Hi everybody! On Saturdays I like to just share some links that I think make good weekend reads, and some other neat stuff I’ve seen on the web this week. So here goes!

Can You Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin?

On Tuesday I published a guest post that really resonated with so many of you–Why I Couldn’t Get Undressed on My Wedding Night. In it, Emily Wierenga challenged us women to name one body part that we actually LIKED.

One woman left this comment:

After wrestling with this all morning, I can not seem to come with an answer with regard to anything about my physical appearance.

However I know that no matter what or where I am whether it’s at home or out in public, I try to make conversation, make everyone feel welcome, and some how let them know that they matter. I try to pull people in when I see them being left out.

I just feel like I need to say something. First, this woman sounds absolutely lovely–the kind of friend that everybody would want to have, and that radiates the kindness and compassion that Jesus shows. That’s wonderful!

But I just get sad when people say that there’s nothing nice about their physical appearance, because as wonderful as it is to have a great spirit, the fact is that we are physical beings. And if we really dislike our bodies, it’s very hard to feel confident and have fun with them! And a large part of enjoying great intimacy in marriage is being able to let go and be confident!

So if you’re like her, and you’re thinking, “there really is nothing”, I’d encourage you to read this post on Loving the Skin You’re In. And my book 31 Days to Great Sex talks about this in a bit more detail, and encourages husbands to help their wives find something that they can appreciate about their bodies!

Your body is an amazing thing. It may not look like a supermodel’s, but we can appreciate it for what it can do, and for what it is, and for who made it. I think if we start to say more positive messages to ourselves about our bodies, we’ll be able to approach them with more gratitude and pleasure rather than shame–regardless of how we look.

Four Best Marriage Resources

A Tale of Two Kiddos listed their four favourite marriage blogs–and mine was there! Thank you. Head on over to see the other three.

I Love this Dairy Queen Manager! Feel Good Story of the Week

I saw this on Dr. Laura a week ago, but it’s gone viral since. Here’s the story in a nutshell:

19-year-old manager at DQ serving blind man. Gives blind man change. Blind man walks to table but a $20 bill falls off his tray and he doesn’t notice. Woman behind him picks up bill and pockets it. Manager challenges her; she refuses to give it back. He refuses to serve her. She leaves.

He serves the rest of the customers, then goes up to the blind man and gives him a $20 out of his own pocket. He doesn’t tell anyone else.

Customer, though, sees the whole thing. Emails it to manager. Manager prints out email and puts it on wall of restaurant. Other employee instagrams photo–and now it’s viral.

Now that 19-year-old who was working to pay for business college has job offers and scholarship offers. Makes me smile. He didn’t know anyone was watching. He just did the right thing. But God saw, and He arranged for that customer to see.

You can’t teach honesty; it has to be inside you to begin with. It’s something God puts there. And I’m glad people are recognizing it in him.

Neat Things To Read

Here’s a great explanation for what the generation born in the late 70s to 90s is like. NOTE: this is a big generality! Not everybody is like this! But as a CULTURE we are heading in this direction. It makes me wonder about the next generation: those born say in 1993 and since. They grew up primarily after 9/11, and their whole lives, that they can remember, have had threats looming. Terrorism, bad economy, hard to find jobs. It sounds more like the generation that grew up in the 1930s. So perhaps things will change?

And on a totally different note, J from Hot, Holy and Humorous tackles the BDSM subject: Is it okay for Christians in the bedroom? I thought she did a great job!

And on another totally different note, here’s a beautiful post: I didn’t love my wife before we got married. All about how love is an ACTION. It’s great. And that ties us into this book:

Love to Stay: Sex, Grace and Commitment

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I was sent a book to review by Adam Hamilton called Love to Stay: Sex, Grace and Commitment. It’s a short read (so men will like it!), and it’s a great one to read through together. But one thing that struck me as I read it was this dichotomy that kept coming up, again and again: both parties would say that what they want most in marriage is to feel like the other person is sharing his or her heart, and yet both parties both felt like that wasn’t being done BY THE OTHER, even though they felt it was being done by THEMSELVES.

No wonder a negative cycle starts!

Let me pull just a few tidbits from the book that can help us through some of these negative cycles.

Negative Cycle of Communication

Hamilton reported on a survey that was given to men and women of various ages of the top 5 things they’re looking for in marriage. (Interestingly, sexual intimacy wasn’t on the women’s lists, but it was high on the men’s!). But what was on both was this: Sharing feelings with me.

If they both wanted that, then why were they so often upset? Hamilton writes,

It struck me that the same words must mean something different to women and men. When I followed up on Facebook, asking mena nd women what the meant, the women said, “Sharing your feelings with me is not grunting. I need you to tell me more. I want details. I want informaiton. I want you to tell me what you were thinking and what you were feeling.” For the guys, it was much simpler. “Tell me exactly what happened, and give it to me in sixty seconds or less.”

So how do you break this negative cycle? Learn more what your spouse honestly values. And then give it to them–whether or not you feel like you are getting it in return. As I’ve written about before, you have the ability to change the dynamic in your relationship. So, as Hamilton says, start investing in your marriage. It’s the most important thing you have. Why would you not work hard at it?

Feeling Like Affection Has Strings Attached

Many of you can relate to this: you want him to be affectionate towards you, but everytime he touches you you’re wondering, “does he think this is going somewhere? Is he trying to make a move on me? Does he want something from me?” So the affection seems to come with strings attached, and that makes it not real. And so every time he touches you it starts this cycle of resentment. Instead of making you feel warmly towards you, it makes you withdraw, because he doesn’t just love you.

I’ve been on this boat lots of times. I wonder if Keith is really being honest with me. Does he really WANT to give me that back rub? Does he WANT to talk to me, or is he just trying to get something? And it’s hard, because you feel like there’s this invisible wall, and you both have your own agendas, and you can’t be honest.

We’ve gotten a lot better at this, but it is a challenge, because to women and men, affection often means something very different.

Hamilton offers a solution I don’t usually suggest: scheduling sex. If you know you’re going to make love Mondays and Thursdays, for instance, then if he touches your knee on Wednesday it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just affection.

That sounds great–if you can stick to Monday and Thursday! The few times Keith and I tried that in our marriage it never worked because we both like spontanaeity, and I’d inevitably start something on a Tuesday, and that would throw everything off. If you know she MAY make love at other times, then all of a sudden touching her knee takes on those same old connontations again….

But if this has been a struggle in your marriage, perhaps his idea isn’t a bad one to try!

After spending his short and practical book (seriously, it’s short enough and easy enough to read that men will read a chapter with you at night!) talking about how to make deposits in each other’s love banks, and how to build up the marriage, he says this:

You do love until you feel love.

That’s so true.

lts.do .love  - Things That Stood Out to Me This Week

UPDATE: A commenter rightly pointed out that I maligned all men by saying that husbands are more likely to read this book because it was short. I am so sorry; I didn’t mean to do that. Here’s what was going through my head: whenever I recommend a book, I get emails and comments from women saying, “is it short? Because my husband refuses to read more than a few pages at a time”, or “I can’t get him to read anything.” Industry stats say that women buy approximately 80% of Christian relationship books. So the comment was meant to reassure those women whose husbands aren’t big into reading relationship books. However, I know there are many who do read these books, and many more who will willingly read tomes on other subjects. So I’m sorry if it was offensive! That’s just where I was coming from.