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.

He’s Not a Fan of That Game

What does every male have that he loves very much?  Two things come to mind immediately, but we’re not going to discuss the one that just made you chuckle.  Today, we’re talking about the females in man’s life – a mother, sister, grandmother, friend, girlfriend, daughter or wife.

 

Just tell me what you want.  What did I do wrong?  I’m so eager to please you.  These are the pleas of a son, brother, grandson, male friend, boyfriend, father and husband.  The men in your life, would like you to know, a woman can relieve a load of pressure from her relationships with men, if she would communicate her hurts, complaints and desires.  When a woman becomes silent, responds with a curt answer or withholds kindness or intimacy, he interprets this as a manipulative game play and he’s not a fan of that game.

 

How can a woman avoid this behavior?

 

>If he has hurt, upset or disappointed you, tell him.  Calmly.  Don’t make him wonder, beg or plead.  The tension is a relationship killer.  If you are too hurt or angry to behave respectfully or warmly, let him know that you will talk about it when you’re calm and then make sure that you do.  Don’t let it build and don’t withhold kindness in the meantime.

 

>Don’t ignore a man and then suddenly use sweetness or flirtation to get what you want.  If it is appropriate for you to flirt with this man, flirt but not because you want something from him.

 

>If you ask a man for input on decisions, then listen to his point of view.  Don’t bother asking if you’re not going to consider his ideas, feelings, tastes or dislikes.

 

>If he asks you where you would like to go out to eat or what you would like to do, don’t respond with “I don’t care – you decide”.  Usually, men don’t want to make this decision on their own.  If you have nothing in mind, ask him to offer a few choices and then pick one.  He wants you to enjoy yourself.

 

>Do you want or need something from him?  Make your request be known.  Don’t make him guess and then get upset when he doesn’t “read your mind” correctly.  Does it need to be done immediately?  Let him know why.

 

>Don’t use social media to display passive aggressive or other negative behaviors.  Your snarky remark isn’t gaining you points.  In fact, it hurts him and he loses respect for you.

 

>If this man is your husband, do not withhold sex as a punishment.  Clearly, intimacy is emotional for a woman, so work out your differences as quickly as possible and then return to a great relationship.

 

Respectful communication is crucial.  Learn how to communicate your hurt, requests and expectations calmly.  The golden rule can be applied here, so speak in the same manner that you would like to be spoken to.  You’ll likely get what you want and need and he won’t be walking on thin ice out in the freezing cold.  Everyone is a winner.

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”?

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Last night, I was sitting up in bed and writing on my laptop, when my husband came in and walked over to his nightstand, picked up the framed photo of me and gave that picture a kiss.  It made me smile and he said “you do know that if you die, I will kiss this picture every single night?”.  This might seem morbid to you, but to us it’s normal conversation.  My reply might surprise you as well.  I told him “assuming that you would remarry, I don’t think that your new wife would appreciate that very much” to which he replied “I’m sure that she would be fine with it, as well as all of the times that I would tell her – that’s not how Madeline would have done it or that’s not what Madeline would say”.  As I listened to him fall asleep, I laid there thinking and asking questions.  Why is remarriage such a taboo subject?  God, if you release us from the bonds of marriage upon death, why do we have such a difficult time with the thought of becoming one with another special human being or accepting that our spouse will want companionship again?

 

A spouse, especially a man that has been separated by death from his wife, will likely want to remarry.  He may feel lonely and guilty at the same time.  He may feel ready to live life again with a new companion, but struggle with feelings that he is betraying his wife.  Family and friends might even judge him for moving on too soon with another woman.   Why do some men remarry so soon after becoming widowed?  What if he knew the woman while he was still married?  What if he is aware that his wife didn’t like this woman?  What if his children, family and friends don’t approve of her?  It gets complicated, doesn’t it?  All of this can send adult children into a tailspin and often those that don’t have a say-so in the matter, will force their opinions upon him.  I believe that it all comes back to creation.  Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”  A helper suitable for him.  God will provide a suitable helper because God says that it is not good for him to be alone.  God also has said that death releases us from the bonds of marriage.   Clearly, it is not up to others to judge a widower for who he chooses to remarry or when he chooses to pursue her, once he has been released by God from the bonds of his marriage.

 

My father-in-law was widowed in his late 80’s, and within two months he was involved with another woman.  He actually knew her while his wife was alive and he was probably aware that she was a good woman.  When he announced that he would remarry, some of his children found it difficult to accept.  He was always a faithful husband and father.  He was at his wife’s bedside when she died.  He did nothing wrong.  He just didn’t want to live out the rest of his years without a faithful companion.  Now, almost ten years later, his children couldn’t be happier about the woman that he chose and she being completely different from his first wife, has offered him an entirely different marriage experience.

 

When a man is widowed and has inclinations to remarry, usually it does happen quickly.  To understand this, we must look at one of the differences between men and women.  Women often have many friends and one or two that they can confide in.  Most men don’t have a friend that they confide in.  They might have many men that they know and regularly grunt and mumble with, but not a close confidant.  This is where their wife comes in.  Even though our husbands don’t talk as much as we do, they view us as their closest friend, confidant and supporter.  We are their best friend.

 

If a man remarries quickly after becoming widowed, it is a compliment to his previous wife.  She made marriage wonderful and he wants to experience it again.   This is between him and God.  Why not offer support and be happy that he is happy again?

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.

Telling Yourself Truths

The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit? – Proverbs 18:14. Careless words and actions can and do hurt – sometimes they cause pain for a very long time.

 

The woman that dishonestly or unfairly vents her thoughts about another woman to her husband, children or others.  The person that tells only their side of the story, to make the other person look bad. That man that comments about another man’s character being dishonorable. The group that chatters together conjuring up stories of sinful activity.  The person, when asked about someone, reacts with a raised eyebrow or even a very slight derogatory comment.  The woman that excludes another woman from her life or makes another woman feel unwelcome without a genuine reason.  The woman that uses body language to ignore another woman. The person that tells half truths about someone to mislead others.  The young person that gossips, excludes or uses unkind words about a peer or another family. Finally, the person that makes the mistake of listening to one side of the story and allows their opinion to be swayed.  It might seem benign – “after all, it will never get back to the person and so what if it does – they deserve it and it makes me feel better”.

 

It is never harmless.  It always damages the person that has been hurt, as well as the person guilty of the hurting. It can be a firestorm in someone’s life – taking years to recover but just like a forest that has been burned away, if handled correctly, beautiful growth can emerge.  How can beauty come up out of these ashes?  First, when you are believing a lie about yourself or the situation, you must tell yourself a truth.  Here are some examples.  “They are twisting the story” can become “the truth will come out in the end”.  “They are getting away with ruining my reputation or turning other people against me” can become either “I have earned credibility and other people won’t automatically believe this” or “if they don’t know me very well, I shouldn’t be overly concerned about their opinion of me” and ultimately “God’s opinion of me is the only opinion that matters”.  “I feel like women despise me” can become “I have women in my life that value me”.  “There must be something wrong with me” can become “it is not because of who I am.  It is because of how they choose to behave or who they are.”  Second, you have to trust and believe that God is a God of justice and that He will not allow this to go on forever.  Third, if you find that you are obsessing about an offense against you and stirring the pot of stew so to speak, there are techniques to help you manage this.  Try limiting your stewing sessions to five minutes in the morning and five minutes before bedtime.  If your mind tries to stir the pot during the other times of the day – just remind yourself “not now – later”.  Soon, you may not need those sessions at all.  Finally, do not resort to vindictive or childish behavior.    It might make you feel better in the short run but in the long run, it will hurt you.  These healing actions will protect you from bitterness taking root.

 

Women are especially vulnerable to perceiving that another woman’s grass is greener.  Insecurities or jealousy of another woman’s accomplishments, character, personality, physical appearance, husband, children or even a pure admiration that she might receive from men or even other women, can cause an insecure woman to behave rudely, cruelly or even maliciously.  A husband is the leader of his wife and therefore he is responsible to watch for these behaviors.  Keep in mind, she may be very adept at concealing these behaviors from her husband. Husbands, you can make a difference in this area.  She may not want you to, but she needs you to lead her and hold her accountable.  I realize that a peaceful environment is difficult to give up but coddling bad behavior, emboldens it.  Parents, if you notice that your daughter is involved in this type of behavior, hold her accountable and train her up correctly while you still have influence in her life.  This is not innocent conduct and even words or actions that you might deem harmless, may be hurting another human being.

 

Are you wounded?  Maybe others have excluded you, talked about you, lied about you, rejected you and worst of all, at times, maybe it has affected your children.  If you are wounded, then you know the pain that this can cause.  I offer comfort to you – you probably did nothing to deserve this treatment.  I offer encouragement to you – get back out there and find others that have healthy self-images, because they will be able to love you and they will celebrate everything about you.  I offer reassurance to you – that you deserve to have people in your life that will give back to you.

 

We are raised in imperfect homes with imperfect families and often we have insecurities or emotional problems but the Bible tells us to esteem others as higher than ourselves.  When we do, spirits can be lifted – marriages, families and friends built up.  Let’s be willing to be honest with ourselves and take a good long look at our reflection in the mirror.  Let’s search our memories and our hearts.  Each of us could probably find a time when we have been guilty of spreading or listening to careless words, being unkind or not holding ourselves or others accountable.  Would you join me in committing to not being part of the problem as you move forward with your relationships?