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…

View original post 523 more words

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

Intimacy – Love Casts out Fear


1 John 4:18 NIV:  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

“The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I have never understood this verse.  But, I am learning to.  And what I am learning is that if I am feeling fearful and anxious, then I have not been made perfect in love.  In other words, I don’t understand (or, perhaps, I don’t believe) just how much I am loved.  And I’m not even talking about how much my husband loves me, or how much my daughter adores who I am.  Their love, although wonderful and gladly accepted, is flawed and limited because they are human.  As I am human.

But, I am talking about God.

God loves me so much that I need never fear.

I need to be in awe of Him, and I need to respect Him, and I need to bear in mind that He can destroy both the body and the soul, but a trembling, puddle of fear that gets me nowhere except to be in bondage to toxic thoughts and desires?  That is not what God wants from us; it is not His gift to us – His gift is power (authority), love (acceptance) and a sound mind (assurance).

True intimacy with our Father comes from knowing that we are completely, and truly, and amazingly loved – from the very depths of our souls, to the very ends of who we are as people – God loves us.  And when we accept that, and begin to understand (not that we can ever truly grasp just how intimately God loves us), then – and only then – do we begin to transcend fear and to live lives victorious in love.

Because, we are loved.

I never understood this verse because I believed I knew I was loved.  But there was always that shadow of doubt – deep within my psyche, deep within my soul – where I believed that no-one could truly love me.  I was un-lovable.  Who would want to love me?  Therefore  I could not be accepted.  Therefore I walked in fear and anxiety, because I could never truly be myself.  I had to hide myself away; I was ashamed of who I was, where I came from…

But, with God – there is no shame.  He sees all, He knows all, and He loves.  And as I am pondering these thoughts, and realising that I don’t truly know what love is, because if I did I wouldn’t battle with anxiety and fear, I come across two readings I would like to share with you.  Readings that confirmed that God was speaking to me and that instead of focusing on fear, I need to focus on accepting that I am loved.  By my God, and by my husband, daughter and many others in my life.

Dallas Willard Daily Devotional, Day 12: The Truth About Love

We may wish to be loving—to be kind and helpful in our relations to those near us. But we do not trust love, and we think it could easily ruin our carefully guarded hold on life.  We are frightened of the world we are in, and that makes us angry and hostile, and contempt makes it easier to harm or disregard the good of others.  So the world boils with contempt.  The more refined the human setting, the more fine-tuned the contempt.  You don’t have to know that God exists and that Jesus is for real to know that love is the good and the right for human beings.  It takes little intelligence to know that to live in love is the morally good and right way to live.  But entering into and growing in love—actually being it and doing it in the context of real life—is quote another matter.  Many misunderstandings of what love is has to be worked through before one can come to peace in it.  Evil has a vested interest in confusing and distorting love.  Above all, one has to find by thought and experience that love can be trusted as a way of life.  This can be learned by interaction with Jesus in all ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.  He can bring it to pass that we rely on love; and that is why he boldly asserted that the only mark of being his student or apprentice in life was how his students love one another (John 13:35).  And it is, again, why one of his best students could say, on the basis of a lifetime of experience: “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).  Love is not God, but God is love.  It is who he is, his very identity.  And our world under a God like that is a place where it is safe to do and be what is good and what is right.  Living in love as Jesus defines it by his words and deeds is the sure to know Christ in the modern world.  Excerpted from Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge by Dallas Willard.  Emphasis mine.

Although I am not familiar with Dallas Willard’s work, I could not even begin to more accurately describe learning to live in love the way he does here.

…one has to find by thought and experience that love can be trusted as a way of life

Even though we don’t understand everything about God, that doesn’t prevent us from trusting Him.  He has proven His love for us.  The apostle Paul wrote, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).  Trusting that love, we can walk with Him even when life doesn’t make sense. —Bill Crowder Emphasis mine

So, I know where I need to focus on – realising that no matter how bad my mood, or our dire our financial situation, or how extreme my anxiety, or how hectic our lives – I am loved.

I.  Am.  Loved.

I am loved.  Truly and honestly and deeply loved.

Therefore, I need not fear – I can be at peace and I can be myself.  I don’t need to hide myself away, or be ashamed, or be afraid – I can walk out my life with authority, with acceptance and with assurance.

And then – and this is only the beginning – but then I can learn to accept love from others.  And learn how to truly love them in return.

It’s a long walk ahead.

But, I am excited because if I truly love – then I am a child of God.

And focusing on love is so much more beneficial than focusing on fear and anxiety.

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 – Cleaving


Matthew 19:5 KJV:  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

I love the word “cleave” in this instance.  It really does give an onomatopoeic impression of holding on, and never letting go.  Although the verse doesn’t mention a wife cleaving back, it’s pretty hard to not cleave back when someone is holding onto you for dear life.

Read More »

Intimacy – Healing


My mother competed with me on every level as I was growing up.

When I expressed interest in a certain item of clothing (like boots when I was 13 – as an example), she would tell me that she didn’t have the money to buy the boots for me, but the next thing I knew, she would have three pairs for herself in her cupboard (up to that point, she only ever wore court shoes).

Or, I would have friends come over to visit me, and she would sit and entertain them.  While I sat in my room.  Alone.  My friends became her friends and I’ve landed up with none.  Not a good way to go when your child is naturally extremely shy and battles to make friends anyway.  It is so bad in fact that my mother met a woman (one of the other moms) at one of Baby Girl’s parties recently.  They (my mom and this woman) chatted a little bit at the party.  My mother then looked up this woman’s place of work and her phone number to phone her and wish her happy birthday.  Sorry, but that’s just creepy.

Read More »