Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary

Today marks the beginning of our Christmas break, but it’s also the day we celebrate our three year CN blog anniversary. We are amazed and humbled by how many people read our blog everyday. We appreciate this platform that God has given us to encourage women in their marriages and, specifically, in their god-given sexuality. It’s so fun for us to see the community of women here encouraging one another. For so many of you we hardly have to even read your comments before approving them because we know you always have godly input to add to the discussions. So today as we celebrate this anniversary milestone we thank you for all your support and involvement.

We also want to wish you the merriest of Christmases and pray that you encounter the love of God in a new way this year as you celebrate the birth of our Savior. May your times with your loved ones give you joy and peace. And for those in difficult circumstances either financially or relationally, we pray that God would provide for you in surprising ways.

Merry Christmas and all the best for you and yours in 2011!

Sentence Starters

Finish the following sentence in the comment box:

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I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can count on my husband …

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Love Language Minute: Helping Your Husband Grow

Wives can’t change their husbands, but wives can and do have a tremendous influence on their husbands.  How can you make that influence positive?

1.    Men respond positively to praise. One of the most common complaints men make in my office is: “Dr. Chapman, in my work I am respected.  People come to me for advice.  But at home, all I get is criticism.”  What she considers suggestions, he reads as criticism.  Her efforts to stimulate growth have backfired.

Give him praise.  The fastest way to influence a husband is to give him praise.  Praise him for effort, not perfection.  You may be asking, But if I praise him for mediocrity, will it not stifle growth?  The answer is a resounding “No”.  Your praise urges him on to greater accomplishments.

My challenge is to look for things your husband is doing right and praise him.  Praise him in private, praise him in front of the children, praise him in front of your parents and his parents, praise him in front of his peers.  Then stand back and watch him go for the gold.

2.   Requests are more productive than demands. None of us like to be controlled, and demands are efforts at controlling.  “If you don’t mow the grass this afternoon, then I’m going to mow it.”  I wouldn’t make that demand unless you want to be the permanent lawn mower.  It is far more effective to say, “Do you know what would really make me happy?”  Wait until he asks, “What?” Then say, “If you could find time this afternoon to mow the grass.  You always do such a great job.”

Let me illustrate by applying the principle to you.  How do you feel when your husband says “I haven’t had an apple pie since the baby was born.  I don’t guess I’m going to get any more apple pies for eighteen years”?  Now, doesn’t that motivate you?    But what if he says, “You know what I’d really like to have?  One of your apple pies.  You make the best apple pies in the world.  Sometime when you get a chance, I’d really love one of your apple pies.  Chances are he’ll have an apple pie before the week is over.  Requests are more productive than demands.

3. Love is a two way street. If a wife wants to enhance her husband’s ability to give her emotional love, perhaps her greatest influence will be in loving him.  In my book, The Five Love Languages, I talk about the importance of discovering your husband’s primary love language – the thing that really makes him feel loved: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, physical touch, or acts of service.  Once you discover it, pour it on.  Husbands are drawn to wives who are meeting their emotional need for love.

Can you do it, even if he is not loving you.  God did.  He loved us when we were unlovely.  But that’s God.  I’m me.  I know, but you are God’s child and He can empower you to love an unlovely spouse.  I’ve seen it many times.  A wife chooses to speak her husband’s love language, even though she doesn’t feel loved by him.  He warms up and in time begins expressing her love language.  Can emotional love be re-born in a marriage? You bet.  But someone must begin the process.  Why not you?

4. Defensiveness reveals the inner self. A wife says, “Why does my husband get so defensive?  All I have to do is mention that the grass needs mowing and he goes ballistic.”

This husband is revealing his self-esteem hot spot.  Some experience in his past has tied his sense of self worth to mowing the grass.  Your mention of the grass translates “She thinks I’m not doing my job.  I work like crazy, and now she is on my case about the grass.”  He sees it as a negative statement about his worth.

I know you didn’t mean it that way.  That’s why I suggesting you observe his defensiveness, so that you can learn what is going on inside of him.  We don’t know these emotional hot spots until we touch one.  It would be a good idea to make a list of all your husband’s defensive reactions.  Note what you said and did and how he responded.  This insight will help you discover another way to discuss the topic that will be less threatening to his self-esteem.

Both husbands and wives hold a tremendous influence on their spouse. However, it is up to you whether your influence is positive.

Excerpt taken from Dr. Gary Chapman


Weekly poll #75: How do you feel about your husband “taking you”?

No foreplay, no nothing…

Monday’s Mission #130

Since this is the last mission of the year and this Monday Mission feature may be replaced with something new in 2011, your mission is to remember that any one of these one hundred and thirty missions could be done at any time to bless your husband. Take time to read through them every so often to see if there are ways that you could offer a reminder of how much you love your husband. Some of them are physical challenges and some of them challenge us emotionally or spiritually. You’ll be blessed in the process too.

Sentence Starters

Finish the following sentence in the comment box:

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If my husband asked to suck my toe, I would ______.

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Loving By Serving

I received this Love Language Minute in my email inbox, and thought it would be a good article to share if you or your spouse have the “acts of service” love language.

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Get the Facts
Before marriage we are carried along by the emotions of the “in love” obsession. After marriage we revert to being the person we were before we “fell in love.” This reality has implications for the single who is contemplating marriage.

Before you marry, you best find out what your potential spouse was like before the two of you “fell in love.” Ask  parents, siblings,  work associates and friends, but by all means ask questions. Did they have an anger problem? Where they depressed? Were they friendly of selfish? Dependable or irresponsible? Did they have a problem with alcohol or drugs? Get the facts. Don’t let the “in love” experience blind you to the truth.

Request vs. Demand
One of the five love languages is “acts of service”. For some people, this is their primary love language. However, sometimes people make the mistake of demanding “acts of service.” “If you loved me you would help me around the house.” But, true love is a choice and cannot be coerced. Criticism and demands tend to drive wedges.

With enough criticism your spouse may do what you want, but it will not be an expression of love. You can give guidance to love by making requests: “Would you please mow the grass?” But you cannot create the ‘will’ to love. Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love. If ‘acts of service’ is the primary love language of your spouse then ‘mowing the grass’ will be loves loudest voice.

Listen Closely
If your spouse often criticizes you for not “helping them”, they are telling you that ‘acts of service’ is their love language. People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need. Their criticism is an ineffective way of pleading for love. If you understand this, you might respond more positively to their criticism.

You might say, “It sounds like that is really important to you. Could you explain why it is so crucial?” Initiating such a conversation may eventually turn the criticism into a request rather than a demand. When you hear a criticism, it’s time to listen. Your spouse is giving you valuable information about what would make them feel loved.

Servant or Slave?
Are you a doormat or a lover? A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like. It has no will of its own. It can be your slave, but not your lover. When we treat our spouses as objects, we preclude the possibility of love. No person should ever be a doormat. We are called to be servants.

Jesus said about himself, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” That should be our attitude. “What can I do to help you?” reveals a loving attitude. “You do this or you will regret it.” Is the language of slavery. There is a vast difference between being a servant and being a slave. The servant acts out of love. The slave lives in response to fear.

Learn to Speak Your Spouse’s Love Language
Recently a wife said to me, “I’m sending all of my friends to your marriage seminar.” “Really, why?” I asked. “Before the seminar, Bob never helped me with anything. We both had our careers, but it was always my job to do all the house work. After the seminar he started asking me, “What can I do to help you this evening?”

“I’ll have to admit that at first there were trying and humorous times. The first time he did the laundry he used bleach instead of detergent. Our blue towels came out with white polka dots. But eventually he learned. It’s wonderful. And, it’s been going on for three years now.” Why was this wife so happy? Because her husband learned to speak her love language.

Adapted from The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman.

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