Feeling Beautiful Starts in the Mind with Keelie Reason

Keelie Reason of Love Hope Adventure is here with us today! I’m thrilled to have this wonderful marriage blogger provide some practical advice on how to feel beautiful. In addition to the encouragement to embrace our beauty, it’s great to have these specific tips on how to adjust our attitudes to achieve that goal.

Also be sure to check out Keelie’s blog, where you can get practical tips for your marriage and your marital bedroom.

Feeling Beautiful Starts in the Mind

This year, I have seen a lot of great campaigns out there about women learning to accept the way they look. Not only accept the way they look, but appreciate and love their body. It was a topic that just kept coming up over and over.

I read J’s post: Feeling Beautiful in 2015: Fight the Frump and really felt the pull to put together a How to Feel Beautiful Series of my own. Through those weekly beauty challenges, I learned a lot about the way I view myself.

Why I Feel More Beautiful Now Than I Did in My 20’s

When I look back at the pictures of myself in my 20’s there isn’t much difference between the way I looked then and now. So, why do I feel more beautiful this decade then I did last decade?

I’ll give you a hint, it started in my MIND.

Feel Beautiful, Not Look Beautiful

One of the things I focused in on in my series was how to feel beautiful, not how to look beautiful. Ladies, can I just say something? You LOOK beautiful! The problem is that you do not feel that way.

If you want to look in the mirror and like what you see, you have to change your mindset. You can spend hours trying to look better, but if you don’t have the right mindset, you will never see the beauty you already posses.

Take Steps to Changing Your Mind and Seeing Your Beauty

There are some things you can do that will put you in the right mindset to feeling beautiful about yourself. It is so important that you take the steps in the direction of accepting your own loveliness. Otherwise, you can be a runway model and think you are ugly (and believe me, there are runway models out there that feel that way).

Remove Influences That Make You Feel Unattractive

One of my biggest defenses to win the war in my mind is to remove the influences in my life that make me feel unattractive. When I was a teenager, I stopped reading beauty magazines. Even now, I stay away from them.

As much as possible, I limit my influences. If that means I have to stop looking at Facebook for a while, I will…Pinterest a problem? Gone…whatever it is that is making me feel bad about the way I look, I get away from it.

Get Out Of Your Pajamas and Yoga Pants

I love some of the great challenges that Sheila at To Love Honor and Vacuum give about Getting Dressed. For those young mom’s out there with a baby on each hip, I know how hard of a task this can be. Shoot, for those of us that have kids that can dress themselves, it can be a challenge.

Trust Someone Else to Tell You The Truth

Can’t believe yourself when it comes to the way you look? Find a trusted friend and ask them. If you are married, go to your spouse and ask them to tell you specifically a few things they love about the way you look. You can also ask a close family member or friend their thoughts.

The most difficult thing to do is to trust what that person has to say. If your friend or spouse thinks you have nice hair, eyes, waistline…whatever, believe them.

The Benefits Of Changing Your Mind

When you commit to changing your mind and seeing yourself as the attractive person you are, it will have great impact on your relationships. Feeling good about yourself removes the negative thinking from your mind that makes it hard for you to receive love. If you have a poor self-view, you will struggle to go deeper in your relationships, especially your marriage.
I encourage you to do what is necessary to move towards a positive mindset about yourself. Also, it is just as important that you help your spouse feel attractive and good about who they are.

Keelie ReasonKeelie is married to her high school sweetheart, and they raise their three amazing boys together. She blogs about the marriage relationship at Love Hope Adventure. It is her passion to see couples grow in a deeper relationship that is satisfying.



Q&A with J: Why Doesn’t He Want Sex?

My inbox currently has several messages with the same theme — a wife longing for her husband to desire sexual intimacy as much as she does. It seems to be increasingly common. Here’s a sample of what these wives say:

#1 – Please can you help me with learning how to cope with my husband who has been telling me “no” to sex? Can you tell me how I can understand why he acts uninterested and says he is tired? I know this is common now. Wives having the higher drive. . . . It seems the tables have slowly turned and now I am the one who has to seduce him and initiate sex. I just want to feel wanted and loved.

#2 – When we got married, I was a little taken back by his lack of interest in intimacy. . . . I avoid talking to him about our sex life because it only frustrates him and he says “I just don’t know what’s wrong!” I understand this is completely out of our control, so I try to dismiss it and not let him know it bothers me. It brings up feelings of rejection when I “make a move”  and he isn’t in the mood, it brings up insecurities and feelings of being unattractive.

#3 – I honestly don’t know if we’d ever have sex if i didn’t initiate it. Still to this day, I almost always have to initiate. And it drives me crazy! Thankfully, your blog has helped me learn how to communicate a little better how i feel and what i want. But i feel like we have the same conversation over and over again. I have told him that I need him to initiate more often, and he’ll do it like once but then if I don’t do it the next time I feel like it would be forever before we’d do it again. I try to wait and let him initiate but then he doesn’t and i am just left feeling disappointed.

#4 – I am by far the higher drive spouse, and it has caused some strain in our sex life. . . . usually whenever I initiate anything it just makes everything worse because I end up crying too much (I know, it’s bad) and he ends up so stressed about it that he wants it even less. So, can I just adapt to his timetable and suck it up or would it be a bad idea to suppress myself?

I’ll deal with each of these specific emails in the future, but I wanted to cover the subject as a whole of why doesn’t he want sex?

Q&A with J: Why Doesn't He Want Sex

If you’re like me, and 99% of other women, you grew up believing that men wanted sex. Like really, really, really wanted sex. They craved it like a parched man in the middle of the Sahara desert.

Many of us had personal experience to back up this notion: Guys scanning you inappropriately, making suggestive comments, hitting on you, even pressuring for sex.

Even most Christian resources about sex emphasize the husband’s biological need and emotional desire for sex.

So when a wife gets married and her husband’s just not that into sex, she can find herself feeling the sting of rejectionwondering what’s wrong with him, wondering what’s wrong with her, dealing day after day, night after night with disappointment. Why doesn’t he want sex? And, more importantly, why doesn’t he want sex with her?

Let’s lay out some options for why he isn’t interested. Because I agree this is happening in marriages more and more.

Physical issues. Like low-drive wives, low-drive husbands might be facing physical issues that prevent their bodies from responding as they should. Some of the common culprits include low testosterone, depression, diabetes, and obesity. This is why the first step I typically recommend is seeing a doctor and discussing libido. It’s not going to do much good to request a lot more sex when his body simply won’t cooperate.

What’s particularly difficult for the male side of low libido is the stigma many men attach to seeing a doctor and/or admitting their low sex drive. But if you can get him to recognize the problem could be physical and easily resolved, he might get on board.

Pornography. The prevalence is porn seems to be a primary reason why many husbands are less engaged sexually in their marriages. It’s not that men suddenly want to look at naked women; rather, it took a lot more effort to do so in the past, and now it’s a couple of clicks on your phone or your computer . . . and you’re there. Now the greater effort is not seeking porn, but avoiding it.

Viewing porn retrains your brain to respond to imagery rather than experience. It’s also quicker and easier to achieve climax with your own hand. Unfortunately, this means there are too many husbands who learned sexual arousal through images and masturbation. Some continue this practice in marriage, but even those who don’t may feel like sex in marriage is a bit of a letdown — because they were wired for it to look and feel more like porn.

How do you combat the porn effect? The biblical prescription for change includes confession, remorse, requesting Divine help, repentance (changing direction), and adopting positive thoughts and actions. (See Psalm 51 for a great example — when David repented of his sexual sin). That means admitting the porn has had a negative effect, committing to no more porn, asking for God’s help, retraining your brain to the better habits of true sexual intimacy, and having accountability. (The accountability part is also in Psalm 51, at the beginning when it says Nathan confronted David.) It can take some time to turn things around, but husbands who have shed the porn trap and sought true sexual intimacy in marriage have no regrets — they know the superiority of God’s design for sex.

Stress. Since I started writing about higher-drive wives, I’ve decided this is actually a big part of the problem for low-drive husbands. It’s not that we have so much more stress now in our world. We just don’t have the same outlets men have historically had. Whether we gals understand it or not, men are built to engage the world in a physical, vigorous, adventurous way. Sure, these are stereotypes, and there are exceptions, but there’s some deep-down truth to it. Just ask a bunch of moms who’ve raised boys, and we’ll attest that even young boys tend toward more roughness and physicality.

Now put all those guys in schools or homes or workplaces with little opportunity to move around in big, hearty ways. How are men supposed to release their pent-up stress?  You’d think they might engage in the physicality of sex. But there’s effort and gentleness required in marital sex that many of today’s men don’t have the capacity to give. The stress simply wears them down. Frustration and fatigue set in. They might even turn to virtual ways of relieving stress, like shooter video games.

The lack of physical activity also affects testosterone levels (see physical issues above). Many societies simply don’t require husbands to exert the physical activity that would release his stress and fuel his masculinity. What’s the answer? Regular exercise is a start. Looking for ways to support his adventurousness might help. Little by little, increase the opportunities for him to flex his physicality.

Wives are freer to want sex. Here’s the last thing I want to point out: Some of the shift in drive is attributable to women feeling freer in our society to express their sexuality. In many eras and cultures, the standard message was not only that men wanted sex more, but that women weren’t supposed to want it all that much — certainly not good women. Thus, many women suppressed their sex drive, consciously or unconsciously. When she didn’t want it so much, he obviously wanted it more.

The new paradigm is that women want sex too. It’s refreshing that wives can express their sexuality more fully, although sometimes we’re drawn into bad messages about sex as well — like the Fifty Shades phenomenon. But no longer do many women feel “slutty” for having strong sexual desires; rather, they see it part of their natural physiology. When these women get married, they’re eager to finally have a place where they can fulfill their sexual longings.

And maybe some of those expectations are not realistic. For instance, these wives often expect a sexual happily-ever-after based on romance stories they’ve read or seen. Real-world sex in marriage is far better in the long run, but it does take some effort. Flex your sex muscle, sure, but recognize that there are two people involved in this relationship, and that means it won’t always be perfectly synchronized.

Like I said, I’ll deal with these wives’ specific questions later, but I wanted to clear up some reasons why I believe more and more marriages have higher-drive wives and lower-drive husbands.

Do you have any reasons to add? Do you have any wisdom on what has worked in your marriage to resolve the sex drive difference?

5 Ways to Celebrate My 500th Post!

This post right here is my 500th post on Hot, Holy & Humorous. Thanks to all my regular readers and visitors who have kept this blog going, challenged and encouraged me, and shared their stories of personal pain and marital victory. You are why I continue to engage in this important ministry.

To celebrate my 500th, I wanted to share five special treats with y’all.

5 Ways to Celebrate My 500th Post!


So what has attracted the most attention on Hot, Holy & Humorous? Here are the most-read blog posts of all time:

5. Showering and Bathing Together: Why You Should Try It. What?! This is number five? (A part of me wanted this post to shimmy down a little to make room for 4 Great Bible Stories About Sex that came in right behind it.) But this is indeed one of my most popular.

4. Getting Comfortable Being Naked with Your Husband. The number who’ve read this post is another reminder of the struggle many wives have with body insecurities and shyness about sex. Baring yourself before your husband, however, is a beautiful gift — to him and to yourself.

3. Oral Sex: How To. For a long time, this was top of the list. It’s moved down a little, but it’s still a very popular post with practical tips for giving fellatio (aka “blow jobs”).

2. Penis Size: From the Wife’s Point of View. If I had to bet, I’d say more husbands visit this post than wives. Because yeah, many men worry. And for the vast majority of them, they needn’t worry a bit.

1. What I Wish I’d Known before the Wedding Night. This was nice to see, because I like being among the biblically based resources out there for those getting started with sexual intimacy in marriage.


Written in the same format as Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Your Marriage, here’s a free five-day devotional for wives on Sex in Marriage.

Sex in Marriage Final CoverCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD


Where do I go from here? Here are five goals I have for the future of this marriage ministry.

  1. Speaking events. I’d planned to start speaking this fall, but it turns out I’ll be launching my speaking ministry in early 2016. I’m preparing my talks and materials now, so that any church that books me will get a quality presentation. Watch for news on that front!
  2. Q&A with J. The last two summers, I’ve hosted a Q&A with J. I extended that feature into the fall, and it’s been so well-received, I’ll be keeping it up. I have a queue of questions to cover, but if you have another one you want me to tackle, head over to Contact J and shoot me an email.
  3. Website update. I love the look of my website, so don’t expect the background or header to change. But this site functions entirely like a blog, and I want the website to be more interactive and navigable. Look for an update reflecting my movement from a personal blog to a marriage ministry.
  4. Another book. I have two more book ideas that have been rolling around in my head. In case anyone was wondering, yes, I will continue to write books as I feel called. I’ve started one of these books and plan to finish in 2016. Please pray I have enough time and godly wisdom so I can keep presenting positive resources for Christian marriages.
  5. More humor. This has felt like such a serious year since I added a Q&A post, in which many spouses are in heartbreaking situations. I believe in mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and trying to provide biblical answers. Yet I also believe there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) and that “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Having a good sense humor helps us get through life, and I’ll be looking for more ways to keep the humorous of Hot, Holy & Humorous a major part of my blog.


One lucky commenter will win not one, not two, but all three of my ebooks!
Intimacy Revealed Book CoverSex Savvy 300 x 450Final Book Cover - smaller

Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives
Behind Closed Doors: 5 Marriage Stories
Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage

But wait! I said a 5-book giveaway. What are the other two? Well, two of the marriage blogging wives who helped me so much from the beginning and through the years have donated copies of their ebooks to this giveaway! A big shout-out to Sheila Wray Gregoire and Julie Sibert. If you haven’t followed their blogs or checked out their resources, I encourage you to do so. They have wonderful wisdom on Christian marriage and sex. So here are the fourth and fifth books:

31 Days to Great Sex book cover

Pursuit of Passion larger









31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire
Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage by Jeffrey Murphy and Julie Sibert

Leave a comment at the end of this post, and you’ll be automatically entered. (Be sure to provide your email address, which will not appear on the site.) I’ll draw a winner on Friday, November 20, 10:00 p.m. CST.


For a long time, I’ve been calling my ever-logical husband “Spock” on this site. Believe me, it fits. And here’s a treat in which we sat down and answered five questions about our relationship and marriage.

And that’s it for POST #500! Woo-hoo!!! Thanks for being part of my celebration and this ministry. May God bless you and your marriage!

Embracing Our Bodies After the Babies Come with Jennifer Smith

What a treat we have today! Jennifer Smith of Unveiled Wife is here to share her thoughts on Feeling Beautiful. Jennifer has a very popular blog and a Facebook community of over 600,00! She shares marriage wisdom, daily prayers for your husband, and transparency about her own struggle from unhappily to happily married.

Also check out her book, Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband, in which she chronicles her marriage journey. I’m so thrilled to call Jennifer a friend and to have her address feeling beautiful after the babies come.

Embracing Our Bodies After the Babies Come with Jennifer Smith

I had my daughter six months ago, and my son just turned three. I can’t believe how fast they grow up. It feels like yesterday that I was holding my newborn baby boy in the hospital bed just after delivery.

It amazes me how God created our bodies to reproduce and give life. The process of carrying a child, labor and delivery are all together miraculous. Women are uniquely special, in that they are the beautiful part of creation that gets to experience the fullness of this miracle.

Although I have thanked God for the joy in my heart for my children and being given the gift to bear children, my body is also on my mind. The truth is that pregnancy and delivery are very traumatic experiences for our bodies to endure. Change happens. Whether the changes are slight or completely transform our bodies, it happens. Embracing motherhood can be easier than embracing the changes we face physically.

I personally have found myself emotional over the way my body is different now. I have been grateful for the opportunity to have my children, but I have to admit that frustration has also consumed my heart when I realize my body will never be the same. I have gained weight that has been difficult to get off. I have stretch marks and saggy skin. My clothes don’t fit the same. My body doesn’t even feel the same during physical intimacy with my husband.

When I see my body, I am confronted with a choice. I can be frustrated by the change or I can embrace it as my new normal, just like I had to adjust to my new role when I became a mom.

Our culture is not good at encouraging women to embrace the fullness of their bodies. Every advertisement and marketing scheme presents us with a message to be unrealistically better than we are. The world tells us we are imperfect but that we should strive to be perfect, when God tells us He has made us very good and to be good stewards of what He has give to us. Those are two very different messages. Listening to the right message will help us embrace our bodies after the babies come.

God’s truth is beautiful and necessary for every mother to know. He created our bodies, knowing that they would change. We should embrace the changes with joy and confidence. What is a stretch mark in comparison to the miracle of life? What is a few months to a year of recovery in comparison to a legacy being built?

When I accepted God’s truth that He ingeniously made my body to change the way it has after the babies have come, it helped me embrace my body. It helped me be okay with my new normal. It helped me to be intimate with my husband and allow him access to get to know me all over again.

Embrace your body. Don’t see the changes as a negative thing. They are a powerful thing. They are evidence of God’s beautiful design.

Unveiled Wife CoverBy God’s grace, Jennifer Smith created Unveiled Wife, a web-based ministry for wives, in March 2011. She publishes weekly marriage articles including encouragements, devotions, and prayers of the day, all geared toward empowering wives.

Jennifer has served in ministry alongside her husband, traveling as missionaries to Zambia, Malawi, Canada, and Nicaragua. She and her husband have been married for seven years and live in Central Oregon with their two children.

Q&A with J: “It’s Just a Boudoir Photo, Mom”

Today’s question is an interesting one. A newlywed wife shared something with her mother, which stirred up an emotional hurricane. Here’s her question:

My new husband and I had a couple’s wedding boudoir photo shoot the day after the wedding. (We waited till our wedding night to have sex.) Our pictures were tasteful and beautiful. I mentioned to my mother (60 yr old) about it, and she asked to see an example of what I was talking about. I sent her 1 picture with both of us, me in the bridal corset and everything I wore under the dress and him in underwear laying on a bed looking in each other’s eyes.

The response was as if we had made a hardcore porn flick to sell on the internet. I was told how embarrassed of me she was and how disappointed in how I turned out considering my conservative Christian upbringing. She could not fathom why I would do anything like that. Suggested that I should be embarrassed to step foot in church and pretty much did everything but call me a whore.

I just don’t know what to say to her now to combat all this. She questioned my husband’s salvation (a newer Christian) and suggested that he is a bad influence and I am unequally yoked. I was regaled with all the plans and hopes and dreams her and dad had had for my life…like missionary and pastors wife…had how short had fallen. Any suggestions on how to approach this?

sexy bride are preparing to wedding

Before I tackle the specific question, I want to point out that this couple waited until marriage to have sex, took the boudoir photos the day after the wedding, and wanted intimate yet tasteful photos. I’ve written about bridal boudoir photography, but I hadn’t covered couples’ photos like this. Actually, I think it’s a rather nice idea if approached properly.

But . . .

The problem arose when she shared the photo with Mom. First off: Hey, Mom, you should know better than to ask to see something called “couples boudoir photos”!

As I’ve said before, (most) parents want their grown children to have beautiful sexual intimacy in their marriages — but they don’t want to know anything specific. It’s like how my parents know I have this blog and books about Christian sex, and they’re pleased, but they do not want to read them. Even if you’re completely fine with what your kids are doing, you can’t erase all that personal stuff from your head. So parents, don’t ask.

But now for the questioner: Yes, I know it’s too late for you, sweet wife, but in the future and for others reading this, keep the boudoir photos to yourselves. I assume your reasons for taking them were to mark the beginning of your intimacy together, to have a reminder of your first day as a one-flesh couple, to relish the special bond represented by the marriage bed you share.

That’s all very lovely. But even though nothing was revealed, it can be awkward for a friend or family member to see you and your husband somewhat undressed. Be careful not to plant images in their heads they really don’t need.

However, Mom asked to see the photo, you complied, and now the pointed edge of her scathing critique has left a wound in your heart and your relationship. Let me reassure you that her attack on your faith was out of line. It is one thing to say, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you did that!” — because some people simply won’t get it — and a whole other thing to insult you and your husband personally with attacks on your character and commitment to Christianity.

Even if you were doing something wrong (which you weren’t), the way another Christian should approach the situation is with gentleness (Galatians 6:1) and dealing with the fault at issue (Matthew 18:15). I want you to understand this point because, putting yourself in your mother’s shoes of believing this was wrong, it still doesn’t give her — or any other Christian — permission to slander you in this way.

Yet you still have an obligation to treat her with kindness. That’s so hard when you’re personally attacked and emotionally wounded. But I tell it like it is here, and we don’t get excused for bad behavior on our part just because someone else did it first.

Remind yourself often that you are commanded to honor your mother (Exodus 20:12, Matthew 15:4, Ephesians 6:2-3); that you must respond with love (John 13:34-35Ephesians 4:2); and that agape love is active (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Honestly, I have times with certain people in my life when I recite the Fruit of the Spirit in my head like a lifeline. No matter how much someone pisses me off hurts me, I don’t want to forget who I am before God and my desire to live according to His commands.

So remember to be the daughter and Christian you want to be, rather than letting your own hurt become anger that lashes out and turns you and your family into enemies.

Now let’s get down to the real question: What to do now? Does treating your mother with honor mean you put up with her accusations and attacks? Nooooo!

It’s time to set some boundaries around your marriage. The decision to take couples boudoir photography was yours and your husband’s, and the photos are for your use and enjoyment. While it’s sad that your mother feels the way she does, she needs to know that you stand with your husband and your marriage.

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend assert in their groundbreaking book, Boundaries: “For marriage to work, the spouse needs to loosen her ties with her family of origin and forge new ones with the new family she is creating through marriage.” Setting appropriate boundaries means responding calmly but firmly to anyone who attempts to damage your marriage with hostile words or actions.

Likewise, in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, based on extensive marriage research, author John Gottman, Ph.D. states, “An important part of putting your spouse first and building this sense of solidarity is not to tolerate any contempt toward your spouse from your parents.” When a parent personally attacks your spouse, you should speak up in his defense.

“Mom, I understand your feelings about this, but my husband is a committed Christian who waited until our wedding night and treats me well.”

My husband has not been a bad influence on me. Rather, he loves me, and I hope you can learn to appreciate that.”

I will not stand here and let you insult my husband. If you continue, I’m going to have to leave.”

Stand up for yourself as well — reassuring her that you are the same person she has known and loved for all these years. One boudoir photo she doesn’t approve of does not change who you are.

“Mom, I know you see this as evidence of a problem, but I’m totally committed to my Christianity and to my marriage. Even if you don’t understand, I hope you can see past this to the person I really am.”

When things like this happen, it’s tempting to argue out all the points with her. But when the emotions run so high, it’s very unlikely you’ll get anywhere with such a conversation. It’s better to set boundaries so your family understands you’re only willing to discuss this issue, and any other problematic ones, if and when they can approach you with respect.

It also usually takes time and repeated reminders to get across that you really will not hang around for go-nowhere conflict or stand-here-and-take-it slander. Mud-slinging just leaves everyone covers in slimy dirt, and who wants that to be the tone of your family?

In the future, if she can address the subject more calmly and respectfully, you can discuss your reasons for wanting to do boudoir photography. You could even listen to your mom’s concerns, since she may have drawn conclusions that aren’t even correct (like who might see these photos). You can reassure her and perhaps help her to see your viewpoint. It doesn’t mean she’ll agree, but families can disagree about all kinds of things and remain close.

Finally, I want to point out that her reaction may have been extreme due her own wounds. I don’t know this for sure, but often when people have an over-the-top, freaked-out response, it’s because their own sensitive places got poked. If that’s possible, recognizing this might help you to give her a bit of grace while she works through emotional pain.

I don’t know what that wound might be in this case, but a different example (just to illustrate what I’m talking about) would be a mother who’s appalled by her daughter’s super-sexy lingerie . . . because her own husband looked at porn with similarly dressed women. In her mind, that links her daughter to porn stars, which could bring out a negative overreaction. It wouldn’t be okay for her to berate her daughter, but it would at least make her response understandable.

As pastor James MacDonald has often said, “There is no pain like family pain.” It is a unique experience to be in the storm of family conflict — and especially difficult when your family of origin is pitted against your chosen family through marriage. But many have navigated the turbulent seas, reestablished calm, and enjoyed the blessing of having two families who care about them deeply.

I pray this is your outcome.