Monthly Archives: February 2015

8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife

Okay, guys, on Monday I gave the wives 8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby. But now it’s time for you to step up. If you haven’t bought a gift for your wife (Valentine’s Day is Saturday!), here are a few ideas of sweet gifts for your spicy wife.

Man giving woman gifts, with proud smile on face + blog post title

1. Romantic Tea or Java. Romantic tea? Have I gone nutters? Nope. While shopping for tea flavors, I found a lovely line of Valentine’s themed teas from Adagio.

Adagio Love Petals Tea

Most women I know are fans of tea, but if your wife is a coffee lover, how about something special in that department? Godiva Chocolatier makes a chocolate truffle coffee. If she’s a Keurig user, maybe you could pamper her with a bit of Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Coffee.

Godiva coffee

2. A Vase and a Vow. You could get your wife flowers for Valentine’s Day, and maybe that’s what she’d like. But if she really loves getting flowers, how about giving her a new vase with a note vowing you’ll bring home flowers one day each month for the rest of the year? She can look forward to seeing what kind of flowers you bring home, anticipating which day you surprise her with them, and then enjoying the bloom and fragrance of a fresh bouquet.

3. Necklace with Personal Charm. There is a necklace charm for everything. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration, after touring James Avery, craft fairs, and Etsy.com. Whatever interest, hobby, career, personality, etc. your wife has, there is a jewelry charm for that.

You could also go a purely romantic route. Like a heart or key-to-my-heart charm. Or perhaps write a personal note and give her a love letter necklace, like this one I found on Etsy:

love letter charm

It opens!

It opens!

4. Wine Bottle Labels. Wine has become a more popular beverage in recent years, and plenty of wives enjoy a glass of wine. If that’s your thing, how about some personalized wine bottle labels — for those bottles you can share on a romantic evening?

Using Song of Songs 1:1 (“Your love is more delightful than wine“), I created a sample wine label you can use.  Edit it to your taste, or simply replace “Husband” with your name and “Wife” with hers. (Click File, Make a Copy, and you’ll get a document you can edit). The labels are best printed on 4 3/4″ X 3 1/2″ labels (Avery 22826). Get a bottle of wine, slap it on, and you’re done! (Save the extra labels for later.) How easy is that?!

Wine Label Sample

By the way, if you’re not into wine, these labels can be placed on other bottles, like your wife’s iced tea or Frappuccino (pictured above!)

5. Sensual Atmosphere for Your Bedroom. Yep, whether you understand it or not, many wives have a hard time getting in the mood when their bedroom looks like a tornado blew through and left laundry, kids’ toys, and/or clutter. Sure, I encourage wives to ignore it or clean it up and then make sex a priority, but you could gift her a beautiful invitation to be intimate by creating a sensual atmosphere to welcome your wife.

What that entails depends on your budget, her preferences, your savvy, etc. But creating the mood could include anything from cleaning up the room, to getting new silky sheets and/or his/her pillowcases, to candles or colored light bulbs, to an intimacy music playlist, to massage oils and lotions. And hey, if you can fold a towel swan, knock yourself out.

towel swan

Just make your bedroom like a gentle invitation to your wife to relax, be pampered, and enjoy your intimate time together.

6. Clothing Reminder of Her Beauty. I’ve personally declared 2015 the year we wives learn to feel beautiful! Honestly, I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t experienced body image issues. But what I continually hear from husbands is that y’all think we’re beautiful anyway!

Guess what? We’d love for you to keep telling us (at least most of us would). While she’s working on feeling more confident, believing what you say, and taking care of her body, your wife might like a reminder of how you feel about her beauty. Several Christian clothing shops sell clothing and other items that make this point. Like this lovely T-shirt

From Christianbook.com

7. Bucket List Pail. That’s right: Give your wife a metal pail. But be sure to write on the outside something like “Our Bucket List,” then spend an evening writing down things you both want to do in the course of your marriage, and drop them in the bucket. Keep adding to it as you think of more stuff.

Chalkboard pail from Hobby Lobby

Chalkboard pail from Hobby Lobby

Of course, you know what comes next, hubbies! You must start doing those activities in your bucket. But this gift will open up conversation, encourage you to look toward a positive future, and share some dreams.

On the practical side, you can find buckets at your local hardware store, hobby stores, and even discount stores. If you want something easy, grab one with a chalkboard label or slap chalkboard paint on it. Then write your title with chalk: “Our Bucket List.” “Our Twosome To-Dos.” “Life and Love List.” Or simply your names: “Mike & Lily’s Bucket List.” Make sure you have paper and pen to write your dreams and desires.

8. The Gift of Nothing. Now, before you think you’re off the hook because I used the word nothing, I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t get her something. I’m saying you should give her The Gift of Nothing — meaning that she gets to do nothing. You honor her with a day or night or weekend during which she is obligation-free. No meals to cook, no children to watch, no laundry to wash, no groceries to buy, no work to complete, no alarm clocks to answer, no ________[fill in the blank].

Many Most wives feel an ongoing burden of responsibilities, whether externally expected or internally felt, and having a break from that weight can be incredibly wonderful. Imagine this, guys: It’s like your wife finally getting to go to that mental “nothing box” the male species has as a retreat option. Like it or not, most of us gals just can’t mentally go there, unless the exterior demands are removed.

So line up the childcare, take care of the household, sweep her away somewhere if you need to, and let her do absolutely nothing for a while.  (And while there are no guarantees, so don’t add any demands to this gift for her, some men who have done this have found that something happens after the nothing. 😉 )

That’s all I’ve got. But make sure you consider who your wife is. For instance, my husband rarely brings me flowers, because I’m just not that into getting flowers. But if I’d be all over that bucket list idea! So think of what your wife needs, values, and desires and shop with your lovely woman in mind.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”

Proverbs 18:22

8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby

Today, I’m giving some Valentine’s gift ideas to the wives, and tomorrow (yes, tomorrow, instead of Thursday) I’ll address the husbands. So here we go, ladies: If you’re still stumped on what to get him, here are some cool gifts for your hot hubby!

Couple, valentine's gift + blog post title

1. A bouquet of roses. “Wait!” you say, “I thought this was about gifts for men.” Yes, it is. But did you know that there are several variations on the bouquet of roses idea, with your hot hunk in mind? Check these out (and click on the pictures for instructions):

Bacon Roses

Bacon Roses

Rose cake pops

Rose Cake Pops

Bouquet of Socks

Sock Bouquet

2. Bath and body products. Once again, you’re doubting the usefulness of such items for the manly man you married. But guess what? A lot of guys like bath stuff; they just don’t want it to be girly bath stuff. So how about something masculine for the bath? Several stores offer a masculine version. For instance, Bath Junkie has a line of “bath hunkie” items (photos from my local store!).

Bath Hunkie 1Bath Hunkie 2

3. Customized notepads. My husband is forever looking for something to write on — notes for his list of to-do’s, dimensions for something he’s building or buying furniture for, calculations for this-that-and-the-other . . .  If your guy is the same, how about a functional notepad that also serves as a nice reminder of how much you love him? VistaPrint and Staples have several customizable designs.

Notepad sample

Created with VistaPrint

Notepad sample

Created with Staples

4. Prescription for love. I save prescription bottles and use them for special events, to give a “prescription” with candy inside. Like this one:

Prescription Label Example

But you can easily make some for your beloved hubby! Get small bottles at your local craft store or online, buy printable labels, make up your “Pharmacy” information and “prescription,” and fill the bottle with whatever you want. It could be candy, or strips of paper with romantic or sexual activities, or date night ideas to experience together. Here are a few options:

Slide1

5. Double Shower Head. Some of us married couples really enjoy sharing the shower with our mate! But if you’re like me, you didn’t get to design your perfect shower for two. Still, you can take your existing setup and turn it into a more inviting place to shower together. (And a double shower head comes with the added advantage of giving your guy an opportunity to show off his handyman skills — while making sure the task isn’t so difficult, you have to call a professional handyman later.) Add a little note about how much you’re looking forward to that shower! Actually, I might actually get this one for my hubby.

Double Shower Head

6. Reusable heat packs. Of course your hubby is already hot, but a little heated massage is a lovely thing in the marital bedroom. To be honest, I got this idea from my marvelous massage therapist (all my tension goes to my back), who uses HotShotz heat packs as part of her routine. But you can buy some heat packs (also called hand warmers some places) to massage your beloved and get things heated up. This is a great idea especially when you can’t quite get the right hand pressure to massage your hubby, because the heat itself is very relaxing to tight muscles. And he could turn around and try it on your muscles too!

Heat Packs 2

7. Lingerie shop gift card (and a promise to shop together). A woman was recently telling me how she used to work at a lingerie store, and every year husbands would come in to buy something sexy to give their wives for Valentine’s Day. Then a few days after Valentine’s, wives would show up to return items saying, “I don’t know what he was thinking.”

So if you don’t like what he gets you (or, bless his heart, he doesn’t have a clue what size you wear), how about offering to go together and pick out something you both like? As you shop, he can explain what appeals to him, you can explain why you would or wouldn’t wear something (e.g., “That looks sexy, but the fabric is really scratchy”), and you leave with an item to try out at home. Most men enjoy seeing their wives in lingerie, and shopping together for something you can later model in the privacy of your bedroom can be a wonderful gift for your hubby.

8. Sexy gift certificates. I created intimacy-themed gift certificates based on scriptures from Song of Solomon a couple of years ago. You can find the Valentine’s version here. Print out the ones you want and/or tailor them to your own liking. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Valentine's gift certificate

Want more gift ideas for your husband?

What to Get Your Husband for V-Day
13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
10 Sexy Stocking Stuffers for Your Husband
10 Sexy, Manly Items for Your Hubby’s Christmas Stocking

And I would be remiss not to mention that I met Sheila Wray Gregoire last night at her Girl Talk event in Houston. She blogged about it today . . . and included a photo of us together: On Texas, Girl Talk, and Lots of Questions!

Feeling Beautiful: From His Perspective

Ooh, I’m so thrilled! I made it a public goal — and invited all of you wives to join me — to learn to feel beautiful in 2015. Today, the wonderful Elizabeth Spence of Warrior Wives is here to give  a great perspective on beauty and practical tips to help you. Please read on!

Now take it away, Elizabeth!

Couple admiring one another

When my husband and I got married, I weighed 106 lbs.  Don’t hate me; I do have a point for telling you this. Fast forward to the day I gave birth to my first son…and then my second and third sons, and I’m not a size 2 (or a 4) anymore and I’m definitely not 106 lbs.

I have scars from three C-sections. I have stretch marks all over. The only positive way my body changed was that I grew bra sizes (seriously, who knew?). I might still be thin, but I struggle with my body image. I want to be that size 2 girl with a flat, unmarked stomach. It doesn’t matter how thin you are, you can always find a reason to criticize yourself.

But if you look at me from my husband’s perspective, apparently, there’s a whole different story.  He thinks I’m beautiful. He tells me to stop covering up all the time. He assures me that he doesn’t even notice the stretch marks or the extra kangaroo pouch that almost every woman has after pregnancy.

Honestly, it’s a huge struggle to believe him. I have rolled my eyes, muttered “whatever” in response to his compliments and continued to put my hands over my bare stomach because I don’t want him to be grossed out.

I always thought my body image issue was my issue and my issue alone. I thought it just affected me. But I was wrong. One day, my husband let me in on a little secret. That little secret was this:

You know, when you roll your eyes and cover up when I say you’re beautiful, you’re treating me like I’m lying. You need to believe me. It hurts my feelings when you don’t believe me.”

Whoa. That hit me pretty hard. I hadn’t ever thought about it like that.

One of the basic tenets of a healthy marriage is that the two partners have full trust in one another. You tell each other the truth, and you can know with certainty that you are being told the truth. Allow little lies to come in between you, and that safety diminishes.

I allowed myself to believe the worst about my husband, and it hurt my body image, our relationship, and our intimacy.  The truth was that I did think he was lying. I thought he was just trying to make me feel better. I thought he was trying to manipulate me into bed with compliments, and so, of course,  I pulled back from what had always been a satisfying sexual relationship.

I know I’m not the only wife who struggles with believing her husband’s compliments, and I also know my husband is not the only husband who wishes his wife would believe him.

If this is you, how do you change the dynamic? How do you bring trust back into your marriage?

1) Stop allowing the lies. It isn’t enough to just decide to feel beautiful. That’s a good beginning, but you need to go back further. It’s a discipline, but you can start paying attention to your self-talk. You know, the words that play in your head when you’re getting ready to climb in the shower and see your naked, and inevitably flawed, body. If you’re constantly criticizing, mentally block that thought.

2) Replace the lies with truth. We can’t compete with movie stars or super models or even the skinny teenage version of ourselves, pre-babies. Here’s what we need to start thinking:

“As long as we continue to listen to the world’s messages about our bodies, we will never be satisfied with how we look. Let’s face it. There are three billion women in the world who don’t look like the supermodels and only seven who do. Instead of listening to the world’s message, we need to listen to what God says. God’s message is, “Rejoice in the body I gave you. Use it to honor Me and please your husband.” (Intimate Issues, Linda Dillow/Lorraine Pintus, p.36)

Open your Bible and start looking for all the places where God says that our bodies are good. Pick a few of the Scriptures you find and write them on index cards; memorize them so that you have ammunition against the lies.

3) Steward your body without obsession. I do believe we should take care of our bodies by eating healthy and exercising. I think we should try stay out of that cruddy old bathrobe. Personally, staying fit and eating healthy gives me a boost of confidence (and sometimes the endorphins from exercise keep the negativity at bay). But don’t do it because you hate your body and you want to do penance. Don’t do it because you think you need to be “better” for your husband when he’s already telling you you’re beautiful.

Husbands, please never stop telling us how beautiful we are. Even if our response is negative, please persist in sincerely praising our bodies. Wives, stop treating him like he’s lying. Make the decision to believe him, and in the process, you will allow trust to flourish and the intimacy between you to deepen. God has declared that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. And God definitely never lies. If nothing else, start believing Him.

Elizabeth SpenceElizabeth Spence blogs at Warrior Wives — “If we’re going to win, if we’re going to be that couple that is still married 50 some years from now, we’re going to have to fight.” She’s a former French teacher and now a busy mom who raises and homeschools three boys. She’s been married to Dave for eleven years and counting. Elizabeth has a passion for young marriages and a desire to see them grounded and growing. Check out her blog at www.thewarriorwives.net.

 

3 Attitude Shifts That Vastly Improved My Marriage Happiness

Recently, I was sharing with a friend how my daily happiness in my marriage improved when I finally realized two important things. Thinking more on the subject later, I added a third to my list.

I once expended a lot of emotional energy being angry or resentful or frustrated or disappointed with my husband over small stuff. He didn’t even have to be near for me to see constant reminders of his lack of love. I mean, surely a guy who loved me wouldn’t leave such a big mess for me to clean up. Surely a guy who loved me wouldn’t ignore my worry about unlocked doors, risk-taking children, and noises in the night. And surely a guy who loved me wouldn’t meet my can’t-you-see-it? explanations with his own store of anger, resentment, frustration, and disappointment.

Yeah, things were not going well in my marriage.

While some marriages suffer from huge problems in the happiness department, I believe many spouses are like me, with small stuff and daily letdowns piling up until you’re standing in a heap of hopelessness. So how did I get past it? What realizations released the weight of emotional pain I once carried around?

The word unhappy changed to happy on torn paper and white background + blog title

1. It’s not personal. Ask yourself: Is this truly directed at me? Is my husband maliciously trying to hurt me? Most of the time, the answer is no. Whether it’s leaving his dirty clothes on the floor, interrupting while you’re speaking, or not feeling like making love as much as you’d like, he’d behave like that whether he’d married you or not.

My hubby didn’t one day decide, “Hey, I think I’ll leave twelve pairs of shoes around the bedroom floor, just to trip up my wife and stub her pretty little toes.” Nor do I forget to go by the dry cleaners with my husband’s shirts because I want him to dig deep into his closet for his least favorite shirt to wear to a big meeting; trust me, I’m just forgetful everywhere in my life.

It’s not personal.

Even difficulties in your sexual intimacy may have little to do with you. Now, I’m not saying these things don’t have a real impact on you. (I have stubbed toes to prove it.) If your wife isn’t having sex because of an incident in childhood that had nothing to do with you, or your husband won’t patiently pursue your climax because he was erroneously taught that sex is for men, you are still experiencing consequences. But it’s not personal. So don’t add to an already-difficult issue by taking it personally.

I stopped feeling rejected and resentful when I learned to give my husband grace and remember he loves me. The man who would take a bullet for me wouldn’t turn around and plot my death-by-size-11-shoes. He just forgets to put them away. And once I diagnosed the problem more accurately . . .

2. The spouse to whom an issue matters most should take care of it. I wrote an entire post about how my husband cannot return the Worcestershire to its proper place in the refrigerator. Whenever I lovingly — or less lovingly — pointed it out, he was not opposed to my request. But ultimately, he didn’t care where the stupid bottle ended up in the fridge. It just wasn’t important to him. And me complaining that he should think it’s important didn’t get us much of anywhere — at least, anywhere good.

So when I open the refrigerator and see the Worcestershire taunting me sitting on the wrong shelf, I move it. I’m the one it matters to, so why not just take care of it? If something matters a lot to you, and not so much to him, just do it. Consider it an act of loving service and take pleasure in caring for the small stuff that makes your home and relationship a little better.

Wait! you say. How earth does this apply to the bedroom? Am I supposed to “take care of that” myself? No. Not saying that! Some things in marriage — the big stuff — should involve cooperation and unity. Whether you have sex is big stuff, we stuff. But you can take on some of the small stuff surrounding sex. For instance, if atmosphere matters to you, don’t wait on your spouse — just create the ambiance you want. If you can’t relax and make love in a messy bedroom, clean it up. If you want her to wear something more sexy, go buy it (taking her into consideration, of course). If he’s not as romantic as you wish, take charge of the romance.

But cease being upset that your spouse didn’t do something when you could easily take care of it yourself. Then you’re both happier. Which leads me to the final attitude shift . . .

3. Own your part. This one is so straightforward, and I’ve talked about it before. Basically, take responsibility for yourself in this marriage. So you think she‘s hard to live with? Well, are you rainbows and roses every day? You think he doesn’t pay attention to your emotional needs? Well, have you listened to his emotional needs and tried to meet them?

You know the saying: When you point a finger at someone, there are still three fingers pointing back at you. I spent way too much time and effort thinking about, praying about, and talking about what my husband was doing wrong. And I couldn’t change him. But I could work on me and make myself the best person I could be, and — wouldn’t you know it? — when I became a better person to be around, he was more motivated to make changes. No guarantees, of course, but owning your part of things can make a big difference in your marriage.

Thinking about your marital bedroom: Are you as understanding as you should be? Loving and kind? Listening and patient? Concerned about her arousal or his pleasure? Have you made sexual intimacy in your marriage a safe topic or a mine field? What can you do to own your part and make things better?

There they are: three attitude shifts that made a huge difference in how I feel day in and day out about my husband and my marriage. And when I stopped “sweating the small stuff,” we were able to better tackle the big stuff.  Years later, I can easily say I am a very happily married woman.

And currently, there’s only one pair of shoes my husband left out on the bedroom floor; I think I’ll go put them in the closet for him.

What attitude shifts have improved your marriage? What wisdom can you share with others from your experiences?