Email Questions… Virginity is a pile of horse manure?

Image result for virginity in marriage

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and really sifted through various emails from readers and fellow bloggers to answer some questions publicly, so sorry for the delay!  We’ve just been b-u-s-y, and that’s been good!  Lot’s of things going on that just take a lot of mental energy, and little time for finishing up posts in draft (or the topic has gotten stale… so some things that seemed a good idea get skipped).

One of the hardest questions I’ve received (for me to answer anyway) was about Lori Alexander’s post regarding men preferring to marry women who hadn’t had sex, had no tattoos, and no debt (especially college debt).

I liked her post, it echoed a few of mine where I touched on the same subjects of virginity and tattoos.  I did think about posting my thoughts agreeing with her, however coming on the heels of her extremely popular post, it just didn’t seem right at the time – coming from someone who met all those things myself when we married.  It would have been hard to write something like that without sounding like it was coming from a place of superiority, in other words.

Concerning Lori’s post, yes, I believe many men probably do prefer the ideal maybe theoretically, but the issue seems so complicated with how so many men choose to marry the exact opposite these days, it’s confusing to me.  What they are thinking, I’m not sure, but I do know that it’s still the norm for men to not necessarily value women who meet those 3 criteria, and seem to be very happy to marry outside them.  It’s very possible to me that marrying a woman who is a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free just isn’t important to them at all, because the opposite is so acceptable in our culture.

Many men hold those personal preferences and feelings deep inside, though, so perhaps her post is correct in that most men really do desire a woman with those traits, but due to our hedonistic culture that promotes having no morals and values, they settle for what they can get.  With us in our marriage, my husband has told me more than a few times in these 12 years that he knew I was different, and cherished me because I was innocent in those things.

I did read several articles bouncing off of Lori’s initial post, where different Christian female authors completely degraded the value of being a virgin.

To me that was beyond awful, and it made me think of my daughter and how these are the women writing the books that will be in Christian circles for years to come.  So the next generation of daughters will be growing up with Christian female leadership literally teaching them their virginity on their wedding night is nothing but a pile of horse manure.  This fact was so devastating to realize and to try to come to terms with, that our religious or Christian culture has fallen so far away from biblical truth, that this is what our leadership is espousing.  A lot of my staying silent was just trying to take in all that, and accept that this is where maybe the majority of Christians seem to stand.

From Christian author and blogger, Sheila Gregorie

“is it a good idea to wait until you’re married to have sex? Yes, it is. It’s certainly what God wants, but I believe He wants that for our good, not because He’s just making a rule.

That being said, 

virginity is not the be all and end all.

And, in fact, ultimately virginity means nothing.

It’s just a pile of horse manure.”

What a condemning (and self-damning) comment.

So as I was reading the responses and attitudes of the Christians I’m at least aware of, it took me aback to see how just pointing out those truths enrages women to the point of disgracing themselves in making anti-biblical public statements as Sheila and others have done.

So…  I think I stayed silent because I knew I had met all the criteria of being a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free, and it just felt so strange seeing all the different responses (both the positive and negative) and comparing them with what we experienced in our marriage.

Yes, me being debt-free when I married was a definite plus for my husband.  Having no tattoos was a visible symbol to him of my being so young when we married, and sheltered in a sense from corruption.  It also revealed to him my growing up with lovingly protective and honorable parents who prevented me from getting one, even after I was an adult.

But by far, my being a virgin for my husband was probably the single most crucial thing to our married life and how it impacted us for the good.  There’s even been recent studies showing how important a wife’s virginity (or low partner count) is for the health and happiness of her future marriage!  This is not to say that non-virgins can’t receive grace and forgiveness from Christ or go on to have good marriages and sex lives with their husbands.  But it is just undeniable how much better it was that I didn’t have a sexual history of encounters that loomed over us as we became one flesh and started a vibrant, unencumbered sex life.  I knew this right away when we started having sex, and knew that it was good that I didn’t have prior experiences affecting me differently.  Coming to the marriage bed with a clean slate paved the way for only good, positive and loving experiences, in other words.  And it felt so freeing.  It was intense sex without any guilt.

Out of the 3 preferences Lori listed, it seemed strange to me that the most important one was the most reviled in even our *Christian* culture!

Virginity used to be something so treasured and valued.  It was a beautiful gift a woman gave to her husband, and not only a gift, but as Sigma Frame recently pointed out (that I was not aware of in this manner), was an actual blood covenant that God designed to bind two people together in a deeply supernatural way.  No wonder how it’s proven over and over again in studies that women who marry as virgins tend to have happier marriages, or be much less likely to cheat on their husbands.  In my opinion, it’s becasue the bond is sooooo strong, and that coupled with the love, attraction, and sense of building a life together helps you survive later hard times, but that’s just my opinion.

In biblical times, virginity on the wedding night, as Lori’s post encouraged, was so treasured that the couple would purposefully consummate their marriage on white sheets so that they could take them out to show the family the next day.

A young bride’s purity and innocence sexually was celebrated and something that gave her honor – honor in her marriage privately, but also honor in their community publicly because she kept something sacred for her husband and for God.

Ironically, we live in a society that actively shames virgins (especially males), and instead of our Christian brothers and sisters coming to the defense of virginity and purity, we see their real thoughts on the issue.  That “ultimately virginity means nothing… it’s just a pile of horse manure.”  What a long way we’ve come from what was biblically lived out, honored, and celebrated.

Hopefully this kind of answers the reader’s question.  I’m not sure why I stayed silent except that I felt to say something when I actively met all 3 criteria would be viewed as looking down on the women who didn’t.  At the same time, the values should be defended and upheld when anyone (but especially Christian leaders) call our values “horse manure,” which is why I’m saying something now.

The next most interesting question was “What do you think of women being in ministries?

I’ll answer that another time since this post has gotten fairly long, but it is a very good and relevant question for our times.

Thank you for reading!  I’m curious to know what readers or other bloggers think about this issue… do men actually value women with those three traits as better options for a wife?  How does one explain the prevalence of married couples who didn’t meet (especially) the virginity preference?

 

 

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Letters from Mentors: Supporting Your Police Officer Husband

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Mine is bottom right, taken a few years ago

About a month ago, I had a dream that my husband had already passed away, and that I was living day to day, imagining he was here for short time periods to talk or touch base with, but that in reality, he was gone from this world and I was all alone, handling everything on my own and just “make-believing” I had a partner to do life with.  I was so grateful when I woke up that it was just a dream!  And it hilariously (and horrifically) reminded me of those women a few years ago in the media who were so lonely, they started having romantic relationships with ghosts! LOL  But I can’t deny that it had an element of truth to it in that being a police wife can sometimes feel like being a “married single mom,” even when our husbands go above and beyond to be there for us and our children!
Supporting one’s husband is something I’ve written about before in a more general sense for any wife, here.   It can be extremely stressful being a Police Officer’s wife due to the particular circumstances that come with that career.  The difficult family-schedules, the missing out on birthdays, major holidays, and weekends and special days with family members can be hard on not just the wife, but also your children.  And the unique struggles a police family faces aren’t something I think a wife should navigate alone.  We need neighbors who we feel connected to, supportive family members who can help out when our husbands can’t be there, loving friends who understand our limitations with our husband’s odd schedule or rules, and mentors who can guide us when we have questions and fears about this life, and in emotionally navigating the ups and downs of the political environment saying police officers are the enemy.
Ame, from BlendingAme has been such a mentor and friend to me, giving me very cherished advice and encouragement.  This post is from an email she wrote to me months ago, (and repurposed so that it can be for any police wife reading this).
From Ame:
~ ❤ ~

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

*
Before we took our first breath, every day of our life was ordained, written. There is no exception.
It is hard to remember that God has given each of us our own “Death Date,” and NOTHING we do or think or imagine will change that date. Our Death Date was set before the foundation of the world, so your life, your husband’s life, our children’s lives, everyone’s life – and every single day of our lives – were set before the foundation of the world.
 
Are there some who live lives with higher risk of death? Sure. Does that mean their Death Date will come too soon or unexpectedly to God who created every day of their lives? No. We cannot alter our Death Date.
 
The reality is … we all die. People die. At every age and for every reason imaginable. I know a man who works for his county’s Medical Examiner’s office, and he has seen just about every kind of death that is common and many that aren’t … at all ages … expected and unexpected. He has worked in this role for his large county for seven or eight years, and in all that time he knows of only one Police Officer’s death in the line of duty. Do officers of all agencies die in the line of duty? Sure. Is it unexpected to God? Never.
 
Your husband has chosen a very noble career as a Police Officer. It is who he is. He cannot change who God created him to be; neither can he change his Death Date by being and becoming that man. Asking him to choose between you and being a Police Officer is asking him to choose between who he is and who you want him to be, and what kind of choice is that? He would hate you because he’d hate himself, and you would hate him for caving in to you.
 
It is hard, sometimes, to accept our husbands and who they are, as they are. I remember a time when my husband and I had a conversation, and to do something that would obviously be beneficial to him, he flat out said to me, “I will not do that.” There is nothing I can do but to accept it, let it go,  and still choose to respect and honor him. His life is in God’s hands, not mine … not even his.
 
I have a friend whose husband works in a very high-security position with a good amount of stress. Although she has a good degree and had a good career before having children, they decided she would become a stay-at-home-mom when they had their first baby. So, she quit her job and her career when their first baby was born many years ago, and she hasn’t gone back. He is the first one to tell you that the reason he successfully do all that he does in his job is because she takes care of everything at home.
 
Your husband has that kind of job that demands an enormous amount from him. It demands everything from him. It forms who he is as much as who he is was made for this job. In that kind of situation, it’s like God is the CEO, and you are both Exec VP’s over the two divisions of your corporation: he runs everything outside the home; you run everything inside the home. He being the Senior Exec VP is the one you will always report to; never the other way around.
 
Do not focus on those whose husbands are home more than yours. Do not focus on those whose husbands do more outside of their job/career/profession than yours. Focus only on your husband. Focus only on who God created you to be and become and where He has placed you.
 
The risk of death is always there. For all of us. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. No one. It’s shocking to me how little it takes for someone to die … and also how resilient people are. Seemingly benign things take people into the next life all the time, and yet humanity has survived vicious wars, plagues, illnesses, and poverty since the beginning of time.
 
My first husband traveled extensively, and in the early years of our marriage I would worry myself sick. I desperately needed to hear his voice to know his plane made it, he didn’t have a wreck of any kind on the way, or nothing else freaky happened to him.
Finally one day I just got it. I got that God’s got all this, and my worrying about it would not change a thing. Either he would come home, or someone would knock on my door. And not a moment of worry would change that. 
 
My late Mentor taught me many things, one of which was to only live things once as I experience them in reality. When I worry, I let my imagination go wild and create all these possible scenarios. When I do that I live through things that aren’t even real yet affect my whole being. 
 
When you live wondering all the time about if or when Patrick will die in the line of duty, you are doing two things. One, you are living an imaginative experience that is not reality and yet is depleting you as though it is reality. And two, you are living his future death (which is guaranteed, by the way, unless Jesus comes back first 😉 ) over and over and over ad nauseam. That does NO one any good, especially you and your children and your marriage. 
 
Have a plan in place written down that is easily accessible. Review it once a year with your husband, and then force yourself to forget about it. You are prepared for “what if.” If you spend your time worrying about “what if,” you are taking away time and energy and emotion from yourself, your husband who is alive right now, your children, and what God wants you to do right now, today.  Don’t do that anymore. You only need to live through your husband’s death once – whether you’re on this side of eternity or the next when he passes through to the other side. 
  ❤
I hope her words bless you like it did me.  It’s hard to trust God with the outcome of our husband’s being in danger, and managing the home-front mostly on our own.  But even in the midst of struggle to find balance or fighting off feelings of guilt that we’re not doing “enough” like other families are able to, I’ve found that the joy and love in even a circumstantially-stressful marriage can far outweigh the trials or hardships one goes through.
I hope any police wife out there reading this knows you are not alone ❤ !
Stephanie
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Spiritual Darkness & Sacrificing Children?

Last year, I read a fellow female blogger write that we shouldn’t dare judge pedophiles.  I had just had our baby at the time and trying to avoid reading too much online, but even just glancing at her article made me disturbed a Christian was promoting this.  I put it out of my mind and didn’t come back to it until well after our baby girl was born.  This author not only called for Christians to not judge pedophiles, she even went so far as to express herself finding humor in other Christians being outraged by it when they try to promote a Christian character of grace (calling their attitude of showing grace ironic in their outrage against pedophiles).  She asked her readers if they really thought they were a “better person” than a child molester.  It’s a question made to make Christians feel guilty for having moral standards when it comes to the treatment of our children.

In light of the recent news of yet again, the Catholic Church using it’s parishes as harbors of safety for pedophiles, I’m wondering if this same attitude of “Oh we shouldn’t judge them – they’re just normal sinners like we are.  Who are we to say that pedophiles are bad?” is somehow complicit in this?  When even Christ followers are encouraging their fellow Christians to view harming children as the same as a lesser sin, are we creating a Christian culture that promotes pedophilia because we’re too afraid of being called “judgmental” or “self-righteous” for judging them and removing them from the church?

I remember back when this was the motto all Christians were encouraging each other in order to accept homosexuals and in effort to make that particular sin not seem “so bad.”  Instead of promoting a healthy culture of giving each other grace, however, this attitude that homosexuals weren’t to be judged because we’re sinners, too, quickly devolved into accepting their behavior in the church as “just another type of sin we all commit.”  And then accepting ministry members who were openly gay, and then worship leaders, and eventually homosexual Pastors and Priests who were openly gay.  I remember seeing it all happen and thinking it very surreal that any Christian would fall for this kind of satanic deception that we were never supposed to judge homosexual behavior and separate ourselves from it.

Now it’s been happening again with pedophilia, the ironic part is that, like in this woman’s post, the exact same wording is being used as it was back in the 80’s and 90’s, in order to make Christians feel like they’re “self-righteous” if they judge these sins for what they are.  This is the systematic way Satan was able to infiltrate the church with accepting homosexuality, by telling Christians it was “just another sin,” that they “were no better” and “shouldn’t judge it or them because of their own sins.”  It is Satan using Christian forgiveness, humility and grace and twisting it to render the church unable to defend itself against diabolical evils seeking to infiltrate it.  In other words, it’s meant to “noramlize” or “desensitize” Christians into accepting homosexuality, and now, like we’ve seen, pedophilia as well.

The woman telling us not to judge pedophiles has since deleted all her blog posts including the one mentioned here, but the internet is forever, and her post is still available online.  The trusty Way Back Machine will forever and always archive this woman’s blog post found here, if you scroll down to April 6, 2017.

Children are God’s treasures, and the Bible tells us that anyone who corrupts an innocent will have a fate worse than having a millstone hung around their neck and drowned (Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:2, Mark 9:42).  Clearly, Christians should not be encouraging each other to view pedophilia as “just another sin” to be accepted into the folds of Christianity.

Anyway, where does this come from, this idea that pedophiles should not be judged, but viewed with constant grace and (basically) allowed to continue their raping of children?  Where does it come from in the church where of anyone, our leaders should be protecting it’s own children?

Are we sacrificing our children on the alter of political correctness, in order not to offend homosexuals and pedophiles?

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Are Women Who Submit to Their Husbands in Sin?

I’m always late to know everything!  Apparently, it’s been making the rounds on the interwebz that popular and conservative blogger, Sheila Gregorie, has not only recently attacked a Pastor for trying to defend his view of biblical marriage (and calling for him to be fired… and calling for all the women in his congregation to rebel against him), she’s now accused wives who actually submit to their husbands of committing the sin of idolatry!

I used to think Sheila was on the more “conservative” or traditional side of Christianity – but I’d never really read her blog, and I never knew she was a Christian feminist.

Here is where she defends Queen Vashti as being the “hero” of the Esther story, because she stood up for herself and “social justice,” and refused to obey her husband.  It is a very twisted read in order to fit her feminist agenda of Vashti somehow being the “wife in the right,” with Esther being cast as a victim.

“I refuse to be treated like a sex object, because that is not what I am.” She stood up for the dignity of women, something, by the way, that Jesus did, too. In that culture that despised women, she said, “no more!”

Vashti doesn’t have to be bad in order for Esther to be good. Maybe both were standing up to injustice.

A few years ago, after reading what I thought would be a benign Bible study by Beth Moore on Queen Esther, I came across this same sentiment (from Moore) that Vashti really was in the right.  In the study, Moore builds up an elaborate case against King Xerxes in order to discredit him, much like Sheila does.  However, Moore is forced to admit to herself and her readers that Esther’s attitude and heart really were far superior than Vashti’s attitude and actions in winning over the King’s heart.

Sheila believes differently:

“I feel very, very sorry for Esther. I hate movies and books that portray her and Xerxes’ relationship as a love story.

She had to “audition” for a night to be chosen by him, and that’s pretty darn ugly, no matter how you slice it. We need to stop romanticizing it.

She was taken into a harem. It’s basically sex trafficking.

-Sheila Gregorie

Wow, so now Queen Esther was sex-trafficked!  I’ve never seen anyone interpret Esther’s story this far off from what it was meant to be.  It is definitely a type of love story, just as Ruth is another type of love story.  For centuries, women have always found these stories romantic, because they are!

Here is where I talk about how romantic Queen Esther’s love story with King Xerxes is.  From her uniquely tragic upbringing which forged her character and possible demeanor that captivated King Xerxes’, to being raised by a male cousin who gave her insight into men’s hearts, Esther made the King fall very much in love with her – to the point of him repeatedly offering her anything she wanted, including half his kingdom.

After reading Beth Moore’s study, I chose to focus on the good things she wrote about Esther, yet interject my own thoughts (as opposed to Moore’s) on how badly Vashti chose to behave.

From my post 3 years ago:

“Vashti had blatantly and cruelly humiliated him in front of all of Susa, during the finale of his week long party, during a sensitive time of his trying to ramp up political support for his campaign to go to war to conquer Greece (something that seemed like an extremely difficult undertaking).

He, of all men, understood what it meant to have a wife and Queen who would undermine you, publicly humiliate you, and refuse to support you at the time that you needed it most.”  (From Single Women: To Be Captivating is More Than Mere Looks)

Why Do Women Hate What the Bible Says?

Why is this topic such a controversial thing when the Bible says this command several times, I don’t know.  Just in the New Testament alone, I’ve counted four different books with specific verses that explicitly tell wives to submit to their husbands as they would to God Himself. I do know Truth is opposed.  And I know that when you start taking God’s Word seriously for your life, there will be people even in the Christian faith who will undoubtedly attack you for it.

Sheila calling submissive wives “sinful” for obeying and honoring the Word God’s given to us, is very similar to how Elspeth called women who revered Proverbs 31’s passage on the virtuous woman as a beautiful ideal to look up to, “Pharisees.”   It just shows complete lack of reverence for the beauty of God’s Word, and falsely accuses the women who are actually trying to follow it.

In fact, calling them “sinful” like Sheila did, or “Pharisees,” like Elspeth did, is slandering them for following the Word of God, and honoring it as something beautiful and true.  

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:10-11

When women who find beauty in the Proverbs 31 woman’s example are slandered as “Pharisees,” we should rejoice for being insulted and falsely accused by our fellow Christians.  And when women who submit to their husbands like Sarah did, and yet are accused of living in “sin,” we should be glad because our reward is great in heaven.  My husband and I expect behavior like this – attitudes that Sheila and Elspeth have shown against Christian women who respect and follow God’s Word – will only increase with time.

We best be prepared.

Stephanie

When You Want More Kids But Your Husband Doesn’t

This is a topic I’ve thought about a lot 🙂  I could definitely see us having 5-8 children… but my husband, from the time of our engagement, was adamant that he wanted no more than 4 🙂  And I’ve accepted this, although it is a funny thing to tease each other about in good humor.

In reality, this is a very serious topic, and something that could completely destroy your marriage.

I recently was pointed via email to a post written by the blogger The Thinking Housewife, on her advice to a woman who wants more children, but her husband is against it.

Here is an excerpt, but it’s not a long post so I encourage readers to go read all of it if they want:

“If you want more children or fewer children, take it up with God, but don’t do anything that prevents conception. To use contraception is “to usurp the right of God, who alone has the power to say who should be born and who should not.” You say you want two more, but it’s not for you to place an order. Just accept all. To do otherwise is sinful.

I think you should 1) Work on your own spiritual life (see some good talks here) and pray more. 2) Explain to your husband again and again that if you both trust in God, He will take care of you. If your husband is worried about money, that’s understandable but he should ask God for help and for the grace to handle whatever occurs. Why does he have so little confidence and trust? Insist with him that it is wrong for you to use contraception. How does he know that things won’t actually be worse for you financially if you don’t have more children? Neither of you have any obligation to pay for college educations for your children. Remind him of that. 3) Bear in mind that both you and your husband (and all of us) have been formed by a culture that does not understand this issue. Contraception should be illegal, but it’s widely promoted. This should temper your resentment toward him. Continue to talk to your husband and don’t give up. Let him know that your marital happiness is gravely threatened.”

This is by far, the worst advice I’ve ever read on this topic.  Especially considering it’s coming from a Christian writer.

I’m in this position myself, so at least I can relate emotion-wise as to how hard this is to accept (that your husband doesn’t want more babies with you), but again, this is NOT the correct biblical advice women in my position should be receiving.

Here is the advice I would give, and have given to myself, concerning this topic:

  1. You need to trust God, which means trusting that your husband’s decisions for your family (and family size) are going to work out.  He is the person you chose, for better or worse, life is not going to be “perfect,” so accepting the things that aren’t “perfect” (like having 5-8 kids) is a big part of spiritual maturity for you.
  2. Really learning to trust God to let His will be done in your life, when you are submitting to your husband’s leadership as well, provides so much spiritual growth and maturity in finding peace and lasting contentment with His provision for you.
  3. NEVER… NEVER threaten your husband with the happiness of your marriage by making him feel like he **has** to do what you want him to do – especially regarding him having more children with you.  That is the ultimate worst advice for achieving a godly, happy marriage and children I’ve ever read in the orthosphere.  You cannot.. I repeat, you cannot, make a husband feel guilt-tripped into doing what you want, and still retain a loving, trust-filled marriage 😦 .
  4. Contraception issues should be worked out BEFORE marriage, never during marriage.  If a wife feels convicted over using contraceptives, she needs to pray for forgiveness, but still follow her husband’s lead on the subject, and NEVER hold it against him.  She needs to regularly pray for her to never build up resentment or bitterness toward her husband over this issue, and just accept that she should have worked it out before marriage.  This is just her cross she must bear, and she must bear it with grace, without complaining and with a good Philippians 2 attitude.
  5. The Bible clearly tells wives to win their husbands over without a word on issues regarding sin.  If she feels they are sinning by using contraceptives, she needs to take this up with God, but not in a self-righteous way of believing she is “better” than her husband.  She needs to pray regularly for acceptance of her marriage and the state it is in, not work to badger him with guilt and using God to get him to be “better.”

For myself… I really don’t let this issue bother me.  It comes sometimes, the feelings or longings of wanting more children after we have our next (and last) child, but I try never to let it consume me.  I would NEVER want that issue to come between me and the man God has given me to help and support in his mission in this life.

Women were created for Adam, and to be Adam’s helper.  To hook your husband into following your plans for your marriage, is to wreck his leadership and headship over your whole entire family.  And your children will definitely end up scarred by seeing their mother berate their husband over his own decisions in leadership (when she should be working to support him).

Set a good example for your children and be a true helpmate to your husband.  This means learning to accept the man you’re married to, his flaws or convictions are of course, part of him.

Stephanie

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Letters From Mentors: Elizabeth Elliot’s Marriage Advice for Wives

From her book Let Me Be a Woman, Elisabeth Elliot explains how wives can revive the romantic feelings of esteem for their husband:

Marriage is no house party; it’s not a college campus or a stimulating political row or an athletic contest, and the man’s having been a spellbinding orator or a great halfback somehow does not seem terribly significant anymore.

But you ought now and then to remember what he was, to ask yourself what it was, really, that caught your eye.

Come now, you will say to yourself, you didn’t marry him because he was a great halfback, did you?

No, you married this person.

Whatever the inner qualities were that enabled him to do the things he did then are still a part of this person that you go to bed with and eat breakfast with and wrestle over the monthly budget with.

He is a person with the same potentials he had when you married him.

Your responsibility now is not merely to bat your eyelashes and tell him how wonderful he is (but breathes there a man with soul so dead as not to be cheered by a little of that?) but to appreciate, genuinely and deeply, what he is, to support and encourage and draw out of him those qualities that you originally saw and admired.

***

I love reading pretty much anything that Elizabeth Elliot says on marriage and anti-feminism.  She is kind, clear, and to the point, something I admire in a writer.  I thought that some of her pieces may go well in this continual topic series I’m writing called Letters From Mentors.  I’ll be including these in my daughter’s book so that she has access to these other women’s thoughts in one place 🙂 ❤ .

It’s just so beautiful to have different perspectives from older women who have more wisdom or advice than I do right now.  There’s a reason the Bible counsels believers to gather many advisers, and for the older women to be teaching the younger women how to love their husbands and children, it’s because if they’ve been living rightly with God, they should be blessed with the ability to see things a younger (less experienced) woman may be able to see.  

Elizabeth points out something so crucial to marriage in this short script to us. Something so obvious and yet profound.  That we graciously and carefully handle our husbands as the unique man God created him to be.

That we remember his talents and beauty of his soul, and the romantic things about him that made us fall in love with him when dating.

That we genuinely look again at him, from that perspective we had when we were dating ❤ .

That we encourage him in his dreams right now, and for the future.

That we be his best cheerleader in his life ❤ .

And that we try to show him daily how much we love and adore him, just for the man he is and has become.

Stephanie

How To Survive a Rough Patch in Marriage

This music video and song are extremely romantic (aka cheesy to those who don’t appreciate these things 😀 ).

Chances are if you stumbled upon this blog post through a google search or something, you have ZERO interest in watching a sweet couple sing about how they’ve made it through hard and troubled times.  Romance and love might be making you feel tearful because you think that you’ve lost those feelings, along with the chance to have a marriage like this.

You’re in a rut, or feeling isolated and lonely or wondering if your husband even loves you anymore.

For wives who are feeling like this… the number one thing to do is admit you both are probably going through a “Rough Patch.”  And I say “both,” because if you’re feeling stressed or unhappy, there’s a good chance he’s feeling those same feelings, too.

Sometimes even just admitting this is enough to help you see it through to the light at the end of the tunnel.  And in most (almost all) marriages, there will be a light!

Image result for light at the end of the tunnel meme

Science has shown that couples who were unhappy to the point of considering divorce, if they stayed and just survived during that rough patch, that 5 years later they were happier, and guess what?  I’m sure they were SO GLAD that they didn’t pull the trigger to end their marriage, because it wasn’t the “end” – it was just a rough patch!

Here is a great excerpt from that study:

Many currently happily married spouses have had extended periods of marital unhappiness, often for quite serious reasons, including alcoholism, infidelity, verbal abuse, emotional neglect, depression, illness, and work reversals.

Why did these marriages survive where other marriages did not? The marital endurance ethic appears to play a big role.

Many spouses said that their marriages got happier, not because they and their partner resolved problems but because they stubbornly outlasted them.  With time, they told us, many sources of conflict and distress eased. Spouses in this group also generally had a low opinion of the benefits of divorce, as well as friends and family members who supported the importance of staying married.

The key is everyone is going to go through some kind of rough patch in their marriage.  Sometimes even SEVERAL rough patches that they’ll experience just due to circumstances putting way more stress on the husband and wife than they feel like they can handle.

Work schedules conflicting, extremely sick children, parenting issues, weeks of sleep loss due to little children & night-time tantrums, parents passing away and dealing with the grief, etc.  You may be in a period of learning to understand and communicate with each other better, because maybe things have changed some and you both need to learn a different way to connect.  Or you may be learning not to be so sensitive if harm wasn’t meant, and just in general… how to go on when you’re not “feeling” in love sometimes.

We need to come to understand how normal this is, and how successful marriages are made up of partners who learn to manage those rough times where loving feelings and romance is not at the forefront of the marriage.

So #1 – it’s normal and should be put out in the open where you and your husband are able to discuss it or admit that this is a really hard time, but that you are totally committed to the marriage and you’re going to see this through.

Since all marriages seem to go through one or more rough patches, you will probably experience some of these feelings and emotions (or already are), and if no one has prepared you for them, they’ll make you scared that your marriage is over.

It can be over, if you decide to just divorce, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

#2 – Once you’ve been able to come together, maybe over a private dinner or a quiet time where you were able to reflect on how hard it feels and voice these things to your husband, once you’ve at least admitted it to him and yourself that this feels like a “rough patch,” it’s time to decide what you, personally, are going to do about it.

It’s crucial to realize how much power we each have in the way we see things, and in the way we allow ourselves to either dwell on the positives and beauty of our lives, or be overwhelmed in hard times with how much of a struggle it can be.  We all have a choice.  We can either choose to make the best of things and thrive with our husbands going forward (weather out this storm), or we can choose to be overwhelmed by our temporary feelings of struggle and sometimes even despair.

Women’s emotions can feel so insanely real, and yet be so incredibly false.  Whether it’s due to hormones, or sensitivity to certain insecurities, or feeling inadequate, or like we are unappreciated – sometimes a perfect storm can occur to where a wife will start believing these faulty emotions that if listened to, can actually ruin her life!

For me when I’ve experienced this, the best thing is figuring it out with God as to why my emotions are trying to dictate my enjoyment of my kids and my marriage. 

Because that is exactly what it feels like.  Even though I know I can tell my emotions are lying to me, it can still be hard to trust what I know is true.  So part of this deciding what to do, is take a critical look at what is true or false, maybe even writing it down as a reminder if or when those feelings start popping back up again.

Here’s an example:

  • FALSE FEELING – I feel like my husband doesn’t love me anymore.
  • TRUTH – My husband loves us so much that he would die for me and our kids.  He may not know how to respond to hearing we don’t feel loved, so I should let him know (within reason) if it’s something he can do or if I simply want to spend some time alone together just enjoying each other’s presence.
  • TRUTH – When you start feeling like your husband doesn’t love you anymore, you may actually be projecting your own feelings onto him!  You may feel like you’re falling out of love in this rough patch, or because your marriage’s romance has been placed on the back burner for too long.  If that’s the case, initiate some romance.  But realize if it’s actually your feelings that need to be whipped into shape, and decide to stick with him until the romantic feelings come back again.
  • FALSE FEELING – I feel like if there’s no romantic love right now with him showing it to me everyday, then I have no purpose in this marriage (or in life!).
  • TRUTH – Everyone has to find their own purpose in life, and sometimes it may seem small, but is actually very powerful – like being a stay at home mom.  It’s hard to see how much you’re doing right now, but God’s Word promises us that what we sow faithfully, that we later will reap blessings from it!  Your purpose right now may be the quiet, unseen work of sowing seeds into your husband’s and kids’ hearts (and surviving this rough patch in your marriage).  Of course you can’t see what it will look like when it’s reaping time, because it hasn’t happened yet!  Sowing and reaping are never in the same season!  So continue your work in your marriage and raising your kids, resting on God’s promises that you will reap what you sow.  Trust in Him that staying married is better than divorcing in a rough patch.
  • TRUTH – Romance ebbs and flows in a long marriage relationship, and it’s supposed to be that way. If it’s not appearing very much right now, try not to worry.  Just put some effort in (a date night here or there, some long talks or watching a movie together at home cuddled up), and give it time and know it will probably return after this rough patch.
  • FALSE FEELING – If I fight with him enough, he’ll “get it” that I’m not happy and he’ll finally understand how to make me happy.
  • TRUTH – Fighting with him when you’ve realized you are both in a rough patch is not a good idea.  Emotions are or may be out of whack due to the rough patch itself.  And keep in mind, he’s probably experiencing the same set of stressors that you are, albeit maybe in different ways. Fighting and having intense emotions during this time will only prolong the rough patch or make it even more miserable for you both.
  • TRUTH – Fighting and acting highly emotional will never help a man to “just get it,” or understand how to make you happy.  If anything, it shows him you are giving in to emotions not based on truth and allowing your unhappiness to rule your entire life and being (and his by default).  This will make him possibly lose respect for you overtime.
  • TRUTH – Prolonged fighting like this in some strange hope that it will help save your marriage, will do the opposite overtime.  It will kill it, because there’s no “fixing” false feelings through crazy dramatic fights.

 

The Problem with False Feelings… It Puts Your Husband in a No-Win Situation

I’ve actually found that if I react in one of these inappropriate false feelings and allow the negative emotions to just dictate how I experience our life together, my husband is in a no-win situation.  But when women believe their false feelings like this, what else are we doing to our husbands but putting them into no-win situations?

If I overreact to something (be too sensitive), or assign blame to something he did by accident or without thinking (jump to conclusions), then my overreaction negatively affects our relationshipWe then have to deal with my over-reaction in addition to addressing whatever happened in the first place.  Hopefully you can see that allowing false feelings to override truth just compounds your problems!

False Feelings if not stopped lead to –> Arguments or Fights Based on Falsehoods –> Increases emotions and feelings of powerlessness and desperateness –> Your Husband Then Has to deal with your false feelings, along with the arguments or fights, along with rough patch stress and separate (logical) problems that need to be worked out as well

Clearly, if we cut it off at the beginning where we fish out what are false feelings and the Truth, then we can go straight to dealing with any logical problems that may be contributing to the rough patch emotions. 

So how do you get around this?  Remain calm and work on trying not to be overly sensitive, especially once you’ve identified that this may be a “rough patch” where your emotions are out of whack anyway due to surrounding stress from life.  I’ve found that I don’t think as clearly when feeling those feelings and am more apt to take things personally when I shouldn’t.

And… this a big one… Usually the root of the false feelings and emotions is some kind of nasty discontentment, as much as I hate to admit that.  My all time favorite verse is when Paul is talking about how he figured out how to be content in any and every circumstance – and coming from Paul and what he went through, that statement from him is just amazing!  I want so much to be like him in that.  But honestly, if you’re feeling like your husband doesn’t love you, and yet everything logically shows that he does, then there may be something else lurking in your heart that speaks of discontentment with your life that needs to be confronted.

When we learn how to be truly content, it’s because we are accepting of our husbands and of where we are right now – where God has us – and are ok with that.  When we trust that His timing is just right, and that we need to be exactly where we are right now for a purpose, it becomes a lot easier to see those False Feelings for what they are.

And then we need to decide to hold on to those Truths, and make it through that rough patch.

Now go back and listen to that music video at the top, and remember that rough patches are only temporary, whereas a love like that (that survives during those hard times) is timeless.

Stephanie

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Men Don’t Like Tattoos on Beautiful Women

Image result for beautiful women ruined by tattoos

This should be a given, but unfortunately, with our culture especially, it’s “bad” to come out with truth like this.  First, I should admit that this is an “in general” post.  There ARE some men who like women with tattoos as visible and large as this lady’s.  But MOST men are turned off by it.

It’s just the way it is.

A woman’s body is like a beautiful piece of artwork – and she is, as God made and designed the female body to look feminine and wonderfully made.

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Yes, she is like a beautiful piece of fine art – worth millions of dollars – and yet she’s been disfigured by markings all over one of her arms… leaving the artwork, that would have been worth millions, virtually worthless.  The picture above even has an artistically beautiful tattoo in my opinion (there are worse I’ve seen!), but men just do not usually see it that way.

They don’t see “beautifully artistic.”

They see disfigurement.

And this topic is a controversial double-standard – men tend to look great with tattoos, in fact, subconsciously it increases their sexual attractiveness to other women because it speaks danger or rebellion.  It may carry over from ancient days when warriors would use paint to intimidate their enemies.  Tattoos tend to masculinize a person, so while that’s great for a man to appear more masculine, it takes away from the femininity of a woman.  As “unfair” as it may seem, it’s just reality.

 

Here are some male comments from the article I found this topic being discussed at (yahoo.com):

“She is hot but I’m not a fan of a lot of ink on women.” 

Ink, from Classy to Trashy.” -Mark C

“Ladies tattoos are ugly.” -Rockon

“the tattoo ruins the picture…” -Steve

“Would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?” – Brian

“Why does anyone (especially attractive people) desecrate their physical body with graffiti, people with nice cars don’t put any bumper stickers on them!” -Roger

“As pretty as she could be, the tattoos take it all away.” -I

“Naw, too much ink.” -MarkH

“Really unfortunate about all the tattoos.” -Richard

“The tattoos turn a sold 9 into maybe a 5.” – Jesse

 

***

And the comments went on and on and on.  Men just REALLY do not like tattoos that visible and big on women.  Even if a woman is extremely beautiful – the tattoos make her completely unattractive to most men.

That’s a very powerful tidbit of information for young women to realize, but while most won’t be paying attention to what men think (or care), hopefully you’ll listen to us and read these entries in your journal I’m making for you ❤  and you’ll resist any strange temptation to turn yourself into a coloring book! 😀

 

Related Reading –

Side Note: Yes, I know some readers may point out that I am the girl with a dragonfly tattoo (my website name).  It’s really small, and only my husband sees it.  He loves it but again… it’s really discreet.

Support Your Husband in His Mission

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This is just a glimpse of the story of the man, William Wilberforce, who fought against slavery in England – a fight that took his entire political career, and much of his health and wellness.

He was such a brave man – to go against so many who were for slavery when it was such an acceptable, totally normal evil that had been absorbed into their society.  And to stand the silence of those who in their hearts were against it, but would never dare speak publicly against it.  Knowing it would be the cross of his life to bear, he did it anyway.

The image above is from the sweet movie “Amazing Grace 2006.”  It’s a good synopsis of his political and personal life, with a focus on the kind of wife he had when he endured being an abolitionist.

The movie takes you through the passion of his youth,

the fever to want to change the world,

the anger that so many kept silent,

the rejection,

the humiliation,

the isolation,

the dejection,

the depression,

the anxiety,

the recurring bouts of serious illness,

the feeling chosen for this task,

the believing he was failing… even failing God in fulfilling his task.

Wilberforce had a passion for his mission that caused him to fight for 20 years before seeing it ever come to fruition!  He saw the abolitionist movement birth, then grow brighter like a flame… but then in the face of his country at war, he watched it’s supporters fall away, hide themselves in the hills, and refuse to support him publicly in the face of being labeled seditious.  Close friends like William Pitt, the man who became Prime Minister at the age of 24, who encouraged him to consider his participation in the Abolitionist movement as a work of God, weren’t able to openly support him any longer.

Isolation fell way to dejection, which overtime, fell way to despair.  His illness, caused by the immense stress of his mission, took over his mind and his body.

His friends and the people of his upper class were concerned that he was killing himself over his passion and mission.  They also didn’t understand his fervor for God – as evangelicals were ridiculed and criticized harshly in those times, and distrusted as “radicals,” by his Tory party.  The movie portrays his activities fairly accurately, based upon his diary entries.

He had so much opposition, that the great and renowned John Wesley, at the age of 87, wrote to him and said, “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of man and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you. . . .” [40].

Enter his future wife, Barbara Spooner, a beautiful, young, 20 year old (William was 37), who helped reignite his fire to change things.  To remind him of his worth.  To help him fight again, the good fight he almost gave up.  They had the same moral standings, Evangelical faith (when most were still of the Church of England), and vision for society, and she undoubtedly appreciated what he had already accomplished in his political career.

He fell in love with her, and proposed only 8 days after meeting her.

They married after a short, 1-month courtship, and then had 6 children in 10 years!  It is said that William relished being a father and having the joy of a family.  If anything, having his wife and children gave him more energy and passion to continue on in his mission – because it renewed his purpose to make the world (as much as he could) a better place.

In the 2006 movie, his wife’s role of drawing him out of depression and despair, nursing him while he was sick, and inspiring him to live without powerful (and dangerous) opiates, is one of the most beautiful facets of the entire movie!  Each time I’ve watched it, I’ve been so encouraged to renew my efforts in helping my own husband attain his goals and aspirations.

She believed in him when he needed it the most.  When no one seemed to be able to encourage him to continue, her faith in him somehow did.  It’s a remarkable thing to me, the power that a wife can have in helping her husband through rough patches in life.

I know I don’t often talk about my own personal struggle as a police wife, in part because it’s just such a public life and anything I say reflects back onto him – for good or for worse.  These past years have been very hard for everyone in policing – their children, their families, but especially the officers themselves.  Many have quit or chosen to retire early.  And who can blame them?

There were times when it was extremely difficult to see my husband serve what I thought, was such an undeserving society, and then I would be humbled by seeing how so many would pour out their love and support in letters to their police.  I had to take pictures of the many letters I ended up collecting one year for the officers at my husband’s sub, so that I could reread them when I was tempted to feel like he was fighting alone.

I know I’m selfish, but it’s hard to want to give my husband to people who don’t know him like I do, who don’t understand the incredible man they have, so selflessly serving them day in and day out.

Back when all the repeated officer deaths and shootings were taking place more frequently, I had a crisis-like moment where I had to make a choice to continue supporting him anyway (knowing he could be murdered), or to try to get him to do something else much safer.  Obviously my feelings and my “heart” wanted to stop supporting him in his mission and purpose.  It was very painful to watch him go through the emotions and difficulty he went through during those years, when officers were painted in the worst light possible, and then murdered for crimes they never committed.  It was hard to try to still believe that it was a cause worth fighting for.  It’s painful to support someone and love them so much, all while understanding that their purpose involved their possible death!

But his purpose was more than us, and more than even our kids having the certainty of a father!  Accepting this was difficult to say the least.  

Through lots of time with God and periodically asking mentors for prayers for peace during that time, I came to a place of accepting his calling as being something truly sacred.  He was, to put it bluntly, willing to die for the love of serving our city, because what he was doing – fulfilling a Romans 13 calling – represented more to him than even his own life.

***

What is your husband passionate about?  Is there anything he lights up when talking about?  Are you trying to support and encourage him, to listen and enjoy his thoughts on the subject?  If you don’t know what it is that your husband cares deeply about, why don’t you find out?

Maybe the things he used to feel passionate about, he’s lost hope in ever seeing come to fruition, like Wilberforce almost did.  Maybe his dreams and aspirations have withered away and have left him feeling empty inside.  I think it’s normal for a man who isn’t supported in this amazing way that a wife is able to do, to fall into depression or even apathy.  Life is so difficult, but I believe it’s even harder for people who have strong convictions and a sense of purpose – they’re more prone (I think) to depression and feeling like a failure.  We have so much power as women, to give inspiration and motivation to our men, but most of us don’t recognize this amazing power.

I believe God put that desire in every man, to long for a purpose and mission in this life, even if it seems minor to an outsider, or not as glamorous as someone famous from history – it is still important to your husband, so it should also be important to you.

***

 

When Women Come Between Man & His Mission-

Can a wife ever be her husband’s mission?  I know this probably sounds laughable 🙂 but trust me, I’ve seen many people write in such a way that you would believe that a wife IS supposed to be her husband’s sole purpose and mission to make happy in life.

No.  A woman can never be a man’s mission.  But it is surprising how often we see that in real life and in books or movies, and much to that man’s detriment.  Instead, it’s normal to see throughout history, examples where instead of like Wilberforce’s wife where she is able to support and ignite his passion again for his mission, we see women who derail, ridicule, or even despise her husband’s mission in life.

I worked with a man who had a wife like this.  Even though he was accomplished, smart, making good money and doing research that was his passion and mission in life, his wife would actually ridicule it at home and despised his purpose doing it.  She even refused to come to a public ceremony where he won an award for his research!  Again, history is rampant with wives like this though, so it’s not an uncommon thing to find women who have no appreciation for their husband’s passions and desires in life.

So be a woman who seeks to understand her husband in the deepest way possible.  And try to be diligent about not standing between him and his purpose in life, instead try to make it easier on him by showing him that you support him ❤ .

Here is a poem written back in 1649 by Richard Lovelace, about a man leaving his love because of his duty and honor to fulfill his mission in fighting a war he believed in.  Richard himself actually fought in the English Civil War on behalf of the King, so his poem springs from those experiences and emotions based in his reality.

To Lucasta, going to the Wars

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Dear) so much,
Lov’d I not Honour more.

Stephanie

 

Related Reading –

William Wilberforce

Peculiar Doctrines, Public Morals, and Political Welfare

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Image result for woman with megaphone images

This is a post I’m truly excited to write.  This phrase, Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” is something my mother told me ALL. THE. TIME.

She also would say,

“I’m sorry I can’t hear you – your actions are just too loud!!”

I didn’t realize how rare this was… to have a mom who actually held me accountable to what I said I would do – and who I said I wanted to be character-wise.  It’s normal I think for women to lack a sense of insight into what they’re actually doing – compared to what they say they want to do or are doing.  It’s a huge disconnect that is so strange to see from the outside.

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This is displayed when a woman does something that is obviously even painfully so disrespectful to her husband, and yet she’s submissive and Christian and otherwise looks like the perfect “quality woman.”  She often even says that she loves him, respects him, and submits to him, and yet does things that are just beyond disrespectful.

How can her mind be so disconnected from reality?

It’s because she was never held accountable for her actual actions,

yet was taught to say all the right things to cover the deception.

Yes, it’s a type of self-deception, basically being in denial.  In severe cases, it can even lead to someone living a double life, and not even truly being aware of how disconnected their life has become.

So be introspective, Sweet Girl.  And have many advisers/mentors who you can talk to and bounce ideas off of before you take action.  It may seem weird to other people, that you go to others you look up to and trust to see what they think about something, but trust me, it will strengthen you to know you have people backing you and supporting you in your decisions (and to feel like you had enough knowledge to make the right decision at that time).

Know that people will always judge you by your actions (as they should), and not by just the things you say.  This is critically important if you want to make an impact in your life for good.  You can’t just say the right words, without backing them up with the right actions.

If you want men you may be interested in, to take you seriously, you have to actually show them through your actions that you admire and respect them.  Words are completely meaningless to prove that kind of love.  You could have an entire blog professing your love to your husband, public to the world, and yet if you do not treat your husband respectfully at home, and in a myriad of other little ways in public, it will prove you a fraud.  Don’t put yourself and your family through that kind of pain by not living out your beliefs.

The only way to have integrity and respect in this life, is to back up your words with actions that prove them.

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I promise as your mother, to hold you accountable to your words and guide you along in this area as you grow.  I have no doubt that you will learn this well, and be able to exemplify it in your own life as you become the woman God wants you to be.