This is the True Joy in Life…

This is the true joy in life,

the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.

The being thoroughly worn out before you’re thrown on the scrap heap,

The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community

and as I live it is my privilege – my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die,

for the harder I work the more I love.

I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no brief candle to me;

it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment

and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible

before handing it on to future generations.

-George Bernard Shaw

I watched another Freedomain video recently, and he ended it with this quote, along with the latter below from his own mind:

“Wear yourself out in the pursuit of virtue, and leave only the barest husk to be thrown in the grave.

Just be used up completely.

Be emptied of words, be emptied of power, be emptied of dedication, be emptied of challenge, be emptied of courage – SPEND IT ALL.

Let only your skeleton be what the worms get – nothing else.

Have everything else spent to the last penny, and let that last penny of spending be that which kills you, because you have nothing left to give.

And that I think is the satisfying life.”

Stefan Molyneux

***

When watching this video over the course of a few days, the ending quote hit home with why I started blogging in the first place almost 4 years ago.  It really was mostly a creative outlet, but every Wednesday, I’d try to post something on marriage.  We’ve seen and known so many horrible or even “just limping along” marriages, that I wanted to impart some basic knowledge to people who didn’t know these things, and yet were searching for it.  I think this is normal for people who find out great truths to want to impart that knowledge to someone else.  Why on earth would you hide something that can help people with building better marriages, which in turn, creates healthier, happier children, and less divorce, better societies and more productive, good people in this world?!?!

Seriously, if you have that information and are not sharing it somehow, you may want to really ask yourself why you are keeping that valuable help from other people?  This isn’t meant as some kind of condemning judgment, and obviously sharing it can be done in a million different ways, I’m not saying everyone has to go start a blog or youtube channel and try to make a difference in those venues – but it’s just pure fact that by not sharing that information (which is like a treasure really) with people in dire need of it, is morally wrong.

It’s easier to see this fact when you apply it to being wealthy and not generous in your giving.  If a wealthy person isn’t giving in some way to society – to purely good, helpful causes, not the kind that perpetuate problems in society – then it is just like the rich man in the Bible who stores up grain all for himself:

Luke 12:13-21

[13] Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

[14] Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” [15] Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

[16] And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. [17] He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

[18] “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. [19] And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

[20] “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

[21] “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.

Being “rich toward God,” is sharing the gospel and biblical truths about how life is meant to be lived.  Sharing that often comes in form of writing, books, blogs, but doesn’t have to only be in those ways.

“The lips of the wise broadcast knowledge, but not so the heart of fools.”

Proverbs 15:7

The best sharing is face-to-face with people in your real life, but writing and blogs is also extremely beneficial to many people – and is a better way to “broadcast” that knowledge and wisdom.  I know this personally because I’ve had the amazing opportunity of being told by those I’ve been blessed to touch!

Looking back, it’s been awe-inspiring to affect so many women’s and men’s lives through simply writing about marriage and sex or parenting.  Giving other people Truth so that they can better live their lives the way God would want them to, has been a privilege that I didn’t foresee when starting out writing as a mere creative outlet!

Our own marriage is in large part as good as it is because of other people who took their own time, energy and heart and passion to write great marriage books that I read during our first year when I worked at a Christian bookstore!  If they had thought what they had to say wasn’t important, didn’t need to be shared, or were neurotically worried that men reading their books would “compare their wives to the women writing these valuable books,” we would probably not have the marriage we have today.  The Truths we learned from these godly authors were SO valuable and important – their books were their ministry.  Many people who benefited from their writing would have missed out on those blessings if the authors had decided sharing these Truths were wrong – including the authors themselves!  Because sharing with others Truths that are life-giving is a blessing in and of itself!

While studying what these authors had to say on a wife’s role in a marriage during our first year, I was amazed it is so easy to get married when one has literally NO IDEA how to maintain that marriage or live together in a compatible way.  Even driving a car takes more time and effort in studying the laws of what is right and wrong to do while in it and out on the road.  I mean seriously, you get more instruction and valuable information when getting a driver’s license than you do before you get married – no wonder there are so many divorces or miserable marriages!

Most of it is likely due to lack of knowledge of how or what a good marriage actually looks like from day to day.

So make your life count!  Don’t live an “unlived life” full of complaining, slander, and wasting your time doing things that harm you!  You are meant for so much more than that ❤

Here is Stefan’s video, and again, it look me days to get through it little bits at a time.  And it’s not for children’s ears!!  He’s an atheist, so he cusses sometimes, but the overall messages he does are full of wisdom.

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My Amazing Husband & His Boys

IMG_3653

Snapped this photo when we went downtown to see my husband working our annual city party called, “FIESTA!!”

My husband is an incredible hero.

It’s not just because he wears the badge, although the courage and bravery there are not to be discounted.

It’s his strength, heart, and mind that make him go above and beyond in teaching our sons how to actually be men.

Real men.

The kind that fight for goodness and against evil in our society.

The kind that are God’s warriors and ministers – both at the same exact time.

Words can hardly even describe the intensity with which I love this man so much.

patrickboys

 

Married Women, Flirting & Loyalty

About two years ago, I wrote a post called How to Turn a Guy Down that was mostly for single women not interested in the man who was asking, or for women already taken in a relationship (or marriage).  It told of my transformation from a 14 year old volleyball player who rejected an older athlete at a summer day camp and thought herself a man-eater, to a 27 yr old woman who realized men have feelings and should be treated with kindness and respect.

After the camp, our parents would pick us up, mine always worked till 5pm so I’d wait outside the immense Gymnasium watching for my mom’s car.  They had other sports camps there, and one day a basketball player that had been eyeing me came over and flirted.  I’m naturally kind so I was polite, but I had no intention of making him a boyfriend, or even a friend (I wasn’t nice to strangers).  He flirted harder, I tried to stay neutral to not lead him on, then my mom’s car pulled up, I was relieved.  He asked for my number and I gave him one, the number my mother always called for time and temperature!  I was bad, I didn’t care much about guy’s feelings then, or honesty in general, so of course I told my mom about it and laughed at him in the car thinking myself a real man-eater.

Fast forward 13 years, whenever I have a man flirt with me or outright come on to me now, I’m kinder & upfront.  It takes a lot of courage and guts for a man (or even boy) to come up to someone they think is beautiful, and actually ask her out.  To be rude to them, or worse, ridicule them for daring to go near you is cruel!  I’m reminded of why my mother always told me that young boys prefer real women… because they’re kinder than young girls.  But even men deserve honesty – and they appreciate you so much more because of it.

The difference between this encounter, and one that happened 13 years later:

We had passes to a water amusement park this past summer, so I would take my son fairly frequently, I suppose I look like a single-mother, a young handsome guy came up to us and started flirting with me.  At first I was so annoyed thinking, really?  Can’t you see I’m a mother?  But I could tell he was a genuinely good man, so I was kind to him and thanked him for his compliments and promptly told him I was married (showed him my ring) and put an end to it.  He was so sweet, he brushed aside his embarrassment and still complimented me, saying I was a very beautiful woman and an obviously good mother to my son, and that my husband must be a very lucky man.  I blushed and told him that I was lucky, that my husband is incredible.  I also went outside myself and became very forward in order to compliment him – and tell him that he seemed like a very good man, a lot like my husband, and assured him that he would find someone amazing to love him – and that he deserved it!

He thanked me, and actually blessed me (well… said God bless you with heart-felt meaning behind the words), and we went different ways.  No time & temperature numbers, no leading each other on,just honesty… it’s amazing how much difference it truly makes!  His dignity was preserved, I wasn’t guilty of being cruel, and we both truly blessed each other with very genuine compliments to each other’s souls.

 

I was reminded of this advice I gave to single women two years ago over the holidays last month.  I was out early in the morning without the boys so that I could do our Christmas shopping without them finding out what they’d get.  I thankfully rarely get hit on now days because I’m almost never without either my kids or husband when going out.  But that morning being alone, even dressed very down and almost shabby, barely any makeup on and hair a little wild looking, there was a man that was also shopping in the toy section and asked me where I thought he could find a certain kind of toy that didn’t appear to be carried there.  We went our separate ways, but then I saw him again in a different aisle awhile later, he looked a little nervous, but came up to me anyway, telling me that he’s been looking for a beautiful woman and wanted to know if I would go out on a date sometime with him.

No he wasn’t a homeless man… he was tall, white, clean-cut and looked military, aged anywhere from 30-45, very well built, and actually handsome.  Being a mom is the strangest thing, and I swear it makes me more empathetic to men of all ages – I instantly felt my heart swell for him in a weird motherly kind of way, I could tell it was so bold and brave of him to approach me like that, he didn’t have the suave of a pickup artist, and yet didn’t have quite the embarrassment level of an adolescent/early 20’s guy, yet it’s not easy to ask out a strange woman – men never know now how she’ll respond.  A man in his age-range and judging by his persona, he probably only cold approaches like that when he thinks he’s found someone that is truly worth his effort, and this made me sorry for him.  I frowned and told him that I was actually married (looked down at my ring), and told him that I understand how hard it is.  I told him my own brother was having a hard time finding a good woman, and that it just sucks in this current atmosphere to find someone.  I encouraged him that I hoped he did find someone, and hopefully that eased the embarrassment of the rejection.

You men have it hard.

Why not flirt a little?  Doesn’t this show a married woman she’s still “got it?”

I’ve read in magazines constantly that married women are encouraged to look at these occasions where they may be flirted with, asked out, or hit on as an opportunity to flirt back and “have a little extramarital fun.”  It’s validation that she’s still “beautiful,” or that she’s still got it enough to be asked out in the middle of a supermarket.

Let me make something very clear that I missed in that old post two years ago:

MEN RESPECT AND ADMIRE

MARRIED WOMEN

WHO ARE LOYAL.

No good man wants to really be flirting with someone else’s wife, and no good man will feel good about himself (or about her) if he does this successfully in the long run.  Men appreciate loyalty in women, because if they have any empathy for their sex, then they understand that they’d want their own wife to be loyal to them.

This is something our secular culture just glosses over as something that is unnecessary.  If she isn’t really cheating, a little flirting when the hubby isn’t there is harmless right?

But it isn’t.

Your husband wants you to adore and respect him so much that you don’t even think twice in situations like this.

Here are some tips for the married woman who is approached or flirted with:

  • Immediately bring it to attention that you are married, I always either look down at my ring, or pull up my hand to show them
  • Talk to them in a kind, respectful way, never in a harsh way
  • Don’t make them feel like they should have known you were married, apologize when you say you’re married, it lessens their embarrassment
  • If you feel comfortable enough, if you don’t think they’re actually dangerous, encourage them a little in their search – single men REALLY need this encouragement, and it helps to redirect the rejection

 

Here are some of my old tips for turning someone down if you’re single or not looking, or in a relationship:

  • Be honest but also kind – don’t say something that’s true but cruel, preserve their dignity, they are a human being
  • Don’t lead them on, tell them you aren’t looking for a relationship of any kind right now
  • Don’t feel like you have to explain why, a kind answer of honesty that you’re not interested is enough
  • Try to imagine that they are a friend or relative, and give them the same treatment
  • Acknowledge their courage & encourage them or compliment them on their gentility
  • If you feel like you might’ve led them on (if they were already a friend) apologize, even if you didn’t mean to

My Husband Isn’t Being Romantic Enough

I was asked to respond to a woman’s anonymous comment on the site Biblical Gender Roles.  The full post is here, and below is the woman’s situation in her own words in italics, along with my responses in normal text.

The Undated Wife

“I have read many of the posts on your site and I agree with some things you say. I agree that women should not deny sex to their husbands and I do not deny sex to my husband, although there are many times I don’t feel like having sex with him.

But I think you miss the fact that women have an equal right to be dated by their husbands. Why do men think that dating is just before marriage? Why do men stop dating their wives after they get married?

While it is very nice and definitely helps to keep the romance alive in the relationship to continue going out on “dates” while married, there is absolutely no where in the Bible where women are guaranteed that kind of romantic situation.  Even throughout history, married couples needed to focus more on working well together, each carrying their own load, rather than on romance in the marriage.  I’m not trying to be overly harsh, but this reeks of a selfish attitude saying that women have “an equal right to be dated by their husbands.”  I’ve never seen or heard that line before, it is not biblical like the partners’ right to sex is.  The Bible clearly states that neither partner should deny sex to the other, unless it is mutually decided on (consensual) and for only a short period of time; however, no where will you find the Bible outlining that couples should not deny each other romance or regular dates.

So this statement you believe is true, that women have some kind of right to be taken out on dates that is equal to the right of having sex in a marriage is biblically false and has no foundation.  It is great if your husband would date you once a week, take you out several times a year on couples’ get-aways, or being able to finance family vacations once or twice a year.  These are privileges that are based on your husband’s being able to afford them financially and time-wise, though, not considered rights that you can use to berate him with.

Let me give you a little bit of background to my situation. I married my husband about 8 years ago, we were both divorced. I had no children from my previous marriage (I am unable to have children). He had three kids from a previous marriage that he has joint custody of. Now they are all teenagers. I love his kids and they love me.

We’ve been married 8 years as well, so I like that I can at least relate to having spent the same time in our marriages.  To give you a little background about me, my husband and I got married very young – I was 20, about to turn 21, and he was 22.  We were not your standard early 20 year olds, however, we (especially he) were a little bit more mature.  I’m so glad that you have been able to create the kind of relationship with his kids so that they love you!  With blended families where there are stepchildren, that is so crucial to a happy home life.

I am a stay at home wife.

Me, too, for now.

My husband says he loves me. He is a good provider. He is a good father to our children. But he works all the time. Even when he comes home from the office, he takes his laptop out many times and continues to read and answer emails all evening long. The only time he seems to carve out anytime is when his kids come to our house. Then he spends time with them. In fact sometimes I feel like the minute his kids arrive I am not even there.

Try not to go into victim mode/victim mentality here and give in to the selfish attitude of throwing yourself a pity party.  Let’s count your blessings so that we can stay in perspective: you have a husband who sounds like a good, decent man when many other women in this world are lonely.  I actually know many women right now in my own sphere that are single and would kill to be in your position with a husband to love and do life with, and children to bless and to mother.  Another blessing is that your husband is a “good provider,” what a praise to have this in a world of men who are rejecting women and marriage altogether!  You have a man that is willing to bust his ass for you, who is driven and motivated!  We as women tend to feel sorry for ourselves whenever anything big or small tends to throw off our plans or expectations of how things should go.  Think of the women of the past, they truly had it tough, and they were never guaranteed going out once a week on romantic dates – that would have been entirely foreign to them and they would think of us as wimps!  They would never have complained or nagged or whined about feeling neglected because their husbands didn’t take them out for dates.

The women of the past, however, didn’t have our modern day female sense of entitlement.  When they entered a marriage, they entered it understanding that they were going to have to work within it – both physically but also emotionally in order to keep a good healthy marriage.  They had the mentality of “what am I willing to do and what do I bring to a marriage,” whereas we all too often have the attitude of, “what’s in it for me?” and “What will I get out of this arrangement?”  The women of the past that made happy marriages were keen on keeping things in perspective.  If they had a good man for a husband, children to love (even if they were his from another marriage), a roof over their heads, and food on their table, they were content.  I remember reading and studying old letters and article clippings of the Victorian age where wives wrote in to describe their individual marriages.  The happy wives didn’t put all the romance responsibility onto their husbands, but the unhappy ones wrote pieces like your comment to BiblicalGenderRoles, only focusing on how unhappy they were because he was lacking in some way.  Many had to get creative and romance their husbands indoors (romantic evenings by the fire, with a cup of tea, snuggled together, and always always the happy ones wrote about keeping their sex lives alive).  At least you can be comforted that even back then, a marriage’s happiness strongly correlated with the wife’s ability to be optimistic and make the most of things, or throw herself a pity party focusing on her husband’s flaws and how hard she has it.

A word about your husband spending all his time with his children:

If he doesn’t have full custody of his children, then it is crucial to spend all the time he can with them when he does have them.  They are “all teenagers” as you said, so their time out of the house is coming very soon, you will be able to have him all to yourself as empty nesters in about 5 years more than likely.  But yes, he created them before you, and they are his priority number one until they turn 18.  You are not.  I’m sorry if this is hard for you to hear, many step-moms don’t understand a father’s responsibility and duty to his kids and become resentful that he feels more obligated to them than to her.  It simply is the way it is, you chose a man who had children before you.

There are times when he realizes he has not been paying enough attention to me and purposefully does not take out his laptop. We just sit and talk or watch some TV together. But I have told him I feel he needs to make more of an effort to date me. He needs to take me out to dinner more, he needs to take me to the movies. He should be taking me on weekend getaways several times a year like he did many years ago. He has turned into a “homebody” – he is fine with just being home with me and the kids.

This is great that he is willing to admit that he’s not spending enough quality time with you, but instead of waiting for him to feel guilty (and you feeling neglected), why don’t you have a sit down talk at a convenient time where you let him know that instead of him having to feel guilty about it, and instead of you feel resentful or nagging him, that you both can instead work to create a schedule where time spent together alone is written in on a calendar or marked somewhere you two can remember.  This can be very simple – don’t overcomplicate it!  Just simply write in on the calendar twice a week where you two spend at least 1 hour together focusing on the relationship and on each other.  Simple. Easy. Done!

Dates for us have never had to be going out somewhere to do something, they can even be taking a walk together around the neighborhood, going for a run together (working out together is one of my favorite quality times with my hubby), watching a movie on the couch together, making a special dinner together, or just talking one on one about deep issues we’re interested in.

I said he is a good provider and good father. I don’t feel he is a good husband to me. I always feel like his kids and his job come first, and I am always last on his “to do list”. Sure when I say something to him about feeling neglected – he will try for a while to talk with me more, and he might even take me out once in a great while. But I want more! Don’t I deserve to be his number priority? Why do I always have to feel like I am second to his job or the kids?

A good husband cares about you and your needs, this man sounds like he cares and is willing to take your feelings into account.  Be grateful for this!  There are women who are actually married to bad husbands – men who truly don’t care about meeting their needs, don’t care about their feelings, etc.  Your husband, by your account of him, sounds very good to me.  Be careful about constantly giving him an F on his report card, when other women would look at your life and at him, and give him an A.  That is how good men go astray, when they’re honestly trying, honestly caring, and doing the best they know how, but their wife for some reason wants to focus on something minor (like date nights) and ruin the entire marriage over it by saying he’s a “bad husband” to her.

Goodness woman, he is a good husband.  Be thankful for him, be thankful for his being attune to your feelings and needs.  Just simply help him to meet them by doing what I stated before – scheduling in 2x per week some alone time and romance so that you can feel loved.  Do not be a martyr by trying to say he should be the one being romantic, remember and think on the women of the past and how they had to deal with a lot more – physically, mentally and emotionally stressful situations that don’t even compare to the frivolity that we enjoy now.

I got him to go to counseling with our Pastor whom he respects. Our pastor told him he needed to date me, he needed to take me out once a week. He need to take me on a weekend getaway at least twice a year. My husband MAYBE might take me out once a month on date. He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half. He says we don’t have enough money for trips right now and I just have to be patient (we had to cancel our family vacation this summer because of finances). He tells me things will get better financially in a couple years after we pay off the debt. A couple years!!!!! If something is important to you – you make it happen. But again I am not as important to him as his job or his kids. God says a wife is to be her husband’s number one priority right? That means I come before everything – his kids, his job.

Oh my… bringing in the Pastor who he respects to tell him to “man up” and do something that’s not even biblically mandated is a bit much in my opinion.  And telling him he needs to take you on a weekend get-away at least 2x per year… this just reeks of self-entitlement.  Now let’s get into the part where you start complaining about what he hasn’t done for you:

My husband MAYBE might take me out once a month on date.

That’s like us… we would love to do it once a week, but we’ve never been able to plan it well enough with a babysitter to get that kind of experience.  Sometimes we’ve even gone months without a date night, in fact, our last date night (before our vacation last week) was in April or May!!!  I make sure that we spend enough alone time and have enough romance though, so that I don’t feel neglected. I don’t whine about not having a monthly date night (even though we mean to), I don’t make him feel like a bad husband for it, and I don’t put extra stress or pressure on him when I know I can get my relational and emotional needs met by simply making sure it happens instead of playing the martyr and expecting him to be perfect.

My husband has an incredibly stressful job – and yes, it is a job where he does not get to spend as much time with me as I would prefer, but as his wife, it is my duty and responsibility to make sure our home life runs well, that our children are doing great, that everything is going smoothly.  I’m also responsible for my own happiness.  He is not responsible for that, and he is not a bad husband even though he doesn’t have the time to make a date night every month or would never remember on his own, to schedule needed romantic time or alone time together.  That’s just being a man 🙂  sometimes men need help meeting their wife’s needs, there’s nothing wrong with you pleasantly and sweetly reminding him that you love spending time with him and being romantic – that you need this to feel secure in the marriage.

He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half.

I haven’t been on a weekend getaway with my hubby in 3 years now.  It was a beautiful experience, and yes, I’d love to be able to do it even once a year (let alone the twice you’re complaining your husband isn’t providing for you), but financially, we’ve never before been able to handle that.  You marriage and his quality as a husband should not depend on whether or not he is dating you regularly, or is able to take you on weekend get-aways twice a year.  Again, it is simply selfish entitlement.

He says we don’t have enough money for trips right now and I just have to be patient (we had to cancel our family vacation this summer because of finances). He tells me things will get better financially in a couple years after we pay off the debt. A couple years!!!!! If something is important to you – you make it happen. But again I am not as important to him as his job or his kids. God says a wife is to be her husband’s number one priority right?

Aye, woman!  Can you hear yourself and how selfish you sound?  Again, think of the women of the past, how they understood that when they entered into a marriage, that they focused on what they could bring to it.  We have never been able to afford a family vacation in 8 years… this is our first one ever that we had a week ago, and it was truly wonderful.  But all these years, I never dared made my husband feel less than because of his not being able to afford one, I can’t imagine how that would have crushed his ego and self-esteem, making him feel like a failure.  My husband was busting his ass all these years ensuring we were staying afloat – we’ve both put each other through school or training – taking turns supporting each other and working for the benefit of the marriage.  Did it suck that we couldn’t afford weekend get-aways twice a year, or family vacations (ever)?  Yes, but we never complained to each other about it – if we ever did lament the fact, it was not in a way of blaming each other for it.

I hope you can see that this is a problem that you have, an underlying heart issue of not focusing on your blessings and not working to create the kind of marriage YOU desire (the romance).  You have a problem of being selfish here, even dragging your husband to a Pastor so that he can feel spiritually mandated to cater to your extreme self-entitlement issues.

Be joyful that your husband takes debt seriously!  Be joyful that he is working on a plan to get rid of any debt that ya’ll have!  Be joyful that you’ll be able to get out of it “in a couple of years!”  These are all things to praise God for and reallign your attitude about!

I read your post on how a man is to know his wife – I almost cried when I read it because I want that from my husband. I want to feel like his number one priority.

Then romance him.  Set aside time 2x per week to romance him purposefully, create the life you want, the romantic marriage you desire with him.  Don’t play the martyr, crying about how things aren’t meeting your expectations and falling into your lap.  Make the best of what you have, and be thankful for your blessings.

I just feel like all I am here for is to do his and his kids laundry, cook for them and drive them places, and of course have sex with him.

I feel more like a maid and a sex slave than his wife!

With all the news coming out about the Yazidi women, I think you seriously need to read and watch some of the videos about what it is truly like to be a real sex slave.  Again, this is playing the martyr, it’s not healthy for you, its not healthy for your marriage, it’s not helping your husband, and it’s not creating the kind of environment you want for your kids to be in.

Can you maybe write a post about husbands loving their wives before everything else? Can you write about how God wants men to date their wives? Isn’t that what loving your wife is? To date her, to make her feel like she is your number one priority?”

I hope this helped you to maybe think about your situation from a different perspective.  Again, it sounds like we are and have been, in much the same circumstance, and yet, I’ve chosen to respond completely opposite from how you have.

If you feel up to it, make a list of all the incredible blessings you have in your life, put it in a nice journal that you can keep on your nightstand.  Each night, I want you to open that journal and re-read your blessings, thanking God for giving you each and every one.  Each night, I want you to add 1 more blessing to your list, pray over your list every night.  Even (if you feel comfortable enough) ask your hubby to pray with you, let him listen to you thanking God for all that you’ve been given.

Blessings!

Single Women, You Want a Mature Guy

My husband just turned 30 a few months ago, and he teased me mercilessly about me only having 2 years left to really milk the “I’m having sex with a man in his 30’s while I”m in my 20’s,” silliness.  We tease each other constantly – he teases me constantly, and it adds to our marriage so much happiness!

I grew up understanding that men only get sexier and more desirable as they get older, whereas women tend to peak in their early to mid-20’s and then slowly (or not so slowly depending on how well they take care of their bodies) start to decline in sexual value.  This is totally distinct from personal value, people are definitely valuable – no matter what they look like, however, SMV (sexual market value) is based solely on how much desire they would obtain from the opposite sex at their current state.  It is in a woman’s best interest to capitalize on her peak SMV, to find a man while she is in her 20’s that she can lock down into marriage.  I’m reminded of watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the main character’s father has his double standard for his daughter and son when it comes to marrying.  To the daughter, he keeps reminding in his adorable Greek accent, “You look so old!!!”  But when it comes to his playboy son, he says, “Oh you have plenty of time!”  However fair or unfair this may seem, it is simply the way God’s designed our sexes.  It is no accident that a woman’s fertility levels are also at the peak during her highest SMV time-frame, while men can produce healthy sperm well into their 40’s.

Since we’ve been married almost 8 years, and have known each other for coming up on 10 years, I’ve watched my husband’s sexual market value rise… and its continuing to rise as he attains more and more career success and monetary assets.  😉  It doesn’t bother me, although a couple of years ago, when I posted a picture of him with our son on FB with the caption, “I love this man – so sexy!” another FB friend whom I hadn’t even seen in years, and who hadn’t even met my husband in real life, commented, “I do, too!!”

The awkwardness of other women finding your husband insanely attractive… lol.

He’s always been about 7 years older than me in maturity, at least, that is how I figured it when comparing him to his fraternity-roommate and his friends, who were at a normal level of maturity for 23 year old guys at the time.  My husband was at about the age of 27 or 28, in my mind, because of his choices, personality, attitude about life in general, and readiness to find a serious relationship with someone who wouldn’t sabotage a marriage.  I was still at 20… and although I may have been “ready,” that readiness sure had a lot of naivety in it!  I’ve learned so much from him through all these years, he is the most incredible man I’ve known, even surpassing my father in my admiration.  Alhough we’ve grown so much through these years together, he still, in my mind, is at the same maturity level difference, which puts him at 35, and me at 28.  It’s a good “maturity-gap” in my opinion, I’ve always found it easy to be able to look up to him, to respect his opinions, and desire to hear what he thinks about any issue in the world, or in our life.  The maturity-gap has created a dynamic where he is the default leader of our family, and I let him lead without doubting his capability to.  There is a trust there, because I know his maturity level, that probably wouldn’t have been there had I entered into a marriage where I thought myself the more mature partner.  The more rational partner.

I’ve seen marriages like that, it is not pretty.  The wife usually decides that she is more capable of being the leader, and intentionally makes decisions that go against biblical principals of submitting to her husband, and letting him lead in his rightful place in the family.  A woman who considers herself more mature risks fulfilling the ugly process of emasculating her husband.

So single women, look for traits that mark maturity.  They may not be very obvious, but a man that knows who he is, isn’t swayed easily by nonsense whims or peer pressure, has a firm grip on the correct attitude about life, and is confident and at ease with women in general is a good start.

Praying for Your Husband in His Work

seattlefreepress

I’m not sure about you, but my husband definitely needs my support and love in the power that comes in praying over him in his work.  He, like most people working full time, deals with a variety of complicated situations ranging from minor every day frustrations to managing several difficult or negative interactions sometimes in a succession right after each other.  He especially encounters negativity daily in a way that can wear a person down to a pulp overtime.  Men (and women too) need someone on their side, praying daily for their heart to remain strong (not hard or cold) in the face of conflict, and still soft (but not weak) when dealing with the broken, young, or old.

He needs to know I’m in his corner praying for him to have wisdom and courage to fight the good fight.

Work is difficult sometimes.  Because of the fall and the curse that fell on us, work has become something difficult… frustrating… and yet, it is also immensely fulfilling in that it gives us purpose.  Our sweet church just did a series on work, and how one’s faith should drastically impact their entire approach to it.

Christians should work with passion, have strong work ethics, have the upmost integrity in their dealings with employers, coworkers, or clients.  They should be exemplary employees, but since we are all human, many get tired of the surrounding atmosphere of a lack of team work, or frustrated with coworkers who don’t pull their own weight.  It can be hard to keep a positive attitude when daily we are reminded of the negative – but as a wife, I want to cover my husband in a blanket of prayer to safeguard his positivity, his serenity, and his purpose in fulfilling his calling at his workplace.

Here are some things to consider when praying over your husband:

  • His role as a provider or co-provider with you – sometimes that task can be especially daunting if your husband doesn’t find purpose or fulfillment in his work.  Pray for his heart and his spirit to be encouraged in knowing the good he is doing
  • His heart to remain close to God – pray for him to keep God at the center of his decisions.  Many men and women simply make God or Christianity something they only partake of on Sundays, instead of allowing it to overflow into every aspect of their life.  Pray he develops closeness to God or continues in his walk with the Lord.
  • Pray for him to be empowered with strength to face his daily grind – pray that he’s safe-guarded from falling into a pit of discouragement, every job gets familiar and starts to lose its sparkle over time, but prolonged discouragement is dangerous to his spirit.
  • Pray for him to have wisdom in every encounter
  • Pray for him to be filled with Joy (the counter-serum to Depression) and to view the world through a lens of gratitude – make your family the safe haven he can retreat to every night in order to refill his cup with warm Joy, and make gratitude a focal point for your family.  Joy + Gratitude makes for the BEST atmosphere and environment for staying positive in life, and will greatly affect your children as they look to you to learn what happiness in life is.

(above image from seattlefreepress.org)

Heartbreak & Fighting Fair

You’ve probably heard it said that when someone you love stops fighting with you, that’s when you really have to worry – because it means that, to some degree, they don’t care anymore.

Every couple goes through phases of arguments or fights about decisions, words spoken, or things they don’t agree on, but most fights (in my opinion) come from misunderstandings.  Misunderstandings and miscommunications are what an average married couple has to learn to deal with – and to work through – before it begins to take a toll on the marriage.  The great thing is that with patience and understanding, these can be worked through – but only if both partners actually seek to understand each other.

According to Dr. Sharon Morris May, author of How to Argue So Your Spouse Will Listen, couples need to (at any point in their marriage/relationship) establish a safe haven with each other.  One needs to know the answers to these questions:

  • Can I trust you will be there for me if I need you?
  • Do you love, respect, and care about me?
  • Can I trust you to be committed to me and to us?
  • Will you be emotionally and physically available?
  • Will you respond to me in a caring and considerate manner?
  • Will you repair our hurts and reconnect when we are disconnected?

When any of these rhetorical questions goes answered with a resounding “No” by our partner’s actions, our “safe haven” is in jeopardy, and our relationship feels painful and disconnected.  Fighting then becomes a way of trying to regain that sense of comfort and closeness, like knights defending their castle, there is a battle before the relationship is deemed as lost.

To be fair, there are some situations where fights are not started from simple misunderstandings or miscommunication, these are more problematic and honestly, need to seek the help of counseling in order to identify the specifics of what needs to be worked on in each case.  Here are a few examples of unfair tactics & nasty fights:

Being unnecessarily mean or rude to your spouse… this is one that really breaks my heart to see, and I’ve seen it quite often.  One example was a man that was so rude to his wife, it seemed amazing if he could say anything without turning it into some kind of gab or cutting remark about her.  I was surprised that she didn’t grab something heavy and hit him over the head!  This man was frustrated with her on many different levels, and through many years, had wanted her to change or listen to his needs, and she had chosen to ignore them (or felt that she couldn’t change).  So obviously his default reaction was to be as horribly cruel to her as possible, even in front of me.

Why do people stay in relationships like that?  I don’t know, I think they must feel trapped by their life circumstances, whether it be financial or for family security, but it was clear that this woman was not going to leave her husband, even though he’d turned verbally abusive.  This is not against men in any way, I’ve seen more women being cruel to their husbands in public than men to their wives.

Bringing up things that are in the past that were already resolved – keeping a long record of wrongs to hold against your spouse…  Confession, I can be the worst at this, and not just with my husband… I tend to remember every little detail of every human being I encounter… and it can be horrible.  So when it comes to fights or arguments, I am quick to remember if something has ever happened like this before, and I have to bite my tongue if it is something we’ve already solved.  With ex-boyfriends it served me well, because I could catch them in lies ridiculously fast – but as far as letting past things lie in the past with your spouse (as long as they aren’t lying or cheating on you), it’s best to accept apologies and not bring up old hurts that have been mended.

Using name-calling or curse words to intentionally hurt each other during a fight… obviously, this isn’t fighting fair.  The goal is to stay being respectful.

Blocking each other out, or refusing to talk about the problem… this is not to be confused with asking for a break from the argument – its actually helpful sometimes to admit that you don’t know how to solve this right now, and that you need to take a break from it.  As long as both partners respect each other and set a time for when they’ll return to the argument or fight so that they can work through it, taking a break is fine. Blocking each other out is just withdraw with no promise of care or respect, and no promise of if the relationship will ever be mended.  Blocking out isn’t fair to your spouse.

Things to think about 🙂