Heart to Heart

heart2heartHaving a great sex life requires intention. It doesn’t just happen. We should take great care to get to bed early sometimes so that we have time and energy remaining for an intimate encounter. We would also do well to hold loosely to our expectations for that encounter so that we are open to the blessing of unexpected detours that take us on a different journey of connecting.

Lying in bed, skin to skin and eye to eye, talking to our spouse can be an incredibly intimate experience. Yes, talking! Diving into the depths of being known spiritually and emotionally prepares the waters for us to dive deeper physically. Consider giving your spouse the gift of you by taking a detour and initiating a conversation that stretches you.  Sharing our inner thoughts doesn’t come naturally for most of us, but it connects us in undeniable ways.

We can share where we really are – with respect to our work, parenting, or with God. We can vulnerably share our growth points, our doubts, and our fears. We can courageously share those things that our heart longs to speak and yet shies away in fear, how we see struggles drawing us closer to God and each other, and our hurts that sting every time they cross our mind. When we share how God speaks to us and the things that He has recently shown us – giving our spouse not only the opportunity to know us more deeply, but the opportunity to encourage our growth and affirm the new fruit in our life.  We can share stories of divine encounters – with people, Scripture, creation or a song – that have touched us so deeply that we can’t retell them without tears of joy. We can share stories that lead to whole body laughs.  As we lay there physically naked, eyes locked, we are undressing our innermost being.

An intimate conversation with our spouse refreshes us. It builds security and trust. It leaves us feeling sturdy as we are reminded that we are always loved and accepted. Time seemingly stops as we dive into thoughts and connections that were prepared for that very moment. Heart to heart conversations produce a stillness in us as we feel grounded and glued to our spouse. Once we push past the fear of revealing our self, and choose to ignore the warning sirens of being too vulnerable, there is undeniable peace.  Being fully known by our spouse is the safest place we can be because we are living out God’s design within marriage.  This security then allows us to share our body with new confidence.

Capstone the heart to heart experience with becoming physically one and then drifting to sleep satisfied that you connected to your spouse with all of your being. I think this is the depth of knowing that God intended for marriage even before the fall.  Let’s reclaim His perfect delights. Ultimately, sex is more about the alignment of our hearts than our bodies.

How has knowing your spouse more emotionally and spiritually drawn you to knowing them more physically?

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Greeting Your Spouse

melanie-sq-webA visual representation of God’s love for me is a mental picture of His reaction whenever I come to Him.  He smiles and reaches to embrace me.  His greeting is the essence of warmth. No matter the circumstances or where I am emotionally, His unconditional acceptance and delight in my presence is evident. When I think about His loving response, I want to run to Him. I want to share my hopes, celebrate the joys of life, be shielded from my fears, be comforted in my sorrows and just be with Him.  What a welcome place of love My Savior is for me! For anyone who desires Him.

When I take that thought and mesh it with the truth that my marriage relationship is a reflection of my relationship with Christ, then I see a whole new application.  I think husbands and wives are supposed to be an unconditional place of love and acceptance for one another as well.  We are supposed to be each other’s safe place to escape the world and be reminded that we are always loved and delighted in regardless of the events of the day. I think we can convey and reaffirm that truth in a matter of seconds in the way that we greet one another. How would marriages change if husbands and wives intentionally greeted one another in a manner that conveys that they are each other’s great treasure?  Each of us would be built up regularly. Our positive perspective toward one another would be reinforced regardless of life’s circumstances. We would become interruptable, stopping to meaningfully greet one another whether we were in the midst of changing a diaper, carrying in the groceries or running off to work. I think our tanks would be overflowing.  Our kids would notice and feel secured (and possibly embarrassed, but that’s ok).  People would wonder what was going on.

I told my husband that I feel adored when he smiles and embraces me.  I thought it was important for him to know what small effort makes a huge impact on me. Ya know what? Whenever he leave our home, comes home from work, comes in from mowing the yard, or whoever, he makes an effort to find me, smile and embrace me. We momentarily disconnect from the world and reaffirm our love toward one another. It’s a moment of peace, safety and knowing that we are exactly where we belong – together.  Before I can even tell him what happened with the kids or ask him how his day went, we spend a few seconds melting into one and reminding ourselves what a blessing our marriage is. It doesn’t take long, but it speaks volumes. Our perspectives are recalibrated.  Warm feelings are allowed to grow. When we are apart, I remember our greetings and think about how much I love my husband. It’s so simple, yet it impacts everything.

Greeting our spouse is so important that we include a daily 15 second kiss or embrace as one of the homework assignments for the women in our Awaken-Love study. They often comment that they continue to do it even after the class ends because of the wonderful impact it has on their relationship with their husband.

How can you greet your spouse to show them that they are adored and delighted in?  Find out and incorporate it into your day. Let’s bring divine love into our mundane and experience flourishing marriages.

Keep me as the apple of your eye – Psalm 17:8

Intimacy and Sex as a Newlywed

Today’s guest post is by Sharelle Guyton who attended the women’s Awaken-Love study earlier this year. Sharelle shared thoughtful insights during the study and we are excited for you to read her thoughts about being a newlywed.

As a newlywed, I felt myself sort of fumbling through the principle of frequency. We are instructed to model intimacy with our husbands based on our intimacy with God. This includes our frequency of intimacy. But while single, the goal is to stray away from acting on your desires. When those two experiences collide, it feels a little confusing at first.

My husband and I are both finding that we are going through an adjustment period as it relates to frequency. I think the best way to think about sex as a newlywed is with an open mind and heart. Making a clean slate to rebuild and redefine sex based on the Word of God and the unique interaction of you and your husband. I pondered on what could be a practical method of improving this area of our intimacy.

Here the quick tips that I recently incorporated into my marriage to heighten frequency awareness.

First, Reminding myself of the importance of frequency because it models my intimate relationship with God. For example, the days I miss my prayer and study time, I am not as clear and grounded. I also feel less connected and more distracted by the world.

Second, I track the days my husband and I are intimate. For some wives this might seem like an annoyance or anxiety provoking. For me, it is an opportunity to see the truth.

Why did I start doing this?

We couldn’t remember when we were having sex but we wanted to know how often it was happening in a month. I figured the best way to get to the bottom of this mystery was document it.

By tracking the dates on my feminine phone app calendar (Pink Pad), what I realized is that we were  having sex way more often we realized! Two to three times a week but why did it feel like it was only happening twice a month!

Here’s what I learned by tracking our intimacy.

On average, how long it takes before we start feeling disconnected from one another without sex is much shorter than we assumed. Also, tracking keeps us accountable in prioritizing sex. I am also naturally a very competitive person and that works in my favor sometimes when I look at the calendar and want to increase frequency from the previous week!

If you find yourself forgetting the last time you were intimate with your husband or not sure how often sex is happening, try tracking it and see if it surprises you.

Happy Exploring!

-Sharelle Guyton

Face the Difficulties Podcast

The IMG_40452nd half of my podcast with Belah Rose at Delight Your Marriage is live!  Belah and I talk about how God’s best is for us to build unity in our marriage by facing our struggles and revealing our self to our spouse, rather than running away from difficulties or hiding our self from our spouse.  God wants to grow us and our spouse closer to Him and to each other.  We talk about the fruit that results from working through difficulties.  Thanks for checking it out! If you missed Part 1 of Belah and I’s discussion then listen in sometime!

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Journey to Sexual Freedom Podcast

Today, I am talking with Belah Rose over at Delight Your Marriage sharing how God has redeemed my marriage bed so that my husband and I can glorify Him by living out His original design for husbands and wives to be “naked and unashamed.”  Please head over to hear Part 1 and plan on returning next Tuesday for Part 2 of our conversation. While you are there, check out Belah’s other resources that inspire wives in wholehearted intimacy.

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In the Middle

Here we are in the middle of Christmas and New Year’s.

…in the middle of figuring out exactly where to put our new gifts.

…in the middle of debating whether to eat that cookie.  (The answer is yes!)

…in the middle of visiting family and friends that we don’t get to see often enough.

…in the middle of squeezing one more bundle of wrapping paper into the recycling bin.

It’s a festive time of year that takes us outside of our normal routines and creates many wonderful memory-making opportunities.

In the middle of it all, let’s take some time to remind our spouse that they are our favorite.  Steal them away into a bathroom or closet for a couple of minutes for a quick make-out session.  Invite them outside to sit alone with you while you share something that you appreciate about them or celebrate just how far your marriage has come this year.  Surprise them by initiating while visiting parents are sleeping down the hall.  Volunteer to run an errand together and take some time to make googly eyes in the car while you are out. Gather a simple breakfast that you can share in bed before you start your day. Do something together.  It’s ok to leave the visiting family for a short bit while you focus on one another.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of the holidays. There’s a lot of great stuff going on! Make sure you and your spouse remain connected in the middle of it all.

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Time to Revive

revivere·vive – verb
 1. restore to life or consciousness
2. to give new strength or energy to
3. to regain life, consciousness, or strength
The last couple of days I have stepped completely out of my comfort zone and joined with Time to Revive in North Minneapolis to tell others about the amazing gift that God gave us when Jesus took our sins on the cross. I have prayed with complete strangers, heard their stories, and walked them through the gospel message. It  has been both terrifying and exhillarating, but it is leading to new life in both the people I encounter, but also in me. As I step out and become more dependent on God, it is changing me and I am able to love others better.
We also need to revive our marriages. I don’t think it is a one time deal. It is a constant, intentional decision that we make. We need to restore our marriages to life, give them new strength and energy and regain life.   If we do not constantly revive our marriage, this world will erode it.
One of the training sessions I thought was especially applicable to marriage…
1. LOVE – Before we approach our husbands, we need to make sure that we are coming to them out of an attitude of love. If we are coming to them with an attitude of judgement, they will not hear us, they will shut down or put up walls. When we put ourselves aside and approach with an attitude of compassion and humility, our husbands will  open up. I have wives tell me all the time that they just wish their husbands would share more. The first step is to take a look at ourselves to see if we are judging them or  loving them exactly as they are.
2. LISTEN –  We need to speak less and listen more.  Don’t just listen to their words,  listen beyond the words and try to hear their heart. Ask questions, ask about what interests them, get excited about what excites them. You may have to get rid of the distractions – tv, phones, and computers. Sometimes for men, talking side by side while enjoying an activity or project together, can feel more natural. Make it your life’s passion to know your spouse.
3. DISCERN – There is no other way to do this than with the Holy Spirit. Filter and measure everything through God’s word and what He is speaking to you. Discern when to speak, when to serve, when to lay down, when to  touch, when to ask, when to wait, when to pray. In all that you do, filter it through the Holy Spirit.
4. RESPOND –  How can you love your husband better? What can you do that will make a difference in their life?  How can you serve them? What can you change that will make a difference in your relationship? How can you encourage them? What can you pray?
Doesn’t exactly sound easy, does it?
That’s why we need God. Rely on Him for everything. Your worth is in Him. You are a beloved daughter of the King. You are His Bride.

Battery Charger

women laughingWhen I feel good about myself, I have so much more to give to my husband. One of the ways that I take care of myself is by connecting with girlfriends. This weekend I am heading up to a cabin with 16 other women to recharge my soul. No doubt, there will be lots of great food and at some point during the weekend, we will laugh until we cry. But what will really fill my soul, will be worshipping with these women, hearing their stories of what God has done in their lives, and praying for each other. There is something powerful about women gathering together to build each other up, and at the end of the weekend, I will be recharged and ready to give my husband “me”.

Your mission this week is to make plans to have some girlfriend time with someone that can encourage you in your walk with God, and in being the best wife you can be.