Saying, “I Love You.”

I pray that all of you have had an amazing holiday season with loved ones. I personally was ill on Christmas and New Years (and my birthday), but it was a welcome time of rest for my body and refreshing for my spirit as well. I spent a lot of time reading. But I also spent quite a bit of time thinking about this post. It has been on my heart to write a post about this for a while, and I finally feel like I understand what God wants me to say.

saying i love you

I Just Can’t Say It

When I was a teenager, I was looking for someone to love me. I didn’t understand God’s love for me, and I felt distanced from my family due to different circumstances. The lack of love I felt finally led me to have difficulty saying, “I love you,” back when people said it to me. There was too much at risk when I said it. I became dramatically aware of this problem when one of my close friend’s mothers told me she loved me before their family was getting ready to move away. I was shocked that she said it, even though I had so desperately wanted to hear it, that I just stood there and said nothing. I remember thinking, “What is wrong with me? I’m supposed to be a Christian, an ambassador of Jesus’ love, and I can’t even tell this woman that I actually do love, that I love her too.”

The Risk

If you are self conscious, you will understand me when I say that saying, “I love you,” was a risky phrase. Every time I said it was volunteering for rejection. Thoughts like, “What if they don’t say it back?” “Will they stop being my friend if I say this?” “Why should I make myself vulnerable?” raced through my head constantly. I reserved these three words for family and a few select friends. I was not willing to risk anymore of my already dwindling confidence. No matter how much I wanted to show people the unconditional love of Christ, I wouldn’t make myself be that open.

When Things Started To Change

Over the last few years, God helped me to deal with my insecurities (read this series all about it) and to replace my deceitful pride with godly confidence. Once I realized that God’s love and acceptance for me is all that I need, I was able to sacrifice my own feelings on His altar in a very open way. I started to realize that since I don’t look at other people or myself to give my life value, that I’m not risking anything I can’t afford to risk. Do my feelings still get hurt? Of course, but now I don’t see, “I love you,” as an opening for an eternal wound.

Unconditional and Selfless Love

The purpose of love is to show someone that you care for them in such a way that nothing they do can change how you care for them. Something I tell my kids often is, “I may not always like the choices that you make, but I will always love you no matter what.” This is the love that Jesus inspired by dying on the cross for our sins. He showed us His love by sacrificing His life. I believe that Jesus was also clear when He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

We are commanded to love each other. The verse doesn’t say, “weigh out the pros and cons of loving someone and then decide if you should.” This verse specifically addresses the love between believers, but it also tells us that the testimony of loving others will identify us as followers of Jesus Christ.

What Is Love?

… baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more. Just kidding. I couldn’t help myself. But in all seriousness, what does biblical love look like? It is a choice that we make, whether or not we are going to care for someone, no matter how they treat us. Everyone will point to 1 Corinthians 13 at this point, because it is true. Not because it is some cheesy poem about love. This chunk of scripture challenges us to do the most difficult thing any person can do, choose to love in extremely difficult circumstances. Read more

Withholding Sex & Biblical Attitudes Toward Love Making

Author’s note: Before you read or listen to this article, please keep in mind that this is written for people that are not currently experiencing spousal abuse, or going through counseling for sexual abuse. There are times when it is reasonable for people healing from abuse to go through an agreed time of breaks from sexual activity with their spouse. Please understand that this article is written for women that feel emotionally neglected by their husbands, and are seeking to solve this problem by withholding sex. That is not a biblical approach to this problem. However, anytime a woman feels she has been forced to have sex, even with her husband, that qualifies as abuse. For more information on what qualifies as sexual abuse within marriage please see this article by Leslie Vernick.

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This is the first post in a series titled, “Becoming a Better Wife.” Before you get too deep into this post, if you are single, it is God’s will for your to abstain from sex. Why? Go read my personal testimony and you can learn from my mistakes.

This post has been on my heart to write for a while now. I counsel married women on a regular basis, and lately my husband and I have even been doing marriage counseling. It’s not something we were looking to do, but I guess God thought we were qualified because He brought people to us. I really hate to say this, but it seems like there are several issues we hear over and over and over again. It seems to me like satan has convinced quite a few Christian women that certain behaviors towards their husbands are ok, even though what the bible says is clearly opposite. I’m not saying that women are the only ones to blame for painful marriage relationships, but I’m a woman so I am going to speak to other women. Before we start talking about this very sensitive subject, I want to say that I’m not the perfect wife, by any means. I’m a sinner just like everyone on this planet. However, as a wife, I feel like there are some things God has shown me in the last few years so that I can be a better helper against (that is what the Hebrew says) for my husband. I want to honestly and openly share them with you. In fact, let’s start this conversation out with prayer. It’s that important.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for creating marriage. Please help us to be better wives to our husbands. Help us to follow Your word and Your will for our lives, especially when it will cost us something. Heal our broken hearts and help us to follow Your model for marriage, instead of whatever culturally acceptable picture the world gives us. Help us to be selfless, just like You are.

In Your holy name,

Amen

We Withhold Intimacy From Our Husbands

Yes, I am going to talk about sex. Please don’t stop reading. This is so important. I feel like if we could just become aware of the impact of this one area in our marriages, we would be so much more effective as children of God! When women come to me in marital distress there is always one question I ask first. It helps me understand how much damage has been done in the relationship.

“How often are you having sex?”

I usually get some puzzled look from the woman I’m talking to. In her mind this is not the first thing we should be talking about. The first thing women want to talk about in relation to marital distress is emotional neglect. I want to talk about emotional neglect as well, but first I need to know where things are on the husband’s end. For men, emotional care is linked with physical intimacy. I hate to give the devil so much credit, but to me it seems like he has figured out the beautiful circle that maintains marital relationships, and found a way to break the chain. I am a visual person, so I feel like a few images will help illustrate how this whole things works. Let’s take a look.

Men and woman intimacy_1

You can see that for women, emotional care and stimulation lead to sexual desire. But you already knew that. However, I would like to introduce a piece of information that may be news to you (it was to me!). Sexual satisfaction in men is the main connecting factor. It is the glue that holds you together in their minds and hearts. If you are physically intimate with your husband you will unlock his emotions towards you! Sexual satisfaction and fulfillment lead to the emotional response and intimacy you are looking for. That is why I ask this question first. I want to know if withholding physical intimacy is a factor in the emotional neglect a wife might be feeling.

Men and woman intimacy_2

You can see in the next illustration that God has perfectly balanced these two desires which are mutually fulfilled when sexual intimacy happens. By taking away physical intimacy from our husbands, we are making the situation worse, not getting the emotional intimacy that we so desire. Read more

Giving Up Rights To Your Husband

Giving Up Rights To Your Husband

While we were visiting the States, I felt a strong urging from the Lord to think about my husband, and what my life would be like if he wasn’t as present in my life. He surrounded me with women, and testimonies of women that were choosing to give up their rights to their husbands. There are seasons we go through in our lives as well as in our marriages. There have been seasons in my life where I felt like a single mother because my husband was working several jobs to provide for us. All of the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of our daughter were my sole responsibility and it was exhausting. Looking back I can see that I did not deal with that season in the best way. I was angry and resentful that my husband chose to be away from us, but that is the completely wrong way to feel about these kinds of situations. He was not choosing to be away from me and our child, he was providing so we would have a place to live and food on the table. Bitterness does not lend itself to common sense. Being angry at our spouse is counter productive and satan knows that. What better way to discourage our husbands than to fight with them when they do have time off?

Frustrated With The Situation

If I was looking at this from a worldy approach I might say something like, “Obviously it is counter productive to be angry at your husband, but it is fine to be frustrated with the situation.” But that isn’t how the bible tells us to deal with things. It doesn’t say, “And thou shall sit around and think about all the ways you wish your life was different.” It tells us to bring our thoughts into captivity. Let’s take a look at 2 Corinthians 10:4-5…

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Read more