We love buying farm fresh produce, but let’s be real, Roger and I are both busy, and another thing… we don’t live on a farm. So, we decided to grow a few things in our own garden, well, actually it is a planter on the back patio, but for us, we felt like urban farmers.
Every day we went out to check on our little garden. As the leaves grew and little buds formed we enjoyed the daily routine of caring for our thriving plants and looked forward to the day when we could enjoy the fruit of our labor, literally.
It was a wonderful day in the Lipp Household when we plucked our first tomato off the vine.
How funny that we can get so intent on growing a vegetable, and yet how easy it is to get distracted from growing something much more valuable, our marriage.
It is so easy to focus on the mountain of little things that feel urgent on a day to day basis, but make it a priority to balance them out with what is truly important.
Busy happens, we need to recapture some of the fun things that drew us to our spouse. Whether it is a date-night, a simple gesture of kindness, or spending time with other couples, shake up the routine.
Just like our tomato took time and patience, we need to nurture a healthy relationship with our spouse. We didn’t flood our little “garden” once and walk away, hoping it would fend for itself. We made it a daily routine to make sure it was thriving.
There are seasons in life, but whether you have been married for a few years or a few decades, we can all benefit from savoring simple moments with the one we vowed to love, honor, and cherish.
How about you? Maybe you could use some fun and fresh ideas to nurture your relationship?
Join me as I visit with Focus on the Family on how to add some pep into your marriage.
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.
Shortly after getting married, in fact it was on our honeymoon, when I slipped into my flirty pajamas, jumped into bed next to my husband and exclaimed, “OK, I’m ready!” and he asked, “For what?”
I replied with the obvious response, “To pray together … you know, a couple that prays together, stays together? That is what my mom always says.” To which he replied, “I will NEVER pray with you, that just isn’t something I do. It’s personal and between me and God.”
To be fair, maybe my timing was a little off. But I absolutely deflated. My spirit was crushed. Not only did I feel deprived of the coveted marriage ideal that couples are supposed to pray together, it was worse than that. I felt totally duped by my new husband. After all, we prayed together during our courtship.
I was devastated. Something so clearly beneficial to our marriage was rejected. My parents prayed together! And I was certain I fell in love with someone who was going to pray with me. It didn’t seem right! I knew God and I knew He loved me. I knew this was the man He meant for me to marry. He moved mountains to bring us together.
I come from a long line of prayer warriors. I like to think my sweet grandma lived to 103 because she had prayers God still wanted her to be praying. Growing up, when situations arose, my parents always told me to “just pray about it.”
The fact my husband and I didn’t pray together other than to bless our meals unsettled me and rocked my faith. I didn’t want anyone to know because I was certain every other Christian couple prayed together. It was like a cardinal rule for a good Christian marriage.
I loved my husband and I wanted to stay together. But I didn’t like the situation. Honestly, the only thing I could do was “just pray about it.” Instead of “Run Forrest, Run!” It became, “Pray Julie, Pray!” Originally, my prayers were that my husband would pray with me because I knew better and you NEVER say never, especially to God.
I truly believed Matthew 21:22.
You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”
What I received by praying was far different than what I thought I wanted.
Through the process of praying without ceasing, God changed my heart and He changed my prayers. My heart turned from criticizing my husband, to seeking to understand my husband. My prideful prayers of me telling God how my husband needed to change eventually evolved into prayers of loving my husband for who he has been created to be.
Through the years, my prayers became more powerful. My husband witnessed first-hand how God faithfully answers even my smallest requests.
A few seasons back, I went through some personal challenges. I was really struggling, and I needed help. I asked my husband to pray for me and he did, without hesitation. He also prayed for me without my asking, just because he sensed I needed him to pray.
I cherish those moments when he pulled me close and prayed over me the most beautiful, loving prayers. Those times assured me how much God loves me and how my faithfulness and prayers honored Him and the man He gave me.
In the past, my husband and I have had this running joke that the first thing out of my husband’s mouth is “no.” This may have been what plagued him on our honeymoon, but I always say, “never say never” because he is definitely not the same man I am married to now.
He has since challenged himself to say “yes” more often. In fact, he took his “yes” a step further and ordered “promise cards” printed with the words: “because I said I would.” He hands these out at random times to people. This year for my birthday my husband gave me a promise card. It was the best gift a wife like me could ever receive. The words on the card said “I will pray with my wife. Because I said I would.”
Over twelve years ago my prayers stemmed from my own selfish motivation to change my husband, but God used them to change me. My consistent and persistent prayers changed the trajectory of our marriage for the better. I never know how or when God will answer my prayers.
But as my faith has grown, so has my trust in God and “knowing” no longer matters. I only do what I am called, which is to obediently seek Him. Today I teach other women how to pray for their husbands as this has simply become an act of obedience in response to an ever-loving God.
Julie Landreth has a passion for healthy and thriving relationships–especially in marriage and friendship. She 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 9 years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her 9-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. In addition, she is a freelance photographer and designer.
If you would like to hear more from Julie and receive 5 Days of Prayers to get you started praying for your husband, please visit her and sign up at http://eepurl.com/cmn9CX.
In this six-week Bible Study you will, possibly for the first time, truly understand how God wants you to be free. Free from clutter so you can be free to change your world. We have an online version as well as a traditional workbook with DVD option.
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:
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!