Marriage Monday

 

The Privacy of Intimacy

Have you ever heard the saying that opposites attract? Well that could not be truer for my Husband and me. He’s a very relaxed laid back kind of person, nothing ever really ruffles his feathers, and he’s very patient and steady. I can honestly say that if He raises his voice it gets our attention because that’s just not the kind of man He is. He’s very steady and calm. My Husband is they type of man that when he speaks people generally listen because he doesn’t waste his words. I, on the other hand, can be pretty loud, especially when I’m having fun! I like a little back and forth banter because I can be a bit sassy sometimes. I adore laughing and talking, telling jokes, I even burst out singing from time to time and that’s also apart of how I communicate. If I’m not laughing and talking, giddy and joking, something is usually wrong with me and I may need to go to the doctor. I’m a bit high strung and being chill and relaxed is just not my natural mode of operation. The funny thing is, not only is my husband my exact opposite, but many of my closet friends are as well. I just seem to gravitate towards people who have characteristics that I do not.

This all got me to thinking about the concept of intimacy. Intimacy is about more than just being sexual with someone; it also means to have a detailed knowledge resulting from a close or long association or study. I the bible the term “Know or Knew,” could also be used when referring to a sexual relationship. Like saying and Adam, Knew his wife. When you think about it having an intimate knowledge of our Husbands should not just be limited to what we do in the bedroom. We should strive to have an intimate knowledge of them emotionally and spiritually. As wives we should make it a goal to strengthen that intimate emotional bond and spiritual connection that we have with our husbands just like we make our sex life a priority. I feel like it’s easy to see the sexual part of marriage as a priority, but what about the true connection? The connection that we share with their heart and soul, how can we nurture that aspect of intimacy?

1Peter3:7 admonishes the Husband to, “dwell with his wife according to knowledge…” Now even though He is talking to the Husbands here I think we as wives should receive this word as well. I truly love the fact that after my Husband and I got married I came to know him in a different way. I realized that if it we talked about the right things he had plenty to say. I found that even though he wasn’t always loud he would become loud if I told a really funny joke. I learned that when he made certain faces it meant that he was sleepy or irritated. I came to know him in a deeper more intimate way, and I truly cherish that. I love that I can look at him and know what he might be thinking without him ever saying a word. It makes me feel special that I have a more private relationship with him and know that he feels safe enough to be a different, freer person when he’s with me.

The question now becomes how do we create an environment where are Husbands feel safe enough to be like Samson and lay their heads in our lap, and tell us all their secrets? Well the first thing is we must not weary them like Delilah did! Of course I understand what Delilah did and who she was, but it is also important to note that something about her or her talents soothed some part of Samson because he kept coming back to her. Even though he should not have wanted her and should not have trusted her he did, even unto his own demise. Even now so many Men pay women to talk to them and be a companion to them because they crave intimacy so much that their willing to pay for it by the hour! The women who inspired the writer of Proverbs 31 was so good at meeting all of her Husband’s needs that it says He had no need of spoil. Hands raised if you want to be like the Proverbs 31 women, (throws hand in the air)!  We probably all want to be our husband’s safe place, their comfort, their lap where they can tell their deepest secrets.

I believe that there are many ways we can foster this type of intimacy with our Husbands, but here are three things that I think we can put into practice right away. The first thing is by listening to them without judgement or harsh criticisms. We have to allow them to be open with us without attacking them for how they feel or what they might say while sharing with us. I know this is easier said than done, but we can’t expect them to get emotionally naked if we’re going to attack them the minute they become vulnerable.  Second, I feel like we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable as well. It could be that if we’re willing to be emotionally bare with them that it may encourage the same openness in return. Finally, I think we have to be willing to just focus on being attentive to His needs and just listen, don’t offer advice or take an opportunity to say, “I told you so.” You may not feel the need to go to these lengths in your own marriage to nurture that depth of intimate knowledge of your husband; you may feel like you already have this level of closeness in your marriage. Yet, I would ask you do you stop brushing your teeth because you don’t currently have any cavities? Do you not clean up your house because it’s already clean? Of course not, because you know that anything that you have has to be maintained, and the way you maintain things is by making sure they are well taken care of. If we only tried to encourage health after one became sick we would be being reactive instead of proactive.

Let’s be deliberate and vigilant about improving our relationships and strengthening our marriages. The bible warns us that we must give no opportunity to the devil, (Eph.4:27). Share your thoughts on how we can be more intentional about defending our marriages. If you like what you see be sure to comment, like and follow so you can get my post emailed to you every Mon. Wed. and Fri.  I hope this post helped to start your week off right!

Destination Addicts Unite

 

I saw a quote on a popular app that I use that really resonated with me. It warned not to become a Destination Addict, a person who is so addicted to getting to the next place or the next thing that you don’t enjoy where you are. When I read that it was like a shot to my heart, that’s me!! I’m always chastening myself to enjoy the day I’m living right now. I’m a big planner and find comfort in making to-do-list and monthly plans. Something about planning out my day makes me feel secure. I feel good when I cross things off my to-do list; it makes me feel like I have accomplished things. It’s like the proof that I need to show myself and my husband that I actually do things, and that I’m not sitting home twirling my thumbs all day.

Now don’t get me wrong making list and plans is very useful and I would recommend this for everyone. The thing is, I tend to get so caught up in my list of things to do, plans that I’ve made and goals that I want to meet that I don’t enjoy, “today.” Maybe it’s a trap that only Mommy’s fall into, maybe it’s a human condition, I don’t know. I do know however, that when I read those words, destination addict, I immediately felt the message was about me. I catch myself saying things all the time like, “I can’t wait until my baby can walk, or I can’t wait until Valentine’s Day, or my Hubby’s birthday.”  When will I ever learn?

I noticed a lot of people saying that they didn’t believe in making New Year’s Resolutions, but I don’t see anything wrong with it. I think it’s a sign of how hopeful you are for the New Year and I’m full of hope! One thing I decided to really work on is taking my joy back. I want to be intentional about slowing myself down and enjoying every day. I want to be deliberate about being present and enjoying every moment that God gives me. Having said all this, I still struggle with this destination addiction! Right before I wrote this post I was making a list, planning out my Friday! (Hangs head low in shame) Seriously, I want to relax and unwind but something in my head or maybe my heart is always looking ahead to a bright tomorrow that’s blinking with flashy lights.

When I get all worked up and worried about getting to my destination, I think about what Jesus told the disciples in Matt 6:34, “Take therefore  no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself…” I already know this because I’ve read this scripture about a hundred million times! However, I guess I need to put this one back in rotation, so I want to hear from you guys. What should I do about this destination addiction? What tips do you all have for being present and enjoy these very special days that we can never live again? Tell me about it in the comment section.

Downstairs Master

 

When we first moved to California we knew well before we got here that we wanted a larger house for our growing family. The fact that we had never lived in a two story house cemented the dream of having a house with stairs for us. In our imaginations we pictured our children playing in their rooms upstairs, no toys downstairs, just my husband and I reading books or having adult conversations without being interrupted by little ones.  I can almost hear you guys laughing at me right now, I know that I was being naïve now but at the time this is what I thought.  The house that we ended up choosing was everything that we thought we wanted big, and two stories. The Master Bedroom happened to be upstairs, but we didn’t mind that at all…at first. After living there for a few weeks we quickly realized what was so apparent to us but not fully understood by us; because the Master was on the second floor we were constantly going up and down the stairs! I mean it got to the point that we dreaded going upstairs and having to come back down again. In addition to the constant stair climbing we could hear our children’s every little move when they played upstairs! I’ll just bet you can tell it drove us crazy! We started to say every day, “When we move again we must have a downstairs master!” It became our mantra, we said it every time we went upstairs to grab something or check on something.  Lord knows after I had the baby, going down the stairs with my precious new baby became my major concern. I feel like I had dreams about falling down while holding the baby, which never happen thank God! Wouldn’t you know it, the owners of that house decided to sell and we had to move quickly. Our number one request was a Downstairs Master, in our same neighborhood! Well not only did God give us exactly what we asked for , he gave us some amazing people to help us move in like two hours(we still plan to thank them heartily by the way)

Our first night in the new house with our, highly anticipated, hearts’ desire, object of our affection, everything we prayed for, first floor Master I was… miserable. I missed being close to my children and I literally drove my Husband crazy making him check on the kids every time I thought I heard a noise. I was absolutely homesick!  I contemplated sleeping in the largest bedroom upstairs because being away from my children, the same children I wanted to get away from in while living in the other house, was killing me. I was filled with thoughts of crazy scenarios that kept me running up and down the stairs at all hours of the night to, “check on the kids.”  After about three nights of that I told my Husband, “I just hate being downstairs while the kids are upstairs!” I will never forget his response, he stopped unpacking and looked at me and said, “When are you going to be satisfied? You didn’t like going up and down the stairs all the time and being right across the hall from the kids and now you don’t like being downstairs away from the kids.” Oh my God he was right!! I was lamenting day and night about going up and down the stairs, instead of enjoying my wish come true to live in a two story.  It made me realized the problem was never if I had a Master on the first floor or the second floor. The problem in both cases was my perception of my situation.

When I thought about it and really looked at it, I was basically acting like a brat. I was stopping myself from being grateful and enjoying what I said I wanted most. It’s funny how we probably all do that in some way. You look over at that car, job, dress, hair, or the perfect body and we want it, but we don’t appreciate it when we have it. I was so busy complaining about having to go up and down the stairs that I can’t ever remember being thankful for God giving me exactly what I prayed for. It can be hard to realize when you’re lusting or coveting something, you may need someone else to come along and point it out to you. I literally found out the hard way that the grass is not greener on the other side. Don’t get me wrong, I now think that the perfect house is a ranch with a basement, but I also understand that every blessing comes with sacrifices. You can have a bedroom that’s closer to your children upstairs, but you will have to walk up and down those stairs everyday several times a day; however if you have a downstairs master you will be farther away from you children and still have to run up and down the stairs to check on them.

I started to wonder how many other things I had been that way about. Complaining so much that I ignored the chance to be grateful and tell God thank you. How much time had I spent wanting something that I didn’t have only to get it and not appreciate it any more? To tell you the truth, I was kind of embarrassed when he pointed out that I had a problem with being satisfied. I was behaving just like the children, and I always correct that ungrateful, unthankful attitude. I always try to tell them that they should be thankful or recognize the value of what they have and not complain about what they don’t have. I tell them to focus on what God has done for them instead of what they want Him to do them.

Fix-It Friday

"Waiting for everything to be perfect is a guarantee that you will never do anything."
“Waiting for everything to be perfect is a guarantee that you will never do anything.”

The Pinterest Effect

I’m sure by now there are very few people who haven’t heard of Pinterest. I happen to stumble upon the app a few years back and I fell madly in love. Why? Why, do people love this site so much, because it sells you the dream. Perfect recipes, prefect houses, perfect decor, perfect outfits, perfect photos of perfect little families, and who doesn’t like perfection. I can not tell you how many times I have tried to recreate something that I saw on Pinterest. You go to the store get everything you’ll need, follow the directions step by step, only for your version to come out looking like a red-headed step child!  You may laugh, but this brings me to my point; who are we emulating? I often wonder sometimes why people and even myself, fall in to certain fashion styles or want a certain home. I think it’s because whether we admit it or not we are all copying each other. I believe the trick is to have the right examples in front of us. We need positive images of before us if we want to be successful in life no matter what area it is you’re describing. Mentors are critical in the work place, but they are also important in the home.  As I’ve mentioned before the Titus 2:4 scripture that admonishes the older women to teach or train the younger women to love their husbands and their children. Why does God say that if we don’t need to learn how to love our husbands and children the way God would have us love our family. Lev. 11:44 tells us the we must be holy because our God is holy. Paul wrote that the things we read about in the old testament were meant to be examples to us of how to govern our lives. That includes all the things that we allow to have access to our Spirits. What images are we meditating on, what music are we listening to, what programs do we watch?

I don’t ask these questions as a person who knows all the answers, but as someone who noticed the effect that putting the wrong images in front of yourself. Not too long ago I became so depressed about my appearance. Of course I have never been a beauty queen, I’ve always relied more on my personality, but I started to feel like I was invisible. I felt like I was just a Mom and it didn’t matter what I wore, or if I put any effort in to taking care of myself. Of course I was wrong! I had to deliberately start focusing on what God said about me, that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. I had to read in his word and hear myself saying I am more than a conqueror and that I could do all things through Christ. That includes me having more self discipline. It helped to know that God created me in His image and He made me a little bit lower than the angles!  I’m not invisible or insignificant.

Having a positive self image is an uphill battle for me and some days I win, some days I lose; however, I don’t have to fight this alone. I don’t have to be defeated by the weapons that may form against me, because I have authority over all those negative thoughts and whispers that try to tear me down. I had to start making sure that I was having conversations with people who made power deposits into me, instead of blank checks! The difference has been  indescribable! I’m making sure that I start surrounding myself with things and people who add to my life and sharpen me, and inspire me to be better. I feel like Elizabeth when Mary greeted her and her baby leaped inside the womb.

I love looking at Pinterest and finding inspiration, but I also realize that my creations may not come out just like the original. I’ve learned to stop thinking that I have to make a copy and embrace making my own uniquely inspired original. I would like to encourage anyone reading this to set your eyes on the true Original, our Alpha and Omega, the Ancient of days. Let’s all strive to look more like Him, to act more like Him and most importantly to think more like him. I want to hear from you ladies reading this, are you being a Mary to your Elizabeth? How are you working to have positive images and friends who add to your life in ways that help you to grow?