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Entries in Valentine's Day (9)

Tuesday
Feb132018

3 Ways to Recapture Your Husband's Heart

Pastor's wife and author Cindi McMenamin encourages women in their walk with God and relationships, and in this Marriage UPGRADE she offers wives a good challenge for Valentine'sDay—and every day.

Cindi asks, “Do you ever wish you could turn back the clock, erase the baggage, and have your husband see you the way he once did?”

That question struck home hard with me (Dawn) when I read it. Physically, I've been working on my health, weight and appearance, and it makes me smile that my husband has taken notice! But I've also wondered during my Quiet Times with the Lord, "Is there something in my spirit that has changed (for the worse) since our marriage?" Cindi has good insight for me... and all of us.

Cindi continues . . .

I’ll never forget the day I was cleaning through my top dresser drawer and found a treasure.

I almost threw out the stack of aged, yellowed papers, weathered by time and slightly torn on the edges. When I unfolded the papers and read through them, I instantly realized why I’d kept them all those years.

They were love letters from my husband—written nearly 30 years ago—that included phrases like these:

  • “I love you beyond expression.”
  • “You complete me like no other.”
  • “I love you desperately.”

As I read through them, my eyes teared up.

And then my heart dropped.

I haven’t had a letter like this from him in years.

All of the letters dated back to the first few years that we were married. And they all described the captivating woman he saw me as—the woman I had hoped in my heart of hearts that I still was.

How I would have loved to believe that I hadn’t changed a bit through the years. How easy it would have been to believe that he was the one who had become distant, more critical, less interested and less passionate than he was the day we married.

It was a little tougher to put that magnifying glass up to myself and ask if I was the one who let resentments build up or baggage get in the way.

I realized if I was to be the cherished wife who receives another letter like that one day, I would have to BECOME that woman my husband wrote to so many years ago.

Here are a few of the steps I took to remove the baggage, rebuild love, and recapture my husband’s heart. And I am confident they can work for you, too.

1. RESPOND to Him Like a New Wife.

When I asked myself what it was I was doing to make my husband write letters to me like he once did, the answer was simple: I was responding to him like a new bride. 

Remember when you were a brand new bride?

  • You couldn’t wait until the two of you got off work so you could be together again.
  • You constantly checked your voicemail messages to see if he had called during the day.
  • You had a special sparkle in your eyes when you talked of him and a spring in your step when you walked alongside him.

What would it take to get back that loving feeling for him?

If you’re waiting for him to do something different, I guarantee he will when YOU start responding to him like you once did when you were a brand new bride.  

2. REFRAME What You Say to Him.

Most of the baggage in marriage comes from words the two of you have said to one another.

Careless words. Accusing words. Hurtful words.

Many times we didn’t even intend for those words to sound the way they did. That’s why we must learn to reframe what we say to our husbands.

Ephesians 4:29 instructs us toLet no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

So, instead of saying, “Are you going to wear THAT to dinner?”—say instead, “I’d love it if you’d wear that new shirt you look great in.”

And instead of saying, “Why don’t we go out on dates anymore?”—try instead, “I miss spending time alone with you.”

Ask yourself, before the words exit your mouth, “Am I saying this in a way that will encourage him?”

3. REFUSE to Dwell on the Negatives!

Every married couple has experienced wounds that are best left in the past.

Negative thoughts and memories of old wounds may assault you at times, but don’t let them run rampant in your mind.

Instead, practice 2 Corinthians 10:5, which instructs us to take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Capture that thought and kill it.

And then remember why you fell in love with your husband in the first place.

  • Was it his tenderness?
  • The way he made you laugh?
  • His dependability and faithfulness no matter what the circumstance?

Focus on his positive qualities—even ones that you believe are no longer there—and you just might start noticing them again.

Which of these three steps can you begin taking today to recapture the heart of your husband?

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 16 books who has been married 30 years to a  pastor and introvert. Her newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, released Feb. 1 from Harvest House Publishers. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Alexas Fotos at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Feb142017

Valentine Valor

A strong marriage requires good communication, and in this Valentine's Day UPGRADE, Deb DeArmond encourages marriage partners to be brave and cultivate better heart communication.

“Marriage is not for the faint of heart," Deb says. "It’s the HEART-est work you’ll ever do.”

The "heart-est" work — I (Dawn) love that! Hard work we accomplish on behalf of loving marriages is well worth the effort!

Deb continues . . .

I was recently asked by a young friend, “What’s your secret to a happy marriage?”

My response took her by surprise.

“We discovered it’s better to find the courage to fight than the strength to run.”

Let me clarify. We don’t believe stepping into the ring to take our shots at one other is the best way to come to agreement. That’s what happens when we forget Christian marriages have a very real enemy.

But it’s not your spouse.

So, we do fight, the enemy, together, for the life of our marriage—and it’s always been worth the effort.   

As my husband and I have ministered to marrieds, a familiar pattern often appears: “We don’t fight. We try to avoid conflict. It’s not healthy.”

They go along to get along, remaining silent, as they disconnect from one another, bit by bit, till there’s very little left of the love they proclaimed at the altar.

Silence can speak volumes.

Just because it’s quiet, does not mean there’s peace in the house.

And it’s not the way Jesus dealt with relationships that He valued.

My favorite example:

Jesus asked Peter three times after His resurrection - “Peter, do you love me? Then feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Jesus confronted Peter because He loved him, and the relationship was important to Him.

He did it to restore the connection. He did it to restore Peter.

The goal of confrontation is to connect. And to make that happen, the language of confrontation must be love.

Healthy confrontation requires valor, otherwise known as courage, bravery, or audacious boldness.

What’s that look like?

Here are three Valentine’s Day opportunities to bravely step into a healthier, more intimate marriage.

1. Speak up.

Bravely say what needs to be said—speaking the truth in love. No matter how long you’ve been married, your spouse can’t read your mind.

When couples retreat into silence, they no longer have enough hope or ambition to fight. Silence says, “I give up.”

One gentleman told us he and his wife never experienced any conflict until 20 years into the marriage when she announced she’d “had enough and wanted a divorce.” He was stunned when she presented him with a list of grievances, carefully compiled, but never shared.

2. Confront courageously.

Confront the issue, not the person. Be aware of your tone, timing, and the words you choose.

“I’d like to talk about what happened last night at your folks. I was embarrassed when you . . . .” Describe your issue with the behavior rather than attack the person.

And return the favor: are you confrontable? Are you open to hear from your spouse?

3. Boldly examine YOUR heart first.

It’s easy to see the flaws in our partner; tougher to see the cracks in our own facade.

  • Do you have to have the final word?
  • Are you quick to point out your spouse’s shortcomings, but don’t see your own?
  • Do you nurse a grudge like a baby at the breast?

If you are willing to acknowledge your own flaws, God will reveal them to you. Ask Him to help you grow in those areas.

Speaking up is a risk. But the goal of genuine, authentic connection is worth chasing, even when it might create some tense or painful moments.

Are you brave enough to take that step?

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. Author and speaker, her newest book is entitled Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! Deb’s books help readers whether newlywed, or long-time married create the life God meant marriage and family to be. For more information about Deb, visit her website, Family Matters.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.

Thursday
Feb092017

Dressing for Love

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Jill Swanson, a talented Image Consultant and speaker, is sharing ways to freshen up your look for sweet romance with your spouse.

"It’s the season for romance and love is in the air!" Jill says. "You can smell the roses, taste the chocolate and hear the music!"

I say, "Give me all three!" But seriously, I (Dawn) know Jill personally because she revamped my closet a few years back and gave me so many helpful tips. That's why I asked her to share this special Valentine's Day post to help us all boost our appearance and attitudes!

Jill continues . . .

You may wonder – what attracts a man? What do men really want?

Thirty five years ago, my husband and I went through pre-marital counseling. The pastor required us to read, His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley. The book gives the five basic needs of a man and a woman.

While the lists differed, each had a similar “equivalent” on the other list, with one exception: the man’s need for an attractive spouse.

 My husband confirmed it.

So, what makes a woman attractive?

Here are some easy tips to freshen up your look that won’t break the bank:

1. Reflect your natural beauty.

Find the nearest mirror and rediscover what you’ve been blessed with. Study your unique features: coloring, curves, facial shape, lips, nose, eyes and hair. Repeat the shape or shade in an accessory or color that complements you.

Take a moment to carefully study these examples:

Model on the left: Her necklace mimics her curls and haircolor, and the blue blouse matches her eye color.

Model on the right: Her red lips and blouse match, her neckline frames her jaw shape, and the layered shirt repeats her layered hair.

2. Show some shape.

Focus your attention on silhouette. Make sure your clothing adds definition to one half of the body.

If you are wearing a flowy top, pair it with a slim pant; or if you wear a flouncy skirt, put it with a fitted top — as shown here:

Self-conscious about your arms? Try sheer sleeves or sleeve slits at the top of the shoulder that extend to the outer elbow, this provides definition and coverage.

A wide belt under an open jacket (no matter your waist size) will give the illusion of a great shape.

3. Polish your look.

One Sunday morning, a minister in the church I grew up in, announced from the pulpit, “Ladies, a little bit of paint on the side of the barn, never hurt anything!” I couldn’t agree more. 

A little lip color, concealer, blush and mascara can do wonders. Contact a person who sells cosmetics or head to the nearest store makeup counter, and get some free tips.

4. Check your attitude.

Being an attractive spouse has more to do with WHO you are than what you look like.

Choose to daily cast off discontentment, criticism, and complaining.

Instead use the dress code in Colossians 3:12, 14: Clothe yourself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And over all these things put on love.  

Ultimately, a man appreciates it when the woman looks the way he likes her to look.

Last month I worked with a woman 83 years young. Her husband asked me to do her makeup for some glamour shots. She was a model in the 1950’s who graced the covers of fashion magazines in her prime. Recently she’d fallen ill and he wanted to lift her spirits with a makeover and photo session — so romantic!

The gentleman specifically requested that I draw a long eye liner “wing” extending her lashes and apply bright red lips. I looked at him quizzically.

He then showed me her Vogue magazine cover – he wanted the same look she had in 1955. This gracious woman let him call the shots!

I obliged and he beamed with pride.

She instantly took on the persona of a poised model and transformed in front of the camera. It was the happiest she’d been in months.

She was the epitome of an attractive spouse — inside and out.

If you are married, are you dressing for love? No matter your marriage status, are there some simple, inexpensive things you might do, or some attitude changes you might make, to become a more attractive and winsome person? 

Jill Swanson, Image Consultant and Speaker, is the author of Out the Door in 15 Minutes and Simply Beautiful – Inside & Out. Jill works with individuals to evaluate, update and accentuate to their look both online and in person. For Jill’s books, consultations, or speaking information, visit her website or email her: jill@jillswanson.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of jill111, Pixabay.

Tuesday
Feb072017

Love Notes

In this Valentine's Day and Parenting UPGRADE, Morgan Farr—a mom with young children who transitioned from feminism to biblical womanhood—encourages parents to share the true Source of love with their children through "love notes."

"Each day I strive to instill a good work ethic, teach self discipline, and most importantly, demonstrate godly character to my sons," Morgan says, "but it isn't always easy."

Like Morgan, I (Dawn) have two sons. I remember those challenging days when I wondered whether anything I taught and modeled was "getting through" to them. But I'm sure of one thing: they knew they were loved.

Morgan continues . . .

This Valentine's Day, I want my sons to learn more than just paper hearts and candy.

This year, I will write three love notes for my sons to read when they are older. These notes will help them to see what real love truly is as they deepen their understand the perfect love of God.

Today I want to share these notes with you.

First and most importantly, I want my boys to know that the Creator of the universe made them by hand.

"For you created my in most being; you knit me together in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13).

Long before I knew my boys where there, God knew. He formed each and every part of them, to His exact specifications.

Second, I want my boys to know that it is alright for them to stand strong.

"Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the works of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Many things in this world will try to pull them away from the work of God. Many things from this world will try to undercut and downplay their role as men of God.

I want them to know that they can stand firm in His unwavering love.

Third, I want my boys to know that once they accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are reborn with a commission—a great one, in fact.

"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Fatger, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

Christ has a calling for each of my son's lives. They may not have a garage gym ministry like my husband and I do. They may be mechanics, professors, senators or translators.

Whatever it is that they do on this earth, I want them to remember the real work to be done for the kingdom of God.

Charles Swindoll wrote:

"Each day of our lives, we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."

These love notes are the deposits I am focusing on this month.

What love notes will you focus on with your family?

Morgan Farr is an Army wife currently stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with her wonderful husband Brian and their two sons. She is a homemaker who dedicates her free time to ministering to other Army wives through Bible studies, one-on-one interactions and physical training. Morgan writes about her transition out of feminism and into biblical womanhood on her blog. You can find her training programs on her blog, FarrFunctionalFitness.blogspot.com.

Saturday
Feb142015

I Choose You Today

Deb DeArmond's new book, I Choose You Today, is a perfect read for couples—and not just for Valentine's Day. But I asked her to share her heart for this special Valentine's Day UPGRADE for married couples.

"He drove in the pouring rain for eight hours to surprise me for Valentine’s Day," Deb says. "Best upgrade ever."

Don't you love Valentine's Day surprises? I (Dawn) love the way Deb's hubby, Ron, showed his romantic side; but I love even more her emphasis on the choice they made to strengthen and bless their marriage.

Deb continues . . .

When you’ve been married for 40 years, you’ve “celebrated” a lot of February 14th’s together. Some involved hauling kids to ball practice and music lessons or a doctor’s appointment for an elderly parent. Not quite A+ in the romance department.

We usually exchanged cards, but that was often the extent of the energy devoted to making the day special.

But 12 years ago, my Valentine chose to upgrade my day in a way I never expected—and will never forget.

We lived near San Francisco at the time. I was scheduled for two weeks of work 400 miles south in Los Angeles, which meant I’d straddle the weekend and miss Valentine’s Day. I hated to be away, but we made plans to celebrate on my return. Luckily, my sweet mother-in-law lived nearby, so I planned some shopping and a Valentine’s Day dinner as a treat.

Just as we were headed out to a favorite restaurant, there came a brisk knock. When I opened the door, I was stunned to see the face of my sweet man. He was holding a dozen beautiful roses and beamed a “gotcha!” smile.

I was shocked. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been. After all, Ron’s the romantic one in this duo.

Not long after we married, he began to say, “I Choose You Today.”  Not every day, but several times each week, he spoke those words. I soon began to follow suit with my own declaration, adding a specific focus such as “I choose to love you today” or “I choose to support your goals today.”

Whether we said them aloud or just held them in our hearts, our behavior began to align with those choices.

Sometimes the words are exchanged with a hug and a kiss. Sometimes it’s through gritted teeth.

It’s on the days I least feel like choosing him that it’s most important that I do.

Our feelings cannot be the foundation of our commitment. Feelings are subject to change. The foundation of our life together must be based on God’s Word, which never changes.

Those four little words, I choose you today, have had a dramatic impact in our life, in ways I never imagined all those years ago.

James 3:5 tells us “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything —or destroy it!” (MSG)

And in the middle of every CHOICE there’s a hidden message:

O-I-C or Oh, I See!

Choose to look ahead and you’ll never look back.

Here’s how:  

O – Open your heart (and your mouth) often to renew your commitment to one another. It reminds you of the day you stood together facing the future with little knowledge of what life would demand. It’s unifying.

I – Ignite the fire in your marriage often by making purposeful choices that support your relationship, choosing to honor, respect, and romance one another.

C – Create a connection that aligns your marriage with the Lord at the center. Focused on God is how we started life together and how we must continue if we want to finish strong. And that is our plan.

Life’s all about the choices you make. What will you choose today?

Deb DeArmond’s newest book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last, is based on the principle that marriage and love is always a choice—one that benefits from a daily renewal of our commitment. It offers inspirational stories, scriptural foundations, and thought-provoking questions so readers can explore their choices and commitments to each other . . . every day of their marriage. Married nearly 40 years, Deb and Ron live near Fort Worth. Their tribe includes three sons, three daughters-in-love, and six perfect grandboys. Find Deb, her books, and her speaking schedule at www.debdearmond.com.