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Wifey Wednesday: 3 Reasons Sex Matters in Your Marriage (Especially if you are still parenting kids!)

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up! I've been running some guest posts for Wifey Wednesday this summer as I've been taking some vacation, and today I'm thrilled to welcome my friend Julie Sibert, from Intimacy in Marriage.

I told my 6-year-old that daddy and I would be going on a date the next day.  I asked him, "Do you know what a date is?"

Our son smiled and said, "Yeah, that's when a mommy and daddy get together and kiss."

His innocent explanation made me feel good not only as a wife, but also as a parent.  For all of my missteps as a mom (trust me – there are pa-lenty), I at some point managed to convey to my child that my alone time with his dad was positive.

I know many of you may be thinking, "Time alone as couple? What's that?!"

If you are like a lot of married folk, the moment you walked in the door with your first baby, your quality time as a couple was on its way out.

And what about sex?

In many marriages, sex takes such a long hiatus that little or no sex becomes the status quo.  But sex does matter in a marriage.  At least it should.

Here are three reasons to ponder, especially if you are still in the midst of raising kids:

1. Sex keeps "mommy martyrdom" at bay.

None of us really likes to admit we are even susceptible to mommy martyrdom.  We vow we won't be one of those moms who finds her entire identity wrapped up in her kids.  Then we become a mom.

Before long, as we are schlepping juice boxes onto the grocery checkout belt, the housekeeping magazines taunt us. They scream at us with their insanely creative cupcakes and their impeccably decorated (and clean!) family rooms.

Never mind that no one we have ever known has a house that looks like the inside spread of Good Housekeeping.  Common sense tells us that such lofty ambitions are highly improbable. But we still get sucked in.

We fall victim to the lie that homemade snacks for every school event, picture-perfect holidays and $8,000 swing sets are what make someone a good mom.

What your kids need more than perfectly organized sock drawers and flawless birthday parties is a mom who is in love with their dad.  Nurtured sexual intimacy with your spouse is one of the best things you can do for your kids.

They may never thank you for the ways you make your marriage a priority – they may even roll their eyes when you give your husband a playful peck on the lips – but deep down, they hunger for that kind of security (which can't be replicated in a homemade batch of cookies).

2. Sex is one way to show you meant what you said at the altar.

I don't want to be one of those people who oversimplifies something by eloquently quoting scripture (because people like that annoy me).

I do, though, believe that we too easily forget that what makes marriage different from other relationships is that God established it as a covenant.  We get caught up in the feeling that fills the air when a bride and groom speak their marriage vows.

But promises of one flesh were never meant to find their footing in a feeling.  Within those promises are huge spiritual, emotional and physical implications that require of us the deepest commitment and afford us the greatest of rewards.

God never refers to sex as optional for married couples.  If anything, He goes to great lengths to expound on what a gift it is for a married couple to enjoy often.

Long after your guests have eaten all the wedding cake and your wedding album is gathering dust on the bookshelf, what you live within daily is the covenant of marriage.  You don't live in the wedding. You live in the covenant.

Sex is part of that covenant.  When you make love to your husband, you once again are saying, "I still choose you."

3. Sex is a great stress reliever.

As a mom, your days are consumed with stepping on Legos, getting formula stains out of clothing and taming an overstuffed calendar. Do you really want to spend your nights that way too?

You need a break girlfriend.

I can hear you lamenting right now, "I know! I want my break to be sleep, not sex."

Certainly I recognize that if you are in the throes of parenting, you may be craving a good night's sleep more than anything else.  Sleep seems like the only thing that will help you gain your bearings.

But don't bench sex quite yet. It still has a place on the playing field when it comes to keeping you and your husband on the same page and boosting your general well being.  Some day those kiddos are going to grow up and move away.  Don't you want to arrive at that point with a spouse you still know and a marriage you still treasure?

No matter where you are in your parenting journey, make the intentional effort to carve out time for sex.  The more you relax and allow yourself to enjoy sexual pleasure with your husband, the more likely you will be to make it a priority.

Truth be told, an orgasm is one of the best stress relievers around.  Remember how great orgasm feels? (If not, check out this post by Sheila Gregoire over on my site).

Certainly there are more than three reasons that sex matters in marriage.  But if you are a mom struggling with nurturing this aspect of your marriage, these three are a good place to start.

Julie Sibert writes and speaks on sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at  She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one German Shorthair Pointer dog who refuses to stay in the fence.

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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Wifey Wednesday: How to Keep Your Self-Respect

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Ever feel like a doormat?

Someone's © 2011 Florian Plag | more info (via: Wylio)

Too many of us allow us to become doormats in our marriages.

I sometimes read Dalrock's blog on marriage. He's not writing from a Christian point of view, but he is very interested in marriage and in keeping marriages together, and as such he frequently comments on how today's culture works to undermine marriage.

In particular, he highlights how often women become "unhappy" because they expect men to meet all of their needs. In one recent post, he was commenting on a study of marriages where women felt this way. He quotes the research:

Langley reports that she interviewed just two men who responded effec­tively to the challenge of their wives’ disloyalty.

The first man took the initiative and filed for divorce after his wife expressed on several occasions that she was unhappy and considering a separation. Before the divorce was final, his wife was trying to reconcile, but he chose not to because of her [lack of interest] in working on the marriage prior to his filing for divorce.

The second case was a man in a second marriage who had made all the usual mistakes the first time around but, unlike most husbands, managed to learn from the experience. As soon as his second wife started talking about a vague “unhappiness,” he inferred that she had met another man. He put down in writing clear conditions for remaining married to her and refused to agree to any separation, knowing it would only be a prelude to divorce. Insisting she break off her extramarital affair at once, he wrote: “I will not allow my spirit to deteriorate because of your indecision.” Rather than attempting to remove all possible grounds for his wife’s discontent, he simply told her: “complaining is no longer acceptable. If you want me to do or not do something, you must tell me what it is. I do not expect you to read my mind and I will no longer try to read yours.” This worked.

I find this second case very interesting, though I don't think it matters whether it's the wife or it's the husband who is unhappy. The principles are the same.

I know several women whose husbands are unhappy in marriage. Their husbands blame the wives for everything, but are unwilling to do anything to grow the marriage (date nights, counseling, even just communicating). They won't tell their wives what the real issue is.

The wives are so petrified the husbands will leave that they turn themselves inside out to try to make sure that there is nothing in their behaviour that the husband could object to.

Now, I have spoken at length in this blog about how you have to learn to show your spouse love in their language, and how we need to make sure that we are loving our spouses, even if they are not showing us love. But that does not mean that I think we should be doormats or lose our self-respect.

My mother, for instance, when she was married allowed herself to get walked all over, and tolerated really horrible behaviour on the part of my dad, because she was so scared of being left alone. And in the end, all that bending over backwards did absolutely nothing.

When you bend over backwards and try so hard to become what the other person wants, you cease being yourself. You're not looking to be what God wants you to be; you're looking to be what you think your husband wants you to be, and those are not necessarily the same thing. A truly intimate marriage relationship is based on two individuals who can cling to each other, confide in each other, talk to one another, and feel like partners. If you don't feel like your husband's partner, but instead feel like his maid or his slave or even his mother, then you're not building a good marriage. You're pushing him farther away from real intimacy.

James Dobson talked about this well in his book Love Must Be Tough. His central thesis was this: the whole way we do marriage counseling is backwards, because in the vast majority of troubled marriages, only one person is willing to work on things. The other doesn't care if they're hurting the spouse. They don't care how the spouse feels. They don't care what happens to the relationship, because they've become completely caught up in what they want.

So they're not going to go to counseling. So what do you do if you want to work on the relationship but your husband doesn't, and can't even admit there's a problem?

Dobson says you need to do have them feel the consequences of their actions, because that's the only way out of the selfish fantasy land they're in. They believe that they can keep daydreaming about leaving, and threatening to leave, and talk about being unhappy, because you'll sit there and take it and bend over backwards to try to satisfy them.

So stop bending over backwards, and show them what it will be like if they follow through and leave. Protect yourself and keep your self-respect, because a person cannot fall in love again with someone who has become a doormat and who no longer values herself.

And that's what the husband did in this example. He had already been burned by an ex-wife, so when the next wife starting talking about being unhappy, he said, "you either put up or shut up". If you want to work on the relationship, fine. But you can't just complain about it, because I won't live with someone who complains like that all the time. You need to commit. Commit, and we'll work on it together. Continue to hold out and say you're not sure and I'm making you unhappy and you need to test me, and that is not acceptable.

God hates divorce, but where Christians err is that we often think that the proper response then when a spouse starts talking about divorce is to try to do everything possible to appease that spouse. Appeasing, though, doesn't work, and can cause us to do things that God wouldn't want us to do. We may put up with things like affairs, or we stop respecting ourselves or our kids because we don't want to rock the boat. What we do need to do is to show proper love. Proper love always points people to God; inappropriate love allows people to act in an unChristlike manner. When we love inappropriately, by allowing people to walk all over us, we actually encourage them to go further from God. We need to show people that if they leave, life will be difficult, but they need to make a choice. We need to stop tolerating affairs, or pornography, or flirtations, or addictions, or things which will eventually ruin the marriage anyway. The best way to help your husband get over pornography is actually to not tolerate it.

If you're in this kind of a marriage, I'd recommend both Love Must Be Tough and Boundaries. Both books show what is your responsibility in a difficult relationship, and what is not. And remember: the best way to get positive change in a marriage is often through realistic consequences, not by becoming a doormat!

Now I know this is controversial, and I know there is a thin line between pushing someone away and calmly showing consequences. I know we are called to be gracious and to forgive, but I also don't believe we were called to tolerate indecision or evil. So if you have any pointers on how to walk that fine line, and do what's right, please leave a comment!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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Are You Just TOO Busy?
I am so excited about today's guest post! I've been away a lot of the summer, and when I'm home I've been trying to take it easy, so I've asked some people to guest post.

And one of those is Joanne Kraft, who has written a new book that we absolutely MUST pay attention to called Just Too Busy: Taking your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. With the fall just around the corner, and with everybody starting to think about schedules, her message couldn't be more timely. PLEASE take this post to heart. I so appreciate Joanne sharing it with us, and I know I'm praying about how to take a radical sabbatical myself this year! Here's Joanne:

Busy Weekphoto © 2010 Duncan Harris | more info (via: Wylio)
Are you a busy mom? I know. What a silly question. Kind of like asking a new mother if she’s tired or chocolate if it's delicious. When I became a mother I discovered busy and mom go hand in hand.

Not long ago, I was searching for help for my chaotic, topsy-turvy life. Everywhere I turned I couldn't swing my purse without hitting books for Busy Moms, The Busy Moms Recipe Book – You Too Can Make a Fourteen Course Meal in Eight Minutes. The Busy Moms 4.2 second Devotional Book, How to Change a Flat Tire – for Busy Moms. Unfortunately, they all seemed to ignore the gargantuan pink elephant in the room and accept the fact that I was busy, too busy.

Were there any moms out there who had fought the insanity of busyness and been crowned victor? I needed solutions from moms who had walked a mile in my tired, worn-out mommy-shoes. Our family’s answer was to take a radical sabbatical—a twelve month time-out from any activity I had to drive my children to. For a whole year we learned to slow down, and in the process discovered how to be a family again.

I’d like to share a few areas in my life that suffered under the burden of my busyness, and the solutions that crowned me victorious. This is from my list of ten reasons in my book, Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical that helped my husband and I to take the plunge into the radical sabbatical unknown!

A romantic night out = Our 4th grader playing Chop Sticks on our back deck.

A family is only as strong as the marriage inside of it. With children pulling us in ten different directions every day, busyness was keeping us from being alone together. There was a time when my husband was going to law school during the day and working full-time at night, while I was home enjoying our three-ring-circus. Not really a recipe for romance. As much as we enjoyed holding hands during our son's baseball games or our daughter's dance lessons, it wasn't enough. Being serenaded by our daughter and her evening practice of saxophone chop sticks- 4th grade style was as lovey-dovey as things got. It was precious but it didn't fill our need for a little romance.

Solution: When our children were young, we made a point to have them in bed by 8pm each night. This gave us two hours of time alone together before our own bedtime. Quite often I would save a yummy treat just for the two of us to share. No matter how difficult our day, just knowing we would have some time alone together in the evening was a great motivator for both of us.

My kids thought all meals came with a side of fries.

Ok, so I may be exaggerating a little bit here. But, my children have eaten more fast food than ever passed my lips as a child. When my eight-year-old daughter could recite the dollar value meals at McDonald's with more accuracy than her time-tables, I knew we had a problem.

When I was busy it was just a whole lot easier to speak into a clown's head, drive forward and have a complete stranger hand me dinner in a bag.

I desired for us to eat as a family, I really did. When I was a little girl it was our family practice to have dinner together. If my father worked late we waited. We ate together as a family or we didn't eat at all.

Solution: Plan. Plan. Plan. There's no way around it. If I don't know ahead of time what I'm making for dinner, then a healthy family meal around our kitchen table is not going to happen. And, for the record, it is possible to fall in love with your crock-pot. My youngest daughter volunteered to sit beside me and look through cookbooks each week. She was more than happy to help me create our weekly meal plan. Having time alone with my daughter Grace is time well spent.
Singing Jesus Take the Wheel on the way to a Girl Scout Meeting,
counted as my Bible study for the week.

I would make time for everything else, including Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, before I would give a moment of my day to the very One who'd given me all of mine.

I considered Bible study by country radio station completely acceptable. I used every excuse to put off opening my Bible and feasting on His Word. How many times had I missed out on godly encouragement—a treasure in scripture from the Lord just for me? It would have made my busy day much more bearable.

Solution: I began keeping a Bible by the side of my bed, in my bathroom and on my kitchen counter. Each day, no matter where I went in my house, I would be reminded to have my time with the Lord. It surprised me to discover when I made time for the Lord the more I desired time with Him. When I prayed I would ask Him to clear my schedule so we could be alone together. He always did.

I am a mom. My life is busy. But I can keep it from being too busy. So can you. What is taking up the most of your time? What is causing you the greatest burden? Where can you make small changes to discover big rewards? I challenge you to make your own list today. And don't try and tell me you're too busy. You have time. I know you do.

Excerpt from Just Too Busy-Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical; Beacon Hill Press 2011

Joanne Kraft has a passion for encouraging women. A sought-after speaker, Kraft has been published in Today’s Christian Woman, In Touch, ParentLife, Kyria, and P31 Woman Magazine. She is the author of the nonfiction book Just Too Busy: Taking your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. Joanne lives with her husband Paul in the California Sierra Nevada Foothills, where they are raising their four children. Follow her on Twitter @JoanneKraft and visit her at or

What do you think? Are you too busy? Are you prepared to cut things out in the coming year? Tell me about it!
Wifey Wednesday: Why Sex Matters to Your Husband

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up! Today's Wifey Wednesday is a guest post from Christine Hiester.

(002/365) Reading novels at 3:40am can sometimes bring © 2009 Megan | more info (via: Wylio)
“Men are simple beings.”

So says my husband. When I ask him what I can do to meet his needs, how I can better serve him, how I can improve as a wife, he simply chuckles and reminds me:

“I am simple. Keep me fed and give me lots of sex. And make it fun.”

Of course, he’s oversimplifying things a bit. He needs more than that, and we both know it. But as far as needs go, physical intimacy is so important to him that if that need is not met the whole of him is affected; and if it is met, that fulfillment trickles down to all other parts of his life.

I really think I have it easy in this marriage, to be honest. I mean, I am nowhere near simple. My husband has to deal with my moods, my insecurities, my lack of housekeeping prowess, my occasional emotional neediness, and all I have to do is be a willing and joyful participant in the bedroom and cook some good meals?

I asked my husband the other day to tell me why. I wanted him to help me understand the reasons behind this all-encompassing need of his, and be able to help other women in my life who may have struggles in this area. We have friends and relatives whose marriages have had rocky times due to intimacy issues and pornography. I wanted to know what advice he would have me give the wives.

“Are their husbands satisfied in the bedroom?” was his reply. “We men are bombarded at every corner: ads at an online news site, billboards, teens wearing skimpy clothing at church, TV commercials, magazine racks at the grocery store. We can’t help but be visual; it’s the way we are made. We want to be faithful and pure, but it is so hard in this environment. When you, as my wife, make sure that I am satisfied, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. That’s what you can tell those women.”

That seems like a lot of pressure, but there is truth undergirding his response. Even more than just that answer, however, is the deeper issue of being accepted as a man with a high sex drive, and the subsequent affect on his emotional well-being. There is nothing wrong with our husbands wanting sex, and varied sex at that, often. Let me repeat that:

There is nothing wrong with our husbands wanting a lot of sex.

It is our own faulty thinking about God’s gift of sexual intimacy that is the hindrance. Men find emotional fulfillment in physical intimacy. Our rejection of them in the bedroom feels to them as their emotional rejection would feel to us. If you came to your husband in need of a listening ear, and an available shoulder when you were feeling down, and he said to you, “Not tonight, honey. I’m not in the mood to listen to you,” it would be devastating. Perhaps that is what happens on a regular basis for you. I’ve been there in my marriage.

We went through a period in our marriage when I agreed to be intimate when I felt emotionally full, only when my needs were met. I often begged off because I was feeling down, or we had had a fight, or he annoyed me in some way. It wasn’t a conscious decision to use sex as a reward to grant or withhold, but that’s what it felt like to my husband. He felt rejected, and thus wasn’t as open to me emotionally. The vicious cycle continued. I rejected him physically, he rejected me emotionally. I was miserable. He was miserable. The prayer of my heart was for God to change him. But God instead, in His wisdom, changed me.

When I, in obedience, made the choice, in recognition of this need in my husband, to be joyfully willing and available sexually whenever he requested it (and also initiating on a regular basis), the change in him was amazing. Over time he was more emotionally available to me, more able to cherish me, more sensitive to my needs.

It was a transformative choice on my part, and improved our marriage dramatically.

God blessed us, because I made the holy choice.

God is the one behind this need in our husbands, just as He is behind our sensitivities and emotional richness as women. There is a grand plan in marriage, and sex is an enormous part of that plan.

When your husband desires you, desire him back. Make a choice to accept, and not reject. It is deeply important to him. Simple? Maybe. They are simple beings, after all. Or so says my husband.

So what are you waiting for?

Christine is a joyfully-available wife, and homeschooling mom of four. She has a passion for seeing marriages thrive, and blogs about that, among other things, at, and contributes to

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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Soundtrack of Your Life
'Walk' photo (c) 2005, Katherine Johnson - license:
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here's this week's!

When I was in elementary school, I would drift off to sleep listening to a top 40 music station, because that’s what cool kids did.

When I became an adult and realized I’d never be cool anyway, I hit the “seek” button on my car radio and came across a song about how the good stuff in life is all the memories you build with those you love. And as I drove along the highway, tears streaming down my cheeks, I knew I had found the music of my heart. I may have grown up attending the ballet, but I’m really a redneck woman who loves country.

Perhaps you’ve never been that enamoured with country, since you don’t need to listen to songs about losing your truck, or your dog, or your wife, but then you’re missing out on its power! Believe me, country music has power. A study done about a decade ago found that of all forms of music, country music is the most linked to suicide. So if you ever had a sneaking suspicion that there was something not quite right about Willie Nelson or Billy Ray Cyrus, you’ve now been vindicated.

But perhaps it’s the most linked to suicide because it sings about the stuff that really matters, and pairs it with music that’s haunting (though it may haunt you in a very different way than it haunts me).

Music does that. After watching a movie marathon for a weekend, I’ll start to imagine my own life with a soundtrack, since nothing ever happens in a movie without music to go along with it. Have you ever just been walking along the sidewalk and a shiver runs up your spine, because you feel like there should be creepy music playing? Or perhaps you’re not so morbid, and you hear an upbeat guitar during the happier parts of your life.

It’s hard to imagine life without music. I’ve heard it said that God created music so that we could worship without words, and I like that thought. Music itself creates a mood and speaks to us and through us. It’s painting pictures with sounds.

I live in a house with teen girls, so for the last few years I’ve been inundated with Taylor Swift. Swift has a rather clever tune entitled “Our Song”, where she describes what comprises the soundtrack of her romance. Their soundtrack isn’t a particular song, but it’s the slamming screen door when they run out for a date, or the way he laughs, or the whispered phone calls late at night. These things encapsulate their relationship.

Summer is filled with that kind of music to me. It’s the music of the breezes as I type outside on my deck; the screams of thrills as little children put their toes in the water at the beach; the sound of the overloaded camper backing up out of the driveway as we leave for vacation, and the children querying, “are we there yet?” It’s the campfire crackling as my daughters and I sing in a round, and my husband sits back to enjoy the melody, rather than joining in and wrecking it. It’s woodpeckers and splashes and even the buzzing of mosquitoes.

Soon the soundtrack will change to school bells and football practice and alarm clocks and times tables being recited. Each new season and stage of life has its own soundtrack, and its own songs. And so, as I head to the store to buy new fall clothes for my ever-sprouting teenager, I’ll flip on the radio, hoping to hear another song that will express that excitement I feel watching my girls grow up, tinged with just a little bit of melancholy. It’s country time. And if you like a good cry, and you’re not overly depressed already, why not join me?

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Wifey Wednesday: Dressing Your Hubby

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Day 11.09 Ubuntu suitphoto © 2010 Frerieke | more info (via: Wylio)

I have an amazing husband. He's awesome with my girls. He shows me love and affection. He cares about my feelings. He listens to my emotions. He gives me backrubs. He's a great provider.

But he can't get the hang of the fact that you really shouldn't wear a white shirt with beige pants. Fashion is not his strong suit.

The other night at dinner I was looking at his pants, and they had received quite a lot of wear that day. There was dirt on them, and creases, and they were looking rather bad. But then I noticed that these were also his best dress pants. And he had them on with a few-years-old golf shirt that he likes to wear on more casual days to work.

I commented that given the number of perfectly serviceable, cotton pants are in his closet, perhaps it's best not to wear dry-clean-only slacks with casual shirts. He laughed and says that when he gets dressed in the morning, the only question he has about pants are: are they clean? And do they fit? And if they're not clean, but he can wipe something off, that's good enough.

I have realized long ago that my husband will never have the fashion sense that I do. But here's the thing: I like him looking sharp. I like him looking put together. But I have realized that I can't rely on him to do this, because he just doesn't get it. So now every night I get an outfit together for him and put it on his dresser for him to put on in the morning. That way, if he leaves for work early and I don't see him until he gets home for dinner, I don't die of embarrassment because he's been wearing beige with white all day.

I figure you can always spot the married men in a crowd because they look put together. But it tends not to be because they know how to dress. It's because a woman makes sure that they leave home looking presentable.

So you can complain about his fashion sense, or complain that he wears the good pants too often and wears them out, or complain that his tie doesn't match his shirt, or you could just lay out his clothes for him.

Personally, I'd rather lay out his clothes. I like putting outfits together, and he does have nice clothes. He just can't figure out what goes with what.

I think that when your husband looks put together, it reflects well on everybody. I used to do it years ago, but I stopped, and then that night when I noticed his dirty really-expensive pants, I realized it was time to start again. And so I do. It's just what marriage is all about: you get to fill in the holes that he's really bad at, and he fills in the holes that you're really bad at. Rather than being upset at him for not "getting it", just realize that this is who he is, and plug the hole. It's really not a big deal. And why would we want to create someone who's just like us?

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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Great Expectations
'Lost in thought' photo (c) 2004, tothalvadi - license:
Every week I write a syndicated column that appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Last Friday the column I published on this blog wasn't actually the column that was in the papers! I had a mixup with camping trips and trying to keep up. So here's the one that was in the papers:

For those of you who are blessed with a marriage partner, I’m sure that on the day of your wedding you could have completed this sentence: “My wife will…” Want me three times a day? Scrub the toilets? Stay home with the kids? Believe I’m the greatest? Or maybe it’s “My husband will…” always do the dishes. Bring home the bacon. Love my mom.

We all have preconceived notions entering marriage. It’s as if, during that wedding ceremony, we don’t just slide on wedding rings, but we also put on tinted glasses, coloured by the expectations we place on each other.

When your wife inevitably doesn’t conform to your expectations, though, you likely don’t chuck your glasses. You’re far more likely to pout, “What is her major malfunction?” You know the way the world should work; she’s obviously wrong by not jumping on the bandwagon.

We tend to compartmentalize each other, expecting that we will stick to already established patterns. We may start out in marriage expecting our spouses to be wonderful; but when they fail, we start to expect the worst. He’s the one who’s lazy and doesn’t know what a mop is for. She’s the one who’s the drill sergeant and doesn’t let anybody have fun at home. He’s a workaholic. She’s a shopaholic. We can all too easily pigeon-hole our spouses into categories that we don’t like.

What happens if your spouse wants to fly out of that hole and change? You don’t necessarily notice.

Recently I was talking with a woman whose marriage was falling apart. She rattled off a litany of complaints about her husband’s lack of ability to communicate. But as her story unfolded, I found myself sympathizing with the maligned spouse. To me, it sounded like he was trying to change their communication dynamic by asking clarification questions, like, “So you think I’m being too rigid about our schedule?”

She thought he was just being smart, saying not, “Let me understand what you are saying,” but instead, “you really believe something that stupid?” For the last few months that man had been attempting to change, to love his wife despite her reaction. Whatever he tried, though, she interpreted it in a negative light. It was her loss. Here was a man who was ready to build a new marriage, and she just wouldn’t see it.

Maybe it’s time you chucked your tinted glasses, too. Don’t read between the lines. Don’t try to finish each other’s sentences. Don’t assume that if she goes up to bed early it’s because she’s trying to avoid you; maybe she’s hoping you’ll follow her. Don’t assume that if he’s quiet it means he’s mad at you. When she speaks, listen to her words, and pretend it’s a stranger who was saying it. Would you bristle if a stranger asked, “how was your day?” Of course not! If a stranger started discussing how busy your schedule was, you’d analyze it, not assume you were being led down a guilt trip. If you could talk peacefully about something with a stranger, then why not try to do so with your spouse?

Maybe in your relationships you need a reset button, a way to go back to the beginning without all the petty hurts and counterproductive patterns you’ve developed. Don’t expect her to be hurtful. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Your loved one may not catch on right away, but persist. And as you treat that person like a new human being, you just may find that you become a new human being, too.

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Changeover to Wordpress
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Following God One Yes at a Time

As some of you may know, I speak for Girls Night Out events all over Canada and the United States, with a great group of other women! In that picture above, I'm second from the front, and my friend Connie Cavanaugh is at the back. Connie has a new book out, Following God One Yes at a Time, which has just been released by Harvest House Publishers. This book tells you how -- one simple, immediate, possible yes at a time – to do what Jesus commanded when He said, “Follow Me.” This is “following God for dummies”; it is a simple way for ordinary Christians to follow Christ through the maze of our complicated lives.

I asked Connie to come and talk to us about her book:

You said that God may have "seasonal" dreams for us. What does that look like if you're a mom of young kids, but you've always felt called to something big?

The dream of being a writer came to me in my 20s and the dream of speaking came in my 30s. Neither dream was realized until my 40s and 50s. The simple answer is that I could not pursue those dreams until I first pursued other dreams God also gave me, such as devoting 20 years to being a stay-home mom. Some people have the mental and physical energy to pursue more than one big dream at a time, such as the OBGYN who delivered my second baby and continued working through the births and rearing of six children of her own. I am not that kind of person. But God knows what we can and cannot do and He is good so during my years at home, He was giving me "material" to use in my subsequent season as a writer and speaker. For the young mom who feels called to something "big" I remind her that nothing is "bigger" than being a godly, effective parent.

But I hasten to add, don't lose hope because if God gives the dream, He will lead you to fulfill it in His time.

Do you think that husbands and wives usually share dreams? What do you do if you feel called to something but your husband doesn't?

Yes, I think couples often share dreams. When my husband pursued the dream of completing his education, it was actually the realization of a dream that I had in my heart that my husband would have a much broader ministry than he had at the time. That was a shared dream.

However, if you feel called to something that your husband is opposed to, then I would caution you to be absolutely certain that you are hearing clearly from God. God calls us to love and respect our spouse and I doubt He would ask us to do something that would damage the marriage relationship. It may be that you are to wait and pray until you and your spouse reach agreement. Perhaps God is using your spouse's hesitance to refine the dream into something a little different than what you are now thinking.

Bottom line: honour the marriage first and trust God for the dream.

You begin by saying “God has a dream for every believer.” I love that idea--that God "dreams" for us. What do you mean by it, though?

God does have a dream for every believer. In fact He has many overlapping, interlocking dreams for us: some big, some small; some lifelong, some seasonal; some manageable, some seemingly impossible. When His dream looks like a mountain we can’t climb, because we lack faith in ourselves and in Him, we think:
  • This dream is too big; I don’t have what it takes. 
  • The process looks so complicated; I don’t even know where to start. 
  • The finish line is so far away; I don’t think I can go the distance. 
  • I’ve tried before and dropped out; I must be all out of chances.
  • Is this God speaking or my own wishful thinking? 
  • People like me don’t get to do these things; I’m not worthy of this.

I think most of us can relate to those barriers that keep us from following God.

The biggest barriers to following God are internal, not external. It’s not situations, circumstances, tragedies, crises or even physical limitations but it’s things like fear, guilt, pride, shame, comparison, and doubt that hold us back from pursuing the dreams God has for us. Following God one yes at a time is about how God breaks down His impossible dream into manageable steps and once we begin to follow Him in faith, because He loves us, He sends us proofs that we’re on the right track.

Do you think God always sends us “proofs” when we follow Him? I sometimes get scared that I'm assuming God wants me to do something when it's me who wants to do it.

Even though we talk about a God who is alive and personal, all Christians occasionally feel like He is remote and invisible. Once God gets us to say yes to His dream and begin following Him, He knows that we’re going to be battling doubts and fears so He sends us proofs that we heard Him correctly and we’re on the right track. These proofs are little assurances that we pick up in a number of ways – through our daily Bible reading or hear in a sermon or through music or circumstance or pretty much anything that God chooses to use.

He’s not limited in the ways He communicates with us. These “proofs” are His way of encouraging us not to lose heart but to keep following.

Sheila talking now: I like this concept that God gives proofs, and that's what I really appreciated about the book, because quite frankly I don't think that I trust enough. I second guess myself all the time. Did I really hear God say that?

We had this one experience a few years ago that made me believe in proofs. It was the summer of 2007, and we as a family had planned to move to Kenya for a year. We were going to leave in August and return the following July. We had saved money so we could go; we had arranged a place to live; we had arranged for a hospital for Keith to work at; and we had arranged for work for me to do. We even had someone to live in our house.

It had been our dream.

And then things started to go wrong. Every time the mission organization called us, our phone line would go dead. Our phone line NEVER goes dead. And it happened no matter what phone they were calling from. Little tiny things kept going wrong, which I can't go into all the details about, but they left us really puzzled.

And then the final straw came. We received our acceptance package in the mail, but it had been burned to a crisp. It came in a Ziploc bag from Canada post, with a note apologizing for its condition, but apparently someone set the mailbox on fire. I had never heard of mail being burned before. We opened the package and ashes fell out instead of a book, and yet somehow the label with our address had survived.

I started asking friends if they thought it was a sign. Should I just assume it was a sign, or was that presumptuous? One very smart man said, "Sheila, what else do you expect God to do?" And so we didn't go. And four months later, Kenya erupted into the worst violence they had seen in decades. We would have been right in the middle of it. God protected us.

So God does give proofs, but often we second guess Him. I think it's good to keep checking things out, but sometimes we just have to learn to live by faith, and I find that hard. If you do, too, Connie's book can help!

Find Connie's book on Amazon, or for Kindle. And follow Connie on Facebook!

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Bad Parents, Broken Kids
'Sad Eyes' photo (c) 2010, Photos By Trina - license:
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here's this week's!

I’ve heard it said that it is better to build a child than to repair an adult. Yet like many truths, this is easier said than done. What should society do when a parent is obviously tearing a child down?

My quick answer would be that children deserve loving parents who care for them, so I would put them in loving homes. But there are several problems with that. The first is that by allowing Children’s Aid to take children away easily, we could inadvertently remove kids from good homes. After all, deciding what is safe and what is not is not as straightforward as it may seem. Today we become incensed if parents smoke in the same room as a baby, but let’s face it: the majority of my generation grew up in smoky cars and smoky homes. Today it’s illegal to allow your children to ride their bikes without helmets, but all of us did as children. You can’t take a 7-year-old in a car without a car seat, but that’s a new rule. My 16-year-old left her booster seat behind at five.

It’s difficult to define bad parenting solely in terms of specific actions, then, because so much of it is culturally relative. Yet when it comes to protecting children, we all know that some parents are selfish, narcissistic, and abusive. I figure judging abuse and neglect is sort of like the standard for judging obscenity: I’ll know it when I see it. It’s not any one thing; it’s the total picture. And we leave it to judges to make that final call.

My problem is that I don’t believe judges necessarily make the right calls. For instance, did you know that judges can order the government, through Children’s Aid, to provide things like rides to doctor’s appointments, paid summer camp, paid extra curricular activities, and even paid maid service if the house is unsanitary, all so kids can stay with their biological families? Many kids in foster care are sent back home to parents who won’t actually be caring for their kids—you and I still will through our tax dollars.

If a parent can’t figure out how to get their child to a doctor’s appointment, that child shouldn’t be going home. And if a parent won’t scrub the kitchen floor, then the parent shouldn’t have their kids. Why should parents who have already had children removed benefit from free rides, free camp, and free maids, while parents struggling to make ends meet have to play by the rules? It’s ridiculous.

Were I a judge, my first instinct would be to put most kids who are apprehended up for adoption right away. But that’s not good for society, either, because there simply aren’t enough good adoptive homes to take all the children who would fall into care.

All of this would be so much easier if parents started doing their job. So speaking as a parent who truly loves her children, I wish other adults would stop neglecting theirs. If you think getting drunk on the weekend or doing drugs while your kids are around is fine, give your kids up. If you never play with them, never talk to them, and never take them to the doctor, then give your children to someone who loves them. The family is too important a social unit for you to undermine with your actions. And your children are too precious to endure your callousness.

I hope there’s someone superior to me who can sort all these competing interests out, because I sure can’t. And I wish them luck for this heart-wrenching job.

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Modesty Should Not Mean Dowdy
Fun in the art roomphoto © 2005 Serena | more info (via: Wylio)

Modesty is a big "buzz" word on Christian women's blogs. We're all supposed to want to be modest (which I agree with), but often the definition of modesty is something which I find completely unreasonable, and rather off-putting.

A friend of mine, whom I would consider very modest but stylish, took her pre-teen daughter to a mother-daughter event recently. Originally the daughter had been asked to model, but at the last minute they found someone else to fill in in her size, so told her they didn't need her.

My 11-year-old friend was devastated, until she saw the actual fashion show. And then she was so appalled by the clothes that she whispered to her mother: "I'm so glad they didn't ask me to model after all! I'd be so embarrassed if I were up there!"

Now I wasn't at that event, so I didn't see first hand, but apparently the clothes were layered to the nth degree and so long and bulky that they looked like sacks.

I've been on other women's blogs that seem to be pushing the idea that if we're not dressing modestly--and by that they have a very narrow definition of modest--then we're not being Christian. And so I'd like to spell out my philosophy on this, just to inspire debate, and to perhaps free some of you who aren't comfortable with this line of thinking but aren't sure where else to go.

First, I do think modest should mean no cleavage, and no drawing attention to particular parts of the body deliberately. So no super-tight T-shirts, no low-cut shirts that look more like bikini tops, no super short skirts or shorts, and no tank tops (UPDATE: I meant to say tube tops. We here in Canada used to call tube tops tank tops, but I know tank tops are something different now. Sorry for the confusion!). I'd even be careful with sleeveless dresses. For swimming, I'd steer clear of bikinis, and even some one-pieces, and go with some flattering tankinis, which are often prettier and which often have bottoms that go down a little bit further. I find most people look better in these anyway.

But to say much more than that, I think, puts women in a bind, sounds very legalistic, and can be dishonouring to our men.

For instance, I've seen some women say that we should only wear skirts. Really? Personally I wear skirts most of the time in the summer, because finding shorts that fit is difficult, and I love skirts. So I'm not against skirts in the least. But to say that all women should wear skirts because it's more feminine is really strange. A nicely cut pair of jeans with a pretty blouse in my opinion is far more feminine than a shapeless denim skirt.

Similarly, to say that one can't wear any pants that fit well because they would draw attention to one's *ahem* behind is thus saying that we should all wear sacks. Now I certainly don't think that we should wear tight clothes. But there is a difference between tight and clothes that simply fit. My daughter told me about a blog post she read on a popular teenage girl blog that said that if you can't pinch your pants and find a few inches, it's too tight. How many girls are really going to follow that?

But here's another question: do we really want to give the impression that Christians are dowdy spoilsports, because that seems to be what we're doing. As a married Christian woman, I feel that my responsibility is to dress modestly but fashionably. I want my husband to be proud of me, and if I were only wearing denim skirts with button down blouses, he would not be proud to take me out in public. I would stand out like a sore thumb. And so I go out of my way to try to wear things that are pretty and flattering but that don't cling too much, show cleavage, or come up too high on the thigh.

I think sometimes that the Christian wives who advocate the long, shapeless skirt look with the baggy t-shirt forget something. The rationale for dressing modestly is that because men are visually stimulated, we shouldn't dress to stimulate them. Okay so far.

But if we admit that men are visually stimulated, then don't we also owe it to our husbands to look our best? And how many husbands like walking around with wives who are dressed in shapeless clothes?

Now, I know many of the people who advocate wearing skirts do not wear shapeless ones, and I'm not trying to say that you're wrong. I think longer skirts can still be fashionable, if they're cut correctly, and you can wear lovely shaped blouses to go with them that do flatter your figure.

For instance, the True Femininity blog, written by a 21-year-old, has an "Outfit of the Day" recurring theme where she shows a modest but fashionable outfit. Here's one from June:

Lovely. But many of the "skirts only" blogs that I've read, and that my daughter has seen, really do advocate skirts resembling potato sacks, that look as if they were bought in thrift stores.

I don't think that's the image that Christians should be presenting. Why not just look fashionable, attractive, and fun, without trying to look sexy? Looking like you put some care into your appearance says that you respect yourself and you respect your husband.

My friend Terry, over at Breathing Grace, wrote a post recently where she said that her standard of beauty is her husband. She wears what he likes, because he's the one that really matters, and I like that conviction. Sometimes when we think about all this "modesty" stuff, I think we do it without male input. We say we're trying to protect men by not being tempting, but I wonder how many of the wives have ever asked their husbands honestly if they like the "sack" look, or if they would prefer that their wives be a little more attractive? I think many women get caught up in this "modesty" movement online, and in their little cliques, and they barge right ahead without asking the guys.

Finally, there's one other thing that concerns me, and this is perhaps the largest issue. This world is in desperate need of help. All around us families are breaking up, debt is ruining people's lives, addictions are taking over. And that's only in the neighbourhood. On a worldwide scale, wars are being fought, persecution is rampant, and injustice abounds.

This world needs Christians to become engaged, to be good role models, and to be outspoken (in a gentle way) for what is right. That means that we have to be people that others respect. We need to be people that others will look at and admire. And I don't think that it's flighty of me to say that part of that admiration will be tied in to how we look. If we show up looking like we have never cut our hair (let alone put conditioner in it) and as if we are wearing sacks, then why would people want to listen to us?

When you dress that way and present yourself that way, you make your world smaller. You tend to retreat into your family or your church because that is safe, and that is where you fit in. You don't fit into the wider world anymore.

That's not right. We need people who will speak up and who will be role models. We need to stop shrinking. Certainly retreating is easier and less messy, but it is not what we are called to be. We are called to be "in" the world. We don't let its values dictate ours; we don't follow after the world's idols. But we must still be "in" it. We must not shrink our own world, and that is what we do when we adopt too narrow a definition of what is acceptable clothing.

So what would I recommend? If you're married, talk to your husband about what sort of dress he considers modest and fashionable. Take a friend with you who is fashionable and go shopping and get some clothes that actually fit. Get a nice haircut (you can go to a haircutting school if you can't afford a salon). Treat your body as if you respect it, not as if you're ashamed of it. And let's stop using Christianity as an excuse to look dowdy.

Fashionable and feminine while still being modest. That, I think, is what we should be doing. And, by the way, there's really nothing wrong with a good pair of jeans!

UPDATE: I'm just going to chime into the comments now (it's Sunday morning). I've been away with my hubby for a few days, and I missed all the discussion! Sorry.

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Wifey Wednesday: Christians Do Have Unhappy Marriages

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up! I'm taking the summer a little slowly, so I've asked Tammy Rhoden to guest post for us today. Here's Tammy's story:

As a Christian woman entering a marriage in which I was equally yoked, I expected to live happily ever after once the rings slipped over our fingers. I didn’t believe our marriage would be tainted by the worldly issues of non-believers. I knew there would be a few bumps in the road but overall I wasn’t worried. I thought God made marriage to bring happiness to believing men and women.

DSC_0101photo © 2007 Tom Reynolds | more info (via: Wylio)

But it hasn't been perfect. Actually, there have been far more imperfect moments than not. There have been many heartbreaking moments as well. Moments when I cried out to God and asked Him how He had allowed me to make such an awful mistake! There have been times when I haven't known who I was madder with; Bobby, myself, or God. How had the marriage that I thought was the one every Christian woman was destined to have, turned so sour? Was I not good enough? Had I not paid enough? Would I never finish reaping the harvest of the bad past I had sown? Where was my happiness? I felt betrayed by my husband yes, but more so by God. I felt He had let me down.
I contemplated at times whether I should be able to get out of this marriage. I bargained on occasion with God trying to get Him to work on my behalf. Often I picked myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and got down to the business of saving my marriage. Never during any of these times did I find lasting happiness. Happiness was that elusive emotion that seemed to flit in and out of my marriage but I could never get a handle on so it would remain. What was wrong with us? We are Christians. Why weren't we happy?

Then slowly I began to see things differently. I'm not sure when but over time, I noticed I was changing. Previously, I bought in to the whole idea that seems rather prevalent in the Christian world, that when two believers marry, their marriage should be a good one. After all, if two people are professing to love God then it follows that two people want to please God by living as He directs. So, it's all good and they as Christians are destined to live happily ever after.

That really isn't always the case, though. We want marriage to be a union with another person that brings us happiness but the truth is, God's Word doesn't say that marriage is designed to bring us happiness. In fact it says that it will be an area of struggle and hardship. Genesis 3:16 He told the Woman: "You'll want to please your husband, but he'll lord it over you."

At some point, I began to realize that I weighed almost every moment of my marriage on a happiness scale. Because there is no standard unit of happiness in marriage, I often found my scale too light. When I was feeling let down numerous times a day because my scales were always off, it only makes sense that my heart was beginning to develop defense tactics to keep from being hurt so often. As my heart began to harden, it became easier for the enemy to whisper more and more darkness into my ear.
As my heart grew harder and colder and wrapped itself tighter within layers of defensive repellent; I found it harder to respect my husband. When a wife doesn't respect her husband, she finds it hard to submit or to have sex, whether out of spite or lack of desire. When a husband feels emasculated and lonely, he uses emotional distance to cope. Things continue to feed off each other and spiral out of control until each spouse's heart is so hard they not only fall into further sin and treat each other more poorly, but they are no longer of use to God in many ways that they once were.

People tend to expect marriage to bring them happiness even though God never promised it would. Satan desires to harden the hearts of Christians so they aren't able to be used by God as He would like. Satan knows we use how our spouse makes us feel as a happiness gage and when we aren't happy, we begin to try to fix that. When we try to fix our spouse, we begin to have marital problems because our "fixing" stems from selfish desires and expectations of happiness that we believe our spouse should provide. As we criticize each other and try to change each other or begin to seek happiness outside our marriage, our hearts are hardened and become less usable by God for His ultimate purpose, which is to bring all things in the universe together under Christ.

Here's a thought: if Satan attacks married people first and foremost through their spouses, in order to render their hearts useless to God, doesn't it make sense that two strong believing Christians may have more problems within their marriage than non-believers?

Does this mean that I think Christians should just settle for a poor marriage if they are in one or that they shouldn't strive for their marriage to be all it can be? No! But I also think that we as Christians should begin taking seriously the role God intended us to play in this world. He expects us all to share the Gospel and to play large parts in bringing everything in the universe together under Christ. We often forget that and instead get caught up in thinking about our marital happiness. We need to remember that as well as pursuing happiness in our marriage, we need to pursue joy in Christ. This is how we find it possible to love our spouse with the agape love of Jesus, making us capable of fulfilling God's purpose.

I have begun to measure the moments of my marriage with a different tool. I no longer use my happiness scale but rather ask myself if the moment has done or is doing anything to further God's purpose. If I find that it has, I celebrate and thank God for His goodness and grace. If I find that it was lacking, then I look back through the lens of self-examination, held by the Holy Spirit and try to discover where I fell short. I try not to think about where Bobby may have fallen short because God uses us as individuals and we are accountable as individuals.

Since I have begun to make personal, heart changing, spiritual choices in the way I deal with my unhappiness, Bobby has begun to turn around a lot in areas he personally felt he needed to improve in. We have identified who our enemy really is and we know it's not each other.

Is everything hunky dory now? Well, things are still a work in progress and I think they may remain that way in one sense or another, maybe until death do us part. As for happiness; I can say that the joy I am experiencing more regularly in my life surpasses earthly happiness by far. Joy is what I have the most of but I am also happy more often than not as I am no longer feeling let down most of the time. My perspective of what marriage is supposed to offer me, has changed to align itself with a more godly vision and that makes a huge difference in the happiness scale!
Tammy Rhoden is a Christian Life Coach and Speaker. She offers one-on-one and group coaching as well as workshops, seminars, and lectures designed to support women in facilitating change in their lives that are in agreement with God's Word. Areas of support include but aren’t limited to marriage, children, career, finances, weight loss, setting boundaries, forgiveness, making friends, and time management. Please visit Tammy’s site, Jesus is My Host of Hope, to learn more about her, or find her on Facebook!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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The Problem with College...
...Is that too many employers think it's necessary.

Great article in The Atlantic, with this brilliant paragraph which sums up what I've been saying about education for a while now:
So why is there demand for education if it's so unnecessary? Because make no mistake: employers do want smart employees. You don't want to hire someone to whom you have to explain something three times before he or she gets it. Or worse, you don't want to hire someone who will never be able to grasp that thing, due to inferior reasoning ability. As a result, a college degree has become a proxy for determining whether a job applicant has a minimum level of intelligence necessary to perform a job. But with many private college educations exceeding $120,000 these days, that's a pretty expensive means for identifying adequate intelligence.

Is college a good idea? It can be, for a host of reasons. Education, in and of itself, can be a good thing (as long as it's not indoctrination, as mine was). It can be a stepping stone for a life of independence. It's a great place to meet people, and especially smart people, if one happens to be smart.

But many of those goals can be met in other ways, and I certainly would never go into major debt for a college education! If only employers would come up with another way to hire people...

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July in Review
July is now over, which is making me a little bit sad. The summer's half gone and I feel like I haven't had the chance to enjoy it enough yet!

Yet the new month gives me the chance to look back on the last one--and here are our top posts for July!

1. Wifey Wednesday: What Your Husband Wishes You Knew. An amazing guest post by a guy!
2. Wifey Wednesday: What Makes Men Romantic. My story of the sex flowers. Published in June, but still popular!
3. 50 Most Important Bible Verses to Memorize. From January, but still getting so much traffic. If you haven't started memorizing Scripture yet, here's a great place to start!
4. The Prom is a Privilege. My column about a prom fiasco here in my hometown. I'm sure you'll share my outrage!
5. Wifey Wednesday: Talk About the Real Issue. Conflicts often don't get resolved because we talk about the logistics, rather than the feelings. Here's how to be more productive in solving disagreements!
6. Curse of Low Expectations for Teens. My personal favourite from last month, it looks into how kids live up to our expectations--whether they're good or bad.
7. Why I Should Not Have Been Allowed to Cut My Daughter's Hair. With pictures!
8. Wifey Wednesday: Becoming One Flesh. When you don't feel connected, here's how to grow closer.
9. Why I Hate Dick and Jane. My thoughts on reading with kids.
10. Today My First Boyfriend Turns 41. Reflections on dating as a teen--and why I wish I hadn't so much!

And my top referrers for the month of July--Thank you so much!

1. The Generous Wife
2. Terry at Breathing Grace
3. Traditional Christianity
4. Hot, Holy and Humorous
5. True Femininity
6. Internet Cafe Devotions
7. Time Warp Wife
8. OrgJunkie
9. The Happy Housewife
10. Women Living Well


About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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