31 Days to Great Sex

(UPDATE: I will draw two names on Friday morning at 8 am mst)


My friend, fellow author here on A Martha Heart and sister in Christ, Sheila Wray Gregoire, just wrote an amazing ebook for couples called, “31 Days to Great Sex”.  To be gut-level honest with you, I personally get a little uncomfortable just talking about sex.  But I am glad that as a wife, mother and believer in Christ, that Sheila tackles a difficult topic, exposing the lies and shedding light on this God-given gift.

Sheila writes, the following:

Here’s why I’m passionate about sex (if you’re allowed to say that): God created sex to unite us on three levels–physical, spiritual, and emotional. When we feel truly intimate on those three levels, our marriages soar. And that’s when we’re able to impact our churches and communities for Him.

But if we’re not connecting in our marriages, we lose out on a great strength that God gave us in this life. And we threaten our families and our children’s future.

The church doesn’t like to talk about sex, and so we leave it to our culture. And our culture has turned it into something perverse and disgusting.

I’m not willing to stand for that anymore. I think the church needs to step up and fight back and start redeeming sex.

And that’s what this ebook does. It takes couples through exercises about improving their communication, their friendship, their outlook on sex, and yes, even the mechanics of sex, so that their marriage can rock!

I’m really proud of this book, and I’m excited to see how God is going to use it.

I (Holly) have too many friends, who have gone through marriage crises to stay silent on this topic–even if it makes me a little uncomfortable talking about it (or the fact that I am red-faced even typing it).  Marriage is worth it.  Family is worth it.  And I want to be with Sheila and fight back.

As I read through her chapters, she handles each discussion with such grace and gut honesty.  I want you all to have this opportunity to have your own copy!

Sheila is offering two for us to giveaway today! Just leave a comment on this post and share your favorite location to get away with your husband.  If you do not win, I would highly recommend that you spend the $4.99 to get your own copy and to read it with your husband.  It will truly bless your marriage and family so much.  So much flows out from our intimacy, as couples.

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Taking Every Thought Captive: How Marriage is a Matter of Attitude

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When I got married, I adored my husband. I was sure he was the right man for me. He was my best friend. He was funny. He loved and protected me.

But marriage didn’t end up being what I was anticipating. I wanted my husband to love me for me, and it seemed that when we didn’t make love he got ticked off. And so I started challenging all my assumptions. I figured that Keith really didn’t love me–or at least he didn’t love me enough. And I thought that God was supremely unfair, because he made sex to be so fun for guys, but not for women. And then He made men want it all the time! Not just that, but He said that it was our responsibility to actually meet our husband’s needs. I figured people had been lying to me my whole life.

I was in that funk, off and on, for about three or four years. And then, gradually, the funk faded. It wasn’t just because sex got better. It wasn’t just because we got better at working out our problems. It was because I decided that I didn’t want to be miserable in my marriage. And it seemed to me that the only way to be happy was to start believing that the good things that I had heard about marriage and sex were true. Instead of questioning God, I turned the tables and started questioning my own experience.

This is true in many areas of marriage, not just sex. Ultimately, we need to believe that marriage is for our good, that God blesses marriage, that we can be happy, that following God’s precepts does make one more peaceful. But these are matters of belief–of faith.

If you feel that your husband doesn’t love you or talk to you enough, for instance, you can focus on that and become depressed and resentful. Or you can focus on God’s command to love and respect your husband, and to find your peace in God. And when we start to do that, often our marriage changes. When you start to act out love, the feelings often return.

The turning point in many marriages comes when a person decides to listen to God and believe. In other words, and this is so important:

The success of your marriage depends far more on what you believe about God than on how you feel about each other.

When you believe that God wants the best for you; when you believe that God created sex to be physically wonderful and spiritually intimate; when you believe that God will always be enough for you, even if you feel lonely in your marriage, then things get better.

The converse is also true:

Often the reason that we struggle in marriage is not because there is something wrong with our spouse, but because we don’t actually believe God’s promises.

Now obviously there are exceptions to this. If your spouse is abusive, or is having an affair, or is addicted to pornography, simply believing “God loves marriage, and if I cling to that these problems will disappear” is not going to help–although believing that God can give you strength and can be the source of your ultimate peace can help you take the right steps and seek the right counsel on what you should do.

But with many marriage problems, the issue is one of attitude far more than it is anything else. You’re believing things about your spouse, about sex, about marriage that aren’t true. When you can get your attitude in check, often the marriage starts to improve.

Recently, in church, our pastor was talking about The Battlefield of the Mind, and reminding us of 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When it comes to marriage, your ultimate guide shouldn’t be your experience. It should be what God says.

I’m not saying that your husband is perfect. No one is. The question is, do you want to focus on the negative, or do you want to focus on the positive?

When you start despairing about your marriage, can you take that thought, hold it up to God, and ask, “what’s your perspective here? What are the promises you have given me?” When you start having really ugly thoughts about sex, can you take those, and hold them up to God, and say, “what do you say about sex? What do you say about whether it’s good or not?”

Sometimes God’s promises don’t seem real because we haven’t experienced them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t real. It just means that often we CAN’T experience them until we first BELIEVE them. Marriage success is a matter of faith.

When I started saying, “Okay, the Bible says sex is great, God made it to be good for women, too, so obviously I must be missing something,” then our sex life improved dramatically. I became optimistic that it could get better, because I believed God. And that was the huge turning point for us.

This week, when you start to feel down, or resentful, or bitter, take those thoughts captive. Look at them, and ask, “what is God’s truth here?” Then act on His truth, not on your feelings. I truly believe that that is the key to marriages turning around.

Sheila Wray Gregoire is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. She blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum.Sign up for her monthly marriage newsletter here!

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Falling In Love….Again

I remember the first time I saw him.

A new family moved into our church’s neighborhood and while I say they were new, their family had been going to our church for years, but this one branch had finally settled with the rest of the family.  I was a young girl in college, playing the piano at church on the weekends.  The woman sang in the choir.  She situated herself so that she sat beside me when I stepped down from the piano.  She would whisper to me about her son that would soon be visiting, place photos of him in my Bible…just plain harass me about the guy.  I asked my mother to always be a bearer between me and the crazy lady.

Then her son finally started coming to church with her and he would stare at me through the entire service.

Creepy!

But one Sunday I didn’t play the piano and sat on the back row.  Low and behold if the son didn’t sit right in front of me.  I thought about slipping out…but then I noticed his shoulders and his hair.  Broad and blond…his hair was blond, shoulders broad.  He was a professional boxer and had just had his last fight, retired at the age of 28.  He had come to his parents’ home to recuperate and plan his future.

His mother decided I was his future.

And I guess I was.  We’ll be married 26 years this June.

It was not love at first sight, but there was lots of laughter and the love soon followed.  He chased, I told him to get lost, he teased, I laughed, he offered free food and I accepted!

Looking back over the past 26  years…well 28…we dated for two years first….I’ve noticed that sometimes, we take each other for granted, the specialness of our relationship is sometimes missing, we just expect things from the other person because it’s always been given before.  Words of thankfulness don’t always appear in our conversations and worst of all, communication sometimes lacks completely.

It’s not that there isn’t love; it’s that the love relationship hasn’t always been tended to.  We’ve been busy making sure there are groceries in the cabinets, the cars are all running, the bills are being paid, and the clothes are being washed (just to name a few distractions).  These are all good, but not the most important thing.

The love must be nurtured above all else.

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.  Luke 10:42 KJV

Unfortunately, this could also be said about some spiritual relationships.

I look at new Christians much like I look at newlyweds and I’m envious.  I want that spark and sizzle I see in them, that “can’t stand to be apart from each other” attitude.  Their love just oozes….it would be sickening….if it wasn’t so sweet.

When did you fall in love with Jesus?  Was it just a few years ago and is the tingly feeling still there?  Or has it been many, many years and you sometimes find that you take Him for granted….no need to pray, He knows your every need, and He’s always come through for you in the past….no need to read the Bible, you’ve read it before, nothing has changed, Genesis is still the first book of the Bible, Noah still builds an ark, Jesus still goes to the cross.  You know those “stories”, why re-read them?  They are kind of hard to understand anyway and sometimes depressing.  You would much rather focus on the “Polly Anna” verses…those that make you feel good.

I also remember the first time I met Him.  I was a little girl watching Billy Graham on TV.  I felt something, this strange heart-racing fear that if I didn’t do exactly what Mr. Graham said, I would not be in Heaven with my family.  I ran to the den, hid behind the sofa and prayed for forgiveness of my sins.  I begged Jesus to be in my heart like He was the rest of my family’s.  I didn’t want to be left behind; I wanted to be with Him and with them.

Don’t ask me what words I said.  All I know is that when I stood up from behind the sofa, the fear was gone.  I felt….loved, chosen, special.

Much like a bride on her wedding day.

My beloved is mine, and I am his…Song of Solomon 2:16 KJV

Just like our marriage, our spiritual relationship takes work.  We have to choose to spend time with The Groom, talk to Him, and listen to Him.  We don’t do things to win His love…we already have that….we do things (like love, be kind, follow Him, study His Word) because we want to please Him, we want to know Him on a deeper level.

It takes commitment, it takes obedience, and it takes time.  Little by little, we come to the place where all things pale in comparison to Him.  We fall in love with Him.  We choose Him over activities, over hobbies, over our own private time.

I interpret Luke 14: 26, 33 and Psalm 37:4 in this way:

If you love anyone else more than you love Me, you cannot be my bride.  You must love Me so much that even the love you have for your parents, your children, even your spouse looks like hatred.  You must forsake all for Me!  But, my bride, I will give you the desires of your heart, if you will only delight yourself in Me.

So this month…the month of love…what are you doing to fall in love with Jesus again?  What are you doing to revamp your relationship?

I’m sure you’ve been reading this month on some way to re-ignite the fire in your marriage.  I challenge you to do the same in your spiritual marriage and you know, most of the suggestions will work either way, for your earthly husband or your heavenly Husband!

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Can You Seduce Your Husband?

'sealed with a kiss' photo (c) 2010, Amber Rae - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Shortly after my husband and I started dating, Valentine’s Day came upon us. And I decided to do something romantic. I had a friend let me in to his dorm room on campus, and I left red cut-out hearts that spelled “I love you” all over his room, in a sort of scavenger hunt.

He loved it. Everything in our relationship was so new and so fresh and that just added to it. And it became a tradition. Not necessarily every year, but most years now one of us creates a treasure hunt for the other.

You know what the fun part of the hunt actually is? It’s creating it! It takes a little bit of time, but while you’re doing it you’re a giggly little girl, thinking about what his reaction is going to be. And you think about how much you love him, and how glad you are you’re together. You renew your commitment to him because you’re going through all this work to show him that you love him. And then you can look back and smile.

Doing romantic things for our spouses doesn’t just help our husbands; it helps us. We start thinking differently. We remember how much we love them. We try to create something that’s fun in our relationship. We’re the ones who spice it up.

Sometimes we women get this romance thing all wrong. We think that romance is something that he is supposed to do for us. But what guy wouldn’t feel amazing to have his wife pursue him?

And so let me ask you: when’s the last time you left a love note for your husband, sealed with a lipstick kiss? When’s the last time you sent him a racy text message? When’s the last time you hid a love note in his pocket, so that he would discover it at work?

Why do we stop doing these things just because we’ve been married for a while? We shouldn’t stop. We should do it all the more. It’s vital that your husband know that you love him, and that you remember how much you love him, too.

Without that romance, you just become two roommates, bound together by children and finances. Don’t let that happen to you.

Perhaps you’re one of those wives that’s thinking: If I write him a note, he’ll think it’s silly or he won’t care. Maybe he won’t. But you will! And if it makes you giddy, or happy about him, isn’t that worth something? Also, sometimes we expect an immediate reaction from our husbands: he’ll instantaneously think how great you are and he’ll gush all over the note. Men don’t always work that way. Maybe you need to write several notes, a few weeks apart, before he really softens to you. Don’t give up. It’s important to tell him that you love him, and why you love him, even if he doesn’t seem too interested in “romance”.

So here are some tips to writing great love notes:

1. Don’t just say “I love you”. Tell him one or two things that you love about him.

2. Keep it short and simple. Make it into a nice surprise he finds periodically in his clothes, in his lunch, in his car.

3. Don’t forget text messages! Sometimes, send him a text message that’s just a little bit racy. Few men can resist that!

4. Want something really fun? Hide a few of these “love coupons” you can download off of my website under his pillow.

Be romantic. Don’t wait for him to be. It will change how you think, and it will make him feel very appreciated!

Sheila is the author of the upcoming “The Good Girl’s Guide to Sex”. She blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum.

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I Do Again by Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs

I Do Again by Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs

Please leave a comment on this post OR email Trish (specifying which gift you are interested in) to be entered. All drawings will be on September 8th at 5pm MST to give everyone a chance to enter.

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Marriage and Baggage — Part 2

Yesterday, dear readers, I opened wide my suitcase to show you two areas of baggage with which we struggle in our own marriage (Read Here, if you missed it). Today my suitcase carries a can of worms! Oh let’s just get it out on the table shall we? Here are two more areas of baggage with which we struggle:

  • PAST/ PRESENT HURTS —  When a little bird is learning to fly, the Mama bird will fly with her little one and be at-the-ready to fly right underneath, to undergird her bird in flight until that baby learns how to fly steadily. I actually watched this the other day out in a nearby field. The mama bird was watchful, intent and faithful to swoop down when needed to steady her student. So it is with our past and present hurts.  Some ground is new for us, and we need wisdom in learning how to navigate and grow strong.

 

As a couple, we are to undergird one another in their hurts–not enabling for poor behavior stemming from the hurts, no.  But standing with and beside and cheering one another on, being watchful, intent and ready.  If counsel is needed, get good godly counsel without delay.  Sometimes, we just need to shut our mouths and LISTEN without interruption. Even so, we are navigating this course together.  To be strong, we must be willing to get underneath one another as they fly, meaning we pray for them and speak encouragement and listen. {This is a topic I will touch base on more personally next week–probably two posts worth.}

  • PRIDE — Oh each one of us should have just groaned. We ALL have pride and are prideful.  It is in our fabric. Let me tell you, this kind of baggage is poisonous, if given full rein.  It will destroy your marriage and any healthy relationships you are building–tearing apart families, churches, communities and nations. Scripture tells you to take it off or put it off, like clothing. Call the attitude for what it is and throw it off. Now granted this word has been misused in our language, as it has two distinctly different flavors .  There is proud of someone for an accomplishment–that is the FOR you kind of pride.  Then there is pride and arrogance that is paired with unteachability–this is the AGAINST you kind of pride. This is the kind of which we are talking today.

Here is what we do in our marriage: when we see the other acting from pride, we tattle on them to God. We keep on tattling until we see an “invitation” with the other to discuss the behavior. When the invitation comes, we gently share that we know and understand where they are coming from, but the outworking of it is prideful, arrogant and destructive.  For instance I have said to my Chris before, “I know this person in your life is acting in a way they shouldn’t and you are feeling threatened and angered by their behavior, so you are taking this into your own hands and handling that person in a way you should not. Turn them over to God. Charge it to His account. (Philemon 18) He will be faithful to take care of it.”

As we bring our baggage to God, each weight and hindrance that it represents, He gladly TAKES it from us and carries the weight–cast your cares on Him, every single one. He invites us daily to stay in the yoke (the kind built for two and intended to plow the ground ahead) with Jesus, letting Him bear the burden of the weight.  Our only job there in that place is to go where He leads, one step at a time and one day at a time. As a couple, we let God teach us about our baggage and the layers and layers of baggage within our hearts and lives.  It isn’t a quick process, but it is one that in the long run allows us to be all that God intended for us to be and do what He has called us to do.  I will close with a verse that has marked my walk that past two years, may it arrest your attention:

“Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time–pray that our God will make you fit for what He’s called you to be, pray that He’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with His own energy, so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the Name of Jesus, He will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving Himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving Himself freely.” 1 Thessalonians 1:11-12 The Message

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Marriage and Baggage–Part 1

A few years ago, I traveled with my friend to a weekend conference. As we were waiting for our luggage at the final stop, my very large and well-used suitcase (which had been given to us by a friend, who often traveled internationally) was coming down the luggage shoot and the handle just fell out and came first. Then came the bag.  And we laughed our heads off! Now my friend also works at a fine luggage store and said wryly, “You gotta get a new suitcase! That ain’t right.”

We ALL have baggage–whether is it packaged all nice and pretty or falling down the shoot and falling apart. The packaging really doesn’t matter so much–“controlled” junk and out of control junk is all the same junk.  Eventually the contents come pouring out over time, for any semblance of control is a facade.

Earlier this week, I spoke about how to divorce-proof your marriage.  The topic alone is a difficult one.  There are so many scenarios and situations that begin with, “But what about…?”. I know. I get that. We are all unique and created to be so.  Marriage is the marrying of two hearts and lives, but that does not equal “same lives.”   It means we have a wonderful supply of talents and abilities and a terrible lot of baggage we try to hold at bay, until it comes seeping out or pouring out in a torrent. We should celebrate and utilize those positive parts–talents and abilities. The negative parts, well, we have to face and deal with them in a healthy way.

That is my subject for today and tomorrow–dealing with the baggage. So let’s discuss today two kinds of baggage, which we may be carrying:

  • CHILDREN — No they are not baggage, and having them or not having them, wanting them and not being able to have them can all grow into some serious baggage of heart and mind. They are truly a blessing.  They do not fit into neat little packages nor do they arrive when we want them. They are often not on our schedule! But as a couple, we should discuss them openly and honestly.

If you are longing for a child in your home, the first place to begin is with one another and in prayer–seeking God one day at a time. I have been where you are–longing is hard, I know, so lift your eyes to God. He has a plan, knows your heart and is the initiator of this desire for children! So trust His plan, His way and His how. It is worth the faith you will gain, as you trust Him.

With children, sometimes they try to take the place of hierarchy in the home, which is the wife’s or husband’s.  As a couple, we must guard here. They need to know that mom and dad are a united front and there is no way they can come and usurp authority. Of course, we must tend to the children’s needs–and as babies, they need a LOT of our time and attention. This is where, as a couple, we must be proactive in spending time together and doing those activities we love to share! Model to your children the importance of united front, by showing them that while they are important and valuable, you and your spouse have time set apart that is just you. Believe me, children will try to get around the system and use many methods to divide.  Be watchful for this behavior and nip it in the bud. Love them and lead them.  Show them it is okay, even GREAT, for mom and dad to like spending time together, just as two.

  • APPEARANCE/ WEIGHT — It is completely unfair to think that we will always look the way we did back in the day. It is an unfair expectation and unrealistic.  We do not have personal beauticians, trainers and make-up artists following us around.  So if we see a movie with “so and so” and “such and such,” who (though our age) still have maintained their youthful appearance, some of it is hours and hours of hard work on their part, some is money they have to pay such people to train, brand and dress them, and some can be special effects or airbrushing. So let’s face it, while it is important to pay attention to daily hygiene and health choices, we are not going to be on film (nor is Better Homes and Gardens likely to come and do a photo spread on our homes!). We need to drop this ideal of perfection that our society is throwing at us on a daily basis.

Do your best to invest in your health for LIFE and enjoyment of life with your spouse, family and friends.  Invest.  But do not let it steal the joy from the blessings you have in your everyday imperfect, yet wonderful life! Choose daily to make good choices and let go of that standard of perfection that is daily trying to steal, kill and destroy your joy, your marriage and your peace. Spend yourself on investing in your inner self and relationship with the LORD, not spending more of your time, effort and worry on clothes and things that “re-package” your baggage. God made us in all shapes and sizes–and beauty that is real exudes from the inside of a person reflecting on the outside. Anyone with eyes to see, ears to hear and a mind that can conceive can tell you that.

Take time this afternoon and evening to pray about these two areas of baggage, which you may be carrying.  Ask God to get in your business of heart and mind–to the marrow of the motives and intentions.  Ask Him to show you how to cast the weight of your burdens upon Him.  He is faithful with each part and is not going anywhere.  He is with you every step of the way! More tomorrow…

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How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage

Before I even begin, I must remind you that I do not write this from a place of perfect or having it all together.  Lest you think that, please re-read last week’s article, here. Second, this is NOT an article of condemnation or rebuke for those of you, who are currently in the process of getting a divorce or have been divorced. I know how hurtful this is and how the process may make you feel a cloak of shame and pain–I have worn the same cloak through our journey of bankruptcy. The intent of this article is solely to give you tools, to be a help and to speak over this topic as a weapon against an unrelenting enemy, who has YOU and ME and our marriages squarely in his target.  Not for one moment should we ever forget that. So let’s shed a light on this topic, which could easily remain an unspoken topic. Finally, I am not an expert. But my Chris and I have received some good teaching over the years!

1. Take the word DIVORCE out of your daily conversations–when you are “joking” or even just being edgy, there is no need to open this door.  Leave it closed.  Now, I’m not being silly and saying that the word divorce will never come up in discussion. For after 20 years of marriage, we have watched our fellow comrades fall to it.  Every time it has broken our hearts–every time it has cut us to the core. And every time, we do pray for those involved truly.  It is not a matter for gossip nor is it a topic we enjoy, but it should bring out compassion in your heart for both husband and wife and for other family members and friends.

2. Stay on the same team.  If it becomes you versus me in any aspect of our lives, then we need to talk it out and possibly get good godly counsel. This is from a Longhorn, Methodist and Yankee who married an Aggie, Baptist and Southern boy.  Work out every difference that matters!  Some things are just fun to have opinions about, but when it edges on dissension, and you will know in your heart what that feels like, then take time to work that out. Talk about those things.  Talk about the areas where you are feeling like a situation or person is trying to divide.  Then get back to back and face the situation, as a battle. A divided house will not stand.  It won’t and it can’t.

3. When you have “somewhat” against them and you find it creeping into every conversation and many thoughts, there and then you need to throw the baggage out.  You have been carrying it too long.  Forgive it. Cover it with grace.  And love them.  I guarantee you that these thoughts will continue to happen–because, as I said you have a very real enemy, who whispers in your ear ALL the time.  So do I.  And though my hackles might rise up again, I must CHOOSE how I’m going to think.  Take that baby captive and make it obedient to Christ.  Love covers a multitude.  Choose to love.  Yes, I know.  I know it smarts and it hurts, but you choose to cover it with love. When the time is right and interruptions are nil, discuss this “somewhat” with your mate.  Tell them, this hurt me.  I love you.  But you need to know this hurt and we need to work through it.

4. Get away together.  Make it happen–even if it is a “stay-cation” kind of thing.  If you have children, you need to find a way to spend at least 24 hours together without interruptions and do what you used to do, before children. This is the time to discuss the hard things and time to DREAM and time to re-learn what it is that made you fall in love. I highly recommend Family Life’s Weekend to Remember.  My Chris and I have gone six times and benefited greatly from each one.  It is a great investment! We have given it as gifts and we will most certainly go again!

5. Laugh together.  Laugh at yourself and your silliness.  Laugh at the quirkiness of life.  Laugh about the things that once again are happening (like $4.31 in your bank account–hello? we still need a budget!).  Watch a funny movie. Listen to Brian Regan. Take a walk down through your neighborhood and “silly walk” the whole time.

6. Guard your heart and your mind.  Watch what you watch.  Watch what your read. Leave the past in the past–no archaeology to see how “they” are now. Leave them.  Guard it. If you find that what you are doing (what you are watching, drinking or participating in) brings out the “old man” in you (your old way of life before Christ changed your way of living), guard there.  Don’t go there.  Lock the door and throw away the key. When you are with other couples, guard your tongue and what you say regarding your spouse.  One word of criticism will effectually emasculate them.  Speak words that edify. Watch how your body language speaks, too.  I cannot tell you the times I have watched another woman speak “available” to my Chris. You better believe I was not only watching but placing myself and Jesus between us.  Two layers of impossible right there– we don’t spend time with them again.

7. NEVER go to lunch or be in the same home with someone of the opposite sex alone–unless it’s a family member. NEVER. I don’t care if it’s business or whatever.  Don’t do it. Bring a friend.  Invite your spouse along.  It is a good boundary.

8. Self-monitor your conversations in social networking. Guard every aspect of your words and intent. If you struggle here, I recommend that you invite your spouse or a close friend to keep watch and have the right to say–that looked a little flirty to me.

9. Find those activities you enjoy together and make TIME for them.  We love to read and to travel.  We love outdoors and hiking. We enjoy movies and going out to dinner. We hold hands and smile at one another often. We love to listen to music–past and present–and to sing.  These (and much more) are activities that we enjoy. Watch over your schedules here and make one another priority.  Most activities we enjoy do not cost a cent either…so no excuses.  You DO what you WANT to do.

10. Dream of the future together.  Talk about the dearest passions of your life and plan for it. I have a sweet friend, who wanted to swim with sharks. Her husband had cancer and he died. Afterwards she found that he had stashed away in their closet savings for her dream–just a dollar and then some more, but enough for the trip.  She immediately planned and went.  Though her heart was (and is still) broken, they dreamed together and planned for it. Dreaming is something God intended for us to do and it is even better if we can dream together and weave plans for the future.  They may not happen the way we hoped, but we are tied together–and what God has tied together, no man or “impossibility” can separate.

Perhaps here, you’d like for me to give you an out…like a get out of jail free card or an excuse.  I won’t.  I will pray for you, though.  You are welcome to let me know to do just that.  Marriage is worth it.  It is sacred and blessed.  And I am in this for life with my Chris.  After 20 years, I find that we are still learning about one another–I know that we can never outlive our ability to find out more and love more and laugh more and dream more. He is my heart…not one part do I withhold.

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When Vacationing Is Not an Option

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Getting away with your spouse is so important for a healthy and vital marriage. However, there will be times in your relationship when getting away is NOT an option.

For us, that is a reality right now.

Between ailing family members, low funds, and nowhere for the kids to go in order to take a vacation together, getting away is just not in our future. Sure, I could be upset and rant and rave about not being able to get away. But, I have decided to just embrace the time and do what I can to make our together time special.

Who doesn’t want to get away and just bask in the love and adoration of your spouse?

Here are a few things I plan on trying to incorporate in the next few months with my man since we cannot get away and go on vacation together right now.

  • Try to find at least 15 to 30 minutes a day after he comes home to sit down and talk to one another. We have gotten into the habit of talking more to our computers and the television than we do to each other. During this time of talking, no one is allowed to barge in and bother us and interrupt our talking time. We used to do this regularly when the kids were smaller, but in the last couple of years, we kind of quit practicing it.
  • Since our kids are older, we can leave them at home and go on a walk around the neighborhood (when it warms up again) just so we can spend a few minutes alone together.
  • Get away at home. This one is easy to accomplish if the kids have somewhere to go. This is also a great idea if you are low on finances. Get creative and create an environment of somewhere you want to visit. One of my places I want to visit is the beach one time in my life. Recreate a room using sheer curtains and play beach music. Transform your dining room into a beach scene using chairs! You can even ask your kids to draw beach scenes on paper and get them involved in helping you treat daddy to a night out somewhere! Make food at home that you might eat on the beach and just enjoy being together.

As you can see, there are many things you can do to “make getting away” an option for you by re-creating something at home.

As the Bible says, Everything has a season and this too shall pass (my paraphrase). Bide your time, be content where you are at the moment in life and when the time is right, you will be able to get away once again!

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