Does God Make a Difference in Marriage Part 2

Does God Make a Difference in MarriageDoes God make a difference in your marriage?

Last week I made some observations that often Christians act like God doesn’t really make a difference in our lives, and everything is ultimately up to us. We just don’t really have faith that God will actually move.

I see that in marriage, too, and I want to see how two different trends–though they may seem like they have nothing to do with each other–actually show that we have a long way to go with marriage.

1. Christians Divorce at the Same Rate as Non-Christians–Right?

You’ve heard that stat, haven’t you? In fact, it’s even worse than that. I’ve heard the stat that 50% of marriages end in divorce–but that it’s even higher in the Bible belt.

Do you believe it?

Chances are you do because Christians quote it all the time. We announce it from pews. We use it to fundraise for family organizations–Christian marriages need all the help they can get! We’re in dire straits, people!

Yet think it through logically. Do we believe that having God in your life should make a difference? Do we believe that God works in people’s lives? If we do, then how could it possibly be that our marriages are as bad as everyone else’s?

I started to wonder that recently and so I did an experiment. I looked through my church directory to see how many were divorced. It was closer to 10%.  Then I wondered–maybe that’s skewed, because once people divorce they stop going to church? So I thought back on the couples I knew in university. I wrote out a long list of all my university friends who had gotten married. And of all of them (we knew each other from the campus Christian group), only 2 had been divorced–a rate of about 5%.

I read a study recently that said that in marriages where couples pray together daily the divorce rate is more like 2%. I believe that. It makes sense to me. And I’ve read critiques of that study that found that our divorce rate was just as high because they really didn’t define “Christian”. Practically everyone claims to be a Christian, and so that’s pretty meaningless. We want to flesh out what the divorce rate is among those who honestly believe and try to live out their faith. I want to write a post looking at all the accurate studies, but I haven’t done that yet. I’ve actually been talking to a major magazine about writing it, and that’s why I’m not linking to studies here. I want to make sure they’re accurate first and do my homework.

But the main question I have is:

why is it that Christians were so quick to believe that stat that God doesn’t make a difference?

2. Does God Make a Difference in YOUR Marriage?

Maybe the reason we’re so quick to believe it is because in our own lives we still really struggle with marriage. It’s an area that has brought us a lot of hurt and grief over the years, and we haven’t felt the “victory” or the “oneness” or the “intimacy” we long for.

I have to tell you that the last few weeks I’ve been really burdened by the emails that get sent to me. I had to turn off the Messages feature on Facebook because I couldn’t keep up with them all. And I’ve got Reader Questions of the Week now scheduled through to the end of June! But I started to keep track everyday of all the problems I heard about–really, really big problems–and then at the end of the day I’d show them to my husband. And we’d pray over them and I’d let them go. It helped me to realize how I was beginning to be changed by what I do, and I’m praying more for strength to really make a difference.

But the simple fact is that many, many of you are really hurting, and my heart breaks for you. Many, many of you are wondering, if we’re Christians why does my husband play video games for 6 hours a day? Why can he not get over this porn addiction? Why do I have no patience for him? Why am I always so frustrated with him? Why can I not motivate myself to show him love anymore?

From speaking at marriage conferences and talking to couples and to counselors, I completely believe that God can make a difference in a marriage. If you run to Him and you’re humble and you’re open to correction about the things that you have done wrong, and not just open to God correcting your spouse, God can do amazing things.

Even if your spouse isn’t turning to God, God can still work in your marriage. It doesn’t mean your marriage will always be saved; but He can work.

Yet often I see couples where both claim Christ, and where both go to church, and where both would say that they believe, and yet they are getting nowhere.

I don’t believe the problem is that you don’t have God. I believe the problem is that God doesn’t have you. (Click to Tweet this quote)

God is not like a mechanic where you can take your broken marriage and He’ll fix it for you. He doesn’t work that way. He’s not a mechanic; He’s a potter who wants to mold you into something better. But He can’t mold something that is hard and brittle; He can only mold us when we’re pliable, when we are humble, when we are open to be molded.

God isn’t really interested in fixing your spouse nearly as much as He’s interested in having your heart. And if we are humble before Him, He can transform us, which can start to transform a marriage. If your spouse is also humble before Him, He is then free to do a beautiful and amazing work!

But we have to stop making excuses. We have to stop pointing fingers. And we have to do the work!

I’m really burdened by a relationship issue in my extended family, and it’s causing me to pray like I never have before. That’s the beauty of relationship issues; they drive us to God. My instinct is to get on the phone and try to force the issue and make it all better, but like Calm Healthy Sexy wrote in a post she linked up to Wifey Wednesday this week, we have to wait on God’s timing. She says:

The devotional book I’m reading, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, reminded me this week to “stop trying to work things out before their times have come.”  That idea really spoke to me; it made me realize that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do.  Even though I believe in God’s timing in my life, I haven’t been operating as if I believe in it at all.  I’ve acted as if everything depends on me, as if I just need to keep charging ahead and things will fall into place exactly as I’ve planned.  The only problem is, it’s not working.

We have to pray and then honestly walk in faith. We have to wrestle. We have to cry. And we have to believe.

Yesterday I took a day to fast and pray with a “blogging buddy” of mine from the other side of the continent. We prayed for each other all day and for ourselves and then at the end of the day we called each other and prayed on the phone together. We were both burdened by something similar and we needed God to lift that burden. But that meant also emptying ourselves and fighting for it. It meant giving God more of us, not just asking for more of Him.

If you believe in God, He should be making a difference in your marriage. If He’s not, the problem is likely not with God. It’s likely that He wants to bring you deeper, or bring your husband deeper. Of course you can do everything right and lean on God and your marriage may still not be saved, but even in that God wants you to lean and trust, because He does want to make a difference even in the brokenness. But maybe, instead of getting angry at our spouses and feeling defeated and feeling lost we need to throw ourselves more on God and get back to the only source that can bring real healing.

Do we believe God works, or not? I fear too often we really don’t, and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Wifey Wednesday: Sexual Options Besides Intercourse

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! Today please welcome Julie Sibert from Intimacy in Marriage, who is sharing about creative options for alternatives to sex, when necessary because intercourse isn’t possible or desired.

Being a writer and speaker about sex in marriage, I’m obviously a big fan of the one-flesh aspect of intercourse.

God clearly designed a husband’s body and a wife’s body to unite together in the intimate experience of intercourse.  Though it’s not always easy to first figure out the coordination and rhythm needed to make love, nearly all married couples master it within a relatively short period of time.

But what about when intercourse is not an option, either because of medical reasons or other limiting factors?  (The most obvious one for a woman would be the latter stages of pregnancy when sex may be uncomfortable or for the 6-8 weeks after childbirth.  There also may be other medical conditions or injuries for a husband or wife that are not completely debilitating, but still make actual intercourse difficult, so that alternatives to intercourse are necessary).

And even when those limiting factors aren’t present, is there value in a husband and wife enjoying sexual pleasure together that doesn’t always include intercourse?  Yes! There are alternatives to sex that you can still enjoy.

Alternatives to Sex: 3 Ways to Enjoy Sexual Pleasure in Marriage Beyond Intercourse

When you learn to embrace and nurture sexual arousal that is not limited to intercourse alone, the positive effects on your marriage can be profound – endearing you to each other in a way that you never would have considered otherwise.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about completely replacing intercourse.  Not at all. I’m merely saying that a husband and wife’s ability to bring each other sexual delight is a powerful privilege that simply can’t be narrowed to intercourse only.

Here are 3 suggestions for alternatives to sex:

1. Use your hands.

Touch is amazing. Sadly, I think too many couples downplay or short-circuit the extent they can use their hands to bless and affirm their spouse.

Too often, sex becomes overly focused on the penis and vagina, and the couple overlooks other areas of the body that are quite responsive to touch.

When you are naked with your spouse, don’t be in a hurry to get to intercourse.  (In fact, consider taking your time getting naked, possibly undressing each other sensually).

When you start caressing with your hands and fingertips, consider all parts of the body.

Some areas where sexual arousal can be enhanced through touch include the hair, scalp, face, neck, ears, arms, under the arm, sides of the chest, inner thigh, around the knees, back of knee, navel and virtually anywhere on your spouse’s backside.

As a wife, it may be extremely arousing (for you and him) when your husband lightly caresses your breasts and nipples. And for a man, he may find it incredibly exciting to have you caress his inner thighs and testicles.

Use a mix of light and firm touches, with smooth transitions.  Don’t overthink it. You will do just fine if you just consider yourself on a sweet tender mission to explore every part of your spouse’s body.

Respond accordingly to how they react.

When your spouse is caressing you, give feedback.  Offer specific praises or suggestions like, “I really love it when you use your fingernails on my scalp” or “That is so amazing when you lightly touch my inner thigh.”

And don’t be afraid to use your hands (and possibly a lubricant) to bring your spouse to climax.  If you spend enough time caressing each other’s body, you’ll find your desire to have an orgasm will increase.  Why not allow your spouse to use their hands to get you there?

Remember, you are in the exclusivity of your marriage bed, so consider it your private sexual playground to arouse each other.

2. Use your mouth.

I’m sure at first glance at this tip, you think I’m just referring to oral sex.  Certainly, oral pleasure can be such a gratifying way to give and receive sexual love, but using your mouth in other ways to arouse your spouse is enjoyable to explore.

The mouth is full of numerous sensory receptors, so it’s no surprise that when you and your spouse spend more time kissing passionately, your sexual interest and arousal is bound to increase.

And don’t hesitate to use your lips and tongue on your spouse’s entire body.

3. Use your words.

How often are you sexually playful and sexually affirming in the way you speak to your spouse?

There is power in words.  Are you using yours to delightfully intensify the sexual arousal between the two of you?

Discretely, yet intentionally, initiate conversations that are sexual in nature with your spouse.  (These can be particularly powerful if done when your spouse is least expecting it).  Whispering sweetly – and even erotically – in your spouse’s ear will likely stir their curiosity and desire in an all-consuming sort of way, creating intense anticipation.

If handled well, these conversations definitely will lead to two people in bed. And all their clothing on the floor. How delightful is that?!

With the use of your hands, mouth and words, you can heighten the sexual pleasure in your marriage, making sex about more than just intercourse.

Do you see what a difference that could make in the intimate connection you and your spouse share?

Julie Sibertpursuit of passionJulie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage and is the co-author of Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage.  You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer dog.

 

Now, do you have any advice for us today? Link up the URL of a marriage post to today’s Wifey Wednesday, and get some traffic back to your blog!



Why Do Teenagers Rebel? Thoughts from a 19-Year-Old Who Didn’t

Why Do Teenagers Rebel? A 19-year-old explains how it doesn't HAVE to happen!Why do teenagers rebel? Is it automatic? And can you do things that prevent teens from rebelling? I asked my 19-year-old to help us answer that today!

“All kids will rebel, and my job as a parent is to be there to help catch them when they fall.”

I’ve heard Christian parents say that to me time and time again–strong Christian parents, too. But the Holy Spirit does not have an age limit. The Holy Spirit is with ALL Christians, young or old. And so if we can expect ourselves to act appropriately, we can certainly expect our teenagers to as well.

I’m a big believer in this philosophy, and I’ve written about these two different approaches to parenting before. This week, I thought I’d let other people speak about how to raise kids to make good decisions. We started on Monday about how to raise kids who won’t date too young, and then on Tuesday my 16-year-old chimed in telling us why she’s not dating in high school.

Today I’ve invited my 19-year-old to share her thoughts on why teenagers rebel. I said to her, “can you just write something explaining why you DIDN’T rebel?” She sent me this. It makes me tear up to read it.

Hello. My name is Rebecca Gregoire, and I was the perfect teenager.

Obviously I’m saying that as a joke, but by most standards, I truly was pretty perfect. I never drank, never smoked, never partied, never dated, never even swore. (Honestly. I didn’t swear until I was 18.)  I may have been moody, but I always had a good job, and was extremely involved in church and volunteered in childcare and youth ministries. I didn’t rebel at all–I walked the straight and narrow all through high school, and am continuing to do so now that I’m living on my own.

I’m not saying all this to try and make myself look great–I’m saying it to make a point. I’m saying it to destroy a myth that has been hovering over Christian circles for way too long.

Teenagers do not have to rebel.

I am living, breathing proof of that statement. And so are the three girls I live with, and my best friends at our university IVCF group. We didn’t rebel.

Before I continue, let me tell you something else about myself.

I am not demure in any sense of the word. I don’t like listening to authority, and I often get frustrated when I’m told what to do, or how to do it. I like to question everything. I’m naturally extremely proud, a challenger of authority, and extremely stubborn.

Why am I telling you this? To prove that I’m not “naturally predispositioned to submit”. I’m actually the complete opposite.

Whether or not teenagers rebel isn’t contingent on their natural personality, and kids aren’t “guaranteed” to rebel. Obviously teenagers aren’t guaranteed to NOT rebel, either, but there are things you can do that make it less likely.

My family had two children who were complete opposites, and neither of us had a rebellion stage. So it has to be something about the family, not our natural dispositions.

So why do teenagers rebel? And why do some teenagers never rebel? I’ve tried to pinpoint what kinds of things my parents did that helped my sister and me not rebel (though, of course, there are never guarantees that a teen won’t rebel), and here’s what I’ve come up with:

5 Reasons I Didn’t Rebel as a Teenager

My parents instilled in me a sense of family honour

Often teenagers feel distant from their families, like they’re part of it by blood, but that’s it. In my family it was never like that. My mom and dad would make decisions on their own, of course, but they always talked everything over with my sister and me. Even things that we weren’t directly impacted by–we’d discuss everything over the dinner table.

My family is the kind of family where everyone is involved–it’s a team experience. A result of this is that I received a huge sense of family pride, dignity, and honour.

Family honour has been lost in our culture. We are so focused on ourselves, and have become extremely selfish. And I think a lot of that is that parents put their children’s wants over the family’s needs. In our family, Katie and I never went without. But we didn’t get everything we wanted–I wanted an X-Box when all my friends were getting one, but because that would cut out of major family time my parents said no. A small example, I know, but it shows the worldview my family had. No matter what, family comes first.

When your mindset shifts from “me” to “we”, your behaviours and your actions aren’t just going to affect you–you begin to see how what you do affects other people. What I do when I’m in my free time reflects on my family, whether good or bad. And for me, that was a huge incentive to be responsible and make my parents proud.

Dayspring House Full of People I Love

My parents were extremely encouraging, but also demanding

There needs to be a middle ground. I cannot stress this enough.

So many parents I see are all about the encouragement. Their kids can’t do any wrong in their eyes, and they just constantly pour love and affection and butterflies and rainbows into their children’s life. And then other parents are the opposite–they don’t pay any attention to their kids unless they do something wrong and then they blow up. Or, even if they don’t explode in anger, they only ever criticize and never praise their children.

My parents had a happy medium. We weren’t coddled, but we weren’t picked on, either. My parents chose their battles, and also encouraged us when encouragement was necessary but didn’t lie and tell us we were great at something when we weren’t. For instance, my parents never would have told me that I should go for a career in gymnastics, because I am not flexible in the least.

We always knew where our parents stood, and through that, we always knew that they were honest and had a better understanding of who we were.

My family talks about everything

Open communication was big in our family. My mom and dad always made sure not only that they had time to talk to us, but that they had a specific time and place to do it, too. When I was younger, we talked before or after reading bedtime stories, or at the dinner table when we were eating together. When we got older, that spot moved to the hot tub we had in our backyard and car trips to and from the grocery store, friends’ houses, etc.

The biggest part, though, was that we didn’t just talk about school, work, and the like. We talked about whatever was going on in our lives–whether I was thinking about a new blog post idea, how Katie was doing with her skating, or what movie we really wanted to see–anything that came to mind. Our parents became our confidants, and that built a level of trust.

Moreover, our parents shared things with us, too. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a line here. But in our family, my parents simply humanized themselves to us. My dad would tell us about his favourite movies growing up, my mom would ask our opinions on knitting patterns. She’d even tell me when she had angst over commenters on this blog!

This built a partnership between us. A partnership where one was the parent and one was the child, of course, but nonetheless, a relationship where the actions of one person directly affected the other. Because of that relationship, I never felt like I needed to rebel to be heard, to be understood, or to get my way. I knew that if my parents said no, it was for a reason.

We were never expected to rebel as teenagers

My parents never encouraged any idea of teenage-hood rebellion. They never joked about us rolling our eyes, acting exasperated, or having attitude at all. Rather, they actually made us think that teenagers and the whole rebellion process was stupid and unnecessary. I always figured that I would grow up straight from child to adult, with no “silly teenage stage” in-between. You may think that this is no fun, or that kids need their time to be silly and make mistakes.

But what kind of message does that send the teenager? If kids expect that when they hit 13 they’ll start wanting to go to parties, or go out with boys, or watch inappropriate movies, then they will grow up to fulfill those expectations. On the contrary, if they are raised to believe that those are all optional, and actually unnecessary and somewhat frivolous, they won’t want to disappoint or seem silly, and so are more likely to make positive choices and act like an adult. This doesn’t mean that we miss out on a childhood, or miss out on teenage years–it just means that we use them for training for adulthood, and have fewer regrets when we’re through it all.

Also in this category is that we had very few rules. My parents never needed them, because they didn’t expect us to break them. When parents have a lot of rules it always seems to me like they’re trying to control their kids, and if you have to control them, you’ve lost the battle already. My parents always assumed we’d pick up on their values and make good decisions. Through our close relationship, heart-to-heart talks, and–when necessary–confrontations, we learned their expectations, they learned our points of view, and our family worked together instead of parents trying to reign in their children. Now, I only think this worked because we grew up in such a structured, close, and trust-filled family, but that was a big thing for me. I never felt stifled, so I never felt a need to rebel.

God was centre in our home

Our home never revolved around work, sports, school, or activities. It didn’t even revolve around other people–it always hinged on God and his plan for our family. Growing up in that kind of an environment shaped my view of my actions, choices, and the effect I had on others. When you’re used to basing everything on God’s will and God’s plan, suddenly the parties don’t seem as important. It isn’t as tempting to lie about who you’re hanging out with. Smoking, drinking, and the like just doesn’t really have any appeal, because they don’t help with your ultimate goal–to become a person God will use for great things.

So many times I see families who drop everything for good grades, or who don’t go to church if it’s a busy week at work, or who choose extracurricular activities over youth group and the like. My family, however, was the opposite. If we were tired, too bad. Get in the car, we’re going to church, because that’s what God’s called us to. If Mom and Dad had a hard time with work, we went to church because that’s a place of rest. If I was struggling with school and needed the day to study I didn’t have that choice, because it was my decision not to study earlier.

God came first in everything. And my choices were shaped because of that worldview.

As for Me and My House Wall Decal

I honestly don’t think there’s any one way to make sure your children don’t rebel. Every child is different, and every family contains unique people. But all I know is that for me, this worked. In my family, the trust, communication, and centrality of God in our home made my teenage years one of partnership with my parents rather than a constant battle.

So don’t give up hope–the teenage years don’t have to be war!

Like this? Think it might encourage other parents? Please share on Facebook or Pin it! Just use the buttons below.

Life as a Dare

You can find Rebecca at her blog, Life as a Dare, where she writes about her quest to simplify faith, relationships, and life in general.

 

 

 

The Talk(s)If you’re wondering how to foster a relationship like this with your kids, what Rebecca writes about sounds a lot like what Barrett Johnson is teaching us in his book the Talk(s) ! He really emphasizes keeping open communication with your kids. It’s the best book I’ve read about how to talk to your kids about sex, dating, and relationships, and it’s my store here! Or you can order it in paperback here.

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Wifey Wednesday: Keeping a Friendship with Your Husband

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I write a post, and then you all chime in by linking up your own marriage posts to the Linky below! Today Jamie Worley shares valuable advice in keeping a friendship with your husband.

Friendship with HusbandMy parents were married nearly 25 years before they divorced. As is almost always the case, there were many factors at play in their divorce, but I believe the biggest factor is that they’d grown apart. It’s normal for people to grow and change over the years, but it takes intentional effort to grow together.

Since then – as a woman who has been married, divorce, and remarried – I’ve learned many lessons the hard way. I’m thankful beyond words for God’s grace though my thick-headedness. For nearly a decade now, I’ve been married to a wonderful man who has learned his fair share of lessons the hard way as well. As we’ve navigated life and parenting in our blended family, adopted three more children, and struggled through times of stress and loss, we’ve come to realize this truth: friendship with your spouse is essential to a strong marriage!

How to stay friends with your husband:

Make Time

Carve out time together and make it a priority. Even if you can’t get out of the house for date night, there are plenty of ways to find time together. Some of our friends established Friday night “dates” in their bedroom; they’d order a pizza and get a movie for the kids, then have dinner and romance in their own bedroom. By the time the kids were teens, they’d claim to be mortified at knowing what Mom and Dad were doing behind those bedroom doors, but it made the kids realize marriage was a priority to their parents — and that real romance isn’t how Hollywood usually portrays it!

We haven’t done that (yet) but we do take time when Ken gets home from work to sit on the back porch or chat in the kitchen to catch up on our days, and do our best to make the kids understand this Mama-and-Daddy time is important. As long as we follow through on promises to do something with them afterwards, the kids are usually good about letting us do this without [too many!] interruptions.

Any time we’ve let time together slide on the priority list, we’ve seen the ill effects on our relationship, so we protect this time – although it does look different at differing life stages!

Laugh Together

A sense of humor makes nearly every situation better, even the hard ones. When we added our two littlest ones to the family earlier this year (at age 4 and 5), there were days I thought I might lose my mind — but as I’d regale Ken with the struggles of the day, we’d usually end up tickled about it all. No matter what we face, laughter really is often the best medicine. When things aren’t so tough, it’s even easier to find reason to laugh together!

Need more motivation? Read a bit about the science behind smiles to find out how good it is for you!

Enjoy Conversation

If I want to get into an in-depth discussion about shoe styles, household decor, or hormones, I’ll likely bend a girlfriend’s ear rather than subject Ken to those topics — but we do need a chance to chat and reconnect. Often. We trust each other enough to share our deepest thoughts, but conversations don’t always have to be profound; just knowing we care about what the other has to say goes a long way to keeping our friendship alive and well.

Your hopes and dreams should show up in these conversations occasionally, too. It’s an opportunity to encourage each other, and it helps you stay on the same page for what your lives together might look like in years to come.

Share a Hobby

It’s not truly a necessity, but a shared hobby does help give you something to talk about, something to do when you’re spending time together, and often something to laugh about! Try making time for an interest you already share, give each other’s favorite activity a whirl, or try something new to you both!

Be Considerate

Think about how you treat your best girlfriend. Most likely, if she’s having a crisis, you’re there to help. If she needs to talk, you offer a nonjudgmental listening ear. You usually have fun together no matter what you’re doing. You can be yourself with her, but you always make an effort to consider her feelings. Do you show the same consideration to your husband as you do to your girlfriends? If you’re anything like me, this is sometimes hard to live out on a daily basis, but remembering he’s my friend as well as my husband gives me a reality check in how I treat him.

In every marriage, romance will have highs and lows, but genuine friendship with your spouse is a strong glue. Bonus: it makes life more enjoyable, too!

Jamie40What tips would you add for nurturing your friendship with your husband?

Jamie is wife and homeschooling mama in a family blended by marriage and foster-adoption. She credits Jesus, a husband with a great sense of humor, and copious quantities of steaming hot tea with keeping her sane. Follow along with her at See Jamie blog.

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Leave the URL of a blog post about marriage in the Linky below. And be sure to link back here so that other people can read this great marriage advice!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.



Revive Your Marriage: Revive Your Sex Life

Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! I’ve had such a good time this month with three bloggy friends, writing every Monday on how you can Revive your Marriage!

We’ve talked about reviving your attitude, reviving your friendship, Reviving Your Praise, and reviving your prayer life. And now we come to my favorite one: Revive Your Sex Life!

Revive Your Sex Life: Stop Feeling Like a Failure!

I’ve written so much about this it’s hard to sum it up in just one post. But I’m going to try!

Have you ever heard it said that men are like microwaves and women are like slow cookers? I think what they mean is that men heat up quickly, while women take longer to “get in the mood“.

I don’t buy it.

That analogy assumes that, given enough time, a woman WILL always get in the mood. And that’s not true for one simple reason: for women, sex is almost entirely in our heads. If our heads aren’t in the game, our bodies won’t follow. So what we think about sex has a tremendous influence on how much we enjoy our sex lives.

And one thing I found when writing The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex is that many of us feel awfully defeated when it comes to sex. I know I did in the first few years of our marriage. It didn’t feel very wonderful, he wanted it all the time, and I was always inadequate. It seemed like a big rip off to women for me.

What I didn’t understand was how wonderfully intimate it is when you are able to make love, and not just have sex.

That’s hard to do if you’re seeing sex in a negative way. So let me encourage you here this morning. So many women give up at sex because it seems like too much hassle. Or it doesn’t work well. Or they just feel inadequate.

But if God created sex to be something beautiful and fulfilling and intimate for you, why would you deprive yourself of that? Don’t let personal doubts and condemnations stop you from experiencing all that God has for you!

You can’t revive your sex life is you’re feeling like a failure.

So we need to confront these feelings honestly, and put these doubts and fears behind us. So let me assure you, as firmly as I can, that:

You are not a failure if sex doesn’t feel that wonderful to you.

Women do have a harder time becoming aroused than men do, and it takes more work to figure out how to make it feel good. In the surveys I did for my book, the best years for sexual satisfaction are years 16-20 of marriage. Sometimes it takes a while to get it right! So if it’s not feeling that great, that’s okay. Just take that as a challenge to start a fun research project with your husband!

You are not a failure if you’re packing some extra pounds.

Not even supermodels look like supermodels–they’re all air brushed! No, you may not have a perfect body, but your body is the only one that your husband is allowed to enjoy. And your body is the vehicle that God has given you to enjoy sex with. Don’t let your own insecurities rob you and your husband of passion. If he wants you, then you’re desirable, and you’re beautiful, no matter what you may think of yourself.

You are not a failure if your husband uses porn.

That doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Most men are really tempted by this.

You are not a failure if you started out marriage with sexual baggage.

Most Christian women did. Fewer than 40% of Christian women were virgins when they were married (according to the surveys I did). Yes, you didn’t live up to God’s plan. But that’s what Jesus died for. And now you and your husband are one flesh, new creations in God’s sight. Don’t let your past rob you of your present.

You are not even a failure if you don’t like sex very much!

A lot of women wonder what all the fuss is about. Wondering if it is really so great is nothing bad; but letting that belief stop you from embracing it, or from trying to discover how to truly enjoy making love, is.

You are not a failure if your sex drive is much lower than your husband’s.

It doesn’t mean that you’ll never be enough for him. It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be in conflict over this. It just means that you need to understand each other more. (And one more hint: when you understand the nature of a woman’s sex drive, you’ll see that we normally aren’t that turned on until we start making love. So go in with a good attitude, even if you don’t feel particularly sexy, and your body will usually follow!).

And finally, you are not a failure if your husband has a low sex drive.

This doesn’t mean that you aren’t desirable. It just means that he has some issues, but God is big enough even for those.

So don’t let these thoughts defeat you! Your marriage is worth so much more than that. Instead, just see sex as something beautiful that God made for both of you, and then start an action plan for how you’re going to get it “great”! Two good places to start:

Start thinking positive thoughts about sex, instead of negative ones, and it can change the whole dynamic of your sex life, and your marriage.

Here’s our final challenge:

My three blogging friends have also written on this today, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have all written awesome posts on praise! Click on through to see what they have to say.

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with your sex life, the solutions you’ve found, or what you love doing together.

Sheila is the author of The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex.

31 Days to Great Sex
31 Days to Great Sex is here (only $4.99!) It's the best $5 you'll ever spend on your marriage!

Learn to talk more, flirt more, and even explore more! You'll work on how to connect emotionally, spiritually, AND physically.

Find out more here.


Encourage Your Husband by Reviving Your Praise!

Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage!

We’ve talked about reviving your attitude, reviving your friendship, and reviving your prayer life (by praying with your husband more). Next week we turn to my favourite–Reviving Your Sex Life!

But today we’re going to tackle “reviving your praise–how to encourage your husband by calling out the good that you see in him.

Encourage Your Husband: How to praise him, even if you don't always feel like it

I know many of my readers really struggle in their marriages. Is the change really all up to me? What about my husband? Shouldn’t he be responsible for being better? And many of you are hurting.

And I know that you’ve read advice saying, “you need to express gratitude towards your husband“. I’ve written about that myself, too! And I do believe it. Men thrive on appreciation; when they feel judged and inadequate, they often retreat.

Praising your husband does two main things: it will encourage your husband to feel empowered, but it also will help you to feel more positively about him.

After all, the things we say out loud also become the things that we think. Sometimes by making ourselves think of positive things to say, we start noticing more positive things! And that, in and of itself, can transform a marriage.

But I want to take this a little bit further today and look at what praising our husbands really means.

Praising your husband means that you’re agreeing with God.

Let me explain. The reason so many of us have a hard time praising our men is because we don’t feel particularly positive about them right now. And if we try to force ourselves to find positive things to say, aren’t we then lying? Or at least distorting the truth? After all, this isn’t really how we feel. And if I’m going to be honest with my husband, I need to be honest about my feelings, don’t I?

And how can we maintain, or even create, an intimate marriage if honesty is not at the heart of it? If my husband is hurting me, you may say, then I have to let him know. I can’t go around saying all kinds of nice lovey dovey things that I don’t even feel in hopes of changing him, because that’s not honest. It’s manipulative. And it’s the opposite of intimacy.

Well, yes. And no.

The question is what we mean by honesty.

To be honest means that you tell THE TRUTH.

But what is the truth?

Here’s where things get interesting.

The truth is not always how you feel.

When we tell the truth, it simply means that we are agreeing with God about something, because Jesus is The Truth. So praising your husband is simply the same thing as telling the truth about the positive things that God is doing in his life, whether or not you are also feeling negatively about him. Do you see the difference?

So you may be angry that your husband is lazy around the house, but has God made him a good provider? You may feel that he doesn’t share his emotions enough, and that he’s curt with you, but is a natural leader? Is he decisive? Is he easy to respect? Call out those positive things that you see in him. Is God slowly changing him? Notice these changes!

Think About the Good Things in Your Husband

One woman sent me an email recently saying that she had felt convicted lately because she had too many expectations on her husband. She was expecting him to be everything that God said a godly man would be, and when he didn’t measure up as a spiritual leader, she felt angry. But she knew that she had to stop holding him up to the ideal, and simply see him as he was right now: a man that God created, that God loved, and that God was molding.

Right now, your husband is a man that God loves. Your husband is a man that God is molding. And that is all a good thing! And when you call out the things in your husband’s life and character that are good, you are agreeing with God about him. Sometimes, even in the depths of our disagreements with our spouses, when we take a step back and say, “this is what I admire about you”, what we do is we put the focus back on what God is doing, and away from our own hurts.

But what about our needs?

Well, this weekend I threw up a reader question on this blog about what to do when your husband’s poor eating habits are endangering his health, but he refuses to eat healthy food that you cook. The comments on that post were most interesting, and I want to write a follow-up post tomorrow to deal with some of them. The theme of some comments, though, were: “I don’t like being told not to nag. If I’m upset about something, is it really nagging to say it? Don’t I have to tell my husband?” And in a way, I’d agree (come back tomorrow to find out more about why!). When we talk, we need to agree with God, and if there is an area where you feel that your husband is endangering the relationship, yes, you must speak up.

But it is so much easier to speak about that if you are also, and even first, telling the positive things you see in your husband. God doesn’t bash us over the heads with all the things we do wrong; he rejoices over us with singing, and then he gently shows us where we’ve strayed.

It’s not wrong to tell your husband why you’re upset. You need to have ways to talk to him frankly about things.

But may I suggest that laying a foundation of praise, where you agree with God about your husband’s good qualities, is so important first? It will encourage your husband, and that will change the dynamic in your marriage.

So here’s this week’s challenge:

My three blogging friends have also written on this today, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have all written awesome posts on praise! Click on through to see what they have to say.

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us how you encourage your husband, the struggles you have with praise, or what you’ve found will help bring connection in your marriage.

Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Sex Life“!

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Revive Your Marriage 3: Revive Your Friendship

Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage!

Today our topic is Revive Your Marriage through building a friendship with your husband!

Friendship is often the first thing to go in marriage. You parent together; you fix up the house together; you care for extended family together. But you don’t actually DO anything just for fun together. It’s like your relationship has become an endless to do list. And indeed, studies have even found that most couples spend less than 10 minutes a day talking about non-logistical issues (in other words, most of the talking they do is about who will pick up what groceries, what repairman needs to be called, what we should have for dinner, etc.)

That’s dangerous.

Because if you don’t feel connected as friends, it’s hard to feel connected as lovers. And it’s hard to deal with any issues that arise.

Friendship in marriage is the glue that keeps you together.

When you’re friends, you build up positive goodwill. It’s like you make bank deposits into a relationship account. And you can’t start making withdrawals–like talking about problems, or dealing with issues–if you don’t already have a big balance in there.

Here’s the central problem: some of us were friends when we were dating, because we figured out things to do together and we liked hanging out together. Then you get married and life gets busy, and you settle into routines. But others of us never really were friends, even before we were married. We loved each other, but we never really DID anything together. Our dating life was mostly watching movies or making out.

Build a Friendship with Your HusbandSo how do you build a friendship with your husband?

Here are some thoughts:

1. Think Side-by-Side, Not Face-to-Face

When women think about doing things together and talking together, we often think of face to face type of encounters. If we want to share our hearts with our husbands, we want to sit down over coffee and talk about our day.

But if you were to say to your husband, “I want to spend 15 minutes of the day just talking to you”, he’s likely to get nervous. What does that look like? What would you talk about?

Men, in general, like to communicate side by side, when they’re doing something together. Women like to communicate face to face. But communication honestly works either way! So instead of saying, “I want to spend 15 minutes talking”, why not say, “Can we take a walk after dinner every night to get a little exercise and fresh air?” The effect is the same–15 minutes talking–but it’s a different dynamic.

I mention this concept quite a bit on this blog, and recently a young mom emailed me and said that this simple ritual had turned her marriage around. It was such a small thing, but putting the kids in strollers and going for a walk every night let her and her husband connect, and she stopped brooding about how he never talked to her.

So what can you do with your husband side by side?

2. Think Laughter!

It’s so important to laugh as a couple, and this is more likely to happen if you’re simply doing something–anything–together. When you’re involved in a low-stress activity, you’ll laugh! And a couple that laughs together at least once a day is a couple that will thrive. But don’t let all your laughter come from watching movies or TV. Laughter builds a relationship much better when it spontaneously flows out of stuff you’re doing together.

I’ve got a list of 16 sexy, flirty things you can do to laugh with your husband. And if you need more ideas, here are 14 Ways to Play as a Couple! Or what about simply board games you can play as a couple? Remember, laughter is something that just comes from the moment. So plan some time to do something when you’re not watching TV!

3. Don’t Wait for Him to Do Something You Like

But here’s the crucial point: if you want to build your friendship with your husband, you do not have to wait for him to start enjoying the things that you do. Take the initiative and do something he likes. In The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I shared the story of Kendria and Juan, whose marriage was on the rocks. Kendria decided drastic action was called for, and so she joined her husband on the church’s annual fishing tournament. She hated the thought of fishing. She didn’t like boats. She didn’t like worms. She didn’t even like fish! But she went, and spent six hours in a boat with her husband. And they talked. It was wonderful! And a new hobby was born.

Don’t think about WHAT you’re going to be doing as much as WHO you’re going to be doing it with. And most guys would be ecstatic if their wives actually joined them in something they enjoyed.

So here’s today’s challenge:

 

My three blogging friends have also written on how to build a friendship with your husband, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Click on through to see what WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have to say!

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with friendship, the solutions you’ve found, or what you love doing together.

Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Praise“!

31 Days to Great Sex
31 Days to Great Sex is here (only $4.99!) It's the best $5 you'll ever spend on your marriage!

Learn to talk more, flirt more, and even explore more! You'll work on how to connect emotionally, spiritually, AND physically.

Find out more here.




Revive Your Marriage: Revive Your Attitude

Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage!

Revive Your Marriage by Cultivating a New Attitude--and choosing to let some things go.Today our topic is Revive Your Marriage through Reviving Your Attitude!

I have a friend that we’ll call Laura. Laura married her husband Jeff right out of university. Jeff came from a blue collar family, and was the first to pursue higher education among his immediate relatives. He was a hard worker, and Laura loved that about him. He was focused. He was responsible.

When they had children, Laura stopped working to stay at home, because Jeff was now a corporate exec in a multinational company. And Jeff worked. A lot. In fact, he worked at least six days a week, and of those six days, was only home two or three when the children were still awake. Fourteen hour days were par for the course.

Laura spoke with him about this at length when the kids were young, and his response was that he knew the kids were safe with her and thriving, but he needed to put in these hours so that they could reach their dreams, and be able to retire early and give their kids so many great experiences and opportunities. Laura told him that she thought the kids wanted more of him. He replied that this would mean having to leave his job, and there’s no way he’d find another one that would let him be home more at even half the income, so it wasn’t an option.

And this is where Laura made a decision that likely many people would find difficult, if not wrong.

She let it go.

Did she think it was good for the family if Jeff missed out on most of the children’s lives? No. Did she think it hurt the kids? Yes. Would she have been happy at half the salary? Yes. Did she think  his priorities were messed up? Yes.

But she also knew that she wasn’t going to change him, and that she had two choices:

  • I can be bitter about this and make everyone’s life miserable over it
  • Or I can accept it and try to give all of us the best life I can within these confines

She chose the latter. She gave her husband over to God, and she started to live her life with gratitude.

Instead of resenting the fact that Jeff wasn’t there, she made sure she and the kids had fun. She occasionally even planned vacations without Jeff. And whenever Jeff was home, she made the time fun for him and the kids. And she made sure he knew that she appreciated him for being there. She even vowed to make their sex life great again.

And lo and behold, as the years went by, he started to take a little more initiative to seek out the older kids to do things with them. And the family has fared quite well–so far.

Here’s the thing: many of us in our marriages have one or two things that our husbands do that we find it very difficult to live with. Maybe he works too much. Maybe he’s just really lazy and doesn’t work enough. Maybe he doesn’t help with the kids. Maybe he spends too much time with his mother. Maybe he doesn’t talk to you enough.

I don’t know what it is, but I do know this:

If this is not something that you would divorce him over, you need to give it to God and stop letting it make you bitter. That step alone can revive your marriage!

Men thrive on appreciation and respect; when we show that we appreciate them, we empower them, and quite often they want to do more. They tend to thrive in areas of their lives where they get the most positive feedback, which is one reason so many men spend so much time at work.

Appreciation is hard when you can see all the bad choices that he’s making that are harming not just him, but also you and the kids. And you know one day he’ll regret it. But you can’t change him. Only God can.

The more bitter you become, the bigger wedge you will build in your marriage.

Some things are so big that we have to take action, like if he’s using porn, or if he never ever makes love to you, or if he’s violent. But other things, even if they really hurt us, we have to let go, because hanging on to them will ultimately more painful and more dangerous than letting go.

God is big enough to hold you, to do battle for you, to change your husband’s heart (and yours). You don’t have to do that. Will you hand over the one or two things that are keeping you from totally loving your husband today? If it’s not something that you would leave over (like adultery, or addiction, or abuse), then you shouldn’t leave him emotionally now, either.

I know this isn’t popular to say. I know a lot of you are mad at me right now, and thinking what an idiot your husband is. I don’t walk in your shoes, and it could be that your husband really is that horrible. But then, if you don’t mind me asking, why did you marry him?

You saw something nice in your husband once. I believe those attractive qualities can come out again if you start accepting him and even pursuing him. So, please, ladies, even if you don’t believe what I’m saying, can I ask you to try today’s challenge?

 

 

Instead of focusing on how he has failed you, commit to just loving and accepting him. Even commit to making love more frequently! As you make love more, you will feel closer to him and you’ll feel more goodwill, too. Maybe that’s hard for you because you honestly don’t enjoy sex. If that’s the case, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex has great info in a fun way that can help you turn it around! If you feel really distant from your husband, sometimes getting a new perspective on sex can start the process of bringing you together again.

Throughout this week I’ll be writing more about thoughts that can change your marriage–and on Wednesday I’ll finally write my big post on what I think submission means (since a number of you have been asking lately!) So tune in this week, too!

My three blogging friends have also written on this today, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have all written awesome posts on prayer! Click on through to see what they have to say.

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with prayer, the solutions you’ve found, or how you remind yourself to pray for your husband and encourage him through prayer. And if you blog, you can write a Revive Your Marriage post and link up using the linky below! The same linky appears on all four blogs, so you’ll get even more coverage for your post!

31 Days to Great Sex
31 Days to Great Sex is here (only $4.99!) It's the best $5 you'll ever spend on your marriage!

Learn to talk more, flirt more, and even explore more! You'll work on how to connect emotionally, spiritually, AND physically.

Find out more here.




Revive Your Marriage: Revive Your Prayers!

Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage! Today our topic is Revive Your Marriage through Reviving Your Prayers for Your Husband! If you long to start praying with your husband, but you don’t know where to start, read on.

In my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I talk about how spiritual intimacy is so closely linked to sexual intimacy. If you want to revive your sex life, one of the best things you can do is to revive your prayer life–and begin praying with your husband!

But prayer is a tough thing. And I think many women are seriously stuck in a prayer rut because we are waiting for our husbands to take the lead. We want our husband to be the spiritual leader, and so we’re waiting for him to lead us in prayer. And when he doesn’t, we start getting grumpy and a little resentful.

Or perhaps you just want to be praying more as a couple TOGETHER, but you’re not sure how to start. It’s a little embarrassing.

Today, in Revive Your Marriage, Courtney at Women Living Well is talking about sentence prayers for your husband–how to remind yourself throughout the day to constantly be praying for your husband, and I think that is wonderful! Every time I hear a siren of any kind, that’s my reminder to pray throughout the day, too.

So Courtney has that base covered. I’d like to cover another one: how do you actually start praying WITH your husband, especially if he isn’t that intent on praying? And how do we build him up and encourage him by letting him know that we’re praying for him, and letting him hear what we’re praying?

Praying with Your Husband--even if he's not a natural "praying out loud" personHere are some thoughts:

1. Ask if he would mind if you prayed about something specific for him.

Saying “can we pray together” is more intimidating than, “can we take a moment and pray about Johnny’s bullying situation at school?” The former sounds like anything from “I want to pray for two hours on my knees with you” to “I want to pray that our marriage will completely turn around.” He may not know what to make of it. Start with something specific, with boundaries around the request, and he may be more likely to say yes.

And don’t forget to ask him what he needs prayer for in the morning! You can even leave him notes in his pocket or in his lunchbox saying, “I prayed this for you today: that you would feel God’s strength even when you’re dealing with difficult people.”

2. If your husband is uncomfortable praying out loud, then when YOU are praying with your husband out loud, don’t be too flowery.

Just be honest before God. You don’t need to embellish or try to fill in a lot of time to make up for what your husband isn’t doing. Try to be on the same level; if he’s more comfortable with just a few sentences, then utter just a few sentences yourself. That way it doesn’t seem as if this is something that you are primarily doing and he is along for the ride; it’s something that you do together. And remember: there’s nothing wrong with praying a few sentences out loud together, and then praying silently together.

3. Pick a consistent time to pray to pray together as a couple.

If you pray every night over the baby’s crib, for instance, or every night in bed together, then you’re more likely to keep doing it! You can always pray at other times of the day, too, but trying to develop habits makes it more likely to keep going!

4. Buy a book of prayers.

I know my ultra-evangelical friends will be turned off by this, but hear me out. For a time our family attended an Anglican church, and the prayers in the prayer book really are beautiful. We left that church when we moved and go to a more traditional evangelical one now, but both Keith and I miss the depth of the Anglican prayers. Keith has bought a few books of prayers, and every now and then leads the family in them, especially when we’re on holidays together. Here are a few that I like, and if you and your husband feel uncomfortable praying out loud, these can be freeing (and once you’re comfortable with these, you’ll likely add something else!):

There’s nothing wrong with a written prayer, as long as your heart is in agreement. You may prefer that prayer be spontaneous, but if people are more comfortable reading it, is that really so bad? If your both feeling so awkward that you can’t pray out loud together, then think about the option of buying a book of prayers, or using an Anglican/Episcopalian prayer book. They really do have lovely prayers! Here are some books of prayers to get you started:

5. Pray for Your Husband in Bed.

Even if you don’t pray together regularly, you can pray for him when you’re in bed! While we’re lying beside each other at night, sometimes I’ll just lay my hand on Keith’s back and pray a sentence or two for him. For the last two nights, for instance, he’s been up all night at the hospital with really sick children (he’s a pediatrician). He’s absolutely exhausted, getting quite sick, and is stressed. So just praying, “God, I pray that you will give my husband strength for what he has to do and wisdom to do it. Let him know that he’s operating on your strength. Let him sleep tonight. And guide his hands tomorrow.” It’s simple, and it makes him feel great!

Sometimes I even text him those sentence prayers throughout the day. Remember–let’s not make an idol out of long prayers. Jesus even talked against that! A simple, heartfelt prayer is fine. And if your husband struggles with long prayers, don’t make him feel like he’s inadequate. Just go the simple route, and you may find you feel much more in tune with each other.

And now it’s time for our challenge: what can you do to remind yourself to pray more regularly for your husband, and to let him know that you’re praying for him? Here’s one idea:

My three blogging friends have also written on how to pray with your husband, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have all written awesome posts on prayer! Click on through to see what they have to say.

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with prayer, the solutions you’ve found, or how you remind yourself to pray for your husband and encourage him through prayer.

Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Attitude“!

31 Days to Great Sex
31 Days to Great Sex is here (only $4.99!) It's the best $5 you'll ever spend on your marriage!

Learn to talk more, flirt more, and even explore more! You'll work on how to connect emotionally, spiritually, AND physically.

Find out more here.


Are Your Ready to…Revive Your Marriage?

Revive Your Marriage Series

Summer is over – the kids are back in school (or about to be), and we women need to make sure this year is awesome! And the best way to do that is to put first things first. So…

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage!

Sometimes we need a little boost and when we have friends on our journey – it’s a lot more fun!!!

I’ve joined three bloggy friends who all write amazing stuff on marriage for the month of September, when we’ll be writing encouragement and challenges to revive your marriage!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com (along with me, of course), will be writing on the same topic every Monday, starting next week! Go to their blogs for MORE encouragement and to get to know these great writers.

Here’s how Courtney introduces our purpose:

Do you feel like you need some rekindling in the marriage department? Like your friendship with your husband has gotten lost in the shuffle with bills, kids activities and the busyness of life? Do you feel like you need a fresh perspective to help adjust your attitude towards your husband? Does your time in the bedroom with your man need some spicing up? {*Blush*} Oh ya – we’re going there!!! Prayer – prayer is a key to reviving your marriage.

Join us next Monday, September 3rd as we begin the “Revive Our Marriage” Series.

Each week we will include a devotional and a CHALLENGE!

And you’ll be able to link up your own posts and encourage us, too! To get you ready to do that, here’s the topic schedule that we’re going to cover:

September 3rd – Revive Your Prayers

September 9th – Revive Your Attitude

September 16th – Revive Your Friendship

September 23rd – Revive Your Praise

September 30th – Revive Your Sex Life

So come on over just to read the posts, or, if you have a blog, write your own and link up! There will be a linky every week, too.

**Just to clarify: All four of us will be writing on our own blogs every Monday on the same topic (but in our own unique voices). We will all share the same challenge for the week and the link-up will be shared – meaning when you link up here on To Love, Honor and Vacuum – it will show up on the other 3 blogs as well!

And now, I just want to take a moment to introduce myself to all of the people coming over from the other three blogs today. I’m Sheila. I’m the mom to two teenage girls, and one little boy who would have been 16 earlier this month, had he not passed away. I’ve been married to an awesome man for almost 21 years, and we just got back from Italy from a three week overdue twentieth anniversary trip (hey, regular readers, that’s why I haven’t been responding to comments! But I’m back now!)

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The original title for this blog was To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When you feel more like a maid than a wife and a mother, based on a book I wrote a few years ago. But over the last two years this blog has come to focus more and more on marriage, and specifically sex, with the release of my book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. And so stick around and look at some of my posts! Or check out my 29 Days to Great Sex challenge!

I hope you all enjoy this Revive Your Marriage series. I’m already planning my posts, and I’m excited to join such a great group of bloggers. This time of year we’re often overwhelmed with school and new starts to jobs or volunteer commitments, but let’s not forget that the marriage is the centre of the whole family. Let’s give our best energy to our marriages, and then everything else will go much more smoothly!

And now–if you want to join us for Revive Your Marriage, and you want to spread the word, grab the button, and link up below!