The first topic in our mini-series—“Top Three”—is marital intimacy. By “top three,” we don’t mean a wife’s top three priorities as outlined in Scripture, but rather, the top three ways in which we can best fulfill the scriptural command to love our husbands—which will be different for everyone. But for my husband (and I suspect for many others), intimacy holds an unrivaled position at #1.
This topic of intimacy however, is only appropriate for married women to consider. Single women and young girls are, in the eloquent words of Solomon, not to “stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (S of S 2:7). For this reason, we are providing today’s post in a downloadable document and ask that unmarried women refrain from reading it. Married women, you can continue reading here.
This royal title was bestowed upon the GirlTalk blog by blogger Tim Challies. Each week Challies chooses a new recipient of this honor and features their posts on the sidebar of his blog.
Now, Mr. Challies, the GirlTalkers are honored to be awarded this prestigious title, and we were just wondering—does this come with anything? Given the designation “King” found in the title of your award, we thought that you might accompany this honor with, let’s say, a royal feast of some kind. Just in case you were wondering, my favorite restaurants are Outback and Houston’s. Although, we GirlTalkers also love to shop, and we would accept any and all donations toward a shopping spree. If these sound too low key, a cruise would work. I’m thinking the Bahamas or Hawaii. We would also be fine with Disney World if you are looking to simplify things. I leave this decision entirely up to you.
All joking aside, we do want to sincerely thank Mr. Challies for his kind words and encouragement. We feel as though we are barely keeping our heads above water with this blog thing, and being chosen “King for a Week” blessed each one of us. We also want to say a big “hello” to those of you visiting us for the first time from Mr. Challies blog. We hope you enjoy your visit!
For all of our regulars, take a moment and check out Tim Challies blog. While you are there, you can also read his recent review of Mom’s book, Feminine Appeal.
Once again, thank you to Tim Challies from all of us here at GirlTalk!
After posting last week’s Q&A on Guy/Girl Relationships, we received the following e-mail from a reader named Amy. She wrote to tell us her love story, which, besides being a fun read, beautifully illustrates the principles we laid out in that post. Amy’s story is full of the peaceful wisdom that comes from learning to trust in the Lord. And while no two love stories are the same, we can all be encouraged by this striking example of God’s sovereignty, which graciously rules over all our lives.
When I was a senior in high school, I developed a great friendship with two Christian guys, and I ended up falling for one of them. Although I never let on about my feelings, I had a terrible habit of overanalyzing his every move, hoping to find evidence that he was secretly in love with me. But I had no real reason to believe he was. And I didn’t know if he ever WOULD be interested in me. I think all I did was make myself crazy!
I also knew that the timing was off—having read and loved good old I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I was proudly (sometimes militantly ?) single, and I knew neither of us was ready for a serious, marriage-focused relationship. (I actually confided in my best friend at one point: “I don’t want to date Steve now. I just want to marry him later!”) Yet in spite of my confidence in a purpose-filled, focused season of singleness, I longed for God to just tell me in advance whether Steve and I would ever be together. I can’t tell you how many times I begged Him to give me some clarity one way or the other.
I knew that any sort of relationship might still be a few years away, but I foolishly reasoned that if God would just tell me, then I could let it go. I could either move on and forget about Steve if the answer was no, or if the answer was yes, I could rest in the knowledge that it would happen in a few years, and stop obsessing over it. What I didn’t yet understand was that God wanted me to learn to rest in HIM—not in the specifics of a plan concerning my love life. So of course I got no such clear answer. [Read More…]
This morning I received a joyous email from Noel Piper, telling me that her husband John’s prostate cancer surgery yesterday was a success. The Pipers are truly grateful for everyone’s prayers, and we ask that you continue to pray for a full recovery. You can read an update on the surgery at the Desiring God Ministries website. But I also want to encourage each of you to carefully consider John Piper’s article “Don’t Waste Your Cancer,” written on the eve of his surgery. Whether or not you are experiencing a physical trial right now, we will all experience suffering at some time in our lives. As a wise pastor in the furnace of his own personal trial, John Piper counsels us how to think about pain in light of God’s Word, and instructs us how not to waste it.
Hey y’all, you thought that these Valentine’s ideas were over, but we had to throw one more at you. A few people (thanks to Rachel for this particular one) sent us ideas which involved a 14 day countdown leading up to the big day. We didn’t start the contest early enough for you to actually use these ideas this year, but we wanted to begin sparking that creativity for next year…
I decided to do 14 Days of Valentine’s Day (similar to 12 Days of Christmas). Starting February 1 and continuing each day until February 14, I do something special to show my husband how much I love and appreciate him. This takes a bit of pre-planning (I collect ideas all year), but it’s well worth it! This year, things I’ve done include personalizing the lyrics of a song and putting them somewhere unexpected for him to find, baking heart-shaped cookies for him to find in his lunch box, filling his car with pink, red & white balloons and leaving a huge love note on the steering wheel for him to find after work, and creating a special evening for us after the kids were in bed, complete with candles, chocolate and a romantic board game. I can make the gifts as elaborate and expensive or as simple and inexpensive to fit my budget and time. This tradition helps me to focus on showing my husband my love in a way that I don’t often get to do as a busy mother of 2 toddlers, and makes Valentine’s Day itself extra special.
In my “study” of my husband (see Nicole’s post), I have found it handy to discover the three things that please him the most. This helps me in two ways. One, it enables me to do a quick evaluation in my mind as to how I’m doing in my marriage or what area I need to shore up. Secondly, it serves me in those “crazy busy” times when I am trying to juggle many different balls – and dropping some. Yet, if I can only keep a few balls in the air, I know which ones to choose.
Now, I know it is intimacy, encouragement and affection that top the “most pleasing to my husband” list. Consequently, if I give priority attention to these 3 areas, my husband’s happy, and often doesn’t even notice areas in which I might be doing poorly.
For instance, I’ve been doing a lousy job with meal preparation lately. My dinner meals have looked something like this: A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store with a couple of side dishes thrown together; hot dogs and coleslaw from KFC (my husband’s favorite coleslaw); peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and popcorn; frozen pizzas…. You get the picture. Pathetic, I know. However, I don’t think my husband has even paid attention (I just need to keep him from reading the blog today!).
What are the top three for your husband? Obviously, only you can figure that out. My guess, however, is that many husbands would list at least one of my husband’s top three in their top three as well. So, we’re going to do a little series on these three topics over the next few days. But in the meantime, why not quiz your husband over Valentine’s Day dinner? Find out what are three ways you can most please him.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Our little contest has come to an end. We only wish we were able to post more of your great suggestions. However, the time has come to announce the winner. Drum roll please…
The winner of the first official GirlTalk Valentine’s Day Contest is…Kathy! This woman’s ideas for expressing her love for her husband and children all day long is no doubt a memory they will always cherish. Congratulations, Kathy! We’ll be sending you a gift certificate good for one romantic dinner. And thanks again to all of you for your creative ideas. May our husbands, children, family members, friends, and even the unbelievers in our lives, know we cherish them today!
In previous posts, Mom and Kristin reminded us of the importance of prizing our husbands. How do we do this?
I think we can take a bit of wifely advice from two eighteenth-century women. Sarah Edwards (pictured left) was the wife of the uniquely brilliant theologian and pastor Jonathan Edwards, and Eliza Pinckney was wife to Charles Pinckney, a prominent South Carolinian lawyer. Sarah, it has been said, made it her goal to “study to suit” her husband. Eliza echoed these sentiments when she resolved, “To make a good wife to my dear husband…to make it my study to please him.” Cokie Roberts, Founding Mothers (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2004), p. 7.
Study to suit, study to please. This mentality runs contrary to the modern idea of a wife as an independent creature who should be free to pursue her own ambitions. And it goes against my natural, selfish tendency—which is to study to suit none other than myself. However, we should all strive to imitate these women’s godly model.
What are words we can say to our husband that would most bless and encourage him? How can we shape our lives, our priorities, and schedules around serving them? What are little preferences—about our appearance, the home, our life-style—which we can adjust to their liking? What is one way we can change to please them most?
Whether we’ve been married for thirty years or thirty days, let’s not assume we have achieved wifely perfection. Let’s go back to school if you will. Let’s study to please our husbands. Let’s closely observe them, take notes, and even ask them: “how can I suit you better?”
The result: our husbands will feel, and know that they are the most important person on this earth to us. And we will follow in the godly footsteps of wives such as Sarah and Eliza.
A reader wrote to ask if we: “had any bright ideas for all of us single girls on Valentine’s Day. I am trying to avoid sitting at home (or at a friends) and watching ‘chick flicks’ all night.” Good thinking!
Actually, another reader, Emily, wrote in with an idea. She and some friends, “had a Valentine’s dinner party where all the guests came wearing pink, the table was beautifully decorated with rose petals and individual boxes of chocolates, and we enjoyed a lovely meal together. It was such an encouragement for us to have fun and celebrate doing life with each other! It certainly showed us that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. So I’d challenge single girls to plan something exciting as well.”
Also, we recommend you take a peek at Solo Femininity before Tuesday. Carolyn McCulley has survival tips for “National Singles Awareness Day” but more importantly, several of her recent posts provide God-centered thoughts for singles. She writes:
“My dear single friends, as much as we do wear this label about our marital status, this is not our true definition. In view of eternity, our current singleness is not very important. What is priceless is that we’ve been found by perfect love. Having been captured by perfect love, our hearts are His to keep and His to define. That’s why we can joyfully accept this gift of grace in being single today.”
Well, you ladies have simply buried us under a mountain of creative Valentine’s ideas! There are too many for us to post on the main page of the blog. However we’ve included some of our favorites in a document (for wives only) to download.
We did want to share Kathy’s idea for blessing her entire family on Valentine’s Day. And don’t forget, we’ll announce the winner tomorrow!
As for Valentines Day itself, I do have some traditions that my husband and children USED to think were silly, but now look forward to. The day starts with heart shaped pancakes. My mom started the pancake tradition when I was a little girl, and STILL makes them for my dad…they just celebrated their 53rd anniversary!! Place settings for breakfast and dinner from dishes to glassware to table linens are combinations of pink and red. Each person in the family gets a some little gift from me at both breakfast and dinner: a card, a small nosegay of flowers, a tulle wrapped bundle of candy, homemade heart-shaped cookies, a stuffed animal with a Valentine theme, some type of “heart” jewelry for my daughter—you just never know what might appear on the table. Of course, there are surprises in everyone’s lunch: notes from me telling them how much I love them, napkins in a heart theme, a heart-shaped muffin perhaps. I’ve even been known to cut sandwiches into heart shapes. I also try to do something special for each person. This year, I will surprise each family member by doing a chore that usually belongs to them. I’ll try to pick the chore that each person MOST DISLIKES, and enjoy the looks on their faces when they go to do the chore and discover the chore is already done. Let’s not forget ending the day by sneaking some red foil wrapped Hershey’s Kisses onto each person’s pillow.