Tag Archives: Generous Wife

Truly Beautiful with Lori Byerly

What can I say about Lori Byerly? She’s been a champion for godly marriage and healthy sexual intimacy for years, on both The Marriage Bed (a site run with her husband) and The Generous Wife. Early on in my blogging, I was delighted to connect with her and find such wisdom, encouragement, and beauty.

Lori has influenced me in many ways, including the post I wrote about 3 G-Words to Improve Your Marriage. Generosity definitely had to make the cut. If you’re looking for daily tips and insight for your overall marriage, I strongly encourage you to check out her site and follow her on social media.

In the meantime, let’s hear what she has to say about feeling beautiful.

Truly Beautiful with Lori Byerly

When I think of someone beautiful, the first person that comes to mind is my grandmother.

As a child, she was so good to me. Back then she was in her sixties and seventies with white hair, plenty of wrinkles, and a comfortable body just right for hugging grandchildren. She made the most amazing biscuits and gravy from scratch, and I knew she prayed for me every night before bedtime. I was special in her eyes, and she was special in mine. She was truly beautiful.

It’s hard for me to reconcile this kind of beauty with the beauty found in Cosmo or reality TV. How do you compare the latest color in lipstick to a hug that says you are wanted? How do you compare the airbrushed figure of a model to the body of a woman who has birthed several children, whose arms have cuddled, held, and comforted?

At its heart, I think this is a clash of kingdom values.

The kingdom of the world values outer beauty. If you have outer beauty you have value. Work hard to make your outside look great!

Now let me say, I think it’s good to take care of your appearance. There is nothing wrong with a change in hairstyle or buying pretty new shoes. I love it when my husband notices my new earrings or tells me I’m pretty.

But appearance is not worth. It does not represent all of who you are.

Appearance is not worth. It does not represent all of who you are. - Lori Byerly Click To Tweet

Outer beauty is a gift that fades in time.

The beauty of the Kingdom is timeless and never fades.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4 ESV

Jesus has a special kind of beauty. As we become more like Him we grow in this truest form of beauty.

I don’t know if my grandmother ever knew how beautiful she was. She came from a different generation and was the practical sort.

My grandmother had this lasting kind of beauty, the kind that makes a profound difference in the life of a child. The kind that tends flower gardens and feeds hungry people. The kind that serves and stands for things of value. I wish I had time to tell you the stories of her life and how many people she touched by simple acts of kindness and love.

Like my grandmother, I will never grace the cover of a glamor magazine. I have graying hair, a growing array of wrinkles, and a body that’s just right for hugging grandchildren. At times I struggle with my culture’s views on beauty, but when I “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” or when I remember my grandmother’s sweet beauty, I know that I am enough and that I am beautiful.

Lori ByerlyLori Byerly is a wife, mom and grandmother. She blogs at The Generous Wife (the-generous-wife.com) and works as a marriage and sex educator (themarriagebed.com) with her husband, Paul. They live full time in an RV (thegenerousjourney.com), traveling the US, encouraging folks to grow their marriages.

3 G-Words to Improve Your Marriage

I was recently chatting with a fellow marriage blogger, the marvelous Sheila Gregoire, and talking about my own marriage story — how my relationship went from terrible to terrific. I’ve written before about what made the difference in my own marriage. The summary version is I stopped merely seeking changes from my husband and praying for God’s intervention, and instead prioritized living out God’s Word day-by-day.

Did I do it perfectly? Of course not. I still struggle in many areas. But through the years, I’ve learned how important is to attend to three actions that all begin with the letter G.  So here are 3 G-words to improve your own marriage.

Wedding Rings & Cross

Grace. Your husband isn’t perfect, and he will not meet all of your expectations or desires. For years, I piled up the slights, the neglect, etc. I felt my husband heaped upon me, and then asked him to change and prayed God would make him. Couldn’t my husband see how much I needed his help, his reassurance, his romance? Why instead did I get his clutter, his frustration, his avoidance?

Strange isn’t it? How I wanted grace from my husband, but I wasn’t offering grace to him?

I’ve learned the beauty of giving your mate the benefit of the doubt. If your husband has an annoying habit, it likely isn’t personal; he’d forget things or leave his stuff out or fail to match the kids’ clothes whether you were there or not. He may not handle your stressful day well because he had a stressful day of his own. He may not want to hang out with you if you’re always nagging the poor man. Thinking about how I treated my husband when we were at our worst, I wouldn’t have wanted to be with me either.

When I turned my heart to giving him grace, a weight fell off my own heart, and I began to see my husband in a different light. He was struggling like I was and needed my love and reassurance. I no longer saw all his failings, but his effort and care for me. We receive so much grace from our Heavenly Father, can we give a little grace to our spouse?

Generosity. I love the mission that Paul and Lori Byerly, Generous Husband and Generous Wife, have made of bringing this concept to the forefront. All too often in our Christian walk, we ask how much we must do. And in our marriages, we ask what minimum actions will get us what we want from our spouse. But the attitude God calls us to is generosity.

In my own marriage, I was stingy in certain ways. I didn’t want to pick up extra slack around the house for fear of being taken for granted or treated like a doormat. I didn’t offer help when his hands were full, because he hadn’t done everything I wanted that last time when my hands were full. I didn’t have sex with my husband on those days I stored up anger about something he’d done (whether or not he knew it).

Ah, but the wondrous rewards of going the extra mile! (Matthew 5:41-42). When I shifted in my marriage to looking for ways to show love, I discovered the joy of serving, I took personal pride in being my hubby’s helpmate, and his appreciation of me increased. I was no longer doing only what I had to do, but demonstrating that he was important enough for me to be generous with my time, my efforts, myself. That generosity even spilled into the bedroom, where I became freer with letting him see and touch me and with touching and pleasuring him.

Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” We tend to focus on that first sentence, the promise that if we give it good, we’ll get good back. But look at the measure we’re supposed to use in how we treat others: “pressed down, shaken together, running over” — such that’s it pouring out over the sides. Now that’s generosity. Do we use that measure in our marriages?

Growth. You’ve got three choices in marriage: Your relationship is getting worse, stagnating, or getting better. Now believe me, I understand the desire to just hang in there at times — to batten the hatches, hunker down, and ride the storm. I’ve had those moments in my marriage. But sometimes we people of faith settle for staying in our marriage, when we should be striving for building our marriage.

We should expect to steadily grow toward better understanding of one another, deeper intimacy, and maturing of our faith and relationship. Indeed, growth is one of the benefits of being married (“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” – Proverbs 27:17).

You will likely have ups and downs in your marriage, but if one were to track the whole of the marriage, there should be discernible growth. Maybe your years would be a timeline like this:

Ups & Downs of Marriage - timeline

Despite years of struggle, I can definitely say that we are more mature, more intimate, more satisfied in our marriage now than we were when we began. We have sought and experienced growth. And it’s been well-worth our effort.

I wouldn’t be on this blog chatting it up about marriage if I hadn’t learned a thing or two about making one work. And really applying these biblical principles of grace, generosity, and growth can make a big difference in a flailing or stagnant marriage. Or even improve a good one.

What guiding biblical principles have helped your marriage improve?

6 Things I Love about Being Married

Warning: Don’t ever send me a chain letter, because I’m that person who inevitably breaks the link. I’m terrible at playing tag that way, making sure the relay baton gets to the next person in line.

However, when an interesting blog thread comes along, I don’t mind taking the baton and running my leg of the race. So when I saw posts on what’s wonderful about being married, I decided to throw in with my own list. First, here are the posts I’ve seen so far:

Black and Married with Kids – 4 Awesome Things I Love about Being a Married Man

Generous Husband – 7 Awesome Things I Love about Being a Married Man

Generous Wife – I Love Being Married

Now here’s mine:

1. He does the stuff I’m not good at doing. My hubby takes on some tasks I’m not crazy about and he doesn’t mind so much — like mowing and edging our rather large lawn, killing any roaches that (despite our best repellent efforts) manage to squeeze their disgusting bodies into our home, getting the stuff on the high shelves that would require a step ladder or a pogo stick for me to reach, lifting anything so heavy I’d risk an emergency room visit to attempt it, and teaching our kids how to master sports I happily watch but don’t play. Likewise, I do stuff he’s not good at, and we end up doing more together than we could accomplish alone.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

2. He keeps me emotionally grounded. Not surprisingly, I’m more emotionally expressive than my husband. It’s typical in many marriages, but even more so in mine, given that I’ve fondly called my husband “Spock” here on this blog many times over. (Because he’s sooooo logical.) Having to cooperate with someone who has a different personality can help you work on the weaknesses of your own. His solid anchor personality keeps me from going overboard.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

3. He models to my kids what it is to be a man. I’ve studied the species of Man all my life, but there’s still a lot I don’t understand. Thankfully, my husband provides the role model of what it’s like to be a man — everything from quality burping to courteously opening doors for women to using physical strength for protection rather than violence. He doesn’t simply show himself as a man, but a godly man. Whenever I list what I love most about my husband, his personal integrity hits my Top 5.

“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them” (Proverbs 20:7, NLT).

4. He is an amazing provider. Day in and day out, my husband goes to work and provides a living for his family. There is genuine security in knowing that my hubby’s got us covered. Moreover, want to know why I am able to devote time to this ministry? It’s because my husband pays the bills. Of course, I’d still want to do whatever I could to support and encourage healthy sexuality in marriage, but it takes time and money (yes, money) to maintain this blog, put out a newsletter, and write a book. I’m sure I could not have done as much as I have without my husband’s financial provision. It’s been a huge benefit of my marriage.

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

5. He’s fun to hang out with. Companionship is among the reasons often given for wanting to marry, and it ranks high on my list too. I enjoy spending time with my husband. We have good conversations, enjoy many of the same things, share affection, and make each other laugh. Indeed, my husband’s word play and dry humor crack me up more than just about anything.Yes, it’s an ongoing struggle to attend to this part of our relationship,when daily demands can easily intrude. But we’ve learned how important it is to prioritize our companionship.

“This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem” (Song of Songs 5:16b).

6. He sexually rocks my world. I’m still in awe that I get to sleep next to a totally hot guy — Every. Single. Night. How did that happen?! And on top of that, we make love. Deep, exciting, fulfilling, earth-shaking love. Which leaves me quivering with delight. From getting to look at his beautiful body to feeling his affectionate touches to having amazing physical intimacy, my husband sexually rocks my world. I just love this perk of marriage.

“I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).

What do you love about being married? What about your marriage has enhanced your life?

10 Confessions of a Marriage & Sex Blogger

On Monday, Kate of One Flesh Marriage posted 10 Confessions of a Marriage Blogging Wife. On Tuesday, Lori of Generous Wife followed suit with Confession Time. (Update! On Wednesday, Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard shared 10 Confessions of a Marriage Blogging Wife, and on Thursday, Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage shared 10 Confessions of a Sex Blogger.)

Kate tagged me to add my thoughts. I’d previously written on Confessions of a Sex-Happy Wife, but today I’ll talk about being a sex-blogging wife.

1. I have a mild panic attack every time I look at the stats for Hot, Holy & Humorous. My original intention when starting the blog was to help a person here or there out in the universe who might stumble across my site. But now seeing how many people have visited, commented, and shared their stories makes my knees buckle and my brain go, “Really, God?”

2. I hate that I don’t have time to reply to every comment anymore. But I don’t. One of the consequences of this blog growing and reaching out is that I simply can’t get to everything anymore. I do try, but sometimes a comment falls through the cracks and I discover that days after. Then I feel bad . . . because I do care. I really, really do care.

3. BUT life doesn’t stop while I’m blogging. I do not have a housekeeper, a chef, a nanny, an accountant, a chauffeur, or a personal masseuse. In addition to blogging, I keep house, parent children, cook dinners, manage finances, volunteer in ministry at my church, and write fiction.

Murder of Roger Ackroyd book cover

Enjoy mysteries?
Be sure to read this classic!

4. Oh, and I read. I love to read. I feel like I should be reading more non-fiction, especially marriage and sexuality books, but I find myself reading about one of those for every 4-5 novels I tackle. I just love story. My favorites are mysteries and young adult fiction, although I read in almost every genre.

5. I do not run out of topics. I get asked this from time to time, and you might think that at some point, I will have covered everything I want to say about marriage and sexuality. At this point, however, I usually have about 10 topics outlined in advance. Moreover, readers suggest topics with their questions and comments, and current events inform and inspire what I should talk about. I also pray that God will direct me, and if I feel Him nudging him in a particular direction, I go there.

6. The Anonymous thing. This is one of the other most-asked questions: Will I always remain anonymous? My answer is no. Unlike superheroes and intelligence officers, I do expect that someday you’ll all know who “J” is. However, circumstances in life remain that make me unwilling to reveal at this moment. When will I “come clean”? It’s not so much a time as when certain events in my life line up, so we’ll see. But I promise Elizabeth of Warrior Wives that I will let her know before I go live with the information, since she has said that it drives her a little insane not to know who these anonymous authors are. (Hi, Elizabeth, if you’re reading this!)

Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage

My good friend, Julie

7. I am friends with fellow marriage bloggers. A small number of people know who I am. I have connected personally with Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage. Also, it was a reasonable requirement to be a part of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association to reveal my name and location to the core team, which includes Paul and Lori Byerly of The Marriage Bed, Generous Husband, and Generous Wife. Even those fellow marriage bloggers who don’t know my real name “know” me because I really am in person exactly the way I am with them in email and online. What you see, or rather read, is what you get.

8. My family doesn’t think I’m as funny as my readers do. Speaking of the “what you see is what you get” thing, I crack jokes and use wordplay here at my house as well in an attempt to lighten the mood and find humor in life. I do get laughs from the hubs and kids at times, but I don’t get the “I laughed so hard, soda came out of my nose” comments (thanks for that, Paul). I wonder if it’s like Jesus saying that no one’s a prophet in his hometown (Luke 4:24). I tell my family that I’m funny, that people say I’m funny, but I get a lot of huh looks from the gallery. Maybe the person who also gives you a honey-do or chore list just isn’t seen as being all that hilarious.

Good grammar is sexy. t-shirt

Another t-shirt I need.

9. I am a grammar girl. I love language and grammar. Our rich language is one of the things that separates man from animal. We can convey so much more because of our ability to describe our environment, express ideas and emotions, and tell stories. Good grammar and punctuation help to make sure readers receive the message intended. For instance, it’s apparently been argued for many years whether Jesus meant in Luke 23:43:

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (NIV, and the way translated by most) or
“Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

See the difference? Commas were not in the original at all. (If only Luke had me to proofread for him! And don’t even get me started on the Apostle Paul needing an editor to break up those impossibly-long sentences. LOL.)*

The point is, I hate when I see an egregious spelling or grammar error in a post on my blog. So if you see anything amiss in that department, go ahead and speak up. I will not take offense at being corrected. I want to do whatever I can to effectively get my message across.

10. My favorite book of the Bible is not Song of Songs, although I refer to it a lot here and I think it rocks. I don’t know anyone else who picks my favorite book: Ecclesiastes. It’s right before the Song of Songs, but it’s not nearly as uplifting as that book of romantic love. Yet, as a pessimist by nature, I love the inclusion of this book in the Bible. When things in life don’t make sense, Ecclesiastes reminds me what is most important, especially the conclusion to simply “Fear God and obey his commands” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). My favorite verse in the book? Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Confession time over. What surprised you? What else do you want to know about being a sex-blogging wife?

*Note: In no way do I believe such issues detract from the veracity and authority of Scripture. Moreover, Jesus can go to Paradise whenever He wants, and I can’t wait to be there with Him.

All for One, and One for All: Advocating Godly Sexuality

Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t toot your own horn”? The message is that you shouldn’t brag about yourself. Let your successes speak for themselves. The admonition to be humble in this regard makes it hard at times for me to share when someone else out there has said good things about HHH.

Grow Your Marriage Award 2012But I was blown away by this comment from Lori at Generous Wife when she awarded Hot, Holy & Humorous a 2012 Grow Your Marriage Award:

“Three cheers for the Three Musketeers of Sexuality! These gals routinely turn out good material on marriage and sexuality. Their ability to talk about tough subjects amazes and blesses me. And they make me laugh . . . a lot.

Julie of Intimacy in Marriage
Sheila of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
‘J’ of Hot, Holy & Humorous”

Bam! Did you hear the sound of me falling over in amazement? To be in the category with Julie and Sheila was too delightful not to share. But then I got to thinking about “three musketeers of sexuality”? What was so appealing about that phrase?

While I’ve not read the novel by Alexandre Dumas, I am familiar with the Three Musketeers as being friends of the main character D’Artagnon. The three friends were inseparable, members of a military guard called the Musketeers, and lived by the motto “All for one, and one for all.”

There is strength in numbers. The Bible says that “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) and that “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).

One of the blessings of having this blog has been discovering others willing to address biblical sexuality and advocate for (lots of) sex in marriage. When you link with others to pursue a mission for God, your impact doesn’t increase like addition — it multiplies.

Even in the two years since I’ve been online writing about sexuality, many voices have joined the chorus of Christians desiring better marriages and intimacy that honors God. I pray that as the voices grow in number and volume, our world reaches the “tipping point,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.” Unfortunately, forces in our world have weakened marriage substantially, and we need to tip over to the side of preserving and strengthening marriage — in part by strengthening the intimate relationship between husband and wife.

But moving back from a big world point of view, we all need three musketeers of sexuality in our own lives and churches. At times I’ve heard from a reader who is eager to tackle this topic with biblical insight within their church, but the leadership or members aren’t cooperative or simply ready. Some wives have no one to talk to about their sexual struggles or with whom to celebrate the beauty of sexuality. You could use someone nearby with an “all for one, and one for all” attitude.

I contemplate now and then what we can do to foster this advocacy. How can we get more (and more and more) people on board to address the topics of purity before marriage, preparing for intimacy in marriage, addressing issues of sexuality in marriage, and broadening and deepening your sexual experience within marriage — all according to God’s Word? Who are those people who might simply need a nudge to step forward and volunteer for the Musketeers?

My own confession is that I had largely given up addressing this topic among my friends and within the church before starting my blog. I had hit the wall of resistance so many times that my confidence and my forehead were bruised. I am making a resolution in 2013 to find more musketeers in my own area.

I plan to keep fencing alongside Sheila and Julie — women who began blogging before me and who have inspired and encouraged me in numerous ways. Knowing that they, and others, are out there promoting godly sexuality gives me confidence to speak up for marriage with boldness. But I also see the benefit of having support locally — creating that synergy within your church to reclaim the blessing of sexuality for the marriages in your midst.

Please pray for me as I approach my own church with some ideas, and then pray for what role you should play in your area to advocate for godly sexuality. If you have the gift of speaking and biblical wisdom on this topic, ask for opportunities to share what God says about sex. If you have struggled with sexuality, ask for access to helpful resources for married couples in your church or local area. If you have special knowledge (a physician, a counselor, etc.), see how you can use your expertise to positively impact marriages.

Let’s join together to be the Three Thousand Musketeers . . . and beyond. In fact, I think our motto should be “All for THE ONE, and THE ONE for all.”

“And [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 1 Corinthians 5:15