Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For Women Only

I met with a group of ladies from my church tonight. We are doing an 8 week study of the book "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn. It was great to hear all their different perspectives, to see how they've grown as wives and to hear how they want to do things better if this is their second time around. I look forward to each of us learning how to understand our husbands better and seeing how that brings about change in our own lives. Should be a fun ride!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not the Final Word

…maybe just on this subject for now. Talking about the intimate relationship between husbands and wives has been a challenge for me but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. One thing I’ve learned is what may seem so simple to some is so difficult for others. There are so many hurting people searching for answers. Many times I felt at a loss because I want to help so badly but don’t have all the answers. I can say I’ve been praying for those who have read my blog this week.

This isn’t it for me in the blogging world though. I’m hooked! I do think to say I’ll continue every single day is a bit ambitious. But I’d love it if you’d keep checking in with me. There are lots of areas that I’d like to comment on and hopefully lend a helping hand along the way.


He says it best.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What to Wear

Do I really have to wear that skimpy little itchy thing?

Well sure…if you want to bring delight to your husband’s heart it might be a good idea. I grew up in a very conservative home where sex was never really discussed, other than for my parents to say, “Don’t do it!” So clearly, preparing for a night of intimacy with my husband by setting the scene and wearing lingerie was never a conversation I had with my mother in the days as my wedding drew near. You can bet though, that I’ll be having those conversations with my daughters when the time is right.

I’ll admit, spending money on a very small article of clothing that you won’t wear for very long at all can be challenging to some. Some women might think there’s no point. But the allure and mystery that it adds can be very exhilarating to your husband. And even more than the delight he experiences when seeing you in lingerie is the joy it brings to his heart knowing that you took the time to think about it and choose something he would enjoy. When we put thought and effort into setting the stage for our intimate time with our husband, it does not go unnoticed.

If this is a new idea to you and you just don’t know where to start, begin by listening to him. What does he like? What are the things he has mentioned he would enjoy seeing you in? Maybe it’s not just lingerie. Maybe it’s one of his shirts. Maybe it’s the music and candles you’ve filled the room with. So step out of your comfort zone, take your husband by the hand to the lingerie department in the nearest mall (or one in the next town if that makes it easier) and let him choose something he would love to see you in.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I am and you are too. It’s true but do we really believe it? I have to admit I struggle with this. I have for most of my life. As a kid I was always the tallest. That made me feel big and fat, even though now I realize I certainly wasn’t. A lot of those same feelings have stayed with me into adulthood. I often feel self conscious when I am with my husband and want to cover myself up. I forget that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

God wants me to honor him with the body he gave me. There are many ways I can do that. One area is in my relationship with my husband. Thankfully he loves me just as I am. He doesn’t see all the flaws that I see. He sees the beautiful body that God made for me. “The message God sends about our bodies is ‘Rejoice in the body I gave you. Use it to honor Me and to please your husband.’” Lorraine Pintus, Intimate Issues.

Please understand that it isn’t realistic to think we will always have our 17 year old body. Things change. We have babies - some by c-section so we have scars. Things shift. It’s a fact of life. After age 30 toned muscle turns to slow-burning fat. After age 40 natural weight gain occurs. We can’t turn back the clock or make time stand still but there are steps we can take to help us feel better about our bodies. We can eat healthfully, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. These things will help us feel more confident about how our bodies look, and in turn, give us more confidence in the bedroom.

And let’s not forget the perspective of our husbands. They want us to look good and be proud of our bodies. Not that they expect us to be perfect, but when we take care of ourselves, it shows them that not only do we care about ourselves, but we care about them. “If she puts some effort into her appearance and is comfortable in her own skin, you don’t notice the extra pounds.” Shaunti Feldhahn, for women only.

“According to a survey from Psychology Today, one of the quickest and best ways to feel good about your body is to have a rewarding sexual relationship with your husband. Good sexual experiences breed high levels of body satisfaction. It’s a circle. When you feel good about your body, you can be an exciting lover, and when you have a wonderfully free sexual relationship in your marriage, you feel better about your body.” Intimate Issues.

Let’s use our bodies to entice and delight our husbands. Let’s honor God by giving ourselves freely to him.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't Give In

Why is sex so important?

Making love is one of the greatest ways a husband and wife can share their love for each other. It is a connection like no other. Makes me wonder why we don’t make it more of a priority. I think as wives we don’t realize the impact it has on our husbands.

Shaunti Feldhahn, in her book for women only, records what some men that took her survey said, “When she says no, I feel that I am REJECTED. No is not no to sex – as she might feel. It is no to me as I am. And I am vulnerable as I ask or initiate. It’s plain and simple rejection.” Another man says, “She doesn’t understand how even her occasional dismissals make me feel less desirable. I can’t resist her. I wish that I, too, were irresistible. She says I am. But her ability to say no so easily makes it hard to believe.”

These quotes really resonate with me. I remember when our kids were very little that I was always so tired – exhausted most of the time. When evening came all I wanted to do was fall in bed. It’s not that I didn’t want to be with my husband, it’s just that I was so physically and emotionally drained. I never took time for myself to recharge. With two very small children so close in age I often felt like a jungle gym- someone was always climbing on me, demanding my time. This made it very difficult when Bob wanted to visit the playground.

Unfortunately it took me a very long time to understand the effect that my giving in to fatigue had on our marriage. I would give in to the pillow instead of building up energy for my man. It hurts my heart to think how I made him feel all those years. It has been a long road back to a healthy relationship. But I’m here to tell you it can be done. I had to make a conscious mental choice to choose him. I prayed long and hard that God would give me energy. I prayed that He would bless our intimate time together and that He would help me to build my husband up. In the morning I would begin thinking of how I wanted our evening to go together. I would take practical steps to make sure we would be together and that the day would not end with me sacked out on the couch. Sometimes I would talk to my husband in the morning about how I wanted us to be together in the evening. That created anticipation and a bond that we hadn’t had before. This was definitely a challenge, especially because I require a lot of sleep. But I just had to keep going back to the fact that my marriage was a priority to me and I wanted to put my husband’s needs before my own.

If you find yourself in a similar position, I encourage you to do what you can to break the cycle. You can start with some of the things that I did, or come up with a plan that works best for you. I also began reading lots of books on relationships and marriage. Many of them were eye-openers. I have listed a few of them on the side bar.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What about me?

Have I been sexually selfish?

Does this ring a bell with you? I think this is common since we are naturally selfish. When we allow ourselves to be sexually selfish it can be devastating. As wives, we need to fight against the urge to put ourselves first. I have a few friends who feel that their husbands don’t do anything for them and so they want to withhold sex. This is not biblical. But I totally understand it. I’ve been there. I’d venture to say anyone that has been married for any length of time has been there too. Unfortunately the repercussions are that we can deeply wound our husband and cause him to want to pull back from us and be absent emotionally and physically. It can also cause him to be angry and tempted to seek his sexual fulfillment elsewhere. Selfishness can be one of the greatest enemies of sexual intimacy.

So what do we do? First I have found it helpful to understand my husband’s needs sexually. I didn't just figure this out on my own. I had to talk to him about it. I’m aware these conversations aren’t easy, but they are necessary. This is also a great time to help your husband understand where you are coming from sexually and what your needs are. I encourage you to share this with him after he shares his needs. Put him first and allow him to ask questions. Think carefully about when you want to have this conversation too. Late at night when you are both tired is probably not the best time. Set aside a couple hours, without the kids when you can have some uninterrupted time together.

I think some women wonder if sex is a need or a want for their husband. Dr. James Dobson says in his book What Wives Wish their Husbands Knew about Women, “When sexual response is blocked, males experience an accumulating physiological pressure which demands release." They need it. I know when I learned this I was surprised. I had no idea.

Now you are probably thinking, what about my needs? Well, I know most of us women need and desire affection. In Willard F. Harley’s book His Needs, Her Needs he states, “Affection is the environment of the marriage while sex is an event. It is a direct and convincing expression of love that gives the event of sex a more appropriate context. Most women need affection before sex means much to them…When your marriage is struggling sexually, look for the missing element of affection.” Share this with your husband lovingly. If this isn’t a need for him, he may not realize it is a need for you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Make the First Move

What if women don’t want to have sex as often as men?

Well, truthfully, most often they don’t. But I think the issue is greater than this. As women, we often focus so much on the fact that “he wants it every day and I’m too tired” that we miss the greater issue. We miss the opportunity to bless our husbands. I’m not saying that every time he gives you “that look” you have to just “roll over and take it.” If that’s what you are doing then you are robbing yourself of a blessing too. Here’s the deal. God created man and woman. He also created sex. God is blessed when our sexual relationship with our husband is creative, honest, open and often. He created our bodies so that we would enjoy each other.

We all know that women are emotional creatures. And for us sex is a very emotional way to connect to our husbands. But what some of you may not realize, and I only learned a few years ago, is that sex also fulfills a very strong emotional need for our husbands as well. For him it is a gateway to an emotional connection with us. Shaunti Feldhahn, in her book for women only says, “Your sexual desire for your husband profoundly affects his sense of well-being and confidence in all areas of his life.” Don’t look at your sexual relationship as a chore. Look at it as a way to build your husband up. Be his comfort. Be his encouragement. God created you especially for this.

My encouragement to you is to make the effort to do something surprising for your husband. Make the first move before he has the chance. He’ll be blessed and in turn so will you. And God will be honored.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ready or not...here I come!

Well, here it is...my first official blog. I can't really believe I'm doing it.

My husband asked me if I would consider writing a blog so that he and I could share our own perspectives on similar topics. He is currently preaching on relationships - mostly the marriage relationship - for the next three weekends. He thought it might be nice for the woman's voice to be heard also. Not that he's some male chauvinist. He's definitely not. He's got great insight into relationships and how they work. I thought it sounded like a good idea. So I agreed.

I'll be sharing from my own life experience as a woman who has been married for almost 20 years and definitely seen my share of ups and downs in our relationship. Believe me, I don't claim to be an expert on men or marriage but hopefully some of the things I've learned along the way can be helpful to someone else.

So join me on this blogging journey. Hopefully it will be a time of growth for both of us!