Easy boost for emotional intimacy

I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago!  I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in marriage.  But I’ve discovered it’s true!  There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit.  Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices.  Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…”  Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.

We’ve built a fire pit in our backyard at our last 2 homes.  They cost less than $100.  We thought a fire pit would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs.  But it turned out that my husband and I enjoyed it just as much…for different reasons than the grandkids!    As the sun went down, we lit the fire, and then my husband asked what the topic of the night should be.  Sometimes, we talked about our dreams for ministry.  Some nights, we talked about our concerns for our children and we prayed for them.  Other nights, we talked about our dream vacation ideas.  Try building a fire pit.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!

Physical intimacy for the exhausted wife

For many women, especially moms of young children, making love to their husbands seems like yet one more thing on their to-do-list!  For an exhausted wife and mother, the idea of carving out time to be physically intimate with her husband sounds about as thrilling as running 15 miles on the treadmill at the gym at 5 o’clock in the morning! 

But here’s the thing.  We know that most men have an extremely high sex drive.  It isn’t their fault.  God made them that way.  🙂  So, one of the kindest and most loving things we can do for our husbands is to meet their sexual needs.  We need to strive to build a robust sex life with our husbands, and more than likely, you’ll enjoy it too!  To be honest, if we don’t have a vibrant sex life within our marriage, we’re setting up each other to subconsciously look for that excitement with someone else.  That’s why Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”

The question is: How does the exhausted wife (and mother) build a robust sex life that both she and her husband enjoy?   Well, I believe she takes a really good look at her schedule of activities and responsibilities to see if there are any things she can cut out.  I bet there are some things she could reduce or cut completely!  Secondly, she asks her husband for help!   Can he put the kids to bed so that she has time to wind down and start thinking about enjoying physical intimacy with her husband?  Can he do the dishes after dinner or help the kids with their homework so that she can decompress and maybe take a bubble bath before she and her husband head to bed? 

Ask your husband if he would be willing to help with some tasks in the evenings so that you are more able to build a robust sex life with him.  I bet it is a trade he is willing to make!

Getting unstuck

Most every person I know struggles with something, and often in the midst of that struggle, we get stuck in a rut.  Even though we don’t like where we are, we often do the very things that keep us mired down in that area.

Some people get stuck in a rut regarding a dysfunctional coping mechanism such as drinking too much alcohol, or overeating, or over-shopping!   Other people get stuck in a rut in terms of unhealthy and unhelpful communication with their family members.  They might get stuck in the habit of yelling and criticizing or complaining.  And still other people get stuck in a rut regarding depression and despair.  Obviously, no one wants to stay in this rut, but we can’t seem to get ourselves unstuck!

Please allow me to share a few Bible insights that have really helped me get unstuck so I can move forward with joy, peace, and hope.

  1. I’ve learned to do what Paul teaches in Philippians 3:13-14….  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.   Let me make this personal.  I lost my husband about 10 months ago.  It was shocking.  It was devastating.  My world tipped upside down.  And I could have easily got stuck in depression and even resentment toward God.  However, I distinctly remember the moment I decided to pivot from the pain and turn forward, asking God to open up new adventures and new joys in my life.  That was a choice.  It was a really good one.  I was able to heal and start grabbing hold of joy again.
  2. I’ve learned to pause and consult God when I notice dysfunctional habits in my life.  I ask Him to change my heart so that I desire good things, healthy things, and behavior that please Him.  On my own, I don’t really have the strength to make these changes, but when God comes in and changes my heart in response to prayer, then I have the strength and strong desire necessary to make those changes!  Listen to what God says in Ezekiel 36:26-27  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.   Ask God to change your heart. That’s the first step in getting unstuck from bad habits and unhealthy behavior.

** or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

If want husband to pursue you again

There’s something inside of most every woman that instinctively desires to be pursued by a man.  That desire starts very early and, for many women, culminates with a wedding proposal!  Typically, this is one of the most amazing and thrilling moments of a woman’s life!  Unfortunately, for many women, their husband stops pursuing their heart a few months or years into the marriage.  However, that desire to be pursued does not go away!  What is a wife to do?

I’ve found that one of the things that kept my husband’s heart drawn toward me was something so very simple….flirting with him!  You might be rolling your eyes right now, but have you tried flirting with your husband recently?  It is very powerful!  Try winking at him, or being playfully sassy with him, or pinching his tush, or giving him an unexpected passionate kiss and then walking away.  You may be very surprised at the results!  Likely, he will be drawn to you like a moth to a flame.  He will pursue you!  The added bonus is that your flirty, sassy, playfulness will have him thinking about you the next day at work. Hah!  Just what your heart desired!

If you need a little Biblical inspiration for flirting, try reading the short book in the Bible called Song of Songs.  The bride has a master’s degree in flirting!!  Here are just the first few sentences of that book as the bride begins speaking. Songs of Songs 1:2-4   Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you! Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Helping him become spiritual leader

Many women lament the fact that their husbands won’t pray with them and their husbands aren’t really the spiritual leader….but, here’s something I’ve observed over the years that may shed some light on your predicament.  If you want your husband to become the spiritual leader of your family, you have to stop being the leader yourself!  Sometimes women, including myself, can be so eager to bring spiritual disciplines into our family life that we leave no gap for the husband to fill.  Perhaps this is why God repeatedly instructs wives to be submissive!  Titus 2:5 tells women to be “self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands”. 

In other words, instead of you jumping in and praying for the kids when they get tucked into bed at night, you could ask your husband for his help with that.  If you would like the Bible to be read aloud after dinner, tell your husband you love the sound of his voice when he reads and ask him if he would read the Bible.  After he has read the Bible passage, ask him what he thinks God is saying…and then listen attentively to his answer.  When you’re not feeling well, you could tell him it would mean the world to you if he were to just lay a hand on your shoulder and say a simple prayer.  Even a one-sentence prayer is fine.  And when he does any of these things, be encouraging and thankful!  Build him up.

When a woman takes over any area of leadership, many men will simply back off.  So, if you want your husband to become the spiritual leader of your home, you need to allow there to be a bit of a void in that area. Then ask him for his help.  🙂

Leave room for the Holy Spirit

The other day, a relative said some things about a person I love that I really found hurtful.  My first instinct was to emotionally withdraw from that person…but that’s a dysfunctional behavior I’m trying to end.  So, I started to tell that person what I really thought about their comments!  Thank God, the Holy Spirit gently stopped me.

You see, sometimes God wants us to confront someone who is sinning against us or doing something wrong.  But other times, God wants us to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the convicting in that other person’s heart, especially if that person is a believer.  In John 16:7-8, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”   Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, and he explained that one of the Spirit’s jobs is to convict people of sin.

What I’m learning is that I need to pause and consult God when someone is doing something that wounds me or bothers me.  I need to ask God for direction.  Does God want me to respectfully and lovingly confront that person, or does God want me to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the confronting. 

Back to my story. When God stopped me from laying into my relative the other day and I decided to leave the “confrontation” up to the Holy Spirit…that relative actually came to me and apologized within a few hours. Today’s question for you:  Do you pause long enough to get guidance from God before reacting?

New approach to getting fit

Ladies, I’ve followed these 5 Bible-based principles for 8 years now and have lost weight and felt so much better!   I enjoy really satisfying meals and “healthy” cookies while staying fit!

Principle 1:

Determine to change your approach to eating for the rest of your life!  Each day, decide to eat food that will make you healthy so that you can live the abundant, fruitful life God intends!  Instead of thinking about what you can get away with eating (the unhealthy stuff), choose to eat foods that will MAKE YOU HEALTHY and eliminate foods that make you unhealthy.  P.S.  I cut almost all refined sugar and flour out of my diet 6 years ago and this was transformational!  And the cool thing is, I don’t even crave it anymore at all!

1 Corinthians 6:12  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

Principle 2:

Get back to eating food the way that God created it, without adding refined sugar, stripping out healthy fiber or adding chemicals we can’t pronounce!  Humans continue to think they’re smarter than God!  We take the food God created and we mess with it! Cut out processed foods and refined foods.  Start eating whole foods as much as possible.

1 Corinthians 1:19-20:  “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”  Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Principle 3:

The minute you catch yourself thinking about eating something unhealthy, realize that’s the enemy trying to destroy you again and reject him with a smile of victory on your face!

2 Corinthians 10:5  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

Principle 4:

Be proactive and have healthy snacks prepared in advance for those times when the devil tempts you to snack when you’re bored or looking for comfort.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Principle 5:

Take care of your body by getting moving!! God didn’t design Adam and Eve to sit at a desk 8 hours a day and on a couch for another 8 hours a day!  Determine to exercise 4- 5 days a week.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Prayers for the frustrated wife!

Are you weary of trying to get your husband to do the things you want him to do?  Are you tired of trying to handle everything?  Are you getting discouraged that God doesn’t seem to be changing your husband or your kids as you have asked him to do?

Maybe it’s time to stop pushing your agenda! Perhaps it’s time to stop trying to control everything.  🙂  Maybe it’s time to trust God.  This means, even the way we pray might need to change.  Of course, we should always pray for our family members, but maybe it’s time to stop telling God what to do!  Maybe God is asking you to give your concerns to him and to simply trust him to do what is best in the lives of your husband and children…and on his timeline.

Consider Isaiah 30:15….This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”

This week, would you consider simply lifting the names of your loved ones to our heavenly Father and then asking Him to work deeply in their lives in the way He knows is best?  Then relax and choose to trust God.  He is all powerful and all loving. He is able to do the heavy-lifting where you are unable!  You can trust Him.  Pray, and then relax, rest, and trust.

3 keys if asking husband to change

If your husband has an addiction or often engages in some kind of destructive or sinful behavior, you have 2 choices.  Choice # 1: You can wring your hands in despair and do nothing…which means that his disturbing behavior will likely continue, and your heart will slowly grow resentful and cold toward your husband. That choice will slowly kill your marriage!  Choice #2:  You can courageously talk to your husband and request him to change his behavior (or get help in changing his behavior).  From personal experience, I highly recommend choice #2!

Here are 3 keys that are especially important if you choose to address this issue with your husband.

  1.  Be very specific about what you’re asking your husband to do in order to change his behavior.  For instance, if he has a drinking or pornography problem, he will almost certainly need help in disentangling himself from this addiction.  So search out helpful 12-step programs or reputable counselors in your area ahead of time and tell him that in order for you guys to keep moving forward in your marriage, you need him to attend a specific number of sessions over a specific period of time.  I would certainly recommend that he attend some kind of program/counselor at least once a week for at least 6 months.  Addictions and other sinful patterns are hard to break. He will need sustained help.
  2. Expect your husband to be unhappy about this request!  Many husbands will try to blame you or other circumstances for their personal problems.  Many husbands will also attend a program or see a counselor for one or two sessions and then say “it isn’t helping me”.  That’s usually just an excuse.  Don’t accept that answer, unless they are willing to try a different program or counselor right away.
  3. Balance your request with words of hope and encouragement.  Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  Remember, you’re asking your husband to do some very hard work, so speak life-giving words to him. Tell him that you see good qualities in him, and that you will do anything you can to help him on his journey to break free from addiction

If he doesn’t notice all you do…

Have you found yourself really frustrated with your husband because you put a bunch of effort into making a great dinner or tidying up the house and he didn’t voice appreciation?  Have you found yourself really bummed out because you took great pains to dress up for date night and your husband didn’t seem to really notice?  What gives?

First, it’s important for you to realize that just because he didn’t voice appreciation, doesn’t mean he could care less about what you’ve done!  I bet he loved your dinner and I’m sure he liked the way you looked for date night.  Here is the possible reason for the disconnect.  Men are wired to be providers.  God created men to work and take care of creation (Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”)  It’s only natural that men are focused on their work.  So, when they step through the front door at the end of their workday, their brain is still engaged in work.  They are still thinking about their job and what’s coming up tomorrow at work.  They may be physically present at home, but their minds are often still back on the job. 

So, instead of getting frustrated, tell your husband how much you appreciate his hard work for your family.  Be his chief encourager.  Then, after he’s had awhile to unwind from his day of work, ask him how he liked the dinner or the tidy house.  Tell him you put some extra effort into your hair and makeup and ask him if he likes it.  I know you feel like you shouldn’t have to prompt him with these questions.  You would like your man to notice and voice appreciation without your prompting, but most men simply aren’t wired that way.  So simply ask him, and then listen to his response. More than likely, he will say the dinner was good.  More than likely, he will say you look great.  Accept the compliment!  Embrace the compliment, even though it may come with little emotion and yes, even though he had to be asked. 😊