• Ryan Dunlap

We're Back... And We're Writing a Book !!!

Life got busy in a hurry. We're back to catch everyone up and to fill in some details!


Let's start with an apology. We've been away and haven't blogged in a while because... well, life! Things have become very busy, so we wanted to provide a life update.

A year ago, not long after we started this blog, I decided to enroll into grad school. I'm now one year into a Masters program at Purdue University. I just completed my grad certificate in Strategic Communication Management and will be finished with my MS in Communication and Leadership this summer, 2020. That's kept me very busy with ungodly amounts of reading and writing, and quite frankly, I haven't had time or energy for TIKL. Adding insult to injury, I broke my ankle in June, had surgery in October and I've been recovering ever since.

On the other side of the house, Alicia added to an already stacked piano teaching schedule by jumping into homeschooling this year (Follow ARO Academy on Instagram for updates!) She's been carrying an average of 20 piano students while teaching our three kiddos the fundamentals of 3rd and 5th grade education for the past year, and that didn't leave much time for blogging either.

This season has really highlighted the importance of balance for us. Perhaps it's better to say, it's exposed a great deal of imbalance for us. The world is full of distractions and as we got further along in this marriage journey, we recognized that we tend to prioritize our activities and desires differently. Careers, hobbies, kid's activities, friendships, ministry obligations... It's all competing against our desire to build intentional relationships with Jesus, family time, intimacy and the intentional pursuit of one another. The good news is that we're finding a rhythm - and balance. We are both excited about this new season and we are ready to reconnect with all of the Knotty people who have stood behind us and shared in our journey. We will be working hard on new content to produce for you and we will be writing more blogs soon... which leads me to the next thing...


That's right, we are writing a book! It's not because we're pro's at this marriage thing. It's actually because we aren't, but God is. We have no idea what to expect from this, but we know that as long as God is in it, some couple somewhere is going to be blessed. That's good enough for us!

So here's the scoop. About two years ago, we had this idea to put together a marriage book that was unlike any other that we had seen on the market. See, we are both former first responders and we know that first responder and military families struggle with marriage even more than the average couple. The cool thing is that even though we are directing the book toward first responders, the content is for everyone. It is especially those who may be more mission focused, task-oriented and altogether frustrated with the touchy-feely marriage resources that currently saturate the market.

Did you know that statistics indicate that 50% of marriages will fail, and that number is believed to be as high as 75% for first responder couples? We have personally seen this play out in the lives of many friends who, for their own various reasons, have walked away from their own marriages. This book will be our attempt to help those who want to help themselves remain tied to one another. You know... Knot Love!

We've decided to title the book, The Unit: A Marriage Field Guide and our call to action is, 'Are U-N-IT?' One thing that we recognize about first responders is that they [we] all understand the importance of teamwork, trust and mission objectives. We're trained to plan for the worst possible outcome in any given scenario and we commit to always ensuring that our unit makes it home at night. Interestingly, many first responder couples don't see one another as a unit and instead see each other as enemies. As a result, they aren't really in it together. We've seen spouses self-sabotage, lose trust, abandon objectives and fail their marital mission. In this book, we liken love to a battlefield and the marital unit is the team that God mobilizes to go to war. Our goal is to help prepare husbands and wives to war alongside one another instead of against each other.

So, where are we in the process...

Last year we completed a sample chapter of the book and sent it out to some trusted individuals in our closed network. We received some great feedback from them, re-tooled the chapter, and just this week, sent out the revised chapter to a larger select group of beta-readers. We are hoping to receive even more feedback that can help us to further develop this wonderful resource for those who need it. Currently, there are 4 chapters completed, but we have several more to go.

This is where you come in. We need your prayers and accountability. Will you encourage us along this journey? Will you commit to pray on our behalf? We really want God to speak to us and provide the words to fill each page of this book. We need you as our spiritual cheerleaders to keep us fired up about this project. Give us a call, send an email occasionally, post on our feeds, let us know you have our 6's (you've got our backs)! Don't let us become complacent!

One last thing. If you are interested in helping us with this project, simply send us an email and let us know that you are interested in reading through our sample chapter. For the next little while, we will send out a few more digital copies to those who would like to read and provide feedback.

That's all for now. Thanks for all of your support, patience and understanding! We love our Knotty family. And please remember. It's ok, go ahead and TIKL someone you love!


We are Ryan and Alicia Dunlap, marriage coaches and the the founders of ThisIsKnotLove.com. Like a knot, we believe there are two types of marriages; those which are miserable, tangled messes and those which are intentionally fashioned together to join two separate things together as one. We work to remove the bad knots that cause marriages to unravel, and fashion secure knots that hold marriages together. We're just here to help you get the kinks out! #TIKL #KnottyLove