Putting Sex In Its Place

I could feel his eyes on me. And not with appreciation. Then, only half-joking, he said, “If I ever catch those sweatpants off your body, I’m going to throw them away.”

Umm, since when does he care about fashion? Good luck with that anyway. I like my sweats.

Out loud, though, I laughed and quipped, “They’re comfy. I like ’em,” and went on my way.

Later, as I was tossing them into the hamper, I realized that my husband doesn’t mind my comfy sweats. What he minds is my forgetting to trade them for something sexy and remember him. Lately, I’ve been mopey, he’s been sick, and the calendar has been too full. So needless to say, it has not culminated into a heavenly, lose-your-mind moment.

ID-10076442Instead of falling into his arms at night, I’ve been falling onto my side of the bed thinking, I have to be up in 7 hours. Yeah, I should sleep. I have forgotten that Jon needs me—all of me—just as much as I need sleep. I’ve fallen into the dangerous trap of letting my chaos dictate my choices and letting sex fall from its place at the top of my priorities.

Why does it matter? Because, except in extreme cases, married sex is the tie that binds. As we intertwine our bodies, we also intertwine our hearts. I want that. I want him.

So I’ve decided to tell him more often and put sex back in its place. Maybe you need to, too. Maybe life has gotten a bit chaotic and you’d rather take a long bath or eat leftover Valentine’s chocolate.

Maybe you’ve forgotten that you were a lover before you were a mother. 

What do we do?

1—Talk about it and address the real issue. Tell your husband where you are and what you’re struggling with. Talk about what you need and ask what he needs from you. You might be surprised.

2—Put it on the to-do list. I know, I know, that sounds terribly unromantic! But really, it’s important. Now, not in writing mind you—that would be weird even for this die-hard planner—but if we don’t make a mental note and plan to set aside time and energy for our husbands, then we’ll be drained of both by the end of the day. My husband knows I attack everything on my to-do list, so he periodically pencils his name on it to make sure he also gets attacked ;-).

3—Wear pretty underthings and lingerie that make you feel beautiful. This one thing speaks volumes! Since our husbands are the only ones who ever see our intimate apparel, shouldn’t we give more attention to it than to what the world sees? I understand we all have a different degree of comfort here based on beliefs and body image, but just as putting on a smile makes you feel happier, putting on sexy things makes you feel sexier.

4—Pray about it. Really. God is not nearly as uncomfortable as we are talking about sex. He won’t be shocked or offended by your questions and doubts. He wants us to enjoy married sex. He tells husbands, “…may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated by her love.” (Prov. 5:19 NIV) Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Over the years, I’ve recognized that sex has its seasons just like everything else in marriage. Babies, illnesses, crises—life—all make it easy to neglect this area. But let’s determine to put sex in its rightful place. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy each other, draw closer to each other, and burn a few calories to boot. Not too bad a way to spend our time.

 

 

 

 

Before I Was a Mom

thumb_12711248_10208670476670126_7701215921334925346_o_1024I still remember it. Those baby days when life was all about the urgent like  blowout diapers and lost blankies–those days that rarely included a daily shower and shaved legs were a luxury.

I came across this post today at “The Other Johnsons” and thought I’d share it because although I’m past that baby stage, I still have a tendency to let the urgent rather than the significant govern my time. This Valentine’s Day though, I think I’ll toss the sweats and don some lace for the man who still thinks I’m hot and wants to catch my eye. The kids will have to survive for a bit without me ;-).

I hope you’ll also be encouraged to remember that you were a woman before you were a mother, and that your husband likes to see her every now and then also. Happy Valentine’s Day.

The Other Johnsons

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I’m thinking about what my husband and I will do to celebrate. We actually have a babysitter for the afternoon, so Aaronand I get to take a much needed break andenjoy one another’s company.

I think that this Valentine’s Day will be my favorite because I actually need Valentine’s Day.This is my first Valentine’s Day since becoming a mom. Before I was a mom, Valentine’s Day was just anextra celebration thrown in each year that made us turna nice date into an extravagant date and a simple “I love you” into a long romantic dissertation.

This year, Valentine’s Day has arrived to remind me that before I was a mom, I was a wife. Before we had Desirae, we only had each other. With a baby and no regular babysitter, it’s easy to forget that sometimes. Smelling likebaby spit up and spending…

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He Just Doesn’t Love Me Like I Deserve To Be Loved

Shortly after I was married, I felt the first claws of resentment reaching into my heart because my husband just didn’t love me like I deserved to be loved. I decided that in order to move forward, we should air our frustrations. We sat together with our own notebooks and wrote out each grievance line by line. Jon began to write…and write…and write…and with each stroke of his pen, I became more and more irritated and began to write just as furiously.

ID-100186774He filled a page, and I filled a page. He filled another and I kept in step. Finally out of things to complain about, I put down my pen and he did the same. We traded notebooks and to my horror, I read several pages of “I love you. I love you. I love you.” And to my shame, he read a barrage of accusations against him.

My husband may not have loved me liked I deserved to be loved, but then I didn’t love him like he deserved to be loved either. And most of the time, I still don’t. Next month, Jon and I will celebrate 26 years of marriage. Some of those years have been full of fun and movie-screen romance and some have been filled with hurt, disappointment, and the sheer determination to make it through no matter what.

Through it all, I’ve learned that the greatest destroyer of genuine love in my marriage is a spirit of entitlement rather than a spirit of gratitude. Yes, I have inestimable value. Yes, I am worthy of love. But entitlement to anything makes me a taker, while gratitude makes me a giver. Focusing on what I deserve leaves me wanting, while focusing on what I can offer satisfies me.

I don’t know how it works, but gratitude somehow multiplies my blessings and shrinks my longings. I’m also still learning that the more I appreciate and love Jon, the more easily he can reciprocate that.

I wish I could say I have perfected gratitude. Unfortunately, there are still days I grumble and think he just doesn’t love me like I deserve to be loved, but then I remember this: Love is a choice and, each day, Jon still chooses me. He has done so for 9,449 days and I know he will continue to do so until the day he dies. That alone is reason enough to be incredibly grateful.

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Why It’s Important to Speak Well of Our Husbands

As wives, we’re partners. As moms, we’re leaders. As women, we’re influencers. I have discovered that if I want to be effective in any area of my life, I must first and foremost be effective in my marriage. When it suffers, everything else soon follows suit. And conversely, when my marriage is thriving, then the other areas of my life and leadership thrive also as my passion overflows into everything else I do. I have also discovered that nothing sabotages my marriage more than my own words, especially words spoken publicly.ID-10034235

Lately, I’ve been buried in my husband’s business requirements–calls to make, forms to fill out, and emails to send on top of my own tight schedule. I’ve been tired and frustrated, and I have not been silent about it (um, for those who don’t know me, I’m not silent on much). The challenge to use my words to build up and not tear down has been difficult, and it’s reminded me that to speak life is not always easy, but always worth it, especially when it comes to our marriages.

I am convinced that speaking well of my husband to him and about him is one of the most important things I can do for my marriage. 

Four reasons why our words matter:

1. It impacts our attitude. The more we speak anything, the more we believe it. The more we believe it, the more our actions reflect it. This helps us find joy in our marriages as well as protects it from temptation.

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 (NASB)

2. It impacts our spouse’s behavior. Ever notice how inspired you feel when someone authentically praises you? Our husbands are no different. Our words are a powerful motivator. Be careful though to be genuine. Insincerity is manipulation not encouragement.

“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

3. It impacts our children. Oh how tempting it could be to give our children a front row seat to our grumbling, but what a mistake that is! Our children desperately need to trust their father, and right or wrong, our words can cost him his credibility which in turn have a powerful impact on every future relationship our children will have.

“A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1 (NLT) I would add that we do this most effectively with our own words.

4. It impacts our influence. Our marriage is the most visible way to demonstrate God’s unselfish love. It requires self-control to bite our tongues when we feel we’ve been wronged, but every time we choose to speak praise when we have reason to complain, we breathe life into our marriages and into those who are watching it. The world is broken and an intact marriage is refreshing and gives hope to those who get to witness it.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

I’m not talking about being fake with our words. I’m talking about being generous. All of us are fallible, imperfect, and at times difficult to love. Our husbands are no exception. Then again, neither are we.

I don’t want my husband to take my weaknesses and put them on display and I don’t want to do that to him either.

If you struggle in this area, then let me challenge you to make a change TODAY to find what is good and redeeming in your husband’s character and then be intentional to speak life-building encouragement, not soul-sucking complaints about him. It will change you, him, your children, and your world.

For more encouragement on the power of our words, please read, Toothbrushes and Other Things Not to Share.

Photo courtesy photostock at freedigitalphotos.net.

You CAN Have A Strong Family

IMG_2105I know that every one of you reading this can likely name someone right now (perhaps it’s you) that is having a major family struggle, be it a floundering marriage, a rebellious child, or constant conflict in the home. There is nothing that saps our joy and energy more quickly than battles raging within our own walls.

It would be naive to think we will make it through our entire lives always seeing eye-to-eye with those we love and saying, “Bless you sweet things.” Ha! As much as I love my husband, I have absolutely shot darts at him from across the room with my glare. And as much as my children bless me, I have at times contemplated pinching their heads right off. Please don’t call social services. Trust me, it is impossible :-).

Despite those moments, you can have a family that is a sanctuary of peace and love, not only for you but for others as well.  I believe the first step to a strong family is to live with unified purpose and vision. Everyone has an innate need to belong somewhere and to live for something greater than themselves. Why not begin in the home?

I’m no psychologist (although I’m convinced most moms should hold an honorary title), and I don’t claim to have a Happy Family Formula. If there was such a formula, then it would be too easy and its rewards too cheap. But with a little consistency, a lot of dedication, and even more faith, you can be sure you’re building your home on solid ground.

That being said, I’m going to tell you what has worked for us. It may give you a framework to build upon. Oh please don’t think we have it all together! We don’t. What we do have is a clear cause, which for us is the cause of Christ, a shared vision of our family serving that cause, and a belief that we are better together. We have made many mistakes, but we have landed on the grace of God and trusted Him to make it good.

Clucas Family CreedLived out imperfectly for the Glory and by the Grace of God.

  • We praise God and seek His will for our lives knowing it is better than our own and extends beyond the here and now.
  • We love, honor, and pray for one another.
  • We serve others, beginning first in our family then outward, believing in the incredible worth of everyone.
  • We live with integrity and honesty, knowing that character is built not bought.
  • We choose gratitude even in want.
  • We give generously whenever we are led.
  • We choose to bless and not curse with our words.
  • We confess immediately, apologize often, and forgive before it’s requested.
  • We stand together. Period.
  • We remember we go everywhere bearing two names–“Child of God” and “Clucas”– and we choose to represent them both well, whether seen or unseen.

Well, that’s it. I bet you have your own creed even if you’ve never thought about it. Maybe you should write it down. Do it as a family so that everyone can own it and begin to build into it. Before you know it, your family will be unified behind a grand vision and you’ll be striving toward a purpose rather than striving against each other.

And remember sweet mamas, it is never too late to begin no matter how hopeless things may seem. I believe in a God who turns everything we surrender to Him into something beautiful. He will do the same for you no matter how ugly it may be. I promise you.