Making the Most of What Comes and the Least of What Goes

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When I was a girl, I thought couples who had never spent a night apart were so romantic. However, this is a dream that reality laughed at from the beginning of my relationship with my husband. We had a long-distance courtship, and we learned fast how to make the most of the time we received. I naively thought that once we married everything would change and that saying goodbye continually would be a thing of the past. While it is true that I get to see him most days, we have spent more time apart than most couples do.

I had no idea that even from the very beginning of our relationship God was preparing me for a marriage full of goodbyes and time alone. In our first year of marriage, my husband found a job building log homes that would keep him away for nights at a time. When he was hired a year later at his current job, I had to get used to him working many long shifts (sometimes not seeing him from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed), working night shift, being subject to call-in, and going away for days or weeks of training. This included 9 weeks away to go through the academy, and also just days after our 3rd child was born for further training.

The first year I fought against him being away by showing attitude, resentment, and was generally a disagreeable person. Thankfully, God brought some good books into my life that showed me that I was just hurting the situation instead of helping. My husband wasn’t trying to be mean to me, nor was he relishing being away from me. In fact, he was providing for me. He was the one working hard, and I was acting ungrateful and showed him no respect. He didn’t want to be away from me and was doing what he thought was best for our future. I realized how I would feel if I worked industriously on cleaning the house and all he ever did was complain about what wasn’t done. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Men especially need to feel respected, to feel loved, and a lot of that relates to their jobs.

There are women who have it far worse, like women who husbands are in the army and are gone for months at a time. I am grateful for this and am in awe of the women who survive that type of separation. For example, David Livingstone, a missionary to Africa, left his wife for months at a time, and on two separate occasions, he was gone for five years. Five years! I can’t imagine not seeing or hearing from my husband for that long. Thankfully God has not asked that of me so far.

Regardless, I still struggle, especially now that we have children and taking care of them falls solely on my shoulders when he isn’t home. I tend to think I have it a lot harder than I should. Maybe it’s because as John W. Gardener pointed out:

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates the victim from reality.

Also, The Act of Marriage points out:

 “To engage in self-pity is to make an idol out of our self-absorbed viewpoint. When we give more weight to our perspective of our spouse and our marriage than we do the promises God’s we make an idol out of what we THINK WE KNOW.”

One of the best pieces of advice that I read that first year of marriage was a quote by Billy Graham’s wife. “Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.” Her husband was traveling constantly, and she inspired me to take on her philosophy. So, what did I do? I started by having a list of things I could do when my husband is gone to “make the least of all that goes”.

Activities like:

  • Watching Chick Flicks…or any program I like, and he doesn’t.
  • Having friends over.
  • If he is away for a long trip, I go see my Mom in Florida, family, or friends.
  • I have a Girl’s Night Out.
  • I check out books from the Library and read for hours.
  • I call up friends and chat for a while.
  • The kids and I do something fun like a field trip, play at the park, go out for ice cream, etc.
  • I cook very little….and if I do cook it is simple meals or things he doesn’t like.
  • I don’t clean as hard…until the day before he comes home.

 

I don’t forget about him though. “Christ-like love isn’t giving what is deserved, but needed.” I have been known to:

  • Send him texts to let him know I’m missing him.
  • Put love notes in his bags.
  • When he went to the academy, I had someone take some nice pictures of me to put on his desk.
  • Make him cookies and take up to his work.
  • Stop and get him lunch when he doesn’t have time to pick something up.
  • Swing by a milkshake to brighten his day.
  • Make sure I’m home when he gets to come home.

 

Things I try to avoid:

  • A lot of alone time.
  • Crime shows if he is going to be away for overnight.
  • Pity Parties. I am really good at these if I am not careful.

 

How do I make the most of our time together (“all that comes”)?

  • When he is home I try to be home. I’m not saying that I never leave (he is great to let me have my freedom), but if he is home I try hard to make sure I am too unless it is something we have discussed.
  • I spoil him on his “Monday” like I wrote about before in “Man Crush Monday”.
  • Backrubs after particularly long, hard days at work.
  • Remembering to pick up the treat I heard him mention would be nice.
  • Plates of food he can warm up if he gets home after I’ve gone to bed.

 

 “For every problem in life, there is a provision available from God; for every curse, there is a corresponding blessing appointed for me.” – Graham Cooke.

While it is easy to focus on the negative of our spouse being away, let’s see if we can figure out ways to turn the “bad” into something “good”. We can’t change our situation, but we can change our attitude. So, if your spouse works tirelessly can I encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of another and not complain? Instead, thank God that you have a hard-working man and thank your husband for his hard work.

How about you? Is your husband away a lot? If so, what do you do to help you make it through?

The Strange Woman – Part 2

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These are my concluding points about “The Strange Woman” from last week. If you didn’t have a chance to read the first 7 points please go back here and start first.

9. She told him she desired him (Proverbs 7:15)
A. Our kids are always desperately longing for approval. If they don’t receive it from us they will go elsewhere to find it. As moms, we need to make sure that we praise our children as much as we criticize them. Are we their biggest cheerleader? Their love tanks should be full so they don’t look elsewhere to fill them.

B. “Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face and I have found thee.” (Proverbs 7:15) The definition of the word ‘seek’ in this verse fascinated me: dawn, to be up early at any task with the implication of earnestness, to painstakingly search for, see diligently early in the morning. Everyone wants to feel desired… Men, boys, girls, women… All of us. It’s flattering to feel wanted, however, do we make our husbands feel desired? If we don’t, I believe another woman will. I once heard a woman speak who had been on the verge of divorce. She watched her husband dote on their little girl and wanted him to do the same to her. She said she started watching her daughter. When her husband came through the door their daughter came running and squealing and ran into his arms. She decided to start doing it as well and admitted that it was the first step in her winning her husband over again.


10. Made her bed desirable
(Proverbs 7:16)
A. What was this woman telling this young man? “I’ve laid out the best for you!” We need to admit to our kids that sin is desirable and that it is fun – for a season. We also need to make sure that our kids are not getting our left overs. Are we too busy to pay them the attention they need?

B. This could be a touchy subject as well. I know how easy is it to throw all the laundry in our room (and it stays in the corner for days) and to leave projects laying around the room. After all, the master bedroom is normally the biggest. It also is the one company goes in the least so we hide things in there. My husband is VERY possessive of our room. No toys are allowed, the kids are only allowed in there if we are in there, or with permission. However, after a decade of marriage things started to look a little worn.I began project “master bedroom” and slowly I started changing things. We didn’t have a lot of money so I did a little at a time and started small. We over time we bought a new mattress, new sheets, and a comforter. (and I didn’t scrimp, I bought us the good stuff) The next year we splurged and bought a bedroom suite that we both liked.  It hasn’t been overnight, and it still isn’t done, but our bedroom is becoming an oasis that we both love and look forward to going in. I want us to love our bedroom over any other place. Let’s make sure our best is for our husband.


11. Smelled nice.
(Proverbs 7:17)
A. The devil uses all our senses to tempt us. We need to warn our kids that it is not just our eyes that can get us into trouble, even though they are a big contributor. Their ears can with the music they listen to or be listening to the lies the world tells them, sweet things someone whispers in their ears, or advice they take from friends. Also, our tongue can cause us problems by what we say or even by what we drink. We need to let them know how nice it feels to be touched by someone and how they will crave more if they start down that path. Even how nice someone smells can all be things that cause us to take a second look at a sin we might not have before.

B. One thing I must admit is that this has never been a strong suit of mine. I take a shower every day and use deodorant, but because of my allergies I had always used the excuse it would give me a headache to wear anything else. While that is true for a lot of smells, one day after a pedicure the technician had rubbed Bath and Body Works Vanilla Sugar on my legs. All that evening my boys kept going “What’s that smell? It smells so good!” They couldn’t believe their mommy smelled like that, and it got me to thinking. If my kids noticed and enjoyed me smelling sweet, why wouldn’t the same be true for my husband? I wanted my family to be able to smell a certain smell and think of me … and I didn’t want it to be deodorant. So, I asked my husband to go perfume shopping with me. It took several hours but we both ended up finding one that we both liked for me and for him. Men like things that smell nice, why not have a certain spray you wear just for him – especially on date nights and when your “in the mood?”

12. Offered to pleasure him All. Night. Long. (Proverbs 7:18)
A. “Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves in loves.” (Proverbs 7:18) The root of many of these words fascinated me. Especially the ‘solace’ which meant to leap for joy, wave joyously, peacock.  To me this verse is her telling the man “Come on! Let’s have sex all night long until both of us can’t go anymore and have stories to tell everyone about all the crazy things we did.” Like I have said several times, sin is fun. We need to make sure we don’t lie about that part, but we really need to emphasize the consequences of a moment of pleasure compared to a lifetime of joy. When we ask our kids which one they would pick I’m pretty sure they would all pick the life time.

B. I am tired. A lot. Homeschooling four kids, teaching 15 piano students, and doing photography on top of ordinary housework wears me down. I have learned if I look wore out my husband notices and won’t even bring up the subject of being intimate. It is in my court to make sure that I get enough sleep and am not too tired for him. Now I’m not saying that we should make love to our husbands all night long every night, but hear me out. Lately, have we taken the time to focus solely on him and be available to his wants and desires? Is there something new he would like to try? Have you ever tried waking up your husband in the middle of the night for a quickie? At least one time a year do you focus on the intimate side of your marriage? Maybe by going away for a day, or sending the kids to grandma’s overnight?

13. Made it sound naughty. (Proverbs 7:19)
A
. The more we make something sound forbidden the more people want it. Case in point: The Garden of Eden. For teens, I think we need to make it sound natural and totally to be desired IN MARRIAGE. We do a horrible job of making marriage sound like something our kids should hold out for.

B. Have you ever talked spicy to your husband? Granted, in marriage it is not naughty, but there are ways to still make it sound that way. My husband and I sometimes send messages back and forth letting the other one know that we are thinking about them. I believe it is important to still flirt with our husbands and make them feel desired.


14. Much fair speech
(Proverbs 7:21)
A. Proverbs 7:21 says, “…With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him…” This verse doesn’t just say “fair speech” it says, “MUCH fair speech.” Much in the original Greek meant “abundance, plenty, multitude.” Fair Speech means “in an active and sinister sense inveiglement.” I wasn’t for sure what inveiglement meant so I googled a definition from Dictionary.com: “to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk or inducements.” Merriam-Webster put it: to win over by wiles. The verse goes on to say she caused him to “yield” which means “bow down.” In other words, the poor guy couldn’t help but listen to all the lovely things she was saying about him, he wanted to hear more and more. “Flattering” meant “smoothness of the tongue like oil.”

B. There are so many verses in Proverbs about the mouth. It has the power to build and it has the power to destroy. Men need praise and respect. How do we show them these things? Well, with our speech. In other words, men need us to praise them all the time. Again, if we don’t’ someone else will. Would our husband say our words are sweet or like vinegar? I am not saying that we aren’t allowed to be mad, but maybe we can hold our tongue until we are cooled down and can discuss it calmly. We don’t want to be called contentious, angry, or brawling like the women described in Proverbs 21:9, 25:24, and 27:15. Would our husband rather dwell in the woods than put up with us? Do we lived in a large home and he still tries to retreat somewhere far away from us? Are we as annoying as a dripping faucet? Do we make everything a contest or quarrel? Do we sow discord and love drama and strife? Do we give them a reason to have vexation, grief, indignation, or provocation? Are we spiteful, provoking, and hateful? Proverbs 30:21-23 says “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;23 For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.” Odious means: to hate, hateful, enemy, foe. We should be his biggest cheerleader, however normally after “I do” we are his biggest critic. I’m preaching to the choir here people as I am as guilty in doing this as anybody. We should still flirt with our husband. We should still tell him he is the best-looking guy ever. Do we gush over him in front of others? Sometimes I admit I go a little over board. We still laugh about the time when I told someone he ran a minute mile.

15. Forsakes the guide of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God. (Proverbs 2:17)
A. ‘Forsake’ means to loosen, relinquish, forsake, leave, refuse. ‘Guide’ means a gentle friend. What this verse tells me is that even if we teach our kids everything we should in the right way they still have a free will and can choose not to listen. However, our job is to make sure that they understood right path.

B. What does this verse tell me? That even though I am saved, it can happen to me, and to fall all I must do is forget about God. Start by skipping out of church, then being too busy to pray, and forgetting to read my Bible. Each is a step in not keeping God at the forefront of my mind. If God is not at the forefront, then I am focusing on myself and I can get into all kinds of trouble on my own.

“Never fear to suffer, but oh! Fear to sin. If you must choose between them, prefer the greatest suffering to the smallest sin.” Thomas Guthrie

We need to remember that none of us are above becoming the “strange woman.” For example, the woman in Proverbs was married. Even if we know to do right and have ever since we were young, and even if we grew up in church, and had the best parents we are a one decision away from falling. I can’t help but think of Sampson and David.

David was a man committed to the reality of prayer. He prayed over nearly everything – except never once in the Bible do you find David praying about His love life. Not once – it was perhaps the on area of his life he never yielded, and it almost crushed him.
– Beth Moore.

16. Thinks no one will ever find out (Proverbs 7:20)
A. She convinced the young man that there would be no consequences. We need to continually remind our kids that you reap what you sow. My mom always reminded me before I was married that if I had sex before I got married there would be no big wedding. This married woman chased after a young man we need to protect our kids from not only kids their own ages, but also Adults. Are we being diligent to make sure they are not alone with the opposite sex no matter the age or relation? This day and age, sadly, it just isn’t safe.

B. Proverbs 5:21 says, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings. For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.” Even if we think no one will ever find out, we need to remember God is always watching us. He sees where we go, who we flirt with, who we are talking to online, or what pictures we send on our phone. So, in summary, what steps can we take to keep from becoming a strange woman?

  1. Stay far away from compromising situations
  2. If you find yourself in a compromising situation – FLEE
  3. Dress modestly
  4. Get rest
  5. Think before you speak
  6. Strive for a quiet spirit
  7. Love and Listen to instruction
  8. Obey
  9. Be content with home
  10. Watch how you touch/ treat the opposite sex
  11. Be honest and open with your husband
  12. Be available to your husband and have fun together
  13. Listen to gentle teachers
  14. Remember who you belong to.

One last thing, but I believe most important because if we follow if the list above will come naturally, Proverbs 5:1-4 talks solely about reading God’s word and memorizing it. When God’s word takes preeminence in our life, it helps us keep all the above list and gives us wisdom and understanding. Resisting temptation isn’t just about running away – it is about what we should be running towards: God.

The Strange Woman – Part 1

looper wedding K 247The strange woman in the Bible has always fascinated me. Proverbs devotes multiple chapters in warning men of her woes….and only one to the Prov. 31 women. I find it interesting that the Bible says we can’t figure her out (Proverbs 5:6).
“Lest thou shouldest ponder (weigh mentally) her path (manner, well-trodden road) of life, her way (track) are moveable (scatter, to and fro) that thou cannast not know (to properly to ascertain by seeing, comprehend) them. “

I think mainly God doesn’t want us studying the wrong woman, but the right one. Just like the FBI doesn’t have their men study counterfeit bills, they study the right one. Plus, like fire, her ways are so changeable you can’t. She is always going on to the elusive next ‘fix’ where ever it may be. However, since there are so many verses in the Bible about the strange woman I also think God wants us to realize several things about her.

Why? Because the first thing I noticed is the Bible talks about how the young men are “…void of understanding.” (Proverbs 7:7) After looking up the root meaning my summary of this verse is that he is a silly, foolish, seducible son under the age of 20 who has little to no understanding. I assume he hasn’t been taught to beware. Case in point – he was out late, alone, and somewhere he shouldn’t be.

It is our job as mothers to teach our sons what to watch out for and remind them what the consequences will be. Proverbs 5 is full of them: bitterness eating at you like a poison, a disappointing future, discontentment, losing your honor and good name, years of your life with cruel people, bondage, losing all your money to strangers, depression, diseases, and death. One verse even says “…her steps take hold on hell.” While thinking about the consequences I could help but think how some of the consequences sounded an awful lot like prison, losing a job, child support, divorce, STDs, AIDS, and pregnancy. Those are some very heavy consequences, with such high stakes why are we leaving our children’s futures in other’s hands?

We need to make sure our kids have someone watching out for them and keep themselves out of in compromising situations. Are we teaching our kids how to react like Joseph if they find themselves in a compromising situation despite their best efforts? FLEE!
Proverbs 5:8 says, “Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:” This verse says to stay far away from her. That they shouldn’t be anywhere near her door. That isn’t what the young man did in Proverbs 7:8 though, “Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:”

So many times, kids ask, “How far is too far?” I have been reading “The Talk” by Jonathan McKee and he gave a great allegory to share with kids:
Fact: Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. How many of you are going to store your tooth brush just five feet away? It’s only a foot shorter than the dentist recommends. Maybe only a few urine particles will splash onto your toothbrush. How many of you are going to store it right next to the toilet by the toilet paper roll? You could build a little shelf right there. How many of you want to hang it by a string in the toilet bowl so that it is practically rinsed every time you flush?
We need to make sure we are continually encouraging our kids not to see just how close they can get to fire without being burned, but how far they can stay away from it. A lot of the verses talk about ignorant youths falling to the strange woman. Even small boys notice women, so we should be pointing out when our sons are young what to watch for and to our daughters how not to be one.

Second, as a wife, I should want to know what does she does to get his attention. Why? Because as a wife I believe I should be working diligently to keep my husband’s attention. If it works for her, that means men find it desirable. What I have tried to figure out is why so many STRONG men fall by her.

For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.” (Proverbs 7:26)

At the risk of making a lot of women mad, I believe a good deal of it is because they aren’t getting anything at home. Am I saying it’s not the man’s fault if he goes astray? Absolutely not. He is a grown man, and God places his decisions on his shoulders. However, I made a pact with myself as a bride that if my husband ever did cheat on me, it wasn’t going to be my fault. With that being said, I can assure you that after 14 years of marriage every encounter together does not sizzle, especially with four kids. My husband had some complaints, and we have worked hard together to change things. I think the main point is we need to keep trying to seduce our man. She does, so shouldn’t we work equally hard to keep his attention?

So, I decided to do a study on the things the strange woman does. I wanted to know how to prepare my sons, warn my daughters, and what things draw men so I could work on my own family and marriage. I came up with a list of 16 aspects to consider and a two. Point A will focus on our children, while Point B will focus on ourselves and marriage.

What are some things the strange woman does?

1.Dress like a harlot.
(Proverbs 7:10)
A. We all know that sex filled images bombard our children everywhere they look. This is a subject that should be easy to bring up with them since it is everywhere. Every family has their own personal standards and I think it is vital that we share with our kids the “why.” When my boys comment that a lady is pretty my husband will ask them why they think that. We also emphasize to our kids how they should be focusing inward beauty instead of physical attractiveness. I have tried to start sharing with them how some things are “good, some things are better, and some things are best.” …including clothes.

B
. How does this relate to me as a wife? Do I still dress attractively? Men notice what women wear. Don’t let your husband be around nice-looking women all day and come home to yoga pants and bed hair. I believe it is important to try to be attractive to your husband, especially at bedtime since that may be the only time alone with him you get for the day. I bought me some nice pajamas and wear them every night and not just when I’m “in the mood.” I liked it so much that now on my birthday I request new nightclothes just so they never get ratty again, and my husband has something pretty to look at. Go to the mall and try on appealing pajamas until you find one that makes you feel attractive and wear it often.

2. Get him at night while he’s tired.
(Proverbs 7:9)
A. Rest. This is something our culture is sadly lacking. I think a lot of our energy problems and health issues stem significantly from not getting enough rest. It’s our jobs as mothers to make sure our kids are rested. In fact, when we are tired our defenses are down and our self-control is lacking. The story of the strange women is why it is important for kids to have curfews and yes, even bedtimes. The young man in Proverbs 7:9 was out: “…In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night…” Even as a teenager I was made to go to bed when my parents did. Frankly, it is likely that most kids just get into trouble after 10:00 pm. With possibly little to no supervision, kids today stay up extremely late watching TV, playing on phones, texting. I hope if my children ever get a cell phone that I take the phones up at night. Children probably aren’t going to get the rest they need without us making them; additionally, this includes making sure their schedules aren’t overly full. There are so many opportunities in life, we need to make sure the ones we participate in are what is BEST for them.
B. Even as adults it is difficult to stay strong when we are tired and our self-control is lacking. I know my babies could get me to do about anything at night. We need to make sure rest is a top priority for us and our family. If bedtime is a priority in your family both you and your spouse will have more energy to be intimate plus chances are both of your moods will be better throughout the day because you have had fewer fights since you’re both aren’t as snappy.

3. Subtle of heart. (Proverbs 7:10)
A. Subtle means to guard in a bad sense, to conceal, to keep something hidden. We need to warn our sons that women are great at hiding things. Think just of social media alone, how perfect people can make themselves look. We need to warn our kids to know what is important to them in a potential spouse before they start dating. That just because someone is okay with something now, they may be doing it just to get you and won’t after your married.

B. Do we hide what we do from our husband? Are we open with him? The Proverbs 31 woman’s husband has “no need of spoil” … in other words, he doesn’t worry about her. Marriage is built on trust, and being subtle is the opposite of that.

4. Loud (Proverbs 7:11)
A. My husband always says one of the first things he noticed about me when we first met is that I wasn’t giggly and loud like most girls. He also faithfully reminds me of the one night I got that way after not enough sleep and about lost him. Funny thing is sitcoms and the world teaches girls that this is what guys like and that it’s the only way to get their attention. We also need to remind our sons that if you marry someone who is loud before you say ‘I Do’, chances are she will act the same way when you’re married.

B. If I told you to name me one loud woman, you could probably same a name without blinking…maybe even more than one. Now think about what makes them fit that description. Chances are they are constantly trying to steal the attention from others and redirect it to themselves. They probably are a one-upper, flirt constantly, talk loudly, wear excessive makeup and attention gaining clothes. They will do or say anything to get attention, even if it is the wrong kind of attention. We don’t want to be like that. Proverbs 9:13 says, “A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.”

5. Stubborn (Proverbs 7:11)
A
. Pretty much this means she won’t quit going after him, and she will do whatever it takes to get him. Think of the example in the Bible of Joseph and when his boss, Potiphar’s, wife pursued him relentlessly until he had to run away from her. We need to warn our sons that there are certain women that just won’t take no for an answer.

B. We need to be determined too but in a good way. Marriage takes being stubborn and going after our guy even when we don’t feel like it. When my husband is stressed he likes to build what I lovingly refer to as “a wall.” I kid him all the time that I have a hammer and he can just keep laying them bricks because I will just keep smashing them down. I know there are many days that I must work hard to get my husband in a good mood after a particularly stressful day. There are days that I am tired too and would rather just go read a book, but marriage takes grit and determination. We need to have the same mind set of “whatever it takes” to make our marriage work. It might be less time playing on our phones, watching what he wants to watch, less sleep to we have more time with him, doing what it takes to get us in ‘the mood,’ and saying ‘yes’ to sex even if we are tired, etc.

6. Not content at home (Proverbs 7:11-12)
A. So many kids want to be anywhere except home, is that our fault though? Are we willing to have their friends over and feed them? Do we make our homes a fun filled atmosphere? Even if we aren’t at our house, are we doing fun things as a family or are they always hanging out with friends? I can honestly say as a teen I liked being home because my Mom and Dad took us fun places and did things with us that we enjoyed.

B. So many women today want to be everywhere BUT at home. I love going places, a lot, but I try to show my husband that our home is my first priority. I at least try to be home before him, but I will admit that this is an area I struggle in. We should work harder at not filling up our schedules so we have more time to devote to our home like the Proverbs 31 woman. Are we content with where God has us or do we want more?

7. She caught him. (Proverbs 7:13)
A. This seems especially true today. Girls now chase after the guys, instead of guys after the girls. They are bold and use their bodies to get what they want. We need to teach our sons that some girls are just out to conquer him. The more forbidden he seems or unattainable, the more she will chase after him. Girls love to touch guys…the playful slap, rubbing their back, surprise piggy back rides. I think this is one reason the Bible says, “it is GOOD for a man not to touch a woman.” It doesn’t say you can’t, but it can lay the foundation for more.

B. How about us as wives? Does my husband know that I want him? Does he know that I like being married to him? Guys sometimes like to be the one pursued – especially in the bedroom. Sometimes I text my husband during the day to let him know I’m thinking of him. Other times if he is at home I might smack his butt or just come up and lay a good kiss on him. Don’t make him beg for sex.

8. She kissed him (Proverbs 7:13)
A. I find it interesting that the definition here for kissing is: to catch fire, burn, kindle, to cling to, to delight in, have a desire, to set in love. I think as Mom’s we may not do a good enough job warning our kids about the dangers of kissing. I once read as a teenager that kissing ignites a flame, so I decided that I wouldn’t kiss anyone but my husband. Goodness, I’ll admit it was super hard, but I stayed true to my conviction. I wanted to kiss my husband so bad while we were dating, but I knew that if I did then I would start to focus on other things I would like to do. It’s a progression that I really believe starts with kissing. Am I saying that it’s a sin to kiss a boyfriend? No. I’m just saying it lights a flame that we need to warn our kids about. If it’s a kiss they would be comfortable doing in front of their grandma, they are probably okay.

B. I don’t know about you, but I am ashamed to admit there have been many days that I have gone all day without kissing my husband. At first it wasn’t like that; in fact, after no kisses while dating we made up for lost time. However, after 4 kids and my husband working a demanding job, it just became easier and easier to forget. I have tried to do better after reading that one of the characteristics all marriages that lasted have versus ones that have divorced is that the couples kissed longer than 30 seconds a day. I guess it’s hard to stay upset with someone you’re making out with. Try it. Well, don’t let your husband know you’re going “One Mississippi…Two Mississippi…”, but you’ll be surprised how long 30 seconds is and how it does make you feel closer and notice each other.

I didn’t want to make this post too long so stay tuned next week and I will conclude the final seven points!

Matching Underwear

To be perfectly honest I have debating about whether or not to write this post. I decided to though just in case there is someone out there who is like me 15 years ago. Before marriage, my underwear was very boring. Honestly, I never even thought about it before I got married. I had no one to be sexy for, so why did it matter? However, after marriage, I had friends who informed me that pretty underwear makes you feel better about yourself. They convinced me to buy my first pair of pretty panties. I fell in love and from then on, I have not worn boring underwear. I still wouldn’t have called the ones I bought that day ‘sexy,’ more like ‘cute.’

Fast-forward 10 years, four kids, a different body size, and a 30th birthday. I went to the mall while my mom was babysitting my children. On a whim, I decide to go into an underwear store. To be honest, it was to prove my friend wrong who had been on me the past three years about how I needed to go there because you just “couldn’t beat their underwear” and that “you can wear frumpy clothes but still feel sexy if your underwear matches and is sexy.” Blah, blah, blah. I had informed her I had been in the store before and she was crazy to spend that amount of money. I am a super cheap person and about had a heart attack… Such exorbitant prices for so little cloth! Talk about sticker shock.

Uh…

No thank you!

However, this store was having a sale, and just to prove her wrong I went in. I tried on a bra, and to my dismay, I had to eat crow. I even called her and tried to get her to talk me out of buying the 5 bras and 10 pairs of matching panties I had in my hand. She tried, bless her, but I still went ahead and bought them for $190.00.

$190.00!

I had NEVER spent that much on underwear in my life. In fact, I had rarely spent that much money period. But, the sales lady kept on raving at what a great deal I was getting, and it was when you consider their normal prices. Meanwhile, I was standing numb from the sticker shock.

However, when I got back home and looked at all my matching pretty underwear, it made me happy, and I couldn’t wait to show my husband. I thought he would kill me for spending that amount, but he didn’t. That’s the nice thing about pretty underwear; they tend to make men very forgiving.

My friends were right; matching, pretty underwear does help me feel sexier for my husband. Women are mostly mental sexually, unlike men who are mainly visual. How we feel really affects our sexual relationship with our husbands. In marriage, it is very important for women to feel desirable, especially, after the spit up, snot, and numerous touches in the day of a mother who has a different body image than she did when first married. Matching underwear will not make the stretch marks go away or those extra pounds of baby weight disappear, but it does help brighten my mood.  We have the same body with or without the sexy underwear, I just believe it is important for us to feel pretty to ourselves and invest in those things.

My friend was also right about the quality. Over the years I have bought lots of underwear from several different stores, normally off the clearance rack. However, as much as I hated to admit it, the underwear I bought that day fit better. In fact, they still fit good AND look nice. I make sure I wash them in a separate, hand wash cycle which helps them last a lot longer. Am I saying you should only buy expensive underwear and that you are not a good wife if you don’t? No, of course not. I know all about tight budgets. What I am saying is that there was a difference and if you can save up your pennies that I thought it was worth the extra money.

How about you? Do you struggle with guilt over spending a lot of money on underwear? What do you do to help you feel sexy throughout the day?

Consider doing the following:

  1. Go through your underwear drawer. Throw out anything stained, has holes, or looks…yucky.
  2. Wear the sexiest pair of underwear you own today. Bonus points if it matches a bra or is daring.
  3. Spend $100 on new underwear. You deserve it… Your husband deserves it. I know, some of you are saying, I don’t have the money.” I bet your hubby FINDS money if you tell him what it’s for. It doesn’t have to be a whole $100 if you’re currently on a tight budget. Still, you could at least buy a new matching set of underwear, ask for money for your birthday, or maybe skip buying that latte for a few weeks till you save up.

 

To be honest I have been very nervous writing about this topic. I’ve been on both sides. My goal is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or offend them. It’s just with all the distractions in life, marriage has a tendency to suffer. Something as simple as sexy underwear may be the spark needed to reignite the passion in your marriage. Give it a try!

Things that Bond Us Together in Marriage

197 editWe all have things that bond us together in marriage. I’m not just talking sex or children, but things like circumstances weathered together, shared dreams, or even tangible objects.

There have been two very dark times in my marriage. One was the death of our unborn child, and the other was a few years later due to miscommunication and selfishness. I believe 2 things helped keep our marriage together.

As crazy as it may sound, one was a secular television show. We had just started watching a show on Netflix right before I miscarried. At a time void of happiness, it was a shared bright spot in our darkness. Yes, we each had Christ, but my husband was angry at God so we didn’t share that normal bond. God in his mercy knew that issue and sent something to help keep us together – laughter. We laughed so hard we cried, and it was so nice to cry for a different reason. Slowly, we healed. No one else will ever fully understand the shared pain of our lost child; not that others haven’t known loss, but no one understands the loss of River like my husband does. It is an invisible glue that will always bond us together no matter what.

The other thing God used was a bluegrass group. We both have very different taste in music, but we both enjoyed listening to this group together during a time we weren’t as close and shared fewer interests. There wasn’t a lot we agreed on then, but that group gave us both something to enjoy together, including a very memorable date.

Thankfully, we are no longer in those dark places due to hard work on our marriage. Although every marriage has rough patches, I think there is one major thing that distinguishes those marriages that stay together versus those that fall apart. That is that they keep growing together and learn to share common interests. My husband and I have changed greatly since we were first married, and have had to learn to adapt continually. Sometimes we have done a better job than others, but we have always found something we enjoy doing together.

One such thing we have learned to enjoy together is gardening. Never in a million years as a 12-year-old child would I have thought I would end up enjoying gardening. There was a year my Mom decided to grow a huge garden, and I hated it with a passion. However, in the past 5 years not only have I learned that I enjoy gardening, but that my husband does as well. We make a great team since he is awesome at planting and tilling, and I am great at picking and canning. One day I see us being one of those old couples puttering around in the garden together, and the thought brings me joy.

Another thing we love doing together is road trips. We look at land, dream, and talk about our future while riding the roads. When you dream together, you place each other in the future and that helps you feel more like a team. Often, we load up the kids, pack a cooler of snacks (to keep the natives from getting restless), bring a bag of things for them to do, and take off on a driving. It is often spur of the moment, and frequently it is with no destination in mind. On the back, winding roads, we have a “date” in the front seat and dream together.

Sometimes there is something one spouse has always loved that the other spouse learns to appreciate just because it brings their other half so much joy. For me, this was football and guns. Before we got married my father loved football but I just found it annoying since it always tied up the TV; however, after we got married Logan took me to my first live football game. I will never forget the energy of that game and how much I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed it so much I learned most of the rules, which came in handy when I watched him play pick-up games the first few years of our marriage. There is something about watching your spouse play a sport that helps you appreciate it more. Growing up my mother wasn’t a fan of guns since they scared her. They just weren’t a part of my life and I knew nothing about them. My husband, on the other hand, is knowledgeable about guns and is certified to teach others how to shoot. Over the past 14 years, I have slowly learned not only to appreciate guns but also to enjoy shooting them. Both football and guns are not something I naturally gravitated towards, but I can honestly say I truly enjoy both now.

I am so thankful for all the things that knit us together as a couple, and I plan on continuing to find new things we enjoy together. How about you? What are some things that you love to do as a couple? Do you have an experience that has knit you together?

Dressing Nice Again

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For 10 years after having children I never felt like I fit half the clothes in my closet. I was one of those nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant commercials. I literally had clothes that fit when I was just a few months pregnant and not showing (but too big for normal clothes), pregnant, clothes that were better while nursing, and then clothes for after the baby was weaned but before I was pregnant again. Having four babies in six years made my wardrobe always in a flux. Easter was my one time of the year I splurged on clothes so that I felt nice for one day. Crazy I know, but I didn’t want to buy any clothes because I didn’t know what my size would be the next month.

Then I turned 30. I had just had my last baby in August, and my birthday was in November. I thought I was doing pretty good with the fact I was turning 30 since I had no major crying fits or dark depression. Then I went to Cato’s with my friends and spent $290, and I had probably spent $290 TOTAL on clothes for myself in the past 10 years. Well…maybe I spent more than that…but not much more. I didn’t know what was the matter with me and chalked it up to being happy about it being my birthday. Then that January I stepped into Victoria Secret for the first time (no judging) and spent $190 at the Semi-Annual Sale. I don’t think I owned a matching pair of underwear before then as I had been in a nursing bra over half of the past 10 years anyhow, and had picked up cheap pretty underwear from TJ Max here and there.

I felt SO guilty spending that much money on myself, but I felt SO good in those clothes. What’s more, my husband didn’t flip out about the money. In fact, he loved my new clothes as he is far more a fashionista than I. My motto for years had been “As long as it is comfortable I don’t care what it looks like.” However, I learned you can look cute and attractive while being comfortable, and even better, it helps you feel like yourself again after having babies. My husband appreciated me dressing up so much, he now takes me every birthday on a spending spree for clothes and helps me pick out outfits we both like. I now own…. ehm…. several pairs of matching pretty underwear that help me feel more like a wife than a mom.

Does that mean I can’t have a frumpy day? No. We all have days we feel bad or are just tired, but that shouldn’t be every day. Yoga pants are the new sweat pants, and we think we can get away with wearing them since they are tighter. Guys do appreciate tight, but they also appreciate variety and a woman who spends time on her appearance. I notice when my husband looks good, and he notices when I look nice as well.

I can hear a lot of you now. “The kids will just cover it in snot by the time he gets home.” (I hear ya), or maybe you’re thinking, “If I get a shower I consider the day a success.” Also, “I’m barely surviving on such little sleep” (I get that too), or maybe you work all day and want out of your work clothes as soon as possible (I don’t blame you). However, I’m just saying maybe we could change into a nice (non-stained) shirt and cute jeans before he gets home, or stay in our nice clothes until he gets home to appreciate it (bonus: he can watch you change!). Even if you can’t change that snotty shirt, wearing pretty underwear underneath your clothes make you feel a lot more attractive than regular ones and gives him something to look forward to.

If we don’t try to catch our husband’s eye someone else will. If you have had a baby recently (or maybe not so recently) and don’t feel sexy in your clothes, go out and buy one outfit you both like and you feel I’m giving you permission to shop! good in, and add a matching pair of underwear. Seriously… Today. What woman doesn’t like permission to shop, and every woman needs a “date” outfit, unmarried or married.

Now, for those of you like me who are protesting that their pocketbook won’t allow it, I’m sure you can find an extra $50. Say no to a few more groceries, go fewer places for a week, pinch those pennies. I don’t have money in abundance either. We are on a strict budget. You don’t have to go to Victoria Secret… go to Walmart… or TJ Max if you need to, but the effort alone will mean a great deal to your man.

So, if you are willing, this is your assignment this month:

  1. Go through your closet and find an outfit that makes you feel cute. If you don’t have one, buy one.
  2. Wear something other than yoga pants one day this week.
  3. Wear or buy a sexy matching set of underwear.
  4. Comb your hair right before your husband gets home.
  5. Put on your favorite piece of makeup – mine is mascara. Bonus points for doing up your whole face.
  6. Spritz on some smell good, it helps cover up the not so nice smells of the day (i.e. spit up/breastmilk smell or grease smell clinging to your clothes after cooking.) 😉 We are attracted to things that smell nice, why wouldn’t our husbands be? I know mine is.

So, what about you? How do you attempt to look nice? Do you splurge on yourself? How do you splurge on your marriage?

#mancrushmonday

Since I have been on social media I have seen women frequently post pictures of them and their man hash-tagging “#mancrushmonday”. While I am not a hash-tagger, I like the thought of crushing on our husbands. However, I think we can go a little further than just posting a picture of our man to show him off. Maybe we could actually show him, and not just the world, that we still have a crush on him.

Sometimes (well…a lot of the time) as a wife I forget to try to impress my husband. While we dated, I noticed his preferences and bent over backward to accommodate him. I noticed his favorite kind of gum, his favorite songs, and the clothes he appreciated me wearing.

Often, I delighted in serving him by cooking his favorite foods, making or buying him treats, and getting him drinks. Also, I searched for ways to spoil him by leaving him love notes, sending him packages, or by rubbing his back.

Regularly, I used to dress to impress him making sure I smelled nice and had clean shaven legs. If he liked an outfit, it became one I wore often. Granted, I didn’t have much fashion sense when we met, but he fell in love with me regardless. However, that doesn’t mean I should think, “Oh well, since he loved me then, I don’t have to try now.” Rather, it means I should try harder since I am not quite as mysterious as I once was. P.S. This also goes double for PJs.

Also, I used to write him love notes telling him how wonderful he was, and that I loved him.  Although, to be honest, these days I count it a success if I remember to tell him daily that I love him while looking him in the eye and kissing him over 5 seconds.

Consequently, these are the reasons why I have started guarding my Mondays and chose this day to focus on my husband.  With four kids, homeschooling, teaching piano, and photography, trying to do it every day sometimes is just too ambitious. So, I figured that I could at least give him one whole day a week though (to focus on him). Yes, I pay him attention other days other than Monday, it is just the day I go out of my way to be intentional.

Why Monday?
A. I have no piano lessons to teach that day.
B. No activities that we have to be at like violin, field trips, etc..
C.  It is my favorite day of the week, and it is the day I am the happiest.
D.  I have the most time that day.

So, I must be intentional about guarding my Mondays.  I’ve been asked to do a lot of things on Monday, but if it falls on that day my first response is normally “I’m sorry, no.” Ask anyone close to me, it takes a lot to get me to say yes to something on a Monday and it cannot be a reoccurring event.

I have figured out over the years that my husband’s love language is acts of service. So on Mondays I try to:

  1. Clean the house the best I do all week.
  2. Cook an involved meal that takes extra time. I don’t make tea often, but I do that day for him. The kids and I might even make a dessert if their daddy has had a hankering for something recently.
  3. Dress in a cute (sometimes sexy) outfit, do my hair and makeup, spritz on some smell good, and wear matching sexier underwear.
  4. Make sure the kids are dressed and clean, and make them pick up their toys.
  5. Wash his clothes and put them away.
  6. Light a candle to make the house smell nice, even though it sometimes gives me a headache. (He loves things to smell good)
  7. Throughout the day, I attempt to text him messages just to let him know I’m thinking about him.
  8. A long back rub that night taking the extra time to be intimate, and focusing on his needs. (and no I don’t just offer on Mondays)

Often in marriage, it’s so easy to lose sight of our mate and their needs. The whole point is just to be intentional about choosing and spoiling him. While we may not be able to afford to go out on a lot of dates, this is my way of showing him he is still important to me.

Can I encourage you to pick a day to spoil your mate? Choose whatever day best fits your schedule. Maybe your husband would regular note of encouragement or a small gift. Perhaps, he would like control of the remote, or to be able to watch the football game with no interruptions with his favorite snacks. Possibly, he might like to exercise together or work on a project as a couple. Do you know his love language? I encourage you to figure it out. He will love you for it!

18012854_1677939662217933_1569797825_oe2I challenge you this month to:

  1. Pick a day of the week to spoil your husband.
  2. Write down 3 things your husband will find special and do them on the day you pick.
  3. Dress nicer that day, spritz on some perfume, and shave those legs! 😉
  4. Cook something yummy for dinner, or at least pick up his favorite takeout.
  5. Tidy up the house, and make sure it smells pleasant.

 

What keeps your marriage thriving? I am always looking for new ideas!