Go Home and Give Your Best

Have you been busy at work? Overwhelmed with your schedule? Have you started to notice you’re wife and kids may not be getting your best? If you have started to feel as though you may be neglecting them – you can get things back to normal!

Maybe, like ET, it’s time to “phone home.” Pick up the phone and tell your wife you’re through serving her your emotional leftovers at the end of the day. Tell your family you’re sorry that you haven’t saved enough energy to give back to them. Let them see that you want to make an effort to change. Yes, at first it may be difficult to say those things; you’ll have to swallow your pride. But in the end, it’ll be worth it. And while you’re worried about your pride, your wife and kids will think you’re a hero. You’ll gain their respect because you were honest with them. Take a break from all the distractions and spend quality and quantity time with your family. It’s within your power to change their lives, as well as yours. Isn’t it time you got started?

Remember those great Motel 6 commercials? At the end, Tom Bodett would always say, “And we’ll leave the light on for ya!” Well, for some of you, the light is barely a flicker because it’s been so long since you were there. Let us coach you—go home. Go home to the love of your life and rediscover what brings lasting joy, pleasure, and deepened love. Go home to that special woman in your life. Honor her, thank her, and serve her. Just listen to this husband’s story:

“Too many guys are out there climbing the career ladder and pouring their lives into stuff—whether it’s hunting or golfing or work or money or stocks or a sports team, whatever it is. I need to tell you something. WAKE UP! Don’t take your wife for granted. There may come a time when you get a rude awakening and it’s going to hit you from left field. And it’s going to destroy everything. When you don’t meet your wife’s needs for intimacy, for communication, for connection, she might go looking somewhere else. Even if she doesn’t, you’re missing out on all that she has to give you. You need to make it your life objective to be a student of your wife and to understand everything that makes her tick—what makes her happy, what makes her sad. You need to be a servant to her. You need to make it your highest calling.”

You may not always have her in your life. Life is truly more precious than we realize.

Sex After the Baby

Q: I just had a baby and I’m not interested in sex. Is that normal?

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on  Unsplash

A: Oftentimes, new mothers find that their physical needs are satisfied with the new little creation that she longs to mother. The husband may understand his wife’s exhaustion and disinterest in sex because he knows it’s only temporary. But if it isn’t temporary, even for a completely understandable reason (crying children, sickness, tiredness, whatever it may be), he may shut down, pull away, or even worse, look to find it elsewhere.

Few feelings disrupt the emotional climate of a marriage as rapidly as sexual rejection. Rejection conjures up anger, resentment, bitterness, blame, disappointment, and failure. It damages self-esteem and weakens the marital union. When these feelings enter the marriage, couples stop talking.

The bigger picture is this: Sex can’t make or break a marriage, but the results of not having sex can. For women, sex is a vessel to achieve emotional intimacy. After a baby, she still expects her husband to meet her emotional needs—like saying he’s proud of her and cuddling with her—without the sexual intimacy. But for men, sex is intimacy. And when he’s not prioritized, he stops sharing and caring. When a man feels rejected or isolates himself, Satan is right there, ready to provide an alternative that will ruin not only a man’s family but also the generations that come after him.

Parenting isn’t supposed to make you celibate. You can enjoy a vital sex life if you pay attention to a few simple things:

1. Get some rest. Sleep-deprived spouses are not sexy. Take a nap. Take a 24-hour getaway and spend the first half sleeping so you can enjoy the second half.

2. Talk. Though this is often difficult for a man to do, talk about your sex life. Let each other know what you expect and need sexually. Ask him: How often do you need sex? What do you want me to do more often? What does it mean when I initiate sex with you? How can I show I am not in the mood for sex without making you feel rejected?

3. Let your husband know you are committed to sexual intimacy. Call him in the middle of the day to tell him you can’t wait until tonight after the kids go to bed. Leave him notes in hidden places.

4. Take “marriage vitamins.” Romance each other at least once a day. Kiss and hug. Flirt with each other.

5. Schedule time for sex. This may not sound romantic, but it’s better than the alternative of not having sex at all.

Supporting Your Husband When You Don't Agree

Q: I know I’m supposed to support my husband, but sometimes he says/does things I just don’t agree with. How can I voice my objections without starting a huge fight or embarrassing him in front of his friends?

Photo by  Joanna Nix  on  Unsplash

Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash

A: The first thing you need to do is talk to God. Let him show you if this is an issue you need to bring to your husband or if you need to back off. God will give you the guidance and the wisdom. If it’s clear that you need to discuss the situation, ask God for an opening—the right time, the right place, the right words to say, the right tone of voice. Always do this in private—not even the kids should hear this discussion. This way you’re not confronting your husband or embarrassing him; instead, you’re voicing a concern. You can express that you’ve prayed about the situation and it’s still on your heart, so you wanted to talk about it with him.

When you disagree with your husband, be sure he understands that you’re not trying to undermine his leadership or God-given authority. Disagree with the issue, the content. Keep the disagreement about substance. Don’t attack him. Let your husband know that you will honor him.

Does a man need his wife’s support? Of course. Scripture says that you are to be his helper—his “vice president.” In any organizational structure, it is a wise president who listens to the advice of his vice president. As head of the home, your husband has the responsibility of the final decision. But a wise husband listens to his wife and gets her input. But he’ll be far more willing to listen depending on how you approach him.

Ultimately, the better the relationship between you and your husband, the better you’ll each be able to voice concerns and talk through the tough issues. So continue to build up your marriage relationship by loving him well. God designed each of you differently, so it’s likely the things that make you feel loved may not be the same things that make him feel loved. Here’s a short list of ideas for ways to love your husband well:

  1. Make time alone with him a priority. In this busy world, other things become more important than husband-and-wife time. Learn to say no in order to love, honor, and cherish your husband above all else.

  2. Honor his favorite things. Make a list of his favorites—such as favorite dinner, dessert, date activity, TV program, etc.—and make sure he gets to enjoy those things.

  3. Tell him what you need. He can’t read your mind—at least not always!

  4. Lift a burden. Ask him, “If I could take something off your to-do list today, what could I do for you?”

  5. Allow him to be himself. Don’t assume that your husband is going to think, feel, or behave as you do or as “the ideal husband” does. He will make mistakes. Allow him that freedom.

  6. Affirm your husband’s maleness by showing interest in his hobbies. Attend a sporting event with him or join him in the garage occasionally. If he participates in sports, be there to cheer him on.

  7. Be more curious of your husband than critical. Don’t judge him. Investigate and ask questions about why he does the things he does.

  8. Appreciate his hard work. Thank him for working for you and the family. Let him know that you notice and admire his work.

  9. Praise him to your children. Tell the kids how hard he works and what a good man he is. Tell them how much you love him and how important he is to you.

  10. Compliment his efforts to be sensitive. If he makes special attempts to understand, listen, or comfort you, let him know how meaningful they are to you. Be specific about what you particularly like.

I Blew It! Now What?

Q:  I really blew it. How can I regain the trust of my spouse?

A: Once trust is broken, it’s very difficult to rebuild—not impossible, just difficult. Listen to one of our heartbroken callers:

Photo by  Bruno Aguirre  on  Unsplash

 “I just was calling to see if you guys could help me figure out a way to get my wife to forgive me for some things that I have done. I had a problem with pornography over a two-year period, and a lot of people were hurt during my time of addiction. It was all brought to a head about six or seven months ago, and my wife just can’t forgive me for it.”

If you’re facing a situation where you’ve really hurt your spouse and you’ve broken trust, you have to realize that you can’t “get” your spouse to forgive you. What you must do first is find your personal peace. You need to confess your sin to the Lord and you need to be cleansed. You need to be walking with Christ. And then you know what? You need to change. And that’s repentance. You need to turn away from whatever behavior caused the problem so that over a time your spouse can begin to trust you again.

In the past, you lied. So what do you do? Now you tell the truth. Everything that comes out of your mouth should be truthful. Your spouse longs for you to be all that God made you to be. Your spouse needs you to be a person of integrity. But you just can’t put that on. It’s going to take some time; it’s going to show itself in the smallest decisions. Stick to your word in the smallest of things. Stay away from those places that you know are going to tempt you. Get some people in your life—including your spouse—who will hold you accountable. You fight the lies by telling the truth. Let that beautiful refreshment of the Spirit of God wash through your spirit and clean out the stuff that was pulling you down. If you have trouble within your mind, then confess it to God and start memorizing some Bible verses so that whenever temptation comes, you can remember the Word.

It’s a process and it’s going to take time. If you have hurt your spouse deeply or repeatedly, he or she may be willing to forgive you, but that doesn’t mean that the relationship is completely healed and that you can go on as if nothing happened. For true restoration to occur, you must be willing to work at rebuilding your spouse’s trust over a period of time. You need to prove to your spouse over the long haul that your confession, contrition, and repentance are genuine. Listen to another caller:

 “I want to encourage everybody out there who’s going through a breakup, separation, or divorce. My wife and I went through a separation for eight months. I cheated on her. She forgave me, but she didn’t trust me. It took a long time for her to finally get a little bit of trust back. We did counseling. I would like to encourage people in that situation to just hold steady and trust in God and seek God in this time. It’s very important. I knew that my wife and I were meant for each other, even though I had messed up. I knew that what I had done was grounds for divorce.—and divorce was mentioned several times. But now we’re back together. We’re still going to counseling and we are trying every day. It’s not easy. But you know what? Christ can redeem a broken relationship and turn it around.”

Trust isn’t rebuilt overnight. If you have been unfaithful to your spouse, it may take long months of single-minded devotion before a foundation of trust is reestablished. The sanctity and peace of your relationship may be in ruins at your feet, but through the power of Christ’s redeeming love, your marriage can be transformed from rubble to restoration. Begin that healing process today. Begin to rebuild trust today. Be faithful and patient, and you will experience the restoration you seek.

*Our book, Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage, can help you understand different conflict styles and teach you how to move toward forgiveness and healing!

Spiritual Intimacy: A Top Sex Need

In the last several months, we’ve discussed the top three sex needs for both men and women. For all the differences men and women have, our survey suggests that husbands and wives essentially want the same things in their sex lives: relationship, intimacy, and fulfillment. The differences arise from the ways we pursue those needs: men through the physical act, women through emotional connection.

Photo by congerdesign

Photo by congerdesign

In the next few months, we’re going to take a look at the final top sex needs of men and women.  This month, we’ll cover a woman’s #4 sex need: Spiritual intimacy. What does spiritual intimacy have to do with your sex life? Well, it’s something you do outside the bedroom and something you do for and with your spouse. The result when it’s fulfilled? An enhanced sex life.

A husband often does all he can to take care of his wife by providing for her, but sometimes he doesn’t tend her soul, her spirit, her innermost beliefs and passions. His spiritually starved wife would often trade all the vacations in the world for a little spiritual intimacy from her husband.

How is tending to your wife’s spiritual side a sexual need? Women all over the country tell us the same thing: “When my husband takes the lead spiritually, by praying, reading his Bible, or going to church, I am drawn to him on a deep level. It makes me feel so secure that I am eager to give myself fully to him.”

Women are so serious about spiritual intimacy with their husbands that 58% ranked it as a top sex need. If you want to release deep passion in your wife, then get serious about connecting with her spiritually.

What Is Spiritual Intimacy?

You will experience deep spiritual intimacy when you have a mutual, heartfelt desire to be close to God, when you seek God’s direction for your marriage—even for your sex life. Spiritual intimacy means that in the midst of conflict, you honor and ­respect each other. You don’t put each other down in an attempt to win; you think about how God would want you to act in the situation. You become united together through prayer. You unite under biblical principles for your lives and marriage. You actively invite God into every aspect of your marriage, including sex.

A wife deeply desires to pursue God with her husband. She wants to have spiritual conversations, to read the Bible together, and to pray together. A wife is attracted to a husband when he provides spiritual leadership.

God designed the husband to be the spiritual leader in the marriage. And your wife really wants to see you succeed in that. When you spiritually lead your wife, she feels encouraged to trust you more. When a husband and wife build their marriage on the foundational commitment to pursue God above all, they are able to share fears, anxieties, joys, and dreams. They are free to experience transparent honesty, knowing that they love each other unconditionally and that neither will ever walk away.

How to Meet Your Wife’s Need for Spiritual Intimacy

Pick a few of the following suggestions and begin the process of meeting your wife’s need for spiritual intimacy.

1.  Ask your wife what she needs. The best way to start meeting your wife’s need is to ask her how she would like you to build spiritual intimacy with her. Don’t let her give general ­answers. Probe exactly what she means. If she says, “I want you to be the spiritual leader in our marriage,” ask her what that looks like to her on a daily, practical level.

2.  Be honest about your awkward feelings. If you are uncomfortable talking about spiritual things, start slowly. One great way to start is for each of you to share the history of your spiritual life. Use the following questions to discover more about your partner’s faith:

  • What did your parents believe about God, Jesus, church, prayer, and the Bible?

  • How and where did you first learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? At what age?

  • What has been the greatest spiritual experience of your life?

3.  Pray for your wife. More than anything else—more than flowers, candy, candlelit dinners, or gifts—your wife needs you to be her “soul protector.” Pray for her throughout the day. Pray for her struggles and her dreams. Ask God to show you ways to meet her needs.

4.  Pray with your wife. Praying together is probably the strongest knot that binds a couple. Praying together may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, so use these tips to minimize self-consciousness and make you aware of God’s presence in your life.

  • Set aside time to pray together. It could be any time of the day that works for you. If doing it daily seems like a stretch, pray together once a week, maybe on Sunday evening.

  • Share prayer requests regularly. Informing each other of your needs is an important way to open your hearts to each other and to know where to start in meeting each other’s needs.

  • Talk about how God has answered your prayers in the past.

  • Pray out loud together for each other, for your marriage, and for your family.

6. Encourage your wife spiritually. To get started, complete these four statements together:

  • You could help me grow in my faith by . . .

  • I feel most comfortable praying with you when we . . .

  • We could grow together in our faith if we . . .

  • We could serve God together by . . .

7. Become a spiritual sounding board. Tune in and listen to your wife. If she has a greater need to talk about spiritual things than you do, don’t be put off. Listen. Ask questions. Share your insights with her.

8. Focus on your wife’s spiritual strengths. When you see her make a difficult decision based on her convictions, affirm and encourage her. When you are drawn to God because of her, let her know.

9. Practice forgiveness. When you and your wife have an ­argument or when she has hurt or frustrated you in some way, know that any unresolved offense can block all kinds of intimacy—emotional, physical, and spiritual. When you sense a wall between you and your spouse, something is wrong. Take responsibility for your wrongs. Ask for forgiveness. And when your wife does the same, choose to forgive her.

*For more revealing insights about what your spouse’s most intimate sex needs are - and how to meet them - check out The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women in our online bookstore!