Tag Archives: Generous Husband

6 Things I Love about Being Married

Warning: Don’t ever send me a chain letter, because I’m that person who inevitably breaks the link. I’m terrible at playing tag that way, making sure the relay baton gets to the next person in line.

However, when an interesting blog thread comes along, I don’t mind taking the baton and running my leg of the race. So when I saw posts on what’s wonderful about being married, I decided to throw in with my own list. First, here are the posts I’ve seen so far:

Black and Married with Kids – 4 Awesome Things I Love about Being a Married Man

Generous Husband – 7 Awesome Things I Love about Being a Married Man

Generous Wife – I Love Being Married

Now here’s mine:

1. He does the stuff I’m not good at doing. My hubby takes on some tasks I’m not crazy about and he doesn’t mind so much — like mowing and edging our rather large lawn, killing any roaches that (despite our best repellent efforts) manage to squeeze their disgusting bodies into our home, getting the stuff on the high shelves that would require a step ladder or a pogo stick for me to reach, lifting anything so heavy I’d risk an emergency room visit to attempt it, and teaching our kids how to master sports I happily watch but don’t play. Likewise, I do stuff he’s not good at, and we end up doing more together than we could accomplish alone.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

2. He keeps me emotionally grounded. Not surprisingly, I’m more emotionally expressive than my husband. It’s typical in many marriages, but even more so in mine, given that I’ve fondly called my husband “Spock” here on this blog many times over. (Because he’s sooooo logical.) Having to cooperate with someone who has a different personality can help you work on the weaknesses of your own. His solid anchor personality keeps me from going overboard.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

3. He models to my kids what it is to be a man. I’ve studied the species of Man all my life, but there’s still a lot I don’t understand. Thankfully, my husband provides the role model of what it’s like to be a man — everything from quality burping to courteously opening doors for women to using physical strength for protection rather than violence. He doesn’t simply show himself as a man, but a godly man. Whenever I list what I love most about my husband, his personal integrity hits my Top 5.

“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them” (Proverbs 20:7, NLT).

4. He is an amazing provider. Day in and day out, my husband goes to work and provides a living for his family. There is genuine security in knowing that my hubby’s got us covered. Moreover, want to know why I am able to devote time to this ministry? It’s because my husband pays the bills. Of course, I’d still want to do whatever I could to support and encourage healthy sexuality in marriage, but it takes time and money (yes, money) to maintain this blog, put out a newsletter, and write a book. I’m sure I could not have done as much as I have without my husband’s financial provision. It’s been a huge benefit of my marriage.

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

5. He’s fun to hang out with. Companionship is among the reasons often given for wanting to marry, and it ranks high on my list too. I enjoy spending time with my husband. We have good conversations, enjoy many of the same things, share affection, and make each other laugh. Indeed, my husband’s word play and dry humor crack me up more than just about anything. Yes, it’s an ongoing struggle to attend to this part of our relationship, when daily demands can easily intrude. But we’ve learned how important it is to prioritize our companionship.

“This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem” (Song of Songs 5:16b).

6. He sexually rocks my world. I’m still in awe that I get to sleep next to a totally hot guy — Every. Single. Night. How did that happen?! And on top of that, we make love. Deep, exciting, fulfilling, earth-shaking love. Which leaves me quivering with delight. From getting to look at his beautiful body to feeling his affectionate touches to having amazing physical intimacy, my husband sexually rocks my world. I just love this perk of marriage.

“I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).

What do you love about being married? What about your marriage has enhanced your life?

Plastic Surgery: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

A few weeks ago, Paul Byerly of Generous Husband wrote a short series about breast augmentation. He asked the question, Is It Wrong to Augment? and reported the feedback from Women Who Have Augmented.

When I commented on the posts about my own experience, I received a couple of questions from readers there. I wanted to revisit the topic again on my own site and clarify a few thoughts about having plastic surgery.

First inward, then outward. I have a friend who lost 90+ pounds in a year and went from obese to oh-babe! How did she manage that? I think it’s because she got her inner self right first. She stopped looking at herself in the mirror and seeing a fat person. Instead, she saw the beautiful woman inside and decided she was worth something better. Once she believed in herself, willing to see herself as God saw her, she felt empowered to do the hard work of changing her diet and exercise routine so that she realized her goals.

That’s often how body image improves — not by fixing the external parts first, but rather by appreciating the unique way God knitted you together (Psalm 139:13). You are wonderfully made, beauty! If you’re looking for plastic surgery to resolve your inner self-image issues, you’ll likely be disappointed. Satisfaction with who you are must come first from within. It’s from an understanding of who God created you to be.

Woman + quote

Image from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Those poor women who have procedure after procedure after procedure never get this. They’re always looking for another outside fix for what really ails them inside. Get your priorities straight and work on your inner self first. It’s only from a position of inner, emotional health that you can make the right decision on what to do to improve your body for health or appearance.

Some things really are a matter of degree. Some Christians believe that it is wrong to have plastic surgery, that altering your appearance is going against God’s design.

Yet we do plenty of everyday things that involve aesthetic reasons, like bracing our kids’ teeth and wearing make-up and coloring our hair. Plus, we correct appearance that goes awry, like skin grafts after fire damage or breast implants after a mastectomy. Before announcing that all plastic surgery is off-limits, we might want to pause and ask what appearance-altering steps we’ve taken and what makes those okay and not others.

Because honestly, some things are a matter of degree. Eating is perfectly fine, but the Bible certainly warns against gluttony. Jesus attended a wedding with wine, but drunkenness is always spoken against in scripture. A little spice in the bedroom is rather wonderful, but an obsession with more and more kink becomes unhealthy. Likewise, some enhancements of our appearance would seem just fine, while extreme changes can become problematic.

And the question is then: What constitutes “extreme”? Is it numerous procedures? Surgery itself? Any changes to your appearance?

I suspect most people would agree on where the ends of the continuum are, but it’s that middle section of what’s a-okay that we struggle with. And we should. We should struggle to answer that question. Because if we are considering something as invasive as surgery, we need to ask some hard questions of ourselves and ensure that our choices honor God.

But I also suspect that my answer of where to draw the line might be different from the answer of another Christian whom I love and respect. And that’s where our own soul-searching and conscience come to bear.

For you, not someone else. I did not get bigger breasts for my husband. In fact, my husband was originally opposed to me having breast augmentation, because he was concerned about me undergoing surgery of any kind that wasn’t absolutely necessary (that sweet man). We talked about the pros and cons for a while, and he agreed with my conclusion and supported my decision. But I didn’t do it for him. I did it for me.

I’m always taken aback by the number of women who have plastic surgery as a “gift” to their man. And the number of men who request that. Having plastic surgery because you don’t feel like enough for your lover isn’t a great reason. Indeed, it’s likely to make you feel that you don’t measure up generally — that you’re only acceptable if you can “correct” whatever external appearance issues you have. And love looks beyond that.

Of course I wanted my husband to have more to handle in the bedroom, but that wasn’t my ultimate reason. My husband had already chosen me — flat chest and all. Indeed, as Paul Byerly (Generous Husband) mentioned in his first article, one man put it this way: “The two things I require in breasts are 1) nipples, and 2) accessibility.” I suspect that’s a common perspective for husbands. And it’s probably true for our breasts, butts, wrinkles, etc. As long as we wives show up (especially naked), our husbands will likely be reasonably happy. We don’t have to look like magazine models or waste time and money fixing imagined flaws.

When considering plastic surgery, ask why. Is it for your own convenience and confidence or to feel like you measure up to an unrealistic standard for the sake of someone else? At the end of the day, you will be the one having surgery, you will be the one living with the results, you will be the one changed. So make sure it’s what you want.

Obviously, I wanted to have plastic surgery, I made the decision to do so, and I do not regret it. I’ve been open on my website about my own doubts about plastic surgery, my process and reasons for deciding to augment, and my concerns about jumping in too eagerly to solve body image issues. I’d like to hear your perspective on plastic surgery.

When do you believe Christians can and should have plastic surgery? Have you had any procedures? Why did you choose to do it and what was your experience?

So What Should We Aim for in Marriage?

Last week, I took on what I think is a false dichotomy: Whether marriage exists to make you happy or holy. I came up with several biblical purposes of marriage, including holiness, happiness, children, and witness to the world.

Target

Photo from Microsoft Word Clip Art

But if there are several purposes to marriage, what should we be aiming for? (And for those of you who know me to write about sex, don’t worry . . . I’ll get there.)

I gave this a lot of thought this past week, and I came up with all kinds of ideas with theological bases and implications. Frankly, I could write a doctoral thesis on this subject. But theologian Karl Barth was once asked in a college lecture Q&A to summarize his life’s work. He answered simply: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Sometimes it’s about the basics.

Here’s what I know about God’s design for marriage: The Bible never prescribes how to get a mate. There are no instructions to find someone perfectly compatible to you, someone you have amazing chemistry with, someone who gives you the sizzle-wizzles down to your toes. We have biblical examples of marriage that occurred to connect families (Genesis 24:3-4); as a gift for a deed well done (Judges 1:12-13); for romantic love (Genesis 29:18,20); and as a witness of God’s love to the world (Hosea 1:2). Oftentimes, we don’t know why two people married, just that they did.

The Bible instead focuses on how to be a good mate. God seems to be saying that you can develop a good marriage. And it comes down to basics. Galatians 5:14 says: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we all approached our marriages with that command, which Jesus said to be the second most important (Luke 10:27), we’d go a long way to getting everything out of marriage that we should.

Bull's-eye! Illustration from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Bull’s-eye!
Illustration from Microsoft Word Clip Art

The Bible shows us through stories and passages like 1 Corinthians 13 what that love looks like. We have numerous “one another” passages in the New Testament that give us specifics, like forgiving each other (Colossians 3:13) and encouraging one another (Hebrews 3:13). We have Jesus’ example of ultimate love.

It’s simple to understand, but it is hard to do. Because we are selfish and because we often mistakenly define happiness as having a pain-free life. In fact, studies have shown that happiness is not about an absence of hardship, but rather comes from earned success. When we aim to make each other both holy and happy, we become more holy and happy ourselves. With God’s divine help, we earn that marital success.

This aim to love our spouse the way God loves us oozes into every part of our relationship. It breaks my heart to read stories from commenters who say that their spouse is loving in every way but sexual intimacy. Our aim for loving our spouse shouldn’t end at the threshold of the bedroom. God’s Word for us should infuse every part of our lives.

This is why I’ve written posts like Love Is Not Self-Seeking and The Gospel in the Bedroom.

Indeed, the bedroom is a place where you can aim to help your spouse be both holy and happy as well. Plus, this is where other purposes can be fulfilled — like conceiving children, supporting one another, and reflecting Christ’s love for the church.

It’s not a matter of head knowledge. Honestly, I prayed for years for improvements in my faltering marriage. It wasn’t until I started putting into practice the specific commands on how to love that I noticed a real difference in how I saw my husband and how we were getting along. I’m still working on that, of course. In the list of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), my husband and I can both attest that I have not yet mastered gentleness and patience.

But it’s what I aim for . . . to love my husband as closely as I can to the way God loves him.

When I treat him that way, he’s happier, he’s holier, and so am I.

So what do you think? What do you aim at in marriage? Are you being consistent with those aims in the bedroom? Does your holiness and happiness extend to your sexual intimacy?

Related posts: See Generous Husband’s post on Her Happiness Is Her Responsibility and my guest post on One Flesh Marriage, Marriage: Mission Possible.

Valentine’s Day for the Rest of Us

Arrow & heart illustration

Two weeks ago, I posted ideas for what to get your hubby for Valentine’s Day, and last week, I tried to help out the hubbies with How to Shop for Lingerie. I have noticed that quite a bit is made of this holiday by married couples and marriage bloggers.

All that said, my husband and I don’t celebrate it much. We might give each other a card or a piece of candy, but that’s about it. My husband is not particularly romantic, and I don’t get particularly excited about holidays.

So what about this day of love and romance for those of us who aren’t quite as moved by it all? Here are some ideas.

Choose a different day to celebrate. If Valentine’s Day strikes you as a contrived holiday conspiracy involving florists, candy makers, and Hallmark, then choose a different day to celebrate your special love with your mate. No one said you must celebrate on February 14 or else! The important thing is to honor your relationship with a little extra oomph.

We did this with my anniversary. My anniversary falls on one of those dates that ended up colliding with other family events and got lost in the shuffle. A few years back, my husband and I started celebrating on a different date that has personal meaning to us. Who cares that it isn’t the official day? It is special to us, and we express our wedding bliss on our chosen date.

Celebrate a different holiday altogether. Paul Byerly of Generous Husband made me aware of the alternative celebration, concocted by men of course, of Steak & BJ Day (March 14, if you’re marking your calendar). But there are plenty of other holidays that are perfectly good times to bring out the romantic or sexy in your marriage. Here are a few suggestions:

January 21 – National Hugging Day. It’s for hugging whomever, but embracing your spouse is particularly nice.

March 16 – Lips Appreciation Day. What would be better on this holiday than to appreciate your mate’s lips and let him appreciate yours?

May 4 – Star Wars Day. I kept this small photo from a Twitter follower of Hot, Holy & Humorous because I absolutely love it! It just says love to me: Your hobby is my hobby. May the 4th be with you!

Yes, I want these.

June 22 – Wife Appreciation Day. Get your hubby to circle this day on the calendar and plan out how he can make you feel especially loved. (If he asks when Husband Appreciation Day is, tell him it was yesterday. Didn’t he notice all the nice stuff you did for him?)

July 14 – National Nude Day. I suggest staying home for this one, but make the most of it!

September 19 – International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Aaarrrghh! Grab your randy cap’n and make lust (that’s Piratese for “make love”).

Dare to be yourselves different. If all the hoopla of chocolate, cards, flowers, sexy lingerie, etc. just isn’t your thing . . . do something different. You and your spouse get to define what is romantic and enjoyable to you. While everyone else is at a restaurant cooing over candlelight, pack a picnic and go on a hike; cue up the DVD player for an Indiana Jones marathon; play a board game with your spouse; have a quickie in the closet. Whatever floats your boat. It’s your celebration, your day to celebrate the joy of having your mate in your life.

Make it fun for the kids. If you are parents, you can make Valentine’s Day a family day. Help your children prepare the valentines that they will give their friends and schoolmates. Bake heart-shaped cookies together, and then distribute and/or eat them. Buy some treats or put together gift baskets to give to the older members of your church or to your neighbors and hand them out together. Tell your kids the story of St. Valentine, a priest who continued to wed couples after the emperor passed a law forbidding marriage ceremonies; it is in his honor that this holiday celebrating romantic love emerged.

Ignore it. At your own peril, of course. My caveat: My husband and I largely ignoring Valentine’s Day is a mutual decision.

If you are married to someone who cares greatly about Valentine’s Day, and you don’t think you should celebrate . . . get over yourself. Stop reading this post and go shopping. Right. Now. If it’s important to your spouse today to receive a reminder of your love, why wouldn’t you do that? It’s a small investment with big returns, and more importantly it’s the principle of the “Golden Rule”: Treat your spouse the way you would want to be treated (see Matthew 7:12).

If you celebrators still need ideas, check out my post on what to get your husband for V-Day, or one of these great posts:

Man Up Monday: Make a Valentine’s Plan from Journey to Surrender

Wives Only Wednesday: Turn This Valentine’s Day Around from Journey to Surrender

Love Coupons (printable) from The Marriage Bed

Giving Gifts that Matter from Do Not Disturb

Valentine’s Day – Do One Thing from Calm Healthy Sexy

A Valentine’s Day He’ll Love from To Love, Honor & Vacuum

Now share how you non-celebrators find a way to express your appreciation for your spouse. What are your alternatives to the standard Valentine’s Day?

Sources: Holidays Calendar; Days of the Year

You Would If You Loved Me!

Paul Byerly

What a treat today! One of my favorite marriage bloggers, Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband and The Marriage Bed, is joining us to send his message to us wives from the hubbies.

Most men have figured out that “If you loved me you would” is not a good way to talk their wife into sex, and because of this, they do not say it. However, most men do feel this way. Before you get upset, let me try to explain.

Odds are your husband only wants to have sex with you. I know that is not true for all men, but it is far more common than most women think. He loves you, he chose you to be his wife, and when he did that he understood he was saying yes to you sexually and no to every other woman in the world. He willingly made that choice because you were the woman he most wanted to be with sexually. You were the one pearl of great value for which he gladly gave up all others!

For men sex is a significant expression of love. His having sex with you is saying to you that he loves you and your having sex with him is you saying to him that you love him. Is this really that odd? You are the only person he is sexual with, sex is special, unique, something he shares with you and you alone. Why wouldn’t he see it as a deep expression of love?

Ladies, what speaks love to you? What does he do that makes you feel he loves you? (Or, what does he not do that would speak love to you if he did it?) Now imagine that you knew from experience that if you ask for that thing, you will get it less than half the time — how would you feel?

If this is true of your husband, why does he talk about his needs, and focus on the physical aspects of sex, rather than telling you that sex makes him feel loved? Most men are more aware of their bodies than their “feelings” and far more comfortable talking about their bodies than their feelings. He may not fully understand why being told no makes him feel so bad, and even if he does he may not feel comfortable expressing that, or may not know how to express it. Basically, falling back on the physical is easier and more natural for him.

Sex is intimate and deeply personal and being told “no” hurts in a very personal way. Saying it is not personal does not change that it feels personal.  How you mean it does not change how he hears and feels it.

Am I saying any no hurts? Not unless he is totally selfish. The problem comes when he hears no more often than yes. When no is the most common answer, why you say no eventually stops mattering. Even though some or all of the reasons are very understandable, when they are part of a general pattern he stops hearing much past “no.” I suspect you are much the same — if he repeatedly says no to something, do you really think about the reason(s) he gives? After a while, don’t you assume he just does not care about you enough to say yes to what you want?

If you say no to most of your husband’s requests for sex, you are telling him you do not really love him, or at least that you do not love him enough. That may not be what you want to tell him, but it is probably what he is hearing deep in his heart. Can you imagine what that does to a man? Can you imagine how he will change over time if it goes on? Maybe you can look back and see a gradual shift that is related to this very thing.

If things keep going as they are, will he “get over it”? If by “getting over it” you mean will he accept you are not going to change, then yes, he will. If you mean will he learn to feel  you love him despite saying no to sex most of the time, no, he will not. He will probably learn to change to avoid getting hurt as much, and that might look to you like he has “matured” or “accepted things.” Do not be fooledlearning to live with something that is painful does not mean it no longer hurts.

Have I a put a heavy burden on you here? Have I made you feel horrible? I do not desire to do either of those — my goal is to help you understand that your husband does have feelings, and that you can hurt him deeply. Often saying no to sex will hurt him, and that pain is not because he is selfish or sexually greedy; it hurts because it makes him feel he does not matter to you.

Marriage Bed logo

Paul, and his bride of 28 year Lori, have been writing and teaching about Godly sex and marriage since 1997. They live in Eastern Washington and love SciFi, TexMex and the beach — two of which are not to be found near home.

Websites: The Generous Husband, The Generous Wife, The Marriage Bed, Twitter and Facebook