Sunday Short & Sweet – Investments

What are you doing today in your present marriage to preserve your marriage for the future? We must continually nourish our marriages. We cannot starve our marriages during our career and child raising years and expect that our marriages will be alive and thriving after the kids are gone and we are retired. We must feed our marriage each and every day with abundant attention.

I have often thought of marriage as a garden. If you ignore your garden, weeds begin to grow quickly. In an ignored marriage weeds of discontentment, bitterness and unforgiveness, begin to grow long roots. If these weeds are left to grow, they become overwhelming and more and more difficult to pull out. In marriage, this feeling of overwhelm is what eventually leads to the empty nest divorce. This is so sad because a beautifully tended marriage can lead to the most wonderful harvest in the later years of marriage. Some of your bounty could be:

>A deep love and respect for each other.
>More grace and mercy, enhancing your ability to overlook minor and major annoyances.
>A sex life that gets better and better. Yes, young people – it is true. Freedom from birth control and acceptance of your body make for really awesome lovemaking.

From newlyweds all the way to almost empty nesters – start today and feed your spouse every single day.

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A Gift

Here we are. That time of year when we celebrate thankfulness and the birth of our Savior. Unfortunately, many have fallen victim to the self-imposed stress of finding the perfect gift for all of those people on a list. Gift giving has become a task to be checked off. Gift giving has become a self-imposed obligation.

From today until Christmas Eve we will hear the marketing schemes of retail-land. Please don’t misunderstand me – I love this season. I love reflecting on what God has done for me during this past year. I love thinking about the people in my life. I love the smells of a roasting turkey and baking pie. I love watching the twinkling lights. I do not like being manipulated into purchasing items – many of these items are completely impersonal to the recipient. I do not like hearing of people dreading this season due to the stress or feeling lonely during this blessed season.

Considering all of these things made me wonder – “what is a gift”? Here is what came to my mind.

>It is a visit and time spent with a person who might be lonely, home-bound or isolated.
>It is a written or spoken heartfelt word of encouragement.
>Maybe you heard someone mention a trinket or an act of service that they like. Provide it if you can.
>Cook something for someone that you know they love.
>It is a smile or a kind word.
>In invitation to share a meal.
>Tell someone what they mean to you or what you admire about them.

A gift is not about the money spent or just merely getting that person checked off of your list. A gift is a representation of thoughtfulness. It says “I think about you – you are important to me”. It says that I have been paying attention to you and have noticed your likes, dislikes, hobbies, favorite color or food. It speaks to the person’s heart because it tells them that you truly value their presence in your life. Don’t get caught up in the manufactured pressures of this season. Enjoy the season and the precious people that are part of your life.

Give the Gift of Risk Taking

I understand why young people do it but why do adults hide their true feelings for each other? Are we that afraid of getting hurt? Well, probably but being afraid of getting hurt, won’t protect you from getting hurt.

I propose that this Thanksgiving we take a risk. Go a little deeper. Instead of sharing the things that you are thankful for, why not share the things about people that you are thankful for? If you are blessed enough to have people in your life that have become endeared to your heart, give them the gift of telling them so. I have been blessed with a couple of close friends and each of them complete parts of my friend puzzle. I have also been blessed by other friends that even though we are not intimately close, they are very meaningful to me. Each of these friends, are very different but bring wonderful qualities into my life. My life would not be the same without them. I have reflected on how these amazing people entered my life and have concluded that only God could organize this into happening and I am truly thankful that He has done this for me.

Maybe you have an encourager in your life. Maybe you have someone that you can trust with your deepest darkest struggles. Maybe you have someone that prays relentlessly for you. Maybe you have a friend that understands you like no one else. Maybe you have someone who always has your back. Maybe you have a friend that you can go for months without seeing and then when you are together, it is as if you were never apart.

Do you have people like this in your life? Maybe you are this kind of friend. Wouldn’t it be nice to let them know? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear how important you are to someone? Hiding or holding back our feelings for other human beings won’t keep us from getting hurt – it only keeps us from blessing and being blessed. Don’t worry about it – just tell them what they mean to you. You will be giving them a wonderful gift.

And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Spice Girls

I want to talk about the freedom that a husband and wife have in their sex life. God did not say thou shall only have sex in the missionary position till death do you part. He did not say that a lady can’t be a little naughty with her husband. Ladies, I can almost guarantee that your husband would be thrilled if you threw something new at him. Notice that I said “almost guarantee”. I suppose that there’s one or two men out there that are completely happy and comfortable with no variety.

Some of the ways that a wife can spice it up are:

>Be the aggressor.
>Look him in the eyes and say something that will take him by surprise. You don’t have to be X rated unless you want to be.
>Try different positions.
>Give him positive feedback that you are enjoying yourself. He will love it. Men love being good at stuff.
>Plan a getaway and kidnap him. You should plan on making sex a big part of your getaway.
>Let him undress you.
>When the kids are out of sight and he’s on the couch, climb onto his lap and make out.
>Lay across his lap for a back-rub and when his hands wander, let them.
>Flash him.
>When you’re sitting next to him, make sure that he can catch a glimpse of something – your shapely leg, pretty feet in sexy shoes or a little lace.
>When he hugs you, press up hard against a certain part of his body.

The sexual relationship between husband and wife is a beautiful expression of love. The above ideas are completely acceptable but there are some areas that a woman should never ever feel pressured into, such as, pornography or introducing another person (real or imagined) into the relationship. Yes ladies, no fantasizing about other men. No one should ever be hurt or demeaned.

Remember that famous line from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding – “we may be lambs in the kitchen, but we are tigers in the bedroom”? This line pretty much says it all. Wouldn’t you like it if your husband said “wow, sex just keeps getting better and better with you” or at least wouldn’t you like it if he thought it?

Practical Ideas on Dating Your Spouse

Some of us are newly married with no children but busy working to make ends meet. Some of us have been married for a while, have kids and are exhausted. Then the category that I fall into – married for a long time, our children are teenagers and we are finally experiencing the freedom that comes with not having to find a sitter. Depending on where you are in life, dating your spouse can sound great but doesn’t always happen easily. Here are a few ideas that might make it easier to get that vital alone time.

>Buy a special treat or rent a movie that you both enjoy. Put the kids to bed early. Meet behind closed doors and enjoy your treat and some time alone.
>Find a couple in the same stage of life and trade off on babysitting responsibilities.
>If money is tight, you don’t need to go out for dinner. Instead go for an ice-cream cone or a cup of coffee.
>If money is not tight, “kidnap your spouse” for an overnighter.
>Go for a drive together and hold hands.
>Take a Thermos of hot chocolate and go sit on the park bench and watch the sunset.

Dating your spouse should not be about spending money. It is about spending time without distractions. You two are the only people in the universe for those precious moments.

What Does a Man – Really Look Like, Not Look Like and Need?

>Physically, he is hard and angular. He is muscular and strong.
>He is a provider.
>He is a conqueror.
>He is a problem solver.
>He has feelings and needs you to accept him and not judge him.
>He needs you to flirt with him.
>He is competitive. Seriously, no vehicle should ever make it to the traffic light before his.
>He thinks in terms of compartments or boxes. He opens only one up at a time and closes it before he opens another.
>He is not your girlfriend. Stop pressuring him into doing girl stuff.
>Stop asking him for his opinion on your outfit. If he likes it, you will know. If you need an opinion, ask a girlfriend.
>He is probably not going to be as sensitive as a woman. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t men that are sensitive. If you have one in your life, you are extremely blessed.
>He is not a sex maniac. He just needs a lot of really incredible sex with his wife.
>He is a pleaser. Starting with your little boy and all of the way up to your husband, he wants to please you.
>He wants to be pursued sexually by his wife.
>He is a man. He needs a wife not a mother.
>He is visual. He notices beauty in all forms.
>He needs you to need him.

Women want to be accepted just the way that we are. So do men. Men have too often been treated or portrayed as a substandard form of the human race. Men are incredible testosterone loaded creatures. They are created to be different from women and this woman appreciates that.

Sunday Short & Sweet – Renewing Your Mind

Did you grow up in a home where sexuality was never discussed or even worse, it was portrayed as being dirty? Unfortunately, you may have carried these attitudes into your marriage.

Sex in marriage is not evil. God created sex within the commitment of marriage to be wonderful. If you’re still not sure, try reading Song of Solomon or how about what Paul said “the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to pray and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control”. Did you catch that? Stop depriving one another!

In order for sex to be good, it needs to be between a man and woman in a committed marriage relationship and neither party should ever be forced to do anything that makes them uncomfortable. Also, please remember that sex is portrayed in movies and some books unrealistically. Having these expectations or trying to live up to this will probably disappoint both of you.

If you realize that you have brought some unhealthy attitudes into your marriage, I hope that this blog has helped you to renew your mind and open your eyes to the changes needed. Discuss this with your spouse and I am sure that they would be thrilled to help you.

Possible Volcano Warning

Does your spouse explode into anger every once in a while? I know, it is unpleasant. Listen, it is possible that your spouse has a problem with anger or that they might be a spoiled brat (I will address this later) but more likely, you are training them to pitch a fit so that they can finally get you to take them seriously.

How exactly do you train your spouse to erupt like Mount Vesuvius? Well, I imagine that you have ignored the warning signs. If your spouse is good enough to calmly tell you when things bother them, you are greatly blessed. How do you return that blessing? Do you make jokes about how they feel? Do you make excuses or say “well, that is just how I am”? Do you refuse to make changes? Do you make temporary changes and then revert back? Do you just ignore them? Do you play the victim?

If this is a pattern in your marriage, please take a look at yourself. Your spouse does not enjoy getting angry and they are hurting deeply. Every time you ignore their requests or make light of them, you are devaluing your spouse. Every time you ignore their requests and their frustration builds into anger, they feel horrible afterwards and very likely hate themselves for blowing up.

Now, if your spouse has a problem with a hot unpredictable temper – get counseling. This probably won’t get better without some help. If your spouse behaves like a spoiled brat, it is possible that you are enabling them. Maybe it is easier to give in to the temper tantrum instead of confronting them. You probably know deep down inside if this is the case. You might want to start taking small steps toward letting the brat experience real life without successfully manipulating you.

Back to the spouse that calmly addresses issues as they occur, stop being a jerk by putting your spouse into the position of being a jerk. When your spouse tells you that something bothers them, respect them enough to listen and make the changes that are needed.

Not Fair

Some of my readers might be thinking that my blog sounds good but that it just doesn’t work in their life. Maybe you currently have or have had a spouse that doesn’t do the right thing no matter how hard you try to do the right thing. This is so wrong and I know that it feels hurtful and unfair.

If you are no longer married and you are stuck in the hurt, I encourage you to find a trustworthy counselor that will use biblical methods. This will help you to heal and move forward in your life. By choosing to stay in the victim mode, you are “drinking the poison and waiting for the other person to die”.

If you are still married, ask your spouse whether or not they would join you in counseling. If they refuse, go without them. One warning though – beware of the counselor that encourages or requires you or your children to turn against your spouse. In this rare circumstance, a counselor may accuse the spouse of spiritual abuse or even begin to take on a leadership role in the family. If there is no danger or abuse, there is no reason that your spouse should be alienated from the relationships.

There is always hope but you do have to want help and healing. Remember, God uses circumstances to grow us and our faith in Him. God doesn’t want you to be living in a perpetual state of boo-hoo poor me. Take a step forward today and seek out a good biblical counselor and then take another step and make an appointment with them.