Top 10 Christian Pat Answers About Marriage

Sometimes Christian marriage advice just doesn’t work.

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesnt Happen by AccidentAs we get ready for the launch of my new book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, I asked on my Facebook Page for people to share some “pat answers” about marriage that they often hear, but that is exactly the wrong thing to do. Thank you so much for all your responses! They were great to read through. And so many of them were in my book, too–which helps me to know that I’m on the right track!

So today I’m going to share the Top 10 Pat Christian Marriage Advice that doesn’t work.

Top 10 Pat Answer Christian Marriage Advice that Doesn't Work
Pat Answer Christian Marriage Advice That Makes Small Things Bigger

In this first category we’re talking about when you’re upset about relatively little things, that are likely fairly easily solved. But instead of tackling them in a healthy manner, we think God is asking us to do something quite different. And we end up making what might be a small thing linger, rather than nipping it in the bud.

Ever heard any of these?

1. Don’t go to bed angry!

The #1 pat answer that was mentioned in that Facebook post was “Don’t go to bed angry!” It’s taken from Ephesians 4:26, which says this:

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

People too often take that to mean that if you’re angry, you can’t go to sleep. You have to stay up until 4 in the morning hashing it out.

But if we do that, we often say stupid things because we’re overtired.  If we sleep on it, the problem often seems much smaller in the morning!

There’s a difference between going to bed without resolving an issue, knowing that you’re going to talk about it later, and going to bed absolutely incensed. Deciding to talk about something later is often very good advice!

Do Not Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger--doesn't mean what you think it means!

2. Just pray about it more.

Whenever we have a problem we are definitely to take it to God. But sometimes the way we talk about prayer makes it sound like this is ALL we do.

One Facebook commenter explained it like this:

You can pray for help with a situation but more than likely some work is going to be required after prayer. You might even have to wait for God to lead you on the right path but often He doesn’t just solve our problems with no work on our part.

Exactly!

Let’s say that you’re feeling neglected by your husband because you haven’t done anything, just the two of you, in months.

What should you do: pray about it–or pray about it and then talk to him? Or plan a date night just the two of you? Or figure out what you can cut out of your schedule?

So often we feel like “God is close to the broken hearted”, so when we’re sad, we’re supposed to lay it all at His feet. Well, yes. But maybe there’s more you should be doing, too! Prayer isn’t supposed to be a “get out of responsibility for making your life better card!” Maybe what you really need is to pray that God will show you how to fix this problem yourself.

3. Just grow closer to God and your marriage problems will disappear.

Here’s another goodie–a variant on the one above. Yes, as we grow closer to God we become holier, and that often makes our part in the marriage problem minimized. Absolutely.

But often what happens is that there are very real issues that need to be dealt with in marriage. And rather than deal with those, we run to God, hoping that God will then make it better for us.

So we’re not trying to get closer to God for the sake of getting closer to God; we’re trying to get closer to God so that He’ll go and beat someone up for us, sort of like he’s a protective older brother.

That’s manipulation!

How about this: Grow closer to God, and then ask for wisdom for what you should do to make your marriage better?

Thought #4 is all about taking responsibility for our own happiness, rather than expecting God, or your husband, to give it to you. And it’s much more effective.

4. Love him according to his love language, and he’ll love you according to yours!

Or another variation: respect him, and he’ll love you!

Yes, women need love and men need respect. Yes, we all have love languages and it’s good to learn them. But thinking that just because we act in a loving way means that he will automatically return the favour is to misunderstand human nature.

It assumes that the reason that he isn’t loving you according to your love language is because you aren’t doing something. But what if there’s another reason? What if he’s tired? What if he’s stressed? What if he just plain doesn’t know your love language? What if he has unresolved issues and he has difficulty reaching out emotionally?

If you need something in marriage, it’s your job to tell him. And make it really simple and obvious what he needs to do! I told my husband this weekend: I feel like we need to do more fun things together where we feel like we’ve accomplished something, not just where we’ve spent a day vegging together. So I suggested that we start hiking as a hobby. He agreed. And so this week he’s going to research a 15 km hike we can do together on Saturday.

I could have waited for him to figure that out on his own. Or we could have had a good talk about it!

Besides, a lot of this advice is really manipulative. “Just pray about it and he’ll love you.” “Just love him and he’ll love you.” It’s telling us to do all of these things to get him to love us EXCEPT actually be vulnerable before him and let him know what we’re thinking. It doesn’t work!

5. Don’t take offense. If you’re upset about something, just let it go!

Certainly we aren’t to needlessly take offense at people.

But being aggravated about something isn’t a sin. Withholding love over it, yes–being aggravated, no.

Let’s say it really bugs you that your husband never puts the coffee mugs in the dishwasher. I have known women to be frustrated at this trait for years. They wrestle with it. They pray about it. They tell themselves, “I know I’m not supposed to be take offense, and I have to get over this. It’s just a stupid coffee mug.”

But it keeps happening, and they keep struggling.

What would happen if she just said to him,

“Honey, I’d appreciate it if you put your coffee mugs in the dishwasher after you use them. And if you’re never sure if the dishwasher is clean or dirty, I’ll get a little sticker that tells you so it’s obvious when it’s dirty and  you can load it. Can you do that? It would make me so happy!”

Thought #4 in 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage includes this little tidbit: Just ask for help. I asked on Facebook last year, when I was writing it, for stories about when women finally realized that if they asked their husbands specifically for help, their husbands actually came through. A bunch of those stories made it into the book. But the two most common reasons for not asking were, “I didn’t want to be rude”, and “he should just know!”

But he obviously doesn’t. Try asking! It’s better than letting something stew.

Pat Answer Christian Marriage Advice That Minimizes Real Problems

Now let’s turn to another category of “pat answers”–those pat answers that are given to women in really difficult situations that make the problem worse in a whole other way.

6. Pray that God will change your husband’s heart.

A variation of #2 above, to “pray about it”, but this time let’s assume that the “something” is a big sin. Maybe he’s gambling. He’s lazy and won’t get a job. He’s watching porn. He plays video games all day. Whatever it may be.

Here’s why this advice is wrong in this situation: God won’t “make” your husband stop using porn. He lets us have free will. He may bother your husband about it. He may put roadblocks up to the porn use. He may convict your husband. But ultimately it’s up to your husband what he does. God doesn’t force us to do the right thing.

What God does do is put consequences to our actions, so that we reap what we sow. And he gives clear instructions on what to do within the church if someone is sinning and is refusing to repent–and “just pray about it” is definitely not the only step.

I explained this in my post Are you a spouses or an enabler? That was a key post on this blog, and I’ve taken those thoughts and flushed them out through about three thoughts, and three chapters, in this new book. How to deal with sin in marriage is so misunderstood, and I hope that in this book I can point us to a much better way.

7. If you disagree, the head of the house should make the final decision.

And bonus addition: you’ll be blessed because of your submissive attitude!

There are several problems with this, and I’ll be making a video next week that explains them. First, if we think that submission is all about decision making, then we’re missing the heart of the word. And second, God’s will is that we be seeking after His direction. If we say, “husbands always make decisions”, it’s awfully easy to get away from relying on God to make those decisions. And that’s downright scary.

I explain more in this post on what submission means, but I dedicate Thought #5 to it! Many of you have been asking for me to flesh out my position on the submission, and I did it in great length in this book.

8. If you submit to your husband more, he’ll step up and be a leader.

Is your husband not acting in a godly way? The problem must be that you aren’t submitting!

Now, there are times when this definitely is true. That’s the thing about pat answers: they have a kernel of truth to them, and that’s why they’re so prevalent.

I know marriages where the wife just bulldozes over the husband so much that eventually he stops trying.

But too many Christians think that the answer to every marriage problem is “submit” when it isn’t. It’s as if instead of having a whole tool box to fix things we have only a hammer. If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

(Actually, I do believe that the answer to every marriage problem is to “submit”, but that’s because I think “submission” means something very different than what we normally think. When the word is normally used, we take it to mean that the wife doesn’t make decisions, doesn’t assert herself, doesn’t mention anything that’s bothering her, and lets her husband set the agenda.)

Let’s say he’s playing video games too much because he got addicted to them growing up. Submission (in the way it’s normally used) isn’t going to help that problem. Let’s say that he’s texting other women. Submission isn’t going to help that problem. Let’s instead look at the individual problem and figure out what steps will help us overcome it!

9. If you have sex with him more, he’ll stop watching porn.

Again, a kernel of truth: men are often far more tempted by porn when they don’t have sex as often. I’ve written before about whether or not you can cause him to sin.

But that doesn’t mean that you’re to blame if he  uses porn. And it certainly doesn’t mean that having sex will make him stop!

The problem with porn isn’t just about sexual temptation. It’s about rewiring the brain so that what becomes arousing is an image, not a person. If he’s getting his sexual release through porn, he’s less likely to want to make love to you. The number of women on this blog whose husbands have zero sex drive for them but tons of sex drive for porn is astronomical. To tell these women “just have sex more” is to add insult to injury. They’d love to have sex more–but their husbands turn to porn instead!

You can’t cure porn by having sex with him. You need to deal with the root issue, and, if it’s a long-standing addiction, you have to go through healing to rewire his sex drive again. It’s not quick and painless, but it can happen. Don’t despair!

In Thought #8 I talk about how “just have sex” is exactly the wrong advice for all kinds of situations. If you’re struggling here, I hope some of this wisdom can help.

10. If your husband is doing something wrong, it’s not your job to be the Holy Spirit in his life. Win him without words!

Yes, if our husbands are not Christian, we are to win him to Christ without nagging him (1 Peter 3:1). But people take that verse which is written for a very specific situation and apply it to everything–to mean that we are never to bring up anything, and never to confront our husbands on anything.

On the contrary, when we see someone stumbling, we are to warn them. And if your husband has a major issue in his life, as his wife, that is what being his helpmate is all about! It’s to inspire him to grow closer to God by not letting him go further into sin without consequences.

What is more loving–to ignore a big sin and to cover it up, or to confront it in love and set limits so that the sin is more likely to stop?

Thoughts #6 & 7 are all about learning how to use our words to resolve these conflicts, even when big sin is involved. And I hope if more women understood God’s heart for marriage, then fewer women would watch their husbands go further into sin and think that they’re being godly by saying nothing.

So there you go–ten pat answers that we hear a lot in Christian circles that don’t actually help marriage, and can even make problems worse.

Quite simply, there’s a lot of sloppy thinking about marriage out there, and I hope that by looking at the whole of Scripture, and the heart of God to have His children choose rightly, that we’ll get a fuller picture of what the marriage relationship is supposed to be!

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesnt Happen by AccidentEver feel like a lot of the stuff you heard in church about marriage is wrong? Then you’ll love 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage! And remember: If you buy it before it’s released you’ll get about 50% off in the United States and Canada (I’m sorry it’s not on sale in the U.K.!). It’ll be released August 18, and anyone who buys it on that day or pre-orders it will get a ton of downloadable freebies! Stay tuned for more info.

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Now it’s  your turn! Have you heard any of those pat answers? Did any resonate with you? Or do you have different ones that bug you? Let me know in the comments!

Why Christian Pat Answers for Marriage Don’t Work

When Pat Christian Marriage Advice Doesn't Work

When my oldest daughter was married last month and we were planning the service, we had to choose Scripture readings.

And so we googled “Bible readings for weddings”. And all the typical ones showed up: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8; 1 John 4:16-19 (about how God is love, even though the passage has nothing to do with marriage); Ecclesiastes 4:12 (a cord of three strands is not easily broken).

It seems that only certain passages are deemed worthy of a wedding. But in reading many of them I didn’t even think they fit a wedding all that well. So we chose different ones instead:

Romans 15:5-6

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

and:

Colossians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

We thought those were beautiful for a wedding–and for a marriage! In fact, I’ve been praying that passage from Romans over my own marriage ever since, because I think it’s so wonderful.

But it occurs to me that we do something similar when it comes to marriage advice.

If a marriage problem pops up, we immediately pull out “the marriage passages” of Scripture, and often leave it at that.

Ephesians 5:22-33: wives submit to  your husbands and respect them; husbands love your wives.

Proverbs 31: Be a virtuous woman!

1 Corinthians 7: Don’t divorce and be generous sexually with your spouse.

1 Peter 3:1-7: Wives, obey your husbands and “win them without words”.

And maybe we’ll throw in 1 Corinthians 13 (about what love is) or Genesis 2 and 3 (about the creation story and the fall, too).

It’s as if God wrote this massive book sharing His heart with His people, and yet we’re only supposed to search out those few verses when it comes to marriage.

Don’t get me wrong–these passages are wonderful and give lots of wisdom and direction for our relationships. Bu they are not the WHOLE picture. When we look at those passages in isolation, we often distort them and, I believe, interpret them wrong. Context matters, and you can only interpret Scripture by looking at the rest of Scripture.

God created marriage as the perfect analogy of how He feels about His people. It’s the most important human relationship. And so don’t we think that the REST of the Bible may also have important things to say about marriage–important things about this very messy relationship which can’t always be summarized in pithy sayings or stitched on a pillow?

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesnt Happen by Accident
My new book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage launches August 18, and I’m so excited to take the next two weeks leading up to that launch to talk about this concept of Christian “pat answers”–advice that we give that often doesn’t satisfy because it misses the bigger picture.

Pat answers make two kinds of errors:

Either they make a big problem seem small (by minimizing the severity of the problem and suggesting a solution that won’t solve it at all), or they make a small problem much bigger by giving advice that sends a woman in a completely wrong direction.

An example of the making a big problem small: “just have sex more and then he won’t watch porn!

An example of making a small problem big: “God is close to the broken-hearted, so if you’re sad, just pray more!”

The first won’t work because it misunderstands the problem.

The second won’t work because it misunderstands God and what God wants from us.

And we aren’t going to grow in our marriages until we start thinking differently–getting rid of these pat answers, many of which we’ve heard our whole lives in church and in Christian culture–and getting back to what God wants for us.

And that’s quite simple: He wants us all chasing after Jesus and looking more like Him everyday.

Jesus didn’t live by simple formula. He lived His life always seeking out to do God’s will, and as He did that, He found great joy and brought joy to those around Him. His aim was always the same–to bring people closer to God–but His actions varied with circumstances. And that’s how we should live, too.

Submission NEVER means putting up with abuse: on Debi Pearl, submission, and wife abuse.I wrote an example of how Jesus varied His actions while keeping His aim in this post on how Submission Doesn’t Mean Putting Up with Abuse.

Some of you are walking through difficult marriages, and I’m so excited to be able to share with you how thinking about those problems differently and thinking about what God wants from you can change the whole dynamic of your relationship.

Some of you are walking through great marriages, but you still find yourself dissatisfied at times, and wondering why your husband doesn’t “get you” all the time. I’m excited to show you how sometimes the way that we think about marriage actually jeopardizes our happiness. And I’m excited to show you how some simple, practical things can turn the whole thing around!

Quite simply, our modern Christian culture has some awfully sloppy thinking.

And that sloppy thinking is impacting our ability to have great marriages. So it’s time to stop listening to pat answers and start listening to the WHOLE of God’s word.

In the next two weeks leading up the launch, I’m going to share with you my big picture for the book, and then look at 9 pat answers that can derail our thinking about marriage, and 9 thoughts that can send us in a better direction.

I’ll do that with some video–I’m getting Katie to help me make some videos the way that she does!

I’ll do it with a few contests and a few personal stories.

And it’s all going to culminate with the big launch on August 18 when you can win some prizes, and get lots of freebies if you’ve ordered the book early (or on that day!).

This book grew out of a viral blog post I wrote a few  years back–7 Thoughts That Will Change Your Marriage. But it also has grown out of my thinking about marriage that I’ve wrestled with on this blog for the last few years. Many of you, my faithful readers, have had front row seats to some of the debates here, and if you’ve enjoyed the posts, I know that you’ll enjoy the book!

If you order it now, it will be shipped on August 18. And if you order for your Kindle or other device, it will download as soon as it’s available.

And if you order now, it’s 51% off! Only $7.42 for the paperback on Amazon, while it’s $14.99 regularly. So lock in your pre-order price now!

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And don’t miss any of the posts leading up to the launch–or your chance to win! Sign up to get my blog by email, or to get a weekly round-up of all the posts!

Now it’s your turn: What are some “pat answers” you’ve heard about marriage that can make a problem worse? Let me know in the comments–and I may use your answer for tomorrow’s Top 10 post!

 

Book Giveaways Galore!

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum
Are you ready to win some books?

I’ve got a bunch of giveaways going on right now, so scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter!

Today’s Friday, so it’s time for my weekly round-up, when I let you know what was most popular at the blog (and on social media) this week, so that you can be sure not to miss any posts (often the popular ones are older ones you may not have seen that found new life this week). And then I let you in on a few things that are going on in my life, too!

What’s #1 This Week?

How to Initiate Sex with Your Husband--witout feeling awkwardGetting to Deeper Levels of Commnication with Your Husband--#marriage#1 on the Blog: Top 10 Tips for Initiating Sex with Your Husband
#1 on Twitter: 7 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage
#1 on Pinterest: Levels of Communication in Marriage: Getting Deeper
#1 on Facebook: 10 Ways to Initiate Prayer with Your Spouse

 

It’s Coming…

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesnt Happen by AccidentI’m so excited that starting next week I’m going to start letting you see bits of my new book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage!

One of the themes of that book is that so often Christian marriage advice revolves around 4 or 5 Bible passages–Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 13, Proverbs 31. It’s as if when we talk about issues we have a myriad of places to look in the Bible. But when we talk about marriage, all of the rest of the Bible seems to go out the window and we look only at those five. And I find that problematic, because it leads to a lot of “pat answers” that aren’t always helpful in real life situations.

The Bible needs to be looked at in its entirety, and marriage doesn’t have one-size fits-all advice. So let’s get real and talk about how God really wants us to change our marriage, down in the nitty gritty!

9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage releases August 18, and all of this starts Monday!

Are You in Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, or Georgia?

Sheila Gregoire gives her Girl Talk
If so, I want to come and give my Girl Talk to you!

I’ve got plans to be in those states in September and October, and I need to fill up my schedule a little more. So here’s your chance for your church to host me and get a reduced rate! Seriously, it’s a wonderful evening and it works GREAT as an outreach–because everyone loves talking and hearing about sex.

It’s a fun evening, it’s been getting rave reviews, and it’s totally worth it.

Email my assistant Tammy to see how you can get in on the tour.

The Birthday Is Over…

All year I’ve been leading up to three things: Katie’s internationals Bible quizzing tournament in Minneapolis; then Rebecca’s wedding; then Katie’s trip to New York for her 18th birthday.

And now the three things are over. I feel like my summer is also over somehow. And so now we’re focused on becoming empty nesters.

Here in Ontario we have a three-tiered driver’s license program: you get your learner’s permit; then you get your general license; then within five years (but after at least one year) you have to retake  your road test to get your permanent license.

So Rebecca took hers yesterday, and Katie’s scheduled for later in August. And both girls are getting their wisdom teeth removed in August, too. It’s like all of the fun stuff is over, so now we have to take care of all this big to-do stuff. Ah, life as we know it.

Katie and I did have a great time in New York, though. And Rebecca came home for a day to take her driver’s test, and it was fun to see her and catch up since the wedding.

Thanks for making my 18th birthday such a memorable one, Mom! I had the best day with you! ☺️💃💕

A photo posted by Katie Gregoire🎶 (@katielizg) on

Has summer ended for you, or is it still going? And how do you stop that melancholy feeling that time is moving too fast?

Time for Some Giveaways!

I love hosting guest posts on the blog and promoting some wonderful books by other authors. So today I’ll give  you a few chances to win!

31 Days to Becoming a Happy MomFirst, don’t forget that you can win $100 in our Lean Cuisine contest. Lean Cuisine is rebranding themselves, focusing on more ethnic foods and interesting menus. And to do that they’ve launched their “Weigh This” campaign. Read all about it here–and then comment for your chance to win a $100 Visa card! Seriously, there aren’t a ton of entries yet, so your chances are pretty good. Head on over!

Next, Arlene Pellicane wrote this week about letting dads be dads. She’s giving away a copy of her book 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom to someone who comments on that post (I’ll do the draw on Monday), but she’s also offering a copy of her book in the draw today!

lLovemaking: 10 Secrets to Extravagant Intimacy in MarriageAnd then Dan and Linda Wilson wrote a great book for married couples called Lovemaking, detailing all the aspects of making love, including how to make it feel great, what to do when it doesn’t, and how to feel intimate. They’re giving away three copies of their book today!

And I’m going to throw in something, too. I’ve got a 10-book ebook bundle on getting healthy (which includes my book 31 Days to Great Sex!). So you’ll get 10 ebooks that can help get you on the right road to growing a healthier family.

So that’s five possible prizes! Enter in the Rafflecopter below.

And have a wonderful weekend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dads Roll Differently (And That’s Okay)

I am so happy to share these great words of parenting wisdom from Arlene Pellicane about how dads parent differently than we do–and that is okay! This is taken from Arlene’s newest book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom.

Dads Parent Differently

My oldest child Ethan is in 6th grade this year.  I remember when he was just a baby and I had my first mom’s night out.  I pulled into my driveway at 10 pm, certain my little bundle would be fast asleep in his cozy crib.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the garage door to find my husband James’ car missing!

A few minutes later, James came strolling in with baby Ethan who needed to be fed because he was hungry.  AT TEN O-CLOCK AT NIGHT!  I was ticked.  James had taken Ethan to the mall, with no regards to Ethan’s normal bedtime.

My mind whirled and my face grew hot.  I was mad.  The dishes were piled high in the sink; Ethan was in his high chair eating baby oatmeal.

Can’t you just get him to bed at a decent hour and do the dishes? I thought as I glared at the supposedly responsible party.

James was calm as a cucumber.  He said, “Lighten up.  One night won’t kill him.”

31 Days to Becoming a Happy MomWell, I guess James was right because Ethan’s still around.  It took me a few years to realize that instead of being indignant about the way James’ chose to parent that night, I could have been grateful.  I could have chosen to say, “Thank you for watching Ethan for the last 5 hours so I could go to a women’s event and get re-charged.”

I could have said, “Not many men would gladly watch their one-year-old and even dare to take them to the mall, but I guess you guys had a great time!”

Our husbands may not enforce curfew and rules like we do, but our children are still living and breathing aren’t they?

Perhaps we would be happier moms if we stopped putting the emphasis on being right all the time – on being the “superior know-it-all parent.”

We can make our husbands feel incompetent as dads with our cutting remarks.  We may have expectations that they must parent exactly how we parent.  But if you can embrace the differences (two heads are better than one), and stop expecting perfection from your spouse, you will be a much happier mom.  Give your husband the same grace you’d like for yourself.

Just because he does things differently, doesn’t mean he does it wrong.

Just this weekend, I was out of town at a speaking engagement.  On Friday night, James took our three kids (ages 5, 8 and 10) to the park at 8:30 pm to play laser tag with their new toy guns.  They were out until 10:00 pm!  A five-year-old!

Now, that’s not a schedule I’d ever sanction as a mom, but you know what?  It’s a good thing I wasn’t home because they had a blast.  Moms and dads roll differently, and I’m so grateful for that.

When your husband parents differently than you, how do you respond?  Is there a way you could improve that response?

We are giving away a copy of Arlene’s new book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. Watch the trailer below and share in the comments your parenting stories to enter and win!

31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom

Arlene Pellicane 600x600jpg
Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband.  She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman).  She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. 

Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children.

To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit www.ArlenePellicane.com

Wifey Wednesday: The Lovemaking Full Meal Deal

Please welcome guest posters, Dr. Dan and Linda Wilson, the authors of Lovemaking: 10 Secrets to Extravant Intimacy in Marriage–a book I was happy to read before it was published and endorse. Today they are sharing a new way of looking at making intimacy special with your spouse!

Lovemaking - The Full Meal Deal

Did you know that your sense of taste changes over the years? Sexual desires and appetites have seasons as well. How hungry are you?

Appetizers

“At our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.” ~ Song of Solomon 7:13

Early in marriage many couples are ravenous for sex. It’s like a three course meal that begins with a large plate of savory, mouth-watering appetizers. You are famished and ready to devour everything you can get your hands on. In the initial phase of active sexuality, large volumes of energetic lovemaking just might be more appealing than a tiny taste of extreme ecstasy.

We like to refer to this honeymoon phase of sex as the appeteasers. When really hungry, eating an occasional small morsel can be almost maddening. We are hungry! Bring out a huge platter of appeteasers, and let’s snack on them all day and into the night.

The first honeymoon months of sexual encounter are passionate, producing memories that the newlyweds will remember for a lifetime. But let’s be honest. High-level, almost starving desire combined with immaturity and inexperience often produces some awkward, even hilarious intimate experiences. Being desperately hungry can sometimes result in disappointing outcomes.

For instance, it might not take long to discover that one (often, but not always the man) will have a heftier appetite, a higher sex drive than the other. Inequality of libido is nearly universal—so common that it is considered to be normal. What initially seems to be a frustrating challenge is actually a wonderful opportunity. Learning to adjust to each other’s needs for higher or lower frequency is one way of expressing agape, selfless love. Paul’s instruction to “Submit one to another” (Ephesians 5:21) is wise council for lovers of any age. Remember, submission is a two-way street.

Dramatic shifts in libido can occur during this appetizer phase of marriage. For instance, the two of you might be getting really good at sex when the color bar on the pregnancy test strip changes. Oh my! Does a positive pregnancy test require a nine-month fast from sex? No! It might be time to expand your palate, but the appetizers are still quite yummy.

Entrees

“Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.” ~ Song of Solomon 4:16

After delighting in many scrumptious appetizers during the early years, our middle years of marriage are a great time to focus on enjoying the entrees. We get to experiment with some new spices. Who wants meatloaf every Monday when the gourmet menu is available?

The children are older. Our work schedules become more predictable. In these sexually savory middle years we find more time and energy for romance. Are you taste-testing some delectable dishes that arouse your senses in wonderful ways? In fact, do not be surprised when asked if you are on your honeymoon after being married for twenty-two years.

By adapting to changing appetites through the years, you demonstrate love, faithfulness, and sensitivity to one another. Trust and security invite both of you to eat, enjoy, and be satisfyingly filled. This season of life can offer many evenings of fine dining. But why limit this pleasure to evenings? Afternoon snacks are delightful. Breakfast in bed is a refreshing way to start the day. Variety really does add spice to life.

The middle years are a great time to experiment with new cuisines as you share a delicious date night dinner. Take time to enhance your dining experience by lighting a romance candle and dressing the table with beautiful flowers. Try a new perfume. Wear a pretty negligee while listening to love songs on the play list.
There is now time to savor each bite as you encounter new exotic cuisines.

Sex might take a little longer than in the newlywed years, but it is oh so delicious. And, your palate has become more refined. You have figured out which herb goes best with which food, and have discovered that more is not necessarily better. It is still great fun to experiment with different flavors. But we know what we like and thoroughly enjoy every exquisite bite.

Desserts

“His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend.” ~ Song of Solomon 5:16

And who does not want dessert? As you honeymoon into the later decades of marriage, you get to enjoy the sweetest of treats. This mature phase of life is an opportunity for you and your mate to share the intense richness of love that is ripened on the vine of life together.

As you advance in age, health issues may appear that block sweet methods of lovemaking from the past. Joints are stiffer, backs seem weaker, and energy is often lower than before. Yet the need to be emotionally and physically touched in intimate ways remains. The desire to be loved and to love is a constant that never fades.

At the wedding feast in Cana, the party had been going on for days when Jesus changed water into wine. The master of the wedding banquet said that the choicest wine had been reserved until the final course of the feast (John 2). Isn’t that like God to save the best until last?

The Spirit refines skills in lovemaking throughout the years. Happily married people in their later decades are often the most satisfied lovers. Laughingly we say that there will need to be a lock on our door if we move into a nursing home for the elderly. Delectable dessert will still be on the menu.

One bite of divine dark chocolate is more satisfying than a bag of inferior candies. As you adapt to physical changes and health challenges, your sexual sense of taste might change once again, becoming even more refined.

Full Meal Deal

Appetizers, entrees, and desserts are yummy treats that fill your life with delight.  Throughout your married life you will want it all—the full meal deal. Each course demonstrates your love sexually to your mate. Both giving and receiving pleasure is delectable. Every anniversary is to be celebrated—possibly over a nice, long dinner as you fondly remember favorite meals from the past, and dream of delicious dishes you want to try. Wouldn’t this be a great day to devour some French silk pie?

 

Dan Linda WilsonLovemaking bookDr. Dan and Linda Wilson are marriage missionaries. They delight in traveling around the world blessing marriages and sharing about Jesus. Dan and Linda are cofounders of Supernatural Marriage & Missions, and have written several books including Lovemaking: 10 Secrets to Extravagant Intimacy in Marriage. You can follow them at www.supernaturalmarriage.org and www.facebook.com/supernaturalmarriage.

 

 

Wifey Wednesday: Christian marriage postsNow, what advice do you have for us today? Leave the URL of your marriage post (please, only marriage, no cooking) in the linky below. And then be sure to link back here so other people can read these great posts!



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On Planned Parenthood, Ashley Madison, and Marriage

The news has been filled recently with stories that are quite unbelievable and distressing when it comes to marriage–the Planned Parenthood “let’s sell these baby body parts and get me a Lamborghini” videos, and the Ashley Madison cheating website “I can’t believe I got hacked.”

On Ashley Madison, Planned Parenthood, and our Response

I normally don’t talk a lot about current events–I want to focus on marriage and what we can actually change in the here and now. We can’t do much about news stories, so I don’t like obsessing on them (though I do weigh in on the Duggars or gay marriage or culture at times).

But I’ve been thinking about these two stories–Ashley Madison and Planned Parenthood–and what they have in common.

Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesnt Happen by AccidentNext week I’ll be done my summer vacation and I’ll be in full blogging mode again–Wifey Wednesdays will be normal, Top 10 Tuesdays will be back, Reader Question Mondays will be here, and best of all I’ll be gearing up for the launch of 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, coming August 18!

But for now, while I’m still just relaxing and thinking, I thought I’d share some random thoughts I’ve had.

1. Our Consciences Are Seared

A few years ago I wrote a column called “Have We Forgotten How to Blush?” It was all about how guilt and shame can actually serve a purpose, and a culture which calls guilt the greatest evil accelerates its own decline.

We live in a society where self-actualization and happiness are the greatest goals, not doing what is right. It’s not about honour; it’s about enjoyment of life. And that is so dangerous.

Ironically, it’s also rather counterproductive, because studies have shown that the greatest sources of happiness are also those that you can’t achieve without being selfless. Marriage, children, friendships–all of these lead to the most happiness. Yet if you are only interested in what you want, those relationships will be frayed. And thus you’re unlikely to find happiness at all.

Today our consciences are seared because there is so much evil all around us. To bring this story even closer to home, apparently Ottawa–which is home to many members of my family and is the largest city near where I live–has the largest proportion of Ashley Madison users. And Ottawa looks like such a peaceful and upright city, compared with many others. Yet apparently we’re a den of adulterers. It’s just so sad.

2. There is No Privacy Anymore

And that can be a good thing! If our consciences are seared, then it’s great that we can get caught.

I found it so interesting reading the news reports about Ashley Madison–some newspapers were saying that the identities of more than 40 million innocent people may be compromised. Really? They’re innocent? How innocent can you be if you sign up for an adultery website?

And what about those images of the Planned Parenthood executives talking about baby parts so cavalierly, while eating and drinking or considering how to get rich. I’m glad that privacy is eroding in some ways, because perhaps then people will be reminded that what they may think is normal behaviour really isn’t normal at all.

3. Doing the Right Thing is Its Own Reward

But here’s the main point I want to make today: doing the right thing is honourable and rewarding in its own right. So don’t give up!

I remember a sermon I heard many years ago about the purposes of God’s commandments. When you read the Old Testament, you may think the relationship goes like this: You obey the commandment, and because of that God blesses you. So the blessing comes from the obedience.

Actually, it’s deeper than that.

The blessing is in the commandment. It isn’t the result of the commandment; it’s the commandment itself.

To see a baby and to love it wholeheartedly. To rejoice when someone you know is pregnant. To love life, even when that life is frail or disabled. To not be tortured by “is this life worth anything”, because you instinctively know it is. To be able to avoid many of those thorny questions because they’re so OBVIOUS and just to move on to the loving–all of that is a blessing.

To be able to rejoice at all baby showers, rather than feeling that if I get too excited about someone’s pregnancy that I’m betraying a cause. To smile at passing strollers and make faces at babies unabashedly because they’re just so cute–and not have to worry if they were wanted or not. To be able to not harden your heart towards children because you know they’re a blessing. To be able to love family because family is a gift–all of these things are blessings.

And we have them because we believe that life matters. It is not just that those who know God have healthier families. It is that IN the believe that life matters we are blessed already.

Or take the Ashley Madison debate.

To know that I don’t have to wonder whether life would be better if I had married another. To know that I don’t have to worry about my husband straying. To know that I am set for life. To know that I am safe. To know that I am loved, even when marriage is difficult (I know some of you don’t know all of these things, and for that I am profoundly sorry. I pray that you and your husband will be able to find true intimacy.)

To know that I don’t have to worry about impressing another man ever again. To know that I can transfer my energy to praying for my kids and for God’s kingdom rather than praying that I will find a partner. To know that I can invest in his life without it being thrown back in my face; all of that is a blessing.

The blessing is the commandment; it is not just a result of the commandment. The blessing is in the knowing right from wrong.

And so as you hear these news stories, do not worry if other people don’t get it. Yes, be righteously angry, especially about the Planned Parenthood story, but remember that you have a blessing that they do not. You understand something that they never will. You are blessed!

So do not worry if other people seemed seared. It’s okay. We still have that blessing, and let’s live in it, and revel in it, and eat it all up. Because it’s beautiful to love babies, and to love family, and to not have to cut off your heart for a cause. That’s a blessing. And I thoroughly intend to enjoy it.

What about you? What have you been thinking about these stories? Leave a comment and let me know!

UPDATE: Just checked the news and ANOTHER Planned Parenthood video has been released. Really gruesome.

I’m an Empty Nester

As of today, I am no longer the mother of children. My youngest turns 18.

What a strange thing! The main identity that I have had for twenty years now is over. I’m still a mom, but in a different way.

I’ve been leading up to this all summer, especially with my older daughter’s wedding, but it’s still bittersweet. My husband and I will be reinventing ourselves as a couple this year–I talked about it in this post (and don’t forget to comment there for your chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!)–and I’m excited about that. But it seems almost for the last two weeks like I’ve been walking through a shadow of ghosts. I turn my head and I can hear a little three-year-old voice laughing with her five-year-old sister. Somehow I hope those voices never entirely disappear.

Katie and I are spending today together in New York City. I took her here for her birthday.

Enjoying exploring Manhattan with my daughter!

A photo posted by Sheila Gregoire (@sheilagregoire) on

Needless to say, I’ve had the Taylor Swift song running through my head all day. 🎶 #WelcomeToNewYork A photo posted by Katie Gregoire🎶 (@katielizg) on

But the big reason we’re here is that she’s a musical theatre buff, so we decided to go see Les Miserables!

Les Mis

It was incredible. The 7-year-old who played Gavroche stole the show, as usual, but it truly was spectacular.

If you’ve never seen or read Les Miserables, it was written by Victor Hugo in 1862, about the poverty and desperation in France. But rather than being a primarily historical novel, it really is an exploration of the difference between grace and the law, represented by two of the main characters: Jean Valjean (grace) and Javert (the law). Jean Valjean is a poor man who was sentenced to 20 years of hard labour for an insignificant crime he committed to save a starving child.

Javert is his jailer. When Valjean is released, he skips out on parole and makes a new life for himself after being shown grace from a priest. Javert spends the next twenty years chasing him and trying to find him, while Valjean helps others and tries to make life around him better.

There is tragedy galore in this play; an abandoned woman must work in a sweat factory to support her daughter, but is thrown out on the street and dies. Peasants struggle for bread, and in the end die in a vain attempt at revolution. It is sad.

And the story of unrequited love–of a girl who gives all for a boy who loves another–is tragic in its own right.

And yet the message is that God weaves His own tale into the destruction and that in the midst of suffering people can find grace and salvation. You see it in the final song; the movie version below seems a little more political at the end than the feel of the Broadway presentation, but that great line–“to love another person is to see the face of God”–rings true (it’s at about 1:28 in this clip).

Wait for the Lord: Psalm 27:13-14It’s a profoundly Christian play, but it made me think again about a post that I shared on Facebook yesterday about waiting on God. I think as mothers we feel that our job will be done when our children’s lives are all set on autopilot: when they are married; when they have good jobs; when they have children of their own. Above all, when they are happy.

And we work towards that. We pray for it. And that’s all well and good.

But God could have a different plan, and maybe it is in the struggling of this life that that plan will emerge.

I think this is the hardest part of a child growing up–of realizing that you cannot control their life, you cannot fix things, anymore. They are on their own to make their own choices, and this is how it’s supposed to be.

And as I was watching the play yesterday, I realized I was excited to see what God will do with Katie in the next four years at university. I’m excited to see what choices she will make, and what friends she will make, and where God will take her.

I will find it hard to step back; the two of us are very close, and we talk about everything. But growing up is good, and no matter what happens, God is at work and grace is real.

It’s been a lovely trip in New York. We’re out to explore Central Park today and then we’re heading down to the World Trade Center memorial.

Here’s a post her older sister wrote to Katie for her 18th: 18 things I wish I knew when I was 18.

And if you want to give her a birthday present, I’m sure she’d appreciate it if you shared one of her videos on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest! Here are three of my favourites: Courting vs. Dating; Why I’m Not Dating in High School; and Christian Modesty, the Double Standard. Thank you!

Now tell me: what is hardest for you about your kids growing up (or thinking about them growing up)?

What Success Really Means

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum
It’s Friday, the day when I share what’s been big on the blog this week, as well as some personal thoughts and a look inside my life.

Today I want to give us a pep talk on what success really means–so read on!

But the main thing I’m thinking about is my daughter’s wedding–I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that it happened! It really was a lovely day. A ton of fun, and I’ll give you all some more insight into the best parts of it later, once I have more photos.

But here’s what’s been big this week, and then I’ll share some thoughts:

What’s #1 on the Blog This Week

25WaysShowHusbandLoveReal Divorce Rate#1 on the Blog: 50 Most Important Bible Verses to Memorize
#1 on Pinterest: 25 Quick Ways to Show Your Husband Love–and Transform Your Marriage!
#1 on Twitter: The success of your #marriage depends far more on what you believe about God than on how you feel about each other.
#1 on Facebook: What’s the real divorce rate? Hint: It’s nowhere near 50%! 

Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Success

This week I had the privilege of blogging as part of the Lean Cuisine campaign–What do you want to weigh me on? I’ve been chosen to be one of their bloggers, and I’ll be heading to the Lean Cuisine kitchens soon! Kinda cool for a blogger to be chosen for that.

But when I was writing my post about what I want to be weighed on (since so often we judge ourselves by appearances), it really struck me that success isn’t  up to us. It isn’t. It’s up to God, and it’s up to the choices that other people make.

So the only thing that we can be judged on is our effort, not our success.

And that’s what I wrote.

Then a long-time reader sent me a note. She and her husband have been battling his porn addiction for a few years, and their marriage has been rocky, but it’s starting to be rebuilt. And he’s slowly starting to reach out again.

And she said this,

My husband looks rested, peaceful, and his eyes sparkle. He is happy and smiles a lot. I am learning to trust. I keep reading your blog posts, and this particular one was very powerful.

Here is what happened:

I was reading your post quietly, but then thought I would share some of it with my husband. So I start reading out loud the paragraph that begins, ” But acting right and doing your part to create a great marriage is something we can all do…” I keep reading. My husband and I are really hearing together what you are saying.

And then I get to the paragraph toward the end that says, It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to be a mess. But if, in the midst of that mess, you treat yourself well, you treat your husband with integrity and faithfulness, and you treat your kids with love, you have accomplished a lot.

And I am reading and my eyes swell with tears, my throat closes up, and I can’t finish. My husband rubs my hand gently, and I just weep. This was exactly me. You told me I had accomplished a lot, and I don’t know why, but it took a weight off my shoulders. It was so affirming and beautiful and got right to the heart. It was a healing moment for me, for us, and I thank you, Sheila, from the bottom of my heart.

That really resonated with me, too. I’m so glad I was able to express what I was feeling when I wrote that post. I can think of so many women whose marriages and families aren’t perfect, but they have stayed faithful to God. And that is such a big accomplishment.

We had a friend of my younger daughter’s staying with us for a few days. He’s a major overachiever (in a good way), and he’s heading off to college in the fall. And of course with that comes worries about whether or not you’ll be able to keep up the grades and the success you’ve had so far. And I meant to say something to him while he was here–kind of the pep talk that I give all high achievers that I know. But I forgot, and now he’s left, so maybe I’ll just send him this link. But here’s what I wanted to say:

We have to believe that God has a plan for us.

That God has created us with our unique giftings and talents and skills for a reason–that He wants to use us to further His kingdom (Ephesians 2:10). And that needs to be the main goal of our lives–to be right in the middle of God’s will, knowing that He will use us in incredible ways.

And so what is our role in that? It isn’t to succeed. It isn’t to come first or to win a particular prize or to achieve a certain standing. It’s simply to do our best. That’s it. It’s to do our best. That is the offering that we give to God, and then we need to trust that God will use that offering and multiply it and work things through so that we will be able to accomplish the things that He has planned for us.

Don’t carry that burden of feeling that you need to accomplish some particular thing.

If you don’t get into the right school, or you don’t get the right prize, or the apparent right job, know that God still sees and that God is still weaving the framework for our lives.

It’s great to have goals and dreams; God often gives those specifically to us. But ultimately it is God’s plans that we need to be focused on. And if we give God our best, then He will surely take that and use it. After all, if God has a person who is saying, “I want you to use me!”, why would God not do something amazing with that?

So don’t worry about success; that’s not up to you. And no matter what happens, God will use you in HIS way, even if it’s not how you envisioned. Just give God your best, and then no matter what happens, you have so much to be proud of. And God will do amazing things with your best.

That’s what I wanted to say. I think it applies to young people starting off, but I think it also applies to marriage. You give God your best; it is up to God (and up to others’ free will choices) what happens afterwards. But don’t ever feel like you are a failure because you didn’t achieve something. If you tried, and gave your best, you are never, ever a failure. God sees that, and God uses it, and you should be proud.

By the way, check out my original post! You can enter to win a $100 Visa gift card, too, so don’t miss it!

My Baby is Married

Yay! It was a lovely day. Here’s just a sneak peak:

Wedding Photo

Rebecca and Connor wedding

Katie Creeper Photo

As some of my regular readers will know, my younger daughter has been taking “creeper” stalking photos of her with the two of them all year. So of course no wedding would be complete with a Katie creeper photo:

Wedding Creeper Photo

Thanks to Emma Sangalli photography for all the awesome photos! If you’re in Ottawa, look her up!

I’m Off to New York for Katie’s 18th!

So Katie missed signing the registry as maid of honour at her sister’s wedding by nine days. But she’s now about to turn 18, so she and I are heading off to New York City this weekend to see Les Miserables and to do a bit of sightseeing!

It’s hard to believe my baby is now 18. I’m really an empty nester. More on that Monday. I’m already starting to tear up.

So those are my main thoughts! Have a great weekend, everybody!

The Right Kind of Fight

The Right Kind of Fight: Dealing with anger in #marriage

Why is it that anger in marriage is so dangerous? Maybe we need to learn to have the right kind of fight!

For twelve years I wrote a weekly syndicated slice-of-life column for several newspapers. I published many of them on this blog, but recently I’ve found some older ones that never made it. So I thought I’d run one today–because I really do like it!

I’ve always enjoyed a good fight. When my husband and I disagree, we haul out every intellectual argument in our arsenal to show why the other person is irretrievably, irreconcilably, and certifiably off his or her rocker. Early in our marriage this usually lasted for several days. Now I can argue vehemently for a few minutes, and then shrug my shoulders, and admit, “I guess you’re right.”

It took me years to learn to say those words. During that time I also learned that trying to resolve an issue at one in the morning is exceedingly stupid; it’s better to sleep on it, because chances are tomorrow you’ll forget what you were fighting about anyway. But most importantly I have learned that even if I am right, listening to my husband’s feelings is more important than winning the argument.

In other words, I have learned how to have good fights.

Before our wedding we didn’t fight. He agreed with everything I said, and I agreed with everything he said, because we thought exactly the same way. Unfortunately, on the honeymoon I realized that he had independent thoughts, which proved very threatening. I had to whip him into shape, and he had to whip me into shape, and we both ended up with whiplash.

Why does anger in marriage hurt us so much?

I think it’s because we misunderstand it. We think anger is like flatulence. This uncomfortable feeling bubbles up inside us, growing ever more urgent, until it just has to be released. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. Unlike farting, anger doesn’t waft away in the air after you’ve expressed it. It’s more like a grenade going off, maiming everybody in its path. You say things you don’t mean, but once those things are out of your mouth, you can’t take them back.

We feel anger so strongly because anger is a master con artist. When we’re angry, it’s usually a sign that there’s something else going on below the surface, something that we’d rather not talk about. And we don’t like that vulnerable feeling, so anger helps us deflect attention from our fears.

Do you and those you love often have the same fight, over and over again, without really resolving anything?

Maybe that’s because in your anger you’re ignoring the real issues.

Picture this couple: he arrives home late and she immediately berates him for being an insensitive clod who doesn’t care about the family. He responds by complaining that if she really wanted him home, maybe she’d make the house a little nicer to come home to.

Words are flying, but nothing useful is being communicated.

On the other hand, if he could be honest, maybe he’d reveal something like this: “I just worry that I could get laid off, and I don’t know how to support us. And maybe I’m failing at home, too. What if I really am a bad father?”

And maybe she would admit: “I feel lonely. I love the kids, but sometimes they’re not enough. What if I’m becoming boring? Show me that you still love me!”

So next time you’re boiling mad, whether it’s at a difficult spouse or a recalcitrant teen, ask yourself, “what’s really going on here? What am I actually scared of?”

And then tell each other instead of blowing up. Sure you’re risking rejection, but as long as two people just yell at each other, the relationship is never going to build anything except more walls. If you could both stop lashing out, and say what’s on your hearts instead, a miracle might happen. It takes guts to open up. But opening up your heart is a whole lot more productive than just shooting off your mouth. And much more honest, too.

Maybe it’s time we all tried it.

Wifey Wednesday: Awesome Movie Quotes Bridal Shower Game

Free Printable Bridal Shower Game--Movie Quotes

Ever struggle with planning what to do that’s fun at a bridal shower?

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic and then you all can comment or link up your own post below.

Since my daughter just got married, I thought I’d share over the next little while a few of the things that worked really well when we were planning things. And today I thought I’d focus on bridal shower games.

Thinking up games for showers is daunting, isn’t it? There are all variations of Bingo games, or trivia games, or things where the bride has to do something embarrassing.

I decided to do something different. I tracked down 21 romantic quotations from movies, and then I had people try to guess the movies. It was actually quite fun, and took a lot longer than I had thought, which was great–because it killed a lot of time and prevented me from needing to think up other games! And it led to a lot of chatting about romance and movies and what’s fake and what’s not.

Here’s how it worked: I gave people a list of quotations, and gave them about 10 minutes to write down beside each quotation what movie they thought the quotation was from. Then I handed them the list of movies that were included in the quotes to make it easier, and they tried to match the quotes to the movies after that. They received more points for the ones they guessed before they saw the list of movies than after.

Download the Printable Match the Movie Bridal Shower Game here:

Download Bridal Shower Game

But here are the list of quotations, should any of you be curious! Check to see how many you can guess (before downloading the game to see if you’re right!)

  1. I want to tell you, again, I love you. Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you.
  2. I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.
  3. So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day.
  4. Maybe it is our imperfections which make us so perfect for one another.
  5. I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.
  6. I love you. You… you complete me.
  7. Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime. Lead me, save me from my solitude. Say you want me with you, here beside you. Anywhere you go, let me go, too. Love me, that’s all I ask of you.
  8. I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
  9. I’d do it again, you know. All of it. I’d choose you, every time.
  10. Look, I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some time, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.
  11. Don’t say we aren’t right for each other, the way I see it is… We aren’t right for anyone else.
  12. I love you even when you’re sick and look disgusting.
  13. We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet….. I mean, what does any one life mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things….. all of it, all the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.
  14. Listen to me, mister. You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t forget it.
  15. What I really want to do with my life — what I want to do for a living — is I want to be with your daughter. I’m good at it.
  16. I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.
  17. Don’t forget I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.
  18. No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.
  19. As you wish.
  20. It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together … and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home. .. only to no home I’d ever known … I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like … magic.
  21. If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love … I love … I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.

We talked about (spoiler alert) how the Jerry Maguire quotation is actually not valid–“you complete me.” We may be better together, but a man can’t complete you. Only God can. This idea that’s so prevalent in so many movies that there is a soulmate there who will complete us is actually quite dangerous in marriage. (it’s a big theme of my upcoming 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, which is out August 18!)

And I shared how I loved the quotation from (another spoiler alert!) Shall We Dance:

So it led to some great discussions about what real romance is, how it’s often misportrayed in movies, and how to keep romance alive in marriage!

Feel free to download the printable bridal shower game here and play it at the next wedding shower you have to organize.

Incidentally, if you’re a fan of romantic movies, I’ve got a list of the 50 most romantic movies as chosen by my Facebook fans!

Now let me know: how many quotes did you know off the bat, without having to look up the answers? Or have you ever played a fun bridal shower game? Leave your idea in the comments!

Wifey Wednesday: Christian marriage postsAnd if you’re a marriage blogger, be sure to link up a marriage post of your own in the linky below! Just enter the URL of your post (marriage posts only, please). And then link back here so other people can read these great posts!

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