Generosity softens the heart and helps us see others more graciously.

Be Generous Today

Look for a few small ways to be generous to others today (points if one of those others is your husband).

(Of course, you can always do it again tomorrow. Nothing like putting in a little practice.)

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you see opportunities to be generous to others.

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Life Of Joy: Clean Bedroom Challenge Take up the challenge!

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Awaken Love: Can “Fast Food” Be Good for You? Quickies can be a part of a balanced diet.

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Do we act nicely toward our spouses because that is how we choose to act (as a gift) or do we act nicely when they are doing what we want them to do (as a reward)?

Certainly it’s normal to respond in kind. When your husband does something nice it’s easy to respond kindly. His kindness softens your heart and you want to be gracious back.

What I’m talking about is the difference between, “I’m being nice to you because I love you and want to bless you,” and “I’ll only be nice to you when you are acting the way I want you to.”

Gift vs. Reward

If we only express love as a reward we will teach our spouses that they are loved based on their performance rather than being loved for who they are.

And, actually, being kind when their behavior is less than what we want is a sure way to get their attention and soften their heart toward change.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  John 13: 34 ESV

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you to give from a heart of love.

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Encourage Your Spouse: Neatness – Is it about Control or Caring? A great post for neatniks (like me).

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The Generous Husband: Let’s Play Explore your sexuality in a safe and fun way.

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One thing I noticed when I traveled was that those in the happier, stronger marriages prayed together. Actually they just prayed a lot whether that was alone, with friends, or with each other.

Prayer as a Lifestyle

If God is the Vine and we are the branches, it stands to reason that those who pay attention to that connection will do well in walking out God’s plans for their lives and marriage.

Grab your guy and ask him to pray with you for two minutes (I believe in starting with baby steps). If he’s not interested grab a notebook and journal your prayers. In a few weeks share the journal with your husband. He might be more willing to pray when he sees how God is answering your prayers.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15: 5  ESV

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Prayer Prompt Ask God to help you and your husband become faithful pray-ers.

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What is your husband’s favorite movie?

Favorite Movie Night

Why not turn it into a date night at home? (with his favorite munchies too!)

Love is sharing your popcorn.  Charles M. Schulz

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God for creative date night ideas.

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Becoming Minimalist: 11 Ways to Simplify Your Financial Life Take on greater control and peace of mind.

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The Forgiven Wife: 13 Ways to Be His Eye Candy Give your man some awesome visuals.

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Sex is like chocolate cake.

Really.

They are both amazingly sweet. 

You see a piece of chocolate cake and it’s hard not to indulge because it is sooo good.

Sex is Like Chocolate Cake

Sex can be the same way, but from many women (as Paul and I traveled around the US) I’ve heard a different story ~ how bad sex is and how they don’t like it, don’t want it, and would give it up if their husbands weren’t so “oversexed.” They have a million reasons (“I’m busy/tired” being the top one), but it boils down to not liking it because if someone handed them chocolate cake I’d bet they would find the time and energy to eat it.

People make time for the things that are really important to them.  Mandy Hale

When you consider how good sex feels physically and how good it is for your health and for the sense of intimacy your marriage relationship, you have to wonder what is going on. What is causing women to dislike something that is amazingly good and good for them? (And it doesn’t even have the calories of chocolate cake!)

shame
fear
control

If you’re struggling with sex, I’d take a hard look at each of these culprits (yes, there may be other reasons, but these will take you out before you even get to the foreplay).

Shame comes from many sources (abuse, past or present sexual sin, being embarrassed about your body, to name a few), but it makes it very hard to approach sex because every time you do, shame pops up and you automatically take a step back. You have to work to get past the shame and that makes sex hard instead of easy. If you’re already tired it can make the difference between saying yes and no.

Shame also leaves you with a “sex is bad” message (hint: this is a lie). If you want and enjoy sex, that makes you “bad” and you want to be “good.” (Don’t we all.) 

Fear is shame’s cousin. If your sister made fun of your breast size, then you feel ashamed of your body and later you fear your husband won’t find you lovely or sexy. And like shame, it causes you to take a step back and you have to work that much harder to approach sex.

Shame and fear regularly double team folks.

Control is a much harder enemy to identify because it make you feel safe. If someone else is in control you might get hurt (and past experience has a way of supporting that). When you’re in control you have the choice of “yes” or “no” (and “no” feels much more powerful).

Being sexual means being vulnerable (think naked) and the sex act means letting go. And, harder still, is to let go of having most of the sexual control in your marriage (especially if you feel it is the one area of your relationship where you have some say).

Basically we use sexual control to help
us manage our sexual shame and fear.

 
Basically we use sexual control to help us manage our sexual shame and fear. Practically that means sex is an infrequent visitor that we hold at arm’s length with a great deal of mistrust.

Y’all, sex is like chocolate cake! It’s this amazing gift from God made just for you and your husband that’s crazy fun.

It’s worth the effort to figure out what is causing the disconnect between you and enjoying sex. It’s worth facing and dealing with the wounds you carry.

Sex can bless you, energize you, build wonderful intimacy with your man, and it feels really, really good (when shame and fear are gone). It becomes something you look forward to that builds you up instead of wearing your down.

Don’t let the enemy win. Let sex become something you really enjoy and make time for because it is sooo good.

Life’s too short to say no to cake.  Author Unknown

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you beat shame, fear, and control.

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Fierce Marriage: Keep the House, Toss the Bulb Got a dark hallway in your marriage?

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Unveiled Wife: 3 Ways To Love One Another by Listening to One Another Listening is about far more than just exchanging information.

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WE SHOULD VS. I PREFER
(originally posted July 19, 2013)

I have standards.

The end of the toilet paper roll should come up over the top toward you. The spoons in the drawer need to nestle against each other the same direction (spooning, if you will). Books should be organized by type and shoes belong in the closet.

If I’ll be honest, there really is no right or wrong here. This is really about my preference.

We Should vs. I Prefer

For me to declare my preferences as the right standard and expect my husband to go along all the time is … a bit arrogant.

Far better to acknowledge my wishes as preferences and work to accommodate both his preferences and mine (win/win situations do exist).

In love, there is also that place of serving another and laying down my preferences. Perhaps not all the time (do ask for what you want and need, I think being a doormat makes you boring), but certainly at those times that matter deeply to your husband or when you want to say I love you.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, … Philippians 2:3 NIV  

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you make room for you and your husband’s preferences.

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Hot, Holy & Humorous: It All Comes Down to This Treat others the way you want them to treat you.

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Love Hope Adventure: My #1 Tip For a Healthier Marriage Try it for a week!

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The Buck Stops Here

As we traveled, Paul and I heard a lot of blaming. “The problem is my spouse.” “I can’t do <whatever> because my spouse does (or doesn’t do) <whatever>.” “If he/she would change our marriage would be better/I’d be happier.”

Certainly our spouses can make our lives easier or harder, but the bottom line truth is we are responsible for our own behavior and words and we can’t change anyone else.

If there is going to change in our marriages, it has to start with us. We can ask for what we want and need (and we should do that simply and clearly), but the focus of our efforts needs to be on us.

I know it feels very counter intuitive to change ourselves when we want our spouses to change, but it is actually the better tool. We tend to downplay our influence, but actually modeling behavior is extremely powerful. It also gives us a better place from which to ask for change in their behavior (we aren’t asking our husbands to do something that we aren’t working on ourselves).

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

… first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:5  ESV

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to give you the courage and wisdom to deal with your own stuff first.

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Kathi Lipp: Dress to Impress Your Man Be visually generous with your man.

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The Romantic Vineyard: Tell Me The Good Great prompt for dinner time talk.

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