect no less. Here’s some additional detail as well as answers to a few common questions. We’ve aimed to strike a balance between depth and brevity, so if we missed something, please feel free to ask by sending us a message.
What’s your vision for Fierce Marriage?
Here’s a quick list of things to look out for in the near future (nearer future if we can devote more time):
- Book: We’re working on a book to help young couples set their foundation on knowledge of and relationship with Christ. We’ve begun writing it and it’s coming along, but we want it to go faster! Read this post.
- Videos: they’re so effective, we want to do at least 1-2 per month.
- More blog posts: we currently post 1-2 times per week, we want to increase that to 3/week.
- Marriage App: what if you had a well-built mobile app that helped you love your spouse more intentionally? What if you got reminders for key dates, or could walk through a bible study with your spouse or accountability partner? We have started the planning for this, and your support will help make it a reality.
- Podcast: Not sure about this one, but there’s lots of room if we can figure out a routine. If so, we would aim for 1/week (that’s typical for podcasts apparently).
- Events: we want to meet our readers and work on marriages face-to-face. This could include conferences, retreats, and special events with local churches.
- Creating tools & guides: we want to create small publications (Bible studies, e-Books, and devotionals) for young couples that are free of cost or close to it.
- Answer more emails: we get lots of messages and emails, we hope to spend more time answering them.
- Quote Database: Ryan has developed a quote engine that will rival anything out there. We have hundreds of godly marriage quotes compiled in our database, the web software just needs to be refined. There’s not a great resource for Christ-centered marriage quotes online (lots of pop-culture happy-isms, but not gospel based), we hope to fix that.
- More images: We want to produce more inspirational images for Instagram and print.
- Work closely with churches: many smaller churches don’t have immediate resources to counsel married couples. We think we can help that.
- Reach more people: we want to be as loud as we can be for Jesus in marriage. This may include buying ads to reach new tribes of people online, but we’re still exploring what that might look like.
- Website updates: we may need to hire a web ninja so Ryan can write content instead of code. This would help with that.
What are the three levels?
As you can see above, there are three levels. Each level is recurring and has unique benefits.
$5 is the minimum. For us the big important thing is inclusion. We’re passionate about Christ-centered marriage and we know some of our readers are too. We don’t want passionate people to be barred from participating because they can’t afford it.
All levels grant you access to digital items, and the two latter levels involve us sending you physical poster prints. (poster dimensions: 12.25″ x 17.25″)
What’s included at each level?
These benefits are our way of saying “thank you”, and are not meant as purchases per se. The current partnership benefits include:
- Access to private Facebook group (Included in all levels)
This is a forum where passionate marriage supporters can share ideas on how to impact more people and marriages for Christ. We discuss everything from upcoming prints, to event ideas, to local church partnership needs & opportunities. This group is our ad hoc community of advisors for all things Fierce Marriage.
- Early book content previews (Included in all levels)
We may make transcript portions available for peer-review or just for fun. Our partners represent a safe community of Christ-minded folks who we can trust will give us constructive feedback on our work.
- Free downloadable print artwork (Included in all levels)
We will make all print graphics available in hi-resolution downloads to be used however you’d like (other than mass production or selling them).
- Free e-Books & devotionals (Included in all levels)
Periodically, we will self-publish e-Books and other digital resources for a nominal price ($3 – 15). Our partners will receive those for free (barring any publisher or legal limitations).
- Receive 1 inspiring poster print in the mail each month (Levels 2 & 3 only)
Our Levels 2 & 3 partners receive one high-quality print in the mail each month. These will only get better with time, as we’re now working with a designer who is incredibly talented. The prints are 12.25″ x 17.25″ and are printed on the top quality paper stock available.
- Receive 3 inspiring poster prints in the mail immediately (Level 3 only)
Our Level 3 partners will get our first three posters sent immediately.
- Receive bonus items in the mail when available (Level 3 only)
This could include small prints, cards, and more as we have time and resources to create them. Others may be able to purchase them as a one-off product from our website or potentially elsewhere (like a retail store).
In all cases, we want to give folks a way to be actively involved in the Fierce Marriage ministry, and every little bit counts.
What kind of impact are you actually making?
You can count people, but it doesn’t always capture the true impact. Here are some quick figures as of November 2014 (all by God’s grace):
- 4.7 million pageviews on our website in the past 16 months
- 3.3 million unique visitors to our website in the past 16 months
- 120+ countries/territories are represented in our readership (we lost count…)
- 108,000 followers on Facebook
- 35,000 followers on Instagram
- 14,000 email list subscribers
- 4,200 followers on Twitter
Many blogs have larger follower bases than Fierce Marriage, but the quality of engagement is what really makes us smile. We have so many passionate husbands and wives engaging with the gospel through their marriages, and it’s extremely rewarding to be a part of starting those conversations.
Why are you asking for support partnerships?
We want to do more, and we need more time to do it.
God is providing for us financially through Ryan’s job; but to really grow Fierce Marriage and dedicate our time and energy to it, we need to replace our vocational income. Right now we’re “moonlighting” as writers here. But it writing could certainly be a full time job! Between the two of us, we spend 30-50 hours/week on Fierce Marriage related activities. This, plus full-time work makes a healthy life balance unsustainable.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not complaining (or bragging) about the work we put in here (probably around 4000 hours since we started last year) – it’s a joy! The “problem” is that we want to do more!
You may be thinking: “That seems like a ridiculous amount of time, where does all your time go!? What will you use support funds for?” Great questions! Here are some answers that we hope will give you a complete view of why we’re asking for you to partner with us:
Q: How long does it take to write a blog post?
A: On average, 4-6 hours depending on depth, inspiration (i.e. did we just deal with the issue ourselves?), and subject matter. Some posts are much quicker, some are much longer. We have drafts that haven’t seen the light of day because we didn’t feel we could devote necessary time to address the issue fully. We haven’t tackled some topics just because of the shear firepower needed to answer them fully – research, prayer, revising, writing in a disarming way, etc.
Q: How much time do you spend posting content to social media, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter?
A: Probably close to 2 hours per day. This includes creating content, posting, and moderating comments. It also includes interaction with our wonderful fans and followers.
Q: How much time do you spend on emails and/or other messages?
A: Not nearly enough. This has been the one area we’ve lacked tremendously in. We receive 15-20 Facebook messages per week and about the same number of emails. Many are folks with deep questions regarding serious marital struggles.
This would be a manageable amount if we had time. We estimate that it would take 1-2 hours daily to answer emails in a thoughtful and helpful manner. The thing is, the more you answer emails/messages, the more people respond… and the more emails you get! Perhaps that estimate isn’t high enough…
(Note: we keep communication channels open because we want to remain accessible to people. It would be easier not to allow access, but that’s not what we feel God is calling us to do.)
Q: How long do videos take to create?
A: It takes 6-8 hours to prep, shoot, re-shoot, and edit a quality 4 minute YouTube video. This would be faster if we were pros, but hey… we do our best! It would be much easier to throw something together without as much detail, but we figure if we’re going to do something we’d better do it right.
We would love to do more videos; they’re both fun and effective. Your support will help with that!
Q: How much time/money does it take to run a website? Surely not more than like $50 a year, right?
A: Well, depends. If you want a fast site that can handle and keep large numbers of readers, you’re probably going to have to spend a little more.
Ryan is a web developer by trade, so we’ve been able to save a ton of cash and time because of that. Being in the industry, however, gives him a good gauge on what it would cost.
Over the life of Fiercemarriage.com, he has spent …calculating…. close to 300 hours working on the website. That includes initial build, launch and updates and server issues, etc. At $60/hour (low-ish web developer rate) that’s around $18,000. That, plus servers and licensing, we’re probably north of $20,000 so far. Again, just a ballpark figure.
We also spend $150/mth for our email list service (MailChimp).
Q: What are you using this money for?
A: Life. We’ll probably use it for anything you’d use your income for: rent, mortgage (we do hope to own a home in the next few years), groceries, insurance, phones, our car etc.
Basically we’re hoping to offset the income we earn in our day jobs (currently only Ryan works, developing websites) so we can focus more time on writing, ministering, and creating content for married couples.
Do you have a goal for raising support?
Yes. We live on about $3,500/month currently. That covers most of our life expenses and provides some extra room for those unforeseeable events (root-canal anyone?). We’d love to match that if possible. $4,000/month would allow for some savings and paying off debts faster.
If a small fraction of our readers decided to partner with us, we could be at that goal quickly. We need around 250 partners to match our current income.
Ryan will continue to work with his current clients to support the family, but as soon as it’s viable he will transition to Fierce Marriage full time.
Why recurring partnerships?
We want to lock arms with you and walk alongside you in doing God’s work. For that reason we’ve tried to build in as much value as we can at the various levels.
There are many more details on why we chose this route, but the main reason is this: we are church, and this is how the church works. We’re using Paul and the early Church as our example.
In the years following Christ’s resurrection, Paul traveled between Jerusalem and Rome sharing the the gospel. During his ministry, his living and travel expenses were covered by two avenues: 1) tent making – his craft, and 2) the church – his community. He worked diligently in both his craft and building the church, but there came a point where he needed to devote more of his time, more of his life, to preaching and teaching the gospel. That is when he turned to his brothers and sisters in the church for help.
Historically, the message of the gospel is delivered by ministers (missionaries, pastors, and in our case, bloggers) who are undergirded by the unity and support of other believers. We see Fierce Marriage as our mission field, and we hope to take the message of Christ further with help from you, the church.
Who can partner?
If you believe in the message and method of Fierce Marriage, we want to partner with you. We’re at a point where we need the spiritual, emotional, and financial support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our craft (like Paul’s tent-making business) has sustained us to this point, but we feel it’s time to make Fierce Marriage our sole focus.
We hope to do more, and together with you, we can amplify the message of Christ to strengthen marriages to the furthest reaches of the world.
Have you considered advertising or other revenue sources?
There a few traditional ways blogs like Fierce Marriage try to become self-sufficient: advertising and affiliate links, premium paid content, selling products, and subscriber support. Without getting into much detail, we’ve chosen to forego all of those ways… at least in their simplest forms.
Advertising: We don’t want to advertise because it’s distracting (both us and our readers). Also, can you imagine if Paul promoted local merchant’s wares before and after he preached in Philippi? It would be inappropriate. And it feels that way to us here.
Premium paid content works for other blog niches (like: business knowledge, or industry insights) but it feels out of place here. Couples of all income levels need the best wisdom we can give, not just those who can pay for it. We want to write our best content for everyone and keep it free for anyone will read it.
Selling products requires constant updating, designing, and fulfillment of orders – often unpredictably. These types of relationships are purely transactional – you give us money, we give you a product. While we like the idea of providing tangible products, we wanted them to be in the context of a like-minded partnership, and in a predictable manner.
Subscriber support is awesome, because support comes from your most passionate readers. This is essentially what we’re doing, but we want to add as much value as we can. And if everyone gives a little, it adds up to plenty.
As we were thinking through ways to make Fierce Marriage our “full-time” jobs, we wanted to provide additional value to those who are locking arms with us in this mission. Also, we wanted predictable income so we’re not distracted by fluctuations in sales or traffic. Finally, we decided that whatever method we chose shouldn’t take copious amounts of time to maintain (like shipping hundreds of one-off orders).
We believe partnerships with prints is the best way to go. The recurring nature of shipping prints will allow us to plan and ship with very streamlined processes (we already have someone to help us!).
Do you have non-profit status?
No. Forming and managing a non-profit organization without breaking the law is expensive and complicated.
There are also legal/ethical issues with raising money under a NPO status and distributing it to ourselves. We may form one in the future, but for right now we’re going the more traditional route and hoping to create enough value without the added tax write-off. (more info here)
Q: Is my credit card information secure? Is this website secure?
A: Yes! We use industry standard encryption for all sensitive payment pages, and we never store your credit card information on our servers. This means that no one can intercept your credit card information and nobody can “hack” our server to retrieve it – because it’s not there.
We use a payment processing service called “Stripe”; they’re a reputable company from San Francisco. Ryan has worked with them on many projects for clients and there’s never been a security issue.
Q: Can I cancel my partnership at will?
A: Yes. We’re using a very well tested subscription system to manage all payments and partnership accounts. You have full control over your partnership duration! To manage this, you would go to your “Partner Profile” page, login to your account, and manage your settings.
Of course, we’d love to have your support indefinitely :), but will understand if you need to trim expenses at some point.
Note: Please don’t sign up and cancel immediately just to get cheap prints… that would have the opposite effect than what we’re going for here! (i.e. it would cost us money since the prints, shipping, and handling don’t pay for themselves until a few months after you sign up.) Honor code for the win.
Q: Can I upgrade/downgrade my partnership level?
A: Yep! In your “Partner Profile” page there’s a button called “Change Partnership Level” in the partnership details table. Just click that and you’re off to the races!
Please note, you may need to click the “Cancel” button once you verify that the new partnership level is in place. We’re assured that the functionality is working correctly, but we’d hate for you to spend more than you planned.
Q: Where are my downloadable files?
A: You should have received an email with links in it. If you don’t see that (check your spam folder), then you can login to your “Partner Profile” page and find the section titled “Available Downloads”. If your partnership is still in good standing, you should see all available files there.
You will also gain access to new downloads as they become available, so check back often!
Q: Social login? What’s that for and how do you use it?
A: It’s just to make the login & checkout processes faster. We never use the access you grant to post to your timelines in any way. We’re not that sophisticated… yet. :)
You may connect/disconnect your social login accounts at will. Just login to your “Partner Profile” page and look for the heading “Social Login Accounts”.
Q: How do I gain access to the Fierce Marriage Partners Facebook group?
A: Once you’re a partner, we’ll send you an email invite within a few days (this has to be done manually). As long as you have a Facebook account associated with the email you used for your partnership account here, you should be added to the group!
If you used a different email, please send us a message below and we’ll get it ironed out.
Feel free to email Ryan [ at ] fiercemarriage [ dot ] com.