Deep Within

I am your greatest earthly treasure, but you’ve placed me upon a shelf. You pour yourself into things, that will be tossed away tomorrow. Look at me! Strangers, acquaintances and friends affirm me for a season, but you don’t see my gifts. Look at me! You see my adornments and your hands and lips examine the jewels, but you don’t see my heart and mind. Look at me! You praise my efforts, but always with a suggestion. Look at me! I am only a whisper away from you, but you don’t see the tears in my eyes. Look at me! What do I want? I do want you to be thrilled by my adornments, I do want you to praise my best, but I also want you to be amazed by my heart and my mind. Who am I? Don’t look at me, but look deep within me.

 

This statement could have been written by any married woman living today or throughout history. It is incredibly common for a wife to feel this way.  She isn’t necessarily depressed or not functioning, but she feels emptiness.  She needs encouragement.  She needs her best efforts to be praised, without an added criticism, in the form of a suggestion.  She needs to feel valued.  She needs all of her gifts and abilities to be appreciated, instead of being seen as problems or complications.  She needs you to be amazed by every part of her – her mind, body and soul.  She needs you to believe, and show her, that she is the butter to your bread.

 

Husbands, I’m trying to help you to help yourselves.  If any of the above sounds familiar, your wife is needing you to go to school.  She needs you to love her, by studying her.  She is worth the effort.  Your marriage is worth the effort.  Make her your lifelong learning project.  A man learning about a woman, is an attractive man.  I know it’s hard and probably foreign to you, since she is a strange and wonderful creature, but anything that is important, requires time and effort.  She doesn’t find it easy and natural, but she tries to make your physical needs her priority and put you before the children.

 

Women are relational, soft-hearted and responsive. Women have a deep need to be understood. If you remove the outward beauty and all of the tasks that she completes, you will find her essence. Her essence is her qualities and character. It is her own unique set of gifts, given to her by her Creator. Does she seem to attract those that you deem as unlovely? Is she kind, thoughtful and generous – putting others above herself? Is she sensitive to the moods or hurts of others? Does she love others, even though she gets hurt? Does her heart of compassion move her to take action?  Does she impressively deal kindly with you, the children and others outside of your household?  This is her essence, which is to be appreciated, not viewed as a problem that needs to be fixed.

 

See and appreciate her essence.  Praise her for all of her qualities, and brag about her to others.  As a woman ages, her physical beauty will change, the volume of tasks that she can complete will reduce, but her essence will remain, and it will become even more beautiful in time.  Give her the hope and encouragement that she needs, by looking deep within.

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Will We Have Enough?

There are reminders everywhere.  Television, radio, emails and pop-up ads.  Are we adequately preparing for our future?  I propose a different question.  Are we adequately living for today?  Are we pouring the fun into our marriages that will sustain the relationship during those empty nesting, job is a thing of the past days?  Guess what?  We can keep saving for retirement because this kind of fun is free.  Today, Madeline is talking about glue.  The glue that keeps the marital relationship alive and well.

If you’re raising littles, you’re tired.  If you’re raising teenagers, you fondly remember the simplicity of the “littles” days.  This isn’t about whether or not you are exhausted, because I know that you are.  I know this because, I’m exhausted too.  It’s life.  Life is draining, but every day that we choose to put our spouse’s needs toward the end of the to-do list, the life drains out of the marriage and when the children are gone and the careers are over, who and what will we be left with?  Will it be a malnourished spouse and marriage, or shall we choose to invest in this relationship and reap the rewards now and later?  Here are a few of my free investment tips.

 

>Wife, put your freshly showered body between clean sheets and wait for your husband to return home from work?  Yes, during daylight.

>Husband, tell her how beautiful she is to you and make love to every inch of her body?  Yes, not merely the “main parts”.

>Hold hands while you drive to your appointments together.

>Wife, climb onto his lap and let him undress you while you passionately kiss him.

>Husband, walk her to the couch after dinner, place a glass of wine in her hand and immediately return to the kitchen to clean up.

>Wife, greet him at the door, grab him by the belt and tell him about the things that you want to do with him later.

>Husband, envelop her into your arms and just hold her without the expectation of things going further.

>Wife, behave a little naughty for him.   He might enjoy watching you enjoy that ice-cream cone.

>Husband, choose to look at her soul and point out the beauty that exists deep inside.  She might need to hear about why you think she’s so special.

>Take care of yourself for your spouse.

>Look nice for your spouse.

>Enjoy the person that you are married to.  Make a choice to like them, warts and all.

 

Empty nest divorce, also called gray divorce, is too common and it hurts everyone involved – even the grown children.  Couples lose closeness while life marches on around them.  Waiting until the children are gone and life slows down to begin investing in each other, doesn’t work.  In order to reach these years with a successful marriage intact, you’ll need to invest along the way.  Marital romance is the glue that bonds and protects the relationship, so make glue and bond and have some fun along the way.  You’ll never have to wonder – will we have enough to get us through to the end?

Leftovers Again?

Leftovers – great for those occasions when you’re short on time but leftovers can’t compare to my best effort in putting a fresh hot meal on the table.  What kind of a marital diet is your spouse on?  Are you serving leftovers or your best effort?

 

Most of us have fairly good manners and we try very hard to put our best face forward with acquaintances, clients, co-workers and friends. Our spouse deserves the same courtesy but when we’re tired or grumpy, sometimes they are the recipient of our impolite, impatient, demanding, uncharitable, distracted and at the very least, low energy behavior.  It’s true that we should be comfortable and at ease with our spouse but we should never make them feel less valuable than the other people in our life.

 

Here are some ways that we can give our spouse what they deserve – the best that we have to offer.

 

>Greet your spouse with as much enthusiasm as you would greet others.

>Say goodbye with as much feeling as you would with others.

>Ask them about their life and how things are going for them.

>Put their needs before the children.

>Look at them in their eyes when they are speaking to you.  Put your device down.

>Try to look your best for them.

>Compliment them on their appearance or their efforts.

>Smile at them.

>Date them and from time to time, put some effort into the planning and preparation.

>Have compassion for them when they make a mistake.  Don’t lecture them about it.

>Don’t demand that they serve you but say thank you when they do.

>Be charming with them.

>Don’t correct them when they make an unimportant mistake when speaking.

>Offer to be their helper.

>Ask them, don’t tell them and don’t forget to say please and thank you.

 

Our spouse is the most important human in our life and they should definitely feel as though they are.  Would you take a challenge for me?  If this is an area of weakness for you, try implementing one or two each month until they are habits and your spouse is feeling as though they alone, are your most significant other.

What a Husband Really Needs

Last week we looked at what a wife really needs.  Now, what does a husband really need?  It isn’t a deluxe meat smoker, dream boat, tricked-out truck or even the perfectly cooked steak or freshly homemade sweet rolls.

 

He needs you to pursue him sexually.

He needs you to make his sexual needs a priority.

He needs you to enjoy sex and let him know that you are.

He needs you to tell him or show him what feels good.

He needs you to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and most importantly, spiritually.

He needs you to need him and his help.

He needs you to appreciate him.

He needs you to respect him.

He needs you to make yourself available and spend time with him.

He needs you to not discuss your marriage with others.

He needs you to put him before the children.

He needs you to choose him over others regularly.

He needs you to communicate what your needs and desires are.

He needs you to not have a critical spirit toward him.

He needs you to not nag or gripe at him.

He needs you to serve him in little ways such as bringing him a cup of coffee.

He needs you to be his representative in the home.

He needs you to appreciate the sacrifices that he makes for you and your family.

He needs you to not punish or cold shoulder him.

He needs you to tell him what he did wrong instead of making him guess.

He needs you to trust him and his judgement.

 

I hope that you have enjoyed this two-part series and that it has been a helpful encouragement to you.  Thank you for reading and I absolutely love to see your feedback too.

What a Wife Really Needs

She doesn’t need a gigantic stuffed teddy bear or a new pajama set.  She has prepared a honey-do list for you.  I have organized it strategically by your priorities.  This list starts with sex but be sure to persist to the end of the post, because I will have an important explanation for you.

 

She needs you to communicate verbally and non-verbally, that you find her sexy, beautiful and desirable.

She needs you to make love to her entire body and explore how to satisfy her sexually.

She needs you to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and most importantly, spiritually.

She needs you to make her feel like a queen.

She needs you to serve her in thoughtful little ways.

She needs you to listen to her and look her in the eyes.

She needs you to protect her.

She needs you to defend her when she’s right.

She needs you to confront her when she’s wrong.

She needs you to sacrifice some of your own desires for her.

She needs you to choose her over your activities or other people regularly.

She needs you to communicate what your needs and desires are.

She needs you to not have a critical spirit with her or the children.

She needs you to shield her from taking on too much.

She needs you to partner with her in the struggles of life including parenting.

She needs you to ask her hard questions and hold her accountable as a woman, wife and mother.

 

There are a few points that require further explanation.  First, a husband doesn’t need to become financially burdened in order to make his wife happy.  Making her feel like a queen, isn’t as much about money as it is about your effort.  A good woman will feel like a queen when you make her your priority.  She needs to know that she is second only to your relationship with God.  Look her in the eye when she speaks, study what makes her tick and find small thoughtful ways to serve her.  On the other point, it is difficult for a husband to confront his wife when she has done something wrong or needs accountability but according to God, you are the leader of your home.  Unfortunately, you may lose some of your peace and quiet for a time but in the long run, your wife and children and others that are affected will benefit.

 

Be watching for next week’s post.  We’ll take a look at what a husband really needs.

Not Your Typical Valentine’s Day Post

Is it really February 14th already?  You didn’t remember to buy a card for your husband?  No worries – you’ve got everything that you need, to give him the best Valentine’s Day present ever.

 

 

He probably doesn’t really want another greeting card from you and although he loves chocolate, there’s something that he loves even more – sexual enticement from his wife, leading to mind blowing sex with her.  No matter how long you’ve been married, you can climb onto his lap, look him in the eye as you confidently unbuckle his belt, and let him know that there is only one thing on your mind.  If it’s physically impossible for you to do this, I’m sure that you can use your feminine imagination and come up with something just as fun.

 

 

Here are some ideas for the perfect time with your Valentine and by the way, he wants to be your Valentine every single day – not just one day a year.

 

 

>Look him in the eyes and say something a little naughty.

 

>Let him undress you.

 

>When the kids are out of sight and he’s sitting down relaxing, climb onto his lap and make out.

 

>Let him enjoy the view as you walk up the stairs in front of him.

 

>When you’re sitting next to him or even across the room, make sure that he can catch a glimpse of something – your shapely leg, pretty feet in sexy shoes or a little lace.

 

>Pay attention and take note of what seems to turn him on.   It might be as simple as letting him watch you lick honey off of a spoon.  Have fun teasing him a little with it.

 

 

Enticement with the promise of the real thing is like energizing juice and within the confines and commitment of marriage, it is a beautiful blessing.  Wouldn’t you love to hear “wow, sex just keeps getting better and better with you”?

Deep Within

The following was originally published one year ago.  It struck a chord with both men and women and it is a topic worthy of revisiting.  As an introduction, I include the brief statement below, which was written by a real woman who wanted her voice to be heard.  She offered her heart, so that others would be helped.  She entitled this “Look at Me”.

 

“I am your greatest earthly treasure, sitting on the shelf. You pour yourself into things that will be tossed tomorrow. Look at me! Strangers and acquaintances affirm me today and maybe tomorrow but you don’t see my gifts. Look at me! You see my adornments and your hands examine the jewels but you don’t look deep enough to see my heart and mind. Look at me! You praise my efforts but always with a suggestion. Look at me! I am only a whisper away, invisible with tears in my eyes. Look at me! What do I want? I do want you to love my adornments, I do want you to praise what I do and I do want you to know who I am, deep inside of my mind and my heart. Who am I? Don’t look at me but look deep within me.”

 

She wrote this during her darkest moments and from a place of deep pain but it isn’t earth shattering. Too many women struggle with similar thoughts and feelings. She is not a depressed woman.  Actually, she describes herself as happy and striving for contentment. She is an ordinary woman and just like most women, her emotional tank occasional becomes empty. Husbands, this post is not intended to heap more burden or guilt onto you.  I’m hoping that this fills in the blanks for many men.  I know that so many men labor and struggle to understand how to fulfill their wife.  I will boil it down for you.  Love your wife by studying her. Make her your lifelong learning project. There is nothing sexier than a man learning about what makes his woman tick. I know it’s difficult and it requires effort – actually, it requires hard work but please realize that it is difficult for her to let you lead, put you before the children and make your sexual needs a priority? You see, these things are foreign to her, just like it is foreign to you to study your wife.

 

I love how music speaks to our hearts.  There is a beautiful song called Exploring the Blue by Luka Bloom.  He sings – “I go down into the water, and dive as deep as man can go, into those dark places, watch the underwater flow, exploring the blue, in search of you, here I stand by the mountain, look up to the sky, knowing it’s a matter of having to climb, above this place these clouds lie.”  This beautiful song is about a man going as deep or climbing as high as he needs to go, in order to understand and know his woman.  Studying your wife is all about your efforts.  Observe her and verbally affirm her.  There are no flowcharts and at times you may find this to be quite the challenge, but here are a few ideas to get you going.  “I was amazed at how you handled that situation” or “I was watching you from a distance as you spoke to that person.  I loved your smile and facial expressions” or “it really impresses me that you know where to go in God’s word to find the answers”.  Give her specifics – tell her why she amazed you or what it was about her smile and facial expressions that you loved.

 

Most women have a deep need to be understood by those closest to them.  She wants you to see and value her essence.  If you remove the outward beauty and all of the tasks that she completes, you will find her essence. Her essence is her qualities and character. It is her own unique set of gifts, given to her by her Creator.  Is she compassionate? Is she kind and thoughtful – putting others above herself? Is she sensitive to the moods and hurts of others? Does she love others even though she has been hurt in the past? Does her heart of compassion move her to take action? Is she intelligent?  Is she goofy, funny or witty?  Can she find the humor in almost every situation?  Is she as sweet as sugar and yet vivacious and sexy all at the same time?  This is her essence.

 

Look deep within her heart and her mind and appreciate her essence. Praise her and brag about these qualities as well as her physical beauty and the tasks that she completes. As a woman ages, her physical beauty will change, the volume of tasks that she can complete will reduce but it is her essence that will remain and even become more beautiful in time. I know that you love this woman. Give her hope by looking deep within.

Santa’s Little Helper

Good news ladies!  The best Christmas present that you can give to your husband, is absolutely free.

 

He probably doesn’t want another tie and he most likely doesn’t need another tool or electronic device, but there is one thing that he can never get enough of – sexual enticement from his wife, leading to mind blowing sex with her.  No matter how long you’ve been married, you can climb onto his lap, look him in the eye as you confidently unbuckle his belt, and let him know that there is only one thing on your mind.  If it’s physically impossible for you to do this, I’m sure that you can use your feminine imagination and come up with something just as fun.

 

Here are some ideas for the perfect gift from Santa’s Little Helper:

 

>Look him in the eyes and say something a little naughty.

>Let him undress you.

>When the kids are out of sight and he’s sitting down relaxing, climb onto his lap and make out.

>Let him enjoy the view as you walk up the stairs in front of him.

>When you’re sitting next to him or even across the room, make sure that he can catch a glimpse of something – your shapely leg, pretty feet in sexy shoes or a little lace.

>Pay attention and take note of what seems to turn him on.   It might be as simple as letting him watch you lick honey off of a spoon.  Have fun teasing him a little with it.

 

Enticement with the promise of the real thing is like energizing juice and within the confines and commitment of marriage, it is a beautiful blessing.  Wouldn’t you love to hear “wow, sex just keeps getting better and better with you”?

Contentment in All Things

We didn’t allow a lot of television consumption in our home, but on my daughter’s first birthday, we went out and bought several episodes of VeggieTales.  My children grew up on those moral teaching, silly song singing vegetables.  Many times, I sat with them and enjoyed the clever ways that the creators brought their messages to life.  One episode has always been my favorite – Madame Blueberry, A Lesson in Thankfulness.

 

Although Madame Blueberry was struggling with discontentment in the area of “stuff”, the lesson taught me that discontentment is a toxin that can get into the bloodstream of our life and poison every aspect.  The writers of this episode boiled it down – the cure for discontentment is having a thankful heart.  Eighteen years later, I still remember this lesson and try to apply it regularly.  Today, we will address contentment in our marriages.   The apostle Paul teaches us some very important ideas that can be carried into our marriages.  He said that we can be content in all things and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  I would surmise that this includes being content in our marriage.  He taught us that God might not take away all difficult things but God’s grace is sufficient to get us through and that God’s power will be shown through this.  These principles can be utilized in our marriages to bring us greater happiness, peace and longevity.

 

There are marriages that survive and even thrive throughout all of the ups and downs.  Have you ever wondered why some marriages break apart and end in divorce while other marriages last until death do us part?  It isn’t because one marriage was easy and the other was hard.  One major reason is contentment – either a lack of contentment or a thankful heart.  A thankful heart chooses thankfulness – it chooses to focus on the good rather than the bad.  Whether you’ve been married for thirty years or one year, you are on a path together and you will have beautiful times and at other times, you may seriously question why you chose this person.  Remember, love is not a feeling but it is a choice.  When you are choosing to love in the way that God intended, you are living out the Gospel in your home and choosing to extend grace and mercy to each other.  This is a journey and any couple that makes it to the successful end, will tell you that it was not always easy but it was always worth it.  In every marriage, there is a daily opportunity to overlook each other’s weaknesses and flaws and deal lovingly with your spouse’s sin.  How in the world do we do this when our spouse is creating tension, angst or pain in our life?

 

We must realize and remind ourselves that we are imperfect too.  Each of us has the human condition – sin.  We have a tendency to look out for our own interests and we don’t like being wronged, inconvenienced, embarrassed or uncomfortable.  Also, we all have traits that even if they are not wrong, they still annoy the people that know us the best.  Once we realize this, overlooking our spouse’s faults becomes much easier.

 

I’m not suggesting that you never voice your concerns.  Some things do need to be voiced out of serious concern for the health of your marriage or even the mental, physical or spiritual health of your spouse or children.  How you go about voicing these concerns is crucial – check your motives.  You will never change your spouse and your love should never be conditional.  Only God and your spouse can do the actual work necessary for change.  So, once you have discussed your concerns, you must only very sparingly bring this up again.  For example, you may have concerns about the way that your spouse parents your children.  If it is not an issue of physical endangerment, emotional or spiritual abuse, you can voice concerns for your children’s sake but you cannot force change.  Your spouse may be abusing their body with food, alcohol or tobacco.  It is appropriate to express your concern for their long-term health and even your worry about losing them to an early death but once you have let them know how you are feeling, you have to let it go.  Policing them and harping on them will only drive them further into the abuse.  Another issue in marriage can be the lack of emotional support and encouragement.  Again, I think that it is important to help your spouse understand the deficiency and how it affects you but don’t bludgeon them.   An important part of being content in this area is being intentional about noticing the times that your spouse does support and encourage you.

 

There are areas where contentment is not appropriate.  First, if there is physical endangerment, being aware and vigilant is crucial, especially to protect children who cannot protect themselves.  If your spouse has abused or endangered you or the children, don’t justify this behavior.  Getting yourself and the children to safety is the first priority and then attempt to get your spouse the help that they need.  Second, you shouldn’t allow or enable controlling and manipulative behavior.  Instead, acknowledge it.  Once you’ve learned to recognize it, you cannot be controlled or manipulated unless you allow yourself to be.  Also, controlling and manipulative behavior has probably impaired your ability to trust your own judgement or decision making skills.  If this is you, seek wise counsel to help you make sense of the situation.  If enabled to continue, controlling and manipulative behavior will negatively impact the development your children.

 

If you remember only one thing from this post, remember that you are not responsible for changing your spouse – you are responsible for loving them.  Sometimes loving them means keeping your mouth shut.  Sometimes loving them means holding them accountable.  Sometimes loving them means not allowing them to control and manipulate you or the children.  Sometimes loving them means getting them to professional help.  Don’t exaggerate behavior that can be overlooked and don’t throw the safety net under someone who needs consequences.  May God richly bless you and your marriage with the peace of a thankful contented heart.