Beauty for Ashes

          maxresdefault (1)                             

 

On Friday, September 29th, I was asked to speak for the women at our church for their Fall Celebration Dinner. I was asked to share how I exchanged Beauty for Ashes.

So, I wanted to now share with each of you my message from that evening. Yes, I have shared of what it means to be a survivor and how to not play the “victim” card; however, after that evening, I felt God move so much deeper in so many ladies lives that night because of my obedience and transparency.

So here is my message. May God speak to each of you as He continually speaks to me.

At around the age of 8 my mother allowed a male family member to live in our house that sexually abused me over a period of time.  The instability in my young life allowed for me to “neatly” package these experiences away. It wasn’t until the age of 37, 17 years into my marriage, did I finally realize that in order to heal I had to acknowledge my abuse. Even though I never admitted the abuse, it permeated into the intimacy of my marriage and the ability to deeply know the fullness of my Savior Christ!

Let me explain the “Trigger Point” that brought me to the beginning of my healing. Joe was officiating a wedding and as he spoke to the couple about how important transparency was in a marriage it hit me that I wasn’t being transparent to Joe, not myself. I knew my hurt was like a wound that was festering. It was gaping and severely infected at the time. I truly believed that if I never looked at it, acknowledged it, that it somehow didn’t exist. So very silly to think that way; however, I truly believe that we all do that with so many things in our lives.

I had to speak it, bring it to life, acknowledge it before I could begin the healing process.

During my healing process I realized God was there. He never left my side. It is difficult to think about God being there, but I believe God saw the crown on my head-He saw the ending before it even began.  He protected me physically and mentally when my young mind couldn’t process what was happening. Christ–as fully man and fully God–knew the feeling of shame and embarrassment. Anything I was feeling or thinking, if it was anger or sadness, I could give it to Him.

The healing process took a couple of years, many a bit longer. I would truly think I dealt with it all, then a memory would come up and the process would start all over again. I now truly see God speaking to me during those times, “OK, you are owning this part, now let me give you this piece to add to the overall picture.”  It also took Joe time for him to process and heal as well. For the first couple of months he was ready to get on a plane, find him, punish him and even possibly place him in a place no one would ever find him. Joe’s anger and rage was only tempered by God’s grace and the men of God who surrounded him. We all needed and took “baby steps” in this healing process.

My abuser has since passed away and I really do pray that that before he passed away he surrendered his life to Christ and sought forgiveness.

During this healing process and every day since, Isaiah 61:3 comes alive in my soul!

I want to share with everyone on how His words spoke directly to my pain and abuse.

“To all who mourn in Israel, He will give you a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, a festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.”    Isaiah 61:3

 

When I gave Him my past, He let the hurts completely burn and all that was left was ashes.

“To all who mourn in Israel, He will give you a crown of beauty for ashes,”

719481F3-8E02-4790-B75C-D37FB2653F8A-352-0000013985D23EA2

The definition of ash is the solid residue left when material is thoroughly burned.  Think about it, these hurts can no longer be a fire again that can dictate my fears or thoughts. To get those ashes burning I must add something to them to create the activation energy needed.  This is why I must not use my past as a reason to think or behave in a negative way. When I fully gave Him my hurts — they became ashes. And the beautiful thing is that He took my ashes and gave me a beautiful crown.

95DFE6E0-4776-4DDA-BCB0-F4A8C3877592-352-0000013B66D476F9

The definition of a crown is a reward of victory or a mark of honor. Something that imparts splendor, honor, or a finish, a culmination. I love that last part- a culmination- an attained objective. God not only was with me during my abuse, but was walking with me, healing me, turning my hurt to ruins, and then in turn He took my ashes and in turn, gave me a Crown!  A Crown He places on my head! WOW. He has always seen that Crown on my head, always.

 

a joyous blessing instead of mourning,”

I have an option here. Will I choose blessing or mourning? I choose blessings. The blessing of forgiveness that He shows to me for holding on to the past and letting it infect my marriage relationship. And to the forgiveness that I can offer my offenders: my mother and my abuser.

My mother and I never had an intimate relationship. I probably spoke to her once a year. When I found out she had cancer, I made a trip to see her in August of 2016. When I was there I asked her if she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She replied, “Yes Kerry.” That was closure for me. When she passed away this past June, I took comfort in the fact that we will both be together in Heaven and will have a whole new and restored relationship together.

Because He forgave me I can forgive others.

The blessing of hope of the future that offers peace. The blessing of His truth and not the poison of the world that tell me to live out my past as anger. The blessing of being able to share with others the healing. I love what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. This is what it says from the Message:

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 

All circumstances can lead to His Glory. That is the reason I am standing here right now.

 

“a festive praise instead of despair.”

Again, I have an option. Because of that, I choose to praise Him.

Have you ever gotten ashes on your hands? They come off on everything you touch. To me this is a picture of despair. I will not take the ashes of my past hurt and spread them on myself or to others as a sign of “poor me.”

Praise shakes up the enemy and empowers us to be bigger than our circumstance. Praise is being active in the healing process. Praise is showing that the Lord is great and powerful. Praise requires intentional thoughts and actions and I want to be intentional in my walk.

 

“In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.”

When I choose joyous blessings, when I choose festive praise, I then stand in righteousness.

E290EC14-D628-4FBA-8FDD-FCB46D1DBF9F-851-000001499C321066

Remember this: A great oak tree stands for strength, but it starts off as a seed.

Oak sapling sprouted from an acorn.

Let me show you something amazing about our creator God. Look at this other definition of a crown. The region of a seed plant at which the stem and root merge. He makes us like great oaks but it starts off as a crown. And in order to grow we need to stay in Him.

CF80E795-E711-4E5A-9D58-DB4965C590CE-352-0000013855659325

When we are submerged in Him we grow deep roots and become stronger in Him. The outcome is we grow like a great oak that He planted for His glory

95DFE6E0-4776-4DDA-BCB0-F4A8C3877592-352-0000013B66D476F9

When we give Him our hurts and truly let Him in our lives we see His grace and love. We see that those hurts are now ashes. We give Him our ashes and He gives us a crown of beauty. A reward for our victories in Him that marks the splendor of His love!

 

Thank you for taking time to read about my journey: Beauty from Ashes.

May you look for those hurts that are in your life and replace them with a Crown of Beauty!

-Kerry

 

Time Bomb of Sexual Abuse

“Sexual abuse places an emotional time-bomb in you. When and where it goes off is usually unpredictable. Time, circumstances and honesty will pull that trigger.” -Unknown

shutterstock_106027019

Saturday evening, April 19, 2008. Joe was performing a wedding ceremony for a young couple that we had journeyed with through pre-marriage counseling. Joe had used Genesis 2:24-25 as the foundation for the weeks of counseling. “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”  Joe summed up the verses in these 4 statements: Leave-Cleave-Become One-You Are Not Ashamed.  The last statement, “You are not ashamed” is that of moving towards transparency in your marriage. The two were naked, transparent, towards one another, and yet they felt no shame in being truly open and honest with each other.

As he shared and encouraged that young couple in the last statement during the ceremony, that is when my “emotional time-bomb” went off. That evening, everything changed in our marriage. For that instant in time, I was a scared little girl, afraid of what may become of my life. Fear or what I did to cause this pain and trouble. Fear that Joe would not understand. Fear to share. Fear.

I will not go into details of my sexual abuse. That is not where I live any longer. I am still on this journey of healing. My scars have all but healed. My memories of those years as a young child are still vivid and clear. However, as I stated last week, I chose not to dwell on the past. I am no longer a victim. I am beyond a survivor. I am a New Creation in Christ. That is where I stand. That is where I live. In Him.

That evening in 2008 I spoke through tears to my husband. I shared with him what had happened in my life as a child. I remember watching his face. The wave of emotions pouring through his eyes as he listened. He will share with you this week what he felt. How he responded. However, I was now more scared than ever because of the rage he displayed towards the one who abused me. Yes, I knew my abuser. Joe even met him once, without knowing my background. You see, almost all sexual abuse victims know their abuser. They are friends, family, neighbors. They are “trusted” and they continually groom their victims into shame and guilt.

As I stated, this began a journey for Joe and me. We both immediately sought counsel. We were very selective in who we shared this information with. The shame and guilt still loomed heavy and large over our lives. The next few years were a cacophony of emotions and communication with each other. Again, remember, this is necessary for healing. We move from Victim, to Survivor, but then to Christ. But that path is still enveloped with pain.

Let me bring some clarity to the years that followed that April evening. I realized that during those years of abuse, God was there. Listen closely before you get all worked up. He was there weeping and hurting alongside of me. He never left me. In fact, I know He gave me “Spiritual Amnesia” so I could move forward in life. He placed Joe in my life. He blessed us with two beautiful daughters. He gave us time to grow as husband and wife. He also knew the time and place that the truth would be revealed. He was there then. He has always been with me. That’s when I realized that He loved me so much that He died on the cross for me.

I am no longer a victim. No I choose not to wallow in the past. I will not allow the abuser to control my life through fear and guilt. I became a survivor. In the initial years after sharing with Joe and a selected few, I chose not to wallow but to move forward. I chose to forgive my abuser. Yes, you heard me correctly. I spent countless hours praying and seeking God’s comfort and peace during this time. I spent hours praying for my husbands heart to be healed as well. During that time with God, He made it clear that His Son died for my abuser as well. That I should allow Christ to take on that burden and I should forgive him for the past. Let me be honest and fair, that was one of the most difficult times in my walk with Christ; however, it was so liberating! This is when I moved from survivor to New Creation. I now knew what that verse meant in 2 Corinthians. I owned it and I began to live it out and still do to this day. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”       2 Corinthians 5:17

This is my prayer for those who still hold onto the title of “Victim.” Sexual abuse is rampant in our society today. It was not and is not your fault! It is also not ok!  The latest data shows that 3 of 5 women have been sexually abused by the age of 25. Those are the ones reported. Some reports place that closer to 85%. Seek strong counsel today. You MUST move from victim to survivor. The world teaches us that being a victim is ok. That you are entitled to your darkness. Listen to me please, no you are not. Let go of the past. Disarm your abuser and move forward. Yes, you will have “scars” but they need to be healed. I will go into greater detail next week.

Finally, also know this. I could not have traveled this journey without Jesus Christ. When I surrendered my life to Him, He took on my pain and suffering for me. He held me close and has never let me go. I no longer dwell in the past, even as a survivor. I am a New Creation in Christ. That’s where I stand.  You can too. It’s never too late.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.””               Matthew 11:28-30

 

Kerry

 

Adulterous Affairs Don’t Begin with Sleeping Together

“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming.”  Song of Songs 2:15

1405490579-in-pics-keep-your-office-romance-a-secret_570x379

Adulterous Affairs Don’t Begin with Sleeping Together; they begin with inappropriate friendships. Friendship and emotional attachments with people of the opposite sex can spell danger for your marriage. This is where you husbands, must daily make a choice to protect your marriage. Wives, this is for you as well.  What do you chose?

 

Kerry and I have witnessed many couples who “innocently” will become emotionally attracted to a member of the opposite sex. They become “bored” with the relationship they are in and begin to truly believe that there is something better for them. Instead of investing into their own marriage by seeking counsel and choosing to focus on where they are falling short in the marriage, they instead begin to drift away-emotionally and physically, and especially-spiritually.

 

So here are 4 Warnings for you to be aware of in your marriage and heed immediately.

 

 

  1. Protect your marriage by avoiding private communications and intimate conversations with people of the opposite sex. Too often we see Social Media and Texting becoming a hidden area of spouses worlds. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you and your spouse share the same pass codes and that at any given time, they have the right to look into your phone for emails, texts, social media posts and IM’s. You have nothing to hide from your spouse…Nothing.

 

 

  1. Beware of workmates who seem too concerned with your personal private life; those that tell you “let me know if you need anything.” That’s the beginning of an open invitation to draw closer to them instead of your spouse. Do not share intimate details with workmates about the trials and struggles in your marriage. If you need to talk to someone, find a marriage counselor, a pastor or find another couple that shares your values and the four of you take time to talk it out.

 

 

  1. Beware of those that give you exaggerated and suggestive compliments about the way you look. Regardless of what is happening in your marriage don’t give the Devil a foothold in your marriage by falling victim to this trap. Let your workmates know there are things you won’t tolerate. Enough said…

 

 

  1. Keep a healthy physical, social and emotional distance between you and people of the opposite sex. This is the most important facet to all of these warnings. Your workmates need to know without a doubt that you are married, that you are in love with your spouse, and nothing will come between you both. Make sure to have pictures up of your family and spouse. Wear your wedding ring. Smile when you talk about your spouse.

 

So in closing, I ask the same question…”What do you chose?”

 

 

Joe

Stay True Advice…Baylee’s list of roughly 55 things all teenagers need to know

We shared this 2 years ago when our youngest daughter graduated from high school. Since it’s that time of the year again, it seemed appropriate to share again.
Baylee, as well as the other graduating Seniors from our Youth Group, were asked by our Youth Pastor to share some wisdom and advice to those still in the Youth Group.  In her usual fashion, Baylee took this time to truly share what was on her heart and what she has learned these past 7 years as a Youth.  Both Kerry and I, as well as Pastor Bill, were so touched by her reflections on life and God, we just had to share.
Parents, go through the list. Whether you agree with it or not is not the issue, instead listen to the heart of a young lady who loves the Lord. You may learn something about your own child.
IMG_0122
Stay True Advice aka
A list of roughly 55 things that Baylee thinks is important for you all to know:
•Make it a point to say a prayer before you even step foot out of bed, I promise it’ll help your day.
•Never be friends with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable (for any reason, whether it’s your beliefs or actions or something they say.)
•Love yourself so much that when someone treats you wrong, you recognize it.
•Never underestimate Gods grace in the midst of your brokenness.
•Boys, girls are not machines that you put kindness coins into until sex falls out. The friend zone is not a real thing.
•Falling in love with yourself first doesn’t make you vain or selfish, it makes you indestructible.
•Boys, if you want to get a girls attention learn to compliment her on things OTHER than her beauty.
•Just because someone desires you, does not mean that they value you.
•Boys, If your not going to marry her take your hands off another mans future.
•Girls, If your not going to marry him take your hands off another womans future.
•Don’t act like someone else. Don’t waste time on pretending.
•If they won’t hold your hand, don’t let them hold your heart.
•If you aren’t walking with God maybe you aren’t right for the person that’s right for you.
•There is no way to follow Jesus without Him interfering with your life.
•When entrusted with a secret, keep it. I don’t care if you and that person are mortal enemies now, you still don’t tell a soul.
•It’s never too late for an apology.
•If you’ve made your point, stop talking.
•Learn to admit when you’re wrong.
•Be understanding. If someone has a different opinion than you, listen to them. Don’t just sit there ignorantly, plugging your ears and screaming your opinion to the world.
•Set goals. Set them high and learn to accomplish every goal you set for yourself.
•Alcohol does not make you cooler.
•Girls, never EVER send boys naked pictures. The boys asking for them are the boys that should not be trusted.
•Never beg someone to stay in your life. If they choose to leave, let them.
•Discover your passion and run with it.
•Dance a LOT!
•High school dances are overrated.
•Girls, never spend more than $7 for mascara.
•If you’re ever uncomfortable in a situation you’ve ended up in, call your parents. I promise they’d rather you be safe and they will forgive you.
•Go to as many concerts as possible.
•Just because you turn 18 does not mean suddenly you can do whatever the heck you want. If you’re under their roof, you’re still under their rules.
•The stupid cliche “you can’t be loved until you love yourself” is so false. Listen to what others love about you and learn to love that about yourself too.
•Stop underestimating yourself. If you’re walking with the Lord He’s got your back!
•Eating a whole tray of brownies while watching Grease with your best friend can and will help you feel better. Trust me, I’ve tested this one out multiple times.
•If your parents don’t like you hanging out with a certain person, listen to them. They are smarter than us.
•Comparing yourself to others is NEVER a good idea.
•If you can’t say it to their face, don’t say it to them over text.
•Changes don’t happen overnight.
•No one can live a perfect Christian life, but you CAN intentionally decide that next time you are faced with a choice, you choose the one that glorifies God.
•When somebody hurts you, don’t try to hurt them back.
•Learn the importance of calling your friends out if they are in sin. It may feel awkward but they need it, and you’re called to do it.
•Save your money every chance you get. Future you will be thankful.
•Your mental health is so important, and if you’re ever struggling please find someone you can talk to.
•Your value is NOT based on the number of likes you get on Instagram.
•You are going to mess up, and you’re going to regret some choices you’ve made. But you have to learn how to forgive yourself, and decide to grow from the situation and not let it destroy you.
•Reading a book is more fun than reading your Twitter feed.
•One day you’ll realize how much your parents have sacrificed for you. Thank them over and over and over.
•Like people’s selfies. It takes guts to post them.
•Every time before you read scripture, pray and ask God to reveal something new to you. He’ll blow your mind every single time!
•Take pictures. So so so many pictures.
•Don’t take yourself too seriously.
•Breakups hurt. And they are allowed to hurt. They suck and knock you on your back, but the key is not staying down on your back. Look to God, use Him to fill up and repair that broken heart.
•Never diminish other’s feelings.
•Deciding to live your life completely surrendered to God is the best decision you’ll ever make!
~Baylee Vivian – Class of 2015

Ladies, Are You Initiating It???

Shulamite: “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley.”                                              Solomon: “Yes, compared to other women, my beloved is like a lily among thorns.”  Song of Songs 2:1,2

download (1)

Ok Ladies, I have a very important question for you…Out of the last five times you’ve made love with your husband, how many have you initiated, and how many has your husband initiated?

If you say he’s initiated all 5 that could be a problem!

Now, there are times that Joe and I just start making love because we’re kissing and snuggling, and it’s not clear which one of us initiated it. It just happened!  That is even more reason that we always try to go to bed at the same time, so that things can “just happen” if you know what I mean. There are also times that Joe is very tired, both emotionally and physically. So that evening is just a chance to snuggle and fall asleep in each other’s arms.

However, quite often we get into this rut where Joe will want sex more than I do, and so he’s the one who always initiates. That’s where conflict can arise.  If I negate his initiation of intimacy, then I begin to diminish Joe’s desire to initiate because it is met with a solid…NO. But that’s for another article. When his advances cease I am left to initiate sex, but there are times I’m not even sure how to initiate sex, because I’m not in the practice of it and I’m dealing with a husband that thinks I’m not in the mood.

Think on this…

For men sex communicates love and acceptance, while a lack of sex communicates the opposite. I realize this is not usually what women are communicating with sex and saying no, but it is what men feel. Even when you convince a man this is not what she means, he will still feel it.

When a man feels a good sexual connection with his wife he starts to want other forms of intimacy. Not tolerate, want. The need was always there, but it is hard to hear over the much louder need for sexual intimacy.

So, ladies, it’s time we all step up and take a more active role in our lovemaking with our husbands.  However, the question remains… “How do I initiate sex?”

Ladies, I would like offer 10 suggestions, ideas mined from both Joe and myself, on how to initiate sex with your husband –and help your husband feel like the most blessed man in the world!

  1. DO Show Enthusiasm

Initiating sex requires enthusiasm. The following sentences do NOT count as initiating sex:

We can if you really want to.

I’m heading to bed. I guess If you come within the next 10 to 15 minutes we may still have time to do something.

Do you want to do something tonight? I’m still awake.

It’s been at least a week, guess we are due for one.

Ladies, I speak from experience on this subject…If you’re going to initiate, the first step is NOT telling him “do you wanna?”  The first step is getting in the right frame of mind for sex so that you’re enthusiastic about it, too!  Don’t be a wet blanket!!

  1. DON’T Overthink It

Why don’t we initiate sex? I truly believe that because so often as soon as the thought pops into our heads we talk ourselves out of it.

This is a transcript of what often runs through my mind as I think about initiating sex with Joe.

Do I want to tonight? Well, I don’t know. It is kind of late, and I do need my sleep. I have had a long day and I am so tired. And he seems like he is tired too so maybe it’s just better if we get rest. It can’t be quality sex if we’re both tired and distant, so I had better pass tonight. And what if the kids wake up? And what if….

I have learned this the hard way ladies.  Here is my simple advice…Turn it off! Seriously. When you get the thought, remove it from your mind. Trust me ladies…you’ll be happier later–and you’ll likely sleep better, too!

  1. DON’T Be Embarrassed

“Good girls don’t like sex.”

Did you grow up thinking that? If you grew up thinking that only boys wanted sex, and girls just complied, then you may think that it’s your role to sit back and just respond to him. Anything else somehow upsets the order of the marriage bed that you were raised with.

But do you want the real truth… good girls DO want sex!  God gave us sex drives, too. And inside marriage sex is supposed to be a wonderful thing for both of you!

Think about it this way: Your husband is the only man on earth who can touch you like that. He’s the only man on earth who really truly knows you. You don’t need to be embarrassed around him.  You have something that in a Biblical marriage he cannot receive anywhere else.  Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians that our bodies are not our own, but that of our spouses.  (1 Cor 7:3-5)

I know that can be a hard transition to make. But begin by practicing little things, like saying to him the morning after you made love, “I had fun last night”, or “you made me feel great!” Practice talking about it afterwards, and it makes it easier to talk about it beforehand!

  1. DON’T Beat Around the Bush

Ladies, this is something I continue to work on. There are many times I will inform Joe that I was in the mood and ready to make love to him; however, it is now the next morning when I inform him of this.  Trust me, he is not too pleased on the missed opportunity. I did not give clear signals. I tried to cuddle up and give him “chills” on his back; however, that signaled relaxation, not sex.

Men are usually afraid of getting rejected, and if he tends to have the higher sex drive in your marriage, he may have conditioned himself to never think about it, or to try not to assume you’re going somewhere, because he doesn’t want to get his hopes up. This is Joe in a nutshell.  He is almost always ready but will refrain from getting any hopes up and thus rejected. So with that being said, being subtle isn’t a good thing. Be obvious. Be bold.  Be clear and precise.  It’s easier on everyone!

  1. DO Use Your Hands

Don’t like talking about sex? You don’t have to. Come up behind him, wrap your arms around him, start nibbling his ear, and let your hands wander.  Make sure that you aren’t doing something to relax him, like I shared previously, but instead use your hands to EXCITE him!

Or lead him to the bedroom–but not with HIS hand. You can get things going without saying any words, if the words make you shy. Just do it!

  1. DO Be Creative

Joe has often shared with husbands that evening sex with your wife begins in the morning during breakfast. This can also be said for wives as well. Initiating sex should start earlier in the day. Ladies, text him a flirtatious text or if you are so bold, send him a sexting text while he is at work. Get him revved up early.  You can get dressed in your “pretty” underwear and let him see, and say something like, “so this is what I’ll be wearing all day today….”  You can leave him clues as to what you are going to do to him behind your bedroom door after the kids go to bed.

Trust me ladies, if a thought crosses your mid to entice and excite your husband, do it! This will speak volumes to your husband and will reinforce that message that you are so excited to make love to them. Trust me ladies, they’ll definitely go with it!

  1. DO Laugh

One of the funniest and best times Joe and I share during intimacy is when we get the giggles over trying to either “do something new” or try out a “new position” that is an epic fail. It’s okay to act like a teenager. Really and truly, you can flirt with your husband! Come up with corny and silly phrases.  There is nothing wrong with giving certain body parts a name or identity that only you two share.  It really is okay. And the more laughter, the more fun all around.

  1. DO Be Eye Candy

Instead of wearing your “comfy” pajamas from your college days, get into some silk ones. Or put on a matching bra and panty set, and as you get undressed, show him what you’re wearing. Try putting on a teddy! Get sexy and share with him what only he can experience.  It is so important to not only verbally flirt with your husband, but to physically flirt with him.

Try this one as well, go naked underneath a bathrobe and “flash” him while he’s watching TV. Then walk away, and see if he follows. It works on Joe every time!

  1. DO Follow Through

This is so important ladies. If you make your husband a promise or commitment to be more intimate, then follow through!  If you’ve been texting him all day, or you whispered in his ear when he walked in the door, then do follow through. It’s hard on a guy to get his engines revving and then stopping with no warning. Obviously if something comes up you may have to forego sex that evening, but if you’ve been hinting, then as much as possible, set the right conditions.

Don’t become distracted by the TV or the computer. Don’t let work that was brought home redirect the path that was set.  If sex is your plan, then make sure it happens early, when you’re still thinking about it, rather than giving other things–the news, the computer, work–a chance to distract you and make you change your mind.

  1. DO Be Active

Ladies, I’ve written before about the importance of making love with your husband. So please remember this, once you’ve caught his attention, and you’re heading to the bedroom, don’t let the initiation end. Be active as you make love. Touch him. Guide his hand. Be the aggressor–at least a little bit. Find a good position yourself. When you’re active, it shows him, “I want to do this.” If you lie there on your back and don’t do much, he may think, “she’s just doing this for me.” Show him you are interested, and you do want this to happen–by making it happen!

A+ #1. DO Be Prayerful

I said there would be 10; however, Joe and I realized that this is the most important one of all ladies. That’s why I classified this as A+ #1 piece of advice that should be followed first, middle and last.  I will daily ask God to give me the energy, the excitement, the drive to be ready for Joe when he is in the mood.  I pray that Joe will be receptive and also ready for when I am in the mood.  I pray that God will also give both of us discernment and understanding when we are “ready to go” and other issues take over that path.  I pray daily that God will grant us the blessing of continually growing closer intimately: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Ladies don’t ever forget, your have something that only your husband can touch, see, and experience.  To withhold or deny could lead to consequences that will only damage that intimacy.

Solomon said it perfectly to his Shulamite bride. “You are like a private garden, my treasure, my bride! You are like a spring that no one else can drink from, a fountain of my own. You are like a lovely orchard bearing precious fruit, with the rarest of perfumes;” Song of Songs 4:12,13

Kerry

Invest In Your Marriage

img_6731

This week Kerry and I are in Ruidoso, NM. We rented a cabin for a few days during Kerry’s Spring Break. It’s a romantic cabin in the woods, fully equipped with a private deck, a fireplace, a kitchen and a king sized bed. Yup, it’s just the two of us for the week. Time for both of us to reconnect, spend time with each other, and grow intimately: emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Yes, this is an investment in time and money; however, it is the right kind of investment each husband and wife should be making in their marriages. You each should be ALWAYS dating your spouse throughout your marriage. Never stop flirting, never stop romancing, never stop dating!

Kerry and I try to go out on a date at least once a week. We also will try to get a hotel room for a night at least once every 3-4 months and at least once a year, get away, just the two of us, on a vacation of sorts and without distractions, reconnect with one another.

How about you? Do you take time to “Date” your spouse? It doesn’t need to be expensive or stressful, it just needs to be a time that you will spend time together and make great memories.

Here are some “Investment” Date Night Ideas. Next Wednesday, we’ll share some easy, inexpensive ideas.

  • Dine together at the restaurant in your city or town that you believe has the most romantic view.
  • Rent out a hotel room or B&B that has a private hot tub for you two to share.
  • Take a cooking class together
  • Buy body paints and a large sheet of paper. Make art with each  other’s bodies and frame and/or mount the final product.
  • Go horseback riding or take an overnight horseback camping adventure.
  • Dessert Tour: Share taster sized desserts in three different restaurants. End with a decadent chocolatier. 

Have fun, make memories, but most of all learn something new about your spouse and with that, grow ever closer to one another!

Joe

21 Ways to Jump Start Your Marriage this Spring.

21

Kerry and I just would like to propose a fun start to the Spring of 2017 to strengthen your marriages. If you are reading this and feel that your marriage is already strong and these suggestions are not needed, then you are exactly who should be reading this. We all can strive to strengthen and grow our marriages each and every day. So share this with your spouse today and enjoy Spring this year!

So here is our list, not in any particular order…

1. Have more SEX, but make sure you’re ONLY having it with each other!
2. Don’t keep secrets from each other. COMMUNICATE about everything.
3. Argue less. Cuddle more.
4. Don’t get deep in debt and if you’re already there, work together to get out of it!
5. Pray together, find a healthy church and make FAITH a foundation for your life together.
6. Turn off your phones. Talking with each other is better than texting with someone else!
7. Pull the car over and make out more often.
8. Leave LOVE NOTES for each other.
9. Send flowers on unexpected days, not just holidays.
10. Don’t ignore problems in your relationship. Deal with them quickly and aggressively.
11. Be quick to remember each other’s positive traits and quick to forget each other’s flaws.
12. Don’t hold grudges. Forgive and seek FORGIVENESS when you’ve wronged each other.
13. Don’t waste time or energy comparing your lives to anyone else’s. God’s plan for you is masterfully unique.
14. Go on long walks and HOLD HANDS.
15. Make “DATE NIGHT” a priority! Time alone together is vital for your continued growth and health.
16. Give COMPLIMENTS constantly, and never give insults.
17. When you’re happy, laugh together. When you’re sad, cry together. Whatever you do, do it together!
18. Show LOVE and RESPECT to each other even in those moments when you don’t feel like it.
19. Keep dreaming new dreams and making big plans together. Don’t get stuck in a predictable rut.
20. ENCOURAGE each other. Build each other up so much that nothing in the world can tear you down.
21. NEVER give up on each other!