Tag Archives: marriage

Bonjour from France!

Just a shout-out to all of you following and reading the Hot, Holy & Humorous blog! I miss y’all and posting here. But I’m actually on a vacation/business trip. And while I’ve tried to write posts and get them up, the internet in the French countryside is spotty at best. There are short windows of time when the connection is working, but I simply can’t get a whole post — with the research, links, pictures, etc. — done with this service.

I will say that if you can manage to travel, whether it’s all the way to a French Chateau or just up the road to a state park, studies show that it’s for good for couples to experience new activities together. You get the same brain buzz that you had when you were first falling in love. I definitely plan to bring Spock with me next time I travel to Europe (miss you, hubby!).

Why not stoke your marital romance? And if you need more ideas, I encourage you to check out The Romantic Vineyard blog.

Where I’m at now:

Picture of French countryside chateau

Chateau Les Carasses, Languedoc, France

Thinking of and praying for you!

It All Comes Down to This

This has been a hard week in the United States, with the death of citizens and police officers and a lot of mourning, reflection, and conversation. I’ve seen repeated pleas on Facebook from people longing for our citizens to get past this violence and move toward peace and understanding for one another.

After hearing the news, my own fingers hovered above my keyboard as the Facebook status prompt stared back at me. I wanted to say my own piece, to add something brilliant to the discussion.

But I didn’t. I didn’t know what I could add to the discussion. Rather, I just kept thinking that we need to somehow return to the basics.

I see it in violent conflicts across the world, in racial tension here and elsewhere, in churches with internal battles, in our workplaces, communities, and homes. And I see it all the time in marriages. How we miss the opportunity to do what’s right because we don’t really have the foundational principles running through our lives.

Frankly, it’s why my own marriage struggled for so long. Sure, I could break down all the reasons we had problems, explain the inherent difficulties of merging two lives from disparate backgrounds, and on and on. I could even say that God wasn’t answering my many, many prayers that He heal my marriage. Except that God and I know better.

What ultimately improved my marriage was me getting back to the basics. I had to learn how to daily treat my husband the way God wanted me to treat him — with patience, kindness, love, honor, selflessness. And, believe me, I’m still on the journey of learning. As imperfect as I am, I have a long way yet to go.

I know some of you are struggling through some great hardships in your marriage. And you have no idea how things can turn around. I’ve heard some of your stories, and there are some heartbreaking challenges you face. You’re probably questioning your spouse’s love, your marriage’s future, and perhaps even your own faith.

When we go through crises — whether a country faced with cop/citizen conflict or a despairing marriage — we might do best to breathe and think about returning to basics. What can really make a difference in the moment.

Jesus gave the standard, and it’s one I now try to live my life by. You probably know it as The Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).

Marriage Memory Verse 7-9-16

Matthew 7:12 is another source for this statement, and in that passage Jesus says that principle sums up all the law and the prophets. Yep, it all comes down to this — treating others the way you want them to treat you.

What would that look like in your marriage today? What if you really listened to your spouse the way you want to be listened to? What if you valued his opinions the way you want him to value yours? What if you tried to meet his intimacy needs the way you want him to meet yours? What if you prayed for him the way you want him to pray for you? What if you sought the very best for your beloved the way you want him to seek your best?

I give all kinds of advice on this blog, trying to break down what the loving response looks like in a particular situation. And I find inspiration and practical help from others who do the same. But the foundational principle for everything I say comes down to the Golden Rule: Treat your husband or wife with the same loving care you’d like him/her to give you.

Today, let’s all ask ourselves how we’re doing with that. I bet every one of us could do better.

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Are You His Type?

I’m too short for my husband. Our nine-inch different in height means I must stand on tiptoes and he must lean down for us to kiss one another’s lips. When we dance, our bodies don’t quite line up, which I try to compensate for with higher-heels (or higher-heeled cowboy boots). When I ask him to reach stuff on the top shelf, he sometimes looks at me like, “How short are you?” Answer? Not tall. And quite possibly shorter than any of the girls he dated before me.

It would be more convenient if I were a few inches taller. And I think he’d like not bending his neck down so far. But, despite repeated prayers to God when I was a teenager, I stopped growing at some point and that was that.

Am I his type? Not when it comes to height.

Are You His Type?

I’ve heard from wives who believe that their husbands dating women previously with different appearances or noticing other women now who differ greatly from how they look…means hubby doesn’t really like their body or beauty type.

From talking to men, reading their comments and emails, and studying research and information about their “species,” I have some thoughts on that.

He wouldn’t have asked you out, dated you all that time, and married you if he wasn’t attracted to you. By and large, this is truth. A guy might have a brief encounter with a woman he doesn’t find all that physically appealing, but he wouldn’t invest all that time and effort with his eventual wife if he didn’t think she was worth eyeballing, touching, and becoming intimate with. As visual as many men are (and yes, I know not all, and women can be visual too), they are motivated to find a woman who is visually pleasing.

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. What appeals to one person won’t necessarily appeal to another. If your body type is not the typical definition of gorgeous in our (twisted) society, that doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful. You, my dear, have your own physical, and even sexual, appeal. What matters most is you believing the truth that God created you as a beautiful woman and that you are beautiful in your husband’s eye.

Your attractiveness is strongly affected by your inner beauty. When men are surveyed on which character is more appealing from the TV series Gilligan’s Island, the sexy bombshell Ginger typically loses to the sweet, bubbly, and personable Mary Ann. Sure, the actress who played Mary Ann was pretty, but if you’d switched those actresses’ roles, I think the Mary Ann character would still win out. Because who she is makes her more attractive. Likewise, I remember a conversation with several girls in college about a guy who wasn’t objectively good-looking, but he was so nice, funny, and engaging that every one of us agreed he was highly attractive. Who you are impacts how you appear to those around you, especially your husband. If you’re a happy wife who fights the frump and makes him feel loved, odds are you’re hot in his heart.

Confidence is appealing. Let me be frank, ladies: Wives who constantly complain about their appearance, demand heaps of reassurance, and argue with their husband’s opinion can wear a guy out. Wives who own their beauty, present themselves with confidence, and yes, ask for reassurance when they need it are more appealing. Of course, you won’t immediately flip a switch and have a shot of confidence wash over you. You must intentionally work toward dealing with your self-consciousness, self-doubt, self-flagellation to become more comfortable with your body and your beauty.

Back to my height-challenged existence…

I used to think that my husband got cheated by not getting the tall woman he, I assumed, wanted. I wished God would grant me a belated wish, a medical miracle, and make me grow a few more inches.

But honestly, I’ve learned that my husband doesn’t see it that way. And I no longer view myself negatively either. For him, it’s just a little bending to kiss the woman he loves, a slight adjustment for us to dance in tandem, and appreciation of a physical characteristic that defines me. Even as my body changes – spreading a bit in the middle – he’s in love with the woman he sees, knows, touches, chose.

And why wouldn’t he feel that way? I feel that about him. My husband is not objectively as physically attractive as he was twenty years ago, but to me, he’s absolutely the best looking guy in every room I enter. He’s my type and I’m his type, because our love for each other means: “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Songs 4:7).

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Star Wars and Fighting for Your Marriage

If you have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens and want to be completely surprised by all parts of the plot, DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT read any further. Save this post and read it after you’ve seen the film. Because I am going to mention something from the movie — which is not integral, but I hate when people give away spoilers without warning.

So…SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned. This post will mention something specific from the newest Star Wars installment.

Star Wars and Fighting for Your Marriage

In the first trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI), there was one stand-out romance — between Princess Leia and Han Solo. Their obvious chemistry, care for one another, and personal character made them a good match. After seeing the originals, I was certain they rode off into the sunset and lived a happily ever after.

Princess Leia & Han Solo from Return of the Jedi

Happily Ever After?

Fast forward 30 years, and along comes Star Wars: The Force Awakens in which Han and Leia appear on the big screen once again. But what has happened in the time since we last saw them? Well . . . (SPOILER ALERT COMING) . . . they are estranged, separated, existing on distant points of the galaxy.

And I was so disappointed.

Look, I understand the reasons the story makers gave for these two not being together, the massive challenges they faced. But why couldn’t the people who fought and defeated the Empire and its Dark Side of the Force fight for their marriage?

When asked what kept my marriage together — despite some super-bad years — one of the factors I cite is our dogged unwillingness to give up. We were simply too stubborn and determined to make our marriage work. And since we didn’t want to live in a bad marriage, we had to figure out how to achieve a good marriage.

Many marriages are facing 2016 with ongoing turmoil and/or a sense of hopelessness. You can’t imagine how you can keep it together.

Yeah, well, I suspect you’ve fought your own Death Stars in your life. Think of all the other situations in your life you’ve gotten through — an illness or injury you recovered from, a dysfunctional family you emotionally survived, job frustrations or losses, deaths in your family, etc. You are not made of mush. You’re a resilient person with some serious perseverance skills.

Isn’t your marriage worth digging deep into your I-can-do-this reserves and fighting for?

Isn't your marriage worth digging deep into your I-can-do-this reserves and fighting for? @HotHolyHumorous Click To Tweet

I’m not saying that every single marriage is worth saving. If you’re in an abusive situation, you need to find your resilience to leave and get help. But most marriages aren’t facing abuse, but rather selfishness, misunderstandings, frustration, and exhaustion.

And you can’t win is exactly what the true dark side — aka Satan — wants you to think.

Hollywood, frankly, thinks this too. That marriage is something that works great when it works, and that you can leave when it isn’t working great.

But those of us who rode it out in the trenches, climbed out into the sunlight, and found redemption for our marriages know better.

You can fight for your marriage.

Your marriage is worth fighting for.

With God’s help, you can win.

I’m still seriously disappointed in the outcome with Princess Leia and Han Solo. I just want to go back to believing that the people who fought so hard to save each other when they were young would fight as hard to save their union when they got older and it got tougher. Surely someone in the galaxy had some Yoda-like wisdom to help them figure it out.

(Hey, maybe I should rename my blog to The Marriage and Sex Jedi.)

Yoda - Do or do not. There is no try.

Face this new year with a true Star Wars attitude. Your marriage and your sexual intimacy are worth fighting for. They can improve. Your marriage can win.

But you don’t need “the Force.” Start instead with God’s power and plan for redemption.

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:18-20)

“Do You Enjoy Getting Flowers?” What Your Answers Tell Me About Marriage

On Thursday, I popped onto my Facebook page and asked:

Enjoy Getting Flowers FB

Sixty (60) comments later, I’d learned a few things about y’all and our marriages. It was enlightening what your answers to my random question revealed.

"Do You Enjoy Getting Flowers?" What Your Answers Tell Me About Marriage

As usual, I can find takeaways that could apply to other parts of marriage, including the marital bedroom.

Love language matters. Several of those who said flowers weren’t a big deal to them offered other options they’d love to have from their hubby, like “I’d rather go for a walk together” and “I would rather have ‘us’ time than flowers.” I replied to one commenter who said her love language was acts of service about my own leaning: “Now maybe if my flowers came with a long hug… (Affection, #1).”

If you haven’t heard about The 5 Love Languages, it’s a great, easy-to-read book from Gary Chapman that outlines five main ways we can show love to our spouses. As it turns out, if you’re buying your gal roses all the time and Gifts is number 5 on her list, she’s not feeling the love like you intended and your efforts would be better spent elsewhere. On the other hand, if she loves getting flowers and you think that’s stupid, get over it and pick her up bouquet now and then. #justsayin

I think this affects your marital intimacy too, because sometimes the reason your spouse doesn’t want to engage is they don’t feel valued in the relationship. You love them but they don’t feel it at the moment, so when you try to initiate sex it doesn’t go anywhere. Find out his/her love language and learn to speak it, so that your marriage’s overall intimacy grows.

Giving us what we really like makes us feel cherished. Not only do we have a love language, some of us are very particular about what we want. For instance:

“A bouquet from the grocery store I can put in my own vase, yes. Something expensive delivered from the florist, no.”

“Yes as long as they are not from the grocery store.”

“But I hate, Hate, HATE it when he gets a premade bouquet, those to me are too generic and kind of thoughtless. My hubby knows that I want flowers that HE thinks I would like, not what some random person put together.”

“If he picks them yes. I love wildflowers.”

Hmmm. Before you men throw up your hands and declare the female race too complicated to understand, remember you only have one female you need to get this right for. (Or maybe more if you have daughters, but good luck with that.)

Want to know what your spouse likes? Um, ask. Sure, you can also pay attention to how they respond to what you give them or what they like. But I’m big on not playing the “you should know what I’m thinking” game. Half the time, I hardly know what I‘m thinking; I don’t need to responsible for another person’s brain. Ask some questions about what your spouse likes and how they like it, then deliver that if you possibly can.

How does this translate to the bedroom? I truly believe wives in particular do not speak up enough about what they want and enjoy. Not only should we ask our spouse what they like, we should be willing to communicate what we like—whether it’s about flowers or foreplay.

It’s the thought that counts, so think a lot about us. I love finding out my husband was thinking intently about me when we were apart. I discover this in little ways, but it always makes me smile. Likewise, bringing flowers home—if nothing else—communicates hubby was thinking about his wife while he was away. She was a priority in his mind.

Your replies showed this: “I like any thoughtful surprise from my hubby.” “The thought that he would surprise me like that and be so thoughtful is awesome!” “I’m not a flower person either but I love the kind gesture because it shows he was thinking about me.”

I honestly think one of the best things you can do for your relationship is to think positively about your spouse while they’re away. It creates optimism, gratefulness, anticipation, and desire for your mate. And it can translate into wanting to do something special for your honey, whether that’s bringing home flowers or planning a special bedroom rendezvous.

Not now doesn’t mean not later. I love this little story one reader shared:

Our first date was to a hockey game on Valentine’s day, where they were handing out flowers to female fans. I turned them down because I knew I’d be clapping and cheering, and the flower would get trashed by the second period. My now husband took it as I didn’t like flowers, and took him until three years to realize I indeed like them.

I wanted to say, “Good golly, man! You landed a woman willing to let you take her on a FIRST DATE to a HOCKEY GAME for VALENTINE’S? Buy that keeper wife a truckload of flowers and anything else she asks for!”

However, the real reason for including this story is that it illustrates my often-made point that just because you don’t want something right now doesn’t mean you won’t want it later. I say this all the time about sex: That it’s better to say “not now” than “no” to sex and then follow-up with when’s good.

Also, an activity we passed over last night may be well-received tonight, because our tastes can vary based on environment, circumstances, etc. Once again, being able to communicate openly with your husband or wife about your likes, dislikes, and quirks (yes, quirks) can help you get on the same page.

By the way, although I like getting them from time to time, I’m not a big flower person. Gifts is #5 on my Love Language List and I’m terrible with plants, but my hubby knows this about me. Still, even though gifts isn’t huge for me, I wholeheartedly agreed with this wife:

Flowers FB

Before I sign out, a little update on the blog. I’m going to give it my best effort to be here three days a week:

  • Monday: Q&A with J — answering a reader’s question
  • Thursday: My just-kicked-off Feel Beautiful series
  • Saturday: Freestyle — whatever’s on my mind

Thanks for your recent input on this ministry.