Monthly Archives: January 2015

Does He Make You Laugh?

Couple laughing in bedroom -- with blog post titleMy husband has two kinds of humor: dry and silly. Both crack me up.

I fondly remember an instance not long after we met when we were sitting with a bunch of people (probably our church singles group) and he uttered a joke. It was a very dry line that was a play on words, and no one else seemed to get it. They didn’t even react. But me? I was twisted up in stitches. His sense of humor drew me in and made me want to know him more.

The other kind of joke I adore is pure silliness — like changing up song lyrics to say something completely ridiculous. My husband and I even trade out lyric lines sometimes, him adding one line and me coming up with a rhyme that goes along. If you walked in on us in the midst of this, we’d look like total geeks. But we’d be smiling.

I suspect the laughs we share outside the bedroom is one reason why we have a shared sense of humor inside the bedroom. We’re not above coming up with dorky initiation lines or quirky word play to make one another chuckle when it comes to sex.

Look, I already think sex is funny to begin with. Just imagine trying to explain it to an alien who doesn’t copulate this way: “So the husband and wife get naked, kiss and grope for a while, then they get into this position where she is . . .and he is . . .” Um, what?! Surely, God could have come up with something more dignified.

But you know what? Overly dignified people don’t throw their hands up and scream on roller coasters or do the Chicken Dance at children’s parties or eat chocolate chip cookie dough straight from the Pillsbury wrapper. In other words, they’re missing out on some of the fun of life. So I for one am glad God made sex a little on the side of playful.

If you accept that sex is at least a little humorous, and if you and your husband know how to laugh together, it seems only natural to let some of that humor invade your marriage bed. So how do you introduce laughter in the bedroom?

Laugh together, not atFirst, do not harm. You’ve heard that, right? So I figure it’s best to start out with the caveat that if it’s funny to you, but hurtful or irritating to your spouse — it’s not funny. If you’re the only one laughing, rethink the punch line. And insulting jokes — regardless of how cleverly you stated it — have no place in the marriage bed.

Above all, this should be a place that is pleasurable for both husband and wife and pleasing to the Creator of sex, our God.

Access your innate funny bone. Yes, you have one. Remember as a child when you had giggle-fests with friends and siblings? Or snorted at knock-knock jokes? Or did silly dances and fell down in fits of laughter?

Why did we stop doing that? What is it about becoming an adult that made us get so serious?

Sure, we see more and know more, and the full reality of life can make us contemplative and even sad at times. The Bible says, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). But even that same book says there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh” (3:4). So lighten up sometimes! Take some deep breathers and get yourself to the relaxed, welcoming state that encourages laughter.

Laugh at your own bloopers. Have you even seen the “blooper reel” for a TV show or movie? I think we could have one for our marriage beds too. Sometimes we have those embarrassing oopses where things don’t quite go as smoothly as we’d hoped.

If you trip, stumble, say the wrong thing, make an unusual noise (yes, sadly, farting can happen during a sexual encounter), or otherwise do something that makes you or your spouse feel foolish, laugh about it — together. You’re not on camera or being graded on a 10-point scale. You mess up, you laugh, you move on.

Make the mutual decision to give each other grace and grins when things go awry. With an upbeat attitude and a hearty chuckle, you’ll recover and have a wonderful time.

Be intentionally playful. Bring your comedy act into the marital bedroom. There was a great TV show called Make Me Laugh in which comedians were given three minutes to make a contestant laugh in any way they could. For every minute the contestant lasted, they got a dollar. I still remember a few of the absolutely crazy things these comedians did. Maybe you could take a night and make your spouse the contestant, you the comedian, and see how long it takes to get them laughing.

Crack a joke. Wear a silly outfit. Do a crazy dance. Jiggle something (assuming, like most of us, you have something on your body that jiggles). Work up the craziest initiation line you can think of. Go for broke.

Get you smile on, and then get your sex on. (Which, well, also makes you smile.)

Play a game. I will never forget this one time that my husband and I were playing a board game designed for the marriage bed and he did this thing where he ________, and we both laughed until we cried. Yeah, not going to fill in the blank. Private moment!

But the point is that games often get you smiling, so feel free to play one in the bedroom. Get your kids’ twister game and re-purpose it for a little naked limb-tangling, or grab the Nerf guns and have a foam dart battle, or play Strip ___. (I like Strip Battleship — sink a ship, and your opponent loses an item of clothing.) There are probably a hundred or more games you could play with your spouse in the bedroom, or simply buck naked wherever, that would get you both laughing.

And remember this is the best kind of game — where you “win” even if you “lose.”

Use word play. This is by far the thing that enters my marriage bed the most, probably because I love a good pun. Now if I gave you examples, I’d be letting you steal our thunder — because hubby and I are pretty good with this.

But I suspect you can turn regular phrases into your own suggestive, sexy ones with a bit of imagination. It helps if you’re willing to refer to each other’s body parts in playful ways. (Of course, remember the first caveat above. And treat your spouse’s body parts not just with humor, but with honor.)

Okay, fine, here’s one example I found on the Internet: “Let’s have sex while we’re camping. It’ll be really in tents.” Get it? In tents, intense? Sure, a ba-dum-bum would help. But you grasp the idea.

Now what suggestions do you have for introducing laughter in the marriage bed? And how does your husband make you laugh?

Marriage & Intimacy Books to Read in 2015

During the holiday season, I did quite a bit of book-buying. Consequently, I have a To Be Read pile that rivals the Tower of Pisa, both in height and tilt. In addition to the usual fiction titles I consume, I have several marriage and intimacy books on my 2015 Read List.

As I stated last year, I am not endorsing these books. In fact, I never endorse a book I haven’t read. These are simply books on my reading list. If I believe they’re worthwhile, I’ll share my review in the future. (You might want to check out my Goodreads account.)

[Italicized descriptions are from the author/publisher, and links are Amazon affiliates.]

Sex-Starved Marriage CoverThe Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido by Michele Weiner Davis. It is estimated that one of every three married couples struggles with problems associated with mismatched sexual desire. Do you? If you want to stop fighting about sex and revitalize your intimate connection with your spouse, then you need this book. In The Sex-Starved Marriage, bestselling author Michele Weiner Davis will help you understand why being complacent or bitter about ho-hum sex might cost you your relationship.

This book seems to hit many intimacy experts’ recommended lists. I’ve actually read a couple of chapters, but I didn’t get far enough. I’m going to knock this one out in 2015.

Every-Young-Womans-Battle CoverEvery Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge & Stephen Arterburn. Whether you have so far protected yourself emotionally and sexually, feel that you’ve been robbed of your purity, or have given in to temptation in some way, this book can help you achieve or reclaim sexual integrity. It can also guide you through the temptations and pressures of young adulthood while demonstrating how you can live your life to the fullest–without regrets.

There’s also an Every Woman’s Battle book, but I thought I’d read this one from the perspective for younger women. This age can be especially difficult, and it’s a time to set the tone for how you approach sex in life. Of course, you can recalibrate later, but it’s good to get it right from early on if you can.

Sheet-Music CoverSheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Kevin Leman. With his characteristic warmth and humor, Dr. Kevin Leman offers a practical guide to sex according to God’s plan. This frank and practical book is a perfect resource for married and engaged couples. Dr. Leman addresses a wide spectrum of people, from those with no sexual experiences to those with past sexual problems or even abuse. Using frank descriptions, this book has a warm and friendly tone that will help couples overcome awkwardness in discussing an issue important to all married couples.

This is a re-read. I’ve recommended this book before, but I found it at my local Half-Price Books (I’d loaned out my copy and, interestingly, never got it back) and want to revisit what Dr. Leman says about sexual intimacy.

For Women Only CoverFor Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. The man in your life carries important feelings so deep inside he barely knows they’re there, much less how to talk about them. Yet your man genuinely wants you to “get” him—to understand his inner life, to know his fears and needs, to hear what he wishes he could tell you. In her landmark bestseller, For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn reveals what every woman—single or married—needs to know.

This is another re-read for me, but I want to revisit the concepts here. I’m also hoping to read Feldhahn’s most recent book, The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce.

Songs in the Key CoverSongs in the Key of Solomon: In the Word…and in the Mood by John & Anita Renfroe. Filled with insights from a real couple on real issues, Songs in the Key of Solomon will get you and your spouse laughing, thinking, sharing, touching, and praying — possibly all during the same reading. Each offering in this devotional is designed to spark connections around issues that matter, so you’ll deepen your emotional, spiritual, and physical unity and ignite new levels of intimacy. (One devotional involves a bathtub and some candles…try not to get stuck on that one page over and over again.)

I don’t know Anita Renfroe, but she absolutely seems like my kind of lady — able to be funny when a laugh is what you need and serious when issues run deeper. And since I’m encouraging everyone else to read a sex devotional book this year (Intimacy Revealed!), I thought it’d be nice for my husband and I to go through some marriage-bed devotions ourselves.

Lovemaking: Enjoy Extravagant Intimacy in Your Marriage by Dan and Linda Wilson. Sex is meant to be beautiful, holy, and fun, and every married person can be skilled in the art of lovemaking. Lovemaking will help to: Increase your degree of sexual satisfaction, understand the purpose and pleasure of godly sexuality, learn how to give and receive love through sexual expression, renew passion for your mate, be equipped to be the world s greatest lover for your spouse.

Dan and Linda have both visited my site, and we share a similar vision. They let me know about the upcoming release of this book (in June, I believe), and I’m eager to read it.

Unveiled Wife CoverThe Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband by Jennifer Smith. The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.

I’m soooo looking forward to this book’s release. In all my dealings with Jennifer, she has been kind, authentic, and godly, and I know her story will encourage other marriages. Look for my take on her book once I’ve read it (and maybe I can convince Jennifer to stop by).

Now what are your suggestions for the best Christian sexual intimacy books you’ve read? Or what’s on your reading list for 2015?

Of course, I’d love for you to put Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives or Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage on your list!

* * * * *

What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?

Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.

Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.

Purchase:
Amazon for Kindle
Barnes & Noble for Nook
Print book

Feeling Beautiful: A Wife’s Goal for 2015

美容 女性For 2014, I suggested wives focus on being happy. I made it a personal goal to choose happiness as well, and despite frustrations, challenges, and some personal heartache, I had an overall happy year.

So what should we wives focus on in 2015?

Well, I attended a concert the Sunday after Christmas with my best friend, and her husband snapped a photo of the two of us beforehand. Later, when we each saw the picture, we praised how the other looked and pointed out flaws on ourselves. Good heavens! We looked fine — dare I say it? even beautiful — yet we were self-critiquing our own appearance.

My BF and I immediately decided that was enough of that, and we need to own our beauty in 2015. No more self-flagellation for perceived faults, but rather acceptance, care-taking, and confidence. And I’m making that same challenge to all of you wives out there: In 2015, we will learn to feel beautiful.

“How can I feel beautiful?” you ask. Let’s talk about how to embrace our beauty.

Speak positive words to ourselves. Self-talk matters. We can get so mad about mean things others say about us when we are often our own worst critics. Think about it: If someone said in person or on Facebook what you say to yourself at times about your own appearance, that would constitute cruel bullying, wouldn’t it? Stop bullying yourself.

Replace negative self-talk with positive words about who you are and who God made you to be. Find three to five things you really like about yourself (your eyes? your smile? your ankles? your “outty” belly button?) and focus on those in the mirror, reminding yourself of this unique beauty. Post or memorize scriptures that remind you of your value, like Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (See also Song of Songs 2:1, Psalm 45:11, Psalm 139:13, Proverbs 31:10, Song of Songs 4:7.) Make it a goal to see yourself as God sees you — a beautiful woman created by Him.

Learn to accept compliments. We women have a terrible tendency to toss off compliments like they’re hot coals in our bare hands. Tell a woman she looks great in that dress? She’ll quite possibly respond: “Only because I’m wearing Spanx underneath” or “You look so much better in your dress.” We dismiss compliments as being mistakes in the eyes of the beholder, a comment of sympathy or courtesy, or a chance to show our “humility” by turning the compliment into self-deprecation.

Why do we do that? Let’s stop sloughing off compliments and learn graciousness instead. In fact, let’s actually believe the compliments. Your friend tells you that dress looks stunning? Stand taller and buy another of the same style. Your co-worker praises your fabulous new hairdo? Smile and say “thanks.” Your husband says you look sexy? Respond with a wink, “You bet I do!” Most people aren’t trying to lie to you about your appearance, so accept their compliments as sincere. We could use that kind of encouragement, if we’ll let ourselves accept it.

Take care of ourselves. It’s very hard to feel beautiful when you’re not taking care of yourself — when you know you’re neglecting your body. And it’s even harder to consistently commit to making the tough choices to care for your health. But we feel better about ourselves when we eat well, exercise regularly, groom properly, and make an effort with our hair, clothes, etc.

Let’s start this year out right by making some promises. Raise your hand and repeat after me: “I will take better care of my body. I will ditch the threadbare yoga pants and t-shirt in favor of just-as-comfortable tailored pants and a knit blouse. I will get a better haircut that can be styled in more ways than sticking a banana clip in my mess of hair. I will stop eating my children’s leftover French fries with the excuse that there are starving children somewhere in the world. I will pass the candy aisle and — if we’re going to be really good, ladies — the wine aisle at the grocery store and make a beeline for the produce section. I will walk, run, jump, or dance my way to a healthier heart and a better waistline. I will take care of this body God has gifted me.” Ouch, I was preaching to my own choir there. Guess I’ll have to move the clothes hanging off my elliptical machine and get busy.

Nurture our inner beauty. Let me tell you a little story. There was this guy at college who was so-so looking. But at one point, several of us girls had a conversation about how handsome he was and how every last one of us would go out with him if he asked. I don’t think this guy had any idea, or he might have been lining his calendar with dates. But the point is he’d gotten better and better looking the longer we knew him, because he was such a fabulous guy. Who he was inside showed through his outer appearance and made him a very attractive man.

And the point of the story is? Inner beauty matters. You’ve known people who got better looking or worse looking as you got to know them. The same is true with you. Indeed, the apostle Peter knew the prettiest woman was one with beauty inside: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Nothing wrong with being pretty on the outside, but your true beauty is about who you are.

It won’t do us any good to focus on outward appearance this year and pay little to no attention to fostering our inner beauty. Regardless of how fabulous we look on the outside, God looks at our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Consider what character traits you should develop to be more beautiful inside. Is it patience? Gentleness? Hospitality? Joy? Aim to become more beautiful in the things that really matter.

Are you up for joining me in learning to feel beautiful in 2015? What suggestions do you have for achieving this goal?

* * * * *

What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?

Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.

Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.

Purchase:
Amazon for Kindle
Barnes & Noble for Nook
Print book

My 2015 Resolutions (for Me and My Blog)

Some people love New Year’s resolutions, some people hate them. I know the arguments against.

But I’m on the side of enjoying resolutions and that sense of a fresh start at the beginning of the year. So today — New Year’s Day — I thought I’d share my 2015 resolutions for myself and for Hot, Holy & Humorous with you. I hope you’ll share yours with me in the comments!

Blog title & resolution list

1. Release Behind Closed Doors: Inspirational Stories on Marriage and Intimacy. Last year, it was my goal to release a collection of short stories in the summer, then it became the fall, and finally after the start of the year. *sigh* It just so happened that one of my stories needed a complete rewrite, and now that’s done, I’m polishing up the book and getting ready to publish. At this point, I am aiming for a Valentine’s season release. I’m particularly excited about sharing some fiction with you, since that’s what I write when I’m not writing about sex and marriage and I believe in the power of story.

2. Get Intimacy Revealed into as many formats as possible. Currently, you can get my books through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. However, I don’t believe either book is on iBooks or Kobo, and I want to get them there. I really don’t want anyone who wishes to read my books to be hampered by issues of format. That also means that I’m hoping and praying I can release audiobooks as well. (I’d actually like to do a “read by author” version, if at all possible.)

Edited to add: Intimacy Revealed on Kobo and Hot, Holy and Humorous on Kobo

3. Read more marriage and intimacy books. I read several in 2014, but I want to read more. Thankfully, so many more books and resources on Christian marriage and sex exist now than ten, twenty, thirty years ago. If someone else has put out fabulous material, I want to learn what they have to say and be able to point my readers to that resource. So I’m gathering my list of books I definitely want to read, hoping I can get to at least 10 next year.

4. Reveal myself. Ack! There, I said it. I guess I can’t take it back now, can I? (Can I?) When I started blogging four years ago, I had several reasons for choosing anonymity. It’s funny that many people assume I did so simply so I could speak more freely about sex, but I’ve always operated on the assumption that my words and my identity would someday be matched in public. And I don’t think I’ve said anything that would prohibit me from showing my face. (Have I?) Anyway, my reasonable concerns about revealing myself have been disintegrating over the years, as I knew they would eventually. So yeah, I’m planning to put a face with the name. But nothing much will change here at Hot, Holy & Humorous. I’ve always been myself, and I plan to still go by “J” since I’ve come to like that moniker and it feels comfortably familiar.

5. Start speaking. I’d say “Ack!” here too, but I already used that above. Here’s the truth: I’ve done some public speaking before. Just not on sex. But I obviously have a passion for passion, and I’ve been getting the sneaking suspicion it’s time to take my message to live audiences. (Double Ack!) Don’t expect a 30-city tour or something, but I will likely open myself up to a few speaking engagements in the latter part of 2015. If I don’t trip on stage or otherwise make a complete fool of myself, I’ll keep speaking.

6. Attend a ministry conference. This is actually on my “bucket list,” which I far prefer to call my “life list” since the bucket I’ll be kicking is many, many years down the road. Regardless, I enjoy attending conferences. The education, encouragement, and enthusiasm can ignite new excitement for the work one does. I’m perusing possibilities, but I’m praying my funds and my calendar will allow me to attend a professional conference next year, one that will spur me on in my ministry here.

So that’s it for my resolutions! What would you like to see me (“J”) or Hot, Holy & Humorous do in 2015? And what are your own resolutions for the New Year?

* * * * *

What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?

Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.

Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.

Purchase:
Amazon for Kindle
Barnes & Noble for Nook
Print book