Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Don’t Be a Material Girl!

So I mentioned I wanted to start a small series on just writing out things I really would love my daughter to grow up hearing from me constantly… yep I’ll be that kind of mom who kind of somewhat nags her about the real life realities I want her to have in the back of her mind.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ll be doing something, and then I’ll hear my mom’s voice in the back of my head with something she’d say growing up that just rang SO true.  It happened a ton when I first got married within that first year, and not necessarily about relationship stuff, but more about everyday kind of living.

Things like, “HANG UP THAT DRESS!!!  YOU DON’T TREAT YOUR CLOTHES THAT WAY!

Anyway, these probably won’t be one-liners that will stick in her head, but hopefully more ideas that she’ll adhere to when older.

On Materialistic Things

  1. Don’t be a material girl.  Having “nice clothing” does not have to mean you buy designer clothing.  NEVER buy designer items (clothes, shoes, purses, etc.) unless you happen to find them super cheap and really like the piece itself.  If it doesn’t cost too much and genuinely brings you value to your wardrobe, get it. But if not, they are such a waste of money and signal to other people you care more about status than reality.  I got the best comments about my clothes when younger, even though they were always bought on sale.
  2. Never pay full price for anything that can be bought or bargained for at less of the price being asked.  Buy used, learn to make things yourself… basically do anything you can to save money and be able to use it for more important things that bring better value to your life and your family when you have a family.  Buy cars with cash.
  3. Wait for things to go on sale.  There’s absolutely no need to ever buy anything that isn’t on sale.  And even then, if you’re smart, you can usually wait it out until they mark it down even further.  Your Grandma (my mom) used to help me figure out when certain things went on sale – like the only jeans that actually fit my long legs – and I’d literally wait an entire year to get to that amazing sale where they’d magically all be around $10 each.  These were jeans that were normally $50-60.  If you pay attention, stores usually have major sales that come cyclically.
  4. Learn to do the majority of beauty things for yourself so you don’t have to pay someone else to do them.  Unless you really cannot figure it out, learn to dye your hair, do your nails, give yourself manicures and pedicures, etc. for yourself.  It just saves so much money and is really beneficial to learn to do these beauty habits yourself anyway.  You can even easily MAKE MONEY if you learn to do these things well, because you can offer your skills to friends, family, neighbors, etc. and create a little side business if you want.
  5. With that being said though, your skin (your face) is very important to maintain when young.  Because the chemicals used in maintaining skin care are tricky and almost impossible to make, spending some (but not too much) on skincare makes sense overtime.  Just know that there is never going to be some magical ointment that will make you somehow not age.  Natural remedies girls learn to make for their skin at home are great and very very cheap, but while they do help some, they ultimately are just not anywhere near the strength of what your dermatologist has in her office.  Find a good, trustworthy dermatologist, and try to stick with her for life.  I’ll help you there 😉
  6. Accept aging.  I’m not sure how true it is that women can really age gracefully, I used to believe it was possible and I still hope it is, but I can literally feel my face getting older as I type lol!  Just understand that aging is going to happen, and stay away from things that go above and beyond to try to make you look younger.  Botox and fillers and strange things dermatologists are always asked to do from the 35+ crowd just do not look good.  Don’t do it!  They make women look so unnatural and actually take away from their beauty!  Preserve your beauty as much as you can with age, but always avoid looking “unnatural.”
  7. Always stick to a budget when it comes to buying materialistic girly things.  Set aside a certain amount of money per month for girly items and don’t let yourself go above that.  Try to build up a little “savings account” for things like that, since makeup, hair styling tools, clothes etc. can add up.  Always search for the best deals but getting good quality when it comes to hair styling tools. This means they may cost more, but it’s worth it to not damage your hair.  Having a mini-savings built up for times when your favorite straightener or curling iron mysteriously go out is helpful.

And most importantly, most men (and even women to a certain degree) don’t like material girls.  From how much money they tend to unnecessarily spend, to their attitude, it’s almost universal that men don’t like a girl or woman who is that high maintenance.  Being a material girl is also just extremely wasteful of the items themselves since it’s driven by a mentality to always want the next best thing.  This is why designer boots can be found frequently at thrift stores, barely used, because women only wear them a few times before deciding they’re somehow now “out of season.”

Let me tell you a secret.

Truly great boots, or clothes for that matter, are hardly ever “out of season” unless you’re talking about Autumn vs. Summer. 😉  In reality you only need a minimum amount of really great shoes or accessories to look very well put together.

It’s much better to have a few really great wardrobe pieces that are of good quality that

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Spring

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We’ve been enjoying this beautiful weather for a couple of months now since our “Spring” starts so early.  Each year it mesmerizes me with how beautiful Texas is in the Spring.  There’s something about the sunlight hitting the newly green grass or leaves and delicate flowers with a backdrop of the most gorgeous blue sky you can imagine that is just too much!

It’s like the weather itself radiates happiness and joy ❤

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Our oldest found a rock with circles cut out like eyes from a skull LOL!!  Our boys could seriously be comedians… 😀

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St. Patrick’s Day craft making green peeps into little Irish men.  It was so fun!

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Our green Riverwalk dyed for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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We let our oldest start taking care of some strawberry plants, it’s been fun watching them grow and produce fruit.  Just need to figure out some netting to keep the birds and squirrels away lol!  We recently found one with a bite taken out of it!

 

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This was the first strawberry it produced!  Our son ate it and although he “hated” strawberries before (yet still wanted the plants?? lol) he’s now decided he LOVES them!  (Sneaky parenting 101)

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Sometimes our oldest reads bedtime stories to his little brother.  These are honestly the moments that you live for as a parent.  Just. So. Sweet.  ❤ ❤ ❤

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New kitten adventures.

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HAPPY SPRING!!!

What’s in a Name? How Important are Your Children’s Names?

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We all have names that our parents gave us, and they all have different reasons for choosing that specific name.  Sometimes they love a specific meaning that comes from the name, other times it represents someone they loved or admired from the family, and sometimes on of our parents just thought it was pretty and sounded nice.

What is it about naming a child that is just so fascinating?  To me, I loved picking out the names for our children with my husband, because of the gift it was to give them a good name, with good meanings, and a hope for their future.  Being of Polish Jewish descent on my mother’s side, I specifically love the Hebrew approach of placing high value and importance on our children’s names, even if they think we’re silly for it. 🙂

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My parents took naming their children seriously also, and as a result, my full name means Crown of Grace.  Mostly my mother picked it, taking my first name from part of my father’s, and picking out “Ann” as the “Grace” part.  It is such a beautiful name, and I’m ever so grateful!  I was reminded of the meaning back in September when I encountered an interesting woman, who when she heard my first name, remarked to me, “Do you know that your name’s meaning is “Crown” or “Crowned?”  I told her yes, and that it gets worse, that my mother paired it with “Grace” for my middle name, so that in total it literally means “Crown of Grace.”  I told her that I always feel that I can never live up to this name, because although I want to, I often fail.  Who could live up to being a woman named “Crown of Grace?”  She laughed and pointed out that both have nothing to do with having to “live up” to them, or earning them, a crown you are given as royalty, you’re born into it.  And grace is also given and not earned.  She suggested I should just accept it and grow into becoming “Crowned with Grace.”

A verse that has always captured me about my name:

“She (Wisdom) will place a garland of grace on your head;

she will give you a crown of beauty.”

Proverbs 4:9

But what about for people who have strange meanings behind their names?  You may be reading this and thinking to yourself how much you don’t like the meaning of your name, or how you wish your parents had simply picked something else.  I knew a girl named a beautiful, Spanish name, but it’s meaning meant “Lame” – unable to walk.  One name that I always liked, when I looked up it’s meaning, I was surprised to find it meant, “Blind.”  Out of all the things one can name their children, speaking prophecies and blessings into their future, “lame,” or “blind,” are so sad.  It doesn’t seem fair at times – then again, life isn’t fair is it?

But God is a just God, and He “makes everything beautiful in it’s time.”  One of the most intriguing things to me about Christianity, is the history of God taking liberty of changing a person’s name, sometimes completely, and with it, often changing the entire meaning of it.  It’s very interesting to do a personal study on all the people in the Bible who when God encountered them, He gave them a New Name.

God’s ways are perfect, and He is the perfect Father.  Only He truly knows us and knows our hearts, perhaps that’s why He would see a person, and decide to give them a new name.

If you are interested in looking up your name’s meaning biblically, or looking for verses that have their meaning in it, I’ve found with my husband and our children, that we all have verses that can go with our names.  Having a verse that has your name’s meaning and promise in it can be so special, but it takes time and a good concordance to search through and find a verse that fits.  My husband has a verse in Isaiah that perfectly goes with his name, and even his life calling.  And our two sons’ names we purposely picked from verses that we’ll tell them when they’re older.  It’s edifying to find a verse that fits your name’s meaning.

If you don’t like the meaning of your name though, it may be more appropriate to search out a verse that has brought you through many of life’s trials and found special meaning to you personally.  This is called a “Life Verse.”

 

“A good name (reputation) is more desirable than great riches;

to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Proverbs 22:1

(Photo Credit: Rum&Lace Blog)

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

Watching Plants Grow

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like in my spiritual life, I’m just watching plants grow.  I want so badly to do the right thing, to be what God wants me to be, but it amazes me how far off I feel I constantly wander off.

The exciting thing about a new year is all the possibilities to implement any new changes that need to be made.  Looking back on my failures and mishaps in 2015, a year I thought would be a relatively peaceful, quiet year, I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, but also sad that it took me so long to learn them.

I’ve been reading several books and learning and growing so much!  It’s incredible to be so convicted, work to make changes, but then to feel constantly like one cannot attain that perfection of spirit.  Just as I think I’m making great progress, I find myself sliding back down again and acting in pride or getting irritated by things that are trivial and don’t matter!  It’d be comical if it wasn’t so annoying and sad.

I’m learning that I can’t do this on my own – it’s God who works in us, and in His own time, and that the more I submit myself to His will, the more He works in my spirit to make me into the creature He wants me to be.  In contrast, the more I spin my wheels trying to perfect my own spirit, the more frustrated I’ll grow and discouraged.

So I’ll stop watching plants grow, and trust that He’s doing His work and finishing what He’s started in me nearly 25 years ago.

Just Do the Next Thing

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Something our main Bible study leader has repeatedly told us, and that originally came from the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot, is that no matter what happens, just do the next thing.

It’s such a beautiful lesson really.  It’s so easy to get distracted with worry over how we’ll get all our tasks done in the day, or what needs to happen this week, or caught up in feeling overwhelmed when our families are going through a particularly busy time.

I’ve even heard this advice applied to when we’re caught up in our own or our family’s crisis, when we wonder how we’re going to survive this heartache and feel as though we can’t go on.

Just do the next thing.

Don’t let yourself give in to worry, it doesn’t help anyway.

Just do the next thing.

When you’re exhausted and there’s still so much to do, and you feel like giving up because it seems impossible that you could manage to get everything done,

Just do the next thing.

Don’t worry about all the things you’ll have to do after you finish one task, just focus on the one thing you’ve decided is next and get it done.

If you’re overwhelmed with housework because you’ve had a busy couple of days, running errands that needed your attention, taking your children to their extra-curricular activities, and you step in your house and suddenly see the tornado-like disaster, stay calm and,

Just do the next thing.

It’s true that a lot of housework can just be managed by being proactive, but there are also times when we’ve just been busy.  Don’t be overly critical on yourself, if you need a quick nap to feel recharged for the day, by golly take a nap!  I have a scheduled nap time for our household everyday that is a wonderful time for me to either catch up reading online or curl up and nap along with the baby.  Our older son doesn’t usually like to nap anymore, but we still make him have this quiet time so that he can relax and learn how to have time to himself to re-charge.

It’s normal for wives and mothers to feel overwhelmed with all the things that depend on them to get accomplished, but the wise woman chooses not to stress out, and instead she will just do the next thing.

 

A great blog post from Lisa at Club31women.com that goes with this topic is 5 Steps to Follow When You’re Overwhelmed with Housework !

She Can Laugh at the Days to Come

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Our Fall Bible study touched lightly on a word I’d not thought much about, mirth, which means happiness, especially laughter.  

What is the value of to us as women of God to be able to “laugh at the days to come?”  When we’re suffering through something difficult, when nothing seems to be going right, or when our mental or physical strength seems to run out, the last thing we usually want to do is laugh at the trials, the uncertain future – this ability to laugh and remain joyous means we’ve found a treasure for sure!

It’s possible to live happy and joyous,

even when life is painful and we experience suffering, trials, or rejection.

 

The Proverbs 31 woman is packed full with admirable qualities, but I want to zero in on this one little verse and unpack what is so special about phenomenon and what it means.

She can laugh at the days to come because…

She has fully accepted grace.  She’s a sinner and knows it, she knows her failures intimately, but instead of being devastated, unable to move on, or guilt-ridden, she receives grace from God who makes beauty from ashes, and she is able to press on in strength and dignity, with her head held high because she’s been forgiven.

She doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  She sees the trivial things for what they are: insignificant in the big picture.  Instead of getting distracted with unnecessary worrying or drama in her life, she just focuses on living a life that pleases Him.  She is not easily moved or affected by emotions or feelings that are not rooted in Truth.

She goes through trials and suffering, but they are never bigger or more powerful than her God is.  Her faith has reached a maturity where even heartaches and crises don’t shake it, but instead prompt her to cling to God even tighter – oh that we may also have this kind of confident faith!  She is able to “stand firm,” confident that God is for her, and is not moved.

She isn’t worried about what other people think of her, but seeks the approval of God.  When we are overly worried about what others are thinking of us, if they are approving and accepting us or not, it tempts us to do things so people will like us, instead of focus on the things that please God.  It also tempts us to try to control or protect an image that we perceive we have – we’re not able to “laugh at the days to come” because we take them (and ourselves) way too seriously.  When our image depends on us protecting it, instead of trusting in God to defend us against the Enemy’s accusations, we lose our valuable mirth and become controlling, demanding, and unhappy.

She doesn’t let the Enemy play mind games with her.  She doesn’t get stuck in self-hatred, pity, or discouragement, she doesn’t dwell on these negative emotions or feelings.  She goes to God freely with her weakness and brokenness, because she knows that in her weakness, she is never stronger!

She doesn’t just strive to get by begrudgingly through life, she thrives and flourishes in God’s love and acceptance for her.  She may know the pain of suffering rejection like Christ also suffered rejection, but her heart finds it’s JOY in flourishing in God’s love.  She is no longer a victim of others’ misuse, mistreatment or rejection, but is a victor, and because of that confident victory, is able to laugh and have JOY.

She is strong and courageous, and is not afraid of people or battles she’ll have to face because she knows the Lord goes with her, and will never leave her or forsake her (Deut. 31:6).

 

 

A Woman’s Attractiveness Reflects on Her Husband’s Appeal, Talent and Ability

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I had one of the most interesting comments last week by Object of Contempt, wondering how keeping passionate love, romance, and a woman’s attractiveness alive and well in a marriage are intertwined with each other, and if they are at all supported in Scripture.  He admitted that most women don’t seem to have a problem with wanting to be attractive, but for the women who are extremely against it, are there any biblical passages that show it’s important to God?

His main question was how a woman would address another woman who is really determined to refuse to be attractive to her husband?  Would she need a certain approach to make it more palatable?

These are all really great questions, and this is a sensitive issue for many women, especially in our current day culture.

Let’s tackle the notion of attractiveness first:

Like I said in Men Need an Attractive Wife,

Most men really do value having a wife that is attractive.

It’s not shallow that they want to show you off, it’s not shallow that even just looking at you and knowing that you’re their’s makes them feel proud of you.

It’s just the way God designed the male nature.

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It is, in large part, a reflection on the man, what his wife looks like.

This is where the topic gets a little more serious.  When a woman takes care of her appearance and tries to look her best for her husband, she is helping her marriage to flourish by giving her husband respect.  Keeping herself attractive for him shows him how much she respects, honors, and admires him.  In other words, she wouldn’t dare let herself go because not only does she respect herself too much, but she knows her appearance reflects on who he is as a man and as her husband.

When a woman refuses to be and remain attractive to her husband in the way that he likes, when she gains weight after marriage or never loses her pregnancy weight, it is almost as if she is sending him the message that he deserves a woman who looks unattractive.  That he can’t or couldn’t do better.  When she refuses to be attractive to him, she is saying that she doesn’t care about his visual needs, that she disrespects the man that he is.

 

One of my favorite books, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes, describes this phenomenon quite well,

Paul reminds us, “Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)…

Have you ever noticed how a man who enjoys hunting likes to display his catch?  A great blue marlin is mounted over a mantel, a five-point deer head emerges from a wall, a stuffed greenhead mallard proudly tops a desk. All this is to say, “Hey, guys, look at what I caught. Eat your heart out.”

There’s nothing your husband would like more than to flaunt his attractive wife out in public.  He may not mount you on the wall (let’s hope not), but when he walks into a room with you at his side, he wants to say, “Hey, look what I caught.  She’s all mine.  Eat your heart out!”  I daresay, when you walked down the aisle on your wedding day, that’s exactly what he was thinking!

“When a man has an attractive wife, it says he has the appeal and talent that deserve someone of her caliber.

When a man’s wife let’s herself become unattractive, the message comes across loud and clear that he couldn’t get someone better and probably deserves her.  He has little to offer, the world decides, and he attracts little in return.”

The Bible reminds us that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  The truth remains… man looks at the outward appearance.

Of course, I don’t think most women who let themselves become unattractive want to reflect badly on their husbands, or even understand that not trying to be attractive makes their husbands feel as if they don’t care about them.  Many times I believe women just think that men act and feel like women – that outer looks don’t matter to them as much as it truly often does.

But men (most men) are wired to like looking at a beautiful woman – and it makes them ecstatic if their wife is attractive to them!  They want their wives to make an effort to be attractive for all these reasons, and yes, Object of Contempt is right that it directly encourages passionate love and romance to flourish in a man’s heart toward his wife.

Object of Contempt rightly points out that a woman making an effort in her attractiveness is doing her part to maintain passionate love and even romance in their marriage:

I think, however, that it is part of the vows to do what you can to maintain passionate love. Being attractive is part of that. I also think it is possible to make yourself be in love with someone (having done it myself). There are limits, of course. Romance and passion are often dismissed in christian teaching about marriage, just like attractiveness and beauty are. I suspect this is partially the cause for the attractiveness issue.

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The second part of Object of Contempts question: How would a woman would address another woman who is really determined to refuse to be attractive to her husband?  Would she need a certain approach to make it more palatable?

Will be discussed in the next post!

Can I Desire Personal & Spiritual Growth for My Husband?

I recently came across a question from a wife that was asking if it was ok to seek personal (and to me that also means spiritual) growth for her husband.  She wondered if maybe personal growth (desiring it) should only be for oneself, and if it was maybe wrong to desire it for someone else.

This is a great question, and something I believe God’s shown me even recently through the many lessons He’s taught me this past year of 2015. Not about my husband at all, but it centered around me desiring personal and spiritual growth for people I interacted with who were continually acting sinfully and in ways that dishonored God.  I’m so grateful and humbled that He’s done so much in my life in just this one year, and especially these last few months!

So without further ado, this is the answer I gave her:

Hey (Name Redacted), from what I’ve been taught and believe, I do think you can desire personal growth (spiritual growth as well) for your husband, it just has to be directed in a positive, respectful way, and probably not reminding him of his “goals” when he falls short constantly.

The best thing you can do is to pray for him in this area, but then don’t let it become what you focus on so much that this is what the majority of your time spent with God is about. If you are looking too much at the speck in his eye, and forget the “plank” in your own (not to say you have a plank-sized sin, just to remind you that we ALL sin), that focusing so much on someone else’s sin can be a distraction from our own spiritual and personal growth. Wanting him to grow more can become what you think about too much, instead of focusing on what God wants you to do, how God wants you to grow. I know it can be hard – even with people that aren’t your husband, we want them to change when we see them caught up in a stronghold that’s making them act sinful. It can be tempting to hear sermons and tidbits of wisdom and immediately apply it to them and think “Oh if only he/she was hearing that! Maybe then they’d stop their sinful behavior!!” It’s good to pray for others and trust God to work in their heart, but ultimately God wants you to grow in your own spirit and not be overly bothered by someone else’s lack of spiritual growth.

Satan wants to get you off focus of doing God’s will for your life, so he will use anything to achieve that goal, even good things like seeking personal/spiritual growth for your husband or someone else you wish was behaving differently.

Hope that helps you!

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Some more thoughts:

When someone you love, or know and interact with, is acting in a sinful and hurtful way, it can be extremely tempting to want to go in and “fix” the situation and “fix” them, and if we really love and care about them, this comes naturally.  Loving others means you want the best for them, that you want to see them become all that God desires them to be.  Giving them a loving, life-giving rebuke in a kind and gentle way can be extremely beneficial if their heart is humble and open and their spirit is desiring to follow God’s will for their life.  But what if their heart is hard and calloused, what if they mock the wisdom from God in how to treat other people, or mock your attempt to help them change and use it as fuel to further attack you for wanting to help them?

  • You have to step back, and realize if you’re dealing with someone spiritually wounded.  If they are reacting in hate or with mocking behavior, something is very off within their spirit, and they will not be able to receive wisdom most likely at this time in their life.  A reaction like that means they are generally in rebellion to God and against the Holy Spirit (if they’re Christian), and are grieving the Holy Spirit with their words and actions.  This may be because they’ve experienced a dramatic event in their life, immense pain they are feeling, anger, or a loss of purpose and belief that God can use them and their life experiences to further His Kingdom.
  • If they are spiritually wounded, don’t take their harsh and angry reactions or rejections to heart.  Try to see where they’re at and feel compassion and love for them, even in the state they’re in.  When you minister to other people, and especially the wounded and broken, they will sometimes “spiritually vomit” all over you because they are so far from God and His will in how He desires them to act. We need to expect this, and not be surprised when it happens with people who are Christian.  The saved are still depraved creatures, and we all need God desperately.
  • Keep your mind from focusing on their sin too much, pray for them, but have a peaceful confidence that God will deal with their sin – because He will and always has.
  • Focus on God’s will for your life, and doing the important things that He’s already put in your path for you to accomplish.
  • Don’t let other people’s sins become a distraction for you, taking away from the time you need to spend doing God’s work in your life and in the lives of those He’s put in your path to minister to.  Time is our most precious commodity, and how we use it matters so much!  Satan can use another person’s stronghold, your focusing on it, in order to stunt your own spiritual growth and spend your time wasted.  It gives him great satisfaction when God’s children are off track and ineffective.
  • Don’t give in to despair, have good boundaries around how much you allow other people’s sins to affect you.  Acknowledge that you’re only responsible for your own life, and are called to live at peace as much as it depends on you.  You can’t control other people’s thoughts and actions, you can’t ultimately change their minds or hearts to desire to act and behave godly.

 

Featured on The Peaceful Wife!

About a week or so ago, I left a comment on friend April Cassidy’s blog The Peaceful Wife, about how I learned to communicate with vulnerability and directness to ask for what I needed from my husband.  She thought it would be a great post all on it’s own about how important it is to NOT nag our husbands 🙂

Here is the post she featured, click here for original:

A guest post from a sister in Christ, Stephanie. I’m so thankful we can share our stories as we learn together on this road:

We got married in 2007, and we were so young (I was 20 about to turn 21, he was only 23), and still in school. I was lucky that in our first year, I had a job at a Christian bookstore, so I had endless access to great marriage books that I read when the shop was super slow or on my breaks. I ended up buying a lot of the books, and they are still in our library now, although some I’ve given away to other women I was encouraging in their marriages. But it was mostly from these books and some books I brought from home when I moved out that helped me understand what I was doing wrong in my communication style.

In that first year, I was taken aback by how my husband would wait to do chores, and wouldn’t do them when I thought they needed to get done (which was as soon as I wanted them done – no matter what else he was working on or focusing on). So instead of trusting him to get them done on his own time, I nagged him, and when nagging didn’t work, I’d get angry and start a fight. I’d nag more and tell him that he wasn’t helping me out and then I’d jump to the conclusion that he just “didn’t care about me!”

LOL it was a funny cycle that just repeated itself whenever I got fed up with not getting things done my way. Thankfully, since I was working at the Christian bookstore, I was already reading marriage books trying to learn about how to have a good marriage, and almost all marriage books cover a section about nagging, and explain why it doesn’t work.

  • Once I understood from reading a book about how to understand men, meet their needs, and communicate effectively with them – I started to simply just ask him to do something that needed to be done, and ask him in a respectful, kind way, and then give him the time and chance to do it.

If he procrastinated, he would realize it on his own a couple of days later, and then apologize to me and do it. He apologized and did it right away (faster than when I nagged) because he actually felt bad about not doing it when I had asked in such a sweet, kind, respectful way. My not nagging him (which was disrespectful) made him want to do things right when they needed to get done.

Now when I really need his help (which is a lot more often with two boys), he is so faithful and helps me so well and much more quickly than that first year when I’d nag and nag. The nagging created such a hostile, awful environment that I think it made him just drag his feet doing anything that I wanted to get done. But now he helps me immediately because I treat him with respect.

I realized that nagging him was actually dishonoring him, giving him the message that I didn’t feel like he was responsible enough to do and get things done on his own, without me standing over him. I didn’t believe he would be responsible enough to do things on his own. Nagging him was me treating him almost like a child, like an incapable man – that message was SO disrespectful!

There were also times when I’d just expect him to help me with something I needed to get done, or I’d be girly and feminine, and **hint** that I expected him to get something done by some vague time frame, and then I would get angry and even resentful when he didn’t do it. The marriage books I read in that first year also covered this topic of being direct with men, even though that felt masculine to me, and not like how women communicate with each other, it was actually what was needed for better communication in our marriage.

Being direct really is a more masculine style of communicating, so even though it feels awkward and unnatural for most women, it’s helpful to teach engaged couples or young wives that this is what their husbands will need from them. It’s not wrong, it’s not being demanding if you say it in a nice, respectful, gentle way.

Expecting our husbands to act more like a woman, to read our minds and understand our feminine hints concerning what we want, and then getting angry at them for not knowing, isn’t helping to create a healthy relationship within a marriage.

After we got those things figured out, we’ve still had tricky situations where I didn’t know how to breech a subject without sounding disrespectful, but now it’s MUCH easier to understand what each other needs or is thinking because we’ve learned how to communicate openly and honestly. It’s been a beautiful journey and I’m so grateful we’ve learned so much.