Tag Archives: Juli Slattery

Setting the Right Priorities in Your Marriage (and Your Life)

Pencil marking off list items + blog title

If you follow my blog regularly, you might have wondered if I’d fallen off the face of the earth. After all, the last time I put up a post was over two weeks ago.

You really don’t want to hear the whole story, but suffice it to say that I had three massive projects that all ended up with deadlines in those two weeks. And in the middle of that, I hosted my lovely friend and fellow podcaster, Bonny Burns of OysterBed7, and we attended the Authentic Intimacy Conference in San Antonio (with Dr. Juli Slattery).

J. Parker and Bonny Burns at the Authentic Intimacy Conference

One of those projects caught me by surprise, and a second one ended up being far more work than I’d anticipated, so I hadn’t planned well for this disruptions to my schedule. Sounds like life, eh?

But whether you’re in the midst of an overwhelming workload or a season of struggle or others needing your ever-so-precious time, you have to make choices. How do you set the right priorities?

When I ended up with a few minutes to spare, I didn’t blog here. I could have, but instead I offered to snuggle up with my husband on the couch and watch a show or go out to eat dinner with the family. I called back the friend who’d been unable to get a hold of me and asked how things were going with her. I chatted with my sister and my son on the phone. I went to church, worshiped with fellow believers, and attended Bible class. I headed to the grocery store, did laundry, made a cup of tea for myself and my hubby.

Each and every day, we’re faced with choices on how to use our time, our resources, our effort. People talk a lot about proper priorities, but how many of us are really living according to the ones we think we should have?

Each and every day, we're faced with choices on how to use our time, our resources, our effort. Click To Tweet

Most of the time, this blog is a high priority for me. I am passionate about passion, I care about your marriages, and I believe God has tasked me to do this ministry.

But these past two weeks, what I seemed to be hearing from Him instead was to not worry so much about the blog and attend to my marriage and my daily life. It’s not that Hot, Holy & Humorous doesn’t matter — I certainly believe it does! — but J. Parker herself isn’t necessary for anyone’s salvation or marital health. That’s God’s job, and I’m just here trying to do my part.

Where I am necessary is as a wife to my husband, a mother to my sons, a member of my church, and a friend to those with whom I’m close.

What about you? Have you really thought about how someone else could teach that Bible class or take a meal to another family? How if you didn’t redecorate the living room, life would be okay? How you could skip out on a social event or even a business meeting, and people would cope?

But if you skip out on your marriage, won’t there be real consequences? If you don’t prioritize your relationship with God, how will you suffer? If you aren’t there for your family, what will be missing in their lives (and yours)?

Likewise, I come here all the time saying that you can’t skip out on the sexual intimacy in your marriage and expect to have a good marriage. Sex isn’t the icing on the cake; it’s an important ingredient in the cake. But have you made it a priority?

You might suspect that within those two weeks, despite all the busyness, my husband and I did not deprive each other (see 1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Because I believe in the importance of sex to our marriage, and I’ve seen that this special intimacy brings us closer in other ways.

I will return on Thursday, hopefully right back on schedule from here on out. But while I missed you all, I don’t regret choosing the priorities I chose. Because honestly, what kind of marriage blogger would I be anyway if I neglected my own marriage and family to write another post that you can live two weeks without?

Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery?

I rarely re-run posts. But this past week, I was reading an article from Juli Slattery on Is It Wrong to Get Plastic Surgery? She did an excellent job covering the questions involved with such a big decision.

FashionHowever, Juli Slattery mentions that she’s considered plastic surgery and decided against it. I also considered plastic surgery, and did it. So I wanted to revisit the topic and explain my own thoughts on whether it’s okay to have plastic surgery, from someone who went through it.

First inward, then outward. I have a friend who lost 90+ pounds in a year and went from obese to oh-babe! How did she manage that? I think it’s because she got her inner self right first. She stopped looking at herself in the mirror and seeing a fat person. Instead, she saw the beautiful woman inside and decided she was worth something better. Once she believed in herself, willing to see herself as God saw her, she felt empowered to do the hard work of changing her diet and exercise routine so that she realized her goals.

That’s often how body image improves — not by fixing the external parts first, but rather by appreciating the unique way God knitted you together (Psalm 139:13). You are wonderfully made, beauty! If you’re looking for plastic surgery to resolve your inner self-image issues, you’ll likely be disappointed. Satisfaction with who you are must come first from within. It’s from an understanding of who God created you to be.

Those poor women who have procedure after procedure after procedure never get this. They’re always looking for another outside fix for what really ails them inside. Get your priorities straight and work on your inner self first. It’s only from a position of inner, emotional health that you can make the right decision on what to do to improve your body for health or appearance.

Some things really are a matter of degree. Some Christians believe that it is wrong to have plastic surgery, that altering your appearance is going against God’s design.

Yet we do plenty of everyday things that involve aesthetic reasons, like bracing our kids’ teeth and wearing make-up and coloring our hair. Plus, we correct appearance that goes awry, like skin grafts after fire damage or breast implants after a mastectomy. Before announcing that all plastic surgery is off-limits, we might want to pause and ask what appearance-altering steps we’ve taken and what makes those okay and not others.

Because honestly, some things are a matter of degree. Eating is perfectly fine, but the Bible certainly warns against gluttony. Jesus attended a wedding with wine, but drunkenness is always spoken against in scripture. A little spice in the bedroom is rather wonderful, but an obsession with more and more kink becomes unhealthy. Likewise, some enhancements of our appearance would seem just fine, while extreme changes can become problematic.

And the question is then: What constitutes “extreme”? Is it numerous procedures? Surgery itself? Any changes to your appearance?

I suspect most people would agree on where the ends of the continuum are, but it’s that middle section of what’s a-okay that we struggle with. And we should. We should struggle to answer that question. Because if we are considering something as invasive as surgery, we need to ask some hard questions of ourselves and ensure that our choices honor God.

But I also suspect that my answer of where to draw the line might be different from the answer of another Christian whom I love and respect. And that’s where our own soul-searching and conscience come to bear.

For you, not someone else. I did not get bigger breasts for my husband. In fact, my husband was originally opposed to me having breast augmentation, because he was concerned about me undergoing surgery of any kind that wasn’t absolutely necessary (that sweet man). We talked about the pros and cons for a while, and he agreed with my conclusion and supported my decision. But I didn’t do it for him. I did it for me.

I’m always taken aback by the number of women who have plastic surgery as a “gift” to their man. And the number of men who request that. Having plastic surgery because you don’t feel like enough for your lover isn’t a great reason. Indeed, it’s likely to make you feel that you don’t measure up generally — that you’re only acceptable if you can “correct” whatever external appearance issues you have. And love looks beyond that.

Of course I wanted my husband to have more to handle in the bedroom, but that wasn’t my ultimate reason. My husband had already chosen me — flat chest and all. For most husbands, it’s about how much they love us and the feminine form itself. So as long as we wives show up (especially naked), they’re reasonably happy. We don’t have to look like magazine models or waste time and money fixing imagined flaws.

When considering plastic surgery, ask why. Is it for your own convenience and confidence or to feel like you measure up to an unrealistic standard for the sake of someone else? At the end of the day, you will be the one having surgery, you will be the one living with the results, you will be the one changed. So make sure it’s what you want.

Obviously, I wanted to have plastic surgery, I made the decision to do so, and I do not regret it. I’ve been open on my website about my own doubts about plastic surgery, my process and reasons for deciding to augment, and my concerns about jumping in too eagerly to solve body image issues. I’d like to hear your perspective.

When do you believe it’s okay for Christians to have plastic surgery? Have you had any procedures? Why did you choose to do it and what was your experience?