Intimacy – His Precious Marbles


I have just finished reading the most lovely book called The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern.  It is such a lovely story and such a lovely read.  Basically, in a nut shell:

When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie.  The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her.  An unexpected break in her monotonous daily routine leaves her just one day to unlock the secrets of the man she thought she knew.  A day that unearths memories, stories and people she never knew existed.  A day that changes her and those around her forever.  Goodreads

There is a part of the story, without giving too much away, that really speaks of what intimacy is about:   Sabrina’s dad collects marbles.  It is the most precious thing in his life – so precious in fact that he hides it from everyone.  He is ashamed that a grown man can be so drawn to marbles that he can’t tell anyone about his prized possession.  While on his honeymoon, he goes to a glass shop and sees a prized marble and spends his meagre earnings on this one beautiful marble for his new bride.  He goes back to the hotel suite to give this precious gift to his bride and what does she do?  She lambasts him for wasting money they don’t have on something so stupid and insignificant and totally rejects his gift.

Except it wasn’t just a marble to him.

This man – this character in this book – was giving his bride something that was more precious to him than even his life.

And she rejected it.

Years later, he meets someone who he can share his passion with (clearly his wife and him are divorced at this point), but the damage was done.

That story, that part of the book, has become my prayer.

Lord, please let me be worthy of looking after and accepting whatever marbles my husband brings to me; his heart, his interests, his soul.  Let me treasure what he treasures and look after what he looks after.  May I be worthy of what he reveals to me, and protect what he finds so precious in his life.  May he feel safe to share his life with me.  Help me to protect and heal his whatever wounds life has bestowed on him.

And this is what I have realized true intimacy is: when we get to that point that we can truly share who we are – to the very core of our being, and those things that we find so precious and so dear in this life, knowing that it will be safe with the person we are sharing it with; it will be understood and accepted – then we are experiencing true intimacy.  And they, in turn, can share with us their precious things knowing it will be safe.

Look after your spouses marbles – know that for them it is a rare treasure.  And if you don’t know what their marbles are, now is the time to find out and prove yourself worthy of the prized treasure.

MY WORD FOR THE YEAR – 2016 / Intimacy – Time / Intimacy – Climbing a Wall / Intimacy – that one move! / Intimacy – Talking / Intimacy – Saying Sorry! / Intimacy – that one word / Intimacy – touch / Intimacy – those awkward moments / Intimacy – a sacrament… / Intimacy – Resting / Intimacy – Seven Red Flags / Intimacy – being separate / Intimacy – Never Giving Up / Intimacy – Honour / Intimacy – God / Intimacy – A new day… / Intimacy – Being True / Intimacy – Changing You / Intimacy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / Intimacy – Letting go of Fear / Intimacy – Rest / Intimacy – Knowing / Intimacy – A Gift / Intimacy – healing / Intimacy – Cleaving / Intimacy – Love Casts out Fear /  Intimacy – Feelings / Intimacy – Attitude / Intimacy – Acceptance / Intimacy – Boxes

Intimacy – Boxes


I like counting in fours.

I have always have.

Every time I walk somewhere, I count my steps on fours.  Seriaaasssly.

Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting this on a public blog – my little “blog box”.  Uh, just how many followers do I have?  LOL – but I like fours.  I like the number four, I like counting in fours, and I like arranging my life in fours.  As in four sides – you know, a little box.  I have a little box for everything.  My marriage and family boxes (two very distinct and separate boxes in my mind) are my two most important boxes.  If those two boxes are functioning well and are happy, then all of my other little boxes are happy.  Those two boxes have become the foundation of how I judge my life.

Marriage box – all good and happy?  Check.

Family box – all good and happy?  Check.

But, God has been talking to me about my boxes.  This is another aspect or thought pattern I kinda knew I had, but not really because you see, I don’t allow any one box to intersect or connect with any other box in my life.

My work box is filled with issue to do with work, but I don’t really include my husband or daughter in my work box.  I chat a very minimal amount of shop when I get home, and very rarely do I share about my home box at work.  I keep the two separate.

And my family box doesn’t really have a bearing on my marriage box.

My extended family box doesn’t even feature in my marriage or family box at all.

Doesn’t all this sound just a little too weird?

As I was praying about these new revelations this morning, God spoke to me through two very distinct passages.  In other words, I cannot doubt what God is telling me.

The most important was from Proverbs31.org about when you need a script to get somewhere in life.

After all, a script breeds confidence.  When we follow a script, we know exactly what to say and do.  We can play our part with poise and avoid the possibility of failure.  A script reduces risk.  When we can anticipate what’s coming next, we don’t have to worry about being caught off-guard or feeling unprepared.  A script creates comfort.  Once we master our lines, we don’t need to navigate unexpected plot twists or sudden scene changes.  Reference here.

And you see – that is exactly what I do with boxes.  If everything is all neat and tidy in their little boxes, then if one box falls apart – all the others remain unaffected.  I know cognitively that it doesn’t work that way, but I really like to set my life up like that.  In fact, I could rewrite this quote from Proverbs31.org like this:

After all, a box breeds confidence.  It is sturdy, and strong, and keeps everything from getting messy.  When we compartmentalise our lives into boxes, we know where everything is kept.  It keeps everything organised.  It helps us deal with life in a neat and orderly manner.  We can handle whatever comes our way in a neat and orderly fashion provided we’re dealing with the right box.  Life is never messy.  It is always organised.  And we don’t have to worry about the box with the messy business of life – because that box is piled right on top and can be dealt with whenever I am ready to deal with it.

Doesn’t that sound a little too convenient?

The second place that God spoke to me is through a delightful book from Linda Dillow called Calm my Anxious Heart, and in it Linda speaks about allowing God to paint His brushstrokes across the canvas of our lives.  It is messy, it can be hard, but when we trust God and allow Him to work a masterpiece across our lives, there is no room for boxes.  Here is what I am realising – God doesn’t work in boxes.  If you stack a pile of boxes covering various aspects of your life, what are you left with?  You’re left with a pile of boxes.  However, when you allow God to create a masterpiece, there is no room for boxes, but plenty of room for the creation of a masterpiece.  He works in you, in your heart and in your life to create a magnificent masterpiece –

If only we will trust Him enough to let Him.

I cannot keep my marriage box separate from my work box – what happens in my marriage and who I am will affect my performance at work.  What happens at work, if I have a really bad day, will impact my marriage.  And so it is with all the other boxes in my life.

I think what God is doing is helping me to unpack all these boxes and helping me to start viewing my life as an integrated, blessed and beautiful existence.

I am very much aware that often we will not see all the blessings we desire in this life, God works on the heart and the attitude of the heart that we truly reflect Jesus to the world.  Without a box in sight…

MY WORD FOR THE YEAR – 2016 / Intimacy – Time / Intimacy – Climbing a Wall / Intimacy – that one move! / Intimacy – Talking / Intimacy – Saying Sorry! / Intimacy – that one word / Intimacy – touch / Intimacy – those awkward moments / Intimacy – a sacrament… / Intimacy – Resting / Intimacy – Seven Red Flags / Intimacy – being separate / Intimacy – Never Giving Up / Intimacy – Honour / Intimacy – God / Intimacy – A new day… / Intimacy – Being True / Intimacy – Changing You / Intimacy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / Intimacy – Letting go of Fear / Intimacy – Rest / Intimacy – Knowing / Intimacy – A Gift / Intimacy – healing / Intimacy – Cleaving / Intimacy – Love Casts out Fear /  Intimacy – Feelings / Intimacy – Attitude / Intimacy – Acceptance

Intimacy – Acceptance


One of the biggest challenges to true intimacy – as I have discovered this last week – is a lack of acceptance.

  • Not accepting your spouse for who they are
  • Not accepting your circumstance, your “lot” in life, so to speak
  • Not accepting who you are

Psalm 16:5-7 NIV LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

As I revealed last week in doing Dr Caroline Leaf’s 21 Day Detox program, I have some seriously negative attitudes to marriage that I did not know that I had.  It is all based in my childhood when my own parents’ marriage and some of the decisions they made in that marriage had a truly profound effect on me.  It is this negative attitude that God is now dealing with.  I was protecting myself from hurt by not accepting that this is exactly where God wanted me – you know, “just in case” something had to happen I’m prepared for it.   God knew before I was even born who I would marry and who I would be with, what child we would have for He created her and knit her together in my womb.  God knew – before I knew.  He knew – and He rejoiced.

I am reading a lovely book called Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and in it she explains the importance of trusting that God knows exactly where you are in life and where you need to be to grow like Christ.  We can surrender ourselves to Him and trust that it is all good.  Linda Dillow quotes from J.I. Packer and I love this quote,

Contentment is essentially a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefor it is good.

I don’t think we give God enough credit for being in control and knowing exactly what he is doing.

He does.

He is God.

He created the world – the entire universe – in six days.

Do we not for one minute think that He’s got this?

Whatever your situation is – God has it.  He has it in the palm of His hand.  He knows you and He loves you.  He wants what is best for you.  Your growth to becoming like Christ is of the utmost importance to Him because in that growth is where we can experience God’s true peace.  Please note, as Linda Dillow so eloquently states, our peace and surrender to God is NOT determined by our circumstances.  In fact, our life could quite literally be falling down around us and we can still experience God’s peace, because God is in control.  It’s that surrendering to God that gives us peace because we know that He is good and we can trust Him to work it all out for our good.

Romans 8:28 King James Version (KJV), “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

How does this pertain to marriage and to intimacy?

Well, you can surrender your fears and anxieties, your doubts and insecurities to Him and know that He has got this.  You can trust Him.  You are free to enjoy your marriage, and any form of intimacy with your husband as long as it honours God, because well – this is your portion and your cup from God.

Psalm 16:5-7 NIV LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

So, for me, who is dealing with the negative repercussions from my parents’ marriage, I can surrender my fear and anxiety to God knowing that God had control, does have control and is in control.  I can give God my heart knowing that He will handle it with the utmost care as He grows me to be more like Christ.

Now, for any marriage that is generally struggling with intimacy and general everyday life issues, all this is fine.  But what about marriages where there are issues like infidelity, porn, drugs, etc.  I can’t tell you what to do – I do agree with Sheila Wray Gregoire where she says you cannot enable sin.  For some of you, that may mean leaving.  For others, it may mean confronting – in love –your spouse.

Even in this, you can trust God that He has got this.  He is with you, every moment of every day and while you need to earnestly seek God and seek His word on what you need to do in that specific situation, remember that He loves you deeply, intently and sacrificially.

If your spouse is acting in such a way that they are denying a vital part of themselves and a vital part of the Christian life–like responsibility or intimacy or community–then doing nothing about it enables that spouse to avoid any impetus for spiritual growth.  Sheila Wray Gregoire

Go to your church and find someone who will help you; who will sit down and talk to your husband, whether he likes it or not, to hear his side of the story.  Someone who will walk you through an intervention process, if it is necessary (and in some cases it definitely is).  And someone who will stand alongside your husband and give him the tools and help he needs to rediscover who he was made to be.

I know this is scary.  When you rock the boat, you feel like, “if this marriage breaks up I’ve failed.”  But you have not.  And while divorce damages kids greatly, there are times when staying in a marriage does, too.  Those times are rare, and please, don’t take these words as an excuse to leave your husband because he plays video games too much or won’t put stuff in the dishwasher.  I’m not talking about normal marital disagreements.  I’m talking about things where men (or women) have completely forsaken key elements of who they were designed to be.  And in that case, your children need to witness health and wholeness and healing.  So don’t stop until you find someone to help you!  Sheila Wray Gregoire

Love this:  …where men (or women) have COMPLETELY forsaken key elements of who they were designed to be.

And here’s the crux – even if you have to confront major sin in your spouse, or just learn to accept that you are exactly where God wants you to be: He has got this.

God has got this.

We cannot put God into a box – He is bigger and more magnificent and more loving than we can ever hope to give Him credit for.

Surrender your life to Him and watch Him work.  God has got this.

MY WORD FOR THE YEAR – 2016 / Intimacy – Time / Intimacy – Climbing a Wall / Intimacy – that one move! / Intimacy – Talking / Intimacy – Saying Sorry! / Intimacy – that one word / Intimacy – touch / Intimacy – those awkward moments / Intimacy – a sacrament… / Intimacy – Resting / Intimacy – Seven Red Flags / Intimacy – being separate / Intimacy – Never Giving Up / Intimacy – Honour / Intimacy – God / Intimacy – A new day… / Intimacy – Being True / Intimacy – Changing You / Intimacy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / Intimacy – Letting go of Fear / Intimacy – Rest / Intimacy – Knowing / Intimacy – A Gift / Intimacy – healing / Intimacy – Cleaving / Intimacy – Love Casts out Fear /  Intimacy – Feelings / Intimacy – Attitude

Intimacy – Attitude


For a while now, I have been working through Dr Caroline Leaf’s programme to detox your mind, and to build up healthy, God-honouring thoughts.  I am slowly, but surely seeing the dividends of the hard work that I am putting in, although I truly wish I was further along the road.  But, I guess, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  We must all remember that God promises us a due reward for the work that we put in.  In fact, I think that is just a life principle – like gravity.  Gravity works whether you’re a believer or not.  I think that reaping what we sow is a principle all of humanity live by – a “live by the sword; die by the sword” type of principle.

Galatians 6:8-9 NIV: Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Anyway, so I am working hard on detoxing my mind – and if you have not looked into Dr Caroline Leaf’s work, I highly recommend that you do.  Now, one of the things I battled with (used to battle with) is anxiety and I have seen major progress in my battle with anxiety.  I have just finished a 21 day detox cycle and I was praying for what toxic thought I had to detox next.  As I was praying, an image of my husband popped into my head.  Not that I have toxic thinking about him – except maybe all the work we need doing around the house🙂 , but more my attitude to marriage.  This is the amazing thing:

I did not know that I had toxic thinking about marriage until God highlighted this to me yesterday.

Let me tell you about my background – in a nutshell:

  • My parents were married for 33 years before they divorced. During their marriage; at the beginning there was so much shouting and throwing of things (by my mom) that I used to hide away.  I used to pray to not have a marriage like theirs.  My father was an absent father figure; my mother was insatiable in her need to have everything be about her.  Towards the end of their marriage, there was just silence.  They used to talk to each other through the children (they had three, of which I am the only daughter and the middle child).  It was like a fog had descended on our home, leaving us uncomfortable, alone and me scared.
  • Then, I got married.  I had an amazing courtship with my husband and an amazing honeymoon.  I am not embarrassed to say that I came back from honeymoon smiling.  My mother took one look at me and divorced my dad.  Quite literally she had moved out and filed for divorce in a matter of weeks.  The singled biggest mistake she ever made.
  • Before I met my now husband, I was engaged. Neither he nor I were ready for marriage, but my parents pushed so hard because they wanted me off and married (which my mother long since admitted).  It only led to lots of heartbreak and tears.  I should’ve listened to my gut – I wasn’t ready for this.  He left me about five days before the wedding should’ve taken place.  I was devastated.
  • Just a side note – my mother planned this entire wedding in about two days. I had very little to do with it and when things broke off; she was more upset than I was.  Of course, I was hurt.  But I think there was a part of me that was actually quite relieved.  It wasn’t the right match for me.  And my husband proposed, he and I planned our wedding together – the two of us!  My parents had very little involvement – it was our wedding and we loved every minute of it.

So, I was pondering all these things this morning, I begun to realise that my background influenced my perception of and my attitude to marriage far more than I realised.

So, I will now spend the next 21 days detoxing my negative attitude towards marriage.  It’s not the worst – I’ve seen and met people with worse attitudes towards marriage.  But, it could be better.  And it could be more honest – this deep-seated attitude towards marriage was hidden even from me.  It has allowed fear and doubt to permeate my mind and my marriage, because the foundation of what I have known of marriage (my parent’s marriage) was permeated with fear and doubt.  It is this fear and doubt and negativity that I am going to detox – marriage is meant to be a safe place, where we can truly be ourselves.  Notice I’m not saying a place free of conflict and struggles – but you can argue with your husband every day and still know that your marriage is safe, who you – as a beloved daughter of God – in your marriage, is safe…

God created a framework for marriage – and it is within this framework (God’s framework) that we should operate.  Please, I am not talking about abuse, or violence, or addictions – very often when those are present in marriage – that brings about a whole different dynamic that need counselling, lots of prayer, and a deep searching of God’s heart on what to do in those situations.  Please visit Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog for more information.  But, in the normal course of life – where abuse, violence or addictions don’t feature – the framework that God created for marriage is designed to keep you safe, keep your spouse safe and provide safety net for your children so that they feel safe as they grow up and face life.

Matthew 19:5 NIV: and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’

Remember – you are a beloved child of God.

What is your attitude towards marriage in general and towards your own marriage specifically?

MY WORD FOR THE YEAR – 2016 / Intimacy – Time / Intimacy – Climbing a Wall / Intimacy – that one move! / Intimacy – Talking / Intimacy – Saying Sorry! / Intimacy – that one word / Intimacy – touch / Intimacy – those awkward moments / Intimacy – a sacrament… / Intimacy – Resting / Intimacy – Seven Red Flags / Intimacy – being separate / Intimacy – Never Giving Up / Intimacy – Honour / Intimacy – God / Intimacy – A new day… / Intimacy – Being True / Intimacy – Changing You / Intimacy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / Intimacy – Letting go of Fear / Intimacy – Rest / Intimacy – Knowing / Intimacy – A Gift / Intimacy – healing / Intimacy – Cleaving / Intimacy – Love Casts out Fear /  Intimacy – Feelings

 

Intimacy – Feelings


Intimacy – Feelings (mine, yours, ours)

Sometimes, I know that my husband doesn’t get me.  I will try explaining something to him and I can see by his expression or his response that I could very well be speaking Latin and he just doesn’t get me.  And by the very same token, there are many times I battle to understand what he is about.  I am learning though, and I will continue to study him and understand him, but there are days or situations that arise that I just don’t get.

And I’m realising that is okay.

I can’t ever negate his feelings – what he feels, for whatever reason, is valid; even if I don’t understand it.

And what I feel, for whatever reason, is valid; even if he can’t understand it.

Just this week Shaunti Feldhahn posted a blog post that was a bit of an eye opener for me.  In some ways, these are all things we already know.  But, then you read it in a certain way, or someone articulates your own thoughts better than you can (which is often the case with me) and it just opens your eyes to a new aspect, a new thought, a new idea, a deeper understanding…

Never, ever, ever think your spouse “shouldn’t” be hurt by something that wouldn’t hurt you.  Shaunti Feldhahn

There are so many times when I think that my husband just doesn’t get why something hurt me.  And he probably doesn’t.  But, how many times do I think and consider something that may have hurt him?  I have to be honest and say not many.  I have this view, completely incorrectly, that men don’t feel.  They have no emotion and things bypass them like water off a duck’s back.  I know that my view is wrong – and even as I am typing this I am becoming painfully aware that my man has feelings, he hurts, and there have probably been many times that I have hurt him, mostly unaware of what I was doing.

We tend to forget that we are different.  More specifically, that men and women are different.  In some ways, in fact, our brains are wired to be the opposite of each other!  Shaunti Feldhahn

So, I can’t ever assume that something shouldn’t hurt my husband.  Just like he should never assume that something shouldn’t hurt me.

I had a friend at college that always used to say, “You can’t ever tell someone what they should feel in any given situation”.  Wise words indeed.

One of the ways I have battled to understand my husband’s hurt is our sex life.  I’m quite content to not have it – he however has been hurt by my lack of interest.  I never understood – to me it was just sex.  To him, it was a complete rejection of who he was as a man and as a person.  Now, for a long time I’ve said that he didn’t have a right to be hurt, he was just being silly, he doesn’t really need it, etc, etc.  Do you think our marriage strengthened and grew with that perspective?  In fact, for many years I did say those very things and our marriage disintegrated and broke down.  Now, that I have made a concerted effort to understand and acknowledge his feelings, we are making great headway – through the grace of God – in our intimacy, both emotional and physical.  I think that I am finally getting to a point of understanding why this is so important to him and I think (hope) he is starting to feel understood.

The difference in our marriage is huge.  It’s not about the sex – it’s about me finally understanding him and why it is so important to him.  And because I have finally started to really understand him, he (without me asking) is making a concerted effort to understand me and what’s important to me.

It’s had a snowballing effect that has been so beneficial for our marriage.

Are we there yet?

Well, I don’t think you ever really arrive – not on earth anyway.  I think that in marriage you always need to work on your marriage, you always need to grow in grace and understanding, and you always need to look out for your spouse’s best interest.  Even when you’ve been married 50 years, you still need to work on your marriage and giving your spouse the best of who you are.

But, we are so much further along the road than we were when I didn’t consider his needs or his feelings.  And things are so much better for both of us right now.

And I hope (pray) to continue working on that…

Not just about sex, but to understand him and what he feels in any and every situation of life; to truly get to know him and to give him the opportunity of truly knowing me and of understanding why I feel about certain situations the way I do…

I truly pray that God will guide me so that I can always give the best of me to my husband…

MY WORD FOR THE YEAR – 2016 / Intimacy – Time / Intimacy – Climbing a Wall / Intimacy – that one move! / Intimacy – Talking / Intimacy – Saying Sorry! / Intimacy – that one word / Intimacy – touch / Intimacy – those awkward moments / Intimacy – a sacrament… / Intimacy – Resting / Intimacy – Seven Red Flags / Intimacy – being separate / Intimacy – Never Giving Up / Intimacy – Honour / Intimacy – God / Intimacy – A new day… / Intimacy – Being True / Intimacy – Changing You / Intimacy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / Intimacy – Letting go of Fear / Intimacy – Rest / Intimacy – Knowing / Intimacy – A Gift / Intimacy – healing / Intimacy – Cleaving / Intimacy – Love Casts out Fear

What Diving In A Green Pool Reveals About Marriage


The Romantic Vineyard

Photo Credit: Getty Images Photo Credit: Getty Images

As most of you have probably witnessed the Olympic Divers have had quite an unusual distraction, at least for athletes of their ability.

  • They have had to dive into a murky, green pool.
  • They have had to trust that the water wouldn’t harm them.
  • They have had to believe that the pool was safe, even when it looked otherwise.

And the amazing thing about it was they were required to give it their best even in those sub-par conditions.

It’s disgusting. It’s not supposed to be that way. But it is the Olympics and they are used to adversity and disadvantage. They are used to making the best of difficulty and overcoming any and all obstacles that would deter them from reaching their goal. This is what makes them Olympians, and this is why we take notice of them.

How like marriage.

We can insist on…

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You’re Not Kissing Enough — Hot, Holy & Humorous


Not too long ago, I had an interesting conversation with a few other wives. The topic of discussion was What Happened to Kissing?! The general consensus was that once men got married and knew that kissing could lead to really good stuff (yay, sex!), they seemed to want to skip smooching and aim for their real…

via You’re Not Kissing Enough — Hot, Holy & Humorous