Tag Archives: Jennifer Smith

Transparent and Transformed: The Unveiled Wife

Unveiled Wife Cover

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At last count, I had 3,567 books in my To Be Read pile. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I have so many books I need or want to read that it feels at times I’ll never reach the end. This is my explanation, or excuse, for why Jennifer Smith’s The Unveiled Wife released in March 2015 and I only recently finished it. It was a priority, but I can only read so fast and several books were ahead on my list.

If you’re not familiar with Jennifer Smith, she is a marriage author who runs a site by the same name: Unveiled Wife. She has built an amazing Facebook community, encourages wives regularly with prayers for our husbands, and has spoken honestly and poignantly about her own struggles.

Among those struggles was sexual dysfunction that made her body unable to engage in intercourse for years of her marriage. She and her husband did engage in sexual intimacy, but intercourse itself was off-limits until she discovered the source of her physical problems.

She details this personal story and other marital challenges she and her husband faced in the beginning years of their marriage. Although aligned with God in many ways — being involved with church communities, engaging in mission work, praying together — she ultimately attributes her struggling marriage years to her flailing relationship with God.

The Unveiled Wife may be the most honest memoir I’ve ever read. Jennifer doesn’t hold back in describing what she got right, what she got very, very wrong, and how bad things got in her marriage. From what she described, many people would have placed her marriage in the Not Gonna Make It category. There was baggage in the relationship, concrete problems to resolve, and ongoing misunderstanding and conflict between her and her husband.

I can’t tell you how many times I read her story and thought, That’s my story. Baggage? Check. Concrete problems? Check. Ongoing conflict? Check. In particular, her crying out to God and feeling few answers in return was déjà vu for me. When my marriage was going through the pit, it seemed that no matter how much I told God that I was nearly done, things stayed the same — or got worse.

But I also relate to her unwillingness to let go of God and her husband altogether, because deep down they were who she loved. As John 6:68 says about Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Through the study of Scripture, the wisdom of others, and the opening of her heart, Jennifer came to understand changes she needed to make to have what God intended for her and her husband.

Again, my life mirrors that discovery. It is simply the beauty of the Gospel, lived out day by day, that improved my marriage. By leaps and bounds. As it turns out, God had been answering my prayers. I was just too thick-headed to respond to his subtle nudging, instead expecting some kind of burning bush revelation. Thank goodness I finally listened.

Jennifer’s story relates so well to the marriage memory verse theme I’ve had this month — gaining victory over your past. Whether it’s past abuse, premarital promiscuity, or failures in your marriage, there is hope and redemption, healing and victory.

Thanks to Jennifer, this is the marriage memory verse I want to share today, from 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Marriage Memory Verse 4-1-16

When Jennifer became transparent before God and sought His answers for her life, her marriage was transformed. I felt that too. And I believe you can feel it as well.

Taking off the “veil” — the barrier you have erected between you and God, your and your spouse, you and other Christians ready and willing to walk with you — is the first step. Then you contemplate His glory — His design, His will, and His healing for your life. God then works in us, through the Spirit, to transform us. Not once, not twice, but “ever-increasing.”

The Unveiled Wife is both real and inspiring. I encourage you to read Jennifer’s story and find hope for your own situation. There are answers, there is victory.

Embracing Our Bodies After the Babies Come with Jennifer Smith

What a treat we have today! Jennifer Smith of Unveiled Wife is here to share her thoughts on Feeling Beautiful. Jennifer has a very popular blog and a Facebook community of over 600,00! She shares marriage wisdom, daily prayers for your husband, and transparency about her own struggle from unhappily to happily married.

Also check out her book, Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband, in which she chronicles her marriage journey. I’m so thrilled to call Jennifer a friend and to have her address feeling beautiful after the babies come.

Embracing Our Bodies After the Babies Come with Jennifer Smith

I had my daughter six months ago, and my son just turned three. I can’t believe how fast they grow up. It feels like yesterday that I was holding my newborn baby boy in the hospital bed just after delivery.

It amazes me how God created our bodies to reproduce and give life. The process of carrying a child, labor and delivery are all together miraculous. Women are uniquely special, in that they are the beautiful part of creation that gets to experience the fullness of this miracle.

Although I have thanked God for the joy in my heart for my children and being given the gift to bear children, my body is also on my mind. The truth is that pregnancy and delivery are very traumatic experiences for our bodies to endure. Change happens. Whether the changes are slight or completely transform our bodies, it happens. Embracing motherhood can be easier than embracing the changes we face physically.

I personally have found myself emotional over the way my body is different now. I have been grateful for the opportunity to have my children, but I have to admit that frustration has also consumed my heart when I realize my body will never be the same. I have gained weight that has been difficult to get off. I have stretch marks and saggy skin. My clothes don’t fit the same. My body doesn’t even feel the same during physical intimacy with my husband.

When I see my body, I am confronted with a choice. I can be frustrated by the change or I can embrace it as my new normal, just like I had to adjust to my new role when I became a mom.

Our culture is not good at encouraging women to embrace the fullness of their bodies. Every advertisement and marketing scheme presents us with a message to be unrealistically better than we are. The world tells us we are imperfect but that we should strive to be perfect, when God tells us He has made us very good and to be good stewards of what He has give to us. Those are two very different messages. Listening to the right message will help us embrace our bodies after the babies come.

God’s truth is beautiful and necessary for every mother to know. He created our bodies, knowing that they would change. We should embrace the changes with joy and confidence. What is a stretch mark in comparison to the miracle of life? What is a few months to a year of recovery in comparison to a legacy being built?

When I accepted God’s truth that He ingeniously made my body to change the way it has after the babies have come, it helped me embrace my body. It helped me be okay with my new normal. It helped me to be intimate with my husband and allow him access to get to know me all over again.

Embrace your body. Don’t see the changes as a negative thing. They are a powerful thing. They are evidence of God’s beautiful design.

Unveiled Wife CoverBy God’s grace, Jennifer Smith created Unveiled Wife, a web-based ministry for wives, in March 2011. She publishes weekly marriage articles including encouragements, devotions, and prayers of the day, all geared toward empowering wives.

Jennifer has served in ministry alongside her husband, traveling as missionaries to Zambia, Malawi, Canada, and Nicaragua. She and her husband have been married for seven years and live in Central Oregon with their two children.

Marriage & Intimacy Books to Read in 2015

During the holiday season, I did quite a bit of book-buying. Consequently, I have a To Be Read pile that rivals the Tower of Pisa, both in height and tilt. In addition to the usual fiction titles I consume, I have several marriage and intimacy books on my 2015 Read List.

As I stated last year, I am not endorsing these books. In fact, I never endorse a book I haven’t read. These are simply books on my reading list. If I believe they’re worthwhile, I’ll share my review in the future. (You might want to check out my Goodreads account.)

[Italicized descriptions are from the author/publisher, and links are Amazon affiliates.]

Sex-Starved Marriage CoverThe Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido by Michele Weiner Davis. It is estimated that one of every three married couples struggles with problems associated with mismatched sexual desire. Do you? If you want to stop fighting about sex and revitalize your intimate connection with your spouse, then you need this book. In The Sex-Starved Marriage, bestselling author Michele Weiner Davis will help you understand why being complacent or bitter about ho-hum sex might cost you your relationship.

This book seems to hit many intimacy experts’ recommended lists. I’ve actually read a couple of chapters, but I didn’t get far enough. I’m going to knock this one out in 2015.

Every-Young-Womans-Battle CoverEvery Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge & Stephen Arterburn. Whether you have so far protected yourself emotionally and sexually, feel that you’ve been robbed of your purity, or have given in to temptation in some way, this book can help you achieve or reclaim sexual integrity. It can also guide you through the temptations and pressures of young adulthood while demonstrating how you can live your life to the fullest–without regrets.

There’s also an Every Woman’s Battle book, but I thought I’d read this one from the perspective for younger women. This age can be especially difficult, and it’s a time to set the tone for how you approach sex in life. Of course, you can recalibrate later, but it’s good to get it right from early on if you can.

Sheet-Music CoverSheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Kevin Leman. With his characteristic warmth and humor, Dr. Kevin Leman offers a practical guide to sex according to God’s plan. This frank and practical book is a perfect resource for married and engaged couples. Dr. Leman addresses a wide spectrum of people, from those with no sexual experiences to those with past sexual problems or even abuse. Using frank descriptions, this book has a warm and friendly tone that will help couples overcome awkwardness in discussing an issue important to all married couples.

This is a re-read. I’ve recommended this book before, but I found it at my local Half-Price Books (I’d loaned out my copy and, interestingly, never got it back) and want to revisit what Dr. Leman says about sexual intimacy.

For Women Only CoverFor Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. The man in your life carries important feelings so deep inside he barely knows they’re there, much less how to talk about them. Yet your man genuinely wants you to “get” him—to understand his inner life, to know his fears and needs, to hear what he wishes he could tell you. In her landmark bestseller, For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn reveals what every woman—single or married—needs to know.

This is another re-read for me, but I want to revisit the concepts here. I’m also hoping to read Feldhahn’s most recent book, The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce.

Songs in the Key CoverSongs in the Key of Solomon: In the Word…and in the Mood by John & Anita Renfroe. Filled with insights from a real couple on real issues, Songs in the Key of Solomon will get you and your spouse laughing, thinking, sharing, touching, and praying — possibly all during the same reading. Each offering in this devotional is designed to spark connections around issues that matter, so you’ll deepen your emotional, spiritual, and physical unity and ignite new levels of intimacy. (One devotional involves a bathtub and some candles…try not to get stuck on that one page over and over again.)

I don’t know Anita Renfroe, but she absolutely seems like my kind of lady — able to be funny when a laugh is what you need and serious when issues run deeper. And since I’m encouraging everyone else to read a sex devotional book this year (Intimacy Revealed!), I thought it’d be nice for my husband and I to go through some marriage-bed devotions ourselves.

Lovemaking: Enjoy Extravagant Intimacy in Your Marriage by Dan and Linda Wilson. Sex is meant to be beautiful, holy, and fun, and every married person can be skilled in the art of lovemaking. Lovemaking will help to: Increase your degree of sexual satisfaction, understand the purpose and pleasure of godly sexuality, learn how to give and receive love through sexual expression, renew passion for your mate, be equipped to be the world s greatest lover for your spouse.

Dan and Linda have both visited my site, and we share a similar vision. They let me know about the upcoming release of this book (in June, I believe), and I’m eager to read it.

Unveiled Wife CoverThe Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband by Jennifer Smith. The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.

I’m soooo looking forward to this book’s release. In all my dealings with Jennifer, she has been kind, authentic, and godly, and I know her story will encourage other marriages. Look for my take on her book once I’ve read it (and maybe I can convince Jennifer to stop by).

Now what are your suggestions for the best Christian sexual intimacy books you’ve read? Or what’s on your reading list for 2015?

Of course, I’d love for you to put Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives or Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage on your list!

* * * * *

What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?

Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.

Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.

Purchase:
Amazon for Kindle
Barnes & Noble for Nook
Print book

The Power Of Yes & No

Yeses and Nos - with Yes boldedWhat a pleasure to welcome Jennifer Smith of Unveiled Wife. I have periodically contributed articles to her website, but this is her first visit to Hot, Holy & Humorous. I know she speaks with compassion, transparency, and biblical integrity about marriage and intimacy within. Please take to heart what Jennifer offers today.

♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

The power of yes and no is expressed in more ways than just saying them verbally. Laced through our actions are postures and gestures that reveal a great deal about where our hearts are in the moment.

If you and your spouse initiate sexual intimacy it becomes quite clear whether the two of you are fully invested into having sex or not.

In the early years of my marriage, my husband and I struggled with sex. I mean we barely came together at all! I experienced intense pain every time we attempted intercourse. This hinderance was devastating and it drastically affected my view on sex. Knowing my husband had physical needs for sex, there were times that he initiated and I would join him because I knew he needed it. I was “saying” yes, but my heart was not in it at all.

The truth is that I didn’t want to be participating at all. My husband, aware of the pain that would overcome my body, would gently encourage me to just be with him, without sex being the goal. My husband desired physical intimacy and was willing to engage in different ways. However, because my expectations were not being met, I became bitter. I didn’t have a desire for sex or anything else that reminded me of the lack in our marriage. Sure I wanted to feel close to my husband, and maybe if we had a satisfying sex life things would have been different. But at this point in our marriage, my heart said no!

What I have realized over time, or rather what God has unveiled to me about the power in my decisions, is that I affect my husband. Being a wife comes with great influence. You see, when I joined in and participated in physical intimacy, my actions spoke louder than words and my husband would know immediately if I was enjoying him or not. All of my gestures were proving to my husband that I did not want sex, thus affecting his ability to feel genuinely satisfied. And surprisingly, later on when I got past the bitterness and reconciled that I too needed sex, in the times that I was wholly “yes” I too became satisfied!

I am sharing this with you so that you can evaluate your heart. Are there times that you struggle to fully say yes to your spouse? Or do you verbally say yes, but your actions reveal the truth? How is the power of your whole yes or no affect your marriage?