Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Your Beauty Will Fade & That Will Be Beautiful

growing old together

I just caught up with Lori Alexander’s post on beauty fading from a Christian (Proverbs 31 wife) perspective.  You can find it here (it’s great)!

cute

I do think about aging quite a bit, to me it’s nice, but I’m also aware that maybe it hasn’t really “hit” me yet.  When I’m sleep deprived, which is more often than not these days 🙂 , I DO feel like the Crypt Keeper lol.  But when our baby girl actually goes the full night sleeping (very rare), I wake up and feel fresh again.

But I’m getting older, there’s no mistaking that.

To me, aging is a privilege.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.”

Proverbs 16:31

elderly

Seeing my husband get older is actually quite sexy!  I love knowing we’re “growing old together.”  It’s very fulfilling in a way that’s hard to describe.

Seeing elderly couples who you know, are actually still in love, touches my heart!

elderly love

I think I’m lucky I married a man who is a dreamer ❤ and together we regularly talk about our plans for when we’re older.  The hopefulness of grandchildren, where we’ll take them, how much we’ll just enjoy having (hopefully) a lot of family around us during the holidays.  The real test of our parenting and relationship with our children will be when they’re finally adults and whether or not they want to spend time with us.  Our oldest son has brought up pretty often that he loves being with us and will be devastated when he moves out – I’m sure he won’t be as devastated when he becomes that age 🙂 , and I do assure him he’ll be “ready,” but at least right now, he tears up and says how much he loves living with us.  Everyone gets older whether they want to or not… as sad as it seems, at least it brings new chapters in life to explore as adventures.  I’d rather embrace these things than run away screaming from them.

asian

But even with saying all that, we still look pretty young – which is good and bad.

Just today a woman at the playground I was at with my children was talking to me, then suddenly actually asked me out of the blue, how old I was lol!  This does happen sometimes, and I don’t get it… it’s a little strange to ask a complete stranger how old they are in my book!  But I told her, and she was surprised and said how it was because I look so young and yet I have 3 kids.  She told me I don’t look older than 25.  A couple of months ago an elderly woman with her grand-daughter saw me grocery shopping alone, wearing my husband’s high school football shirt (where her grand-daughter just graduated), and thought I was probably from her graduating class!  When I told her how we’d been married 10 years, and had 3 kids, her mouth literally fell open.  Still shocked, she told me I looked 18.

I do sometimes wonder if the very cushy life I’ve lived, being married to a good man, having his babies and being able to stay home with them, has led to me still look younger than I would have if I had chosen a different path.  We definitely don’t have much stress aside from his job and some financial tightness of me not working.  But overall, we both feel very comfortable and happy – we have so many blessings we feel guilt over them at times.

But this is something I want my daughter to know and understand.  Even when you beauty does fade, and you start to really show your age (whenever that magically happens), I want her to enjoy it.

Part of enjoying it is enjoying (like Lori A. said in her post linked at the beginning) the relationships you’ve built up over the years with your husband and children.

I do think a large part of why I’m not afraid of growing older is because I feel so secure in the life we live together.  The Bible does say perfect love casts out fear.  My husband’s love for me, his enjoyment of growing older together with me, is probably the source of the happiness I can feel when I imagine being a grandmother myself.

It’s like the ultimate reward for a life well-lived.

Stephanie

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Problems and Pain

heathershappiness

“Life is difficult.

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand it and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.  Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.  They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upone their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others.  I know about this moaning because I have done my share.

Life is a series of problems.  Do we want to moan about them or solve them?  Do we want to teach our children to solve them?

Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems.  Without discipline we can solve nothing.  With only some discipline we can solve only some problems.  With total discipline we can solve all problems.

What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one.  Problems, depending upon their nature, evoke in us frustration or grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair.  These are uncomfortable feelings, often very uncomfortable, often as painful as any kind of physical pain.  Indeed, it is because of the pain that events or conflicts engender in us that we call them problems.  And since life poses an endless series of problems, life is always difficult and is full of pain as well as joy.

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Yet it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning.

Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure.  Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom.  It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.  

When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems, just as in school we deliberately set problems for our children to solve.  It is through the pain of confronting and reolving problems that we learn.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct.”  It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems.

Most of us are not so wise.  Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems.  We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away.  We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist.  We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that by deadening ourselves to the pain we can forget the problems that cause the pain.  We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on.

We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them.

This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.  Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health.  Some of us will go to quite extraordinary lengths to avoid our problems and the suffering they cause, proceeding far afield from all that is clearly good and sensible in order to try to find an easy way out, building the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the total exclusion of reality.  In the succinctly elegant words of Carl Jung, “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

But the substitute itself becomes more painful than the legitimate suffering it was designed to avoid.  The neurosis itself become the biggest problem.  True to form, many will then attempt to avoid this pain and this problem in turn, building layer upon layer of neurosis.  Fortunately, however, some possess the courage to face their neuroses and begin – usually with the help of psychotherapy – to learn how to experience legitimate suffering. In any case, when we avoid the legitimate suffering that results from dealing with problems, we also avoid the growth that problems demand from us.  It is for this reason that in chronic mental illness we stop growing, we become stuck.  And without healing, the human spirit begins to shrivel.”

from The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Men Don’t Just Want More Sex… They Want to Feel Full

Sex is intoxicating… but it is also the most misunderstood aspect of a marriage.  Most people think that a man’s general complaint is that he wants more sex, when in reality, he really wants (and needs) the most fulfilling, emotionally binding, exciting kind of sexual fulfillment… he just may not even know it.

Men crave not just sex, but a deeper emotional connection with their wives that comes from their wife actually enjoying sex with him, verbally expressing how much she craves him, and the thrill of fulfilling each other’s fantasies in the safe environment of their marriage relationship.

When a woman merely gives-in to fulfill her wifely duties or even passively tolerates a normal sex life with her husband, she is slowly killing him inside (and the passion in their marriage).  Men are much more emotionally in-tune than society generally gives them credit for, they want connection – they want that passionate sex that true lovers have.

Often if men aren’t getting this kind of sexual fulfillment from their wives, they look elsewhere outside the home… it’s honestly natural (even if it is immoral).  If their wife is prudish, always wanting the same kind of sex, or thinking about her to-do list while he’s on top of her, the man is going to feel it!  Husbands want an engaged wife – a wife that’s not afraid to let him know what feels good – or great to her!  He wants his wife to feel in-tune with her sensuality and confident enough to even make sounds if he’s really getting it right.

The last thing a man wants is lots of sex without quality over the emotional connection that comes from really great sex.

Throughout history men have always sought out prostitutes and extra marital sex.  Even today men continue to seek out skilled prostitutes (who know how to really act like they enjoy sex with their customers), strippers, phone sex (men really do love when you use your voice during sex), and the bustling online porn industry so that they can try to sate this need for their sexual fulfillment.  In my experience, most men would give up all of that to have a great sex life with their spouse; they are usually driven to these other options by being married to a woman who doesn’t understand (or sometimes even care about) their need for sexual fulfillment.

So… Surprise Him

Men love for their wife to surprise them by coming-on to them, when a wife initiates her desire like this… or throws him for a loop with a Sex-On-The-Spot kind of action, it momentarily makes him forget altogether the stresses of his job, or any other frustration he is having.  Adding variety to when, where, and how a couple has sex is incredibly fulfilling to a man (and the woman)!

Since I could literally write like 5 books on this one topic, I’m going to stop and give some ideas so that the post isn’t ridiculously long:

  • Surprise your husband with an out of the ordinary sexual experience – either the moment he comes home from work, middle of the night sex, or morning sex if those things are irregular for you

 

  • Play a game of strip poker – make sure you wear the best lingerie you have!

 

  • If you live in the country (secluded area) or have your own private swimming pool or Jacuzzi, try having sex outdoors (in privacy)

 

  • Let your husband know you want him by using some kind of code in the morning that there will be lots of action later when he gets home

 

  • Try setting up your morning routines (or evening routines) so that you take showers together sometimes… this is so sensual and gives your husband the mental images of water running over your naked body for days afterward!

 

Whatever you do, have fun and understand that he doesn’t just want more sex… he wants to feel full.

Complaining is Not a Virtue

Criticizing, complaining, and nagging are killers in a marriage.  Usually, it’s the wife who feels this is her role to fill (someone needs to be unhappy don’t they?), but I’ve seen men who do it too.  The effect on a marriage is the same as a serious disease: love dies.

Why would a wife or husband criticize and nag constantly?  I’m not really sure I know… when my husband and I were first married almost 7 years ago, I remember being upset that he wasn’t perfect – it was ridiculous, as if I myself was perfect!  Sometimes he’d forget things, and because we’d agreed on which things we’d take care of, I’d take it personal if he’d forget a choreI remember I tried the nagging – criticizing routine out, but it just didn’t work – it didn’t help my husband & it made me into a nasty person, so thankfully it didn’t last long.

I worked at a bookstore, so I had an endless supply of marriage books to read when on break or during a very slow time.  The number one thing that seems to get to men is their wives choosing to criticize instead of suggesting, to nag instead of reminding.  When I started to take a more mature approach of reminding (and allowing us both to be humans who sometimes need grace) instead of criticizing and nagging, an amazing thing happened – it worked!

When you commit to talking about things you want differently or facing the problems that come up in a mature, peaceful manner that gives respect to your partner, your marriage changes.  The problem with criticizing and nagging is that there is no respect in it!

Let me tell you a real life story that I saw play out.  There was a man I used to work with who is my husband’s age (29), he seemed like a good person, he worked, took care of his wife and young baby, they owned cars and a beautiful house, but he always seemed to be unhappy at work – “grumpy.”  The littlest thing would make him angry because he was always set at irritable.

I didn’t really like him at first because of his bad attitude, but then I found out that his wife was mean to him.  He was doing research on the side so that he could finish a Master’s degree, and his cubicle mate let me know that his wife routinely ridiculed his research.  It seems his wife was rarely happy, complaining and nagging him about everything and anything.  I was in the vicinity when I heard him call her a “bitch” to his friends at work.  He started to get close to one of the female coworkers in another area in our building, I would see him flirting with her, and being around her more and more.  They started joking in a sexual manner.  It was really hard to watch.

If a man can’t find peace in his own home, where he should be able to feel relaxed, accepted, loved, and content, he begins to not only hate coming home, but he begins to hate his life.  That sad reality is often the precipitator of stupid behaviors like drinking or taking drugs, Internet shenanigans, and inappropriate flirting or worse.” -Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

When a man (or a woman) gets constantly criticized and nagged for things they can never seem to do right, they start at first to try harder, but when that doesn’t work, they eventually give up.  This giving up is like a defense mechanism for them, but it exasperates even more the wife or husband that’s criticizing.  Neither person ever wins this way.

Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.”  Bible, Philippians 2:14-15