Being intentional about anything is always the best way to make it better. Whether we are talking eating right, clearing the clutter, having quiet time with the Lord, or loving on our man. As we wrap up our study this week with all of our friends at Proverbs 31, I want to encourage you with 5 ways to keep The Husband Project going.
- Add a reminder to your calendar for at least 2x per month to do something intentional just for him. Maybe it’s to pick up a treat for him, make him his favorite dinner, a massage, or 30 minutes of free time carved out for him to recharge.
- Add your man to your prayer journal. Praying for your marriage is a great way to be intentional and praying specifically for God to move in your husband’s life through you and in every facet of his day will build him up.
- Buy a pack of post-it notes and then use them. Buy a pack that are just for him (maybe they are blue or heart shaped) and write an encouraging word for him. Leave one in his car, his lunch, on his pillow, in his suitcase, on his mirror… you get the idea. Doing this at least once a month will show him you are thinking about him and grateful for all he does.
- Break out the lingerie. Girls, if this project was the first time you’ve whipped out the lingerie in months/years/decades, vow to bring it out more. Has it been an especially tense week for your guy at work? Lingerie. Did the teenager disrespect him? Lingerie. Are you in a really great mood today? Lingerie. Did you have two cups of afternoon coffee? Lingerie. Find an excuse to bring it out rather than excuse to keep it in the drawer.
- Make sure you are signed up to receive my blog and newsletter in your inbox because… Every 2 months we will be doing a special 5 day mini-project. We’ll get together and encourage each other, build each other up and of course share all of the great ideas you have with all our new friends dedicated to their marriages. Our first 5 day project will be in late September!Sign up by clicking here and when you do you’ll receive by ebook, 14 Ways to Have a Happier Husband.
*Bonus idea: get out your journal, or a piece of paper, or type on your computer. Write down all of the benefits you’ve seen from doing this study. From your heart, to his reactions, to your children’s responses to mom loving on dad more intentionally. Write it down. And when you get discouraged about your marriage, go back to this list.
My father-in-law regularly repeats a joke that used to do the macarena on my last nerve. “Your mom and I have a great relationship. Want to know the secret?” he’d ask my husband and me with a smirk. “Low expectations.”
As a woman of exceedingly high standards for myself and my relationships, I’d snort, roll my eyes, and think, “How sad!” Twenty six years of marriage and about a decade of personal soul searching have changed my view of the joke, however. My father-in-law is on to something.
I was the woman who dragged a whole train of expectations down the aisle with my white dress, and it hasn’t served me well. A long list of lies shot those expectations full of steroids.
Before I broke up with perfect, I said things to myself like “I always need to be my most perfect self.” That’s been replaced with a commitment to be my truest self. (Shaky sigh of relief.) I once truly believed that I could make the pictures of perfection in my head come to life, but now I’m content to live in the blessing of my reality. I used to measure the perfection of my marriage by holding it up to others. These days I focus on the gifts of the man that’s perfect for me instead!
Probably the worst lie I believed was this: I should help my beloved live up to his potential.
It sounded so pretty when I said it with my sweet southern accent, but the heart of the lie was rotten. I suspect I’m not the only one who bought the lie, though. You know the drill. “It’s not criticism. It’s help.” “It’s not manipulation. It’s showing him the right way to do things.” “I’m just encouraging him to have high standards, don’t you know?” Mercy.
We go into a relationship because of admiration, but somehow a growing level of commitment shifts us into improvement mode. He’s wonderful, but… He’s almost perfect, if only…
When I met my husband Barry, I was most attracted to the bold and hilarious way he spoke his mind. I love to tell people that he’s reverent about God, but everything else is fair game! Barry had this “good girl” in daily gales of laughter about the edgiest things.
Somehow the switch flipped after we married, though. He didn’t change a bit, but my attitude did. I was nervous when I didn’t know what he’d say, and I thought I could make him even more wonderful by refining his verbal filter. Needless to say, that belief wasn’t very popular.
Relationships shatter when we value perfection over people.
Sadly, it took years for me to realize the damage I was doing with my pick-you-apart methods, but thankfully my husband isn’t just funny. He’s also one of the most grace-filled people I know.
I asked Barry recently what expectations he brought into our marriage, and he seemed puzzled. “I expected to love you and for you to love me,” he replied simply, and I realized he was being honest. That’s a shocking statement for a woman who believes in the power of a life-changing tweak!
Click to Download Day One of Breaking Up with Perfect
For twenty-six years, Barry’s greatest gift to me has been that he truly lets me just be without an agenda to improve me. The trick for us reforming perfectionists is to learn to return the gift, and I’m determined that’s just what I’m going to do for Barry for the next twenty-six years plus.
This week I’m finishing up Kathi’s 21-day challenge in The Husband Project, and she’s been a huge encouragement all the way through. Almost every day in one way or another she’s urged all the participants to lower our expectations. Live in the real world. Give yourself (and your husband BTW) grace.
Kathi’s absolutely right. For about five years, I’ve been breaking up with expectations, lies, and mental pictures of perfection, and my marriage is the happiest it’s ever been.
It’s been a journey, but I’m now convinced. Low expectations add the gift of joy to our marriage. When unconditional love is elevated and perfectionism is banished, two individuals experience the freedom to grow into a bonded unit where happiness thrives.
That kind of marriage is even better than perfect, so next time, I’ll look my father-in-law in the eye, rare back, and laugh myself silly at his joke!
Author: Amy Carroll is the author of Breaking Up with Perfect and a speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She lives in NC with her husband and a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner.
Join Amy for a FREE online book study of Breaking Up with Perfect from Aug. 1-September 5. Find out all the details about joining in the fun and community by clicking here.
One of our favorite getaway spots is a little bed-and-breakfast in the mountains. When you ask my husband why he likes it so much, you very well might hear about the cheese and cracker plate with fruit that is always waiting for us when we arrive. My thought has always been, Great, we just spent the equivalent of a month’s worth of groceries on a cheese and cracker plate.
Why we love a good bed-and-breakfast
What is it about the bed-and-breakfast experience that makes us want to fork over upwards of $200 a night to sleep on somebody else’s sheets and eat clotted eggs in the morning?
- The room is cleaned every day. Now I know some of you actually do this but it doesn’t matter. It’s so much better and it just feels cleaner when somebody else does it for you.
- The bed is made. Now I know I’m spoiled, because my husband makes the bed every day. But, how great is it when you’re gone even for just half an hour, you come back and the bed is done up. The pillows are fluffed and there’s a little mint sitting there waiting to be indulged in. There is no better feeling on the planet.
Back home and back to reality
Sadly, most of us can’t afford to camp out in the local bed-and-breakfast on a regular basis. So it’s probably time to bring some of that bed-and-breakfast experience home.
Here are a few simple tips from designer and author Kathryn Bechen to help you get that restful and relaxed feeling in your own bedroom:
- Clutter cutter. Declutter your bedroom when you begin your fluff-up. Nothing kills romance faster than a pile of dusty magazines and techno paraphernalia. (More on this on podcast episode #136 Clutter Free Romance & blog post Declutter Your Way to a Better Marriage)
- Maid brigade. Next are the dust rag and vacuum. Turn on some music and make it fun!
- Sensuous sheets. Purchase some colorful new sheets in a pattern you love with a thread count of at least 300.
- Divine duvet. Invest in a pretty new duvet cover or bedspread. It will freshen up the room instantly.
- Pillow pizzazz. Some new pillows and pillowcases that coordinate with your sheets and duvet will add softness to your bed.
- Flower finesse. Buy some fresh flowers and put them in a favorite vase.
- Candle cozy. A few flickering candles will add instant romance to your new B&B bedroom.
- Music magic. Now for some light jazz or classical music to set the tone for the evening.
- TV tune-out. Unless you and your mate purposely choose to watch a funny or romantic movie together, turn the TV off.
- Tray of delights. Bring in a drink and cheese tray with some fresh fruit, dim the lights, and you’re on your way to a lovely and romantic stay in your very own Bed & Breakfast Inn bedroom. Enjoy!
Chocolate Dipped Fruit
1 pkg. milk chocolate morsels (11½ ounces/2 cups)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
Strawberries, grapes, bananas, apples, kiwi, or pineapple
Melt milk chocolate morsels and shortening over hot (not boiling) water; stir until smooth. Remove from heat, but keep over hot water. (If chocolate thickens, return to heat; stir until smooth.) Dip pieces of fruit into chocolate; gently shake off excess. Place on foil-lined cookie sheets. Chill 10-15 minutes until chocolate is set. Peel off foil. Fruit may be kept at room temperature up to 1 hour. If chocolate becomes sticky, return to refrigerator. Makes 1 cup melted chocolate. In microwave, melt on high 1 minute; stir. Repeat.
A few other creative tips:
- My husband loves a special kind of root beer that we used to not be able to keep stocked in the house (teenagers!). I would hide it under the veggies in the crisper – no chance of the kids looking there.
- If your husband gets home before you do, plan ahead by hiding a treat in the fridge for him. Call during the day to let him know it’s waiting for him.
Giveaways Week 3!
If you haven’t yet, go to my Facebook page to like and follow my Kathi Lipp page, and then answer the question of the day for your chance to win a “My Husband is a Hottie” t-shirt. Check out the page each day for a new question and get in on the conversation about loving your husband!
guest post by Kim Nowlin
One way we show our husbands we love them is by looking our best each day. Does that mean I am wearing a ball gown and full makeup everyday when he comes home? Not at all. In fact, there are seasons — think just had a baby — when you are lucky to get a shower each day. Let alone dress for your day! It’s about intention — “How can I look as good as possible when we come together again at the end of the day?” Sometimes all this means is you’re putting on a fresh pair of sweats and freshening up before he gets home.
As you go through The Husband Project Bible Study, I encourage you to dress each day to please your husband.
Here are some simple tips to dress to impress:
Dress for the season you are in: Looking your best does not require becoming a fashionista if that’s not your thing. The goal is to look our best in the season we are in. For example, I’m a stay at home mom who is occasionally a speaker at women’s events, so my wardrobe is primarily made up of jeans and t-shirts. The rest of my clothes dress up my everyday look — blazers, cardigans, and accessories. Nothing fancy! But my husband sees me in different versions of my “uniform” each day. And I am always dressed for my day when he comes home.
Dress for your day: Every day I “dress for my day” — somedays I am home all day doing chores, so I might have on my sweats. Before my husband comes home I make sure I take a few minutes to freshen up. On days I have dressed for being outside our home, I make sure I stay in that outfit until after he comes home and sees me before I change into something comfy.
Dress for your husband: Your husband may not care anything about fashion and may act like he doesn’t care about what you wear — dress to please him anyway. Show him you care about yourself and him by looking your best each day. If he communicates preferences, honor them whenever possible. For example, my husband loves my lips and likes to see them in red lipstick. He does not like to kiss my lipstick. Before he gets home I take off my lipstick so he has fresh lips to kiss.
Dressing for bed: I don’t know about you, but I am not into lingerie at all! I prefer t-shirts and shorts — preferably cotton. Thankfully, you can still show up to sexy time looking and feeling your best. You can find cute, comfy, sexy pajamas in a number of places — Target is my favorite. Not feeling super great about your body? Find the pieces showing off your best features in fabrics and colors making you feel great.
And remember — out of all the women in the world, he chose YOU! As Kathi says, “be visually generous” with your husband. Yours’ is the body he gets and wants to look at — dress it to please him!
Kim Nowlin is the Assistant Pastor at Valley Life Foursquare Church, in Santa Clara, and a Mentor Mom for MOPS.
With a background in fashion, most recently as a Personal Stylist for Anthropologie, Kim assists women in creating a Clutter Free Wardrobe that will enhance their true beauty in Christ.
Kim has been married to David for 15 years. They have two children, Olivia (13), and Adam (11).
I’m at my mom’s house, and she’s just asked me to do the dishes.
I don’t want to.
Now don’t get me wrong; I would do just about anything for the woman who gave me life.
But doing the dishes at my mom’s house comes with a certain amount of built-in humility.
Because I know that as soon as I’m done loading the dishes into her dishwasher, she will rearrange them all.
And for the rest of the night I will seethe. Not because of wasted time or effort. But because of my mom’s deafening unspoken message: There is only one right way to load a dishwasher— my way. And you, dear daughter, have done it wrong. Again.
I’m a grown woman with four grown kids. I load a dishwasher at least once (and if I’ve actually cooked and we aren’t just washing coffee cups and cereal bowls? More than once) a day. But my mom always has to make sure that her dishwasher is loaded right.
For the rest of our visit, I’m going to be silently steaming over the dishwasher redo. Because let’s be honest; there isn’t one right way to load a dishwasher. There are about 300 “right” ways to do it.
Have you been there? You just want to love someone, serve them even, but their need to be right squashes your effort to show love?
Sadly, too many times, I’ve been the squasher when it comes to my husband.
When we first got married and blended our family, I knew the right way to run a house. I knew the right place to store the mixing bowls and the right place to keep milk in the fridge.
And I also knew the right way to discipline kids, have a happy marriage, and, well, just about everything.
What I forgot? Roger had a right way to do all of those things as well.
I’ve learned how vital it is to have our priorities in order. To ask ourselves, “Is my first calling to be right or to be in relationship?”
How can you tell? If your priority is to win, if it’s to get him to admit that he is wrong and you are right, if it’s to prove that he should always just do what you say when you disagree because, again, YOU WERE RIGHT, then clearly your priority is to be right.
In contrast, when you focus on being in relationship, you put your relationship before results. You care more about you two as a couple that any one outcome.
What about when you’re right (because I’m guessing that happens a lot,) and want to value your relationship more than the being right?
This is when the third R comes in: Respect.
You can disagree, champion your point, and be right all while maintaining the relationship as long you do so with respect.
When Roger and I are driving to the mall and clearly he is going a different direction than I think we should be heading, I’m tempted to say, “You’re going the wrong way! Again!”
Instead, I can use my favorite “Respect” secret weapon: a Clarifying Question.
Such as, “Is there someplace you wanted to go before the mall?”
And one of the greatest gifts in all of this going from right to respect and relationship is this: when there is less need to win, you both can win by being on each other’s team. You are not opposing each other; you’re linking arms to confront problems, together.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Question of the day: What is one way you are going to focus on relationship over winning in your marriage this week?
Like my Facebook page, answer the question of the day on Facebook and you’ll be entered to win by book, Praying God’s Word for Your Husband.
The winner will be announced live on the live video tomorrow at 1:30PT.
Just in time for 4th of July celebrations, I wanted to share one of my favorite summer time treats with you. Enjoy!!!
Star-Spangled Ice Cream Sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 28 sandwiches*
56 of The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever (recipe to follow)
1 gallon of your favorite vanilla ice cream
Once cookies have fully cooled, place one to two scoops of ice cream on half of the bottom side of the cookies. Press the bottom side of each of the remaining cookies onto the ice cream scoops to form sandwiches. Use your finger or a knife to spread the ice cream evenly around the sides of each sandwich. Wrap the sandwiches individually in plastic wrap or place in a large dish and cover. Freeze at least 30 minutes before decorating. Place patriotic sprinkles in a shallow dish. Remove sandwiches from freezer and roll each sandwich in the sprinkles until covered as desired. Enjoy!
*The original blog post for The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever was for a cookie dough exchange and makes a large number of cookies. The Star-Spangled Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe is based upon the halved recipe of The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever. If making the full recipe of cookies, you will yield 56 ice cream sandwiches and need two gallons of vanilla ice cream to make them.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
The following recipe is by far the best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe we have ever made at home. There is something about that blended up oatmeal that makes these cookies about the moistest (is that even a word?) and chewiest CCC I have ever had the delight of eating. Oh, and the dough freezes perfectly! On to the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 112 cookies (recipe may be halved)
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
If freezing cookie dough, decide if you want to freeze into pre-scooped balls or ready to slice logs. Flash freeze scooped balls on a cookie sheet before packaging it. It will make it easier to handle and keep its shape better if you are freezing a lot of packages on top of it. For logs, wrap in plastic wrap and form into a log about 2 inches around.
I package my dough in large Ziploc bags. Put the dough in the bag and write the baking instructions on the bag. I like to experiment with the cookies and find out what the baking time and temp is for frozen dough as well as thawed dough.
Join Kathi’s Street Team!
a.k.a. The Krew
Would you like to be among the first to know about Kathi’s latest projects, launches and posts? Do you enjoy sharing helpful information with your friends, family, and followers? When you learn a new, useful tip, are you excited to share with others? If so, you’ve got the right stuff to be on Kathi’s street team.
We are forming a street team called The Krew, and we want to invite YOU to be a part of it!
What’s a “street team”?
A street team is a term used in marketing to describe a group of people who ‘hit the streets’ promoting an event or a product. (But in our case, the ‘streets’ are the social media outlets!)
If sharing Kathi’s fantastic tips and tricks and about her life-changing books and courses with your friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and through your blog sounds like fun – then, continue reading to find out all about Kathi’s BRAND NEW Street Team!
What will The Krew do?
• Complete special missions once or twice a week through sharing on social media.
o Read and comment on Kathi’s new blog posts
o Like, comment, and share NEW Facebook posts
o Tweet / retweet the posts on Twitter
o Pin the posts on Pinterest
• Share our message, events, and blog posts with friends, family, and followers
• Share your feedback to help Kathi provide more useful content
All you need is a positive attitude and a love for Kathi and her message. (And a Facebook account, of course, to join the private FB group!)
So, what’s in it for you?
• Exclusive access to a private FB group
• Exclusive webinars with Kathi Lipp
• Be the first to know about book launch teams, new products, exciting partnerships, and events being held in your area
• Get a sneak peek into everything Kathi Lipp so you can be ready to share it with your friends
• And more!
Does this sound like you?
Then, go ahead and click apply and fill out the application. We’ll be in touch with you soon!
We’ll select The Krew members from the entries we receive. We’ll let you know you’ve been selected and you’ll be added to the Facebook group!
Time for another GIVEAWAY!!!
Go to my Facebook page TODAY and answer my question of the day: What is your favorite thing to cook for your man?
One person will win a copy of my book, 101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him!
I hope you are having as much fun doing The Husband Project Online Bible Study as I am. My favorite thing is connecting with you all via Facebook, during our live daily video sessions, and emails. Oh and loving on my husband of course.
And I would love to hang out with you and your friends face to face. Let’s have a girl’s night out! Or a woman’s day in! Whatever works for your group. I would love to come to your church or community event and speak on The Husband Project.
So what does a Husband Project event look like?
Who: You, your girlfriends, and me! I am an author AND a speaker. Plus, the biggest cheerleader of making marriages great. In my events, I love to brings the fun, inspiration and marriage changing practical advice. I want you to have fun and go home inspired to put in the energy to make your marriage rock.
What: The Husband Project is a two session event. Each woman will walk away with a simple to-do plan for loving on their man no matter what the state of her marriage. By challenging women to complete this marriage building exercise together, this event also impacts the relationships between the women that attend drawing them closer into community with one another with a focus on loving their husbands.
Why: We all need some time to get together as women and be encouraged in our marriages! I speak about the importance of keeping your marriage fun and your husband encouraged as couples do life together for the long haul.
So how do we get this party on the calendar? If you are interested in inviting me to your next women’s event, or creating one for the women in your community, click here
, fill out the form and I or my fabulous booking agent (we call her the VP of Love here at Kathi Lipp headquarters) will contact you within 48 hours.
A man’s confidence is the key to his entire world. And he gets most of his sense of confidence through two places: his work and his wife.
It’s a big responsibility (especially if his work life isn’t all that fantastic) but one that we are called to as his wife.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
When God calls us to something, He also equips us with the ability to follow through. So before you start the internal tape of all the reasons why building up his confidence isn’t really your “job,” let’s talk about what happens when we don’t.
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
OK, so now that we have that out of the way, let’s work together to come up with SIMPLE ways to build up your man.
5 simple ways to build your husband’s confidence:
- Verbally tell him why you love him — he works hard, he plays with the kids, he has the best butt, he treats your mom like a queen, etc. SO TELL HIM!
- Kiss him every single time you are parting ways and every time you come back together.
- Pray for him every day (check out my Pinterest board for suggestions on how to pray for him).
- Grab his hand when you are walking through Lowe’s. Place your hand on his leg next time you are out to dinner. Physical touch is a big deal to our guys and not just when it’s in the bedroom.
- Brag on him in front of others! This one is a huge deal. We know a couple that is very sarcastic with each other. But the wife recently confessed that sometimes her sarcasm comes out more like a complaint or putting her man down than just a funny jest (and usually it’s intentional). She has committed to bragging on him rather than putting him down in public, even if they are having a good verbal sarcasm session among friends.
For ideas on how to brag on your man and build your husband up, I have included a download you can use to help build your man’s confidence every single day.
DOWNLOAD BY CLICKING HERE>>>
It’s GIVEAWAY time!!!
I want to give away a My Husband is a Hottie T-Shirt to two people! To win, visit my Facebook page, like it and then comment on the post at the top of my page with the question:
What’s one way you have found you are able to build your husband’s confidence?
Then, during my daily The Husband Project video on Wednesday, I’ll announce the two winners LIVE!
For those of you joining me and Proverbs 31 for The Husband Project online bible study, you’ll be coming up with a few ways to date your husband in the coming weeks. And even if you aren’t doing the Bible study, money is one of the most often stated reasons for not dating your husband on a regular basis. I put together 20 date ideas that cost you $20 or less. And in case those of you that live in a big city don’t think it’s possible, Roger and I live in San Jose, CA so we know a thing or two about inflated prices.
Download your copy of 20 Dates for $20>>>
Enjoy your weekend and go plan a date with your man!