Tag Archives: Sheila Wray Gregoire

5 Ways to Celebrate My 500th Post!

This post right here is my 500th post on Hot, Holy & Humorous. Thanks to all my regular readers and visitors who have kept this blog going, challenged and encouraged me, and shared their stories of personal pain and marital victory. You are why I continue to engage in this important ministry.

To celebrate my 500th, I wanted to share five special treats with y’all.

5 Ways to Celebrate My 500th Post!

#1 – MY TOP 5 POSTS

So what has attracted the most attention on Hot, Holy & Humorous? Here are the most-read blog posts of all time:

5. Showering and Bathing Together: Why You Should Try It. What?! This is number five? (A part of me wanted this post to shimmy down a little to make room for 4 Great Bible Stories About Sex that came in right behind it.) But this is indeed one of my most popular.

4. Getting Comfortable Being Naked with Your Husband. The number who’ve read this post is another reminder of the struggle many wives have with body insecurities and shyness about sex. Baring yourself before your husband, however, is a beautiful gift — to him and to yourself.

3. Oral Sex: How To. For a long time, this was top of the list. It’s moved down a little, but it’s still a very popular post with practical tips for giving fellatio (aka “blow jobs”).

2. Penis Size: From the Wife’s Point of View. If I had to bet, I’d say more husbands visit this post than wives. Because yeah, many men worry. And for the vast majority of them, they needn’t worry a bit.

1. What I Wish I’d Known before the Wedding Night. This was nice to see, because I like being among the biblically based resources out there for those getting started with sexual intimacy in marriage.

#2 – FREE 5-DAY DEVOTIONAL

Written in the same format as Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Your Marriage, here’s a free five-day devotional for wives on Sex in Marriage.

Sex in Marriage Final CoverCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

#3 – 5 GOALS FOR HOT, HOLY & HUMOROUS

Where do I go from here? Here are five goals I have for the future of this marriage ministry.

  1. Speaking events. I’d planned to start speaking this fall, but it turns out I’ll be launching my speaking ministry in early 2016. I’m preparing my talks and materials now, so that any church that books me will get a quality presentation. Watch for news on that front!
  2. Q&A with J. The last two summers, I’ve hosted a Q&A with J. I extended that feature into the fall, and it’s been so well-received, I’ll be keeping it up. I have a queue of questions to cover, but if you have another one you want me to tackle, head over to Contact J and shoot me an email.
  3. Website update. I love the look of my website, so don’t expect the background or header to change. But this site functions entirely like a blog, and I want the website to be more interactive and navigable. Look for an update reflecting my movement from a personal blog to a marriage ministry.
  4. Another book. I have two more book ideas that have been rolling around in my head. In case anyone was wondering, yes, I will continue to write books as I feel called. I’ve started one of these books and plan to finish in 2016. Please pray I have enough time and godly wisdom so I can keep presenting positive resources for Christian marriages.
  5. More humor. This has felt like such a serious year since I added a Q&A post, in which many spouses are in heartbreaking situations. I believe in mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and trying to provide biblical answers. Yet I also believe there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) and that “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Having a good sense humor helps us get through life, and I’ll be looking for more ways to keep the humorous of Hot, Holy & Humorous a major part of my blog.

#4 – 5-BOOK GIVEAWAY

One lucky commenter will win not one, not two, but all three of my ebooks!
Intimacy Revealed Book CoverSex Savvy 300 x 450Final Book Cover - smaller

Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives
Behind Closed Doors: 5 Marriage Stories
Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage

But wait! I said a 5-book giveaway. What are the other two? Well, two of the marriage blogging wives who helped me so much from the beginning and through the years have donated copies of their ebooks to this giveaway! A big shout-out to Sheila Wray Gregoire and Julie Sibert. If you haven’t followed their blogs or checked out their resources, I encourage you to do so. They have wonderful wisdom on Christian marriage and sex. So here are the fourth and fifth books:

31 Days to Great Sex book cover

Pursuit of Passion larger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire
Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage by Jeffrey Murphy and Julie Sibert

Leave a comment at the end of this post, and you’ll be automatically entered. (Be sure to provide your email address, which will not appear on the site.) I’ll draw a winner on Friday, November 20, 10:00 p.m. CST.

#5 – 5 QUESTIONS WITH J & “SPOCK”

For a long time, I’ve been calling my ever-logical husband “Spock” on this site. Believe me, it fits. And here’s a treat in which we sat down and answered five questions about our relationship and marriage.


And that’s it for POST #500! Woo-hoo!!! Thanks for being part of my celebration and this ministry. May God bless you and your marriage!

The Post My Readers Wrote: “One Thought” Marriage Advice

On Monday, I posted a review of Sheila Wray Gregoire’s 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage and asked readers to comment on one thought that positively impacted their own marriage. The feedback was fabulous!

After reading through the comments section, I concluded my readers could write their own blog post with all this terrific wisdom. So this is it—the blog post my readers wrote. Or at least a summary of your thoughts on how to nurture marriage. (I edited some for clarity and combined some comments.)

The Post My Readers Wrote: "One Thought" Marriage Advice

The responses seemed to fall into four categories: Choosing Your Attitude, Resolving Conflict, Growing Closer, and Taking Action.

Choosing Your Attitude. Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Proverbs 4:23 says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” It matters what we think in our minds and believe in our hearts. Sometimes changing how we view ourselves and our spouse makes all the difference in the world. Here are the attitudes my readers recommend:

  • True intimacy with your spouse is worth the effort.
  • It is not a failure to ask for help.
  • Respect your husband.
  • I am not my husband’s Holy Spirit.
  • My husband cannot fulfill all my needs. I need God first of all and I need trusted friends.
  • I don’t have to be right.
  • God does not intend for me to change my husband—that is His job. My job is to support and help my husband as he becomes the man God shapes him to be.
  • Assume with love. Meaning everything your spouse does, assume they did it out of love and respect for you.
  • Focus on the positive things my husband does and not the negative.
  • The only thing I can change is myself.

Resolving Conflict. Proverbs 20:3 asserts: “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” I dare say many of us have been fools in our marriage. But how can we avoid strife and resolve conflict? Here are your ideas:

  • When a problem arises within the marriage, it is the husband and wife vs. the problem, rather than the husband vs. the wife.
  • We’re doing life together, and whatever comes up, we’re going to figure it out because neither of us is going anywhere.
  • Sometimes I have to be the brave one and bring up tough topics.
  • Talk honestly while problems are small to keep them from becoming big problems.
  • Be a peace maker, not a peace keeper (Sheila’s book covers this well!).
  • Be patient. We’re not always on the same page. but we eventually get there.
  • Think the other person is saying something unkind or unloving? Ask for clarification. Most times, they didn’t mean it to sound the way it came out.
  • Extend grace. Your spouse will fail you (a given with imperfect people). But the ability to forgive and love in spite of the failures is priceless.
  • Try to step back and see the issue through his eyes before just saying that’s not right.
  • Turn toward each other, not away from each other, when things get rough.
  • Don’t have a conversation if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (HALT).

Growing Closer. Resolving conflict keeps you from being at each other’s throats, but that’s not enough to get you in each other’s arms! In marriage we’re aiming for: “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10). Here are your thoughts about growing closer:

  • Spend 15 to 30 min face to face daily. Once a week go out on a date night. Once a month stay out one night. Once a year take a week-long vacation.
  • Have a date night with no talking about kids or problems. Just enjoy each other’s company.
  • Keep things light-hearted.
  • Sign the kids up for Awana (or another youth Bible program). Instant Wednesday night date night. KEEP it as date night, do not, I repeat, DO NOT fall into the “let’s do laundry and clean the house” night. We call it “Doyawanna” night.
  • Never leave the house without saying I love you.
  • Say yes to sex. Win-win.

Taking Action. 1 John 3:14 states: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” These final ideas are miscellaneous action items:

  • Thank God for your spouse before you get out of bed in the morning.
  • Choose to engage in sexual intimacy, even if the feelings or desire aren’t there—they come eventually!
  • Never assume you know your spouse so well you read their mind and predict their behavior every time. Study them instead.
  • He can’t read my mind: I need to tell him what I need and want.
  • Set boundaries with your in-laws early on.
  • Take the word “divorce” out of your vocabulary. When quitting is not an option, whatever comes your way, you have to work to improve.
  • Always build up your mate.
  • Invest in a personal relationship with God. Your relationship with Jesus is a higher priority than the relationship with your spouse.
  • “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

I believe wholeheartedly that “a man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). Pick a few golden nuggets from these lists and start putting them into practice . . . then see what happens in your marriage.

And the winner of last week’s giveaway of 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage by Sheila Wray Gregoire is HG. If you didn’t win, now’s the time to go buy the book! 🙂

9 Thoughts for Your Marriage & 1 Book Giveaway

One of my favorite marriage bloggers is Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor and Vacuum. I often recommend her excellent book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, especially for wives embarking on the marriage journey.

She recently released another book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, which she discussed a bit in her guest post here last Thursday. Today I want to give my own take. Is this book worth getting? Who is this book for? Should you read 9 Thoughts?

9 Thoughts For Your Marriage

9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is written for Christian wives—whether they are heartily struggling in their marriage, wanting to improve a lackluster relationship, or simply hoping to strengthen an already solid bond. Sheila walks the reader through nine separate ideas about marriage that are likely different from the pat answers you’ve heard in the past.

Take, for instance, her chapter on being a peacemaker rather than a peacekeeper. I’ve known marriages with a lot of peacekeeping that were stale and distant or where resentment brewed underneath for one of the spouses who had restrained their opinions — and really, themselves — for years. Sheila tackles the erroneous presumption that absence of conflict means peace.

When it comes to sex specifically, Sheila’s chapter on how having sex and making love are not the same thing, highlighting the problems we’ve had in moving sex from spiritual and emotional intimacy to purely physical pleasure. Yes, of course it should feel good, but sex as God designed is so much more.

Sheila gives specifics on where we’ve gone astray and how to reclaim sexual intimacy for your marriage. She gets practical with the differences in how men and women approach sexual arousal, challenges with low libido, and the damaging effects of pornography. She talks about how to address sexual pain and make sex pleasurable.

What else will this marriage book give you that others won’t?

I most appreciate how Sheila makes things simple without being simplistic. When I get a question here on the blog, usually with a much fuller explanation of the scenario in the original email, there’s almost always no single answer. Our lives are complicated, and we exist in twists and tangles of daily challenges. Yes, of course it’s a simple principle to “love one another,” but it’s not that we don’t understand the commands so much as needing help knowing how to do that in our own lives—and simplistic answers don’t help.

Instead, Sheila provides stories that demonstrate what she advocates, practical tips to apply in your own marriage, and an encouragement to connect with God in prayer and with godly people to carry out the best for your marriage. Tougher stuff in some ways, but well worth the effort. And by giving real-life examples, you see it’s completely do-able.

One last note: When you’re reading a marriage book, don’t sweat it if you don’t agree with 100%. Take the golden nuggets and apply them to your life. Study up on some of the things you’re not sure about and decide for yourself. Even let go those details you vehemently disagree with. Hey, I think Sheila and I could have interesting debate about the exegesis of Ephesians 5:23 (and half of you just fell asleep…), but I agree with her overall conclusions about what a healthy and submitting marriage looks like. And her tips are excellent. That means I can take all the golden stuff and not worry about the little specks we might see differently. You can too.

I’ve known a few couples in my life who seem to float through marriage on a fluffy, happy cloud. But for the other 99.9% of us, marriage is work—not of the toil-and-tribulation kind so much as reap-what-you-sow work. Sheila (and I) promote being intentional about your marriage, putting real effort into growing and deepening your relationship. 9 Thoughts is a great resource to help you be intentional in your marriage about resolving conflict, making peace, finding happiness, enjoying intimacy, and more.

9 Thoughts Book Cover

Click to Buy!

Is what you believe about marriage getting in the way of a GREAT relationship?

When you’ve put into practice all the usual advice, but your marriage still falls short of the intimacy and joy you want, what then? Are patience and perseverance your only hope for a better relationship?

Author and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire says, “Absolutely not!” The solution to a happier relationship is not found in being a more patient, more perfect wife, but in taking responsibility for what you can do—and especially for how you think about your marriage. She challenges you to replace pat Christian answers with nine biblical truths that will radically shift your perspective on your husband, your relationship, and your role in God’s design for marriage.

With humor and honesty, Sheila invites you to believe that God wants to bring oneness and intimacy to your marriage—and challenges you to partner with Him in that process by changing the way you think.

And to one lucky commenter, I’m giving away a copy of 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage (ebook or paperback in the U.S. or Canada, ebook outside the U.S.). Just leave a comment with ONE thought that has positively changed your marriage!

How Do You Feel Beautiful? with Sheila Wray Gregoire

I’m brimming with excitement. Overflowing really. Like splashing excitement out into the streets. Why? Because I have two favorite things happening today on the blog:

  1. I’m kicking off a new Thursday series focused on helping us wives Feel Beautiful. It’s been my personal and public goal in 2015 to get us wives believing and feeling the beauty God created in us. I’ve had a few posts on this subject (Feeling Beautiful: From His PerspectiveFeeling Beautiful: 8 Things I Learned While ShoppingFeel Beautiful in 2015: “Fight the Frump”!Feel Beautiful: Dust Off Your Exercise Shoes!), but I’m now inviting other marriage bloggers to chime in on the subject in whatever way they choose.
  2. We’re starting this series with one of my favorite people! Sheila Wray Gregoire has been a friend for years, and she’s a go-to resource for marriage, parenting, and authentic Christianity. I encourage you to follow her blog and check out her books.
Sheila and Me at Girl Talk—holding each other's books!

Sheila and Me at Girl Talk—holding each other’s books!

And now, heeeeeeere’s Sheila!

How Do You Feel Beautiful? with Sheila Wray Gregoire

When I give my sex talk at churches, I often ask the women, “how many of you can name 5 things you LOVE about your body?”

The women glance around awkwardly, and a few raised hands pepper the audience.

Then I ask, “now, how many of you can name 5 things you HATE about your body?”

Almost every hand in the room goes up—often to various cheers around the room.

We all feel it—that body insecurity. We want to be beautiful, but how can we, with the stretch marks, and the wrinkles, and the muffin top? Our bodies change. And after you’ve pumped out a couple of babies, you can never sneeze in the same way again.

We’ve all heard plenty of pep talks: your beauty is on the inside, not the outside! Women of all sizes can love sex! Sex is about a deep and abiding love, not about two perfect bodies.

And to a great extent all of that is true.

But it’s not the whole truth, because sex, even if we may not like to admit it, is actually done with our bodies. It isn’t done only with our beautiful hearts or our gorgeous minds. It’s done with the muffin top, stretch mark, pock marked bodies. And that means that if we feel lousy about our bodies, sex is going to be affected—as are other areas of our marriage. When we feel lousy about our bodies, we’ll feel lousy about our self-worth. And that is a recipe for a pretty unhappy woman.

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesnt Happen by AccidentA wise woman (hint: her name is J) once told me that “happiness is a gift she could give her husband.” I interviewed J for my new book 9 Thoughts That Can Change a Marriage, and we talked about how finding peace and joy ourselves is such a gift to our men who feel like they have to make everything better for us. And when they can’t make stuff better, they feel lousy. Inadequate. So they retreat.

If your man can’t make you feel beautiful, because you yourself don’t feel beautiful, then he’s going to retreat. He’s going to feel inadequate. And that’s going to drive you even further apart.

So how in the world do you feel beautiful?

1. Think of yourself as a beautiful woman

This sounds odd, but the things that we tell ourselves become the things that we act out. What are you telling yourself? “You gained 5 pounds again!” “You look so much older than you are.”

Try telling yourself something else: “That top flatters you.” “You have lovely eyes.” “God gave you a great nose.”

Everyday, tell yourself something good about your body.

2. Have a Go-To Beauty Routine

That’s easier to do, of course, if the top actually DOES flatter you. Sometimes we feel frumpy because we get in a rotten groove. We’re so tired with little kids and with work and with just plain life that we give up. Why wear earrings if the kids are going to pull on them? Why do your hair if every time you head to the bathroom someone calls for you?

And so yoga pants and T-shirts become our wardrobe.

Listen, ladies: it takes no more time to put on a pair of jeans that fit and a shirt that flatters than it does to put on yoga pants and a T-shirt.

And you can brush and gel your hair, and put some foundation, blush, lipstick, and mascara on in less than 4 minutes. I swear.

The trick is knowing what makeup to use, and having a hairstyle that’s easy to wear.

Go to a drug store and ask the makeup artists to show you how to do a simple, 2-minute face. Go shopping with a fashionable friend and ask her to help you find 5 quality outfits. When we hate our bodies, we tend to buy stuff on clearance that looks awful because we figure that’s all we deserve. Buy 5 outfits that make you look great. That’s all you need—and it will make the world of difference to your confidence level.

3. Feel Your Body

When we hate our bodies we tend to ignore them. We don’t want to notice anything below our necks because then we’ll be reminded how ugly we are. So we stop listening to our bodies’ cues. We forget that maybe we do have a libido!

Take time to FEEL your body everyday. Do 5 minutes of stretches. It’s luxurious! Do 10 minutes of a basic yoga or pilates routine off YouTube. Of course I could say exercise, but how many of  you will actually do it? Even if you don’t work out, I think stretching is a great way to remind yourself, “I have a great body! It can feel wonderful.”

4. Look Great for Your Husband

When my husband would say, “let’s go out for dinner,” I used to rush upstairs, put on some makeup, change my clothes, and be I’m ready to go! And a few years ago I realized that I was getting “prettified” for strangers, but never for my husband. When we went out I looked great. If he were coming home, I’d still look my worst.

But my husband is the only one who is supposed to enjoy my body!

So now, 15 minutes before my husband comes home, I head upstairs to get into a flattering top and put on a bit of makeup. It tells him, “I’ve been waiting for you!” And it reminds me that I like feeling pretty for him.

If you do these things, you’ll start to think of yourself differently—you’ll be concentrating on what you like about your body, rather than what you hate. And you’ll be feeling more confident! That makes you a lot more likely to want to embrace sex.

But I can hear some of the protests now.

But what if my husband is doing things that make me feel ugly?

Maybe he looks at porn. Maybe he watches Game of Thrones—and then wants to get it on (with you). Maybe you caught him texting another woman.

And all you can think is: am I not pretty enough? What’s wrong with me?

Oh, my sweet friends. That’s so sad.

There’s nothing wrong with you. He is choosing to devalue marriage and to devalue sex. He is making sex into something which is only physical, rather than something which is also spiritually and emotionally intimate. And the more he does that—the more he trains his brain to be aroused by an image, rather than a person—the less he’ll be able to be aroused in  your marriage.

And hear me, ladies: it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with the lure that porn has—a lure that often started for many guys right around the age when they were getting their first sexual feelings.

But even though it has nothing to do with you, that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t placed you right here to do something about it.

Your husband isn’t just hurting himself by looking at porn, or by watching nudity on TV. He’s hurting himself. He’s wrecking his sexuality. He’s harming his marriage. And he’s putting a huge wedge between him and God.

You may be tempted to do nothing. You may run from conflict. Like I say in 9 Thoughts That Can Change a Marriage, many of us are peacekeepers, trying to keep the lid on issues, rather than peacemakers—people who confront and solve issues.

Be a peacemaker. Put your foot down and say, “no more porn. No more nudity. This stops here.” Get a third party involved if you have to. But whatever you tolerate will continue. It is okay—it is MORE than okay—to say, “this needs to stop.”

So think of yourself as a beautiful, capable woman. A woman who takes pride in herself and her marriage. A woman who believes in real beauty, not in the false beauty our culture sells us. A woman who stands up for pure beauty in marriage. And when you start doing those things, I pray that you will start to feel beautiful—just as God made you.

Sheila GregoireSheila Wray Gregoire blogs at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, where she talks mostly about sex. And sometimes gets people riled up! Besides 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, she’s also the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and 31 Days to Great Sex. And she’d love to give you her free downloadable ebook, 36 Ways to Bring Sex Back to Your Marriage! Get it here.

So This Happened. J Revealed.

When I heard that one of my favorite marriage and sexual intimacy bloggers, Sheila Wray Gregoire, was coming to town, I was ecstatic. Sheila lives over a thousand miles from me, so it’s not like we’d ever happen upon each other without one of us traveling a long way. Thankfully, she came to the great State of Texas — where we welcomed her with 70° F weather in February. (And I didn’t have to experience 14° F weather in Canada to see her.)

Her presentation at Grace Presbyterian Church in Houston, Girl Talk, was absolutely wonderful! And it was a thrill to lunch with Sheila and her assistant and chat face-to-face about our lives, our callings, and what flavors we wanted in our Marble Slab Creamery ice cream. At the event, we posed with our books and had a photo taken. Sheila asked if she could post it, and — knowing I’d be revealing myself soon — I clenched my teeth and said yes.

But I sort of thought I had a few days before she decompressed, went through the photos on her camera, found the right one, uploaded it, blah, blah, blah. Instead, I awakened Monday morning to find our smiling faces on that day’s blog post.

Sheila and Me at Girl Talk

J. Parker and Sheila Gregoire: We’re holding each other’s books!

Well, the cat’s out of the bag now! Or it’s really more like toothpaste: Once you squeeze that paste out, it’s never going back in the tube.

So there it is — a face to go with the words.

But I also updated all my profile pictures on social media and added a bio to this site with more information about who I am.

Frankly, I think anyone who has read me consistently already knows who I am. I don’t hold back here on my thoughts and personality. But I guess it’s nice to have a face to attach to the name.

And in case you were wondering, here’s one of my favorite photos of me and “Spock” — the affectionate nickname I’ve given my wonderful and overly logical husband:

J & Spock - smaller

And that’s it: J Revealed.

Kind of anticlimactic, right?