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.

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?

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.

Sweet ‘n Spicy

The opposite sex can be confusing and frustrating to us.  Sometimes we communicate as if we are speaking in two different languages.  These differences cause needless conflict.  We all know that we can only control our own words and behaviors, so let’s take a look at how a wife can effectively communicate love to her husband by demonstrating that she respects and values him.


Let’s start with the most difficult aspect of this post.  Many times a wife is struggling – functioning somehow on an empty love-tank.  She doesn’t feel loved or cherished for a multitude of reasons.  Then add to the mix, a grumpy or even angry husband who is unpleasant and emotionally unavailable.  How in the world is she to muster up the strength and the will to extend love to this man?  Here’s the magic – most husbands when they are feeling respected and valued, will reach to the stars to serve their wife.  So if you are willing as the woman, to do the right thing first, soon you may have a man willing to fill your tank.  He may need some help understanding your needs and desires but if he is feeling love in the language that he understands, pleasing you will be his priority.


Here are some practical ways to demonstrate love by respecting and valuing a man:


Men need some time to unwind when they get home.  He’s been fighting battles for you and the children and he needs time to decompress.  Don’t dump your burdens on him the moment that he walks through the door.  Be sweet and greet him with a pleasant smile, kiss and hug.  If he has a hobby or interest, give him the gift of time to have fun or accomplish with it.  Later, he will be more willing and able to give you the attention or down-time that you need.  Also, if you are usually following these principals, he will be happy to be your hero when you’ve had a bad day and occasionally need to unload on him when he walks through the door.


Don’t belittle him or his ideas. If your husband opens up to you and shares a dream, problem or challenge and the way that he would like to proceed, don’t rattle off all of the reasons that it won’t work.  It is acceptable to show concern but not doubt in him or his wisdom.  Instead, reassure him that you recognize the difficulty in making the decision and support him if you can. My husband knows that I need information, so at this point he will answer my questions and usually, we will commit to pray. If you believe that he is making a mistake, remember he probably already realizes that he is accountable for his decisions, so it is not necessary to remind him of this and doing so makes him feel like a child.


Don’t sulk. Women are especially in tune with the needs of those around us. Most men are not tuned into the intricacies of relationships. Don’t punish him with the silent treatment or cold shoulder when he does not live up to your expectations. Most men absolutely despise feeling like they must walk on eggshells around their wife. Stop playing games and just tell him exactly what you need or want.


Embrace his physical needs and realize that he was created as a sexual being.  Don’t rebuff him or view him as a sex maniac when he demonstrates his attraction for you. Men face a tremendous amount of sexual temptations each and every day. Some men expend their sexual energy on pornography, fantasy and other illicit sexual experiences. If you find yourself exasperated that he has his hands all over you, just relax and enjoy it.  If he pours his sexual energy into you, then he most likely is not pouring it out elsewhere.


When a woman is willing to be soft and responsive, amazing things can happen.  Do you remember the old saying “girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice”?  Try using the grown-up version – sweet ‘n spicy.

Love Hopes All Things

Marriage between a man and a woman is a beautiful merging of two completely different people with different temperaments, upbringings and life experiences.  A marriage between two people with the same beliefs and values is challenging enough but what happens when one spouse is a Christian and the other is not?


Some Christians choose to ignore God’s warnings and they marry an unbeliever.  Sometimes one spouse comes to faith in Jesus Christ after the marriage begins.  I would never counsel a Christian to enter the matrimonial commitment with an unbeliever and it would never be acceptable to leave a spouse because they don’t come to faith in Christ, but if you find yourself unequally yoked, please be encouraged – there is hope.  There can be peace and joy in this relationship but first you must give up.


Every spouse must give up on trying to change their spouse.  The greatest peace that we can experience in any relationship, occurs when we finally accept them, just the way that they are.  The unbelieving spouse needs to experience unconditional love and acceptance.  Here is where we leave our burden in God’s hands and He takes over and does a magnificent work – in both spouses.  I cannot promise that your spouse will come to faith in Jesus but I can promise that they will more accurately understand the great love that God has for them, because of your selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love.


I know many that find themselves in this situation.  At times, it is a difficult and lonely road.  For this post, I asked other women to help.  They are married to an unbelieving husband.  I asked them to share their wisdom.  Some of the wisdom came easily and some was learned through hard lessons.  Here is what they want you to know.


>We are not our spouse’s Holy Spirit and especially for a wife, she is not her husband’s teacher.

>Remember that it is God’s role to change our spouse’s life.

>We cannot force, pressure or manipulate our spouse into faith.

>Love them according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  Read it and memorize it if possible.

>Have a quiet spirit and live a life that demonstrates how you are different in a positive way.

>Remember that God loves them even more than you do.

>Remember that God desires that they have salvation even more than you do.

>Realize and accept that you are in this for the long haul.  This road will be full of turns, bumps, darkness and times of joy and light.

>Take notice of the little changes that you see along this journey.  Write them down and reflect on them when discouraged.

>Find promises in God’s Word that are comforting and cling to them.

>Love your spouse for who they are right now.  Remember, they are still a created individual with wonderful attributes.

>Be supportive of their interests.  I’m not suggesting participating in anything that violates God’s Word but don’t be legalistic.  If they enjoy an activity, go with them.

>For wives, don’t behave like Mrs. Prudish Churchy.  Every husband wants his sexy wife.  Be fun, flirt, flash and dress attractively for him.  God approves.

>Be an attractive Christian.  Show that Jesus’ power makes a difference in the lives of His followers.  Pray for joy, genuine love, kindness and to be charitable toward others.

>Church stuff might seem strange to an unbeliever.  Don’t burden them with the issues at church and don’t get defensive if they are critical of church stuff or church people.  Remain quiet – God doesn’t need us to defend.

>Listen to the wisdom of your unbelieving spouse.  Don’t dismiss them – many times they are correct.

>Don’t try to be sly about slipping in the Gospel message.  Preaching during a prayer, or using a child to deliver our agenda, makes the unbelieving spouse feel manipulated.

>Respect your spouse on parenting issues.  For example, if they are concerned that the children are only hearing Bible stories, mix in some inspirational secular books and stories when reading to a child.


I am married to a believer.  He was raised in a Christian home and I was not.  I was a relatively new Christian when we married but through all of the struggles of marriage, we had our beliefs and values in common.  Most importantly, through 34 years of marriage, Jesus Christ has been the head and center of our relationship.  During every disagreement, we have had the opportunity to look away from our own agendas and instead look at Jesus and what He would want for our home.  I realize that for the spouse who is married to an unbeliever, they don’t have this common focal point.  This is my reason for writing about this.  These situations need our concern, prayer support and practical care.  If this post describes your situation, I want you to know that I care and so do others.  To close this out, here’s a quote from one dedicated wife of an unbelieving spouse – “you loved this person enough to marry them, so love them all the way to the arms of Jesus”.

Tending to the Details

I’ve been busy in the garden these last few months.  As I have spent time weeding, fertilizing and watering, I’ve had a lot of time to consider the similarities between the garden and the marriage.  Even if you don’t don a funny hat and gloves, go into the heat every day and work in the soil, I’m sure that you are aware that gardens can be beautiful and bountiful if maintained, or ugly and unproductive if neglected.  Our marriages are very similar.  With daily effort to maintain a marriage, it is beautiful to enjoy but with neglect, the marriage relationship withers and the ugly intrusive weeds begin to grow and eventually take over.  Sadly, once this happens, many find the work overwhelming and they give up on their marriages, either divorcing or staying together in a miserable existence.


What are some common areas of neglect in marriage?


>The critical eye.  This person tends to be super observant but they lean toward being negative.  They can quickly locate and emphasize the flaws in any person or situation.  Unhealthy criticism negatively impacts self-image and can crush the spirit of others.  Often those exposed to this type of criticism, will feel emotionally unsafe and will learn to bottle things up and distance themselves from their critical eyed spouse.

>Failure to leave and cleave.  Putting extended family before your spouse or allowing extended family to interfere or control, communicates to a spouse that they are less important.  A spouse become resentful over time.

>Unhappiness or loneliness in the marriage.  No marriage is perfect but some desperately need help from a trusted mentor couple or counselor.  Keep communication open between you and your spouse.  If you are struggling, please communicate this to your spouse.  If things aren’t right, get help before you wake up one day and decide that this is the day that you are leaving.

>Over sensitivity or self-centered behavior.  This is the spouse that believes that all offenses are aimed at them and they are easily hurt and offended.  Sometimes they brood or are pouty and they can also be demanding.  Think of the term “walking on eggshells”.  This spouse creates tension and robs the marriage and household of peace.

>Controlling and manipulative behavior.  This can manifest itself in different ways.  A know-it-all spouse, or a micro-management spouse.  A spouse that receives attention because of their attractiveness or charm and uses it as a threat.  A spouse who uses a past mistake committed by their spouse, to control the relationship.  All of this is about using power to control another human being and essentially it damages self-confidence and causes another to be motivated by fear and guilt.

>Failure to offer encouragement.  Humans crave encouragement from the most important person in their life whether it be for trivial things or big accomplishments.  Without encouragement from a spouse, a person becomes defeated and loses their zest and motivation to live life abundantly.

>Disrespect.  A spouse that talks negatively about their spouse or ignores a request to discontinue an unsavory behavior or teases their spouse even when they know that it hurts.  A spouse that makes major decisions without the consent of their spouse or despite the way their spouse feels. This communicates a lack of value to the other spouse.

>Conditional love and support.  This spouse believes that they deserve a flawless spouse.  They make their loving contingent on the way that their spouse performs, behaves or looks.

>Unwillingness to serve.  This spouse believes that they don’t need to extend themselves, or learn to serve and love in ways beyond what they are comfortable with.  In men, they might not give emotional support and in women, they might believe that sex is needed only as frequently as they choose.

>Disunity in parenting.  The spouse that undermines the parenting of the other spouse.  In order to parent well, unification is necessary and each parent should support the other.

>Emotional misplacement.  The spouse that places more emotional dependence on the children or on others.  This robs the marriage of emotional intimacy.


Many marriages will survive in a neglected state, simply because one spouse is committed to doing their part, but these marriages will not thrive.  A healthy marriage is all about giving and sacrificing and it requires 100% effort from both spouses.  My hope is that each of us will examine ourselves, commit to make the changes needed, and reap a beautiful and bountiful harvest in a well-tended marriage.


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