Archive | February, 2011

Enjoying Intimacy: A Gift to Your Husband

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Written by monthly contributor, Natalie Didlake.

Imagine for a moment: one night, you sit down on the couch next to your husband, put your feet up to relax, and start talking. You’ve been waiting all day to tell him what’s on your mind.

He turns to you, rolls his eyes a little, and grumbles, “Well, honey, it’s my joooob to listen to you jabber about your day, the kids, and what you made for dinner, so (sigh…) go ahead. But keep it short.”

(Tension in the air.)

This imaginary story hardly begs an explanation! Let’s draw it out anyways.

Duty vs. Desire

We wives can never be satisfied with less than being enjoyed, loved, and adored. Especially when it involves romantic, mushy-gushy things like…talking. A dutifully-listening husband would just not cut it.

OK. Now, time to flip it around.

Don’t our husbands want the same kind of treatment from us? They want us to enjoy, love, cherish, desire, and delight in them! Especially when it involves romantic, mushy-gushy things like…well, you know what they love!  I think we all know how important intimacy is to our husbands. The real question is, how can a wife rise above duty (merely being “available” for, or present during, intimate times), to really love and adore her husband? Let’s put ourselves in our husbands’ shoes, and think it through.

A husband wants his wife to honor him by being delightfully interested in spending intimate time together!  What does that mean? A wife shows genuine interest when she pursues not only his, but also her own enjoyment.


Some wives might say that’s not selfless or truly loving. Let’s go a step further and work through it.

This is the part that really rocks my socks: that pursuing my enjoyment in intimacy with my husband is good, because my marriage should reflect the Christian’s pursuit of delight in God!

Whoa. Unpacking time.

Delight in God

John Piper says the way we glorify God is by enjoying him. It’s not complicated. If I love God…think he’s wonderful, awesome, and amazing, doesn’t that say something about him? Doesn’t that show him honor?

Here are some of my fave scriptures that tell how we should be absolutely tickled at God…and that we get to be with him:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:2)

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25)

Oh, to be enraptured with God, to derive our greatest pleasure and happiness from him!

Delight in Your Husband

Likewise, in marriage, if you were absolutely delighted by being with your husband, wouldn’t that honor him for all that he is?

Don’t you, deep down, want to be caught up in delight and pleasure with your husband?

Every woman dreams of that. But when your husband is less than loving …when he hardly inspires delight and adoration…when you have no extra love to overflow…

God answers our womanly dream. He is the perfect inspiration of delight to our feminine hearts.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:4-5

Give of that overflow, to your husband…and love it!

Some Practical Tips

- Pray that you will love marital intimacy.

Do this first. You cannot have real love and delight for your husband unless God places it in you.

- Meditate on Bible passages that describe God’s love and delight in you. (See my favorites above)

Allow God to heal your soul from believing you’re not loved, pursued, or don’t deserve to enjoy your marriage.  You don’t, but Christ bought it for you. Use scripture to tell your soul to receive it.

- Take responsibility for your role.

If you have a passive attitude about intimacy, and you think it’s your husband’s job to make it fun for you, sorry. You get out what you put in.

- If you’re not “there yet”, don’t give up.

Discouragement can be your worst enemy. Don’t create self-fulfilling prophecies in your head. “Well, it’s never been all that great up till now…” Hope. Learn. Keep trying. Relax. It’s not supposed to be that difficult!

- Talk honestly with a trusted older married lady friend.

- Know your body.

It’s not magic! Learn about your physical makeup and what “tends” to work.

- Read books. In this order, I like:

A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy, Dr. Douglas Rosenau

Intended for Pleasure, Ed & Gaye Wheat

The Act of Marriage, Tim LaHaye

- Establish traditions and routines.

- Break traditions and routines! (Sometimes.)

Keep it varied & FUN.

- Pray again that you will love marital intimacy.

You might feel you’ve tried everything. Ask God to help you understand yourself. “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.” (Isaiah 30:19)

What will you do to improve on/continue to show your delight in your husband?

Comments { 127 }

Handling Conflict or Sin in Your Marriage

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Conflict in any relationship will come, naturally because we are sinful and self-centered individuals. It can easily lead to separation and division if handled improperly, but by God’s grace with a little though, preparation, and self-control, it can result in further deepening in your relationship as well as growth in sanctification. My husband and I have experienced the greatest moments of intimacy after resolving a conflict. It is a good work! I have found these insights, gleaned from various sources, to be invaluable in learning how to handle conflict and sin gracefully and peacefully in a marriage.

1. Take it to the Lord first.

Before addressing any problem or area of sin, make sure to come before the Lord with the situation. Seek His wisdom and grace so that you might know how to gracefully address the issue. Often times, when we settle our emotions through prayer, we will realize the superficiality of the situation or receive the strength and grace to present it before our man. Make sure you really dig deep into your heart. Am I doing this out of selfish ambition or selfless love? Pray that your lips would be gracious seasoned with salt and would build up your husband as you speak (Ephesians 4:29).

2. Look to Scripture to affirm who you are in Christ.

Remember that you are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). That God has made you beautiful and cherishes your role as a wife. Study the passages in Scripture where Jesus showed honor and respect to women to remind yourself of how he cared for our sex (Genesis 3:15 – annihilating defeat of Satan comes through the woman, Matthew 1 – women included in the lineage of Jesus, Luke 7:36-50, Mark 15:40-41, etc). You were created, along with your husband, to rule in this world, to subdue it, to act according to his image (Genesis 1:28).

3. Apply that same value to your man. Value him as God does.

Men and women together mirror the image of God. Together with their own various giftings are able to reflect his character and image. Remember to value your husband as Christ values him when approaching a conflict.

4. Be a sister in Christ.

Remember that you are not merely your husband’s wife, but also his co-laborer in the Lord. We are called to hold each other accountable for pursuing godliness in our lives (Hebrews 3:13). Gary Thomas shares again: “A biblical marriage provides a smaller picture of the church. We should use the position and gifts God has given us ‘so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity of faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:12-13).”

This is a process of sanctification that we should welcome and pursue. Let us have courage in Christ to be willing to confront each other in a godly manner so that we might grow together.

5. Give him time.

According to neurological studies discussed in What Could He Be Thinking? by Micahel Gurian, it has been shown that it may take men up to seven hours longer than women to process complex emotional data. I was astounded to learn this information, but apparently they have a smaller hippocampus in the limbic system (which processes emotional experience), which means that we need to give them warning and room to process a problem.

Gary Thomas makes a powerful suggestion: “If you have a emotional issue that needs to be addressed, why not give your husband a heads-up several hours before you actually have a chance to talk? ‘Honey, something’s really been bugging me [or hurting me, or frustrating me, or worrying me]. Here it is in a nutshell. Can you think it over so that we can talk about it later tonight?’ By using this tactic, you’ll give him plenty of time to process complex emotional data.”

This also gives you time to really thoughtfully prepare how you want to address the issue and help control your varying emotions.

6. Guard against tears.

In For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn asks: “If you are in a conflict with the man in your life, do you think that it is legitimate to break down and cry? Most of us would probably answer yes. Let me ask another question: In that same conflict, do you think it is legitimate for your man to get really angry? Many of us have a problem with that – we think he’s not controlling himself or that he’s behaving improperly.”

The problem is we don’t realize that tears often come across as disrespectful to our husbands which often leads to anger on their part as they feel lack of respect. My tears can make my husband feel like a failure, and that is not the goal nor very helpful for bringing restoration. I think it would be valuable to consider the purpose of our tears before giving way to this emotion. Will they really help the situation? This is why it is really important to take an issue to the Lord first and surrender our desires and come in an attitude of humility and transparency. Pray for grace ahead of time not to cry but speak with self-control.

7. Believe in your man and express it.

Let your man know that you are committed to him, that you are on his side, and that you believe in him. This will help keep the doors open toward positive change and restoration in the relationship. Start with affirmation and expressing a few areas that you appreciate about him before addressing the problem or sin issue. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thess. 5:13)”

8. Stay by his side.

My greatest temptation is to get up and simply leave the room in a conflict. I want to run from the situation. But restoration can come far more speedily when my husband knows I am willing to stay there until the issue is resolved. Again, I express my commitment to him, when I stay by his side. You may want to hold hands or make sure to face one another through the process. These are simply ways to keep your eyes on each other and focus on achieving peace.

I pray God would give us strength to stay strong in the midst of conflict, and cling ever more to our Savior. For through conflict, we prune back the areas of sin in our lives and help bring further growth in godliness. It is a challenging but fruitful process as long as we maintain humility by God’s grace.

“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
” Psalms 34:14

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19

Comment policy: Please strive to keep your comments positive and encouraging for the edification of others.

Comments { 35 }

Affirming Your Man

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Why is it that the some of the qualities I most admired in my husband before we were married have lately, now nearly 5 years into our marriage, have become those which I most despise? Have you experienced this? I loved my husband’s heart for service. He is willing to help others with various technological problems, setting up church services, and giving his free time to help others. I once appreciated this, but lately I admit I have despised it. It took him away from me and our family time. I wanted him to be focused on us during ALL his spare time. But this is one of his spiritual gifts. For him not to use it, he becomes discourages and feels useless. I was not appreciating all the effort and time he did give to prioritize our family and just focusing on the little time he was offering to serve. As his wife, I am to come behind him and encourage him in the use of his giftings. There certainly is balance, but my selfish desires for wanting all his free time were tearing him down. And the amazing thing is that when I allow him time to pursue his giftings and interests, he became more willing and eager to invest time in our family, thus resulting in all of us thriving.

Our men needs affirmation. They thrive on affirmation. I can tear my husband down with my words or I can build him up. The choice is mine everyday. Proverbs states that the wise woman builds her house whereas the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. What might happen in our marriages if we took the time to express our appreciation for one quality each day? As women we need to recognize our influence over the men in our lives. If you want your man to grow and move in a positive direction, you need to appreciate him from your heart. Remember…

Your man is a sinner…just like you.

To truly move and influence a man, we must learn to appreciate him for who his is and for what he has done. We often get lost in the dream of Prince Charming and forget that he is a sinner just like us. The first step towards influencing your man, is to acknowledge this truth…”we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2).

I love how Gary Thomas shares it in his book, Sacred Influence, “Only one perfect man ever walked this earth, and he never married. Since every wife is married to an imperfect man, every wife will have legitimate disappointments in her marriage. Are you going to define your husband by these disappointments, or will you pray that God will open your eyes to the common blessings that your husband provides and to which you often become blinded?”

A real man will be a sinner. A real man will have rough edges. The beauty of marriage is growing together in Christ-likeness. Extend grace as you acknowledge your mutual need for a Savior.

Stop taking your husband for granted.

When we take time to let our man know he is noticed, special and appreciated, we put him in a mold-able state. He won’t be resistant to change, when we truly express our appreciation for him.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” This is the challenge from Philippians 4:8 that can be applied to our relationship with our husband. It’s a daily choice of focusing on qualities for which you feel thankful.

Leslie Vernick warns, “Regularly thinking negatively about your husband increases your dissatisfaction with him and your marriage.” Gary Thomas shares, “Affirming your husbands strengths, however, will likely reinforce and build up those areas you cherish and motivate him to pursue excellence of character in others. Guys rise to praise.”

Your man loves to see admiration in your eyes.

Hold on to the good; begin to define him by the good; thank him (and God) for the good – and thereby reinforce the good.

The Bible calls wives to respect their husbands (Eph 5:33) without qualification. Your husband, because he is your husband, deserves respect. Don’t stop telling him he is a good man.

How can you practically do so this week?

1. Pray for fresh eyes to see the good.
2. Make a list of 10 qualities you admire about your husband. Place it in the back of your journal or Bible so you can reflect upon it anytime you become frustrated with your husband. Use it as a prayer tool.
3. Write a note of thankfulness to your husband.

What one thing could you express appreciation for today?

Much of the insight shared in this post is drawn from Gary Thomas’ Sacred Influence - my all time favorite book for wives on building our husbands!

Comments { 48 }

How to Get Free Babysitting and a Mom’s Night Out.

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Written by monthly contributor, Kat. Cheers to another great idea for maintaining dates nights!

We all know that spending one on one time with our husbands is vital to the health of our marriages, but how do we do that when funds are limited and family lives far away?

Our all time favorite solution involves a date night AND a peaceful night of quiet solitude.

Sounds too good to be true? Here’s how we did it…

We’d trade date nights with another couple, but we’d schedule the date for AFTER the kids go to bed. Our kids go to bed between 7 and 8, so we have time for a nice long date. But even if your kids go to bed at 9pm, there’s time for meaningful conversation over coffee or dessert.

One week, my friend would come over to our house so we could go on a date. Jimmy and I put the kids to bed and told them that mommy and daddy were going on a date, but if they needed anything, Mrs. B was in the living room. Once the kids were settled, Jimmy and I would go out for a two hour date.

For free

The second half of the arrangement is that a week or two later, I’d go over to my friend’s house for a peaceful, quiet evening while they go out on a date. Since I’m wasn’t at my house, I couldn’t clean or do dishes or…anything except read a book, write or browse on my laptop.

Now how lovely does that sound?

The other benefit of this solution is that it doesn’t matter how many kids your friends have. We know people who watch each others kids during the early evening while they are all awake and it gets difficult when one family has 3 kids and the other has 1. Not really an even exchange. But when it’s after bedtime, it doesn’t matter if I’m watching the Duggars kids, because they’re all asleep.


What are your tips for doing date nights on limited funds?

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Keeping Your Marriage Strong

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A strong marriage forms the foundation of our society. But in our current culture, “till death do we part” has been replaced with “till I don’t love you anymore”, “till you stop meeting my needs”, or “till when I’m not happy anymore.” Divorce has ransacked every portion of our society, with the church sadly leading the way. Couples now prepare prenuptial agreements, maintain separate bank accounts (without the spouse having access), and forgo adopting or changing to the husband’s last name. It’s an issue of the heart. It’s the mindset of separation when God has designed marriage as the joining together of one flesh – sharing equally in all aspects of our lives together and committing ourselves to being together. The idea of separation in these financial and personal aspects is a mentality of preparing for our divorce before it even happens. If the enemy can tear down the marriage, he can tear down our society. Marriage is designed my God to be a beautiful reflection of His relationship with His church, with His people. It requires self-sacrifice. It requires laying down our own desires and seeking the others interest, and that is where our joy can be found.

Christ must be the center. My dad always gave me one piece of advice for selecting a mate:Make sure he loves God more than he loves you.” This has stuck with me through it all. He must be one who is more desirous of pleasing Christ then pleasing me. And the same must be true of me. If I don’t keep Christ on the throne in my life, I will start wandering towards raising up ungodly expectations for my man. Because if Christ is the center, then our marriage will be strong. If Christ is the center, I will be passionate about exalting Him and magnifying His name, not exalting my own interests and feelings. Marriage is a beautiful way to exalt Him. It is the dance of a husband and a wife to join their various giftings together in bringing the most glory possible to their Maker. My husband is strong, steady, sensitive, compassionate, and servant-hearted, and I compliment him with my love for hospitality, organization, and support. Together, if we aim straight and true, by the grace and mercy of God, we accomplish much for the furtherance of God’s glory. Sisters, God has given you beautiful gifts and your husband beautiful gifts. Have you sat down and considered what they might be? Have you acknowledged them? Partner together in utilizing them.

Because ultimately, marriage is not about meeting your needs. It’s about God’s glory. And the beautiful thing is that when God’s glory is first, our needs ultimately are satisfied, either by our realization that they are not really needs but the idolatrous desires of our heart, or by the Lord blessing us in fulfilling them through the dance. The emotional, physical and spiritual needs must be satisfied first in Christ followed by the extra blessing of joyful intimacy in marriage. When we get beyond seeing our needs as the end result, we will become less susceptible to the attack’s of the enemy, our marriages will grow stronger, and our joy will be greatly increased.

Marriage is a covenant. It is a commitment. Let’s commit together to not even allow the “D” word to enter our vocabulary. Aaron and I have committed our lives to each other. Divorce is not an option no matter what happens. Through the greatest trial or conflict, God desires to bring about His beautiful work in our lives. Conflict is for the purpose of pruning away the dross and making us clearer reflections of His character. Let’s not run from it but fully embrace it.

So in what practical ways can we grow in keeping our marriage strong? This is far from an exhaustive list, but a few areas that I have personally experienced radical growth in our marriage when we practice them. I will be expanding upon some of these in the upcoming week.

1. Pray together.

I have been challenged this year to commit to praying together with my husband once a week for at least 30 minutes in the morning before our little ones are awake. Why? Because I have seen it bear much good fruit in my parents lives, who have faithfully prayed together every Saturday morning, and another couple in our church who prayer walk together early every morning. It is beautiful! When we started, I found it a beautiful way to pour out my thoughts, burdens, and fears before the Lord rather than dumping them on my husband. It was a way to share with him my struggles, but not burdening him with discovering the solution. God is our solution-maker. It also helped us start praying more intentionally for our family ministry, our church, and the nation. Now, we don’t have any specific formula for doing this…we simply just take turns praying whatever the Lord lays on our heart. And it truly has been a bonding experience.

2. Pray for your man.

I yearn to be more faithful in this area myself. My husband needs my prayers more than anything else I could give him. It is the way I can serve him in helping to guard his purity and diligence in the workplace, to being a man of the Word, to being a strong husband and father. It is the best way I can be his help-meet. Check out the 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband Prayer Guide to help you out. This is a powerful free tool that I keep in my Bible for daily prayer prompts on his behalf. And remember, before you consider confronting your husband in regards to some conflict or sin issue, take it to the Lord in prayer.

3. Take consistent date nights.

Whether it be once a week, twice a month, or once a month, make a commitment to getting out together on a consistent basis. Put it on the calendar. Especially for couples with young children, it is so easy to get caught up in their care that we neglect our marriage. We need time alone together to invest in each other’s lives. If you have family in the area, ask if they can schedule it on their calendar to watch the kids on a regular basis. If not, build a babysitting co-op. We have being doing this lately with two other families. Tuesday night is date night and we take turns watching each other’s kids. So we get dates out three times per month and every third week we watch all the kiddos. It works. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Utilize services such as and to find cheap dinner dates at 50% off in your local area. Take a coffee or dessert date. Go browse a bookstore together or simply take a walk. The key we have found is (although there are exceptions)…it really helps us to just get out of the house. Away from what needs to be done and various technological distractions and just enjoy each other no matter what we do.

4. Take time to evaluate and grow together.

One of the elders in our church recently offered a helpful document titled State of Our Union for couples to utilize in prayerfully evaluating where they are at in their marriage, recording specific things they appreciate about each other, and steps they can take to grow and enrich their relationship. It was such a beautiful tool and one I want to use regularly. Download your own copy and take some time to go through it separately and then together. Your eyes will be opened in good challenging ways.

May you be blessed and equipped to keep your marriages strong for the glory of God! Embrace it as your opportunity to reflect the self-sacrificial love of our Creator!

Comments { 66 }

Q & A’s for Mission-Minded Families: MARRIAGE

by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan.
Ann’s monthly contributions will be in a Q & A style format, as we hear her heart
(balancing raising 7 children while also being passionately involved in missions).


What practical ideas do you have to strengthen your marriage?


Years ago, when Jon and I were newly married, we felt the Lord speak to our hearts saying, “Your family will not be characterized by your ministry, but your ministry will be characterized by your family.”

Over the years, we’ve come to realize that nurturing our marriage (along with raising, training, and enjoying our 7 kids) is not a “distraction” from the mission work God has called us to; caring for our marriage and family is a vital ministry, in and of itself! When our marriage is strong, and our kids are spiritually healthy, we’re all free to focus on God’s purposes and as we work together, empowered by the grace and anointing of God, we can multiply our efforts as an effective and powerful team!

As for practical ideas: Every afternoon my husband and I have “couch time” — where Jon relaxes on the couch with his head on my lap, and we simply talk about our day. We always joke with our kids, if they come in the living room and see us being sweet, that we’re helping them “to feel secure.” We also enjoy taking walks together, and visiting in our hot tub nearly every night. (You might find it funny to hear that a MISSION-MINDED family would splurge to get a hut-tub, but it was a gift from God; we get some of our best family talks and teenage discussions under the stars and in the bubbles. It’s a little example of how we place a priority on our family and marriage.)

Even when we’re apart from each other, we send frequent text messages and love notes whenever we can. When Jon is on a mission trip, I support him (and participate in the outreach) by sharing with others about up-to-the-minute prayer needs, writing online reports, being enthusiastic with the kids about what Dad is doing, and usually through fasting and serious prayer for the mission. If I’m leading a mission outreach for women and orphans, Jon does the same for me. Whenever we get the opportunity to travel and minister together, challenges can definitely be marriage-stretching . . . yet it’s always fabulous!!!

(As a side-note, we’re excited about two Harvest Ministry mission trips this month. On February 7th, Jon heads to preach in a remote area called BUDUDA, UGANDA, and just a few weeks later, our newlywed son and his bride, Josh and Anna, are pioneering a brand-new mission, establishing a new orphan home for 10 children (married just 3 months and already going on 10 kids!!! WOOHOO!!!) along with a national village evangelism outreach. It’s called PROJECT INDIA, and we’re all so excited!!!)

A loving and vibrant marriage displays to the world the amazing love-relationship between God and His Church. As the wife loves and admires, and esteems, and obeys, and submits to her husband . . . and as the husband lays down his life for his wife as Jesus did for us, our marriage reflects a bit of heaven. When the world sees a couple living in a happy fulfilled marriage, the example glorifies God.


What ways do you make an extra effort to make your husband feel loved?


Just this year, Jon and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. I’d treasured so many hopes and dreams about this day, practically since the day of our wedding. I always imagined a very special silver anniversary, and it was a wonderful dream-come-true. I’m quite the romantic. For years I’d dreamed about having a 25th anniversary “wedding” that would give a testimony to the world of a match-made-in-heaven that was all about God’s purposes. I wanted the day to focus on God’s mission-purposes, and the nations, and for all the glory to go to God. When the day came this past July, Jon and I were asked to speak about marriage (tag-team-style). We invited some relatives for the weekend, and planned for a special salmon reception after the service (all caught by Jon, who’s not only a fisher-of-men, but an amazing fisher-of-fish!!!).

During the first church service that day, Jon and I shared marriage highlights (including tips from our lives — as “semi-pros” — and from both of our parents — as “pros” — each with over 50 fabulous years of God-glorifying marriage). But the second service was incredible.

During his preaching, Jon invited me up to share my part, but instead of my “scheduled” first service highlight, I SURPRISED HIM (and most of the congregation, other than the leaders)!!! The sound guy started a special anniversary video I had made, based on the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and our 25 years of life and ministry — with 7 kids, going to 70 nations, and to all 7 continents. While the 4-minute movie played, I slipped out of the church, quickly changed into a white dress, and some amazing college friends instantly transformed our sanctuary into a wedding scene, complete with hundreds of balloons, Roman pillars, netting down the aisles, flowers, and bridesmaids (including my sister, who was my maid of honor at our wedding, our two daughters, and our then-soon-to-be daughter-in-law). Our worship leader had written an incredible song, “It’s a Wonderful Life We Live, Serving the Lord.” As he played, my dad walked me down the aisle . . . and I can’t even describe the JOY of the moment.

There are lots of things I do, big and little, to convey my love. It could be as small as giving Jon a spontaneous hug in the middle of the day, taking time to do a simple job he specifically asked me to do (rather than working on one of my own projects), or giving him a loving “look” that lets him know he’s the most handsome man in all the earth, and that I’m his greatest admirer.


How do you keep your husband your first priority after God? Guarding against the kids coming between you?


At this stage of life, the biggest way I guard the priority of our marriage (over our kids) is to go to bed when Jon does, even if it’s earlier than I want to. This is especially a big deal when our big-kids are home from college. Our young adults love to visit when it’s late; but if I stay up after Jon’s gone to sleep, it’s not good for our marriage.

Other little ways I show that he is still the love of my life . . . is going on trips with him (this year, we went on a family fishing trip to Alaska, and on a second honeymoon to Hawaii), keeping in shape (which is a continual big-effort and really shows him that I care) . . . and putting extra “effort” and preliminary “thought” into our times of affection.


What is the most important thing you have learned about resolving conflicts?


Both Jon and I are very strong-willed people. In fact, when we went through pre-marriage counseling, we took this Christian personality test and our counselors advised us that we probably shouldn’t even get married because our personalities would clash. But I knew, especially because I was a strong woman with a leadership-personality, I didn’t need a weak apathetic husband, but a strong godly one who would lead me and our family; and if we could pull in the same direction, God could work through us.

As a 19-year-old bride, I knew that God’s word would be the ultimate authority in our marriage — and if Jon and I disagreed, God’s word would be our tie-breaker. And I knew that God’s word has established the husband as the head of the home. For over 25 years, we’ve been serving God every day. Yes, we’ve had disagreements, but we have a commitment “to never let the sun go down on our wrath” Ephesians 4:26 (or as we interpret it, “to never part company until things are worked out” — even if that means being late to church, or missing an important meeting). We admit our mistakes, and we’ve learned to give and to receive forgiveness.

A vital key to a happy marriage is this 3-part phrase:

(1.)“Honey, I’m sorry . . .

(2.) I was wrong for ______________ (and be specific to apologize for each specific mistake or bad attitude . . . )

(3.)Will you forgive me?”

Something specific I also really need to continually work on is to not exaggerate my point of view. If I make a situation bigger than it actually is, or read “extra” details into something Jon says or something he did, it just stirs up a conflict. Many times, it helps just to let things go. I also read in Heidi St. John’s book, The Busy Homeschool Moms Guide to Romance (which I highly recommend!!!), it’s important to seek God (like Esther did when approaching the king) for tact and timing when talking with our husbands about a situation or disagreement which is on our hearts.

And most of all, we need to rely on God’s grace. God wants to give us HIS love and HIS forgiveness and HIS joy for our marriages and our home life. Real love is displayed best in the relationships that are closest to us. As we love the ones we live with, we can really love others. Marriage will likely be the closest thing to either heaven, or hell, that anyone will ever experience here on this earth. (And actually, even the gut-wrenching grief of a broken marriage or relationship can help people realize what God’s love is supposed to be; the covenant of marriage represents God’s unfailing, perfect sacrificial love, and when the object lesson doesn’t match up, it HURTS worse than anything most people have ever imagined).

With God’s help, may His Kingdom come and His will be done in our homes and marriages . . . and may our families not only reflect heaven, but also lead others to respond to God’s life and salvation through Jesus, so they can go to heaven too!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Delights – the perfect treat for your man!

Want to make an extra special treat for your husband or the special man in your life? These chocolate peanut butter delights will surely bring a smile to his face and increase his love for you! Remember the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and I have found it to be true. They are a true favorite for my hubby! Don’t stop creating special goodies for him and he will be a blessed and happy man!

1 cup peanut butter (creamy is preferred)
2 cups powdered sugar (you can substitute with ground rapadura/sucanat, if desired)
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 oz chocolate chips
3/4 Tablespoon paraffin household wax, optional (can be found in the baking section of your local grocery store)


  1. Mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, chopped nuts, and softened butter. Cover and chill in refrigerator till firm.
  2. Roll into small 1 inch balls and chill again till firm.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips and wax together in a double boiler, mixing constantly until fully melted.
  4. Place a toothpick in each ball and dip balls into melted chocolate and set up on wax paper.
  5. Chill balls again till firm. Serve and enjoy! Store in refrigerator.

The paraffin wax is an optional ingredient to help increase firmness and presentation. It can be easily eliminated or you can experiment with beeswax as a viable alternative.

Other yummy valentine treats:

Healthy Valentine Day Treats

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12 Ways to Love Your Hubby Without Saying a Word

Republished from the Archives…

Did you know that there are many ways you can love your man without even saying a word? This is one list of creative ideas to get you going, but certainly don’t be limited to these suggestions. Use your creativity and love on that man!

  1. Clean Laundry – clean socks, clean t-shirts, and clean under garments folded & put away. A simple service but keeps the man happy.
  2. Warm Bread, Favorite Meal, and a Cold Beverage (or just a nice dessert) waiting on the table when he comes home. (Maybe not necessary every night. I aim for a special meal or dessert once a week.) Serve him a candlelight dinner every once in a while!
  3. Not nagging during those times when he needs to rest and relax to be doing something else. Give him thirty minutes after he returns home to just rest and not demand his help with the kids, take out the trash, or some other service.
  4. Not nagging period.
  5. Not nagging about your period. ;)
  6. Smiling when your eyes meet his.
  7. Washing his truck, car, motorcycle…whatever his big boy toy might be. (Bonus points for cleaning the interior too ladies!)
  8. Stopping whatever “busy” work you might be doing to just sit and join him in whatever activity he is doing. Does he like puzzles, books, building things, playing music, watching football? We need to stop considering these interests to be a burden and learn to enjoy doing them with our husbands. This is one of the best ways to build your marriage…to simply enjoy being with him! When we stop to enjoy what they enjoy, it will grow to become our delight as well!
  9. Hold his hand whenever you can. Be it the mall, the grocery store, the neighborhood, or at church. Just whenever you can.
  10. Get to bed before him, take a nice warm bath, put on some perfumed lotion, something frilly or whatever you know he likes and wait.
  11. Schedule in times to rest. If our schedule is so full, my hubby tends to get really stressed out. A simple service to him is scheduling in periods of rest (whether it be a weekly Sabbath or vacation trips throughout the year).
  12. Greet him at the door with a smile and a kiss. How often do we get caught up in dinner preparations that we don’t even notice our husband’s return? Make a habit of stopping at the sound of his footsteps and give him a welcoming smile and kiss!
Thanks to ElizabethSue for the original list!

Do you have an idea to add to the list? Please share!

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The Best {Natural} Valentine to Give Your Husband

Photo by Marcus Hansson

Photo Credit

Post written by contributing writer, Michele.

Have you pulled out your wedding photo album in awhile? Go dust it off, browse through, and reminisce for a moment with me.

Remember that day…

The joyous leap of your heart at the sound of his voice…

That moment of walking down the aisle, giving him your hand and heart, your eyes drawn to his…

Feeling the rightness of his ring, slipped onto your finger…

The surreal discovery of oneness and laughter on those early honeymoon days…

The marriage of two imperfect people…

Storms of life can (and will) appear. Emotional scars, disconnectedness of busy schedules, tiredness of intense parenting seasons, and distractions of many kinds, can chip away at the sanctity- and priority- of marital intimacy. But Matthew 19:6 says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Joining Hands…

Is your husband receiving your rich desserts or weary leftovers? Are you busy doing “good things” for him (and your family), instead of giving him yourself? All of you- Just as you did that blessed wedding day those years ago.

If we allow the storms and distractions to divide and interrupt the intimacy of our marriage, it may not be “divorce,” but it is the beginning of separating what God joined together.

As you prepare your personal/family mission statement, intentionally plan and prepare to bless your husband in the bedroom- not just in the rest of his home with helpful home-keeping routines or meal plans.

Beginning Anew…

Prayerfully consider this aspect of your marriage. You may find a book such as Intimate Issues helpful as you prepare your heart anew; perhaps with some focused reading and prayer times in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day (or any day). Ask God to show you (and heal you of) any hidden areas of pain, distraction, guilt, etc. that may be hindering intimacy with your husband.

Just as we are conscious of avoiding artificial/chemical additives or spoilage in our food and choose healthy, natural options to nourish our family, we need to examine our heart to make sure nothing is “contaminating” the oneness of our marriage. What needs to be cleansed from your heart, to allow for greater intimacy?


As you strive to nurture the marriage relationship with your husband, you can create a fun date night at home with whatever you enjoy as a couple; such as a candlelit romantic meal or a massage with some rich, natural homemade lotion (a recipe is available in my eBook, A Natural Noel; perhaps substitute a more “manly” scent such as cedarwood essential oil instead of orange, if he prefers).

But in your preparations of cooking and lighting candles, don’t forget to focus on preparing your heart for him in oneness and vulnerability. Intimacy isn’t just another “thing to do” or a “quick fix” for your marriage; it means being transformed. Let him fully see the the gift of your heart, and the authentic joy he brings you.

More than anything else, the most precious, valuable gift you can give your husband is intimacy with you…. au naturale.

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January at Our Home

It’s been an exciting month of settling in, getting used to a new city, and adjusting to a new routine at our home. The Lord has been gracious every step of the way. I have made the error of turning the wrong direction on a one way street (and enjoyed a nice pregnant mommy cry in response). We found having a lock on the kids bedroom door was not a good idea when Titus locked himself in (thankful for the locksmith who rescued him without a charge!). I have discovered that consignment shops in the city are ridiculously priced (who wants to pay $12 for a used shirt?). And that you have to go to the outskirts to find good deals on pretty much everything.

We did find an awesome co-op from which we can purchase everything from local milk, to meat, to produce all in one stop – which is a huge blessing! We also discovered it is a 15 minute walk to church and the library, and we have a school playground practically in our backyard. The people we have met have been so welcoming, loving, and smiling. We also learned that it is possible to only have our garbage picked up once a month (you can recycle and compost practically anything in this city – check out Far West Fibers!). Now, does anyone have tips for composting in your back yard? God is good all the time!

1000 Gifts

I am picking up where I left off on my thankfulness list, as I didn’t include any last month, but I am still making my way towards completing my list of 1000 everyday gifts thanks to the inspiration of Ann Voskamp. This has been a transforming exercise and I highly recommend it! Has help transform my perspective in seeing each mundane moment as truly a gift.

#264 – A new home dedicated for hospitality
#265- Ty is rescued from bedroom for free
#268 – The gracious welcome from new neighbors – including dinner
#269 – An easy 5 minute trip to church
#270 – A discarded item is sold for a profit
#271 – An hour nap on a couch
#274- Being able to continue with my midwife – she is willing to make the extra trip! Yippee!
#277- Delicious filtered water
#278 – Fire oven pizza while dating my husband
#279 – All the boxes unpacked
#280 – Three mouths enjoying a juicy grapefruit
#289 – Walking a mile in heels and my feed didn’t fall off
#290 – A tummy beginning to pooch with new life
#291 – Making a new friend a library storytime
#292 – Cream soup – a favorite during this pregnancy!

To be continued…

January Reading

Ruth, A Portrait: The story of Ruth Belle Graham by Patricia Cornwell. I am so thankful for the list of wonderful biography recommendations from you all, and though I had read many of them already, this one stood out to me. It has been such a wonderfully refreshing and enjoyable read about such a courageous woman who was willing to sacrifice so much for the ministry God called her husband too. She was a beautiful and humble woman who did not like the spotlight and would sit somewhere hidden among the crowd rather than center stage. Highly recommend!

February Theme: Strengthening Your Marriage

We are excited to launch our new theme for the month of February here at Passionate Homemaking on the topic of building and strengthening your marriage. We’ll be chatting a bit about intimacy, date nights, special goodies for your man, and more. Do you have a topic idea for us? Please share.

May God richly bless you and yours!

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