My husband and I are fans of the book The Five Love Languages, by Gary D. Chapman. Our love languages relate to more than just the day to day, but it also impacts how you approach your sex life.
The 5 senses guide to sex
It came as no surprise my husband’s love language is physical touch, and knowing this caused me anxiety because I thought physical touch just meant sex and I needed to be ready for it at any time. I took a risk and asked him about it. To my surprise, we talked about sex in a productive way. It wasn’t easy at first, but over time I gained confidence. Together we learned sex is more about the journey than the destination. One way to enrich the journey is through the five senses guide to sex.
Sound is not only about what you say to each other, but also how you say it. Let your tone and inflections be gentle; try greeting each other with kindness or a soft word after a long day. Create a good vibes playlist on Pandora or Google Play to set the mood. Our men listen for our verbal cues ,so it is important that you provide verbal sounds or whispers to express how much you enjoy your husband in the moment.
Taste is more than things like brushing your teeth or chewing gum for a fresh taste. It’s also about the food and drink you share together. Think about how your lips taste, or how your body tastes, especially after a work out. Go ahead and rinse the salt off!
Smell is an aroma that is pleasing to you and your spouse. Try lighting a candle, using a pleasant smelling lotion, or spraying fragrance that he loves.
Touch is about caressing, massaging, holding hands and skin-on-skin contact. Always kiss while saying hello or goodbye. Wear something that feels soft. Put clean sheets on the bed so it’s fresh.
Sight is about getting out of the loungewear and feeling good because you know you look good. Text each other throughout the day to let your spouse know you are thinking of him and can’t wait to see him. Before you part ways for the day linger a little longer between changing clothes, make sure you catch each other. Or while you’re out shopping make a stop at the lingerie store.
Later, put on an impromptu fashion show and he helps you decide what to keep and what to return. If it helps set the mood, replace one of your bulbs in your bedroom with a red bulb. Maybe it is just the signal you need to help you both get in the mood. Lastly, schedule it. Honestly, when I look at all the things on my schedule for the day and I see “sex” pop up, it is a visual cue that helps get me prepared well in advance.
One Small Win: This list is just a small start, but I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and let one or all of the senses be your guide. The goal is to build and/or enhance physical intimacy in your marriage.
Julie Landreth is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage. She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband. Having been married 12 years, she and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last nine years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her 9-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. Follow her along on Instagram at @julielandreth.
Remember, if all else fails, ask your guest if he or she has any meal recommendations or if specific ingredients will be a problem.
Asking doesn’t make you look dumb; on the contrary, it shows that you care!
Your dinner guest will feel loved and cared for with your efforts and consideration.
Kelsee Keitel is a graduate student, writer and speaker, living in Indianapolis, IN, with her newlywed husband. She is passionate about cultivating sisterhood through vulnerability and introducing young women to the freedom and abundance of life in following Christ. When Kelsee is not snuggled up with a book and sipping tea, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or chatting with her mom.
My husband Ron admits he used to be jerk, but I discovered a secret formula that turned him into a loving husband. I started treating him like a VIP!
Ron always wanted my respect, but I thought he should earn it — and I had to feel it — before I could give it. Wrong.
We women are good at pointing out our husbands’ faults and failures and punishing them for not meeting our needs. That only leads to discontent and distance in our marriages. Yelling, nagging, and belittling are disrespectful and ineffective.
I’m suggesting a radical alternative: Treat him like a king, and eventually, he may begin to treat you like a queen.
Instead of waiting for him to earn your respect, behave respectfully and watch him grow into the man God designed him to be.
Twenty-five years ago, we were on the brink of divorce. I was controlling, critical and disrespectful. Ron was defensive and angry. We were Christians but not living spirit-filled lives. My emotions dictated my actions, and I thought it was Ron’s job to make me happy.
Then, we made a decision to rebuild our marriage.
A Christian counselor read Ephesians 5:33 to us: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” He then said, “Nancy, if you want to win Ron back and stay married, you must begin to respect him.” I knew he was right. I swallowed hard and came up with a plan.
Here are three of the ways I began to respect Ron. They spell out the goal — to treat him like a V.I.P.
1. Respect Him Verbally. Replace complaints with compliments. If you want to have a peaceful, happy marriage, learn the art of the compliment. Compliments have magnetic pull. The more you compliment your husband the more he’ll be drawn to you. Notice what he does well and encourage him by complimenting him at least once a day.
Can’t think of anything to admire? Consider these categories:
• Physical traits
• Mental skills
• Financial strengths
• Spiritual growth
• Healthy relationships with others–children, parents, or friends.
If you want your marriage to grow and bloom, water it with kindness and encouragement. Don’t wait until he changes. Just start. Then, as he sees your sincere efforts, he’ll begin to transform too.
If you need to bring up a difficult issue, sandwich it between two compliments. Here’s an example, “Honey, I know how hard you work for our money and that Chloe’s braces will be expensive, but I need your decision before her appointment tomorrow. I hope we can do this for her, but if you want to wait, I trust your judgment. What should I tell the orthodontist?”
2. Respect Him Intellectually. Men are problem-solvers. They like to fix things. Appeal to his intelligence by asking him to help you solve a problem. Instead of saying “This garage is a mess, clean up your camping stuff!” Try, “I’d like your help with something. Could you figure out a storage system for the camping supplies?”
Avoid saying “I think you are wrong about…” Instead say, “I’m confused about…please explain it again.” (Remember to keep your tone of voice sarcasm-free.)
Request his help on spiritual matters, too. Ask him to explain a Bible passage or ask him to pray for you about a specific challenge you’re facing. He’ll likely grow as a spiritual leader when he knows you respect his spiritual life.
Men don’t give a lot of weight to feelings — show them facts and they’re more likely to listen. For example: if he wants to buy a car that you think is too expensive, don’t give free reign to your emotions. Instead, list your expenses and ask him which should be cut out in order to buy his car. Let the facts speak for you.
When you can’t reach an agreement, instead of trying to wear him down ask, “Is that your final decision or can I give you my input?” If it’s his final decision, then honor it. It’s freeing — let him carry the responsibility.
3. Respect Him Physically. Find out what his top three physical needs are. Ron likes the laundry done, sex a least twice a week (guaranteed!) and he likes me to keep my “girly make-up stuff” off of the bathroom counter.
Once these needs are met, he’s content and easy to get along with. I know it sounds simple, but ask your husband what makes him feel loved and appreciated. Then do it!
Be aware of your body language. You can communicate disrespect by rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, or slamming doors. Commit to express your respect heart, mind, and body.
Change your attitude and actions.
Respect is both a verb and a noun: an action and an attitude — begin today to respect your husband in thought, word, and deed. He’ll be more willing and able to give you the love and affection you crave if he’s respected and admired.
When I began to respect my husband, he was skeptical. However as he saw my changed behavior, he began to treat me differently — lovingly. Now we help other couples discover the blessings of true love in action.
Ask the Lord to strengthen you as you obey His word.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13
Guest blogger Nancy C. Anderson is an award-winning author and speaker who loves to teach women and couples to avoid the “Greener Grass Syndrome” by watering their own lawns. Nancy and her husband Ron teach at marriage seminars and banquets. For more information about their speaking schedule and other marriage articles: www.RonAndNancyAnderson.com or their blog www.joyfulmarriage.blogspot.com
Valentine’s Day wreaks havoc on a girl with unrealistic expectations. I know. I’ve been there.
My husband, Mike, set the bar very high during our whirlwind courtship, fairytale wedding, and over-the-top honeymoon. He pursued me like a glass of cold water in the middle of a desert. He spoiled me with gifts and sent huge bouquets to my work (too big to fit on my desk!) He was a man on a mission. I felt loved and valued.
So, when we got married, I expected him to continue to pursue me with the same fervor he showed while dating.
Before you laugh, I felt justified in that expectation since he promised to pursue me in his wedding vows.
We were both naive to think we could pour into our marriage the same level of energy we had before the wedding. I brought an adorable daughter into our marriage (my second), and we added two more children to the mix in the first three years. Mike went from single to married father of three almost overnight.
Add to that a job change and a move and you can see how his focus necessarily changed. Any reasonable person might have given her husband a bit of slack in the area of creating romance. I can’t always claim that title.
I held on to my expectations, creating a bar too high for Mike to clear.
And little by little, the romance faded.
I wanted (expected) him to initiate dates with me and go all-out for birthdays and holidays. One of my top “love languages” is gifts. My expectations made it hard for him to feel confident in buying gifts. He thought it wouldn’t be enough (and, in all honesty, he might’ve been right). I expected thoughtful gifts that reflected his love for me and that showed he really knows my heart. (No pressure, right?)
Mike’s love language is acts of service. He’ll do anything for me: chores, filling the gas tank, he’ll even go grocery shopping. If it can be checked off a list, he’s happy to do it.
That’s all wonderful, but what I really wanted was to know that he still loved me as much as he did when we dated, when he expressed his love in ways that flooded my heart with joy. All his acts of service just weren’t doing that for me.
My expectation kept me from enjoying him in the present
Every time Valentine’s Day rolled around (or any other special occasion), my expectations soared and were dashed.
I knew Mike had it in him to shower me with romance and create a memorable day, but he didn’t. My disappointment festered.
Then, after a lot of pain and struggle, I laid down my “right” to be pursued and dated, and began to accept the husband God gave me.
Now, anything he does – a gift, a date, holding my hand on a walk, or simply cuddling on the couch to watch the latest installment of Victoria — I express my gratitude to him. More than that, I feel gratitude toward him. It’s a great place to be.
And you know what happened? He started exceeding my expectations!
If you have unrealistic expectations this Valentine’s Day, here’s what you can do:
1.Let your husband off the hook. He’s already proven his love to you. Let him know he doesn’t have to vault over the high bar of your expectations anymore. 2. Shower him with gratitude. If your husband gives you a Valentine’s Day gift or card, let him know you appreciate it. If he doesn’t, pick something else to express gratitude for. Focus on what he brings to the marriage. 3. Accept your reality. Celebrate Valentine’s Day in a way that works for you, your unique marriage and your season in life.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to look like a Hallmark movie – or even a Hallmark commercial – to be special. Celebrate the man God gave you, not the fantasy of who you think he should be. Celebrate your love free of unrealistic expectations and I promise you’ll have more fun!
Elizabeth M. Thompson is an inspirational writer and speaker who helps women lead Scripture-based, Spirit-graced lives. She lives in Gold River, CA, with her family and enjoys kayaking and walking along the American River with her two adventurous dogs. Connect with her at www.elizabethmthompson.com
I have an overwhelmed heart. It’s not because my calendar is crammed full of responsibilities, social gatherings or obligations though.
I’m overwhelmed with the mundane.
• Overwhelmed with two toddlers who need my attention for what feels like every minute of the day.
• Overwhelmed that the moment all the laundry gets folded and put away it’s time to start all over.
• Overwhelmed by the dishes that never seem to be done. The day-in-and-day-out responsibilities never end.
And it makes me weary.
This is a unique sense of being overwhelmed, one less talked about. But it is a reality for all.
Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling undone by the mundane. I mean, mundane is better than a crisis, right? Of course. Yes.
But our feelings – of being overwhelmed from the day-to-day grind – are still valid. It’s real and a daily struggle for many of us. So what do we do with our beat-down hearts?
Undone by the mundane
We engage our minds to bolster our hearts.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are true, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy. So, what if in the middle of unloading the dishwasher for the umpteenth time this week, we think about what is praiseworthy about getting to unload a full dishwasher?
For example, as I’m putting away dishes, I praise Jesus for the simple fact that I have dishes to put away. Also, a dishwasher full of dishes is an indication that we ate well that week and no one is hungry.
Or when I’m folding my kids’ laundry that only seems to multiply, I think about what’s lovely about all of those clothes. My kids have never been in want for clothes that fit. They have warm clothes when it’s cold and cool clothes when it’s hot.
Shifting our mind to think on these things places a new song in our heart. It’s one of gratitude, awareness and renewal. In doing so, gradually the mundane begins to melt away, and you feel overwhelmed in a completely new way. You’re overwhelmed with thankfulness.
This isn’t an easy practice to start, I know. It’s hard when our hearts are tired. But it is worth it, friend!
Pick one mundane activity this week, something you despise even and consider Philippians 4:8 in light of that activity. How can you turn your mind toward things that are true and pure about that activity to bolster your heart?
Try it for one week with one activity, and I promise you will see change in your mundane.
(As for me, I have linens to move from the washer to the dryer. I’m choosing to think about how wonderful it is to have fresh-smelling bed sheets.)
One Small Win: Identify one activity this week you dread and begin thinking about what is pure, lovely or admirable about that activity. Then, pay attention to how God begins changing your heart toward that mundane act!
Kate Hollimon delights in helping women learn their God-given purpose while growing in Christ through the study of scripture. Kate is a speaker and blogger who designed the Live Your Purpose Workshop Live Your Purpose Workshop to help women discover their purpose to glorify God. Kate is married to her husband Matthew of seven years and together they have two kiddos – a boy and a girl – and are in the thick of sippy cups, potty training, temper tantrums and peanut butter and jellies. You can connect with Kate at www.katehollimon.com.
Too often when I crawl into bed I realize that the day has brought little (if any) emotional connection with my husband.
I might be living and married to this man, but I often wish I had more quality time with him.
I realize I miss him. I miss us.
Busy lives and families
Families today are busier now than ever before. It’s common for both parents to work full-time jobs outside of the home, and many of us report feeling stressed, tired, and rushed (New York Times)*. Whether we’re working inside the house or outside of the house, the busyness of life leaves couples feeling more like friends than intimate partners.
Consider our leisure time. According to my own informal survey, though couples spend time ‘together,’ women often report time spent on electronic devices steals precious time and causes them to feel disconnected from their spouse.
Couples experience shoulder-to-shoulder time, but lack face-to-face time.
Reconnecting with your husband
So, what is one thing you can do when you miss your husband? Incorporate daily ‘couch time’ with your husband.
One Small Win: ‘Couch time’ is 15 minutes of uninterrupted conversation time.
And while ‘couch time’ doesn’t have to be on the couch, choose a place where you can preferably sit across from one another and away from distractions.
Determine the time and place it will take place.
Right after dinner?
Before leaving for work?
Face Time over your lunch break?
Set your alarm 15 minutes early to chat in bed before getting ready for the day?
Sit down at the table as soon as you are both home?
And yes, this even goes for those of us with young children! Prime your kiddos for this special time by telling them, “Mom and Dad will be visiting for 15 minutes. When we are done, then we’ll be happy to help.
It doesn’t take long to connect with your husband. It does take intention.
Imagine catching up with your husband about your day. Sitting down and truly listening to each other. Filling your husband in on that funny story or frustrating situation. Talking about the next day and what you each have going on.
Don’t wait. Chat with your husband about couch time today. Plan it, and enjoy your special time together.
* Miller, Claire, C. “Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait Of The Modern Family.” The New York Times. November, 2015. www.nytimes.com. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Amanda Davison is on a mission to share how her education in counseling and God’s word changed her marriage. She is sure to share personal, laugh-out-loud moments, which are woven with challenging yet inviting perspective change.
As a Speaker and Wife Coach, she tackles topics such as: becoming a confident wife, handling the real frustrations as wives, knowing and owning our high call as wives, and obedience. She wants to hear from you and hopes you will join with her on the journey of learning to love God’s people well. Learn more about Amanda at www.amandadavison.com.
When I was pregnant with my third child, my doctor put me on bed rest for eleven weeks because I went into preterm labor. I was overwhelmed—to say the least. I was allowed once daily trips down and up the stairs, and a shower every other day.
Everything I did happened in bed—except sleep! Because who can sleep after lying around all day? Oh, and the medicine they give you to prevent labor is actually a stimulant, which doesn’t help. (C’mon people, this is modern America, can’t we do better?)
Overwhelmed became my middle name
That time was scary and frustrating, and I needed LOTS of help taking care of my then four and two-year-old babies, and my poor overwhelmed hubby, who could barely keep his head above water, despite the help we received.
What I learned during those weeks, and subsequently, as I endured four back surgeries in six years, is that when a person is facing overwhelm like never before, there is one thing they crave: normalcy.
During the last few weeks before my due date, my doctor released me to go on one outing a day. So one Wednesday, I chose to go to swimming lessons with my kids.
Previous to my forced bed rest, I dreaded those hectic afternoons—hurried, sweating bullets in the tropical temps of the indoor pool, trying to get unruly toddlers to comply. Sadly when I was fully healthy and able, I often wished those afternoons away.
But when I couldn’t do my regular chaotic life, oh, how I wished for normal.
My mother-in-law (a godsend) stepped in for swim lesson day. She wrangled my littles into car seats, wrestled them into swimsuits, drenched herself during the post-swimming shower routine, and somehow managed to get their sticky, wet limbs stuck back into dry clothes.
For any woman who does this on a regular basis, you know this is a heroic feat!
And all this was done for one purpose: so that I could have a dose of normalcy in the midst of my overwhelmed life. So I could watch my tiny people do their big kid kicks, get splashed, and sit in a wobbly, uncomfortable, plastic chair at the side of the pool.
But really, so I could have small dash of normal in the midst of my overwhelmed life.
A few hours of normalcy is one of the biggest blessings I received in those bed rest and back surgery days. If you want to be a friend who loves well in times of hardship, consider giving the gift of normal.
How to help a friend who’s overwhelmed
Here’s a few ways to help create normalcy:
• Take them to Target or the mall (even if they need the wheelchair)
• Go to the movies (recliner seat theaters are perfect for infirm friends)
• Go out to coffee
• Offer to accompany them to their kids’ events (you do all the “heavy lifting” if needed)
• Help with their household tasks like laundry, dishes, cleaning so they can focus their energy on time with family.
One Small Win: Call a friend who’s experiencing a hard time (illness, stress, loss of a loved one, cancer, infertility, divorce, etc.) and offer to do one of these “normal” things with her!
Sarah Beckman is an author and speaker, living in Albuquerque, NM, with her husband, Craig, of 24 years. They have three delightful children ages 15, 17, and 20. Her experience on both sides of the “bed”—both being helped and helping others—provide her authentic viewpoint for her book, Alongside. When she’s not writing or speaking, you might find her in the kitchen creating something to share with a “neighbor” in need.
Her passion for loving her neighbor has fueled her life and ministry for over 10 years, giving her the opportunity to address audiences across the country. She has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and also works as a communications coach and corporate trainer.
“Never stop dating your spouse.” It’s one of the top pieces of advice newlyweds get. But years later, with kids and bills piling up, it’s much easier said than done. How to date your husband isn’t as impossible as it feels!
Often, after paying the orthodontist, the mortgage, and the grocery bill, there’s not a lot left over for fancy dinners and movie tickets. Not to mention childcare.
These days, my husband and I aim to have at least one monthly night out, but with four kids it hasn’t always been easy to make those date nights happen. Early in our marriage, we had to really get creative.
We knew we wanted to be consistent with our dates, but we weren’t always able to afford a night out. So we decided to have fun nights IN.
How to date your husband
Here are some inexpensive ideas for dating your spouse without having to leave the house:
1. Make dinner together. Tuck the kids into bed and then get out your fancy dishes and make something delicious. In our family, my husband is often my sous chef. He’ll do the chopping, slicing or shredding, and I put ingredients together.
Adding some romantic tunes and a little dancing while things simmer can make your evening feel like a party. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get creative and have some real “grown-up” food. Try a new recipe or an old favorite. No matter what you choose, the idea is to spend time together and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Bon appetit!
2. Plan a game night. Games don’t have to be just for kids. Board games, card games or even a Wii bowling tournament can set the stage for a fun night of playful competition. Our favorites are Scrabble and Bananagrams. Add a few of your favorite snacks (that you don’t have to share with the kids). If you’re extra competitive, think of a little incentive. Maybe the winner gets a foot rub or the loser has to do the dishes.
3. Form a private book club. If you’re bookworms like my husband and I, it’s fun to select a book you both want to read. It can be a book on marriage or just an interesting novel. Then, set aside some time to discuss. It’s a fun way to connect, share thoughts and ideas, and maybe even learn some new things about each other. Set the mood by adding candles (or a fire in the fireplace if you have one), and your favorite beverage.
4. Spice up movie night. Maybe you already do movie nights together. That’s a pretty easy way to have a date, but consider making it a little bit more . . . sexy. How about dressing up in that little black dress he loves? Or maybe dressing down (as in fewer clothes) and leaving room for a little makeout session. Re-watching an old favorite might be a good idea in case you miss some of the movie action (while making of some of your own).
One Small Win: Creating intentional “date nights” doesn’t have to put a big dent in your bank account, but it will have a lasting positive effect on your marriage.
Zohary Ross is a life coach, speaker and author of the Aligned Parenting Workbook. Zohary is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to have clearly defined “most importants” and live out their values and priorities. Connect with Zohary at http://zoharyross.com/.
New Year’s resolutions can be a tricky bag of guilt. We are well-intentioned as we make plans for fresh starts in the new year, only to find these resolutions slowly fading away. Some have embraced choosing a word to focus on and even to study from God’s word. Amy Carroll shares today about the struggle she had with a Word-of-the-Year and how God gently used it to teach her in the midst of the fading New Year’s resolution.
Amy Carroll is a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s the author of Breaking Up with Perfect as well as the director and coach of Next Step Speaker Services. Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC with a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner. Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org and on Facebook.
If there’s one thing I know about us girls, it’s that we like romance! We love romance novels, romance comedies, romance tragedies, and romance, romance, romance. Most gals would much rather take in a romantic movie than an action film. And what woman doesn’t dream about her husband romancing her the way he did when they were dating? But guess what, that man of yours longs for romance too.
One night Steve and I were planning a romantic evening at home alone. We borrowed a movie from our friends, Gene and Sheri. A Vow to Remember promised to be a real tearjerker. The couple on the DVD case appeared lost in each other as their arms intertwined in a lovers’ embrace. The back cover boasted, “Capture your mind, your heart and your soul … Paints a compelling picture of forever love.”
The lights were dim, the candles were lit, and the mood was set. However, when Steve placed the movie in the DVD player, we were not greeted with strains of a melodious theme song or misty-eyed romance. Oh no. It was Arnold Schwarzenegger with machine gun at the ready! Our romantic evening was rudely interrupted by Terminator. Gene had placed the wrong movie in the case!
Perhaps romance in your marriage has a greater resemblance to Terminator than A Vow to Remember. If so, there’s hope! You can be the one to make the first move!
Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” (Matthew 7:12). We call that the Golden Rule. Isn’t it interesting that a wedding ring is often called a band of gold? Whether a wedding ring is gold, platinum, silver, or bronze, the Golden Rule certainly applies in a marriage relationship.
One Small Win: The Golden Rule for romance could be: Express your love to your husband in the same way you want him to express his love to you. Sticky notes of love on his bathroom mirror, romantic texts in the middle of the day, and declarations of how proud you are of him are actually showing him ways to love you in return.
Here are a few simple ways to romance that man of yours:
• Put a chocolate kiss in his briefcase, lunch bag, or on the dashboard of his car, with a note that says, “I love you!”
• Write “I love you” on his bathroom mirror with soap or lipstick.
• Send him a romantic card to his workplace via snail mail.
• Kiss him passionately before he leaves in the morning and tell him you’re going to miss him. Kiss him passionately when he comes home in the evening and tell him you’re glad he’s home.
• Draw a bath, light candles, and invite him to join you. Lather him up with soap and draw a big heart on his chest. Lie in each other’s arms and soak in the love.