Category Archives: Marriage – General

5 Holidays to Celebrate with Your Spouse (Besides Valentine’s)

Valentine’s Day is over for 2018! Either you nailed it, or you have 364 days to show love in other ways to your spouse. Actually, how about we all express our appreciation and desire for our beloveds throughout the year!

However, if you like having a little nudge from a holiday, be assured that February 14 is not your only opportunity. On today’s High Five Saturday, let’s talk about five upcoming holidays on which married couples can celebrate their hot, holy, and humorous love!

Blog post title + illustration flip calendar with heart on front

1. Steak & BJ Day

This year: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The theory behind this holiday, clearly concocted by men, is that Valentine’s Day is for women — what with the emphasis on greeting cards, flowers, candy, and romance. Meanwhile, what does a man really want to get from the love of his life? Two things: steak and a blow job.

However, I know plenty of husbands who enjoy Valentine’s…and plenty of wives who also enjoy steak and giving their husbands fellatio. So perhaps Steak & BJ Day would be a win-win in your marriage!

For tips on giving a great blow job, check out the chapter on oral sex in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

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2. International Kissing Day

This Year: Friday, April 13, 2018

This holiday celebrates kissing for kissing’s sake, whether or not it leads to other affectionate activities. Why not devote extra time and focus on smooching with each other on this day?

For more on kissing, check out 5 Kisses You Need to Master and my more extensive tips in the Hot, Holy, and Humorous book.

3. National Sex Day

This Year: Saturday, June 9, 2018

It’s either impossible or a complete waste of my time to track who came up with this holiday. Yet it’s become a hashtag on social media and a goal for some couples to make love on this particular day. Although this year you have a whole Saturday to accomplish this challenge, the holiday actually occurs on June 9 every year. That’s 6/9. Get it?

If you want tips on having great sex…yeah, that’s pretty much my whole blog, as well as my books. But in case you want to know what qualifies as sex, check out this post: What Is Sex?

4. National Romance Awareness Day…oh wait, MONTH!

This Year: Wednesday, August 1, 2018, and beyond!

Apparently, a single day dedicated to romance is insufficient. We need an entire month! Now, research shows it takes about twice that long to really develop a new habit, but a full month of romance might convince you of its benefits so that you’ll keep it going for years to come.

How to do romance well? Three blogs I follow share quite a few romance tips. Check out The Romantic VineyardLove Hope Adventure, and The Generous Wife.

5. Your Anniversary

This year: _____________________, 2018/2019

If you couldn’t fill in that blank, you’d better figure it out quickly! Because of all the marriage holidays one can celebrate, your own anniversary is probably the one your beloved cares most about. It’s the day unique to the two of you and your marriage.

How should you celebrate? I suggest you ask the spouse who cares the most about this day and commemorate the way they want. Within reason, of course. I mean, I’d love to go to Australia for a full week to celebrate our upcoming 25th! But we’re going to Chicago for a few days, because that’s where I’m traveling already for a business trip and it’s what we can afford. Likewise, figure out how you can do your anniversary up big without breaking your back or the bank.

Of course you don’t need any of these holidays to celebrate the love in your marriage. But if you enjoy the special days, find one or more of these to mark on your calendar and start the joyous anticipation now.

Speaking of marriage (as if I do anything else), I had a wonderful opportunity last Saturday to chat with popular Canadian talk show host, Dr. Drew Marshall. I’d love for you to pop over and listen to the 20-minute interview! Click below to find our segment from February 20, 2018, the Valentine’s Day Special.

Banner to click to listen to show

5 Kisses You Need to Master

I don’t think couples kiss enough in marriage. I’ve written about this before: You’re Not Kissing Enough. But today I want to make sure your repertoire is sufficient to have a great kissing experience with your spouse.

Since it’s High Five Saturday, let’s talk about five different kisses you need to master for your marriage.

Blog post title + illustration of lips

1. The Peck

Chaste, quick, friendly — I’m not sure how you’d describe this one. But all couples need to be able to share a quick peck as a reminder of their connection. It’s the perfect choice for when you’re in a hurry to get to work, when you’re in a family friendly setting, or when you just ate fish and you know your husband hates the smell of fish so you’re trying to spare him. (Okay, that last scenario is autobiographical.)

Make sure your peck is just that: a nice pucker delivered without too much fanfare, but different from what you’d give your mother. Soften your lips a little at the meeting of your mouths and linger for a moment. Add a smile as you pull away to show that you like kissing your spouse — even with pecks.

2. The Soft Kiss

Closed, pliant lips touching and lingering … that’s the good stuff of a nice soft kiss. This is my personal favorite, because it’s a tender and teasing experience. A soft kiss can lead to more fun things, or simply remain a beautiful kiss in and of itself. It’s like the start of a series or a stand-alone — good either way.

Most important tip? Keep your lips flexible. Allow your mouths to mold together by making sure you’re not puckering or flattening your lips too much. Linger longer, a few seconds. You can also do a series of soft kisses to lead up to more passionate kissing.

3. The French Kiss

Ooh La La! Many consider the French kiss to be the pinnacle of puckering. You’re basically giving your mouths over to one another, open and interacting. Lips mashed up together, tongues tangling, hearts pounding. Yeah, this kiss is pretty passionate.

Let your tongue tease and explore, but remember it’s not on a digging mission. Don’t shove your tongue in so far that your spouse feels like a victim in Invasion of the Mouth Snatcher. You can take the lead, but share the experience, working your mouths together like a delicate dance.

4. That Favorite Spot

Some of the best kisses involve the mouth of one spouse and a place other than the mouth on their mate. What is your spouse’s favorite spot to be kissed? Where do your lips drive them wild?

For some, it’s the neck. For others, behind the ear. It could be along the shoulder, down the torso, or moving up the inner thigh. Somewhere on your beloved’s body is a place they would love to be kissed. Ask where that is, and go to it. Use the soft kiss and your tongue to tease and delight that special, sensitive spot.

5. The Text Kiss

Since I don’t want to leave you in an uptight frenzy (in case your spouse isn’t near enough to kiss), I figured I’d close with the text kiss.

When you’re away from each other, you can still send the sentiment of a kiss through a text message! In fact, you have several options:

  • Go with the old standby of XXX or XOXO (kisses or kisses & hugs).
  • Send an emoji with a kissing face. Like this: Kissing Face With Closed Eyes on Samsung Experience 8.5 (Galaxy Note 8)
  • Use a word that means kissing, such as mwah!
  • Take a picture of yourself puckered up and send it through text.
  • Download Bitmoji, make your avatar, and then use one of the kissing images. Here’s one of mine!

Avatar of me, with word "KISSES" and a lipsticked mouth underneath

That’s it! Five kisses you should become your spouse’s personal expert on.

Five kisses you should become your spouse's personal expert on. Click To Tweet

Also, I have a whole chapter on kissing with many more tips in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, on sale only through Valentine’s Day. Make sure you get your copy!

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5 FREE Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse

It’s Saturday, meaning another high-five! That is, five resources or tips you can use to nurture your marriage and your marriage bed.

Valentine’s Day is coming up! If you and/or your spouse enjoy commemorating this day, you need to decide on what you’ll do to celebrate. But what if you don’t have a lot of money to spend?

No worries! Here are five FREE Valentine’s gifts you can give your spouse.

Blog post title + two drawn hearts joined like puzzle pieces

1. Full-body massage

Our bodies love touch, and there’s something so wonderful about your spouse soothing your tight muscles with their hands.

Now, if you want to make this a real Valentine’s treat for all involved, remember: The higher drive spouse wants it to lead to sex; the lower drive spouse just wants a massage.

I’m not saying the lower-drive spouse won’t be responsive to the idea of sex on Valentine’s, but if they feel the whole time like you’re only giving the massage to get sex, it won’t be enjoyable. So focus on the massage for the time being, and make your sexual advances separate from that experience.

If you want to present a gift certificate for the massage, Canva has a bunch of templates you can use; although mostly tailored to businesses, they can easily be adapted to a massage for your spouse.

2. Clean house

I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but if you listened to our Christmas episode from the Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, you heard Gaye of Calm.Healthy.Sexy. say that one year the only gift she really wanted was a clean house. And I guarantee a large number of wives were nodding their heads, fully understanding that desire.

But it’s not just wives. In some couples, the husband is more of a neatnik.

If your spouse is  stressed by the mess, it’s a relief and a gift for them to have a clean house. Take a day or more off and focus on decluttering, deep cleaning, and/or decorating your home. Make it a space that feels welcoming and peaceful. And be sure to attend to the bedroom, creating a place conducive to lovemaking.

3. Love letter

Words are powerful. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Your words could be sweet to your spouse’s soul and healing to their bones. Why not put your words in a love letter, to be kept and cherished?

If you don’t know how to write a love letter, I have a section in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, simply titled: “How to Write a Love Letter.” Yep, I walk you through the components of a good love letter and give examples. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write something your spouse will treasure for years. Just learn these tips, and you can write a letter your spouse will love getting for Valentine’s Day.

4. Homemade meal

If you don’t usually cook, be the one to prepare dinner. If you’re not much of a cook, choose something you can’t screw up, or find a simple recipe and follow it to the letter. Videos with a cooking demonstration can be particularly helpful.

If cooking is a shared activity or you typically get meals ready, how about breakfast in bed? Make sure you have a tray on which to serve the food so it’s easy for your spouse to eat. (Unless you’re planning to eat off each other…)

And consider presentation! When you go through Taco Bell, they shove your paper-wrapped burrito into a sack and hold it out the window to you. But when you go to a fancy restaurant, the chef displays the meal on a gleaming white plate with everything arranged perfectly and a garnish on the side. Give your spouse the fancy treatment, as much as you can (search “plating” on YouTube for ideas).

5. Sex

C’mon, you knew I had to say it. Sex is a shared activity that provides fun and pleasure, expresses love, and is free! It’s the gift God gave marriage that we re-gift to each other again and again.

But then how do you make this sexual experience feel special, worthy of qualifying as a Valentine’s Day gift? Try one or more of these:

  • Create a romantic atmosphere, using tools like candles, flower petals, aromas, etc.
  • Try something different or new. Again, my book has a lot of tips!
  • Play a bedroom game, like Ultimate Intimacy or Sexy Truth or Dare.
  • Have sex their way, putting the focus on your spouse’s enjoyment.
  • Lengthen the time you’ll make love, drawing out pleasure with exploration and foreplay.

There you go. Five freebies for your Valentine’s Day.

For other gift ideas, check out:

13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
“Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse
8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby
8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife

And remember, you can always gift one of my not-free-but-really-inexpensive books! On sale only through Valentine’s Day.

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Is Marriage Terrific or Awful?

On the Facebook page for our podcast, Sex Chat for Christian Wives, we often share Bible verses or quotes that apply to marriage. Consequently, I’ve done a lot of perusing quotes lately, and it struck me today how strong people’s opinions are about the worthwhileness of marriage.

Blog post title + illustration of wedding rings

Some believe marriage is terrific, some believe it’s awful. Take a look at these examples:

Marriage is terrific

“There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” – Martin Luther

“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” – Andre Maurois

“Love is not weakness. It is strong. Only the sacrament of marriage can contain it.” – Boris Pasternak

“Marriage is the most natural state of man, and…the state in which you will find solid happiness.” – Benjamin Franklin

Marriage is awful

“Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.” – William Shakespeare

“A marriage is no amusement but a solemn act, and generally a sad one.” – Queen Victoria

“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?” – H.L. Mencken

So which is it?

When my marriage was in the pit of doom and despair, I would have answered that my marriage was awful. And yet, somehow I believed deeply that it could become terrific. (See When My Marriage Seemed Hopeless, What Made Me Stay?)

It has become a happy marriage, such that I also wrote 6 Things I Love about Being Married. And believe me, that’s not an exhaustive list!

I know some marriages are awful. One or both spouses are buried in a pile of pain so deep they can’t imagine how they can possibly claw their way out — at least not together. Some of you have experienced the lion’s share of hurt on the issue of a sexless marriage, although most failing marriages are dealing with other issues as well.

Perhaps you’re at the point that you feel like one of these people:

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” – Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

“Marriage is miserable unless you find the right person that is your soulmate and that takes a lot of looking.” – Marvin Gaye

You think that you were dealt a bad hand or married the wrong person, and you don’t feel like your marriage can ever find health and happiness.

I don’t believe in soul mates. If God created a single person out there intended for you, that strikes me as a cruel shell game to try to find them. Moreover, the Bible shows example of various reasons for getting married, and God’s perspective seems to be that living out the Gospel in your marriage is what brings you holiness and happiness.

Living out the Gospel in your marriage is what brings you holiness and happiness. Click To Tweet

Hands-down, that’s what saved my marriage and brought us from awful to terrific. See Miracle or Quick Fix, in which I confess this what I learned during that process:

I had to commit to being the kind of Christ-follower God wanted me to be. Often we know what to do. We simply don’t do it. We find excuses for not being as loving, patient, selfless, and kind as we should. We don’t give the other person the benefit of the doubt. We focus on defending ourselves and thus offending our spouse. If God directly responded to many of our prayers for a better marriage, Jesus might simply pop into our living rooms long enough to say a “Woe unto you” for neglecting His commands.

What makes the difference?

Perhaps the difference between good marriages and bad marriages is our willingness to be humble about our shortcomings, forgiving of one another, and invite God into our relationship day after day after day.

That’s not a magic pill, but a daily regimen.

The good news is that I’ve been around long enough to see not just a few but many marriages go from awful to terrific. Yes, I’ve also seen some go from terrific to awful — and that stings for all involved. But there are a lot of happy marriages out there (see The Good News about Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn), most of which required intentionality, effort, and grace.

There are a lot of happy marriages out there, most of which required intentionality, effort, and grace. Click To Tweet

Maybe your marriage is already there, but maybe it’s awful at the moment — which means it might just be pre-terrific. Don’t give up.

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How to Make Your Valentine Gift Meaningful

blog post title + illustration of envelope with hearts come out

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the first line of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities was actually about couples and Valentine’s Day: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Yep, St. Valentine’s Day is less than a month away — the holiday that some spouses anticipate with excitement, and others dread with exasperation.

Regardless of how you approach it, I suspect you come with your own set of expectations. Maybe they are high expectations that cannot possibly be fulfilled, and maybe they are low expectations that your frustration turns into a self-fulfilled prophecy. But most of us fall somewhere in between.

I’ve written about Valentine’s Day so many times that I wondered what I could possibly say to make this holiday better for married couples. But when I asked members of my Facebook community what I should cover, a lot of answers boiled down to wanting something really meaningful.

So how can you give a meaningful gift to your spouse? What will make this the Valentine’s Day s/he will always remember?

1. Plan.

You might have wondered why I’m writing this post nearly a month before Valentine’s Day. But you may need time to brainstorm ideas, line up a babysitter (and perhaps a back-up babysitter), make a reservation, and/or purchase or make any necessary supplies.

Almost every gift I can think of that a friend happily told me about her husband getting her involved planning on his part. For example, a getaway weekend he had to book ahead of time, bidding on eBay for a treasured item from her childhood, breakfast in bed made by hubby and the children, the love letter he wrote.

As Benjamin Franklin purportedly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Instead, plan ahead.

2. Prioritize.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: I don’t care if this holiday means absolutely nothing to you or you think it’s supremely stupid — if it’s important to your spouse, you need to make something happen. Because that’s love, people. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).

That also means that you must prioritize your time. Clear your calendar to make time with your spouse. You can’t fully connect with your spouse if you can’t disconnect from the other stuff pulling you apart.

You can't fully connect with your spouse if you can't disconnect from the other stuff pulling you apart. Click To Tweet

If you can’t celebrate on Valentine’s Day, pick another day around the same time. But figure out when you can carve out time to be together and then make that happen.

3. Pursue.

One reader commented that she wanted “almost like a ‘take me back to our honeymoon days’ kind of post. I feel so overwhelmed with responsibility in life I sometimes forget the exciting and fun side of things.” I know she’s not alone.

Remember when you were falling in love? When you first held hands or felt that flicker of this could be the one? Remember how excited you were just to be together?

Scientifically speaking, those fluttery feelings involved some brain chemicals that aren’t at the same levels now after being so familiar with one another. But the beauty of our brains is that we can renew those feelings by introducing special moments and pairing them with our spouse. Essentially, you need the attitude that you’re still pursuing your spouse.

Romantic pursuit can be passionate or playful. It can make you burst out in laughter, weep with deep emotion, or simply savor the moments. It can be grand gestures or cozy comfort. It’s whatever romance means to you and your beloved.

But regardless of what form it takes, pursuing your spouse doesn’t simply mark off the box of “I’m married to you” or “I thought of you.” It wholeheartedly communicates “I love you, I want you, and I’d do it all over again.” You’ll know it’s more meaningful when your gift conveys that message.

4. Personalize.

If my husband paid attention to all the statements that women love getting flowers, he’d miss the mark. It’s not that I don’t like getting flowers — which is nice — but it’s not all that meaningful to me. Other gifts have meant far more to me, like when my husband saw me admire a piece of art in a store and it showed up as my gift at the next holiday. He paid attention to what I really like.

Likewise, you have to personalize your gift to your spouse. I’ve given a lot of gift ideas in the past, but you have to look at such lists with knowledge of the person you’re married to:

13 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts from Your Grocery Store
7 Sexy Valentine’s Gifts You Can Make
“Go Big” Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spouse
8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby
8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife

Think about previous gifts or experiences your spouse has had. When did you see your spouse light up? What fond memory have they recounted many times over? What interests, talents, and dreams does your spouse have? How can your gift honor the person they are?

Those are my four tips for giving a meaningful gift: Plan, Prioritize, Pursue, and Personalize.

I can’t leave without mentioning that sex should be very meaningful in your marriage. And right now both of my books, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage and Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, have sales right now on the ebook. Only $2.99! This is a great time to get one or both and get ideas for improving the sex in your marriage, and making sure your Valentine’s Day is meaningfully intimate as well.

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