Tag Archives: christian wives

Are Christian Sex Authors Unconventional?

woman working on laptopYou might think the automatic answer to that question is yes. After all, it’s a rather recent phenomenon to have so many Christian voices speaking openly and boldly about sexuality. It’s true that a blog like mine, primarily devoted to sexual intimacy and from a biblical perspective, isn’t common. However, I’m hardly alone. There’s been an upsurge in Christian writers and speakers focusing on marriage and intimacy.

But some recent events have reminded that we still look odd to a lot of people. After all, many of us come from religious traditions that were at best nervous and at worst condemning of sexual activity — yes, even in marriage. Certainly, many churches have a history of poor or nonexistent teaching on godly intimacy.

And now, there are a bunch of us not only willing to say the word sex publicly, but to espouse that God has stuff to say about it and we can get into some nitty-gritty ideas for married couples to spice things up. Surely, that makes Christian sex authors unconventional?

Actually, while the means of delivering our message has changed, I think biblically based Christian sex authors are the truly conventional ones. Let’s take Merriam-Webster’s definition:

conventional adjective
: used and accepted by most people : usual or traditional
: of a kind that has been around for a long time and is considered to be usual or typical
: common and ordinary : not unusual

The overwhelming message from the Bible is that God created sex for marriage and wants His people to enjoy it to the fullest. It starts in Genesis, runs through the Old Testament, and gets reinforced in the New Testament. The exhortation to have frequent, intimate, pleasurable sex within marriage has been around a long time, is typical for the Bible, and was widely accepted among God’s people for centuries.

Although God’s people have strayed in preaching and practice many times, the core message remains the same: God gave marriage the gift of sex, and we should treasure His gift.

Of course, the means by which we deliver the message has certainly changed. Rather than chatting with other women at our Mikveh and trading truths about sex in marriage, I’m typing on this keyboard and sending out my two cents to women across the world through the Internet. That part is unconventional (although I suspect it will seem conventional at some point).

Regardless, what I say here is what I’d say if we chatted it up over coffee . . . or way-back-when at the community well where we drew water. And it’s based on what God’s been saying for millennia — sex in marriage is, and should feel, good. I’m hardly breaking new ground — just finding new ways to say it.

And soon, I’ll have two more ways to communicate God’s age-old truth about sexual intimacy in marriage. I’m hoping and praying my next two books will be released before the end of the year.

One will be a weekly devotional book with 52 devotions to enhance sex in your marriage. And the second is a book of fiction, Behind Closed Doors, with five short stories about marriage and intimacy. Are these typical ways to deliver a message of truth and hope about sex? Probably not. But in everything I do, I return to the well-established foundation of God Himself and His Word.

What has struck you as conventional or unconventional about Christian sex authors? What ways have you seen for modern-day Christians to express ancient biblical truths?

Romance Infused with the Gospel

Well, color me happy! One of my favorite marriage bloggers is here today, talking to us about a subject I’d probably get a C- in — at best. Thankfully, Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard, is here to talk about romance — romance infused with the Gospel.

Take it, Debi!

♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

My cousin’s daughter just moved in with us for the summer. I could say she’s my 1st cousin twice removed, but then I’d have to explain what that means. So. I. won’t. 😉

tea & fruit steepingBut what I do want to share with you is this — she brought with her a tea infuser that holds loose tea and frozen fruit. She was putting the whole thing together last night to place in the refrigerator for a healthy drink in the morning. I was fascinated the next day when I saw how rich the color of the water was after steeping for hours. The fruit had dissolved its juices into the clear water making what I imagine was a very refreshing drink.

It made me think about how the Gospel infuses every aspect of our marriage with a richness that is fascinating and life-giving as well. It makes all the difference in how our marriage looks to others and most importantly how it tastes to us.

Romance is one of the best ways to enjoy the fruit of the Gospel in our marriage. You might not have considered this before, but it’s true. Without the Gospel — which is the finished work of Christ on the Cross that enables us to live our lives in sacrifice for the benefit of others as well as the glory of God — our romance would be for temporary pleasure alone. It would have no lasting value other than the enjoyment it brings in the moment. But when we romance our spouse because of the love Christ has shown us, preferring them in all we do, it produces a fresh aroma that others can’t help but notice.

I would define romance as the outward expression of an inward feeling. It could be shown through love letters written, date nights planned, passionate lovemaking, dinner out or a favorite meal cooked at home. Romance could be a look or a smile, a kiss or a warm embrace. But most importantly when infused with the Gospel, underneath it all is what motivates our acts of romance. It’s not just for the pleasure of our spouse — although that is a valid one. It’s for the glory of God. It’s our way of allowing His love to shine through us as we treat our spouse in a way we treat no one else on the earth.

This kind of romantic love is attractive. It makes others stop and ask if you’re newlyweds, which Tom and I have had people ask us before. We love watching their reaction when they hear we’ve been doing this for decades!  And immediately our gratefulness goes to God, for apart from Him we wouldn’t love each other the way we do. His love infuses everything we do — from our feelings, to our thoughts, to our prayers and to all our relationships, but mostly in how we treat each other.

I realize some reading this post might be in the midst of a very difficult time in your marriage. It may seem that what’s infused in your relationship is bitterness and discontent. I know how hard it can be to endure difficult seasons in your marriage. Tom and I have certainly had our share. But what you need to hear right now while steeping in this cold, dark place, is that God is faithful. He is at work and promises to bring about good to those who truly love Him and are seeking to live according to His purposes.

If you are lacking faith that your marriage will ever change, I encourage you to take your concerns to God. Cry out to Him for help in your time of need. Ask Him to infuse your marriage with the sweet fruit of the Gospel, not the bitter pill of what’s gone before.

We recently shared a daily marriage tip on Facebook that I think is the perfect way to end this post. It says:

My spouse should be the safest place where I can be myself and know I will be loved, accepted and encouraged to be the best I can be. Our past may inform our present, but it shouldn’t define our future.” 

Did you catch that? We can’t ignore our past, even what has already happened in our marriage that we’d like to forget. But with the Gospel Truth at work in our lives, our past shouldn’t define our future. God loves to take impossible situations and make them into something beautiful. 

May The Lord help you discover how to allow His Gospel truth to infuse the way you love and romance your spouse. As you do, be certain others will notice, and your marriage will grow all the stronger day by day, year by year, decade by decade.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV).

About Debi Walter

Debi WalterTom and Debi Walter have been cultivating their romantic vineyard for most of their 35 years of marriage. It has been their conviction from the start. Now they are passionate about helping other couples discover the rich harvest of romance available to them no matter the current season. Through their marriage blog, The Romantic Vineyard established in 2008, they provide regular posts about growing your marriage for God’s glory.

Why I Still Wear Lingerie (though My Hubby Doesn’t Care)

illustrations of lingerieI was in a lingerie store recently purchasing needed undergarments, and the clearance rack caught my attention. Actually, that’s how I prefer to do most of my shopping — with the word CLEARANCE written on a sign nearby and a pile of price stickers on the tag with the top one impressing me enough to say, “Yeah, I’ll pay that much.”

Anyway . . .

I flipped through a bunch of items on the clearance rack that I would never, ever wear; saw a few items that looked pretty but didn’t come in my size; and then lingered on one goooorgeous night-thing — a comfortable, feminine, sexy item I’d love to sleep in or show off to my husband. I hemmed and hawed about it purchasing it, but the price was another 50% off that top sticker on the tag. So I finally took it to the counter, paid out, and left the store with a new nightie.

But here’s the thing: In my many years of marriage, I’ve learned that my husband doesn’t care about lingerie. Really. Doesn’t care.

Now this is atypical. A majority of husbands delight in seeing their wives don pretty, suggestive attire in the bedroom. For those wives, I encourage you to find something you’re willing wear to bed that will also arouse his senses.

But even if your husband is fine with bypassing the nightie and going straight to nude, maybe you should invest in a few pieces of beautiful lingerie for yourself. I do. Why?

Focusing your mind. Much of a woman’s sex drive is in her head. In a single moment, we gals entertain an average of 342 things in our brains (give or take a couple), and shoving out all that extraneous stuff to focus on making love can be a mental battle some days. So how can you shift from being super-mommy, super-worker, super-cook, super-house-manager, etc. and become super-sexy-wife?

Slipping on a item of lingerie can get you in the right frame of mind. You commit to that focus of being physical with your husband. After all, once you put on a lace teddy, you’re probably not thinking about cleaning the toilets anymore. The rest of your to-do’s can wait.

Feeling sexy. A good piece of lingerie will play to your body’s figure and show off your physical assets. It will help you display your best features in an enticing way. Lingerie usually has a different texture and lighter fabric, and that satin or lace or silk can brush the skin underneath in a pleasant way. All that comes together to remind you that you are one sexy lady.

Just try to get that same feeling wearing an over-sized tee and granny panties. Not gonna happen. There’s something about lingerie — lingerie you like — that makes you feel desirable.

Sending clear signals. When you walk into your bedroom wearing provocative lingerie, there’s really no need to say to your husband, “Hey, you wanna?” You’re sending a pretty clear signal — no words necessary.

This approach can make some guys practically giddy — particularly those husbands whose wives rarely initiate. If she shows up looking interested and inviting, it’s like his birthday wish came true. And now he gets to unwrap the present. (Best. Birthday. Ever.)

If you get mixed messages in your marriage with “I was interested, but you looked busy” and “Well, I would have, but I thought you had to get up early” or “I didn’t know if you were kissing me good night or kissing me to initiate something,” then sending a clear signal can be a welcome event. Wearing pretty lingerie and presenting yourself as one hot wife can let hubby know he’s one lucky, lucky man. And he’d better use this opportunity well.

What if he truly doesn’t care? As I’ve said, my husband doesn’t really care about the lingerie. He likes the clear signal of show up naked.

But maybe your husband doesn’t care for another reason. Some wives are dealing with a low-drive husband, and showing up in sexy lingerie doesn’t have an arousing effect on him. In fact, slipping on something sexy and posing in your bedroom’s doorway results in little more than a passing nod from him and in a glob of grief settling in you. So should you stick to the tattered tee and pajama pants?

Clearly, a major mismatch in sexual drives is a bigger issue than whether you wear a slinky chemise to bed. But while you’re working on that, I suggest you still buy some pretty stuff for you. Maybe you’re not going to present yourself the same way to your husband, until you’ve figured out what his obstacles are and dealt with them. However, you may want personal reminders from time to time that you are beautiful and sexy and worthwhile. You may want to feel pretty for yourself, even if that nightie stays on you all night.

So do you wear pretty lingerie? Why or why not?

More on lingerie: How to Shop for Lingerie and Does Sexy Lingerie Promote a Perverted View of Beauty?

Enjoy the blog? Check out the book.

Sex Savvy book coverHow’s your sex savvy? Do you want to be a hottie in the bedroom without sacrificing holiness? Would you like real-life tips on making the most of God’s gift of sexual intimacy in marriage?

Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives has candid advice for wives on everything from kissing to oral sex to orgasm to sexual positions—all from a Christian perspective. Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

When My Marriage Seemed Hopeless, What Made Me Stay?

I’m a big proponent of reading Christian marriage books. I have gleaned a lot of wisdom from biblically based writing about the marital relationship and practical advice on making marriages work.

That said, I’m coming clean today. I wasn’t reading a Christian marriage book when I decided to stay in my marriage even though things seemed utterly hopeless. I was reading a secular book that I researched and bought online, hid from my husband, and read in secret. Mind you, I’m not suggesting any of that. I’m simply giving my own confession.

Husband & Wife separated by a wall

Since you’re probably wanting to know the book’s title, I’ll give it to you — but don’t run out and buy it! It was Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay in or Get Out of a Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum. Why do I say don’t buy the book? Because it wasn’t the book that made me stay. It was the foundation of faith I had as I read through the chapters.

One by one, the author went through various problems a relationship can have and signs that indicate things could improve or not. If a situation is unbearable and unlikely to change, the reasonable choice is to leave. Right?

But as I read through the book and sorted through the problems — some laid out in eerie resemblance to my own marriage — I realized I was willing to live with a lot more than I originally thought and I believed my God was a lot bigger than I’d originally thought.

I’m years down the road from that moment, but I vividly remember holding that book in my bathtub (where I love to read, thank you very much) and the reality that I wanted to leave my marriage hitting me like a brick in the gut. And that punch made me wonder if I had another choice — if despite the few chapters that subtly encouraged me to back out, I could find a way to honor my covenant.

Admittedly, my marriage was not dealing with any of the three awful A’s — adultery, abuse, or addiction — which are especially difficult to surmount. However, my marriage looked like Humpty-Dumpty at the time. It seemed that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put our marriage back together again. But what about the King himself? Did I believe His reassurances that I could reap good if I sowed according to His Word?

How do you know when to stay? I can’t answer that question for anyone else. I do know for certain two things:

  1. Several years down the road, I am a happily married woman. Happily. And I am ever-so-thankful that God pricked my heart and encouraged my soul, and that I stayed with my husband and kept my family intact.
  2. Research has shown that  2/3 of unhappy spouses who stayed married reported their marriages were happy 5 years later. And the most unhappy marriages had the best results, with 8 out of 10 spouses who reported “very unhappy” marriages and avoided divorce being happily married 5 years later. (See more about the study.)

What factors did I use to ultimately stay in an unhappy marriage and create a holier, happier marriage?

  • Even if I didn’t feel loved at that moment, I knew my husband had loved me. I held onto that truth and believed we could rekindle our love.
  • I was convicted that I’d been waiting for my husband to change. When I looked at the issues brought up in this secular book, I recognized that if he were reading it, he’d have grounds to leave me. So clearly, I hadn’t done everything I could do to be the wife God wanted me to be.
  • We had children, and he was a loving father. We disagreed then about parenting approaches, but we’d created human beings together and I knew he cared for them. I wasn’t ready to separate my kids from their dad.
  • We experienced good sexual intimacy, which reminded me of our deep, one-flesh connection. Our satisfying sex life was a reminder of our unique relationship and our continued desire to be together.
  • I believe God could turn us around, because I’d seen how He turned me around. I’d gone from premarital promiscuity to many years of monogamy with my husband — and he was still the only one I truly sexually desired. With God’s intervention in my life, something had changed in my core. So I knew what was possible.
  • I remembered specific verses and stories in the Bible about waiting on the Lord, sowing patiently before the harvest arrives, and being spiritually rewarded for following God’s commands (even if it meant that my marriage continued to struggle for the time being). Galatians 6:7-10 says:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

I suspect too many spouses give up before they can reap the spiritual reward of being diligent in their marriage. For most marriages, there is also a reward in the relationship — the marriage improves. Sometimes drastically.

I’ve got my own testimony about hopeless to happy. I’d love to hear yours.

Did you move from hopeless to happy? What helped you stay in your marriage? Are you struggling right now?

The Woman I Am: A Lesson in Self-Grace

Today’s post is a bit different — a girlfriend-to-girlfriend talk to my fellow wives.

One of my biggest personal weaknesses is self-judgment. I always think I should be doing better than I am. My house should be cleaner. My dinners should be tastier. My garden should be better tended. My kids should be more productive. My body should be more fit. I should have my posts planned and written sooner. I should be quicker to answer emails and comments. I should have more books written. I should have my speaking plans fully outlined. I should read more. I should pray longer.

There’s me . . . and there’s The Woman I Should Be.

In the past week, I had two different people tell me I needed to cut myself a break. Well, that was a wake-up call!

Busy woman juggling way too much!

I started thinking about how we wives can be especially hard on ourselves. We somehow think we should have things more together than we do. We envision the woman we could be, if everything would just fall in line exactly as it should. We set high expectations and fail to live up to them.

Honestly, it doesn’t help that I’m a creature of habit in the realm of comparison. You ladies know what I’m talking about. We look at what someone else accomplishes and wonder why we can’t do everything they do. If only I could be like that seemingly perfect Christian wife and mom, I’d also have twelve Pinterest boards with all of my brilliant insight and family activities posted for the world to see. I’d trumpet my kids’ many accomplishments on Facebook, instead of privately congratulating myself that my kid finally hit the hamper with his socks or, dear Lord thank you, passed history. I’d be my husband’s sexy lover, my kids’ room and team mom, and my church’s Volunteer of the Year. I’d be ten pounds less than I weigh. I’d have half the Bible memorized, including the scripture references.

Meanwhile, there’s The Woman I Am. That woman who grimaces at the dirty bathroom sink and wonders if I can let it go one more day before cleaning. The woman who orders pizza for dinner because she failed to make it to the grocery store. The woman who edited one page of a writing project instead of the ten she was sure she’d get to. The woman who starts ten prayers for every one she finishes with an actual “Amen” (got distracted, interrupted, or fell asleep). The woman who lets her kids watch another mind-numbing hour of TV so she can have a few more minutes of peace. The woman who planned to have a fabulous night of conversation, closeness, and sex with the hubby and dozed off while he finished the last of his brought-home-from-the-office work. The Woman I Am.

I said to someone today, “I’m a total mess.” Thankfully, this godly woman said something to the tune of “We’re all messes.”

Sometimes, we’re hardest on ourselves. We fail to prioritize what’s really important or focus on the eternal because we’re caught up in trying to be someone we really can’t be. God doesn’t even expect perfection from us. Not without His healing grace covering all of our flaws. If I was The Woman I Should Be, why would I need Jesus? But instead, there’s The Woman I Am — a woman who needs large dollops of grace from my Lord and Savior and even some grace from myself.

God doesn’t promise perfection this side of Heaven. In fact, He came down in the body of Jesus Christ, so He knows exactly what it is to be human. He understands the challenges and the frustrations.

Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, in your work, in your raising of family, in your marriage, in your sexual intimacy — it’s tempting to kick yourself for not being further down the road. But give yourself some grace. You can’t do it all. Not today at least.

If your to-do list is too long, see if you can knock something off. But if it’s just that season of your life, do the best you can. If you’re on the wrong path, get on the right one, and if you get sidetracked, get back on that path — over and over. If you’re neglecting your marriage and family, do better today than you did yesterday and know you’re headed in a good direction. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), not the make-believe version of The Woman You Should Be. The Woman You Are is enough for today. And God’s got you covered, if you take time to let Him in.

Even if your house isn’t worthy of visitors, or perhaps even wild animals, your family has a roof over their heads and beds to sleep in. Even if your kids’ clothes don’t match and their dinner manners are a constant work in progress (see “wild animals” above), they know you love them. Even if that dinner is a hodgepodge of leftovers, you fed your family today. Even if sex with the hubby was a morning quickie instead of the hour-long lovemaking you wish you could engage in, you made love and held each other afterward — and you’re working on making it a priority. Even if you didn’t complete your last few prayers all the way to the end, you started them.

He knows.

God knows The Woman You Are.

And that’s the very woman He loves.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34