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

I Put My Followers First

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Model Search

It was a short phrase, a memorable phrase, uttered during the invocation.

“We come in repentance for not modeling marriage among your people.”

I was watching Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally on August 28th.  That phrase pierced my heart and gave me much to ponder these past few days.  I have been unable to identify the cleric who offered the prayer. 

In 2004 I had gone to God in repentance for not modeling my failed marriages according to His word. In 2005, when I married Bruce, I was inspired to do whatever was required to be the wife that God wanted me to be. This blog, my greeting card business and my energies in the past few years were put in motion as a result.  

“We come in repentance for not modeling marriage among your people.”

As I heard those words, booming across the National Mall and transmitting across the nation, I was mesmerized.  How many others had already heard the call to “model marriage” as I had? How many more were being awakened to the call at that precise moment?   I supposed that a revival of gospel-centered marriage had begun and I was being included in the work.  I was stunned, humbled and excited all at the same time.

In recent months, I have discovered a number of people who model marriage among the people.   Nina Roesner, Mark Gungor, Kevin Leman, Emerson Eggerichs, and many bloggers (like me) have made the same commitment whether consciously or not.  The signs of a revival have become apparent in my little corner of the world. 

I recently wrote that I do not stand against something.  I stand for something.  I do not choose to engage in debate with the opposition.  I do not wish to judge others for their choices or condemn them for their actions.  That is not my right.   But I do believe that without modeling and restoring gospel-centered marriage, society will continue to stray, decay and deteriorate.   

Am I alone or are you also answering the call to model marriage according to God’s word?   Are you learning to be the wife that God wants you to be? 

I would like to create an extensive resource page on this site and would be honored to include your suggestions.  Please provide suggestions in the comment section.   I am especially hoping to include links to other bloggers or other articles that teach God's word to the wives in marriage.

This is a model search for Christian Wives.

~ ~ ~


Monday, August 30, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion (aka a Blog Hop)

Today I showcase a blog hop from the Society of Socialpreneurs.  Every Monday they host a blog hop for Mom owned business bloggers who have a product or service to sell.
" If you run a mom owned business, we want to start each week focusing on you!"
I am grateful for a chance to share in this shameless self promotion.   Want to join me?  Add your link at the end of this post.

Before I share the Society's own promotion of the blog hop, let me tell you a little about what I am doing with "Your Husband's Deepest Desire".   If you are already a follower, you know that I have a blog and a Zazzle store by that name (not to mention my Facebook Fan Page).

The Blog 
I blog about gospel centered marriage and the wife's role according to God.  I feel a distinct and pressing call to this work as my readers discover with each post.   I enjoy a close association with a community of Christian wives learning, growing and becoming the wives that God asks us to be.  It is wonderful to receive and to share words of encouragement with each other.  My husband is grateful for our efforts as well!

The Store
I write greeting card messages that respect a husband's efforts to fulfill their gospel defined role in the marriage. Some of the cards are designed to uplift non-believing husbands.  I know that there are many women struggling with that issue.  Other cards are designed to encourage husbands who are devoted to the Lord.  I hope that there are cards in my selection for your personal circumstance.  If not - please feel free to contact me.  

And now - on with the blog hop.

Mom Owned Business Monday

Here are some helpful hints on how you can partipate in and get the most of Mom Owned Business Monday:

  • Link up your blog, website, shop, facebook page, or a  blog post that features your latest must have product or your latest cutest homemade creation!  We support all mom owned business owners, etsy shop owners, direct sales consultants, mompreneurs, small business owners ~ the more the merrier! 
  • Grab our Mom Owned Business Monday button for your sidebar, or create a post, or grab the linky information to include in your post if you want.
  • Follow the blogs, twitter or facebook pages that you are interested in learning about, be sure to leave a comment saying that you stopped by from Mom Owned Business Monday
  • Consider making a purchase from one of the Mom Owned Business Owners or considering featuring one of them on your blog.
  • Please no adult companies ~ we would like this to remain family friendly.


~ I appreciate your support.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friendly Friday Fireworks

Friendly Friday is brought to you 
by the letter "F":

friendly - Friday - 
flirt - 
fantasize - 
fleshy - feisty - furtive - 
frisky - 
frequent - fireworks

I watched a video this morning on Courtney's "Women Living Well Blog".   I had seen that link many, many times but never watched it.  If you have about ten minutes, I would highly recommend it.  But, assuming that you don't, I'll tell you of the part that would catch anyone's attention.
"I make love to my husband anytime he wants it."
Yup.  She really said it, to Rachel Ray, on national television and in front of a live audience.  Go to the three minute mark on that video and listen.  Really listen.  It is all about choices.  Courtney made a choice about sexual intimacy in her marriage.  It is a choice I had been considering.

I had considered it for quite some time.  Five years of considering it but never really committing myself to it.  I know that there are many women who cannot make this choice.  But do not dismiss that option until you have prayed about it and considered it thoroughly.  It took me a long time to even pray about it.  But I did pray about it.  

I made that same choice (the same choice Courtney did) very recently and then I committed myself to it. I actually told my husband of my decision to stop saying "NO".  Of course we agreed on exceptions due to health but, yes, I did commit to not say "no".

That commitment has been liberating.

~ ~ Word to the Wives ~ ~ 
Invite your husband for a romantic interlude 
instead of waiting for him to initiate. 
He may not be able to contain his enthusiasm.

Fireworks card
To see the message inside this card, click on Fireworks
by Your Husband's Deepest Desire

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When You Choose What You Got

My oven is so old
that it is still lined in contact paper
from the early 1960's!
This is a picture of the inspiration for today's post.

I took the picture for my mother.  We were talking on the telephone and I was trying to explain a loud noise.

"You know the drawer that's under the oven, where you keep pots and pans?"

"You mean the drawer that use to be under the oven?"  My mother obviously has newer appliances than me!

I laughed and told her that my oven was so old . . .

How Old is it?

My oven is so old 

that it is still lined in contact paper 
from the early 1960's!

That conversation brings us to today's post.

I am happy with my life.  I love my home, my husband and my dog.  Yes, there are many things that I do without but I am happy with what I have.

A long time ago, when I was a teenager, my mother taught me an aphorism (one of many) that nags me to face the truth when I am dissatisfied.
"Life is a rip off when you expect to get what you want.  Life works when you choose what you got.  Actually what you got is what you chose.  To move on, choose it."
I have never surrendered my choice about how I feel.  No person, no event, no activity, no circumstance can determine the way that I feel.  To say otherwise is to lie about it.

When I survey my current circumstance, I am free to choose if I am satisfied or not.

I choose to be satisfied.  Imagine, for just a moment, the impact that choice has on my husband.

My husband is permanently disabled after suffering a massive stroke.  He would be devastated if I even intimated that I am dissatisfied.  Like every man, my husband deeply desires to provide for me.  No matter that he has more than he expected, it would devastate him to think that he could not provide for me.

I never tire of his oft repeated declaration to anyone who will listen, "All I ever wanted was a wife, a house and a dog.  I never thought I could have all of this!"

One year after Bruce and I married we rented a small house in a quiet neighborhood within walking distance of a bus stop and our church.  The monthly rent was perfect for our income.  There were no steps up into the house making it easy for Bruce to access.  Neither of us drive but the garage houses a washer and dryer!

Bruce still doesn't know what to make of the yard.  He hasn't acquired the words "yard", "grass", or "lawn".  We have a deep front yard that he has struggled four years to walk across.  He finally conquered the lawn mower for the back yard early this past spring!

We hadn't been in our home long when we were given a dog.  She was a bit bigger than we had talked about.  We had agreed on a Yorkie but were offered a Basset Hound.

I could carry on for hundreds of blog posts on the blessings we have received since we married but there are other days for that.

It is true that Bruce and I do not have many things that other people take for granted.  But, as he says, he has more than he could have hoped for.

And to be completely truthful, so do I.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Topsy Turvy Thank You

Word to the Wives ~ ~ Regardless of how capable or willing you may be, God placed your husband in the leadership role in your house. It is up to you, as wife and nurturer, to assure that his leadership is not a thankless job.
When I was in the hospital recovering from my stroke, I discovered a "trick" that turned my trials upside down.  I began to use gratitude to my advantage.

I studied my predicament a lot as I lay in the ICU.  My world had been turned upside down but I was so grateful to be alive.  Do you know that it becomes impossible to fret, worry and despair when counting blessings?  It was absolutely amazing.
Topsy Turvy Thank You card
Topsy Turvy Thank You by Your Husband's Deepest Desire

What does that have to do with acknowledging, accepting and appreciating your husband's role as leader in your home?  Probably a lot more than you think.

Are you annoyed with God for making the husband the leader?  Are you offended that the wife is to be subject to the husband?  I know I was.

It has only been the recent couple of years that I have turned my thinking on that subject inside out and upside down.

While I was thanking God for saving my life, I realized that I owed Him the greatest measure of gratitude for my husband.  As I lay in that bed and considered the man I was coupled with, I began to realize the immense trust God had placed in each of us.

God trusts my husband - in spite of his obvious deficiencies - to lead me on the strait and narrow path.  God trusts me to stand in support of my husband as he becomes the man God designed him to be.  

OH NO!  

From the day I married my husband, I had defied God's command by getting in my husband's way and taking charge.  My behavior guaranteed that he was unable to lead us as a couple.  And, being the loving husband that he is, he didn't want to upset me by taking that job away from me.  Who knows? He probably wasn't overly eager to do what I was obviously willing to do.

I realized that as long as I continued to usurp my husband's authority, I was thwarting the work of God.

As low as $2.50 on a Note Card
And worse - I was horrified to realize that any effort to thwart the work of God was the work of the devil.

I realized that I was not working for the Lord - I was working against him.   

It was imperative that I learn - and learn quickly - how to step back and urge my husband to take the lead.  My biggest challenge was going to be getting me out of the way so my husband felt there was a place to step into.  And I would need to encourage and welcome him to take my place.

I am so grateful that God gave me an active imagination.  I began to dream up ways to push my husband out in front and created ways for me to step back a little.

I found ways to change my leadership skills into cheerleading skills.  

Most of all, I learned to thank my husband for every little piece of leadership he successfully gained away from me.  I even thanked him in advance - grateful for his desire to be all that God wants him to be - and not waiting for him to achieve it.   

Those expressions of gratitude were also my way of telling myself to let go of the reins.

I am grateful to a patient God and a patient husband.  I've learned that my world does not turn upside down when I get out of the way and let them do what they were meant to do.

~ ~ ~

If you're interested in seeing other Thankful Thursday posts
or would like to check out the host site, please click here

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday's Word to the Wives

Word to the Wives ~ ~ When your husband is your best friend, the wildness of the world is tamed. Together you become a unifying influence on everything around you.
Wild Place card
Wild Place by Your Husband's Deepest Desire
cards for sale on Zazzle

(Were you looking for more?  I'm sorry.  That's all for today.  I needed to catch my breath after writing yesterday's post.  That took a whole lot out of me!) 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Three Strikes And . . .

Something stood out for me in yesterday's post and I want to take us in for a closer look.  In the quote from The Respect Dare's Facebook page, this caught my eye:
". . .  subtly discounting the other person's opinion...contempt makes us see our husband as someone who doesn't deserve our respect." (Nina Roesner, The Respect Dare)
I must admit that, on first reading, I balked at that.  In a disagreement, exactly how do I defend my position if I cannot discount my husband's position?  Seriously?

I was raised by my father and my step-mother.  I learned the art of argument by watching them.  My father used weighty-sounding words and phrases like “in terms of”, “per se”, “ipso facto”, “ergo” and “so to speak”.  My step-mother was the queen of the snappy comebacks and effective application of her loud, shrill voice with sharply raised eyebrows and rolling eyes.  Physical displays of rage and violence were not unheard of.

Of course, I was a child and children were to be seen, not heard. I didn't have a chance to hone my developing skills of verbal warfare until I moved away.  I won't say that I entered marriage with any eagerness to try my hand at arguments, but I was not opposed to engaging in them - frequently.  After all, I had an arsenal to drawn upon.

I became quite adept at sarcasm.  I had silently polished it like the favored tool of the aspiring wordsmith that I am.  However, when I was able to speak in defense of myself, I could not volley long soliloquies, like my Dad, because my uncontrolled temper would render me a babbling idiot.  Quick sarcastic jabs became my forte, each followed by some grand, dramatic physical display.

As I matured and became aware of God and His word, I attempted to change my behavior.  My all out temper and raging sarcasm became what Nina Roesner referred to earlier as "subtly discounting".

I thought that minimizing my sarcasm would be sufficient but it was not.  To subtly discount or discredit someone relies on some measure of contempt.  Regardless of how I diminished the sarcasm, contempt breeds contempt.  What should have been easily managed as differences of opinion became saucy sarcastic quips.  Quips soon became loud voices hurling egregious epithets.  Loud voices became silent resentment and blatant disrespect for days, weeks, months, even years on end.

Those "cute" quips of sarcasm and harmless rolling of my eyes grew to be uncontrollable contempt and disgust.  There came a time when I could discern nothing of worth in my husband and we divorced.

Divorce is horrible if it happens once in a lifetime.  It is magnified with each successive repetition of the same mistakes.  For me, that was three times; three contemptible times.

Three strikes and I'm out?  Or did I finally come to realize and accept what Jesus had been offering me all along?


I invite you to follow this blog as I continue to explore the miraculous effects of learning God's Word for the wives.  I look forward to your reactions and eagerly welcome your suggestions.  Feel free to share in the comment section here or on my Facebook page.

~ ~ ~
Because it literally sapped the words and energy from me, 
I'm linking this post up with Shell from Things I Can't Say 
who hosts Pour Your Heart Out every Wednesday. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Skeletons In The Closet

I have mentioned in the past that I am a huge fan of Nina Roesner's book, The Respect Dare.  I am also a "fan" of her Facebook page.  If you are also a Facebook user, I recommend "liking" The Respect Dare page and joining in the discussions.  If you are already a "fan", then this post contains some redundancies for you.

Last Wednesday, the following dare was posted on the fan page:

"Think of the last time you experienced the contempt of another person towards you. Ouch?
Research by Dr. John Gottman suggests contempt is a marriage destroyer. Today, we ask you to erradicate contempt: no more insults or name calling ("failure," "loser," "lazy,"), no more mocking or putting the other person down, eye rolling, subtly discounting the other person's opinion...contempt makes us see our husband as someone who doesn't deserve our respect. Not true, but it lies to us and is a marriage destroyer."

I did not respond on Wednesday.  I had a lot of thinking to do; a lot of soul searching, actually.  I came to some realizations that were tough to face.  I posted the following as my two part response:

Contempt for my ex-husbands most surely inflicted far more damage on those marriages than any of their indiscretions. I truly believe (now) that contempt is the most powerful tool in the devil's arsenal AND it is the most socially acceptable sin that we can commit in marriage.
 But, in God's eyes, contempt towards our spouse is contemptible.
Luke 5:37
Unfortunately, I was not raised in a Christian home. I had no idea that contempt was a "bad" feeling. By example, I learned that contempt was the appropriate non-violent recompense for being wronged. I entered my first three marriages with that frame of mind. I had NO idea there was a better way. But I sure knew that divorce was the most exhilaratingly effective form of contempt.
Believe me - I remember how dark was the place from which Jesus rescued me. But I also know that when a sinner as depraved as me comes out of the waters of baptism, the conversion process has just begun. It can be a long, hard road undoing subtle and insidious bad habits.
A sin like contempt is not easily observed by onlookers, including clergy and ecclesiastical leaders. Contempt - especially in marriage - is not generally a topic expounded upon from the pulpit. No one ever approached me or attempted to teach me a better way until my mother prompted a joint study of Ephesians 5:33b and The Respect Dare.

I knew that my marriage to Bruce would require becoming a complete reversal of my former self.  I did not know exactly what course that would take, but I knew and trusted the Teacher of my re-education.  I knew that becoming centered on honoring God in my marriage would be life changing.   Dramatic life changing requires repentance.

Without repenting of contempt, it is impossible to fully respect.

~ ~ ~

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Woman's Divine Role

;Awareness Wed Button

This is a blog hop for posts about causes.   Bloggers are invited to write a post about a cause that drives a passion within them; "a serious cause" the hop host requests.    I've been contemplating a definition for my cause for many days, unaware that this hop existed.  I admit, it provides motivation to get these things said.  

This past weekend I was participating in a Facebook conversation regarding traditional marriage, California's Proposition 8, and the media's coverage of both sides of the cause.  A friend of a friend had "voiced" annoyance at people who "blog and rail" against homosexuality.   I responded.
I do not blog or rail against anything - I blog for something. 
Miscommunication appears to occur when a person is in favor of traditional marriage - i.e. protective of the description and the covenant that has been accepted for thousands of years. People (media included) assume that the person is anti- gay. That cannot be assumed. I am no more anti-gay than I am anti-Muslim, anti-Hindi or anti-Jewish because I believe in Christ. 
When I blog about biblical marriage, my blogging is about enhancing, improving biblical marriage through obedience to the commandments of God concerning marriage. My blogging is intended to clearly communicate my support of biblical law concerning marriage - for the sake of those marriages. 
Please, allow me to say it again.  I blog for something.  I blog for a wife's role in marriage as defined by God.  I blog most specifically about how a wife can respect her husband, as directed in Ephesians 5:33b.

This may seem an unusual, trivial or peculiar cause to those who would take up the standard for causes related to health, environment, the human condition, rights of man and animal, etc.  There are, undoubtedly, thousands of causes more recognizable than mine.  

As I have watched this world, my country, fall to pieces all around me I stand firm upon an original principle.  There is strength in adherence to God's established pattern.  There is victory in obedience to His plan.  There is peace in attaining His promise.  

My cause is to magnify God's pattern, plan and promise for women.

My blogging is intended 
to clearly communicate 
my support of biblical law 
concerning marriage - 
for the sake of those marriages. 

Monday, August 09, 2010

Respect Is . . .

"Respect Is . . . not mentioning his mismatched clothes."

Tonight, as Bruce was heading for the door to meet a friend for a meeting, I stifled a snicker and a snide remark when he leaned in for a kiss good-bye.

Restraint, this time, was not as difficult as it could have been.  I had already considered that this situation would arise long before it ever did.

It all began last summer when there was a clearance sale in the men's department.

While I was at work, Bruce purchased two pair of summer shorts and two Hawaiian shirts for himself.  One pair of shorts was army green and the other was bright white.  One Hawaiian shirt sported a yellow and sage green print, the other was aqua blue with white palm trees and "Hawaii" in black script scattered all over.

Guess which shorts

he paired with which shirt for the meeting tonight?

I had realized last year, as I was beginning to learn this whole "respecting my husband" habit, that I could never mention the mismatch if it was already on his body before I saw it.  To say anything negative would not be encouraging, approving, appreciating or respecting.   For my husband, getting dressed is seriously time-consuming and an energy-exhaustive process and he takes "pride" in his appearance.

And, unfortunately, I could not simply tell him in advance.  With his short term memory issues I would need to repeat the observation many times if I ever told him once.  That would result in nagging.  I puzzled over the possible predicament many times but I never had to face it until tonight.

What I had realized is that taste, especially taste in clothing, is not necessarily a man's "thing".  I have always been grateful that my man is concerned about his clothes being clean and in good repair.  I appreciated that about him from the beginning.  I appreciate that his socks are always brilliant white and his shoes never, never, never have holes in them.  His hair is always combed, his teeth always brushed and a belt always cinches his pants up to his waist.

He is respectably dressed every time he walks out the door.  And he would be mortified to think that he was being disrespectful by his choice of clothing.  The failure to put coordinating colors together in tonight's ensemble was not disrespectful of me.  And it  was surely not disrespectful of the other folks at the AA meeting.  They have more important things on their minds than dressing to please.

Considering, pondering and planning my reaction in advance is what saved me this time.   What could have been a nasty exchange of comments when he left and who-knows-what-kind-of-atmosphere when he returned never happened.

Resolving to be respectful sure changes outcomes.

~ ~ ~

(Don't forget to "Like" me and can I get an Amen?)

~ ~ ~ 
Postscript added 11/11

My readers should know that Bruce collaborated with me on this article. Bruce does not embarrass easily. The clothes that are pictured made him smile as well. He shrugs his shoulders and with a sheepish grin, says, "Oh well. That's me. If people don't like it they can deal with it." 
He is quite open about his participation in AA. He honors the anonymity of his fellows but he speaks often of AA's influence on his salvation. Step Twelve says: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." Bruce allows me to write of his spiritual awakening as a result of the 12 steps because he cannot write for himself. 
There is much more to be said of how the 12 Steps led Bruce to Christ, but that is for another venue someday. 

Stadium Seats for the WWE

It is has been quite some time since I blogged about any of my cards so I think I'll pick one "at random" to share here today - in hopes that you'll be drawn to browse the entire collection.

Today's featured card is "Stadium Seats" in honor of the WWE "Raw" appearing here in Sacramento LIVE this evening.  My husband would have loved to be there!   I had this card on hand to invite him if I could have come up with tickets.  It didn't work out for us this year - but someday - someday I'll be sure he gets to a live show and I'll be honored to sit beside him, John Cena notwithstanding.

Is there somewhere, someplace, some time special when your husband would be excited to have you seated beside him?  It could be as simple as your couch in front of his favorite movie or sporting event or a park bench at the neighborhood playground.  Whatever it is - wherever it is - your husband really does appreciate spending time with you.  I have designed a few cards to use when you are ready to invite him to share shoulder-to-shoulder time with you:

  • 5" x 7" (portrait) or 7" x 5" (landscape).
  • Printed on ultra-heavyweight (120 lb.) card stock with a gloss finish.
  • Each card comes with a white envelope.
  • No minimum order.
  • Also available in Note Card size.

The quality of these cards is incredible.  They sell for a $3.00 for the greeting card or $2.50 for the Note Card.  Personally, I prefer the note card size unless I am planning to matte and frame it.   There are discounts for quantity purchases so I recommend buying more than one - either as an individual or combine your order with some friends.

Soon after being laid off and starting the respect card business at Your Husband's Deepest Desire, I was listed with the Society of Socialpreneurs, "Where Socializing is Our Business".   Today they are hosting a "blog hop" but it is not about blog posts - it is all about advertising our products!

"Link up your blog, website, shop, facebook page, or a  blog post that features your latest must have product or your latest cutest homemade creation!  We support all mom owned business owners, etsy shop owners, direct sales consultants, mompreneurs, small business owners ~ the more the merrier!" 

Mom Owned Business Monday

If You Want The Job Done Right . . .

For many wives, one of the most difficult issues to resolve in marriage is that of doing more than she should just because she feels she can do it better. After all, "if you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself". I am not speaking of those things for which we do share responsibility within the household or as parents. I am speaking of those things that are our husband's to do.

Do not be surprised if you cannot even think of the things that are his - and his alone.  Recognizing the divine division of duties between husband and wife is a lifelong learning experience.  The purpose of this post is to stimulate your awareness within your marriage.  Are there times when you take over?  Do you or have you disrespected your husband by pushing him aside to do "it" yourself?

Is there a point at which the things we do to help, actually enable him to avoid taking responsibility?

Are there things that we know we can do better, quicker, more efficiently so we take over even when it is inappropriate?

As we learn to respect our husbands, it is imperative that we learn to step back, step aside, get out of the way, relinquish the reins and let him lead.

I am married to man with physical disabilities. His right hand has been severely affected by a stroke and he has little control over its movements. His right leg has also been affected and it encumbers his mobility, including stepping up stairs or maneuvering out of seating. His speech, reading and writing were devastated by the stroke.  It has been nearly impossible to relearn those skills.

I am frequently fighting the urge to take over and do things for him.  In countless instances it would be horribly disrespectful of me to step in and take over.

It has required an extreme amount of restraint on my part to stand aside and let him take the lead. It is especially difficult when it poses an inconvenience for me - annoying when it takes him so much extra time - irritating when I can't get a chore out of the way and move on.

I do feel blessed, though, over wives in more normal circumstances. I know that it is in my husband's best interest for him to accomplish most things on his own.   How difficult it would be if it were not so obvious!

But, do let me confess. It is one of the hardest things I have ever been called upon to do.

I do have an example to share.  As I'm typing this, he is sitting at the end of our bed sorting his daily medications into nifty daily organizers. We each have three of them to set up. My contribution to this effort ended when I had purchased the containers. He had never seen such a thing before I married him. When we were first dating I had occasion to watch him open every bottle and place the pills on the counter in a pile. He had done this every day - morning, evening and bedtime - for seven years. He was the most compliant patient in our pharmacy!

Anyway, we had to pause a movie on DVR to "do our medicine".  I finished mine quickly and moved to the computer room to occupy myself while I wait. I can hear him in there; struggling, huffing, sighing, and getting frustrated. He loses count, he can't get a pill in the right compartment, he loses track of which pills he's "done" and which he hasn't.

He gets concerned when the bottle nears empty and if the next order needs to be placed and paid for. He pauses to consider the remaining days and the cost. His understanding of numbers, counting, calculating - all were affected by the stroke. It is a frustrating task for him and for me. Why? Because with little difficulty, I could take over and manage it "like that".

But I can't.  I won't.  Early in our marriage I did and I saw the humiliation recolor his face.  It is a horrible sight - to watch a man be stripped of responsibility.  I love this man too much to degrade him.  I honor this man too much to disrespect his place in this world.  Besides, I am his help meet.  I am here to help him accomplish the goals that God has set before him.   I am not here to take over.

I am so blessed, so privileged to review the few years we have been together and to recall the trials, the tasks and the tests that he has conquered. If you were reading my blog this past March, I shared the report of the day that my husband learned to mow the lawn. I still smile from ear to ear when I review that day.  There have been hundreds of moments of triumph, success and conquest.  All he ever wanted was "to be in charge" and every time I can surrender that to him is a triumph for us both.

Sometimes God sends extreme circumstances to assure that we have no doubt about the lessons we have been given.   In my case, God sent a lesson that shook up the status quo and made sure that I had my chance to be the one who does everything around here - lest I ever try to take over again.  

The cast ended high up his arm, near the arm pit.

Last October my husband needed to have surgery on his left hand - his only working hand.  Actually, it was his wrist.  To stabilize the wrist for healing, he was put in a full arm cast.  The left hand - upon which he depends for every detail - was incapacitated.  Immobilized.  Unable to bend forward, backward or across his body.  He was unable to feed himself. dress himself, shave himself, go the bathroom by himself . . . .

 Mobility restored! "I'm able to eat on my own"

I look back on those weeks of recovery as a lesson for me.  I learned just how difficult my life could be if I had to do all the jobs "my way".  The experience earned for me that last full measure of restraint and patience upon which I draw almost every day.

I once had a plaque that hung on the kitchen wall in my home.  I should recreate it and display it again - with a slight modification:

Dear Lord,
Help me keep
my eyes open,
ears open
and my big mouth shut
and my nose out
of other people's my husband’s business –

There is so much to be said on this subject of getting out of the way, submitting and relinquishing.  There are so many experiences divinely designed for him within his God-given role as leader in our marriage.  

Do you struggle to get out of the way so that God's purposes can be fulfilled in your husband?    

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Make Us One

"Your Husband's Deepest Desire" is taking part in "Then Sings My Soul Saturdays" this week.   Welcome to all new visitors and returning fans.  I pray that today's post will inspire you to contemplate the purpose in your marriage, the joy that is offered in your union and renewed commitment to unity.

As you come to know me through my blogging you will come to know the miracle that is my marriage.  We have never chosen a song that is ours, but I found a song awhile back that speaks my heart and my prayers concerning my marriage.

Please permit me to share with you a song, written by Sally DeFord, entitled "Make Us One". (Click to play the MP3)
How shall we stand amid uncertainty? Where is our comfort in travail?
How shall we walk amid infirmity, when feeble limbs are worn and frail?
And as we pass through mortal sorrow, how shall our hearts abide the day?
Where is the strength the soul may borrow? Teach us thy way.

Make us one, that our burdens may be light
Make us one as we seek eternal life
Unite our hands to serve thy children well
Unite us in obedience to thy will.
Make us one! teach us, Lord, to be of one faith, of one heart
One in thee.

Then shall our souls be filled with charity, then shall all hate and anger cease
And though we strive amid adversity, yet shall we find thy perfect peace
So shall we stand despite our weakness, so shall our strength be strength enough
We bring our hearts to thee in meekness; Lord, wilt thou bind them in thy love?

Take from me this heart of stone, and make it flesh even as thine own
Take from me unfeeling pride; teach me compassion; cast my fear aside.
Give us one heart, give us one mind
Lord, make us thine
Oh, make us thine!
Having married a stroke survivor and being a stroke survivor myself, I relate with particular fondness to the line that says, "How shall we walk amid infirmity, when feeble limbs are worn and frail?"  As the words continue to call my attention to the covenant of marriage, I can sing with conviction.  And then, with my voice shaking and tears in my eyes, an anthem of one line rises from the lyric:
"So shall our strength be strength enough; 
We bring our hearts to thee in meekness;
Lord, wilt thou bind them in thy love?
Do you find yourself - your marriage - in the lyric of this song?  Which line?  I would love to read your reaction.

Take the tour to hear more inspirational music.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Respecting His Heritage

This past weekend I captured photographs in our backyard of a ripening pomegranate.  Its beauty is magnificent, in my eyes.  I have memories of pomegranates from my childhood, but I'll save those stories for another day.  Today I wish to take the opportunity to honor my husband's heritage.

My husband is a Cohen.  He was raised in the Jewish faith, bar mitzvahed at the age of 14 and then quickly fell away from his faith due to life tragedies and consequent poor choices.

His addictive behavior led to a massive stroke before the age of 40.  He says that it was as if God had "smacked him upside the head" to get his attention. He began to get his life together.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

He met Christ and got to know him during his coma.  He speaks of the "man with the holes in his hands who would understand him when no one else did."  Of course, Bruce did not know that this "man" was Jesus Christ until years later.

Shortly after we were married he recorded this testimony for a friend of mine, also named Sharon.

But, I digress.  This post is about his heritage and my photos of the week.  The photographs are of pomegranates that hang over our back fence from a tree growing in the neighbor's back yard.

"And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.   And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not."
Exodus 28:33-35

A Kohen (or Cohen, Hebrew "priest", pl. Kohanim or Cohanim) is assumed to be a direct male descendant of the Biblical Aaron, brother of Moses, and has a distinct personal status within Judaism.   

The Torah appoints Aaron, brother of Moses, and Aaron's descendants as Kohanim or high priests (Numbers 3:1-4).  Most of the service in the Temple could be conducted only by Kohanim.  
The high priest's vestments of office, which he wore, during his ministrations, above those prescribed for the common priests, included the "me'il," a sleeveless, purple robe, the lower hem of which was fringed with small golden bells alternating with pomegranate tassels in violet, red, purple, and scarlet.

The main role of the Kohanim was to act on behalf of the Jewish people in terms of performing the Temple service.  However, beyond that, their job was to unify the Jewish people and to keep them unified.

There is much to be learned of my husband's heritage and I enjoy the research.  I am always touched to discover how very chosen of God his lineage is.  The more I study, the more this is validated. 

But, honestly, I also know that Bruce, the individual, is chosen of God.   I knew that God was asking me to marry this broken man.  And that, though disabled in many ways, I was not being called to be his nursemaid.

Bruce had recovered sufficiently to live on his own for seven years before I showed up.  No, God wanted to bless this man with a helpmeet.  God had heard my husband's cries of loneliness and his pleading for a companion.  God impressed upon my heart and in my mind that I was to be his helpmeet.  I also knew that my duty would be to give this man the respect and honor God ordained for him.  It was and is an impression I am unable to shake.  

In essence, God told me that he had saved this man for a purpose and it was His desire that I should walk beside him on his journey.  If I were to coddle, circumvent, or otherwise diminish my husband's accomplishing his purpose and calling, to ignore his chosen status in God's eyes, would be a great dishonor to them both.

When you look at your husband, do you see the child of God that God himself sees?  Do you recognize that God orchestrated every world event that led to your husband's birth and his place on this earth and He did it intentionally?  Have you learned of the events that preceded your husband's arrival, that prepared for his existence and established his direction?  If you knew of them, of God's preparations for your husband's mission on earth, would it change the way you treat him?

These are questions and answers that fill my mind when Bruce doesn't know that I'm watching him.  These are the considerations that flavor my prayers on his behalf.  My constant prayer is that he fulfill the purpose to which God sent him, broke him and saved him to accomplish.  I also pray that I never get in his way or become a stumbling block on his path.

Outdoor Wednesday: Click on the picture below to learn more...


The Respect Dare

Today when I signed into Facebook, I had received a message from Nina Roesner, author of "The Respect Dare". She was asking if I would write a testimonial for inclusion for the next release of her book. After stumbling all over myself trying to compose a coherent response of profound gratitude, I asked how long my testimonial should be.

She responded, "about 4-6 sentences should do it... :)"

Right.  When I could write a book about the effects of her book on my marriage, she wants me to write 4 to 6 sentences.  So, today's post is a shortened version of the long version that needs to be minimized before the end of August.  You got all that, right?

Do you agree that sometimes, when God commands us to do things, it isn't "that easy"?  Not because we don't want to but because we don't know how to.  I can name a few times in particular where I want to sit down with Him and get a specific list.  I mean, I don't need much more than "thou shalt not commit murder" or "thou shalt not steal" to know specifically what is expected of me.

But there are some scriptures where I need a bit of clarification.  "Honor thy father and thy mother" is one of them but "wives must respect their husbands" is definitely number two.

How, specifically, am I supposed to "respect" my husband?   Apparently, I needed to start by learning that "respect" is not something that is earned - especially when God commands us to just do it.

Besides that, it took me over forty years to discover that "respect" is not a feeling.  Respect is an action.  Like love and faith are actions.  So how does respect act?  How does it behave?  What does it do?  What should I do? What does it sound like?  What is the vocabulary of respect? What should I say?  What shouldn't I say? And, after all of that, this: If every command that God gives is for my benefit, what (exactly) does respecting my husband do for me?  Just curious.

"The Respect Dare" was written to give wives the "how to" of respecting their husbands and the way to find all those answers and more.

"The Respect Dare" contains 40 lessons with at least 40 scriptures with at least 40 questions and 40 specific dares for 40 days of practicing respect for your husband.  Every chapter is a building block to the next.

Every chapter can be done over and over again as I mature and grow, as he matures and grows, as our circumstances change or as our faith grows.  Every chapter can apply to strengthening our unity, regardless of how close we get to achieving the oneness we seek.

So, honestly, 40 days to accomplish the 40 dares is a fast track for me.  I tried to do the e-course, using the online book, with other women and the class moved much faster than I could keep up.  I concede.   It is well suited for the younger, more energetic and quick minds of the young marrieds.  I found that a more leisurely approach to the book in a solitary study is best suited to my old age.

To be honest, that is what I will do for the remainder of my life: continue to study and take the dares throughout my marriage.  When you get to be my age you finally realize that redundancy is life's best teacher, God's best classroom.  And I think that the challenges in "The Respect Dare" will continue to unlock the hidden treasures in Ephesians 5:33b.

Oh - and about that book that I could write about the effect of "The Respect Dare" on my life?  Well, that's what this blog is for.

So, you understand my problem?  Now I'm supposed to summarize this post, along with all the other posts in this blog, the messages in the cards I've designed and the ones in my head, along with all of the Words to the Wives that come with the cards and all of the consequential changes in my marriage that I've not been noting - into 4 to 6 sentences that will convince prospective students that they really, really need to read Nina's book.

I could use your prayers on this.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Completing Him Well

Welcome to everyone visiting from the “Women Living Well” blog hop.  

Welcome!  I am excited that you have come to visit during this week’s “Completing Him Challenge”.   The theme for this week’s challenge and blog hop is “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”  

As you glance around my site you will notice that this blog is all about “respect” and sharing the realization that it is my husband’s and Your Husband’s Deepest Desire.  When Courtney introduced today’s challenge she shared the message to the wives that can be found in Ephesians 5:33.
"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband."  This can be a difficult verse to apply because some women have husbands who are not doing the first half of this verse. Their husbands are not loving them as themselves BUT my blog is not written for men so I have to move on to the second part of this verse.”
I also write about the second half of that verse because I am a woman and I am not called to counsel the men.  This blog, Your Husband's Deepest Desire, came from a desire in me to promote the admonition of Paul to the wives in Ephesians 5:33 as I also discovered in the teaching of Emerson Eggerichs in "Love and Respect" as well as the challenges as presented by Nina Roesner in "The Respect Dare".   

Because the need existed and the card companies do not provide appropriate messages, I create and sell greeting cards with messages of respect, designed for wives to share the respect they feel, or want to feel and are commanded to feel, for their husbands.  Because, honestly, we are all commanded to respect the men that we married.

It is true that our men earn and/or lose our respect from time to time, but for our individual God-breathed spirit – I believe that we respect our husbands unconditionally.  The imperfection of mortality darkens and hides the truth of how we feel deep inside where the light of Christ resides.

In an earlier post I stated that “When I became aware of every man's desire for respect, I did not have far to look for all the proof I needed.   My husband is a man, no different than any other in the desires of his heart.  He wants to be respected for all the noble pursuits of every man."  (See "I Married a Stroke Survivor" for additional details.)

As Courtney said, “God's command to wives is to respect our husbands - unconditionally. Our men are not boy scouts trying to earn badges of honor. God does not say - respect the husband who is "worthy" of respect. It is simply their position of husband that we are to respect.”

God did not say, "If the husband does well, the wife should respect him." No, God expects the wife to respect her husband unconditionally. When He has asked us to do something, He will help if we will let Him. Successfully overcoming the insidious habit of disrespect is possible with God's help.

The admonition of Paul and my prayer - for me, for you - is that we will subdue our carnal instincts and do all that it takes to obey the word of God for us.  I have written often about my failures and my triumphs in this pursuit.  

If you have some time today, browse around a bit. I invite you to follow this blog and, together, we will learn “this respect thing” one small step at a time. I am so glad you stopped by!

Buy a "Respect Card" for Your Husband at Your Husband's Deepest Desire

Visit the other women sharing their messages of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


Can I get an Amen?