Tag Archives: Behind Closed Doors

Vacationing with Hubby: How to Make It Better

I try to learn from my experiences. And my mistakes. My many, many mistakes.

But I’ve been evaluating my recent week-long trip to New York City and the last few days of it that I spent with my hubby. What could have made things even more smooth? How could we improve the limited time we get together, alone, out of town, without daily interruptions? What do I want to remember for the next time we take a couple vacation?

Let me share a few.

Vacationing with Hubby - How to Make It Better

Schedule rest into the itinerary. Travel is exhausting, and so is out-of-town business. I didn’t plan well for this and allow myself time to recharge between events. Next time, I want to leave more time between arriving from the airport and starting in on my itinerary. I also shifted quickly from work events to vacation days with hubby, and consequently I felt physically bad that whole first day of sightseeing. I only realized how much I needed downtime when I slipped into bed that night at 7:30 p.m. for a “quick nap” . . . and woke up the next morning at 7:30 a.m.

To get the most from your couple vacation time, allow a little breather between travel and vacation activities. Be willing to hang out in the hotel a little longer or linger over a relaxed breakfast. Let yourself sleep in. Yes, you might lose an hour or two in your day, but you’ll feel better and enjoy each other more. You don’t want your vacation to involve two overtired, grumpy spouses, so schedule rest into the itinerary.

Discuss expectations. If your husband thinks this is a “sexcation” and you think it’s a see-everything-you-can sightseeing tour, one of you — or really, both of you — will be disappointed.

Hubby and I do a pretty good job of this, but we can always improve. My one tweak would be to write down the must-do’s, the hope-we-do’s, and the if-we-have-time-do’s. Then we can make sure we knock out the activities we most want to engage in and not waste time on stuff we sorta, kinda, maybe want to do but that isn’t really a big deal.

And yes, I think it’s perfectly fine to write “have sex” on your must-do list. I’m in favor of spontaneous sex, but I’m also in favor of scheduling sex just like you schedule date night.

Pack lube. Calm.Healthy.Sexy. recently penned a great post on why hotel sex is particularly nice. I agree, but I was sort of kicking myself for not packing personal lubricant. Even if you don’t need it, it’s better to have it available, just in case.

My own favorite are the Sliquid travel-size packs so you can get single-use pouches and easily slip them into your luggage. (And no, Sliquid’s not paying me to say that…but they should. *wink wink*) Regardless of what you prefer, remember to pack personal lubricant so that you’ll have it if you need it.

By the way, that photo up there is me and the hubster at Central Park in New York City.

Now what are your tips for vacationing with your spouse?

A Romance Book You Can Read

Romance novels regularly get pummeled. Sometimes with good reason.

I’ve written about the myths of romance novels, aware they often convey wrong messages about love and sexuality. Plus, I feel bad for husbands who are trying, but the standard women seem to want, based on romance novels, is unrealistic and impossible. (We ladies know how unrealistic and impossible feels based on visual images, so you can understand my compassion. It sucks being compared to a fictitious fantasy.)

And then there’s the “cheese factor.” As in some romance novels — including some Christian fiction — are just cheesy. I don’t even know how to say this better. These are stories in which the characters don’t seem at all like ourselves or any real people we know. Sure, that could be fun for an escape, but I don’t read many of those novels. I know some of you don’t either.

Still, I believe in the importance of story. God’s Word is filled with stories teaching principles to live by, and Jesus taught many of his lessons in parables.

Bestselling author Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” So I decided to leap in with both feet and write the kind of stories I’d like to read about love, marriage, and sexual intimacy.

Final Book Cover - smallerBehind Closed Doors is a collection of inspirational short stories addressing marriage and sexual intimacy. Following are previews of the five stories:

“The Rose Club.” Wendy and her two best friends are still mourning the death of Aunt Rose, as they sort through her treasured belongings and their childhood memories. When a discovery in the Aunt Rose’s bedroom sheds light on an unexpected side of their straight-laced “aunt,” the revelation unleashes confessions among lifelong friends.

“After the Baby.” Jack knows the exact number of days since he and his wife made love. With a newborn baby and an overwhelmed mommy in the house, how much longer must he wait? More importantly, how can they reconnect not simply as parents, but also as married lovers?

“Shotgun.” Tina and Josh are newlyweds, thanks to a surprise! teen pregnancy. But when a pregnancy complication knocks Tina onto her back for bed rest, it’s even more grown-up problems and less, or rather no, sex. Are the doctor’s orders for abstinence in their marriage a case of divine payback?

“The House the Densons Built.” Candace is a wife, homemaker, and mother of two, devoted to her family—until the arrival of a mysterious package shatters everything she believed about her marriage. How could her husband destroy their trust? Now they must confront the truth and decide if their marriage can be saved.

“Suite Nothings.” Nadine has dreamed of her wedding since childhood, determined to transform herself from tongue-tied klutz to fairytale princess for at least one day. After finding Mr. Right and setting the date, she realizes her preparations don’t include anything post-nuptials. Add another tab to the notebook! What can she do to make their wedding night unforgettable?

What can you expect with my romance book, Behind Closed Doors?

No sex on the page. Thus, the title Behind Closed Doors — since I believe what happens between a specific couple in their marriage bed is a private matter. So while many romance books include steamy sex scenes, they are not in my book.

References to sex. That said, there is definitely sexual desire, tension, and hints at intimacy between married couples. Nothing is written in an effort to titillate, but rather to be authentic about marriage and intimacy.

Real characters. Of course these are fictitious people, and I didn’t base them specifically on anyone I know. However, I tried to give them real skin, so to speak. I wanted these characters to feel authentic and experience real problems, real emotions, and real hope.

Specific scenarios. These are stories about these particular people, so don’t read too much into the specifics of their situation. For instance, the couple who marry young following a teen pregnancy does not mean I condone premarital sex, teen pregnancy, or marrying that young — but I know it happens and I used that specific setup to tell a story.

Universal themes. Although these stories and characters are specific, there are definitely takeaways. Themes of godly sexual intimacy, grace and generosity in marriage, and redemptive hope run through all of them. I believe stories can teach us something about life and ourselves, and I hope Behind Closed Doors achieves that goal.

I also hope a series of short stories revolving around biblical love, marriage, and intimacy will appeal to people who wouldn’t normally pick up a book about biblical sexuality. Maybe this is the kind of thing you could share with someone who won’t read a “self-help book,” but who does enjoy a good romance.

Behind Closed Doors is available through ebook, and it’s available with several vendors:

Amazon / Kindle | Barnes & Noble / Nook | Kobo Books | Scribd | iBooks

Many blessings to your marriage and what goes on behind your closed doors!

Do You Have a Sexual Story?

Chalkboard with "It's My Story" and heartDuring the month of August, I’m going to be focusing my posts on sexual stories. You see, I’m a big fan of story. I’m an avid reader of novels, a writer, and an ongoing student of the instructive stories of the Bible.

Yes, I believe God is a fan of stories as well. Rather than give us a religious text that simply outlined the rules and regulations, much of His Word focuses on people — their struggles, their journeys, their trials, their triumphs — and how God fits into their lives. Jesus even had a preference for telling stories with His many parables.

We have our own stories. Defined simply, a story is when someone must overcome an obstacle to achieve something they want or need. If there isn’t a challenge, there really isn’t a story. And we delight in hearing stories of how others lived and prevailed in the face of difficulty.

I think almost everyone has a story regarding sexual intimacy. They have challenges of some kind or other, because we live in a broken world. Yet, we can make the journey to overcome and realize God’s superior design for sexual intimacy. We can gain what we truly want and need when we deal with the obstacles and follow God’s plan.

So why do I want to focus on sexual stories?

Because I’ve written some. Stories, that is. By day, I’m a Christian sex blogger; by night, a purveyor of fiction. 🙂 Yes, that’s right, I’ve been writing some short stories lately and decided to write a few dealing with sexual intimacy in marriage. As my newsletter subscribers recently read, I’ll soon be putting those stories together in an ebook collection titled Behind Closed Doors, which I hope to release in the next month or two.

Stories are a great way to connect and teach and entertain. My hope and prayer is that fiction on the subject of Christian sexuality will be another avenue to shed light on an oft-misunderstood topic.

I’ll be revealing the book cover soon, but in the meantime, here’s a short snippet from one of the stories, this one called “Suite Nothings.”

♥       ♥       ♥

“You should read this.” Bianca handed me a crisp-spined paperback with the front cover down. I flipped the book over and read the title.

Sex.

Yeah, there were more words in the title, but the one that jumped out was Sex. I darted my eyes around the emptying sanctuary of our church to make sure no one was near enough to see or hear. The worship service had ended several minutes earlier, but she and I were among the few stragglers left.

“Your wedding is only one day,” Bianca said, “but intimacy with your husband is a lifetime.” She thumped the top of the book with her delicate finger. “My mother gave this to me when I got engaged.”

“You read this before you got married?” I half-whispered. Was I even allowed to read about sex yet? We were two months away from our wedding night. Wasn’t my task to not think about sex until then? Ken and I had carefully avoided even being alone together too long, to make sure our passions weren’t aroused before it was, you know, legal and all.

Bianca shook her head, and the halo I always imagined above her shook with it. “Yes, I read it. Sex in marriage is an important, holy thing. Bradley and I had an absolutely perfect first time. Sacred and sizzling. You’ll want your wedding night to be memorable. You need to start off right, Nadine.”

“Of course.” A hint of tension slithered up my spine. Was it possible to start off wrong? Wasn’t sex a pretty straightforward this-fits-there kind of thing?

Do you have a sexual story? Have you overcome obstacles to experience better sexual intimacy in your marriage?