Letters From Mentors: “The Legacy I Want to Leave” by Linda

This post is part of the series where I feature letters (emails) I’ve received over the years from women I consider to be mentors online and in real life.  I LOVE hearing other women’s perspectives on raising a daughter (or anything I’m wondering about!), and when I see someone I admire or feel inspired by watching their life, I want to know their secret to the success they’ve had 😉  It’s so encouraging to me, to see women who are wiser, already in their 40’s or 50’s, and have worked to build the life that I want to create and am working to create.

Like I said in the last post where Stingray’s first letter was featured, we’re commanded in the Bible to get all the wisdom and understanding that we can.  There’s wisdom in having many advisers, and so forth.  I believe that as a young mom, it’s so vital to have women you look up to and whose lives you admire to be able to ask questions of, and learn from and basically model your life after.

This series is just so exciting to me because of all the wonderful advice and wisdom it will bring here for not only me and my daughter, but also for anyone of you readers who are interested in these letters!  

And if I ask you your thoughts on this subject of raising daughters, be assured that it’s because I really look up to and admire you and see something extremely valuable and beautiful in your life that I want for my own!  I don’t believe women are “island” creatures… maybe men can live like that 😉 (thinking Paul and John the Baptist), but most people seem to really get a lot of value from having deep relationships and sharing ideas that are insightful and life-changing.

Here is Linda’s letter titled “The Legacy I Want to Leave:”

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Stephanie from All Things Bright and Beautiful recently asked me about writing a post for my daughters.  What an honor.  🙂  It has really had me thinking.

I’m working on one post in particular, but in the meantime, to be honest, you could consider this whole blog a gift for my children.  My oldest daughter is in a serious dating relationship with a wonderful Christian young man.  My heart is aware that the time she will remain at home with us is limited…. probably one more year of community college, and then she’ll launch out on her own.

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{Oldest and Youngest, 17 years apart}

When she does leave, I know one of her wishes is to take family recipes with her.  She’s asked in the past about that, and about taking a sourdough starter with her–things like that.  Putting recipes on this blog to share with you, and others who have expressed an interest in classes, disciplines me to take pictures and get my home made recipes cataloged in such a way that I will be ready to put her cook book together for her, and all the other children as I know that the next 3 will be following her like dominoes.

My children love looking through old pictures and hearing the stories.  One day, they will enjoy looking through the updates on this blog.

And I don’t want my children to someday look back when I’m gone and think that they never really knew my heart.  I remember thinking that when I helped my mother clean out my grandmother’s home, and the fact that my own mother hasn’t spoken to me in over 14 years—well, we missed something, somewhere along the line!  My children will trust my teaching more if I am real.  I want them to recognize my strengths and understand my weaknesses, but when it’s all said and done, I want them to know me as a woman who pursued God and loved them deeply.  I want them to be secure in our family and have no regrets, knowing that while we’re not perfect and we make plenty of mistakes, we’re growing in God’s grace… a little more every day.

Every devotional I have written is something that my heart longs for my children to understand.  I pray, as they leave home, that we will remain close and be able to share the things that God is teaching us.  Perhaps they’ll visit here to see what Mom is up to.  Even now though, as I take time to share with you, I take every opportunity to teach my children what I’m learning.  Different ages understand different things, but I hope that no matter what I say, my life will reflect the changes God makes in my heart as I pray for God’s wisdom and holiness.  I learned first hand when I was growing up, where “do as I say and not as I do” was often the mantra, that it’s easier to follow an examplethan it is a list of do’s and don’ts.

As time marches forward and my children are growing up, I am realizing that though I have different concerns for my boys versus my girls, I really want them all to catch the lessons here.  What I want my girls to learn about seeking God and becoming Godly women is what I want my sons to come to expect and pray for in a future wife.  What my sons need to learn about being strong, Godly leaders is what my girls need to expect and pray for in a future husband.  Learning to help their father in so many ways will prepare all of them to lead, but also to follow, respect and support the many leaders God will place in their lives.

So what have we been learning this last year?  What kind of legacy do I want to leave?  I want to train up children who understand that:

If you want your life to add up to something, Abide in Christ, and never lose awe over what He has done for you.

In order to lead people to Jesus, you need to love them first.

In order to walk into the good works God has planned in advance for you, you do not have to wait.  God has equipped you with a relationship with Him, a unique story, talents, resources and spiritual gifts… you need only trust Him and be faithful with what is in your hands.

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{Our 3 oldest daughters, on worship team at church.  The oldest 5 girls sing for 12-20 churches and special events every year.  God has given them beautiful harmony.}

But no matter what you have in your hands, you are still a sinner, saved by grace, and so He has filled you with His Spiritto make your character like His so your testimony will be believable.

Don’t ever lose faith in God when people fail you.  God isn’t subject to our standards and failures.  He sets the standard, and he redeems our failures.

Remember that God fights for you, and though you may travel through dark and difficult places, and it is He who will bring you out.

And when you do go through trying times, remember that God never makes a mistake.  Trust Him with all your heart.

It is a blessing, a privilege and duty of every Christian to be faithful in prayer.

If you want to have an effective prayer life, run to confess your sin, live life with open hands– forgive others, and always put God’s will above your own wants–pray for His will.  Pray unselfishly.

So many other lessons I have yet to write down.  It takes time. 🙂  But this is a good start.

Linda

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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.

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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

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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.

 

Letters from Mentors

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I LOVE having a daughter – I never dreamed it would be this much fun and that she’d be this feminine from the get-go!

But, with all that said, it’s actually a lot scarier to me having a girl to raise.  I understand boys ❤ and although they need a lot from their mothers, a lot of the bulk of their gaining and understanding their masculine strength can only come from their fathers.  So while it’s been beautiful to see my husband fill that role pratically perfectly, this new baby girl has turned our world upside down in this respect.  Now I’m the one who needs to teach her what true femininity and godly womanhood looks like.

Lord have mercy on me!  LOL 😀 😛  Even with all my studying, it still feels like a job I’m not fully prepared for.  But that’s why I’m forever grateful to mentors, my own mother ❤ , older women at church, and blogs with that kind of guidance.

Proverbs says to get all the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that you can, and it’s wonderful that we have access to people we’d never know if it wasn’t for the internet!  I love how there’s so many women I’ve come across over the years who have been kind enough to give me tons of advice on raising children and being a godly wife!

In fact… I’m seriously considering starting another mini-series, complete with it’s own tab (maybe), called “Letters from Mentors,” where I’ll be featuring emails I’ve received from women usually in their mid-40’s or 50’s, who have given me AMAZING advice on different topics that would fit well here on my blog.

Women you’d see in this series would be people like Sunshine Mary (Sunshine Thiry), Liz (red pill commenter from years back), Stingray (from On The Rock), Lori Alexander (from The Transformed Wife), April (from The Peaceful Wife), Ame (from Blending Ame), RPG (from NotesFromaRedPillGirl), and a few other Christian women I’ve reached out to recently to see if they’d be interested.  Hopefully it will be an expanding thing, even with my real life mentors contributing from time to time.  I’m in debt to so many of these incredible women for the advice they’ve given me over the years and setting a positive example of seeing them interact online and in real life.  And the online ones love to write! LOL  So why not try to capture some of the letters I’ve received from them, that maybe would be helpful to other women out there as well who are in the middle of raising a family?

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In fact, my husband is helping me create a little booklet for our daughter of all the posts I’ve written under the tab for her.  I figured these “Letters from Mentors,” would go great in there as well!  I’m a big paper person… I love books you can physically hold.  This little booklet is only about 8-9 inches tall, in a mini-binder, and so cute!

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And it’s so sweet how quick these older, wiser women were to either reach out to me themselves, or to be open to my going to them to seek their wisdom.  They were so generous and kind-hearted toward me, and so humble!  And thankfully, I’ve only ever had one woman snub my request to email her and then humiliate me for asking, but then I realized… maybe she really didn’t have any wisdom to impart afterall... LOL 😀 .  Oh well 🙂 may the generous, humble ones be honored and praised for gladly giving advice to someone younger looking up to them.  It is definitely appreciated, and now I’m hopefully going to find time to capture their words in our homemade book (and here), so others can have access to their wisdom, too.

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Stingray is the first woman’s advice I’d like to write about here on this post.  For people who don’t know her, she used to run a very well-written blog on male-female, red pill concepts, with a heavy focus on married women’s responsibilities, called On the Rock.  I urge you to go check it out!  A woman in her mid-40’s, with a growing family and husband she adores, she is a faithful Catholic with admirably strong convictions.  I adore her.  When I was pregnant and we found out it would be a girl, she was one of the first women I thought of when thinking of people online to ask for advice on a variety of “raising a daughter” topics.  That says a lot about the impression she had on me.

Like I said before, it just seems so much harder raising a girl, than it has been raising boys.  Our culture is so dark, and where it used to be more based on virtue and morality, now it’s actually praised to sleep around for years, before finally deciding to get married and have children – if a woman decides to get married at all!!!  I don’t want her to be like that.  I don’t want her to choose a more painful, even disastrous path for herself.  And I don’t want her growing up believing that it is “ok” or desirable at all, even if our idiotic society deems it acceptable.

I’ve rambled on too much.  Here is just one of Stingray’s excellent letters, I sincerely hope you as a reader, enjoy it.

 

Good morning, Stephanie,

I’m sorry this has taken me so long to write.  
I do have 2 girls.  Things are different in raising them in that you will be more hands on and your husband will be less with them, but the dynamic of both is still really important.  But really, the biggest thing is that your girls will be watching you to see how to navigate the world.  They will watch how you treat your husband, how you dress, how you approach house work, how you approach the world around you, etc ad infinitum.  But, and this is hugely important in my opinion, they will turn to your husband to learn how to navigate men.  Not directly, but Dad is their first love.  Obviously not in an inappropriate manner, but they will still look to him to see how he reacts to their learning how to be feminine.  
They will look to him to see how he reacts to how they dress, “Do I look pretty, Daddy?” How he reacts when they bake him something, to something they accomplished, etc.  He will be a far more effective teacher of things like modesty because they will learn from him what men like.  Dad’s approval and disapproval in HUGE.  So it will be you who teaches them directly, but it will be Dad’s reaction that sends the lesson home.  
As far as tantrums, it depends.  Some “tantrums” are quite charming and cute.  Dad might not want to stop those outright, because a girl learning how to influence her father in a good way is an excellent skill for her to learn.  We used to jokingly have the girls go to their dad and flutter their eyelashes when they would ask him for something and it was great fun.  It’s also a good lesson.  He would say no when appropriate and yes when appropriate.  They learned that it wasn’t always going to work, but also that it was cute and was influential.  But then, he would always shut down hard any girly tantrums that were just tantrums.  
Does that make sense?  In essence, you want to teach them how to use their femininity for good.  Because for better or worse, they will learn how to influence men and that is a powerful thing.  A tempting thing.  Most especially if they are beautiful.  So learning early on what a strong man will allow, and more importantly, what he is capable of, is hugely important.  
So my best advice is to use your instinct.  You don’t want them to squash who they are, you want them to be the beset them they can be.  That includes all those feminine things that they can use to destroy or build up.  It ends up being that you will directly teach, but they will want to buck you.  Your husband will be the one who indirectly shows them that what you are teaching means everything.  
Let me know if any of this doesn’t make sense or if you have any more questions.  Also, thank you for the compliment.  Blogging just took a back seat to growing children and family.  It had to and it just kind of happened organically.  Plus, the manosphere lost it’s shine for me.  It lost it’s intellectual appeal with more and more people coming in.  I knew it would, it was just a matter of time.  
I hope you are all doing well!  
Best, 
Stingray

Overcome Evil with Good & Romans 12:19

This will be another post on the things my husband and I talked about this weekend on our long drives.  Although it’s a not really a “feel good,” romantic post, I thought it was a good spiritual growth topic to cover here.

How do you overcome evil with good, especially when someone has done something truly evil against you or someone you love?

How do you deal with Christians like that – true believers who engage in character defamation, spreading slander about you or your family, or worse, who make false accusations against you or your family members, and then go on to feel zero guilt over it?  So disturbing right?  And rightfully angering.

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s much better to trust that God will be your Defender against such people, that He will help “set the record straight” when the time is right for things to be exposed.  And I do believe things are always eventually exposed.  It may take a long time, but God is a just God, and He brings to light that which people would want to be kept in darkness.  You can be sure He doesn’t let evil doers get away with evil acts.  Even more so His own children (Christians), as the Bible warns He punishes those He loves… because it’s the right thing for Him to do.

It’s good to trust God knows what He’s doing.  I personally find so much peace in resting on that promise.  And if you’re going through persecution for speaking truth, you can also rest on the promise that you are suffering through something that will ultimately be a blessing to you.

 

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

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

To me, this is a beautiful promise… we have hope through persecution, and can trust that God will deal justly with those who do insult us, slander us, and falsely accuse us of all kinds of evil.

It’s God’s job, ultimately, and it’s our job to trust He does right by us.

When we run around and try to “correct” any and every person who is mocking or insulting or even spreading falsehoods about us (which I definitely tried to do in the past… unsuccessfully), we’re more concerned about “people-pleasing,” and protecting our reputation than in trusting God.  I don’t think it’s always wrong to try to confront someone falsely accusing you of something, but in trying to, you take on the risk of being more tempted to sin.  So in my opinion it’s best to stand back and allow God to deal with ALL of it, I’ve found it’s much easier to have peace that way – which is what He would want. 

I have found I am able to trust that not only will He provide protection (and He has, God is so faithful!), but He also gives us the promise that He repays and takes vengeance for us.  As unChristian as that sounds, it’s right there in the Bible for a reason (probably to scare people away from doing evil):

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written,

‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’

said the Lord.”

Romans 12:19

Some commentary from Barne’s Notes on this passage and verse:

“For it is written – Deuteronomy 32:35.

Vengeance is mine – That is, it belongs to me (God) to inflict revenge. This expression implies that it is “improper” for people to interfere with that which properly belongs to God. When we are angry, and attempt to avenge ourselves, we should remember, therefore, that we are infringing on the prerogatives of the Almighty.

I will repay … – This is said in substance, though not in so many words, in Deuteronomy 32:35-36. Its design is to assure us that those who deserve to be punished, shall be; and that, therefore, the business of revenge may be safely left in the hands of God. Though “we” should not do it, yet if it ought to be done, it will be done. This assurance will sustain us, not in the “desire” that our enemy shall be punished, but in the belief that “God” will take the matter into his own hands; that he can administer it better than we can; and that if our enemy “ought” to be punished, he will be. “We,” therefore, should leave it all with God. That God will vindicate his people, is clearly and abundantly proved in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10Revelation 6:9-11Deuteronomy 32:40-43.

The part that my husband assured me of this weekend was so comforting to know.  That if someone does need to be punished, God will do it in His own time (or maybe He already has and you just didn’t witness it).  We don’t need to worry about infecting our souls with the poison of bitterness or hatred – although is it ever tempting to feel those feelings when you see someone get away with evil against someone you love!
My husband said that when someone gives in with actions to those toxic emotions and desiring revenge on their enemies, it affects them and makes them stoop to the same level – even disqualifying their witness.  It’s ok to desire justice, even through a legal system if need be, but it’s not good to take pleasure in seeing someone suffer more than they deserve.  Which is why it’s best to leave vengeance up to God – only He can truly understand “how much” punishment is deserved for someone who has wronged you.  There’s no way we could make that call, although I think it’s totally human (and biblical – think David in Psalm 109 where he asks for God to destroy his enemies in the cruelest of ways possible) to have those feelings.

My husband had me read some verses this weekend along these lines while in the car, and it was so good to hear his opinion on my questions.

One of the passages was David asking God to make his enemies ashamed and disgraced for what they’d done to him.  It’s so comforting to know how human King David was 🙂  I totally relate to his passage of desiring to see enemies be disgraced and ashamed of their actions.  It’s nice to know that he felt those feelings toward his enemies, and yet He was called a man after God’s own heart.  God doesn’t seem to hold our humanity against us regarding our strong emotions, ❤ but He loves us too much to let us stay in those emotions to the point where they would destroy us (and others).

Which brings me to the second passage my husband had me read with him 🙂 which was Jesus’ thoughts on loving our enemies:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor(fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, [n]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love[only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that?48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

I seriously laughed at how these two passages seem so at odds with each other… and told my husband outright that I much preferred David’s response! 😀  I knew of both of them, but it’s always wonderful to hear my husband explain these things and talk it over him candidly. ❤

They do seem at odds… one calling for your enemies to be ashamed and disgraced for how they’ve treated you, and the next claiming that if you don’t also love them, you haven’t achieved spiritual maturity.  In reality, the second passage also lines up with overcoming evil with good in Romans 12:14-21.

14 Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them]. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. 17 Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap [e]burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

It ALL makes sense when you view it through trusting God to be the ultimate Judge and Avenger of wrongs.

We are supposed to be able to overcome someone’s evil toward us that may have truly harmed us by not allowing their actions to destroy our peace and love in our own lives.  The only way to do that is to be able to FULLY rely on God that He will repay, that we can be kind to them (which heaps burning coals on their head), and understand they are in God’s hands and that we don’t have to concern ourselves with their punishment.

He is just, and like He said… He will repay.

Stephanie

 

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Be the One He’s Thankful He Married

We just got back from a weekend trip – it was fun, exciting, and relaxing somehow all at the same time. 🙂  Since we were in the car for a few hours (both going and coming home), we had a lot of time to talk and reflect on the years we’ve had together ❤ .  It’s just been so beautiful – even through trials and such with outside forces, we’ve always felt like we faced them together – not as if the trials put us at odds.

Somehow it came up in those hours of talking, about my husband’s past – and he told me about a girl he had really liked in high school (he’s told me before, we both know about each other’s past relationships) – he thought she was gorgeous and just the perfect angel he’d love to marry – but he was too shy to ever have asked her.  If you’ve read our story, him being too shy almost cost him our entire life together, as it prevented him from asking me until I was already in a relationship!

Anyway, he reminded me of her backstory and what she did in college and after.  She was Catholic, but in name only, and turned extremely wild and slept with a lot of guys… something he told me would have torn him apart if he had been with her.  But thankfully they went their separate ways and he forgot about her for the most part.

He saw her picture recently and brought it up in this conversation that she looks so unlike what she used to – that the years of sleeping around and partying made her beauty (and boy did she have it!!) really fade and made her look older and harder.

She’s married now, he said, and has one kid, but he told me this weekend in the car, that he was so thankful he married me and that he avoided this other girl.

I feel sad for her in a way, this is definitely not a “gloating” post or anything like that.  But it is a topic I’m going to eventually let our daughter know.

It’s important to be a virgin when you marry your husband.

It’s CRUCIAL to let him know EVERYTHING you’ve done (good and especially anything bad) so that he knows you intimately – true intimacy and doesn’t feel like you’ve lied to him about anything.

Saving your purity (not just of your virginity, but literally everything – your breasts, any touching, etc.) is really REALLY important to your future husband.

And lastly, you want to be the woman he’s GLAD he married.  Not the promiscious angel beauty that he’s glad he avoided (sad!).

Hopefully she will take this wisdom to heart, like I did when my own mother told me.

Stephanie

Aren’t You Just Teaching Women to Manipulate Men?

This isn’t just a question I’ve received before via email or in a comment, it’s a criticism that many people have pointed out whenever there’s a woman teaching (in real life or online) other women how to treat their husbands better in order to have a happy marriage.  I’ve seen it time and time again throughout the 4 years of blogging at this site.  And yes, I’ve been accused of selling “snake oil” to wives – manipulative feminine behaviors and techniques to get their husbands to give them what they want.  In reality, anything considered to be “snake oil,” would prove to be false over-time.  And I’ve many men and women tell me that these things are truth.  Manipulative techniques don’t actually work long-term in a marriage for producing good.  So no, I’m not selling “snake-oil” to wives.

This accusation always comes up though… always.  Even when I’ve come across women teaching others about simple femininity (not for wives but in general, how to be a woman), there’s always a few sour women who seem to scream from the sidelines, “MANIPULATION!!!!!! You’re just manipulating your husband into doing what you want him to do!!!”

***Side note***

Here is where a woman I love and admire, and have talked to privately in the past concerning what to do over these accusations (been meaning to email her again soon for daughter advice – if you’re reading this sweet Stingray, heads up for an incoming email), Stingray, has also confronted this accusation (albeit in a totally different way of accepting these tactics as manipulation)!  I’ve emailed with her a few times in the past, and respect her opinion greatly, so I’m adding it in to give you more insight into how like-minded women view this topic.  Click the link above if you want her specific take on this accusation that we’re teaching women to “manipulate” men.

I thought it would be good to go into this on my own blog, and go ahead and answer this question and criticism I’ve had off and on, because it IS important and women have a right to know an answer.

I hope this proves to be a thought-provoking post for you, no matter which side of the fence you sit on.

The Feminine wiles

Even by definition, the feminine wiles are described as clever talk or tricks, used to persuade someone to do what you want.  I’ve seen many women say behaving in a  feminine manner that brings out the best in men (your husband, but also your dad, brother, even sons are affected by this!), is just tricking him into behaving the way you want him to behave.  Using your femininity in order to inspire masculine virtues to come out in any man, is supposed to be a beautiful and good thing.

*

But yes… to answer the critics… it CAN fall into manipulation IF the woman’s heart isn’t pure, and into it for the pure motivations of loving her husband.

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Manipulation is ugly.  Manipulating men to get them to do what we want is horrible.

No.  I am not trying to teach women how to “manipulate men,” with what I write or offer up here.  I don’t believe it is even possible long-term, for a wife, or even a single girl, to keep up a manipulative act.  Eventually the act will fall away, and her real self – her terrible character – will come out and chase men (even her husband in a multitude of small ways) away.

This criticism is only looking at the ugly side, and ugly heart motives, when it comes to using these behaviors and actions.  So while yes, a woman CAN use my advice to manipulate a man into falling in love with her or marrying her even, it’s intended to help women who have a pure heart, who genuinely want to love their husbands better and build a beautiful marriage.

I can’t help a woman whose heart is bent on seeing things only through a filter of sinful thinking.  Only she can lift that veil with prayer and making the choice to ask God to give her a clean and pure heart toward her husband.  So since I can’t really help a harpy screaming from the sidelines “MANIPULATION!!!!!!” I’ve gotten used to this false accusation (like Stingray had as well back when she was blogging) that it’s all “snake oil” and “unethical.”  This used to bother me, but now that I’ve talked to more women and have had the chance to see (in real life) the difference in their attitudes when presented with this stuff, I “get it.”  It all comes down to whether or not their heart is pure in wanting to love and be good to their husbands.  The sad thing is that a lot of women really don’t have pure intentions.

I’ve also seen women try to implement these things when their husband is already divorcing them.  If they’ve treated him terribly for 20+ years, and then suddenly try to implement these behaviors and techniques, yea he’s going to have a hard time believing his wife is sincere.  Then I’ve seen the wife (after becoming divorced and getting very bitter) usually complain that applying these techniques only made things much worse for her.  These are often the ones screaming “MANIPULATION!!!” the loudest.  If it didn’t work for her, it can’t work for anyone else!  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!  

Her husband’s strong negative reactions are actually explainable in a psychological way – it’s called “The Pandora’s Box.”  Sometimes it’s salvageable, but often it’s just not.  Usually there’s just been way too much nastiness there, and for decades long.  You can’t just easily undo that kind of trauma you’ve done to your husband, by acting kind and respectful now.  Even if you are sincere now, he has to work through MAJOR forgiveness issues, trust issues, etc. and a lot of men find it too painful.  A lot of men get angry that you’ve wasted so many years treating them horribly, and are only now just “waking up,” and taking responsibility for how you’ve damaged his soul.  It’s all very ugly and dark… but it’s reality when you reap what you’ve been sowing for decades in the heart of your husband.

I may write on that more (I do love to write!), but to me that is why these things are so crucial for women to know before they even start dating!  How many marriages would have been saved if women were only taught these crucial things about what men want when they were teens?  This is why I was motivated to start writing, and why I often target the younger crowd.

 

This is why your Character is important

Your character is talked about a lot on my blog.  Who you are – if you are truly all these things women teach about (including many posts on my blog) – others will understand and take note that you’re consistent.  This is best displayed in real life – with the real life men around you – whether it’s your father, husband, sons, etc, they will be the ones who ultimately know you and your character, especially over time.

I guarantee that your husband is already aware of who you truly are, and you’re either working to have a beautiful character and implementing these behaviors in your marriage to make it flourish, or you’ve let these things slide and you live with a somewhat happy marriage – but with no idea how great it actually could be.

Either way, your “real self” will always be exposed to the people you live with, especially your husband.  I’ve written before that who you are online, when no one is looking or holding you accountable – that’s who you really are.

Having a beautiful character is what will make these teachings work.  Having a pure heart is what will make your actions not seen as manipulative, but instead, sincere and they will inspire your husband’s love for you to grow immensely.

No matter how good you look on the outside (physically and in behavior like when practicing being kind or respectful to your husband), if you don’t have it together on the inside, if your heart isn’t in it, he will know, and he will hate it.

He will hate it because he will feel manipulated by you.  Hence why if I was really selling you “snake oil,” it just wouldn’t work for the long-haul of a marriage.

Your actions will always be manipulation on your part if it’s not coupled together with your heart intentions – in other words, if you aren’t loving him with purity and sincerity, you may as well not be loving him at all.

 

Married Women: Your Character Can Either Inspire Love or Inspire Indifference

I’ve written a few posts for single women concerning the topic of making their character – who they really are – more attractive.  When trying to attract a good man, a single woman obviously needs to be worthy of him and working on having the same character that she expects of her future husband, but it just doesn’t stop there.

Married women, more so than ever, need to also be keeping good emotional and mental health and be growing spiritually… all these things are important to increasing the beauty of their character throughout the trials of life.  You often find out who you really are, when you’re going through trials and pressed on all sides.

1 Peter 3:3-4 

Your adornment must not be merely external—with interweaving andelaborate knotting of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or [being superficially preoccupied with] dressing in expensive clothes; but let it be [the inner beauty of] the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, [one that is calm and self-controlled, not overanxious, but serene and spiritually mature] which is very precious in the sight of God.

I’ve written a couple of posts here and here and here, on why outward beauty (a wife’s attractiveness) is also important, but when it truly comes down to it, I do believe that character is always more important.  Outward beauty is something that can be easily increased anyway, whereas your character takes a much longer time to attain, and then also to maintain throughout life and it’s temptations.

Character is what truly matters about a person

Even the wonderful Proverbs 31 woman’s husband proclaims this at the end of her passage:

Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.

I think it can be tempting for women to, once they’re married or married for a few years on, to start letting themselves go when it comes to maintaining their character.

The problem is, however, that once you’re married, if you let go of having a beautiful character, who you are as a person when your husband chose you and only you, you’ll make your husband eventually fall out of love with you.

A wife’s character is that important.

Your Husband Has a Breaking Point

I’ve recently read some comments from Deti speaking of how a husband eventually has what he called I believe a, “Breaking Point.”  This is when your husband has finally had enough of you acting out your impulses to damage him and he comes to a point where it’s extremely hard to see you the same as he used to.

You never want your husband to get to “that point.”  So stop being stupid and damaging him with being critical, nit-picky, or putting up pictures of his messy side for laughs!

From Deti:

 

All I can tell you is this:

When a man’s wife or long term woman disrespects him one too many times, whatever existed before is completely destroyed.

Gone.

Whatever he felt for her – gone.

Whatever he was willing to do for her before, he’s no longer willing to do, or capable of doing. Everything. Gone. Leveled. Not one stone left standing on stone.

And he never forgets it.

Oh, he can forgive. He can move on. You can even move on together.

But the things you said, the things you did, to destroy it all, are never forgotten.  Not ever.

Some things you say, you cannot unsay. You can’t take them back. Some things you do cannot be undone. That history will always be there. Always. It will never ever go away.

It will always color the way he sees you. You will be forever different to him.

He can, and probably will, get past it eventually. Your relationship might survive. But whatever it was before will not be again. You will have to reconstruct everything. What is built back will not look like what was before. Many times, it will not look anything like what it was before. And you will have to live with that. Or not.

A man can take a lot of disrespect from a woman. And he can go a long time with it. But when you get to “too much” or “one too many times”, it’s done. DONE. OVER. You’ve knocked it all down, destroyed it all. And whatever was before, will never be again.

Perhaps a little food for thought for womenfolk as they wisely and prudently consider their men.

***

A big tenant of all the principles of character is to treat others the way you’d want to be treated.  I always ask myself WHY this is so hard for Christian wives to “get?”  We’re basically taught all this in kindergarten for Christ’s sake!!  Why would you be so stupid as to do this to your own HUSBAND?!

So…

Do you criticize him – even when it’s light-heartedly joking about his faults or flaws?  No one likes a passive-aggressive person who makes light of other people’s failings or short-comings to get a few laughs, don’t do this to your husband unless you want to make him eventually fall out of love with you.

Are you sarcastic?  Be prepared to be met with unkind, sarcastic responses back from him someday when he finally has enough!

Do you share his embarrassing moments publicly?  I’ve seen even Christian women take pictures of their husband’s dirty side of his bed, and put it up for display on their blog!  I’d be interested to see how a wife would react if their husband did something like that to them, I think there’s a good chance they’d be very embarrassed.  If you’re tempted to do something like this, even for laughs on social media, always ask yourself if it’s respectful and protecting his privacy and reputation, or being a discreet wife (which men love).

If you put up pictures of the messes your husband makes, people will tend to think he’s a real slob, and then you’ve damaged his reputation and harmed him overall by being indiscreet.

Revealing your husband’s faults in trying to be “real” with other people, is not a kind or wise thing to do, or even fully accurate since you may have caught him at a bad time when he was busy and forgot to clean up.  Either way, are you doing things daily that undermine his trust in you and cause him to slowly view you negatively?

If we allow ourselves to always nit-pick and harp on our spouses’ flaws, (or worse, expose their short-comings online for everyone to see!) eventually we’re going to succeed in having them view US in that unkind manner, and it doesn’t look like that would be fun!

The wise woman builds up her house (and husband), while the foolish one tears it down for likes on facebook or to be seen as “more real.”

 

Stephanie

Email Question: Is Online Dating a Good Option for Women?

I thought this was a great question!  I didn’t meet my husband this way, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but from what I’ve heard from other women is that yes, it really really works for y’all.  Online dating is MUCH (like 100 times harder) for men actually.

But for you younger or older women out there, yea it seems like it tends to work out.

A curious thing, too, is that online dating can be so easy for women that it can work for y’all even without having a picture of yourself up.

A woman I used to work for has a daughter who I’m friends with, who has been a working model since her mid-teens, and is getting married to her fiance in a few months, whom she found online ❤ 😀 !!!  She is naturally shy and modeling actually exacerbated her social anxiety – something that happens a lot to models who start in their teen years.  Meeting men that were marriage material was extremely hard for her in real life and she is from a very rural area with practically zero prospects.  Zero men + a social anxiety disorder = difficult dating to say the least.

The thing that sealed the deal for her using online dating?  She fell in love with him solely through conversation – them talking back and forth online.  She harps on that fact and believes it was a special “gift” – that it’s so special to her to have fallen in love with someone without ever even knowing what they looked like!  To fall in love with their mind first, before ever even seeing them – is how she described it.  Talk about uber-romantic lol.

To hear him tell the story of when they finally met up in person, it’s SO cute… he never knew how beautiful she was, because he’d never seen her!  He said he was afraid when he saw her, and terrified she wouldn’t be attracted to him.  He’s not a male-model type at all, it was totally his personality that made her fall head over heels for him, so I kind of understand his fear.  The sad thing about this is that if she had included her picture, he probably would have never even tried to talk to her 😦 .

She’s since ditched the modeling (a good thing in my opinion) and is going to focus on being a wife to him after she graduates soon.  Just really really sweet and so awesome I got to see this thing play out.

Tips for women using online dating:

  1. I don’t know how this sweet girl pulled this off… she’s very picky, so I’m not sure what she really vetted for when searching for men online, other than like-interests and then of course, the conversation.  So possibly searching for things that are important to you… religion, politics, sports, or hobbies… think things you and your future husband could reliably do together and actually enjoy doing together
  2. Even though she didn’t use a picture, I tend to think that’s usually an important part of online dating in order to make sure men contacting you are truly attracted to you.  This wasn’t a factor for her, so she selected her physical beauty out of the equation because she knew she’d be able to vet for character better that way.  She did this purposefully also so that regular men weren’t too intimidated by her to even attempt to approach.  So… it’s up to each girl to decide how she wants to do this obviously, but probably most girls should go ahead and use a reliable photo of what they really look like.  If you do something weird to your photo or use an old one that doesn’t represent what you look like *now*, the man is going to know when he meets up with you, and there’s probably a 99% chance he’s not going to call you back because he’ll feel like you tricked him. Because you DID.  Don’t do it!
  3. Vet hard for character.  Character is the most important thing about a man.
  4. Meet at a safe public place where lots of people are around and don’t go off alone with any man until after more than a few dates.  This “comfort level” will vary greatly depending on each woman and the man she’s seeing, but just be aware enough and don’t suppress your gut-level feelings.  If you have a “bad feeling” about a man (like he’s lying to you or unsafe in some way at a gut-level), best to pay attention to it and not see him again.  You may be right.
  5. Carry a weapon, whether it’s a baton that fits neatly in your purse (I love my baton my brother bought me last Christmas!) or even if it’s just a pepper spray.  Something to kind of help you be able to up your chances of running away would be good.  Mentally go through a scenario where you’d have to find a way to escape.  You’ll probably never have to use your mental preparation in real life, but it’s good to be prepared nonetheless.

 

 

 

Side Note:

Email questions are intended for women, so any men with questions need to go to male sites with those questions, or ask my husband Sheepdog2013 here via comments.

Good options for male questions:

Email Questions: Dating in Your 30’s

Something that seems to be a common topic among email questions recently is how to go about dating in your 30’s as a single woman.  Whenever I get this question I have to let the woman know that I obviously have zero experience with what they’re asking me about.

BUT… one of the reasons people have “blog rolls” is to point people where they can find great information that the host either agrees with or doesn’t have knowledge of.  On the right side of the screen, under “Single Women: What Men Really Think,” is a great website resource for any woman out there in the dating market.  Andrew (the author) even has a whole post dedicated to dating in your 30’s:

Female Game for Women in Their 30’s

Check out this gem, too, if you’re really interested:

The Advantage of Dating in Your 30’s

Now for my thoughts on it, since you asked… they aren’t really optimistic so you’ve been warned.

If I were somehow to switch places with you, a single woman in her 30’s, I probably would forgo dating altogether and just seek to live a life alone and find genuine happiness in other things.  Volunteering with kids if you have an ache for children, working fulltime at an orphanage in another country or in a children’s home in the US.  Maybe become a nurse and work with people where you feel like you make a difference in other people’s lives.  Work on a great career in a field of your interest where you can spend your excess money not spent on a family, traveling and seeing places most people would never see.  Have more time to write or read great books.  I don’t know… but dating men would be the last thing on my mind.  I know that sounds crazy, but you asked what I thought and so I’m going to be brutally honest.  There’s a reason why I got married incredibly young and didn’t sleep with anyone before my husband.  I was terrified of being used, wanted to wait to have sex until marriage because of my faith in Christianity and a firm belief that it would be giving my husband a gift that would only belong to him, and even looking back in hindsight, I think that the being terrified of being used was a good thing.  I think more women should be terrified of being used… maybe it would help them decide faster what they really want in life.  I avoided tons of unnecessary emotional baggage and pain by finding someone who truly loved me and cherished me, and committed long-term to me that young and inexperienced.  I don’t think that is easy to find in any way possible when you get beyond your 20’s.  It sounds and looks like it’s a whole different ball-game, and not a very nice one.

When it comes to the 30+ dating market, most of the men dating women in that age range are only out to use those women.  This is not to say a woman in her 30’s or 40’s (or 50’s ?) couldn’t find someone to marry, it’s just that it will be infinitely harder to navigate all the sexual aspects without subjecting yourself to just being someone they want to have sex with.  The reality is men that would be interested in you age wise, can probably pull much younger women and would also be interested in much younger women for long term relationships.  Men are always, however, interested in easy sex.

Then there’s the factor of what kind of men will they be?  If you click on the link above, Andrew goes on about why you should avoid different kinds of men….  No men in their 20’s, no men over 40, no divorced men… lol… there’s like literally NO MEN left after you filter for those things he warns about.  Very dismal if you ask me, hence why I would just avoid dating altogether.  While there are some great catches out there who have been frivorced, it’s my opinion they are very hard to find, and they may have contributed in some way to their divorce which they may or may not be honest about.  With proper girl game, I’m pretty sure you can catch a desirable divorcee, but you’d have to be extremely open and genuine with him (and match everything on his list of perfection lol) or you’ll scare him off faster than anything.  And event then, there’s still the likelihood that you’d just be used and “nexted.”

After reading around the internet a few years now, I’m convinced that older men – the men who would be interested in 30+ women, are very very VERY bad marriage material.  Every single one of them seem to have deep issues with hating (or strongly disliking) women, and I’m not blaming them many have good reasons to not trust or like women, I’m just being realistic that this makes them horrible future partners.  You don’t want them to get with you and then never be able to trust you or love you.  It would be so painful and devastating to fall in love with a man like that, and very much in your best interest to avoid it altogether.

In short, I think you should brutally assess if you can truly attract a good man who would love you, and if not, accept a single life and just make it as good and fulfilling as you possibly can without a romantic partner.  There’s much more to life than romance, even though I fully believe that if you find and create a fulfilling marriage, it can be the most wonderful thing you ever do in your life.  But there comes a point where you may have to accept that having that kind of marriage is not possible anymore, and move on to find fulfillment elsewhere.