For Christian women

Thoughts on godliness, wisdom and everyday life

Is There Hope For Your Marriage? Part2

Did you ever feel affection for your spouse?  Was there a time that all you wanted was to spend the rest of your life with Him?  Is Christ the center of your life?  If these are true, then I believe there is hope for your marriage.

I want to make clear that I am addressing typical marriage problems.  I am aware that some of you are in pretty bad situations.  Maybe your husband has given up altogether.  For some of you counseling is needed.  If your situation is severe, this may not be for you.

Many years ago I read a book on love languages.  It was before I was even married.  Through the years, with friendships, family, my husband and children, I believe there is something to it.  The premise goes something like this: there are several love languages.  Things we do to show love and how we feel loved.  Oftentimes a person has more than just one.  You can usually figure out what someone’s love language is by the way they show love.  This fits into another post I wrote about concerning the importance of knowing your husband well.

My husband and I talked love languages early on.  Our love languages are different from one another.  As an example, one of my husband’s love languages is acts of service.  I had to learn that when he did things for me, he was showing me love, even if it didn’t mean much to me.  But I also had to learn to do acts of service to show, which made him feel loved.  One of my love languages is words of affirmation.  He learned that it was important to me to hear those words of affirmation, but also learned to appreciate it when I gave him the same.  We have other love languages also.  We have learned to interpret one another’s actions whether itnis our own love language or not and both feel very loved by each other.  We have both put a lot of effort into it.

There are also some basic needs that men and women have.  A large percent of men and women have the same basic needs from their spouse.  I have mentioned the book His Needs, Her Needs before.  It is a great book to read together as there are discussion questions at the end of every chapter.  We read it after being married for over 10 years and still learned things about one another.

I’m sure it will be of no surprise to you that a husband’s number one need is sex.  So many women have a hard time with this.  I’ve heard the same thing from many women, and men.  You get into bed at night, talk a little bit.  Hubby starts showing signs that he wants to be intimate, and we blow them off, often and for various reasons.  Hubby then is in a bad mood that can even extend into the next day.  So many things fit into how we respond to hubby hints at intimacy.  Our life circumstances, hormones, our overall relationship, insecurities and so on.  Many women responded to my marriage survey, and on the sex question most brought up the same thing.  In a nutshell they said they wished their husband understood that intimacy starts before the bedroom.  I’m not going to go into detail her, but my answer to this is, tell him.  We don’t talk enough with our spouses about sex generally.  I believe that husbands and wives each have some of their own frustrations regarding sex and often our discussions about it are negative.  A sexually satisfied husband is a happy husband.  In my experience, and the same for  others I have talked to, if you have a good sex life, you will most likely improve your marriage in many other ways.  Like I’ve said before, this doesn’t mean you laying there, letting him do his thing and counting the minutes until he is done.  God created sex to be a beautiful satisfying act for both of you.  It is important to your husband that he is desired by you and you are fulfilled by being with him.  Take time to communicate about intimacy, and explain your hesitations and things that may help you.  A good sex life is so important to the health of your marriage.

I don’t have the book in front of me as I lent it out, so I don’t remember all of the needs a man has.  I do remember one of the needs is domestic.  A warm meal and a clean house.  I think one of the needs was to have a partner in activities.  Finding things you enjoy doing together.  For instance, my husband likes to explore new places.  This encompasses a lot for him.  On our anniversary we went to a rustic hot springs.  We also hiked down to a waterfall.  I have learned to enjoy his definition of exploring.

Having a good marriage can take work.  If you are in a bad place right now, working through the tough times can be so rewarding.  Don’t wait for him to be husband of the year.  Start taking some initiative to work on the things that you know are important to him.  Almost always, his response will be positive.  I know from talking to some women that being in a bad marriage can be so awful and feel hopeless.  The good news is that our hope is in the Lord who can do more than we can even ask or think.

Feel free to write me about anything.  I will write back.  I also have put together a book list depending on you situation.

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Is There Hope For Your Marriage? Part 1

I have not written in a little while as I haven’t been feeling well.  Thankfully I have started a new health program that is giving me some better days.  My husband and I also went away for several days to celebrate our 18th anniversary.  Going away alone is something very important to us.  It is always refreshing to spend time away.

One of my Pastor’s growing up believed that problems in the marriage were the direct fault of the husband.  He made a good Biblical case for this, and being young at the time it sounded good to me.  Through the years, dealing with my own marriage, and counseling other people on theirs, I’m not sure I agree.  In marriage, we are dealing with two sinners, therefore the blame could be placed on both sides.  There is oftentimes an abundance of selfishness on both parts.  Neither party wants to budge.  Each blames the other.

Not feeling well recently, I spent a lot of time in bed, on my trusty tablet.  I decided to do a study on love, both culturally and Biblically.  The world’s idea of love fits right into the dictionaries definition.  Basically, feeling affection towards another.  It is classified as a noun, which I think in some circumstances it is.  Biblically it is also a verb, and in marriage, when you make a commitment before God, family and friends, till death do you part, even though you feel affection towards the man in front of you, you are committing to love him in the verb tense of the word.  That is why the standard vows include things like, better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness in health.

Unfortunately, our culture, even in the Church uses love in the noun form.  That is why, even in the Church we see many unbiblical divorces.  We hear excuses that often include that the initiator of the separation no longer loves their spouse.  They use love in the noun form.  They no longer feel affection towards the person they made a lifelong commitment to.

While 1 Corinthians 13 does not describe love just for the sake of marriage, I choose to use it here as it is well known, and a good example of love in the verb form.  Love is patient and kind.  It never fails, and so on.  Changing the way you think about love is a great first step in changing your marriage.  It is probably a good idea to read through 1 Corinthians 13, and think about how you treat your husband.  I’m sure some of you could tell me stories about how your husband has treated you poorly, hurt you, not shown you love, but I’m dealing with you, and your responsibility to love him, as you committed to on your wedding day.

The same Pastor I mentioned before also had a wonderful picture that he used to describe what happens in marriage.  Like a circle there is a pattern that happens as we respond to the way our spouse behaves.  He behaves badly, and we respond the same and so goes the cycle.  If you love your husband, treat him that way.  In most cases he will respond positively.  Don’t do it because of what you will get in return though.  Remember Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  We still sin, and Christ continues to care for us and love us.  This is the perfect picture of love, our example.

I have written about specifics, and will continue to.  Love is the foundation.  Understanding love is the foundation.

Does your marriage have hope?  To say it doesn’t, is to doubt Christ.  Find your hope in the cross.

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Why I feel so Strongly About Marriage and Other Things

(When I first published this blog, I didn’t realize that the last part of what I wrote got erased. So I had to try to remember what I said. Here it is, complete)

We’ve all heard the saying you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  I think I have come to really understand that.  Five years ago life was great.  I was young and healthy, taking care of and home schooling my four boys.  I adored my husband, and was always seeking to be a better wife and mother.  I had lots of friends.  My faith was important to me, but I had become a little lazy regarding spiritual growth.  Life was good, and I think I took that for granted.

For years I had become the go to gal for some and their problems.  I heard it all.  Especially complaints about marriage.  I got lots of calls and gave a lot of advice.  The best I could.  Often my advice was not taken.  People wanted an easy fix, and they wanted it to be their spouses fault.

If you are in a bad marriage, maybe it is your spouses fault.  Usually, there is fault to be placed on both sides.  Even if your husband is not perfect, you are still responsible to do what God has outlined in scripture.  There are things that you can do to be a better wife and improve your marriage.

Almost five years ago I started getting sick.  It started small.  I started noticing pain in my legs.  I didn’t say anything to anyone for a while.  Slowly more symptoms came.  I was so tired.  I had tremors, seizures, numbness, excruciating pain and more.  As time went on, it got worse and worse.  The most difficult is the pain and feeling unwell almost all the time.  I have several diagnosis, the most serious being autoimmune.

I don’t have much of a life anymore.  I can’t do much.  Many days, I can’t even get up out of bed.  I’ve lost friends, but I do have some good friends that have been there for me.  There is so much I can’t do when I want.  Like cook dinner, clean the house, grocery shop, go to church, go out and have fun just to name a few.  I spend a lot of quality time with my family.  More than ever.  I read a lot.  I get to read scripture and pray like never before.  I have so much time.

Some friends of mine payed for and asked me to try a supplement.  It seemed to work.  I started feeling better.  I was still sick, but I had times when I felt better.  I could go out to dinner with my husband.  I started cleaning in 15 minute increments.  I still had bad days, and mornings were hard, but it was better, and we had hope.  I still have hope.

The last week has been bad, really bad.  I’ve been in bed for a week. I’ll be going to the doctor tomorrow. But I wept for a while today as my husband held me. Yes, I am blessed to have an amazing husband. This has been so hard on him and my children. There have been hard times. I want to be the best wife and mother possible. My family would tell you that I am. I struggle with feeling like a failure, because there is so much I can’t do, even though I do what I can. I also resent some people and their complaining. I know it’s real to them, but I resent that they feel good and can put their energy into making things better, but they don’t. I resent people for not appreciating what they have. I despise the materialism that plagues so many of us.

I want you to know that amidst my situation, I have learned to be thankful for what I have. I’m sad and frustrated by my illness, but I have learned to be grateful for so much. I’ve learned to trust in the sovereignty of God and accept that I don’t understand the mind of Christ. I know He loves me and I rest in that.

I’ve had a good marriage, but I know so many are struggling out there. I know one of the reasons I have a good marriage is that I have put a lot of work into it. I’m also married to a great man.

Whatever your situation, no matter how difficult, to be hopeless is to doubt Christ, His love for us and his work in and through us. Start a gratitude journal, and find something to be thankful for every day. While I have tearful days, I actually am very full of joy most of the time, thanks be to God.

In the beginning as it became clear I wasn’t getting better, I was asking God why? constantly. I never doubted His love and care for me though. I have come to see that there are things I will never understand. I am so trusting in the promises of scripture. I trust in God’s sovereignty and that He will use this for His glory.

If you feel well enough to get up and enjoy your day, be thankfull. Make the most of your time. One reason I’m even writing this as I lay here in my bed typing on my tablet, is that it doesn’t benefit me or anyone else for me to feel sorry for myself. I’m trying to do what I can in my situation.

Suffering changes our perspective, or at least it should. Regardless of your situation, check your priorities. Out of gratitude to Christ and what He has done for us, be the wife that scripture outlines. You will fail. That is what the cross is for. Look to Christ, and know that it is Him who is working in and through you.

All glory be to God.

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Do We Really Know How To Communicate? Communication in Marriage

If you have read any book on marriage, at some point communication is mentioned as the key to a successful marriage. This is nothing new. And yet many people struggle to know how to communicate. Why is that?

First of all, there are two main ways we communicate. Verbally and non-verbally. Sometimes the two don’t match up. We say one thing, and act another, even if not intentionally.

I need to back up a little and explain that you should always be seeking to know your spouse. I wrote a blog on this before, so read that first. If you know your spouse, and you are paying attention, you will learn how your spouse communicates. Learning how he communicates is the key to communicating well with him. Knowing him well will help you in communicating the things that are important to him.

My husband can’t focus in on a lot of details at once, he has a hard time remembering every detail of what I say. Its not because he doesnt listen, it is just how he is. We have long exciting conversations all the time, but if there is something important that I need him to remember, I have to stick to that detail. I’ve also learned that when I approach him with a problem, he needs time to think it through before he can respond. Since I know him well and how he communicates, when he doesn’t remember every detail of a conversation, or he needs time to think through a problem I don’t take it personally as I once did. I also have patience with him and know when he needs space to think through something difficult. I respect him. This is only a small taste of verbal communication.

Non verbal communication can be very difficult too. It’s often the way we feel loved, respected, appreciated and so on. If you don’t know how your husband feels love by your actions, then get to know him, ask him if you have to. Brent tells me he loves me all the time, but it is his words of affirmation and affection that really make me feel loved. And while Brent enjoys affirmation and affection, he is different. One thing that makes Brent feel loved is when I take care of domestic duties. He appreciates a clean house and a warm meal. I can tell by his response to me how much those things mean to him. He also loves that I take time to wear clothes he likes on me. Fixing my hair and looking nice for him means a lot. He also loves participating in fun activities together. I used to have a hard time with that one, but I have learned to really enjoy it. I will be addressing some of these things in more detail later. Instigating intimacy is something that communicates a lot to most men also. They want to feel desired sexually. Having an attitude of “fine I’ll have sex tonight” does not do the same thing.

Unfortunately the areas we know how to communicate well, are often negative. The silent treatment, or a negative attitude. I’ve talked about this before, and it’s not loving. We often communicate poorly, when we don’t put the effort into communicating kindly and well. Like everything, it takes work. It isn’t just what we say, but how we do so. Nagging, or disrespectful communication is not alright.

There are things that men need to have communicated, verbally and non verbally. Respect, honor, appreciation to name a few. And as I said before they also want to feel desired sexually. You will be shocked about how much your husbands attitude toward you will change if you instigate sex and make him feel wanted. Just ask your husband what is important to him and how you can help.

If we are not communicating, especially the negative things, they will probably build up and you will explode. That is not helpful. We should be communicating things that bother us, but doing so in the right way. Not disrespectful, not nagging, not yelling and so on. And not every little thing. Season it with grace. Speaking of grace, have some on your husband. If there is something negative you need to communicate, make sure it is important. And don’t say it in passing or be passive aggressive. Sit down with your husband and explain why something is bothering you. As an example, maybe the sink has been leaking for months and you really need him to fix it. But he is spending all his free time playing video games or watching t.v. Communicate it kindly and well. Tell him positive things that you do appreciate in the same conversation. Also put yourself in his shoes. If he is working hard all day at work, don’t overwhelm him with a lot of things that need to be done every night. He may be stressed and tired.

Make sure you are communicating more positive things than negative also. Think about what you are saying and how you are saying it. Don’t manipulate him either. I’ve seen women do this. Hubby comes home from a hard day and you whine at him that you have had such a hard day. You want to go out to eat, or have him bathe the kids so you can rest. You can communicate these things without whining or manipulation. But before asking him to do a lot, consider his day. Don’t tell him to do things, ask. If he is hesitant, consider that. Give the kids a bath in the morning.

A big part of communicating is listening. A lot of women have no problem talking, but we are not always the best listeners. I don’t mean being quiet while you let him talk, while you are really thinking about the next thing you are going to say. Every couple is different, so while I’m forced to generalize to some degree, you have to take the information and fit it into your own situation. Regardless, you need to learn to be a good listener. Even if your husband talks a lot, he may not share his feelings very often. Really listen to him when he does, because chances are he is sharing something that is important to him. You may want to check out the books I recommended in the knowing your husband well blog, as those books can also be great for kick starting some great communication.

Sometimes as life is busy, you have young kids and so on. You may feel like most of your communication revolves around the kids and domestics, or money. Take time to talk about the things you used to before those things were issues. There were things you had in common before life got so busy. I read a book once that focused on the successful marriages of older people. The one thing I remember from that book, is every couple dreamed together. Even if they never made the dreams happen, the very act of dreaming together brought joy and closeness as a couple. Brent and I love to dream together. Everything from fixes to the house, to vacations, to grandchildren one day and so much more. We love it.

Get to know your husband by asking questions if you need to. Just keep your communication alive. It’s easier for some than others. But if you work at it, it will become easier and it will pay off. Talk about fun things. Keep your complaining to a minimum. Complaining about anything too. Your friends, your day, the neighbors and especially about his family. Keep that to a minimum. Even if he does it.

When it comes to communicating, a lot of this fits into my blog about knowing your husband. Take time to be alone and talk. Sometimes you need to talk about finances, kids and household stuff. There should be times when you just focus on one another. Even if the house is falling apart, there is no money in the bank, you still have one another. Have an attitude of gratitude. Take a walk, hold hands and tell husband why you appreciate him.

Communication is only one aspect of marriage, and there is much more to learn. This is only one blog. If you need some more help in this area, there are great books out there. Also remember that by working on the different aspects of marriage, many others will fall into place. You can have a good marriage. You can have an even better marriage. Baby steps.

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The Gospel Centered Marriage

Assuming you are a Christian, I want you to think for a minute of all the ways you have sinned lately.  Unkind thoughts, gossip, anger, selfishness, the list goes on.  The amazing thing, Christ forgave it all.  You may or may not have even repented for each and every transgression.  But you are forgiven.

Now think of that thing that your husband did.  He may not have even intended to hurt or annoy you, but you can’t let it go.  Maybe he just forgot something that was important to you.  Why is it we have such a hard time letting things go?  We are sinners, but the amazing thing is that we have Christ as our example.

Sometimes our husband upsets us unintentionally, and sometimes he does sin against us. If my husband hurts me and is not aware of it, it’s easy to think that he should have known better. If I have an attitude towards him, which is wrong in the first place, most of the time he has no idea what he did. He just gets frustrated by my attitude. I know from experience that I’m probably overreacting and that he didn’t intend to hurt me. So I do my best to treat him with kindness, and calm down. Once I’m not so emotional about the issue, I pull him aside and talk to him about it. I try to show him grace. This has worked out well for us. So often it is easy to just punish our husband for not being sensitive to us, and when we communicate about it, we do so all wrong. Think of Christ’s love toward us and constant forgiveness. Forgive your husband. If you don’t you will be bitter and that does not help your marriage.

If he has indeed sinned against you, the Bible gives us a framework for dealing with that in Matthew 18. I don’t want to hear that confronting according to Matthew 18 won’t work in your situation. Unless your husband is not a Christian, trust God’s wisdom that He has outlined in scripture how to deal with your situation. Everything we need for life and godliness is found in Scripture. With Christ as our example, forgive him.

Let me say for the record, there is no human concept of forgive and forget.  But to have Christian forgiveness, means we no longer hold it against them.  Think of it like a bank account or a debt.  The debt is forgiven.  We no longer hold it against the person.  I know this can be more difficult in some situations. There is freedom in Christian love and forgiveness. I do understand that some situations take extra work, or counseling.

Trust is another issue.  If someone lies to you and you forgive them, but then they lie again and again we have a trust issue. We should forgive them over and over as Christ does us, but we may not trust them.  We are human.  Trust has to be built up again.

Take time to read verses on love. Some people don’t like 1 Corinthians 13 being pointed to as marriage verses.  It doesn’t mean they are not applicable to marriage, it just means they are applicable to all of Christian love.  Since we are talking about marriage though, sometimes long suffering is the part of love we have to focus on.  Loving our husbands is not a feeling, it is a decision we make about how we are going to behave.  It is a verb.  It is a choice to be patient, kind, long suffering, forgiving and so on.  Having a gospel centered marriage means being forgiving constantly and seeking to love the way Christ loves us. He is kind to us, cares for us, loves and forgives us. This is the key to a gospel centered marriage. Don’t focus on the law, focus on grace.

We are not perfect like Christ, but God works in and through us. In my own life I have a constant cycle I go through. I look to Christ for His help in my marriage and other areas of my life. Somehow slowly I begin to rely more and more on myself, which knocks me down in my weakness, where I find myself back at the foot of the cross. We can’t do this without Christ, the author and perfector of our faith.

A good marriage is work, especially if you are struggling, but it gets easier. Like with anything we work at, we eventually get to stand back and see how our hard work has payed off, and in this case, the beautiful thing God has created.

I’m going to end with a reminder of the gospel. We all should know it well, but we should constantly be reminded of it.
We are sinners, and undeserving of Christ’s love and forgiveness.  But God sent His only Son Jesus  who not only lived a perfect life, but sacrificed and because of His love for us He died on the cross for our sins.  He sufferred for us. He not only forgives us of all our sins, but clothes us with His righteousness.  We have done nothing to deserve this, even our faith is a gift from God according to scripture.  We do not deserve this, and our good works play no part in our salvation.  But by the grace of God, we do good works out of gratitude for what Christ has done and because He is working in and through us for His good.  You can’t loose your salvation. Our good works make us no more worthy of salvation. We will continue to struggle and sin. This is no excuse to continue in our sin though. Our salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone and because of Christ alone. All glory be to God alone!

Now out of thankfulness to God for His great love for us, and with Christ’s help, go shower your husband with love and grace, and remember the gospel.

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My Passion for Great Christian Marriage, Checking In

This may be a repeat of some of what I wrote in my first blog.  But there are some things I want to make clear.

For many years I have had conversations with various women about their marriages.  I was guilty at times in the beginning of my marriage of getting annoyed with my own husband because he wasn’t behaving the way I wanted.  I thought I could change him.  I had wonderful mentors who reprimanded me.  I learned that I would get out of my marriage what I put into it.  I decided I was going to have a good marriage.  This would mean focusing on Brent and what he needed,  and working on myself. Being the wife he needed.  I have struggles that I am constantly having to work on.  My husband is a neat freak that doesn’t notice dust.  I have a clutter problem but I dust and clean my bathroom twice a week.  Actually I usually wipe my bathrooms down every day.  But Brent can’t handle clutter, so I am constantly battling my domestic struggles.  This is just one story about us though.  Your situation will be different.

I need affection and words of affirmation.  The most amazing thing happens in my home.  When marital intimacy is good and often, and when the house is picked up among other things, I naturally get affection  and affirmation.  My husband likes to travel and explore and have me participate.  When I do that my needs are naturally  met. And even though intimacy is important to both of us, we talk about what is important in our sex life.  I know sex is difficult for a lot of women, and we will address that in detail.  Feel free to write me.

Make no mistake, I have a great marriage. After 18 years things get better all the time. But at the same time writing this sometimes feels like I’m paralyzed giving advice on walking. My illness makes things very difficult. While I have had some better days lately, even being able to do things I couldn’t do for a while, the last two days I have spent in bed, barely able to move. The fact that our kids are older, and because we have the built our marriage on a great foundation, we make it through.

I will give you great advice, but without having your eyes fixed on Christ, it will fall apart. I will be addressing so many issues, so keep reading. It will take awhile to hit all the topics. Not to mention I will work as I can. I am also writing a book at the same time, not on marriage though. Not to mention I spend lots of time with my husband and children even if I’m in bed. I will be talking about everything from creating a home, looking attractive to your husband, respect, finances, what goes on in the bedroom and so much more.

If Christ and marriage mean as much to you as they do to me, keep reading. And may our great marriages be an example to others and a picture of the gospel, as it should be.

Now go give your husband a hug and a kiss and tell him how much you appreciate him.

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Knowing Your Husband, Well

Of course we know our husbands, we are married to them. It might not even be just knowing our husbands that I am trying to address here. It is also what we do with that information. Do we use the things we know about them to make their lives easier, more peaceful, or make him feel loved.

Your husband should be your best friend. Think of all the time and energy we put into knowing our close friends and being there for them during difficult times and the things we do for them. We need to put that same energy into our husbands. Putting aside time to spend with them, doing special things, laughing together and talking for hours.

When I was married for 10 years, my husband and I read a book about Christian marriage. At the end of every chapter there were questions for him, questions for her and discussion topics. I was amazed that after 10 years of a good marriage there were things that we learned about one another.  Things that were important to each of us that we had just never talked about.  I believe that we are always changing, as our lives are changing.  We should always be seeking to know our spouse better.

Some of this can be done just by paying attention.  If your husband is stressed or in a bad mood, pay attention to why.  While the stress may be from work or something outside the home, what goes on in the home can make things worse.  Knowing him well can help you respond in a helpful way.  He may be the sort of man that needs space, or maybe he likes to talk about it.

Home should be the place he likes to come home to.  Knowing him well, will help you to help create that environment.  Every situation is different. If you are a homemaker, with husband the only employed, you will probably have more time to create  a santuary  for you and your family.  I will be addressing this topic in a future blog, but for now, I want to at least make the point that the better you know your husband, the easier it will be for you to create a home environment that he will appreciate, and a place that he will want to be.

We communicate a great deal without even opening our mouths.  Understanding how your husband communicates will make it much easier for you to communicate things like love, honor and appreciation.  Things that are important to men.  Paying attention to how he responds to various situations will help you to know him better.  Often the way someone communicates love to others, is also the way they feel it.  There are some books on love languages which are helpful in understanding this.

Talking is obviously an important way to get to know your husband.  Ask him questions.  Learn about which things are important to him.  When he is going through something, ask him what things would be helpful.  Learn about his dreams and dream together.

Let me make clear that in no way do I believe that your husbands happiness should be contingent on your behavior, or the other way around.  I do believe that as a Christian wife you should honor your husband and seek to make his life better and be meeting his needs.  So often women are tempted to focus on their own needs and the fact that their husband isn’t meeting them.  Seeking to be a better wife and focusing on your husband very often brings about a happy husband that will meet your needs and will ultimately bring about a better, more fulfilling marriage.  The key to so much of what I will be writing about starts with knowing and understanding your husband. The more you understand him, the easier it will be to be a better wife.

Not only have I done a lot of research on this subject, but I have also learned from women I have counseled in struggling marriages and my own marriage.  I have been blessed with a good marriage.  We have had struggles, but they are usually quickly resolved and we rarely fight.  We do get frusterated with one another sometimes and over time we have learned to communicate well, and resolve our frustrations.  Dealing with a chronic illness has been very difficult on our family.  but I am actually putting into practice the very things discussed here.  These things can improve a struggling marriage, and make an already good marriage even better.

I decided a while ago that I needed to put my energy towards being a better wife.  I am continually seeking to know him better, and honoring him with my actions.  My illness has been very difficult on him.  He is scared he could loose his wife.  But trying to meet his needs the best I can, and being a better wife has actually brought more joy to both of us, even during a difficult situation.  On a practical level, a lot of things are difficult for me, but I am always finding ways to do the best I can.  The amazing thing is that our relationship is better than ever, and I think partly because I have worked at being a better wife. It helps that my husband is a kind, patient, loving man.

The message I am trying to get out, is there is hope.  Even if you have marital troubles or challenges in your life, things can get better.  God created marriage, a truly beautiful thing, the very picture of Christ and the church, and therefore it should be good.  Spend time in God’s word and prayer.  Pray for your husband and for help regarding your own struggles.  There are steps you can take to improve your marriage. Like with many things in life, a good foundation is the key.

If you are in a difficult marriage, or are going through a rough patch, I know that it can feel helpless.  But to not have hope, is to doubt that God can work in both of your lives and make things better.  I have seen God do amazing things.  I don’t always understand why God allows us to go through such difficult times, but I know He loves and cares for us. I also know from scripture that God works in us through our suffering.

Please feel free to write to me if I can pray for you.  If you want any comment confidential, just let me know in the message.  No comments are posted until I approve them.

A really great book that I mentioned before is His Needs, Her Needs. One reaon that I really like this book is the questions and discussion topics at the end of each chapter. You can read the book together or separately and come together to discuss the questions and topics. It is a great book to help a couple get to know each other well. When my husband and I read it, it brought up topics that we really had not discussed before. It really made our relationship stronger. This link has the book at a great price.

Some Book Suggestions

His Needs, Her Needs

For Women Only is a book full of various questions that were asked of men, along with their answers. While I really enjoyed reading this book, it was very eye opening and fun to ask my my husband how he would personally to the questions. A great way to learn things about your husband that you may not have thought to ask. We turned it into a game, where I guessed how I thought he would respond.

For Women Only

101 Conversation Starters for Couples is a fun book. Great for a road trip. Light hearted and may bring some laughs.

101 Conversation Starters for Couples

One last note. Tomorrow is my dear husband’s birthday. I asked him if I could plan the day. We will spend the morning with the boys. I have planned a mini-trip for just he and I. My dad is loaning us his new convertible Mercedes, and I got a great price on a three-star hotel in the mountains. He loves to adventure, so I’ve planned some mini hikes. I’m still looking for a nice place for dinner. I’ve found a nice brunch place for Thursday and we will have a nice picnic by the lake or river later in the afternoon. I’m going to bring candles and chocolates and other special treats. This is all a surprise, so I hope he doesn’t check out my blog today. I know my husband well, so I know the surprise itself will mean a lot to him, and I’ve planned things that he will appreciate. Not to mention the time alone together always

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The Sanctity of Marriage, The Sacredness of Sex

A recent marriage, along with a recent divorce have me thinking a lot about marriage. I am so grateful for my own marriage, of almost 18 years. Sure, there have been some difficulties along the way, but I have really been blessed with an amazing husband and a good marriage.

What makes me sad is to see all the struggling Christian marriages. Marriage is this beautiful gift God has given us. If you are in a difficult marriage and feel little hope, don’t. To feel hopeless about your marriage, is to doubt that God in His great love for us does not have the ability to work in us and make good this wonderful thing He has created. Reading through Ephesians 5 today, I was struck once again by what an important thing marriage is. In scripture the picture of marriage is paralleled with that of Christ and the Church.

If you are thinking to yourself that the problems in your marriage aren’t you, they are your husband, stop right there. I am not necessarily talking to those in an adulterous or abusive situation. And also those who are dealing with a non Christian spouse or one dealing with addiction. But I have rarely seen a situation in which there are troubles in a marriage that effort from one spouse does not work out well in the end. One thing I learned very early as a wife and mother, was that I would choose to be sacrificial in my approach. It pays off. Understanding what real love is will change the way you see your role in marriage. I do many things I don’t always feel like doing because they make my husband happy. In response to this, my husband does the same. This didn’t happen overnight. We have matured through the years, and we have learned to communicate well. I will be talking about these things in more detail in future blogs.

Sex is very sacred and should be reserved for marriage. I know that in this day in age, sexual purity is rare. I am actually saddened by the promiscuity that is all around us, including in the Church. Sexual intimacy is a beautiful gift that God has given us in marriage. In talking to various people about marriage troubles, I have found that sexual struggles often accompany a troubled marriage. Often women are not the fans of sex men are. In various books I have read about marriage, when talking about men’s and women’s needs in marriage, sex is often at the top of the list for men, and doesn’t even make the list for women. But according to scripture, it is very important, and therefore should be important to both.

I think there are many reasons why we as women can sometimes struggle with sex. This also is something that I will be talking about in future blogs, because I believe it is that important to a good marriage. And even if you struggle with sex as a woman, you probably desire some sort of closeness and intimacy with the man you love. If your sex life leaves something to be desired, it can be better. I know for some women, feeling connected with our husbands throughout the day causes us to be more open to sex and desirable of intimacy at night. And for many men, the intimacy and sex brings about the love and connection during other times many of us women desire.

I know there is much more to it than that, and that not every couples sexual problems are the same. This is just some of the things I’ve read and heard from some women.

When women have come to me in the past with marriage troubles, the first thing I ask them is “how often do you have sex?” I have heard once a month as the answer way to often. Unacceptable. I don’t even have to ask how their sex life is after that answer. Then I’ve heard complaints like “my husband always wants sex.” Well of course he does. You are only giving in once a month. So my first advice for those struggling marriage is to instigate sex a couple of times in the next week. And don’t do that thing where you lay there and ask “are you done yet?” Men want to feel wanted, and that his wife enjoys being close to him. Talk about it. Tell him things that will help you to enjoy it more. I’m not telling you anything new, but sometimes we need to be reminded.

I know I am being pretty open here. And maybe I’ll get some nasty emails that this is inappropriate, or something else. I feel strong about this. I want people to have better marriages. Sex is important to that end. It should be a beautiful, sacred, fulfilling part of marriage. This is something God has created and has given us.

Something helpful to me, is to read through passages in scripture about marriage and intimacy, including reading through Song of Songs. Even better, read it together with your husband if you can. You may even pick a couple of verses that could be helpful to memorize.

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Practical Thoughts on Everyday Life

Because of various life circumstances, I’ve decided to start a new blog. I love theology and Christian topics, and so have written about that before. Lately I’ve had a lot of other things on my mind, and so if even for myself I decided to start writing about them.

I just turned 40 last week. This was a hard birthday for me. That is part of what got me thinking, and reading about practical topics that I want to improve in my life. Part of it is reaching a certain age and realizing that life is different than I thought it would be at this point in my life. It isn’t that life is bad, just different. Although there are a few things that I thought I would be better at, or that I would have learned. I have also encountered women who have struggles, and I have some of my own. There are things I want to be more mindful of, proactive about, better at, and if I help someone along the way, that will be great.

Some things you should know about me.
I am wife to a wonderful man named Brent. We have been married for almost 18 years and have four boys. They are ages 10, 13, 15 and almost 17. I home schooled all of them until a few years ago when I became ill. I still home school my 15 year old, who has cerebral palsy. It is fairly mild physically, but he has a lot of learning disabilities and some other struggles.

A little about my illness.
I have been very sick for more than 4 years. The worst symptoms are extreme pain and a constant unwell feeling. I have many other symptoms, but those two are the ones that make it difficult for me to function and have changed my life so drastically and that of my families. I have a couple of autoimmune diseases that has caused this. I don’t want this blog to be about my illness, but it does change a lot of practical things about my life. It has also changed me and my family. I will refer to it when discussing certain topics. Since I have spent time in the hospital and am in bed a lot, I have the time to read and study that I might not otherwise have. It has changed my outlook on life, and my priorities.

My faith
Being a Christian, my faith in Christ is the most important thing to me. Everything I write about is filtered through that.

What I will be writing about.
Having a happier, simpler, more organized life has been something I am seeking for myself and for the sake of my family. I’ve also been studying Proverbs and believe we should be seeking wisdom in even the practical areas of life. I will be writing about everything from cleaning and organizing, marriage and intimacy, parenting and family life, cooking and housekeeping, relationships and health, spiritual growth and prayer, along with other things. I will also recommend books from time to time. This is deffinatly for women, from a woman’s point of view. Feel free to write and share any ideas.

Enjoy!

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