Ephesians 5:33b: And the wife should respect her husband.
Respect is his primary need, his deepest desire.

I Put My Followers First

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Morning Heart Strings

Nature's Heart Strings

Nature had a message and a memory for me this morning.  The early morning sunlight played upon the leaves of the neighbor's squash vine that had worked its way through the back fence, oblivious to manmade boundaries.  I took the camera out in hopes to capture a moment of the magic.  When I scrolled the photographs on the screen I caught sight of the artistry of God - an image of a heart and its heart strings.  

I appreciate the phrase "tug at the heart strings". 

It adequately conveys the feeling that lovers feel when the connection is made - as if your heart can no longer be restrained by your body.  Or that sensation of feeling your heart tugging at its moorings to soar into heaven somehow - as if your heart was not the center of your mortal life force but was, more rightly, the center of your immortal soul.  

I remember.  Goodness, even my body remembers, the first time "it" happened.  When the sight of "him", my soon-to-be husband, tugged at my heart strings.  Sitting on the bus bench beside him and catching the briefest glimpse of my perfect match.  In his eyes was a look that moved me more than any sultry scene with Cary Grant; even more than the sexy voice of Sean Connery.   It was a fleeting moment, beyond the veil and shroud of life's trials and health's decay.  Yes, there it was - sparkling, shimmering within the twinkle of his eye, creeping along the crinkled wrinkles of his face.

Today is Friday, date night, and it would seem that Nature knew that I needed a gentle reminder, a tug at the "old" heart strings.

Saturday Sampling

Thursday, July 29, 2010

12 Steps and 15 Years

I am listening to my husband make some phone calls in the other room. He's calling a few of the men who befriended him through the years in Alcoholics Anonymous.  He's taking the time to thank them for all they've given him and to reconnect. It is always interesting to listen to men connect.  They talk as if they cannot stand one another.
"Hey Schmuck."  I can hear the joy in his voice when his friend responds on the other end of the line.  He's talking to Roy.
Tonight we will attend Birthday Night at the local AA meeting where I will be honored to present my husband with his 15 year chip.  I have the opportunity at that time to share.

I hope to impress on the group the kind of miracle my husband is and the enormous role his AA friends played in his recovery.

Long ago, before I met him, my husband was addicted to crank, coke, alcohol and cigarettes.  He says that he was "doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, no matter what anybody else wanted me to do."

Then Bruce suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke that left him in a coma with tubes supporting his survival.  When he woke he was unable to speak, read or write; unable to walk or use his right hand; unable to dress, feed, or bathe himself.

Early in his rehabilitation he happened upon an AA meeting being held in one of the hospital conference rooms. He was waiting in the lobby for his ride and a "lady behind the desk" suggested he step in and join the meeting.    She was an observant hospital employee who saw right through him.

Bruce had returned to his addictive habits as soon as he was able after waking and was heading down that slippery slope yet again.  He sat in the back and listened.

When I met him six years later he had a very limited vocabulary, maybe 100 words. I don't imagine he spoke very much in those early years at the AA meetings. But it is apparent that he was listening.  He kept returning because he craved the learning he discovered there.  Not only was he learning the steps to recovery from addiction, he was learning new life skills he'd lost due to the stroke.

As time went on some of the men and women of AA took Bruce under their wings. I cannot name every one that helped him.  He can't remember them by name.  But they each helped him to more fully  comprehend the full scope of the 12 Step program. Bruce cannot read and comprehending verbal language is extremely difficult. I can only imagine the painstaking care that it took to get those steps into his head and heart.

I honestly don't think that I ever took the effort at anything in my life that it must have taken for his success. Really. I don't have the fortitude or stamina. But here we are, 15 years into recovery and it is me who reaps the great reward. I owe those recovering addicts a huge debt of gratitude.

Because of their efforts I have a husband who prays to his Father in Heaven, expects an answer and knows to obey.  I have a husband who knows that fear is an enemy and today is all that matters.  Because of the teachings of AA I have a husband who realizes that there will always be "lefts and rights and ups and downs" in life but it is all worth it.  He knows how to search his soul and "clean house".  He knows the value of repentance and forgiveness.  The list is endless.

If you don't know the benefits of the 12 step program, I invite you to come to a meeting.  Bruce and I now facilitate a 12 step meeting in our church every Wednesday.  There are 12 step meetings for everyone and every addiction somewhere in the world every day.

Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
To all the participants in 12 Step programs everywhere - I want you to know that what you do for one another causes ripple effects throughout the future that cannot be measured from where we stand today.  You are making miracles happen.

To the individuals who affected the recovery of my husband, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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YOUR best post of THIS week. 
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Appreciate Your Husband's Sex Drive?

I subscribe to many Christian marriage related sites, both as a blogger and as a Facebook user.  "Your Husband's Sex Drive is God's Gift to You" was the latest headline and link shared on the Focus on Marriage Fan page yesterday.  It sure caught my attention.

The comments that followed clearly indicate two distinct reactions to this topic:  (1) wives who are grateful for God's gift of their husband's sex drive and (2) wives who are not.   What became painfully obvious were the many, varied, and unexpected obstacles to God's charge that wives respect their husband's desire for intimacy and sex.

Allow me to clarify.  The overall theme for my blog, Your Husband's Deepest Desire, is found in the teachings of Ephesians 5:33b (wives are to respect their husbands).  In a related book, "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs, he explains:
". . . sex is symbolic of [the husband's] deeper need - respect.  When a wife refuses, that symbolizes to him that she does not care about him and does not respect him and his need."
I am like most wives.  I have what I have always felt was a healthy sex drive.  I enjoy intimate moments with my husband and feel that we connect more completely through sexual relations than by any other means.  However, I do "get headaches" from time to time like every other wife.   If I am tired, irritated or emotionally spent, I will avoid intimacy completely.   I know that this is an area that needs improvement.

I am only recently beginning to see how I am responsible for bringing about that improvment.

The comment that I left on the article yesterday was this, "Why do we act as if a man's sex drive is a sin or a behavior bestowed upon him by Satan? Is not a man's sex drive a gift from God?" I never received a response, other than many people clicking the "like" button on my comment.

Why is it that we wives are apt to continue treating the human sex drive as a sin after we are married?  Maybe we don't treat it as a bad thing, but don't we wives often treat sex as an unwelcome thing?   I thought that starting a conversation about that topic would uncover and resolve the real issue.

The real issue is this:  Why do we avoid sex with our husbands rather than employ it for all of its benefits?
"If you really want his attention, work with the way God designed him. . . . Your sexual relationship may be the "on-ramp" to communication, conflict resolution, and building the emotional intimacy you are longing for."  (Juli Slattery)
When I was younger I would have felt repulsed by her suggestion but I recently reached that same conclusion myself.  You see, it wasn't until I was nearly 50 before I realized that my husband will provide all the emotional support I require (which is substantial) if I would give him the intimacy he needs.

Did I say "all" the emotional support I require?  It should say "and then some".  When I respect his desire for sex - and not always by merely "giving in" but by inviting, encouraging and enjoying it - my emotional needs are met.

I am in control.  I am not at the mercy of my husband's demeanor, energy or understanding. He is not required to read my mind or figure me out.  I recognize that he does not intuitively know what I need anyway so I'm crazy to demand that he acquire that instinct.   When I learned to respect the truth about my husband's nature, I realized that I can be in control.

To get what I need, I must take that control but I am not taking control by force or coercion.  I am employing the talents that God gave me and relying on the sex drive that God gave him in order to satisfy both of us.

When I initiate sexual intimacy I am not waiting for him to accidently realize that I need to be held, comforted or caressed.  Our communication is also greatly improved.   I am no longer waiting for him to open up and share his feelings, I am drawing those feelings out of him.
"While acknowledging that sex is a huge force in your husband's life, don't neglect the fact that God created that force for your use as well." (Juli Slattery)
Prayerfully consider the power of respecting your husband's desire for sexual intimacy.

Word to the Wives ~ ~ It can be easer to honor and respect your husband's need for sexual release when you initiate or encourage it yourself.
As low as $2.50 on a Note Card

Friday, July 23, 2010

Saturday Sampling - I Married A Stroke Survivor

I added a permanent page to this blog last week and I wanted my readers, old and new, to be made aware of it.  So I'm taking advantage of the Saturday Sampling blog hop from Half-Past Kissin' Time to highlight it this weekend.  I hope you will be glad that I did.

The page shares a small part of the most wonderful, amazing and inspired love story of which I am aware.  

It also explains, in part, why I created this blog and where I find inspiration for the cards I create.  It also  might explain why I am so passionate about the need for wives to respect their husbands.  

I Married a Stroke Survivor

Finer Things Friday

I’ve joined a new (to me) blog hop today called “Finer Things Friday”.   The instructions are simple.  The question to be answered is “What Finer Things are you celebrating this week?”

I finally got the ingredients to make homemade ice cream with my brand new Tupperware Quick Chef last Saturday!  I used one cup very cold heavy whipping cream; one cup of frozen Dole® Mixed Berries w/Pomegranate; 3 tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Then cranked by hand for about one minute and VOILA; awesome, decadent, delightful dessert.  I later revised the recipe and used yogurt with active cultures rather than heavy cream.  Tart and sweet and OH So FINE!

I took a 5 mile walk in 55 degree air one morning this week.  SO fine!

I connected with my daughter, my big brother and my uncle this week.   Connecting with family is always a fine thing.

I was inspired to create a new card this week titled Synergy.   That got my mother and me to talking (what doesn’t?) of how women deceive themselves into feeling minimized rather than empowered by  becoming submissive. 

We were talking about the photograph on the Synergy card that shows two gears, one larger, which we likened to the husband, and one smaller, which we likened to the wife.  We considered how the movement of the smaller gear causing the reaction of the larger would easily power the entire mechanism.  Hmmm?  The smaller motivates and moves the larger that, in turn, then powers the whole thing.  

We marveled at the failure of women to recognize the full measure of their own worth as the smaller, submissive or “weaker” sex.   It is a much finer thing to consider the true worth of fulfilling the role that God defined for us as women.

Speaking of fulfilling the role and the rules that God defines for me, as a human.  Personal obedience has been a struggle all of my life.  (Wow!  You too?  Must be a human thing.)  I came across a blog post by Mark Gungor entitled "Christians Think Too Much" and found clarity concerning obedience, submission and following the commandments of God.   

"Here is a news flash for you: God loves you but doesn’t give a rat’s butt what you think. He is not sitting up in heaven taking a poll on the public opinion here on Earth trying to decide if he should alter his rules based on what you or anyone else thinks.

Mark Gungor is a pretty awesome Christian pastor/comedian.  I have often thought those things - but never had the nerve to say them.  He just blurts ‘em right out there.

"God is actually God and he has thoughts, ways and standards that are His and His alone. He tells us in scripture what to do and how to behave, and your opinion on it is irrelevant. I don’t even care what I think because it simply doesn’t matter."

When I say it out loud I emphasize the word “what” with a devil-may-care nose-in-the-air stare.  I don't care what I think on the matter of obedience, because it simply doesn't matter.  Finer words have never been uttered.

For More Finer Things, visit 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thankful Thursday (Strategic Financial)

This morning I was reading the blogs that I subscribe to and recognized a common theme for Thursdays.

"Thankful Thursday" posts are both popular and inspiring.  I'd like to inspire people and I'd like to be popular.  This is my "Thankful Thursday" post.

Sometimes I wonder if gratitude is not the underlying motivator of love and respect in marriage.  I have noticed that when I am being disrespectful of my husband, I can change my attitude simply by thinking of why I am grateful to have him as my companion.

In the Protect and Provide category of Your Husband's Deepest Desire cards, this one directly expresses gratitude.

I named it "Strategic Financial" because of the juxtaposition of the bank sign with the decaying bank building.

I wrote it as a way to encourage a husband in troubled financial times.
I don't know if I have ever thanked my own husband for his taking command of the finances in our house.  I cannot even say that I have truly developed a respect for his desire to do so.  I know that I am delighted to see how he rises to the occasion.

I love to see the beam of accomplishment in his eyes when he uses his paycheck to pay for household expenses.  I have begun to look forward to that moment every other week.  To be honest, it has not always been like this.

Since reaching adulthood, I have been a very independent woman; obsessively independent.  I do not relinquish the reign of control easily.  I have identified that attitude as the first point of failure in my previous marriages.

I have become painfully aware of how important it is for me to let it go and get out of the way; to submit and surrender my own thinking to God's Word.  God assigned the headship of my home to my husband.  It is not wise or healthy for me to defy that instruction.

This card is, honestly, about me teaching me to surrender control to my husband.  Even as I write this I am painfully aware of my own ego screaming STOP at my desire to obey.  I protest.  It is not easy to live life according to God's instructions.  It simply is not easy to discard the deep impact of feminism's instruction or my own sense of what is fair and what is not.

I have been examining how often I think I know better than God.  Or, worse yet, how often I think I can override what He has commanded.  I recently read a blog post by Mark Gungor entitled "Christians Think Too Much."  He said, "After all, it’s not like what God says is merely a bunch of suggestions to follow only if you like them, if they are convenient and work for you . . . People intentionally disobey the word of God just to make themselves happy and are insulting Him in every conceivable way. They want his blessings and do not make any connection between the way they are living their lives and the obedience God requires of us."


It is empowering to discover that I can turn the tide on my mistaken thinking simply by becoming thankful.  When I pause to count the blessings, wonders, and miracles in my life, I become more submissive to God's commandments for me.  

I challenge you to an experiment on this Thankful Thursday.  Try developing gratitude before attempting to accept a doctrine that has troubled you.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Word to the Wives Wednesday (Insight)

Word to the Wives ~ ~ Guiding a family through perilous times weighs heavily on a man's heart.  As your husband finds The Way through tough times, you might buoy him up with an encouraging word of approval and peace.

Card cover 
Watercolor by Robert Gilbert

Redundancy, including redundant encouragement, can be a most effective form of communication.  It may be needed if your husband has been struggling with making ends meet, facing difficult times at work or struggling with a wayward child.  God has placed the weight of responsibility squarely on a man's shoulders.   Your encouragement honors his role, acknowledges his desire to achieve and expresses your trust in him.

When he feels like giving up, your outward expression of respect means more than ever.  Finding the right words at that time is not always easy but, then again, the right Word may be as close as your knees.

Please allow me to share a personal and current struggle.  My husband is facing a difficult time this next week.  His hours will be cut from 40 per week to 8 hours per week.  I am currently laid off and receiving unemployment checks.

I know that when he considers the future, he wavers between faith and fear.  So do I.   He encourages me and I encourage him.  Some days we are both frightened together and all we can do is hold on to one another.  

He prays.  I pray.  We pray together.  And God answers.  Some of the answers my husband hears are demonstrated by way of a compliment or sharing of cooking duties or the large pink rosebud in the red plastic drinking glass by my bed.

Some of the answers I receive I can share in these cards that I produce.  Unfortunately, my husband cannot read due to his stroke.  So, I ask him to come and sit beside me at the computer and I read the cards to him.  This is the card (Insight) that I'm sharing with him tonight.

I pray that you can find the encouraging words you need for the times that challenge your husband.

Word from a Wife concerning last week's Word to the Wives -
I received a report from a wife who gave last Wednesday's featured card, Rough Ways, to her husband.  She wanted to share his reaction.  Her husband is not a believer and is struggling to hold on, having very nearly lost his business in the economic and political climate of the day.   She gave him the card and, as he read it, tears filled his eyes.  (He is not usually an emotional man.)  He placed the card on his night stand, a place of honor.  She knew that it would be moved to the drawer when something more important came along.  But, not this time.  This time he held it up and told her, "I'm taking this one to the office."

I appreciate her joyful report!  It was very exciting for both of us!

I appreciate all the comments that many of you have been sharing.  You have lifted my spirits at a time when I've needed it most.  Friends are so helpful when times are trying.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

Help Wanted

“Help Wanted” usually offers a job opportunity or a chance for the reader to make money.   That is the case with this blog post, but, before I explain the income opportunity for you or someone you know, let me speak of “Help Wanted” from my perspective.  

I had toyed with titling this post “Status Report” because I passed a significant milestone yesterday.  

Yesterday was the halfway point of my unemployment benefits sans any unforeseen Federal extensions.   

I was laid off from my job on the 19th of April.   I know that my prospects of finding employment in this city were reduced due to a few factors:
  • Unemployment in Sacramento is 12.4%
  • I am over the age of 50
  • I do not have a driver’s license (and cannot drive)
  • I use a public transit system that is also being drastically cut

Having considered the state of the state, the state of the union, the state of the economy, the state of my health, and the state of transportation – I concluded that working from home would be my best option for producing an income.  

With all the faith, hope and tenacity I could muster, the same weekend that I received notice of the lay-off, I designed the first card and opened my shop on Zazzle.

And yes - Praise God - I have experienced phenomenal success.   That success is measured not in income but in the reception of my readers, my followers, my friends and my family.  Your approval, appreciation and encouragement has been overwhelming.  I am so grateful for all the kind words and prayers for my success.  The visitors logs (for the blog and for the card shop) indicate that there is a buzz and a movement afoot.  I am encouraged by the number of women who are finding the value of following the admonition of Paul in Ephesians 5:33b.  I am delighted by the men who read the cards  (and there have been many) who wish, aloud, that their wives would give them one. 

I have even heard of a pastor instructing a wife in a troubled marriage to give her husband a respect card every week.  And the miraculous fruits of that labor are becoming evident in their relationship.  

I have developed a wonderful association and friendship with Nina Roesner, author of “The Respect Dare”.   The respect cards support teachings from her book and in the ministry she directs.  Nina Roesner recently authorized me to publish her personal endorsement of the Your Husband’s Deepest Desire greeting cards.    

This growth is amazing considering that the first card was designed on February 19th of this year.  
Wow!  That was only five months ago.  

Now I look at the calendar and realize that I have three months remaining of unemployment checks.  I need to generate a viable income from this business quickly -  enough to survive without those checks.  

To that end, I am in search of resellers.  The profit margin is completely up to the individual.  There is no contract involved and you do not need my approval though I would enjoy a working relationship!  I can recommend the following resale opportunities.

Fundraising Opportunity for Organizations

A church bookstore recently purchased 100 note cards for $200 including shipping directly from the website.   They are reselling those cards for $3.99 each.  The markup is 199.5%

That card cost can be substantially reduced. The manufacturer (Zazzle) offers an exponentially larger volume discount up to 1,000  2,000 cards.   The shipping cost also varies.  Additionally, there are periodic occasions when the manufacturer offers the cards at a discount up to half off or the shipping for free. 

Due to the quantity and cost of the initial investment, I would recommend this opportunity for bookstores, gift shops or fund raising organizations.  
Income Opportunity for Individuals 

My other suggestion is geared for an individual and also requires an investment.  However, the amount of the investment is completely up to individual and can be quite minimal.  The same discounts and opportunity for reduced shipping are available to the individual reseller.  

This concept mimics the party plan sales tradition of Tupperware(TM) or Home Interior (TM).

As a reseller, you would choose any number of cards to demonstrate and purchase them.  (You might want to plan on giving them  to your husband or a bride-to-be after the party.)

Invite a few girlfriends to join you – in your home, at a clubhouse, a restaurant or park (to name a few).  Provide a friendly location, good conversation or social games, finger food or sweets, and pass the cards around.  The cards are printed on 120-pound card stock with a glossy finish.  It takes a lot of handling to damage them.   You would price the cards, take orders and provide delivery as you choose.

If you have other ideas I would love to hear them.   Leave me a comment or send me an email through my profile.

Most of my blog posts are intended “to encourage wives to respect their husbands, to strengthen their marriage and to glorify God as they do so”.  That is also the mission of the Your Husband’s Deepest Desire greeting card shop.  If you are willing to commit to that mission, please consider this post as your invitation.

I sincerely appreciate you and all of my other followers.  For your sake I will return to traditional blogging tomorrow.   Meanwhile, this post will become a permanent page filed under the “More About Me” heading in the left hand column.  

Monday, July 19, 2010

Silent Synergy

I was listening to a guest speaker in church yesterday.  His topic was "service" and he was able to keep my attention with a polished speaking style.  Much of what he had to convey was, of course, very familiar.   He included the biblical passage from Matthew 25:40, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."   

He was driving home the point that serving one another is actually serving God.   His train of thought and teaching was becoming all too familiar and I was beginning to fade out.  But then he told the story of some men attempting to move a grand piano without equipment. 
Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.
As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, “Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.”
It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

As my mind created and reviewed an imaginary filming of the event I was suddenly startled by something fresh that the speaker was saying. 

"The synergy of standing shoulder-to-shoulder" . . . .

I missed the remainder of what he said as I scrambled to write down the phrase.  The use of the words "shoulder-to-shoulder" caught me by surprise.   Not only do I create greeting cards with that message in mind, I have been focused on the effect of spending shoulder-to-shoulder time with my husband.  I have been considering that, whether our shoulder-to-shoulder time is spent accomplishing or sitting quietly, the effect is the same.

I had challenged myself to a little experiment the next time the opportunity presented.  As my husband and I were walking through a shopping mall, side-by-side, I was chattering away.  He was becoming increasingly snippy.   I remembered that silence combined with shoulder-to-shoulder time could create a powerful synergy between us.

So I shut up.

It didn’t take long before he asked if everything was okay.  Silence is not a normal state of being for me!  I assured him that I was simply learning to enjoy silence.

He chuckled.

Then he reached over and took my hand.  After a few awkward yards and my silent focus on the journey, I discovered that my husband and I were walking in rhythm that is difficult for us.  

Before we met, my husband had suffered a massive hemorrhagic left-side stroke leaving him with paralysis and weakness in the right side of his body.    This drastically affects the way that he walks.  His right leg is practically dragged and then tossed forward by a thrust of his hip.  It is awkward, strained and stilted.

For the first time since his stroke, for the first time since we married, I was able to fall in line with his awkward gait and he became much less strained in his step.    This was a big deal for me, something I had wanted since he and I had walked together for the first time. 

As the speaker continued, I remembered the day and squeezed my husband's hand a little tighter as he sat beside me in the pew.  Like the men standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the speaker's story, I had also experienced the wondrous effect of silent synergy. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Confession of Culpability

Writing, blogging, creating cards and all other creative endeavors have been beyond my capacity this week.  To be honest, I was so paralyzed, I could not even decide what to fix for dinner most nights.   My usual jovial demeanor, my flirtatious attitude towards my husband, my patience with the dog – all have been disrupted.

It all resulted from a disquieting personal revelation I received as I studied the positive effects of respecting my husband.   Inevitably, the true value of a positive quality can only be measured by comparison to its antithesis.    It was my mental review of the negative effects of disrespecting my husband that led to a disgusting realization.   Obviously then, to share the revelation requires a confession.

(I believe in keeping blog posts brief, preferably less than 500 words, so my challenge today is to be pithy.  If you reach the end of the post and have questions, feel free to ask.  I appreciate questions as well as comments.)

As I was creating autobiographical sketches for the blog and my business, I had to face and contemplate my unconventional qualifications in the field of marriage relations.  It raises a valid question that I am bound to be asked and will be expected to answer.  

What qualifies me to expound and exhort the words of Ephesians 5:33b?  I will be forced to admit that I feel qualified because of the sheer volume of experience that I have in marriage - in failed marriage - that is.

I have been married four times, meaning that I have failed three times.

It has only been through my study of wives respecting their husbands that I have come to understand my culpability in the failure of those marriages.  Without exception, those marriages would have been much stronger, much healthier and much less susceptible to failure had I respected the man that I married. 

I have avoided ownership of that statement because it comes with an overwhelming weight of remorse.   It also provides a powerful clarity concerning respect -  unconditional respect.   The most horrific realization is that the contempt I felt could have been lifted from my heart had I only respected them.   

Which also makes me wonder if respect is one of the steps of forgiveness?  I’ll leave that to another day.

But I am compelled to consider the effect of respect on contempt.  Would it surprise you to know that contempt is the antonym of respect?   They cannot exist in the same place at the same time.  They cannot occupy the same heart at the same time.  One will preclude the other.  More importantly, I cannot feel respect or contempt without a conscious choice, considered cultivation and active participation.

I can choose to respect my husband as purposefully as I can choose to despise him.  And, AND, I can choose either in spite of his actions. 

Did you ever teach your children about how they choose their feelings?  I remember being taught that no one can hurt me unless I choose to feel hurt.  That was all well and good in the schoolyard playground or when other girls were making fun of me.  I was told that regardless of the actions of another, I choose to be or not to be hurt.  

What?  Does the same “rule” apply to contempt?  I propose that it does.

Contrary to popular opinion, respect is not earned and neither is contempt.   Just as I can choose to be or not to be hurt, I can choose to respect or not to respect regardless of the actions of another.  Respect is no more a natural by-product of an action than is contempt.  

In three failed marriages, I chose to be contemptuous.  I chose to be disrespectful of my husbands.  I chose how I would react to their actions.  The most self-condemning realization is that I chose to be disrespectful, bitter and contemptuous towards every offense – no matter how large or how small, no matter how real or presumed. 

It is horrifying to realize that I was in control through it all.  I caught hold of a wave of hatred and I rode it to the bitter end.  And then I dragged it along after me - for years beyond the divorce settlements.   Sure, my mouth would say it was over and through, water under the bridge, and what not.  But, my heart still retained a claim on bitterness and contempt. 

For those of my readers who are insisting that I recognize the fault of the men in these failed marriages – I admonish you gently with a hush.  “Shhh”.  I must leave those accusations, those condemnations, and those reparations to the Savior. 

If I truly am a Christian then I really, really need to understand Christ’s teachings concerning similar cause and effect situations.  In all of my studies, beginning with childhood Bible stories, it has been paramount that I understand one thing.  Christ does not react to actions.  He turns the other cheek, He forgives and He has asked me to do the same. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Word to the Wives Wednesday (Rough Ways)

Word to the Wives ~ ~ When his desire to achieve comes face to face with a seemingly immoveable obstacle your husband may falter or shrink at the task. This is when he needs your respect rather than your fear of his failure.

Rough  Ways Greeting Card from Your Husband's Deepest Desire

The Painting was done by my uncle, Robert Gilbert
Tucson Mountain Sunset
Oil on Canvas
30 x 24

When God created Eve for Adam, He declared that she was to be a help meet for him (Genesis 2:18).  Though I have often mistakenly rendered the operative phrase (help meet) as one word, it is not.  The origin of the strict English translations comes from two Hebrew words: ezer kenegdo.

Help/ezer is a strong word in the Bible.
It is used for someone who saves or protects another, the one that needs help.

Meet/kenegdo means "facing" or corresponding to.
She will provide the help he needs and is neither superior nor inferior to him, she is equal yet different.

When a husband is struggling, in work or at school, a wife's encouragement is the balm that God prescribed for him.   If this is your case, why not lift his spirits with a kind and sincere word of encouragement?

Behind Closed Doors

Some blog posts are easier to write than others.  This is one of the “others”.

When I gave my card store (and this blog) their name I knew that it would cause a few raised eyebrows.   I can imagine my grandmothers’ reactions to seeing those words in print or hearing me say aloud “Your Husband’s Deepest Desire”.   I could almost hear them exclaim “We don’t discuss such things in public” and “Some things should be kept behind closed doors”.

If I asked you “What do you believe is a man’s deepest desire”, be honest.  How many of you first thought “sexual intimacy”,  “sex” or “making love”?  

No.  “Sex” is not the word that I refer to as a man’s “deepest desire”.  I believe that “respect” is a man’s deepest desire.  However, today I do want to talk about sex, sexual intimacy or intimacy. 

I was talking to a couple of girlfriends earlier this year about the Intimacy line of respect cards.  Both had been married over 20 years.  Each had reached a passion starved stage in their relationships.  One admitted that sexual activity was practically non-existent and the other was reconciled to scheduled sex appointments rather than spontaneous romantic encounters.  Both women were obviously discouraged and dismayed by the state of affairs in their bedrooms.

Terri Orbuch, in a Denver Post article, suggests that couples “maintain passionate sex” and goes on to say that “passion is high in the beginning. But injecting newness, mystery and arousal-producing activities will stoke it over time. . . . Anything new and novel shared together will surprise and increase adrenaline.”

A quick glance at the Intimacy cards encouraged the woman whose husband schedules their intimate encounters.  It occurred to her, with little prompting, that she could use the cards to schedule her own “appointments”.  The mere thought of extending an invitation began to arouse her interest.

I am not an advisor, counselor, pastor or otherwise educated in the field of marriage relations.  I created the Intimacy cards as a reflection of my own understanding of sexual intimacy in marriage and the wife’s role in that relationship.  I believe that it is healthy and enriching for a wife to initiate intimate encounters. 

Like many women of my generation, I was taught that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so yes, I serve romantic meals on occasion.  I especially employ this tactic when I know that my husband is in need of a little attention, relaxation or release.   That can happen when he has a bad day at work or when he is stressed by outside commitments.  I can develop and encourage the appropriate attitude in my own self simply by my preparations.  Then it is the candlelight, mood music, and flirtatious conversation that communicate exactly what is on my mind.   He knows what the dessert is before he finishes the last bite of dinner.

I get other ideas from television and movies.  I have watched enough cinema to feel capable of mimicking some of the best “come ons” ever seen on screen.  I think of Olivia Newton John’s rendition of “You’re the One that I Want” in Grease.  You’ve seen my photograph.  No, I do not bear any resemblance to Olivia nor could I get away with the tight black capris and the heals (in public).  Nor can I move, sing and dance like her.  BUT, I can do a version that makes my own husband take notice.   It's all in good fun and he is worth whatever embarrassment I initially felt when I tried something like this.

Whatever you, as the wife, can do to ignite the romance and passion in your marriage is more important than I can say.   God created sexual intimacy for you, for him, for your marriage - so the two of you can be as one.   

Maybe today's featured card would be suitable for your situation.  There are others and I encourage you to browse the entire selection.  I assure you, it will grow as interest improves.

Water Falls (Greeting Card)

As low as $2.50 on a Note Card

Feeling overwhelmed by a reader full of unread posts?  Wishing your reader could just float the best posts to the top so you can make the most of your time or catch up on the important stuff?  Then Saturday Sampling is a great place to be!  Pull up a couch and read. Link up your favorite post and/or that of someone else. All are welcome, and tweets are appreciated. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Things I Admire About My Husband

You may notice a new thumbnail at the left of the screen.  It is for the "Completing Him Challenge".  This challenge appears to parallel and compliment much of what I am already doing so I decided to participate.

I've come into the challenge a little late.  Nonetheless, I'll start with this past week's challenge before the next one come along!
July 5 - This week's Marriage challenge is: Admire Your Husband. If you are a blogger write a post all about your husband and what you admire in him and then show it to him! He will smile! If you are not a blogger, list the things you admire about your husband in the comment section and show it to him! 
Showing it to him is so important. You may THINK he already knows the things you admire about him - but I'm afraid we don't tell our husbands often enough how much we do.

Much of my blog is "all about my husband", if not in direct reference then in the lessons I have learned and the cards that I create .

However, I did complete the first part of the challenge as an assignment in The Respect Dare e-Course and posted it last month under the title of "My Husband's Pride".

To recap - these are the things I admire about my husband:
  1. His personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ
  2. His courage in the face of adversity;
  3. His determination to achieve;
  4. His unfailing honesty; and,
  5. His commitment to work.
I have not yet completed the second part of the assignment.    Telling him is the most important part of this assignment.  While we, as wives, expect demonstration of love from our husbands - they expect us to show respect.   When my husband is not showing love and affection for me, it is usually because I have failed to admire, respect or encourage him.  It is a habit that I am continuing to develop.

So I will show my husband this post.  Because I sure could use one of his smiles today and a healthy showing of affection wouldn't hurt either.

How about you?  Can you list five things that you admire about your husband and share it with him?

Don't you deserve his smile today?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Saturday - a Showing and a Sampling

My first Saturday Showing features a gallery of cards to suit a black and white theme.  

This might be a good time to mention that the full size cards measure 5 X7 - ideal for matting and framing.  Although, even if you don't frame and display them, these may be cards that your husband would want to keep forever.

Watch Over Me (greeting card)
Word to the Wives ~ ~ Though you may not feel as helpless as a lamb, your husband fancies himself the lion that watches over you. Be aware and recognize the things that he does to protect you from harm - both physically and spiritually.
(click on a card to read the message inside)

Intimate Tranquility (greeting card)
Word to the Wives ~ ~ Tranquility is telling your husband that you appreciate his desire for intimacy.

The following post appeared on a blog I recently began following.  The poster is Beth Zimmerman.  I "met" her when she left a comment on my post this past Wednesday.  I knew that she was going to have an influence on my life - in a good way - and I was anxious to see how it played out.

Mrs. 4444, of Half-Past Kissin’ Time, is once again hosting Saturday Sampling. Browse through your writings from the past week and pick your very best piece, funny, heartfelt, deep, whatever, and link it up on this meme, to give it one more chance at reaching the most readers!

Things Are Hoppin' Around Here!

I received, on Thursday, the best news since I started creating the respect cards for husbands.

Yes, I did post that my first large order of cards was placed in a bookstore in Hermosa Beach and that started the Happy Dance Time around here, but that news was soon eclipsed by the biggest news of the day.

If you'll do me the honor of glancing to the left hand column of the blog, there you will see some orangey-red-print that kind of stands out among the blue and green theme I've got going here.

That is a highly prized, greatly esteemed and to-be-cherished personal endorsement of my greeting cards. It was written by Nina Roesner, author of "The Respect Dare".   Please, click on the image of her book to learn more of her ministry.   You will soon discover why I am so humbled by her approval and her kind words.

Like I said - things are hopping around here.  It's Friday and I'm joining a blog hop to celebrate.

And what better respect card to feature for a blog hop than this one?  This is one card that any wife can give her husband without expectations.  It is a wonderful anniversary card but is also a wonderful card for a day when your husband simply needs to know that he matters in your life.
(Click on the Card to see the sentiment inside!)

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Can I get an Amen?