Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Superior Wife Syndrome

I recently read a book excerpt in Reader's Digest with the title, The Superior Wife Syndrome; the sub-title was: Why Women Do Everything So Well and Why-For the Sake of Our Marriages-We've Got to Stop.
THAT definitely piqued my interest.
The excerpt said:
"After being married for a while, and especially after having children, a large number of husbands deliberately surrender family concerns and responsibilities and begin to expect their wives to take charge. And in many marriages, that assignment eventually includes nearly everything. It's as if husbands raise the art of oblivion to new heights; they can fiddle, while wives burn through most of the tasks of adult life. Some wives claim that they have taken control of family life because 'it seems like I have no choice, it's just a natural occurrence', as a 42-year-old woman puts it. Others confess to being impressed that their husbands are able to function in the world at all...'I'm amazed he's still alive', says one wife."

Do you think husbands are deliberately surrendering control of the family? or
Do you think wives are taking that control by default because the husband is in la-la land?
Do you think wives are taking control because they feel they can do a better job?
Do husbands let go of leadership because they are too lazy to deal with it?
Are husbands truly oblivious to what needs done?
Is it unsubmissive for a wife to ask her husband to help?
What is the solution to a marriage with leadership issues?

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I don't know how many times I've opened a new post tab only to sit staring blankly at the white box. It's not because nothing (double negative there) interesting has happened in my life in the last 4 months. There's plenty of thoughts here, but the idea of trying to organize it all and get it into something comprehensible leaves me completely overwhelmed. So, I'm still here and maybe one of these days I can get it all figured out.

In the meantime, I am of all people most blessed. The things that God has revealed to me about His love, grace and mercy in the last few months are unfathomable.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Memory Lane

My mom's birthday is June 1 and every year it is a challenge to come up with a gift. She doesn't need any more "stuff" inside or out. This year, my sister came up with a brilliant idea. We would all (mom & her kids) spend the weekend walking down memory lane with our mom. Gail, my sister, hosted us since she still lives in the area where we were raised. Some of us arrived Friday evening; others came Saturday morning and still others Sunday morning.

Saturday morning, Jerald led devotions about Godly fathers and fathering, which included several memories of my dad. It was a great way to start our weekend of reminiscing.
After breakfast, we all piled into a 12-passenger van that we had rented.

Our first stop was the elementary school that all 6 of us attended. After stepping into the hallway, my first-born sister commented that she believed she had stood outside every single one of those doors as punishment for some misdeed. We had fun remembering our grade school teachers, which ones we liked and which ones were mean. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures there.

Our next stop was the farmhouse that we moved to when I was 3.

On the outside it looks very much like it did when I moved out 28 years ago.

I lived there until I got married at 18. Our dad held down a day job and farmed the 70 acres in the evening with us kids helping out during the day. My farming career of driving the tractor came to an abrupt halt when I failed to go around a gully and drove INTO it. Needless to say, my dad wasn't exactly a happy camper when he got home and found the tractor there.
I remember a happy childhood of playing in the barn, making tunnels with hay bales, teasing my li'l sis, riding bike up and down the lane; but, we also worked. We mowed with a push mower, hoed corn out of the beans, did chores, cleaned, gardened, etc.
I tried to show my mom how big I remember the gardens (yes, with an 's') being, but she assured me that it wasn't quite the way I had it pictured.

This is five of us kids with mom; my oldest brother wasn't able to go until Sunday.

The cellar door- the icky, old, spooky cellar; half of it was cement flooring and the other half dirt.

The back of the house-

The shed where we parked our car (yes, without an 's') before dad built the garage on the house.

The spot where my oldest sister and her husband were married almost 35 years ago.

The amiable and very patient in-laws-

After the farm, we went to the house that my dad built- the place I was born and lived for about 3 years. My memories are a little sketchy, but pieces of it are very clear. Weird how a person can remember some things and not others. I lived here when the Palm Sunday tornadoes went through.

Our next-door neighbors were very close friends and cousins, so even after we moved a couple miles away, we came back and spent many, many hours playing in these woods.

The kitchen looks about the same.

The couple who live there now (the daughter of my dad's boss) so graciously opened their home and hearts to us. They added this awesome sun room that looks out over the woods. Tranquility...

Our next stop was the church that I attended with my family before getting married and the cemetery next door where my dad was buried 21 years ago.

Don't even ask how we got inside...

The four of us

My sister, Gail, and her husband. Thanks to all her planning and hospitality, we got to experience a wonderful weekend.

On December 22, 1987, my dad was killed in an accident on his way home from work. I still miss him, acutely at times; but I am so thankful for the heritage he left. I do not remember him saying an unkind word about anybody, even though he would have had plenty of opportunity. He was strict, but loving, fun and funny. I hate it that my own kids will never get to experience his teasing and humor. I often wonder what he would have to say about all this gb turmoil; I think I know because of the character he had.

The same pump (probably the same cup) I used as an excuse to skip church and be outside.

From the church, we drove around on familiar roads, talking, remembering, laughing and ending up back at my sister's just in time for dinner. Her son and his wife fixed, served and cleaned up dinner for us.

My youngest sister had to go home Saturday night and my brother and his wife joined us on Sunday. After a relaxing morning of conversation and coffee and another yummy meal, we went to the farm where my mom lived from 1st grade to marriage at 16.

The people who live there now

My mom used to walk to this little two-room school. It had a wall right down the middle with the classroom on one side and the gym on the other.

It was an amazing and fun weekend together. Mom decided that it was one of the best birthday gifts she had ever received. And now, waiting for next year...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Now that summer is right around the corner, I will blog about the thoughts that have been rumbling through my brain for the last two months.

There are two things I clearly remember from my childhood: spring cleaning and fall cleaning. I was raised in an era when in order to be a successful housewife one must completely purge the home twice a year. I have to admit that, as a child, I hated those times of completely emptying the rooms, taking down all the drapes, clearing off all the shelves and washing everything- and I mean everything! My absolute least favorite job was washing down the walls and ceiling. I remember liking the end product- the smell of clean, the organization, the freshness- but not the journey it took to get there.

Recently, (a couple months ago now), I was going through this spring cleaning process in our closet and I got to thinking about my spiritual closet- my heart. I don't enjoy the process of cleaning out my heart, but the end result of sweet communion with my Jesus is indescribable. This process is much like cleaning out my own closet- examination of what's in there, pulling out the ugly, the unusable, decluttering, sweeping out the dust, dirt and cobwebs and allowing only beautiful things inside.

God wants to lovingly lead me to focus on the several bad habits that have piled up, the cobwebs of sin and rebellion that have been woven, the dust of unconfessed hurt and anger. These things have wintered in my heart and it's time to do some spring cleaning. When I allow the Spirit to convict and let God lead me in confession and repentance, I feel like my newly cleaned and organized closet. Getting rid of my unwanted habits and sin will leave me with a peaceful and joy-filled heart. I no longer have to search through the dirt of depravity, looking around the dust and stench of decay. I now enjoy the fresh scent of pleasing God in all I say, do, think and feel.

With summer on the way, now seems like a good time to meditate on one specific area in this quest of purging the heart. My church has given me a wonderful starting point to the topic on my mind. What a blessing it is to fellowship with a body of believers who think the heart is what matters. The following excerpt was in several of the recent bulletins:

"SUMMER PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE--Ladies, are you aware you can serve your brothers in Christ simply by the way you dress during summer months? We encourage you to consider this at all times, but especially as we gather together to worship. What a gift to men if they do not have to fight the battle of the eyes and mind when they gather with their sisters in Christ! We praise God for your desire to see Jesus magnified!"

Why do we even need to be reminded of this? Do we truly not understand that when we cannot even bend over without exposing a part of ourselves, we make the struggle ten thousand times worse for our brothers in Christ? Or when we show enough to distract the mind from glorifying Christ to lusting, we are the cause of sin in another believer? What goes through our minds when we stand in front of a mirror and analyze our clothing choices? Why are we Christian ladies reminded of this over and over and over and we still expose ourselves? I do not believe we can claim ignorance any longer. We have been taught enough; I am now without excuse and so are you. Maybe we should come at this from the negative aspect: what is immodesty?

Immodesty- indecent, shameless, vain, not properly restrained, boastful, arrogant.

Our source of rebellion in this area is not from the culture around us or the standards of the world. (It's easy to look around and think that at least we dress more modestly than "they" do- that is still rebellion).

The source of our rebellion lies deep within the hearts of each one of us.

If your heart is lacking peace and joy, perhaps it's time to do a little spring cleaning.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Please Pray with Me

for the husband/father who lost his wife and 2 children in a house fire late last night.

We've known this family all our lives. They are from Flora,Indiana, (where Jerald was from).

Brian & Leah Wagoner had a son, Harrison (almost 8) and a daughter, Sophia (4). Brian's dad was our dentist for many years and I worked with Leah's mother for several years.

Indiana had a very severe electrical storm last night which they believe struck the house and started a fire. Leah and both children died in the fire. Brian's hands were burned, but not too bad. They are strong Christians, but how...how is Brian supposed to go on? I guess I'm showing how weak my faith really is, but why? I know in my head that God is sovereign and good, but my heart still can't understand why God wants it to be this way. I hurt so much for the grandparents/parents, Brian, their friends...

And so, even though you don't know this family, would you still remember to pray for them? please?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend

Every year my kids get me something for Mother's Day even though I insist that they shouldn't. This year it was a beautiful diamond bracelet which I love, but I really mean it when I say it is enough to have 5 beautiful children who love Jesus and have submitted their hearts to His leadership. For a mother to know that her children are walking with the Lord is gift enough.

We had a fun and busy weekend with my family. As a Christmas gift, my mom pays for the whole family (I think there were 40+ this year) to go to a state park in Indiana for the weekend. The last two years we have went to Pokagon and stayed in the inn. It's a fun time for the kids to be together and the adults to catch up.

On Sunday, we helped some friends set up for their daughter's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, full of God's goodness and love. The couple had saved their first kiss for this special day. I love weddings that glorify Christ; they always make me want to go home and pay more attention to the vows I made on my wedding day.

A Happy belated Mother's Day wish to all you moms!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


There are thoughts running around in my head that are driving me crazy, but I can't seem to be able to sit down, corral them together and write something that would make sense. It's making me a bit frustrated, but I'm thinking that maybe God knows my heart does not have the right attitude about one aspect of my thoughts. And so, I will wait and pray and renew my mind. God may give me permission and then again, He may not.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Never Mind, Lord

Sometimes I wonder if I'm like the man who was driving down the street in a panic because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking space. Looking up to heaven, he said, "Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking space, I promise to go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life and give up swearing."
Miraculously, a spot opened right in front of the building.
The man looked up and said, "Never mind. I found one."

I pray and seek the face of God; He faithfully answers and I act like it was my own doing.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding". Prov. 3:5

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recommended Reading

Not much time to blog these days what with college plans, wedding plans, therapy visits plus the usual to keep our home running smoothly. We leave at 6:20a on Wednesday to take Nicole to LA to visit Azusa Pacific University.

I know it's a little odd to recommend my own daughter's blog, but sometimes my kids' wisdom can blow me away. It's definitely worth reading and sharing with your own daughters. So, check this out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."- Jer. 29:11-13

"I know the plans that I have for you" versus "I know the plans that I have scheduled in my planner". Last week taught me that there is a vast difference between the two. The best of planning on my part may not always line up with the best God has for me.

My schedule for last week:
~Monday- skating lessons for Brooke from 2:30-4:45
~Tuesday- skating at 2:15
~Wednesday- Mom's group & errands
~Thursday- Women's study, grocery & errands
~Friday- prepare meal for ADDICT ministries

God's schedule for last week:
~Monday- skating 2:30-4:00
~Tuesday- no skating
~Wednesday- Mom's group and emergency room
~Thursday- Emergency room and surgery
~Friday- home & emotionally spent

Monday, Brooke was skating when she fell on the ice and broke her chin open. We decided to try a butterfly bandage rather than stitches. It turned out to be the right decision, although I am the most deficient in the medical aspect of mothering. I hate, hate, hate the idea that my kids might be in pain. I couldn't even watch when they would get their immunizations. Anyway, that pretty much ended skating for that day and it canceled skating for the next day. Her heart was broken because that was the last skating opportunity until June. (They take the ice off for soccer.)

Wednesday morning I went to Mom's group and was almost home when I got a phone call that Colin hurt his hand at work and they were taking him by squad to the hospital. I drove to the farm and got there in time to ride in the ambulance with him to Upper Valley. He was changing a tire on a trailer when the jack slipped out. The trailer fell on his right hand causing the u-bolt that secures the axle to go completely through his hand about 3/4" below the knuckle on the index finger. He yelled for help while jacking the trailer up with his left hand. (He's my hero!)

After taking xrays, Upper Valley wanted him to go to the Hand & Orthopedic Center at Southview Hospital, so they took him by transport to the ER there. I did very well staying with him the whole time until they needed to numb his hand to cleanse and sanitize the hole where the bolt went through. Jerald got to hold his hand for that one.

The xray showed his knuckle in 4-5 pieces and tendon damage to his index finger. After a MOST miserable night in the ER (the hospital had NO available rooms), they took him for surgery Thursday at noon and he had surgery at 3:00p. The surgeon came out at 4:30 and said they were able to use pins and put the knuckle back together. Here's the miraculous part: all the doctors and the surgeon who looked at the xray said he had tendon damage and if they couldn't repair it, they would have to take a tendon from his wrist and graft it in. After the surgery, the surgeon told us there was no tendon damage. Do I believe in the power of prayer? Absolutely!!

We were back home by 5p Thursday night. Friday, I was emotionally and physically exhausted! We were able to keep the pain controlled with Percocet. Now we are looking at about 6 weeks of occupational therapy twice a week. Yesterday was his first appointment. They removed the surgical dressing, cleaned the hand really well and created a less burdensome splint.

Colin has been the best patient a mom could ask for. He's very undemanding, very patient with me, extremely grateful for everything and anything I do. I have actually enjoyed serving him in this way.

My mom (bless her) fixed my food for the Friday night meal.

Right in the middle of all this, Adam & Heidi got engaged and will be getting married August 1st.

AND, we are taking Nicole to CA in 2 weeks to visit Azusa Pacific University in LA.

This week, as I created my schedule, I did so with a little less boldness and more prayer. I do not know what my life will be like tomorrow. If the LORD wills, I will live and also do this or that. (James 4:14 & 15) I'm trying to appreciate today and the blessings it holds.

I'm reminded every day of Proverbs 19:21- "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD, it will stand".

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Family Life

After many months of a "normal" schedule, we've had to rewrite what normal is. The new normal consists of Jerald traveling...a LOT. The LORD has taught me many things about flexibility through experience. I used to get very anxious when my well-thought-out schedule had to be rearranged. It hardly fazes me any more. :)

A month ago Jerald was in Mexico for a few days. That was a little unnerving with the restlessness of the drug cartel. He was quite glad to arrive safely at home. The week after that he was in Las Vegas for 4 days. He's been there several times before and still can't find the fascination that others have for that city. Get this- he had a lady walk up to him as he was going to meet some other guys and ask him if he was alone. The nerve! I asked him if he told her, "No, I carry my wife in my heart everywhere I go." The next week he was in Pennsylvania for a couple days and then he was actually home for a week. Today he is going to Chicago until tomorrow night and next week is California.

For those who always asks just what exactly Jerald does, here's a brief description: He is an electrical engineer for a company (Trimble) in Huber Heights that designs and manufactures GPS and lasers for excavators, pavers, and agricultural use. Jerald is the System Technical Manager for a joint venture with Caterpillar & Trimble. His job is to make sure that the components and the machines are connected properly along with being responsible for making sure that all aspects (like user interface, operation, etc.) are consistent. If you want any more details, you will have to talk to him. :) Needless to say, I think he is one of the smartest people I know!

I was recently asked how I handle him being gone so much. I must say it is definitely easier with the children being older, but I give all the credit to God. I believe that when I support and encourage my husband in the talents God has given him, God will pour out His grace on our family and help us in an extra way when Jerald is gone. My husband loves, loves, loves his job and I am so very grateful for that. I want to be his help mate in this area by blessing him in his work.

On to other family news...the week Jerald was home we took a quick trip to Florida with Nicole to visit Warner University in Lake Wales. We left on Wednesday and got home on Sunday. We did get to spend a few hours on the beach.

The college was a bust, but the trip was not. We enjoyed getting to spend time with just Nicole. She did say, though, that it would be very lonely to be an only child.

We are getting excited to see the end of some of the school books. We hope to be wrapped up no later than the end of May. Sometimes I feel it would be so nice to continue through the summer in a couple subjects, but when it gets right down to it, I really enjoy my summer break. (And the kids do, too.)

Lately, I've been doing some sewing for a friend who doesn't sew...things like making a dress for serving in a wedding, making a bridesmaid dress from a size 22 to a size 14 and making 2 pairs of pants into skirts. I'm going to do a little on her bridesmaids dresses for her wedding coming up in May along with making corn salsa for the reception.

Brooke is home again after being in Indiana for 2 weeks. Boy, I miss her when she's gone. Especially when she does things like cook dinner while I sew. Last night she made chicken and vegetable potpie and bread. Wow!

Laina likes to get her school work done so she can get outside as quickly as possible on these nice days. She loves spending time with her cats.

That's a little peak into our lives.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Jerald left for Vegas Sunday afternoon, so I took Brooke & Laina and went to Goshen, Indiana, to see my older sister and stay with her for a couple days. Brooke is staying out there with my nephew and his wife for 2-3 weeks to help them out; they just had baby #3 with the oldest being 3.

I was born and raised west of Goshen. I went to a country school for my elementary years, a junior high school in Wakarusa and high school in Napanee. I got married a month after graduation and moved close to Lafayette, Indiana, before moving to Ohio 20 years ago. After my mom moved away from the Goshen area (a couple years after my dad was killed in an auto accident 21 years ago), I have not revisited my old haunts. We've been to see my sister, but haven't done any sight-seeing.

I emailed a couple of school friends that I have sporadically kept in touch with to let them know I would have some time to get together. Monday, I met 4 of my past friends for lunch, 2 of whom I have not seen since graduation, almost 28 years ago. It was so fun! We are all at the same stage in life and spent a LOT of time talking about our kids! The awesome part is that they are all Christians who love Jesus and we had so much to talk about.

On Tuesday, my sister and I went driving around. We drove back the lane of the farmhouse that I grew up in. It looks exactly the same. I have many wonderful memories there with my mom & dad, 2 brothers and 3 sisters. We went past my elementary school, old family homes and where friends used to live. The highlight was stopping at the cemetery where my dad is buried. I haven't been back there for many, many years. Even though I know my dad is not there, I enjoyed reflecting on who he was and his influence on my life. I still miss him and long for an opportunity to talk things over with him. He was full of life in every way. I regret the most that my kids will never know him. He LOVED kids and was always teasing and playing with them. In the 24 years I knew him, I NEVER heard him talk about another person in a negative way; and believe me, he had opportunity.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my sister and her husband and catching up with friends.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Love & Respect 4

By now everyone is probably sighing at my blogs. ;) Aha...caughtcha!

Last night was a little different than the evenings before. It was more of a recap with lots of practical suggestions for the husband on showing love and the wife respect.

~ I have a choice whether I want to obey God's Word or not.
~ Eph. 5:33 is without options and is not neutral.
~ Respecting my husband works because God said so.
~ Respecting is a command.
~ Focus on what I can do, not on what he can do.
~ Get my mind off of myself and onto my husband.
~ My fear and love of God is my motivation.
~ How do I want my kids to treat their future spouses? They watch us closely!
~ Do I forgive my husband when he asks or do I harbor bitterness and keep a history?
~ Speak only honorably about my husband.
~ NEVER make fun, criticize or speak down to my husband!
~ Am I living in such a way with my husband today that will make him want to be with me in 50 years? (I have a story about my grandparents on this point)
~ Marriage is not about ME!
~ We Christian women have bought into the feminist theology more than we know.
~ My husband will not generally tell me what he needs from me.
~ God created my husband differently, not wrong.
~ I am responsible for my attitudes and actions.
~ Thank him for his work.
~ Share with and in his successes, whatever they are.
~ Be my husband's biggest cheerleader.
~ Do NOT pop his dream bubbles! Let him dream and be able to share with me!
~ God created my husband to DIE for me! Do I really get that?
~ Praise his provision whether it be great or small.
~ Praise his good decisions; minimize his not-so-good decisions.
~ NEVER undermine his authority in front of the children; discuss concerns in private.
~ Male bashing is huge in today's society- in the church and out of it. I need to see this as the sin it is and refuse to participate.
~ Negativity crushes the spirit.
~ Life is too short to not live it pleasing to God.
~ Jesus wants to know how I am going to change to be more like Him.
~ Encourage my husband in the times he wants to be alone.
~ Initiate and respond positively more often sexually.
~ Make it easy for my husband to have eyes only for me.
~ It honors my husband when I make an effort to improve my appearance before he gets home from work.
~ Let him be able to acknowledge his sexual temptations without making him feel shame.
~ Denying my husband sexually is a sin.

The best part of the evening for me was when the couple who organized this series shared their testimonies. They were transparent and honest and it is absolutely awesome to see the wonderful love and respect they have for each other today! Let me tell you that it does NOT come naturally; it is a LOT of hard work, but oh so worth it! It's interesting to me that we share the exact anniversary date as theirs- June 20, 1981- and our testimony would be very similar; this couple is a great encouragement to us. Thank you, Rich & Linda; we love you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love & Respect 3

The opening comments during devotions were very appropriate. "It's not what you do, it's why you do it." Our focus must continually be on Jesus Christ. He is what makes it all possible and what keeps us going. We stay motivated when our deepest needs are met and it is only our personal relationship with Jesus that meets those needs. We cannot depend on our marriage relationship or our spouse to satisfy our innermost needs. It's not fair to them to expect that from them.

There are two sides to the love & respect equation. If we want love from our husbands than we must give them the respect God calls us to. Some things to keep in mind as we think about our husbands and showing respect to them:
~ It's easy to pass judgment on someone who is vulnerable where we feel strong.
~ It's not what we are saying, it's how we are saying it.
~ Do not attack character; do not say, "You don't love me". Instead say, "That sounded unloving".
~ We need to respect our husbands apart from their performance. Guard against despising their spirits. Separate spirit from flesh.
~ Speak with discipline and prudence.
~ We cannot become wrapped up in our own needs so that we miss the spirit of the other person.
~ PMS- pre-murderous syndrome- is NEVER an excuse for disrespectful behavior!

We can react in one of two ways to feeling unloved: be even more disrespectful or check to see where we might be mistaken. To women, the issue of respect is marginal; we don't "get it". How do you spell respect for a man? C-H-A-I-R-S: a seat of office or authority, a position of authority.

C= conquest; appreciating his desire to work & achieve. What is the first thing men will ask each other when meeting for the first time? "What do you do?" It's their identity. God has designed men to be out "in the field". He finds his satisfaction there. Understand how important his work is to him. If we imply, even unknowingly, that our husband's work is not that important, we have just called him a loser. That calling is not an option; it is his responsibility. How often do we verbally express to our husbands our respect for the work they do and the achievements they attain? They need to hear it from us!
Practical application- listen to his work stories as closely as you expect him to listen to your accounts of what happens in the family.

H= hierarchy; appreciating his desire to provide for & protect us. Again, it is God's design for our husbands to be the head in the marriage. He does not just have the right to, but the responsibility to. Why are we wives so hesitant to place ourselves under that umbrella of protection? How many times have we actually told our husbands how much we appreciate and respect their leadership? How feminist are we really? It shows by our attitude and actions. We think our men should be big enough and tough enough to take whatever disrespect we dish out to them. NOT SO!!
Practical application- Never, in word or attitude, put down his job or how much he makes.

A= authority; appreciating their desire to serve and to lead. How many times do we assure our husbands that they have the responsibility to lead, but we hold on to the authority. Vetoing our husband's decisions is saying that we don't trust his ability and that we are in control. Men will resist when they feel we have control. A marriage with two people acting as head will struggle. This wanting to control on the wife's part will often lead our husbands to passive irresponsibility.
Practical application- you praise his good decisions and are gracious if he makes a bad one. Always, always honor his authority in front of the children.

I= insight; appreciating his desire to analyze and counsel. Men are solution-oriented. How many of us women believe we possess an exclusive and unique power of intuition that is always right? Remember this: Eve was deceived; Adam disobeyed. We do not need to be ready with all the answers. Women today are deceiving themselves in their criticism of their husbands for lack of spiritual leadership; we have developed an attitude of self-righteousness; we see ourselves as more righteous and knowledgeable than our husbands. They cannot open up to us if we are judgmental towards their character. We women have analyzed our sin issues and turned them into psychological disorders. We judge our husbands for thinking they have dark sin issues and have dismissed our very own. Ask ourselves if we are a better person because God made us one way and our husbands another.
Practical application- you admit that you can sin and thank him for his perception and godly counsel.

R= relationship; appreciating his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship. Our men need companionship. They have a need for us to be with them, to quietly be with them; they don't need us talking all the time. If we are not seeing a desire for our husbands to spend time with us, we might need to evaluate why. We think we have to have a relationship on our terms. Our husbands need time to open up to us. They struggle with expressing themselves and have difficulty describing their feelings. Give them time!
Practical application- you enable him to open up and talk to you as you do things shoulder-to-shoulder without you doing all the talking.

S= (guess) sexuality; appreciating his desire for sexual intimacy. Just in case you didn't know this, men are visually oriented. His sexuality is much different than yours. Our husband's sexual release is the same as our need for emotional release. Why do we women think our feelings are the voice of God? Sexual intimacy is NOT based on what we may or may not feel! It's really not about the sex for our husbands; it's about honor. The way to get to our husband's spirit is to touch his body authentically. When we deny our husbands, we are in a lose-lose standoff. Here's the rule: you can't get what you need by depriving your husband of what he needs.
Practical application: you respond to him sexually more often and initiate sex periodically.

I recently heard it said that it should really be spelled S-C-H-A-I-R, but that's not really a word, so...(even though, after living with my husband for 27 years, I would agree :) )

Our husbands will shut down when they must unconditionally love their wives and earn our respect. That makes them responsible for both love and respect in the relationship.

The key to marriage is not communication; it is marital understanding of one another's differences.

~ Prov. 12:4- An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness to his bones.

~ Prov. 14:1- The wisest of women builds her house, but folly, with her own hands, tears it down.

~ Prov. 17:1- Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

~ Prov. 19:13 & 14- ...a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain...but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

~ Prov. 21:9 & 19- It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife...it is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

~ Prov. 25: 24- It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

~ Prov. 27: 15 & 16- A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand.

~ Prov. 31- An excellent wife who can find...the heart of her husband trusts in her...she does him good and not harm all the days of her life...her husband praises her.

We know what we need to do to improve our marriage. The question than is, Why aren't we doing it?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Love & Respect 2

The first thing I want to do is to qualify all this Love & Respect stuff. If Jesus Christ is not THE focus of your marriage, all the love & respect in the world will not do a hootin' bit of good. If your goal is not to glorify Him, but to glorify marriage, I suggest you rethink. Our marriages are THE greatest witness to the world of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Love and respect, with no conditions attached, are the very character of God. Our relationship with our spouse should be a message of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, a testimony of the Gospel.

With that being said, the things that Christ would have us do in our marriages are things that do not come naturally. God commanded men to love knowing it would not be a natural inclination and He commanded women to respect knowing it would go against self.

Women need connection; two people connected together, thus the word "couple". This is what spells love to most women:

C= closeness; face-to-face involvement, intimacy without always ending in sex

O= openness; expressive, not shutting down, sharing dreams & fears, ideas, eye contact

U= understanding; just listen, not fixing, identifying with feelings, not dismissing feelings

P= peacemaking; conflicts WILL happen, resolving brings peace, never nurse bitterness

L= loyalty; complete commitment, not looking at other women, does what he says he'll do, for better or worse

E= esteem; honor & cherish, encouragement, teach children to respect, feel like his princess

If we women are not feeling loved, we will confront our husbands in order to connect with them. If done the wrong way, he will feel disrespected. Differing with each other is to be expected, but resolving our conflicts must be within the parameters of God's Word. If men feel disrespected, they will shut down.

Practical application: never, NEVer, NEVER talk negative about your husband in front of the kids. NEVER. (and for that matter, never in front of ANYONE).

More on what men need next week...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Love & Respect 1

As soon as Jerald & I got the email announcing the Love & Respect meetings that would be held at Grace, we put our names on the list. We had read the book together (& even taught a breakout session on parts of it) and agreed that no other book impacted us like this one in regards to understanding one another.

Eph. 5:33- "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Last night was the first session and we were blessed as expected. It was great for me to be reminded that my husband needs my respect (or reverence, my preferred word) just like he needs air to breathe. When I step on his air hose and cut off the flow of respect, he feels emasculated, unworthy and degraded. No matter how tough our men are, emotionally they are vulnerable to our contempt.

Scripture does not suggest that I respect my husband; it COMMANDS it. There is no qualifier in that. Nothing says that I should respect him only if he deserves it. How would I like it if Jerald only showed me love when I deserve it? (LORD help us all; I would never receive love).

Here's the thing about love & respect: it will make a bad marriage good and a good marriage better. That's how important it is.

So knowing all this, why do we get on that crazy cycle: without love, she reacts without respect; without respect he reacts without love. Why do I make him feel like the problems are his fault? Why do I put expectations on him and than act disrespectful because he doesn't meet them? Why do I think that if HE would be the one to change, things would get better? Sometimes I am such a slow learner. Nagging and placing expectations on him is terribly disrespectful! We wives cry out for love, but we aren't helping at all because of our contempt. Why do we more easily see what is done to us before we see what we are doing to our husbands?

Marital problems and discord happen; they happen to everybody. We're all "sinners who say I do", (another good book!) Just because trouble shows up, we should not conclude that we've married the wrong person. The craziness continues when we keep doing the same thing with the same bad results. What we should conclude is that we are on the crazy cycle and we need to get off.

Communication, or lack thereof, seems to be one of the stickier aspects of marriage. A lot of that has to do with the way we hear and interpret. Men hear through blue hearing aids and women through pink. What I say is not what Jerald hears and what he thinks he heard is not what I meant at all. Craziness... :) It's so easy to focus on our own needs and lose sight of the needs of the other person.

Wives, we cannot afford to wait until our husbands make the first move! If I'm passing judgment on my husband for being unloving, I must ask myself if I am guilty of being disrespectful

The ultimate question becomes, "Does he feel respected?" It's not about him DESERVING respect; it's about him NEEDING it. 1 Peter 3: 1&2 are definitely talking about unconditional respect. Doing something that we don't feel like doing goes completely against our human nature. The way to fully love my husband is to respect him in ways that are meaningful to HIM. Something in my husband longs for me, as his wife, to look up to him with utmost reverence as he fulfills his role as my friend and lover.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blessings of Contentment

Despite the weather, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I think it's because my personality thrives on orderliness, checking off my task list and chaoslessness (is that a word?).

The holidays and birthdays are over until April (Brooke's birthday). My days are more organized and it's even possible to check EVERYTHING off of my list. My devotions are more intense, less hurried. The house stays in order because I have the time to clean a room or an area every day. I'm able to create menus ahead of time (versus throwing something together 30 minutes before it's time to eat).

All of this seems to notch my contentment up quite a bit. I love the coziness of being at home when it's cold outside and fulfilling my domestic tendencies. My days are permeated with the routine of keeping the home peaceful which in turn creates a harmonious atmosphere for Jerald and the kids.

I believe the older I get, the more I treasure this time. I know it won't last; spring will create another entire array of tasks to add to my to-do list. But we won't think about that just now and I will continue to treasure these days God has so abundantly blessed me with.

For you Moms with little children: I want this to be an encouragement to you. I remember life being a perpetual state of chaos at one point, but IT WILL GET BETTER. The challenge for you is to find contentment in the bedlam, fulfillment in the pandemonium.

God calls us to choose satisfaction and peace in whatever stage of life we are in or whatever circumstances He has laid out for us.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It Is Finished

Christmas and birthdays are finally over for the Yost family. Whew! We had an awesome day with our kids yesterday, but I am looking forward to putting Christmas decos away and getting my house and schedule back to normal! It's hard to realize it's almost the middle of January. Yikes! Only 10 more months before I have to start the madness all over again. :)