Grab your sweetie and read through the Song of Songs (sometimes called Song of Solomon). You don’t have to do it all at one time (it’s seven chapters long), but let God speak to the both of you from His Word.

I know some of the imagery is a bit funny. (My hair is supposed to be like a flock of goats? 4:1 Have y’all ever been around goats?)

It’s from another time and another culture, but I think there is something to be said for hearing about a couple’s love for each other.

Perhaps make it bedtime reading for a few days.

My beloved is mine, and I am his.  Song of Songs 2:16a  ESV

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to show you His heart for you, your husband and the intimacy He desires for you both.

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum: In Successful Marriages People Scan for Success This article is about far more than the title suggests. I’d put it in the “must read” category.

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Encourage Your Spouse: Rob Loves Coffee Crisp What foods do you use to encourage your spouse? (I’ve never tried Coffee Crisp. It’s now on my to try list.)

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You Have a Choice

November 14, 2014

in the generous life

random11Congratulations “eb”! You were the 3rd poster and have won the share your small gift ideas contest. You have a choice in prizes ~ a six pack of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree candy bars, a 10 pack of MamaB Caramels (if you live in the US, choice of six flavors) or a book from the Marriage Book Library.

Gals, do check out the comments, there are a ton of small gift ideas.

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You have a choice over how you will act and speak.

Your husband comes home a bit late and you’re waiting dinner. How do you respond?
He leaves his socks on the floor for the billionth time? What do you do?
You really want to go to a special event, but it’s pricey? What do you say?

I’m not telling you to be a pushover or to ignore real problems. I’m asking you to think and consider the circumstances well. Was it pouring rain when he came home late? Can you speak respectfully to your husband about his bad habits? Can you be honest with him about what you want and need?

You are a part of the equation that makes up your marriage relationship. Take the time you need to examine a situation. Pray. Approach your husband at a good time (for both of you). Speak clearly and respectfully. Be willing to listen and work through to reasonable solutions.

You have a choice. You govern what you say and do.

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action. John Dewey

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you see the bigger picture in any situation and to give you wisdom over what to say and do.

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Happy Wives Club: 5 Benefits of Expressing Gratitude For Your Spouse Every Morning Start your day (and his) with a smile.

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Intimacy in Marriage: More Lubricants: Simply Slick, Love Lotion and Astroglide (and a Giveaway!) More options for the bedroom.

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Just a reminder …

You can’t control what others do during the holiday season (nor are you responsible for their behavior).

You can, however, plan what you will do and how you will respond to any difficult situations.

Perhaps this is something that you need to talk and pray through with your husband. (Yeah, we all have those awkward or difficult situations, family members, friends, etc.) Be wise. Be prepared.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Romans 12:18  ESV

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God for wisdom in dealing with those difficult holiday situations.

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Cheri Gregory: A Surprising Link Between Rest and Braver Living “Imagine yourself blessed with God’s gift of rest.”

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Top 10 Ways to Make Your Husband Feel Important–After Baby! Keeping your marriage strong when you’re faced with baby needs.

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Food for Thought

November 12, 2014

in the generous life

I think I’m drowning y’all in holiday stuff this week. Mostly because if you plan well, you can remove a lot of the hassle and actually enjoy the holiday season.

Here’s a little something from the archives about meal planning:

Over the years I’ve done most of the cooking in my home. It’s not my favorite job (though I do love baking goodies), but it’s an important one, so I’m always looking for good helps to make cooking easier and bring variety to my meals.  

I know that it’s a blessing to sit down to a good meal and, of course, there is couple time to be had at meals or with a shared treat. Well-prepared food can bring much good to the atmosphere of your home and your marriage.

I received this email with a helpful cooking tip from a generous wife (thanks, Melissa!), so I thought I’d pass it on to y’all. 

I have been following your blog since BEFORE I was married. I have now been married 2 1/2 years, and my husband and I just welcomed a little girl into our lives! This is my first tip suggestion.

I subscribe to Allrecipes daily recipe emails.

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/daily.aspx

These messages only contain the recipes that have been rated with top stars, so they are bound to be good. Obviously, I don’t have time to make them all, however, I save the ones I think look like something my husband and I would like to what they call the “Recipe Box”. Then I have an easy way to get ideas for meals on a weekly basis. You can even create a shopping list from the recipe link. We have lost weight, eat more meals together, and I feel so much less stress than I do flipping through one of the many cookbooks relatives and friends have thought I would need. :-)

As a sanity saver, I encourage y’all to plan out your meals for the holiday season. There is so much going on, it’s nice to be able to know what you are fixing for dinner at the beginning of the day instead of at three in the afternoon [groan]. You could write them on your family calendar or put a list on your fridge. You might also wish to write out your holiday baking plans. (Just a thought: When you write out plans it’s easy to see if you are overloading yourself or if your plans are reasonable and doable. Don’t be afraid to simplify and enjoy the holidays.)

What is your favorite meal planning resource? 

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients. Julia Child

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you plan meals and make meal time fun and intimate.

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Calm.Healthy.Sexy: 5 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy Christmas this Year A sane voice in the chaos of the holidays.

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The Generous Husband: Choose Your Ruts Carefully Where do you want to go in life? In your marriage?

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Holiday Creativity

November 11, 2014

in the generous life

We’re moving right along in the holiday season. For the record, I’m big on simple, but I love creative ideas. So a part of what I do here is throw a lot of ideas at you hoping you understand that I don’t expect y’all to do everything. Pick out the ideas that will bless you and your husband (family and friends too). Toss the rest or put them on the list for another day.

Here are a few interesting links with holiday ideas (realize that many of the ideas geared to children can be creatively changed to work for adults).

We are THAT Family: 25 Intentional Ways to Enjoy Fall With Your Family

We are THAT Family: 10 Ways to Incorporate Gratitude in Our Kids’ Every Day Lives

Simple Kids: 40 Plus Advent Ideas: simple ways to count the days

The Generous Wife: Free Download: Countdown to Christmas Advent is not just for children!

Life Your Way: 101 Days of Christmas {2014}

The Generous Wife: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Pinterest is also an amazing source for ideas (just remind yourself that you can’t do it all!).

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you plan an enjoyable holiday season.

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The XY Code: A Man of Few Words The two of you communicate in different ways. Neither is wrong.

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The Forgiven Wife: From Grievance to Gratitude How are your heart attitudes?

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Winter Welcome

November 10, 2014

in the generous life

It’s getting colder here in Washington and we’ll be spending more time inside.

Just to make our home nicer and more usable, I’m straightening things up a bit and getting rid of items I don’t use anymore. Grouping like items in containers makes everything look neater as well. (It’s also nice to set out a few candles, add a little color and bring a bit of the outdoors in with greenery or flowers.)

How’s your winter home? (though summers need less clutter too) Going into the holiday season, why not cut back clutter and pretty up a bit.

The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there.  Ellie Rodriguez

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you make your home a lovely place for your sweetie, family and friends.

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Money Saving Mom: How I stopped yelling at my kids… & how it’s changed our home This would work for husbands too!

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Intimacy in Marriage: 5 Ways to Like Sex in Your Marriage Are you struggling?

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Run to Him

November 9, 2014

in the generous life

Knowing Jesus makes me a better person and a better wife.

Spending time with Him changes me and shapes me. His Words are life and the Bible is full of practical instructions for better living and building better relationships.

That said, I have to actually spend time with God in prayer and study to benefit. The words “spiritual disciplines” come to mind. Those words used to make me cringe because finding time to do something regularly didn’t always happen in a life full of kids and work and chaos. Time with God became one more thing on my already overburdened to-do list that might or might not get done. If it didn’t I felt guilty. If it did, I felt OK (and that’s not the best measurement for self worth).

I am learning to approach God differently and I thought I would offer a suggestion that might be helpful to y’all too.

Gather your Bible and any other items you like to have on hand when you hang out with God (a devotional, a journal and pen, etc.). Put them in a container and place them near a comfortable spot.

Consider the term “self care.” You need time for yourself and time with good friends. God’s a good friend. It’s important that you make this kind of time for your well being and sanity.

If you can make time with God easier (by gathering your God time items) and change your perspective (He’s your friend, someone to relax with and lean on), then it’s far more likely that you will make regular time for Him. You won’t need to put Him on your to-do list because He’s the treat you look forward to.

… Mary … whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him.  John 11: 28-29 MSG  (perhaps an odd scripture, but Jesus was important to her and she ran toward relationship)

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Prayer Prompt  Ask God to help you see Him as a dear friend and refuge, not a to-do list item.

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