Monthly Archives: December 2013

Give Him the Gift of Happiness

Christmas is past, but there’s still a gift you can give. How about a present we wives can give our husbands in the coming year that would mean so much, that could smooth the wrinkles of our relationships and nurture intimacy?

Give him the gift of happiness.

Not his happiness. You’re not in control of that.

Your own happiness.

Woman smiling

Pic credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

You see, some of the worst struggles in marriage occur when one spouse is simply unhappy — unhappy with themselves, where they are in life, others around them, and more. It’s hard to be happy in marriage when one spouse is unhappy everywhere else.

Moreover, happy people are more engaging, appealing, attractive. Of course, we want to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), but a long-term, constant stream of unhappiness from one spouse taxes the whole relationship. And we often choose — perhaps unintentionally, yet still a choice — to be unhappy.

Instead, choose happiness.

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.” Psalm 68:3

Look, I’m not saying this is easy. Indeed, external circumstances make joy quite difficult at times; however, I encourage you to pursue happiness regardless of circumstance (Philippians 4:11). To the best of your ability, decide not to be an unhappy wife who then expects her husband to somehow make her happy.

Because that’s not his job either.

So how can you nurture happiness?

Take care of physical health. We feel better — less moody, more confident — when we eat right, drink enough water, and exercise. Our bodies respond with stress relief and feel-good chemicals flowing through our veins. When we feel physically good, we’re far more likely to feel emotionally happy. (For healthy and happy ideas, check out the Calm.Healthy.Sexy blog.)

Address character flaws. You know those issues that continue to plague you year after year? Perhaps it’s a short temper or a tendency toward gossip or “white lies” or financial mismanagement — or maybe you share my struggle with impatience. It’s time to stop making excuses or say, “That’s just the way I am,” and address those character flaws — head on. Bam!

Stick to priorities. My own unhappy times often come when I feel more overwhelmed than a sand crab in a tsunami. When your to-do list is longer than Rapunzel’s hair, it’s easy to become frustrated and unhappy. Why do we allow this to happen? Even encourage it by taking on too much? Instead, let’s stick to our priorities, engage in what matters and what brings us joy. Life will still sweep over in billowing waves at times, but not because we stirred the ocean ourselves.

Be positive. We need about five positive interactions to balance out every one negative interaction with someone. Which means we’d better invest in being positive — a lot. I’ve joked that the one Bible command I complain about is Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” Really? Everything? For many, like us natural pessimists, it requires a conscious effort to stay positive and grasp those silver linings with both hands. But it’s worth the effort. (For more on being positive, see the Happy Wives Club blog.)

Plug in to the Ultimate Source of joy. Regularly. It’s hard to make up your mind one day to just be happy. Happiness is usually a byproduct of other attitudes. Which attitudes? Start with cultivating:

  • Gratitude. Count your blessings and express thanks to God and those around you (1 Thessalonians 3:9).
  • Peace of mind. Give your concerns over to God in prayer and ask His presence to fill you with calm (Philippians 4:6-7).
  • Eternal focus. Keep your eyes on Jesus and God’s eternal plan (Philippians 4:12-13).

Such things are building blocks for happiness, and they come from a right relationship with our Creator.

Be a servant. I once held onto the notion that I would not serve my husband; I would not be the sort of weak female constantly scurrying and serving my husband like a bad 1950s sitcom. When I started serving my husband instead — not because I had to, but because I wanted to — I realized it brought me (and him) real joy.

Sure, my husband can do plenty without me (he’s certainly no weak man), but why not bring him a cup of tea? Run errands for him? Fluff his pillow? Cook his favorite meal? Find ways to turn him on in the bedroom? Why not be servant-minded, kind, generous? Being a servant can bring real happiness into your life. (Get great tips for serving your hubby from the Generous Wife blog.)

So in 2014, give your husband and your marriage this gift: Be happy.

This gift of happiness is what I want to give to my husband, to my family, and to the Lord who blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

How can you choose happiness for yourself and your marriage? What fosters a deep sense of joy for you?

Home for Christmas: Music Video

I’m praying that you and your beloved have a wonderful Christmas. We all want to be in the presence and in the arms of our loved ones over the holidays.

But I know that not everyone will be spending this holiday with their spouse: some are serving their country in the military (my heart and thanks go out to you!), some are caring for an ailing family member, some are separated for business reasons, etc. Whatever keeps you physically apart, do what you can to keep your marital intimacy strong — your spiritual, emotional, recreational, mental, and sexual intimacy.

In the meantime, I leave you and all of my readers with the following Christmas wish. This song was mentioned in my Christmas Intimacy Playlist post. It’s fast become one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Merry Christmas!

My Gift to You: Christmas Intimacy Playlist

It’s time for my Christmas present to you, my fabulous, beloved readers!

This is a season of love. The season we celebrate the love of our Heavenly Father who sent His Son to live among us, the love of our family and friends who bless us each day of the year, the love we have for humanity demonstrated in acts of charity. And we can also celebrate the intimate love with have with our spouse.

Jimmy Stewart & Donna Reed - kiss from It's a Wonderful Life

One of my favorite film couples, Stewart & Reed, in It’s a Wonderful Life

Several months back, I combed through loads of music, suggested songs for a Marital Intimacy Playlist, and requested your recommendations as well.

This Christmas, why not some holiday music to celebrate your romantic, intimate love?

I listened to a bunch of tunes and came up with three Christmas intimacy playlists. The titles, artists, and albums are listed below so that you can discover the ones you like and add them to your own collection. I did the homework; now you can enjoy the music!

Classic Christmas Romance: Classic holiday songs to spark romance in your marriage, with my favorite renditions.

Merry Christmas, Darling

The Carpenters

Christmas Portrait

Please Come Home for Christmas

Eagles

The Very Best of the Eagles

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe

Jana Petersen

Christmas Wish

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Rascal Flatts

Unwrapped

A Christmas Love Song

The Manhattan Transfer

The Christmas Album

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Johnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting

The Best of Johnny Mercer

I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

Dean Martin

Christmas Playlist

I’d Like You for Christmas

Julie London

Christmas Jazz with the Stars

The Christmas Waltz

She & Him

A Very She & Him Christmas

Contemporary Christmas Romance: More recent Christmas music performed by a variety of contemporary artists.

Love Is Christmas

Sara Bareilles

Love Is Christmas

Falling in Love at Christmas

Nadine

Christmas in South Africa

Cold December Night

Michael Buble

Christmas

Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song)

Kelly Clarkson

Wrapped in Red

Every Day Is Christmas

Straight No Chaser w/Colbie Caillat

Under the Influence

I Only Want You for Christmas

Alan Jackson

Honky Tonk Christmas

Just to Be with You (This Christmas)

Nick Lowe

Quality Street

Sexy Santa: A few Christmas songs that get a bit sexier and might be quite nice to keep that holiday spirit going during your intimate time together.

Santa Claus Is Back in Town

Elvis Presley

Elvis’ Christmas Album

Let’s Make Christmas Merry, Baby

Amos Milburn

Blues, Barrelhouse & Boogie Woogie

Trim Your Tree

Jimmy Butler

100 Christmas Blues

Merry Christmas, Baby

Natalie Cole

Holly & Ivy

I’ll Be Your Santa Baby

Rufus Thomas

Christmas in Soulville

Be Mine for Christmas

KEM & Lidisi

What Christmas Means

You can also subscribe to each playlist on my Spotify channel!

Merry Christmas!

Blessings for your marriage this holiday season!

Prior year Christmas gifts:

J’s Christmas Gift 2012: Song of Solomon Love & Sex Coupons

J’s Christmas Gift 2011: Video Christmas Card

‘Twas the Intimate Night before Christmas

Today I’m blogging over at Unveiled Wife, with a twist on Clement Moore’s famous poem, “‘Twas the Night before Christmas.” Here’s a taste (and then the link to the rest):

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even your spouse.
You hung your stockings by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the two of you soon would get bare.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her Santa teddy and cap,
Was eager to wake hubby from his brief nap.

With hopes that your kids wouldn’t hear the clatter,
You sprang to the bed ’cause you know it matters.
His eyes flew wide open with a flash,
And he smiled at his beautiful wife, so rash.

. . .

Even in the busy holiday season, it’s important for your marriage to prioritize intimate time together. To read more of this poetic encouragement (“‘Twas the Intimate Night before Christmas”), click over to my post at Unveiled Wife.

Happy Holidays!

My Interview with Stupendous Marriage

Stupendous Marriage logoLast week, I chatted with Stu Gray of Stupendous Marriage. He interviewed me about my new book, Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives, and about sexual intimacy in general.

The interview has gone live, and here’s the link:

Episode 86 – Interview with J. Parker of Hot, Holy & Humorous

Plus, if you leave a comment about this episode on their site, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win the book!

My thanks to Stupendous Marriage. I really enjoy Stu and Lisa Gray’s podcast, and if you don’t have it on your own playlist, check out some of their other episodes too. You can also find them on iTunes.