You Are Beautiful! Part 1

Many of us remember the first time we looked in a mirror and disliked the reflection that was staring back at us.  It was either our thighs were too thick, our hips were too big, or for me, it was the huge gap in my front teeth, that made me want to break the mirror.  Even though, I had many people around me telling me that I was pretty, it was so hard for me to believe.  I just did not look like the beautiful girls I admired on TV.

Fast forward several years and here we are as wives, mothers, and successful career women, still hating on the image in the mirror.  The funny thing is, that it is still some of the same flaws, and a few new ones.  My thighs are too thick, my hips are huge, my face has wrinkles and, now for me, it is the tummy pooch from 3 C-sections, that I can not get rid of.  We look in the mirror and think, “I just do not look like the beautiful women in the media.”.  We decide that we are not beautiful, because we do not resemble the movie stars, supermodels, or women on the front of magazines at the grocery store. So, we decide we have to make our self beautiful, no matter the cost.

A Dove survey found that only 4% of women worldwide consider themselves beautiful. This is heartbreaking to me.  Society is obsessed with physical beauty and unfortunately we are caught in the trap. The media creates an ideal of beauty which is unattainable for most women, yet still we chase after it.  Would you believe, that 8 out of 10 women are dissatisfied with what they see.  Some actually see a distorted image in the mirror.  80 percent of women over-estimate their size.  They look in the mirror and see ugliness and fat.  Sadly, we see this in social media, when a young girl posts a selfie and asks, “Am I pretty?”  It is these types of behaviors and mindsets that send many women to the world of plastic surgery.  Ironically, we cut our face or body, to get what we think is the ideal face or body.  However, plastic surgery is not a permanent fix, so what happens?  They go under the knife again and again.  How much pain do we have to endure, to find ourselves beautiful?

If you are like me and other women, body image has been an issue for many years.  Poor body image begins at a very early age.  Even normal weight and under weight girls want to lose weight.  They are going on diets because they think they are fat and unattractive.  From the beginning of time, women have tried to force their bodies to be something they were not.  It started with bone corsets and has evolved into extreme dieting and exercise.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am passionate and a true believer that proper diet and exercise are very important to our health.  However, like anything else, it can become an obsession and even an addiction.  All women should desire to be healthy.  When a woman is healthy she has an attractive glow about her.  She has wonderful color in her face and skin.  Being healthy gives us more energy and puts a little pep in our step.  When a woman is doing what she can to be healthy, she looks and feels more beautiful.  Proper diet and exercise should be used to get healthy, not look like what society says we need to be or fit into a certain size clothing.

Why is it that society says that we are supposed to be pencil-thin to be beautiful?  I don’t know about you, but I have never been called a stick and I don’t think I ever will be.  Guess what though, I am OK with that.  Sister, do not fall for the belief that your body is not good enough or beautiful.  Remember Marilyn Monroe?  Society would say today, that her size 12 curvy body was not beautiful.  Would you agree or disagree?  After all, she was on the cover of every

American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962), circa 1950. (Photo by L. J. Willinger/Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

magazine and the desire of all men.  How could we not find her beautiful?  We need to start embracing our bodies, curves and all, instead of trying to cover it.  As women we can and should have confidence in our physical beauty!

Would you believe, that you, are the only person that can make you feel that you are not beautiful? It is true.  You are the one that convinces yourself.  We have to stop looking to other people on how to be beautiful, and accept that we are beautiful, just the way we are.  We, women, have to redefine beauty for ourselves.  We have to retrain our brains on what true beauty is.  Believe it or not, every woman defines her own standard of beauty.  When we reject the rigid beauty standards set by society, we are more likely to have a positive body image and become happier with how we look.  Beauty builds confidence and confidence amplifies beauty!

We need to look in the mirror everyday and say, “This is who I am, and I am beautiful.”  God designed you.  He created us beautifully with soft skin and hair and bodies that have curves. “He is the creator of all things beautiful and delights in this beauty.” We must embrace this truth and admire what we see in the mirror.  What a woman does with what God gave her, is what makes her attractive.  So, be proud of what the Good Lord gave you!

Building & Strengthening Intimacy

Would you believe me if I told you that intimacy starts outside of the bedroom?  Believe it or not, it is true.  As husbands and wives, we need to build close relationships with each other outside of the sexual realm.  True intimacy in marriage is developed when we share our experiences and feelings with the one we love.

First off, intimacy is not all just about physical sex.  Rather, it is about two people who feel safe enough to reveal themselves to each other.  Building this type of intimacy, however, does not come easy.  In the beginning, your relationship was likely two souls yearning to be with each other every minute of the day.  The longer you have been married, though, the harder that type of intimacy is to maintain. No longer is it based on the sensual fireworks, now it is more built on trust, respect, honesty, and time spent together with each other.

As husband and wife, we need to develop a great friendship with each other by sharing EVERY aspect of our lives together.  This happens when we discuss all ranges of topics with our spouse, and it can be anything from our favorite movie to the latest in politics.  No matter how many times we have discussed an issue with our spouse, there is always something new to learn.  We also bond and strengthen intimacy when we do activities together.  This can be anything from watching your favorite TV show together, to hiking the Appalachian mountains as a couple.  Friends, our marriages need time to laugh and unwind in order to make it through the hard times that may come.  We bolster the intimacy in our marriage when we make the connection with our spouse intellectually and emotionally, as well as physically.

Another way we can create or strengthen intimacy is by worshiping and praying together.  Spiritual intimacy occurs when we are both in the Word, praying for each other and attending church as a couple.  Pray for your spouse in his presence, but also pray for him in private.  This is NOT an opportunity to ask God to fix your husband (that is not what praying for your spouse means)!  Instead, pray for God’s will to be fulfilled in your spouse’s life.  Further, if you really want to find out what true intimacy means, worship together as husband and wife. This simple act is a foolproof way to knit your souls closer.  If you feel disconnected from your spouse, try worshiping together and see what miraculous things God can do for your marriage.

We have talked about intellectual intimacy and spiritual intimacy, now we will discuss the importance of physical intimacy.  As you strengthen your friendship and your spiritual relationship, you will see tremendous growth in your physical relationship.  Physical intimacy is more than just sex.  It can be holding hands, cuddling on the couch or a long drawn out hug.  On occasion these physical acts do lead to something more, however, it does not always have to go somewhere.  Sometimes all you need is to cuddle on the couch and fall asleep in each other’s arms.  Physical intimacy is built through both touching and eye contact.  Husbands can achieve this when they put their arm around their wife as they are sitting down, and wives build physical intimacy when they smile at their husband as if he was the only person that matters in the world.  

Of course, one other component of physical intimacy is sex.  It should come as no surprise that men rank sex very high on their list of marital importance, as they feel most connected to their wives when they are physically intimate.  Sex is a gauge for a couple’s level of intimacy, and is also a way to create and strengthen said intimacy in marriage.  Marital sex is God’s way to protect married couples from sexual temptation.  Wives, it is so true that when sexual intimacy is at its lowest, Satan’s attacks are at their highest.  We create that one-flesh bond during sexual intimacy, but when we get distracted and fail to make it a priority, Satan sees a weakness and takes the opportunity to attack our marriages.  So yes, more sex is the answer!  However, it has to be borne out of true intimacy, not just “the daily chore”.

As I have said before, the longer couples are married, the harder it is to maintain intimacy.  Below are a few ideas to try to help increase the intimacy in your marriage:

  1.  Play footsie.
  2.  Genuinely ask how his or her day went.
  3.  Kiss upon waking, before going to sleep and parting from one another.
  4.  Touch your spouse’s leg or hand while driving.
  5.  Sit on your spouse’s lap.
  6.  Call or text your spouse just to let them know that you are thinking about them (there are some really good memes that you can use).
  7.  Spoon while sleeping.

Remember though, spending time together is the best way to strengthen the intimacy in your marriage.  First, set aside time each day to talk and listen to each other while holding hands.  This is best done while the kids are gone to school or are already in bed; that way you can focus solely on each other.  Also, be sure to set regular date nights.  It does not have to be anything elaborate, just make sure you get to spend uninterrupted time together.  Sad as it may be, it is not uncommon for couples later on in their marriage to say, “We just really did not know each other.”  That is why it is so important that you set aside this time to focus only on strengthening the intimacy in your marriage.  True intimacy is never fully attained, so continue to work at it as long as you have your spouse here with you!

 

Giving Your Marriage A Fair Fight

Can you remember the first time you and your husband got into a fight?  Chances are you do.  When something as nerve-wrecking as a full-on screaming fight rocks the love boat, it is not easily forgotten.  Thinking back, you can probably remember the emotions that you felt, the exact words that were said, and even the ways in which the relationship changed afterward.  Unfortunately, no one told us on our wedding day the correct way to fight in marriage.  Notice I said the correct way to fight, not how to stop fighting.  Truth is, we are both sinners living together under one roof, creating a life together.  There will be disagreements.  However, there is a right way and a wrong way to navigate any conflict that comes our way.

First off, we have to remember that we do love the person we are fighting with.  Do not try to purposefully hurt your husband.  This will only harm your relationship, and may cause him to try and get even.  The same goes for husbands also (you know what they say about a woman scorned).  Do not in any way label or call each other names.  Do not try to tell each other how the other one should feel about the situation.  You are not in their shoes, and do not know what they have experienced.  Trying to tell someone how they should feel comes off as disrespectful and unsympathetic.  Just remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to our feelings.

Also, learn from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and do not play the blame game.  Own your own mistake and admit when you are wrong.  Under no circumstances should you bring up “old baggage” or any other issues into this fight.  Discuss only the subject you are fighting about.  You can attack and criticize the problem, but not each other.  Remember, you are fighting with the one you love.

In order to have a productive fight, there should be no yelling.  Try to keep your voice at a calm neutral level.  If you feel that things are getting a little heated or out of control, take a time-out to cool down.  However, do not put the issue off.  Make sure to set a time and place that the discussion will continue, such as after he takes a walk or after I take a shower.  Just be sure that both of you are in agreement with the time and the place.  A fair fight consists of both husband and wife being ready, and not taken by surprise.  Do not just get up and walk out with out an explanation.

Fair fighting consists of both parties agreeing to not use sarcasm or eye-rolling.  After all, you are adults, not teenagers.  There should be no lashing out; the truth does not always have to hurt.  Also, there should be no silent treatments.  Nothing can get resolved when one person refuses to talk.  When fighting with the one you love, remain humble and forgiving.  Cry if you need to, but don’t let it distract from the issue at hand.  To keep the fight from turning nasty, allow humor to be a part of it (laughter truly is the best medicine).  You may even consider setting up a safe word for when either of you feel uncomfortable.  A good safe word is one that will make you both forget about the heat of the moment and bust out laughing, something silly like “butt-munch”.

In order to fight fair, we have to intently listen to what the other person is saying, while holding back any defensiveness or interruptions.  For the most effective way of expressing yourself, use descriptive language such as “I feel” or “I think”, instead of “when you do this” or ” because you make me”.  Our goal is to extend God’s grace to the person we love.  Do not be afraid to ask for clarification of what your spouse is saying, it is better to not assume anything.

The ending of a fight should permit growth in your marriage.  This is why it is important to not keep score.  If one wins and the other loses, both have lost because the marriage is damaged.  Conflict, when resolved in a healthy way, can take a relationship to a deeper level.  Once you have arrived at a compromise (or at least resolved the issue in a God-honoring way), plan to implement these changes immediately.  Just remember to be flexible, because it will not be easy at first.  However, conflict resolution can also lead to a deeper intimate relationship.  Hence, the term “make-up sex”.

It is important that we embrace the idea of healthy conflicts, because there will be fights in marriage.  We honor God when we find a healthy way to resolve conflict, instead of letting it build into negative emotions.  Of course, the first thing to do is pray.  Pray before the discussion starts, pray for God’s guidance during the discussion, and pray once it has ended, thanking Him and praising Him for your marriage.  It is important to remember that you are both on the same team and you are both fighting for one thing: your God-given marriage.

Finally, there are three very important things to remember when a fight arises.  The first and most obvious is that at no time is physical harm part of healthy conflict.  Secondly, you need to keep the fight confined within your marriage.  This is not the time to announce everything to friends and family on Facebook.  The last thing is that if you value your marriage, the option of divorce should never be mentioned at all.  Once that door is open, it is always open, and it is better to keep that door closed forever.

By implementing these changes in your next conflict, you will begin to see the results that healthy fighting can bring into your relationship.  I challenge you to try these tips the next time conflict arises.  It will be better for your marriage and honoring to God.

 

 

 

Getting Our Kids To Talk

One day you are playing, laughing, and having a great time bonding with your toddler on the floor.  Then, the next thing you know that happy-go-lucky toddler is now a tween and running up the stairs, slamming her bedroom door shut just to keep from talking to you.  In the back of your mind you are thinking, “Where did I go wrong”?

Don’t worry!  What you are experiencing is completely normal.  Children go through different stages in their development and as a result, so does their ability to communicate.  They go from learning to say words, to repeating everything they hear, to slamming doors to keep from talking to us.  Communication, though, should never stop.  It is vital to keep the lines of communication with your child open at all times.

Getting our children to talk to us is an ongoing process, and it begins at birth.  When your newborn cries, you pick him up, which communicates to him that you are there for him.  As you listen to your toddler sing, and then sing along with her, you are saying, “I am interested in who you are and what you are doing”.  When you pick your elementary school age kids up and ask how their day was, you are communicating to them, “I care about you and want to know the things you experience.”  As your teenager sulks in her seat and lets out a big sigh, you reach over to squeeze her hand and say, “I am here for you.”  These gestures let our kids know that we have been there for them from the beginning, and want to continue to have a close connection with them.

Of course, sometimes there are breakdowns in the communication, or it simply stops altogether. Especially as children get older, they become more private and less likely to open up to their parents.  Some of this is because they do not know exactly how their parents will react, other times it is because they do not know how to put into words exactly what they feel.  Remember, kids tend to shut down if parents begin overreacting to what they are trying to say.  Rather than give a lengthy explanation, they would just rather not deal with it.  When talking with your child, there are some key points to take into consideration:

  1. When they initiate conversation, drop everything and respond.  How you respond is crucial to creating and maintaining openness.
  2. Let your children vent, and let them figure out their own solutions. You can help brainstorm ideas, but in the end children have to solve their own problems.  In doing this, they will be more likely to seek you out the next time they have a problem.
  3. Do not get angry.  Our children need us to stay neutral, and they want us to remain calm and collected.  Remember, closeness to your child is your priority.
  4. Reaffirm how much you love your children and how you appreciate them coming to you.  Let them know that you always want to have a close relationship with them.

What can you do if your children will not initiate conversation? How can you get them to open up and talk to you?  Start by talking about something that interests them.  Ask them about their favorite football team or their favorite music video.  Children are more likely to talk when they realize that you are interested in the things that are important to them.  This builds trust, and nurtures the close relationship that we as parents strive for.  The more they feel like they can talk to you about the little things, the more likely they will open up about the bigger issues.  There are some things to remember when they do begin to open up.  First, be completely available to them, and this includes turning off the cell phone.  Listen closely to what they are saying without interrupting.  Be sure to ask nonjudgmental questions.  Do not ask “why” questions, no one wants to feel like they are on trial.  Do not press them to say more than they want, just be thankful for what they did share.  If things get a little too heated, take a time out.  If you want your child to continue to talk, you must remain calm.

If you want your relationship with your child to continue to grow, then you have to make time for them.  Be sure you take time to connect with them everyday.  Also, talk to them in private; they do not like to be ambushed in front of an audience.  Get in their space, such as watching a football game or playing “Just Dance” with them.  When you add special time into your daily routines, kids will begin to view this as an opportunity to open up.  Parents, we must refrain from spying or snooping.  Yes, you need to check your children’s social media accounts and texts, but you cannot purposefully seek out others to gain information on them.  If you do happen to find something on their social media, do not immediately attack your child.  Give him or her a chance to own up to it and talk about what happened.  Sometimes kids may find it easier to open up to you in a text rather than in person.  Do not be offended if this is how your child feels.  At least they feel comfortable enough to open up to you, no matter the form.

Talking with our children is vital.  Positive communication builds self-esteem, and when we listen to them, they feel important and loved.  Being able to communicate with our children can also help protect them from danger.  Open communication makes them less susceptible to peer pressure and better able to handle hard decisions.  Once they are in their teenage years, communication is especially important.  If you have a close relationship, your teen will be more likely to open up about the important things such as relationships, school, sex, and drugs.  Our prayer is that they will come to us, instead of either turning to friends or social media for guidance, or just dealing with it alone.  I do not know about you, but I want my children to take their father and me for granted because they know that we are and will be there for them.  I pray they go to God first and us next.

“Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him”         Psalm 127:3

No “Trash Talk” Allowed

We have all been in the situation where a group of women are all talking, and suddenly the subject turns to our husbands.  “My husband thinks he is Mr. Fix-it, but is more like Mr. Break-it, haha.”  ” My husband snores so loud I dream about lawn mowers all night.”  “Sometimes my husband makes me feel like I am raising 3 kids instead of 2.”  After a few of these stories, the group erupts into laughter.  But what seems like innocent, harmless talk between a group of wives can be detrimental to your marriage.

This seemingly harmless talk is in reality “trash talking” or “husband bashing”, and it destroys our husbands from the inside out.  It damages their character, their reputation, and their relationship with us, their wives.  It may seem innocent and just what wives are supposed to do, but it is disrespectful, dishonoring, and sometimes even humiliating to our husbands. 

Trash talking has some very serious consequences.  If your husband overhears or finds out about the negative things that were said, not only will he be hurt, but it can also cause resentment towards his wife.  He will feel disrespected and unappreciated, and this could cause your husband to stop doing the things he normally does around the house.  He will think to himself, “there is no point in it, she does not appreciate me anyway”.  Also, once those negative words are spoken, you can not take them back, and your husband will not forget what you have said.  Unfortunately, your group of friends will not forget what was said either.  They have lost some degree of respect for your husband, and you can bet they will tell their husbands what was shared.  Now your husband looks like less of a man to all of them, and the damage is done.

The most serious consequence of trash talking your husband is giving the devil a foothold in your marriage.  When you say negative things about your husband, you are in essence speaking negatively about yourself. After all, you chose this man to spend forever with.  Not to mention, if your husband is a child of God, then you are speaking negatively about the body of Christ.  Remember, he is the head of the household just like Christ is the head of the church.  When you speak badly about your husband, you speak badly about CHRIST.  No one likes to be criticized, or have their shortcomings broadcast to everyone, especially by the person they love and trust the most.  How would you like it if you walked by a group of men and overheard your husband telling them how you had put on a few pounds?  It would not feel very good.  In fact, it would hurt us very deeply to hear that come from our husbands’ mouths. Ladies, Satan wants nothing more than to drive a wedge between you and your husband, and seemingly innocent “trash talk” is one way that he accomplishes this.

The Bible tells us to honor our husbands, and one way we can do that is through the words that we speak.  Wives, we need to say only positive about our husbands.  Of course, this will take a conscious effort on our part.  We really do have to think before we speak, and try to focus only on the good.  Remember, he has seen ALL of you, the good, the bad, and the ugly, yet he chooses not to broadcast it to the public. Speaking positive things about your husband will only help your marriage.  Your relationship will grow tremendously when you choose to uplift your husband in public instead of tearing him down.

ENCOURAGING THINGS TO SAY TO YOUR HUSBAND

  1. Thank you for being my best friend!
  2. Thank you for taking care of me.
  3. You look great today!
  4. You are my favorite blessing.
  5. You are an awesome dad!
  6. I love being your wife!
  7. Thank you for helping me.
  8. You are such a hard worker.
  9. I am so proud of you!
  10. I really appreciate everything that you do.

I believe we need to surround ourselves with marriage-positive people.  As wives after God’s own heart, we also need to make a point to walk away when the “husband trash talk” starts.  This will probably make some people uncomfortable, but it may be the eye-opener that someone in your group needs.

Ladies, let’s all get into the habit of uplifting our husbands in public.  This will feel weird and look odd to others at first, but the more positive things we say, the more positive we become about our marriage and our husbands. Our words can speak either life or death, and we are doing the former when we use uplifting, encouraging, loving words about our husbands. Decide now to speak life into your marriage and your husband.  He really does deserve it!

 

 

 

 

Family Bonding Time

We have all seen the TV shows with the happy family sitting around the kitchen table, and a beautiful dinner being shared over busting conversation. As wives and moms, when we see this we can’t help but wonder, “Is this really what family life is supposed to be like?”  The answer is yes and no.  Yes, a family is supposed to spend time together and talk to each other, but no, it does not have to be over a beautiful, time consuming dinner (pizza delivery works just fine).  The most important thing is that you are bonding through family time.

Now you may be asking, “How in the world are we supposed to find the time to have family bonding, and is it really that important?”  Yes, it is vital to your family relationship that you make time out of your busy schedules for family bonding.  If you are like me, you are probably thinking that you already have plenty of family time. After all, we have 2 or 3 football games a week, we drive them to and from practices, we drive to and from school everyday, and we all ride to church together, is that not enough?  Well sadly, no it is not.  You may be in the car as a family, but you are not spending quality time with each other.

You see, the quality of time is more important than the quantity of time. Quality family time consists of the parent talking, listening, and bonding with their children.  Instead of just being a chauffeur, show genuine interest in their lives.  Children can sense when their parents are present and available to them, and this creates a sense of belonging and security for your child.  Also, build your children’s self-esteem through praise and encouragement.  Instead of constant criticism of their faults, draw attention to their good qualities so your children feel proud of themselves. Finally, no matter what their age is, hug them, kiss them, and show affection to them!  Your kids should always know that you will always love them, no matter the circumstance.

I know in today’s busy world that many people are working more and more hours, and adding endless lists of activities onto their schedules.  It is because of this that making time for quality family bonding is essential.  We do not even realize the huge influence family life has on our children.  It is during this time that our children learn how to deal with relationships, cope with certain situations, and learn valuable life lessons.  This is also when we can take the time to instill in our children positive family values.  Remember, if values are not being learned at home, they will be learned elsewhere.

I want to be clear that quality family bonding time does not always mean sitting around the dinner table every night.  Trust me, I know that is not always possible.  However, it does mean making a commitment to adjusting your schedules at every opportunity to allow for family time.  Of course, at first you may get a few raised eyebrows, but don’t worry about how this looks to other people.  God calls us to be radical and different, and there is nothing more radical in today’s society than slowing down and intentionally spending time with your family.

Exactly how you spend the time is completely up to your particular family. There is no right or wrong, just make sure it is quality time.  You may decide to watch a television show, read a book together, play a board game, take a hike, or just sit and talk.  Use this chance to enter your child’s world.  On some occasions, you may want to let your children choose how to spend the family time.  And yes, it is perfectly OK if they choose video games (we have had many fun, family nights playing Mario Chase)! But, whatever your family decides to do together, you must commit to it.  As you spend more and more time togther, you will see a very special relationship of trust and acceptance develop in your family.

Quality time needs to be a priority for yourself, your marriage, and your children.  One of the ways to make sure that you are spending quality time is to worship together as a family.  Teaching your children about Christ and the gospel will will make a major difference in their lives.  If Jesus is the foundation of our families, what else do we need?

Family bonding can also be achieved by taking advantage of and savoring life’s ordinary moments.  The next time you are driving your kids to school, have everyone put their devices down (or if you are like my car, turn the music off) and have a meaningful conversation.  Ask them how their day was, what is going on with their friends, or if they have questions about anything that they have recently seen or heard.  Or the next time you share a meal together, start it off by asking each person one thing they would like to pray about, and then pray for everyone’s requests.  Just make the most out of every opportunity you get.  Our children will not stay young and under our roofs forever.  Cherish and savor each and every moment that God has given you together as a family.

 

 

Say Goodbye To The To-Do List In Bed

Let me paint a picture for you. The house is quiet, the two of you are lying in bed, and your husband has that look in his eye. Your first reaction might be to say “not tonight” or “I have a headache”, but you go along with it.  Yet in the moment, all you can think about are the things that need to be done.  There are dishes in the sink, laundry that needs to be folded, the dog needs to be walked, kids’ lunches need to be packed, and you have to iron your clothes for work tomorrow.  Then before you know it, the romantic moment is over and you barely remember a thing.

Sound familiar? To any wife and mother it probably does.  Fear not though, the romance stealing to-do list can be conquered.  There are some things that we can do to help turn our focus to our husbands and away from everything else.  First, if you are finding it difficult to calm your mind, try turning on some music.  In this case, we want soft soothing music, this is not the time for rocking out to heavy metal!  You also need something that is going to relax and help focus your mind.  Something that works for me is focusing on my senses. Think about what you smell. Can you smell his favorite cologne, or maybe the fragrance of a lit candle? Next, focus on what you hear.  Is there soft music playing in the background, and can you hear his breath in your ear?  Finally, think about what you feel.  Is it the weight of his body on top of yours?  Do you feel his hands touching your legs or his lips on your skin?  If so, now you are present and “all in” to the moment.

However, before we do any of this we must first pray that God will bless us in this area.  Prayer is the only way that any part of our lives can be truly conquered.  Wives, we have to go to God and ask him to give us the strength to overcome the to-do list, and to find our joy in sex again.

We know that God created sex as a gift for husbands and wives to grow closer to each other.  We also know that God created it to be enjoyable and pleasurable.  This is hard though, when all you can think about are the overwhelming amount of things that need to be done.  In order to overcome this, we must turn our focus elsewhere.  By turning our thoughts away from the ominous to-do list and onto God, we will begin to experience something incredible.  He will transform our thoughts, and we can then focus on glorifying Him and honoring Him through giving all of ourselves to our husbands.  When we focus on God, we give Him the invitation to bless us and help us feel a deep emotional connection with our husbands.  We can experience sex the way that God intended it, as “one flesh”, hot and passionate.

Of course, the to-do list will still be there when everything is done, but you will not care.  You have given yourself to your husband and to the moment, with body, mind, heart, and soul.  You are both glorifying God and focusing on the moment with your husband.  You then say to yourself,” the to-do list can wait”!

 

Unwrapping The Gift of Sex

 

It all began in the Garden of Eden.  God created Adam and Eve for each other: “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).  The Bible says that we are to be joined together as husband and wife, bone of bone and flesh of flesh.  God created sex and it was good!

Sex in marriage is a blessing.  It is a way to truly share yourself and get to know one another.  God’s desire for sex is that you give yourself to your husband, body, mind and soul.  God created sex as a way for husbands and wives to become “one flesh”.  It is a way for us to connect with each other like no other person can.  When you and your husband are in the moment, there is a connection, a feeling, that no one else can experience but the two of you.

Sex is a gift given by God as a way to strengthen our marriages. God is not disappointed or surprised by our sexual desires. He wants us to feel passion and pleasure.  However, it is more than just that.  Sex is a way that husbands and wives can become more secure with each other.  Wives, can you think of a time when you feel more safe than when you are lying in your bed completely wrapped in your husband’s arms?  I can’t.

One of the greatest benefits of the marriage bed is the intimacy that it creates.  Making love is the most intimate moment a husband and wife can experience.  It is a way to completely share yourself with your husband.  The total giving of our souls and bodies is a reminder that we were created specifically for each other.  It is this exclusivity and intimacy that molds us into “one flesh” as God desires.

Of course there are times when sex and intimacy are difficult to attain.  If this is the case for you, do not worry.  You are not alone.  It is important to remember and accept the fact that men and women were created different sexually.  Men were created to be very visual and to desire sex more frequently. Knowing this, it is important that we as wives realize that our bodies and our sensuality is the greatest tool that God gave us to serve and bless our husbands. Whereas with us women, everything is tied to our emotions.  We need to feel wanted and desired, and if those feelings are not there then we are not into it. Sex should be enjoyable.  It should be something that we look forward to and something that we yearn for.  When that connection is not there, the yearning and desire is lost.

Sex with our husbands should make us feel special, cherished, wanted and emotionally connected.  However, to get to that point, it is important for husbands and wives to understand and accept each other’s backgrounds and experiences with sex.  It is vital for our relationships that we talk openly and honestly about our views, our fears, and our wants when it comes to sex.  These types of conversations can help escalate our sexual intimacy in our marriage to a whole new level.

It is true that God created sex and it is good, but he did not create it solely for us.  He also created it as a way to worship Him. Glorifying God through marital sex is a tremendous blessing!  It is when we are in the most intimate of moments, both spiritually and physically, that we are reminded of God’s plan and His blessings on us.  It is important that we view sex as a form of worship to God that only the two of us enter into together.  Amazing things can happen when we invite God into our marriage and bedroom.  Not only do we see His vision and His will, but we also feel His presence and His blessing on our union. God gave us this gift of sex. Now is the time to unwrap it and enjoy it.

 

 

To Chore or Not To Chore

As a substitute teacher, I see many things that makes me raise an eyebrow or do the whole face in palm action.  Recently though, the most troubling trend has been the lack of responsibility kids take.  Whether it is keeping up with their backpacks, turning in their homework, or studying for a test, the lack of responsibility is overwhelming.  They would rather put the blame on someone else, than admit that something is their fault.  They might not be able to tell you where their backpack is, but they can sure tell you whose fault it is.

These kinds of situations make me question if as parents, are we raising an irresponsible generation?  Building responsibility in children starts at a very young age.  How many remember singing or still do sing, “The Cleanup Song”, as we remind our young toddlers to put away their toys?  By teaching children to put away their toys, clothes, or even their shoes, we are helping them learn to take responsibility for themselves. One of the best ways to teach this is by assigning children specific chores to do. Of course, it may not be a good idea to let your three-year-old empty the dishwasher or wash the knives! So when deciding on what chores to assign, make sure they are age-appropriate.

Performing chores not only teaches our children responsibility, but also the value of work.  If they learn this concept now, it will not be as difficult for them as they get older.  Understanding the value of work allows them to prioritize whatever occupation they have in the future, as well as striving to build a strong marriage.

Assigning chores to children makes them feel needed and important. My kids love the idea that they get to help their mom and dad around the house. Chores also teach our children the basics of kindness and empathy. When children are assigned chores, they get to see just what it takes to run a household, and even better what it takes to keep it running.  The truth is there is always plenty more that needs to be done.

Some of the chores that my kids have been given include feeding and watering the pets, putting away their clean laundry, emptying the dishwasher (I leave this to my 12 year old daughter), cleaning their rooms, picking up their shoes, picking up their video game clutter, and putting away all their toys.  Just recently we have taught our 14 year old son to cut the weeds around the house, and I am working on teaching my 12 year old daughter how to do laundry.  Notice I said working on.  It is still a work in progress, let me tell you.

Michael and I also feel that chores teach our children obedience.  When they have been told something to do, they are to do it without arguing or grumbling.  Now, this does not happen all the time.  If anyone knows my 9 year old, then you certainly understand! However that is our goal, and what we are trying to accomplish.  My children do know that there are consequences to not doing their chores, just like there will be consequences to not completing their tasks in the workplace.  Of course, if you decide to set consequences, they need to be age-appropriate and fit your family dynamic.

In the end you have to decide for yourself if chores are for your family or not.  If you do decide to assign chores to your kids, you will have to make the decision of how many, how often, and what specific duties you will have.  To help with that decision, below are some charts of age-appropriate chores.  Hopefully, you will find some that fit well with your family.  Good luck and happy choring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am A Submissive Wife

If we all admit the truth, this is a very touchy subject.  There is so much controversy surrounding submissiveness.  The Bible clearly tells us wives are to submit to our husbands, but exactly what does that entail?  The world’s definition of submission is a person being told what they can and can’t do, allowing themselves to be controlled by another person, or most shockingly, even being tied up or whipped.  Wow!  The world is so messed up right now.

The Biblical definition of submission is when a wife willingly does what her husband thinks is best.  Did you catch that?  Submission is not being forced, but doing so out of a willing heart.  I am a submissive wife.  I willingly let my husband have control of our relationship.  This does not mean that he tells me what I can and can not do.  He is not my father, but my husband.  I allow him to make decisions and follow along with his wishes willingly and lovingly.

Being a submissive wife is such a blessing.  Seeing my husband in control is very sexy and attractive.  Come on ladies, who doesn’t like for the man to take the lead?  As his submissive wife, he is more sensitive to my feelings and emotions.  I honestly believe this type of relationship has brought us closer and more connected with each other.

On the other hand, being a submissive wife does not mean that you do not matter.  It is not an invitation to be walked all over.  The way a submissive relationship works best is when both spouses’ wishes and desires are considered.

We submit to our husbands as a way of showing honor and respect to him as the spiritual head of the household, just like we are supposed to submit to God.  Now, sometimes submitting to God seems a lot easier than submitting to your husband, but in the end doing both will bless you and fill you with joy.  As one of my favorite celebrities Candace Cameron Bure once said, “I would rather be viewed as weak to the world because I am submissive to my husband…than be weak in the Lord because I submit to the views of the world!”.  Wives, we will submit to something.  Will it be to the Lord and our husbands, or will it be to the world?

Below are ways that you can submit to your husband today.

  1. Let him make all the important financial decisions for your house.
  2. Work together on all important issues, but allow him to have the final decision.
  3. Let him be the spiritual head of the household.
  4. Acknowledge that God is the one who has placed your husband in this role.
  5. Show respect to your husband in all things, even when sharing your opinion.
  6. Resist your desire to take control.
  7. Always pray for your husband.
  8. Never undermine your husband as head of the household.
  9. Put him above everyone and everything (except Christ).
  10. Willingly give all of yourself to your husband and enjoy showing your love intimately.
  11. Listen intently to him.
  12. Humble yourself and show him grace.
  13. Do not trash talk your husband.  Always lift him up to everyone.
  14. Make time for your husband.

Of course before we can do any of this we must first submit to God.  This will give us the motivation we need to lovingly and willingly submit to our husband.

 

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