Tag Archive | sex

Q&A: What If My Drive is Stronger than His?

What if my husband's sex drive is lower than mine? Q&A from Loving Life at Home....

QUESTION: “Your book [Love Your Husband/ Love Yourself] mainly deals with wives who are denying their husbands of sex. What if it’s the other way around and the husband has a lower drive than the wife?”

ANSWER: The Bible teaches that the husband has a responsibility to the wife in this area, just as surely as the wife has a responsibility to the husband. (See 1 Corinthians 7:2-5) Each is completely dependent upon the other, as we are given no other righteous alternative for experiencing sexual fulfillment other than with one’s own spouse (thus God’s command that neither is to deprive the other).

That’s why I think the frequency with which a couple has sex should really be determined by whichever spouse has the stronger drive. I suggest you discuss the matter with your husband and remind him of your complete dependence upon his active cooperation. You might also read this post, as it has other suggestions for a wife whose husband seems disinterested in sex.

Although it is more common for the man to have the stronger drive, I’ve heard from many, many wives for whom the roles are reversed. It is an agonizing place to be.

If something were to change and I found myself in that situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to discuss it with my husband. Depending on how that talk went, I would probably get a doctor and/or counselor involved, as well.

And since, in our case, a sudden disinterest in sex would be a huge departure from his thirty-year norm, once I ruled out any health concerns or other legitimate causes, I would likely be asking some tough questions about masturbation, pornography, and/or adultery.

A frank discussion about those topics might be in order, even if there hasn’t been an abrupt change in your husband’s interest in intimacy. Although there are definitely some physical things that will affect a man’s libido — low testosterone, depression, anxiety, fatigue, alcohol, drugs, and certain prescription meds, to name just a few — there is a big difference between a man with a low sex drive and a man with a high sex drive who is getting his needs met elsewhere.

7 Smart Reasons to Save Sex for Marriage

7 Smart Reasons to Save Sex for Marriage Earlier this week, I published an essay written by my daughter concerning her commitment to save sex for marriage. Choosing to walk a path that others have long since abandoned can make for a lonely journey, and she sometimes wonders whether her carefully preserved virginity will ever be valued or appreciated by anybody else.

I’m confident it will.

I am trusting that God — in His perfect timing — will bring my precious girl an amazing husband, one who will recognize and appreciate what a treasure she is. I know He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20; Romans 8:32; Matthew 7:11)

In the meantime, I pray for her. I affirm her good choices. And I encourage her to keep walking that lonely path, as there are lots of smart reasons to save sex for marriage:

  1. The Bible Commands It
  2. God designed sex to be enjoyed only in the context of marriage; He forbids it in every other circumstance. His commands are safeguards designed not to confine us, but to protect us. Not to stifle our enjoyment, but to heighten it. That should be reason enough to cooperate with His plan, but for those who need more convincing, here are six other compelling arguments for saving sex for marriage:

  3. Limits Exposure to Disease
  4. In the US alone, there are nearly 20 million cases of new sexually transmitted infections every year — all from just eight viruses and bacteria. One in two sexually active persons will become infected with an STD by age 25. Saving sex for marriage greatly reduces the risk of contracting STDs — and when a virgin marries a virgin, that risk is almost completely eliminated.

  5. Prevents Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy
  6. Abstinence is the only 100% fail-safe method of birth control (and carries with it none of the health risks associated with hormonal contraceptives). Barring in-vitro fertilization or immaculate conception, if you don’t have sex before marriage, you won’t get pregnant before marriage. Children do best when raised by a mother and a father; saving sex for marriage increases the odds they’ll have both.

  7. Minimizes Comparisons
  8. If you have no sexual experience with anybody prior to marriage, you will have no frame of reference by which to judge your spouse’s performance. This goes a long way toward putting minds at ease — your husband won’t be constantly wondering how he measures up against your past lovers. The same holds true for a woman who marries a virgin husband. Instead of being anxious and self-conscious, couples who are inexperienced in the area of physical intimacy can learn and grow together, just as God intended.

  9. Reduces Guilt and Stress
  10. Saying “no” to sex before marriage means saying “no” to the worries that often accompany it: the fear of being found out, the worry that your partner is using you, the misgivings about where the relationship is headed, the concerns about pregnancy and disease, and the guilt for violating Scriptural injunctions. The hook-up culture is fraught with stress, so don’t sleep with someone you haven’t married — sleep with a clear conscience, instead.

  11. Encourages Marriage
  12. There was once a time when a major impetus for marriage — at least, for men — was the promise of sex that came with it. I don’t think we’d see so many young people waiting until they’re nearly thirty to marry, if it also meant waiting until they’re nearly thirty to do what married couples do. The fact that sex is so freely available to singles today has, for many, removed the incentive to get married ever, much less early. (Why take on the burden and responsibility of a wife and family when immediate, no-strings-attached gratification is available via hook-ups and porn?)

    Saying “no” to sex outside of marriage may not change the current cultural trend toward postponing marriage (or forgoing it altogether), but it will keep you from wasting time dating guys who are only after one thing, as they won’t stick around long once they realize you’re serious about waiting. That works out, since a man with that mindset (who’d pressure a girl for sex and ditch her if he doesn’t get it) is not good marriage material, anyway.

  13. Rewards Commitment
  14. Virginity is a very special gift you can only give away once. Saving sex for marriage allows you to give it to a person who isn’t just saying he loves you to get what he wants, but has proven it by making a lifelong commitment. Plus, couples who save sex for marriage fare better, both in terms of marital stability and sexual satisfaction.

7 Smart Reasons to Save Sex for MarriageBut what if you’ve slipped up? What if you are unmarried, and your virginity has already been given away?

I am speaking from experience when I say there is still hope (Ephesians 2:3-10). You do not have to let your past dictate your future.

In Christ, you can find forgiveness, grace, and strength to follow a different path going forward.

It takes intentionality and determination, but there are several things you can do that will make preserving purity easier.

And for those who are already be married but may be regretting mistakes made beforehand, I offer this word of advice: You can’t make up for being promiscuous before marriage by being frigid afterwards.

Don’t punish your husband in the present for mistakes either of you made in the past.

There’s a time for everything under heaven, but our society has it backwards: The time for saying “no” to sex is before you tie the knot.

Once you are married, the response your husband should hear most often from you in regards to sex is “yes.”

(For the rationale behind this statement, read: Why I keep Saying Yes to Sex)

Join in the conversation:

  • What are your thoughts on these matters?
  • How did your attitudes toward sex before marriage impact your relationships afterwards?
  • How would you encourage a young person who wants to save sex for marriage, but has grown weary with waiting?

5 Great Reasons to Read My Husband’s Book

5 Great Reasons to Read 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife....

Today is the official release date of my husband’s new book, 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife. It’s been two years in the writing, but over twenty-seven in the living.

Of course, I’d love to see every married couple devour this book, together with my companion book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect.

That’s why this little two-volume set has become my standard wedding gift: I know husbands and wives will both be abundantly blessed when they put the principles into practice.

I can think of a lot more than I’ve listed, but for the purpose of this post, I’d like to share the five main reasons you should grab a copy of my husband’s new book ASAP (plus one possible reason you shouldn’t).

5 Great Reasons to Read This Book:


  1. Because It’s Biblical
  2. This book is absolutely drenched in Scripture. That’s a good thing, since the Word of God is the most solid foundation any marriage can be built upon.

    The reason divorce is so rampant in our society is because we have strayed so far from God’s original purpose and design for husbands and wives. It grieves my heart that Hollywood can take things as wholesome and wonderful as love, sex, and marriage, and turn them into something dirty, degrading, and dysfunctional.

    This book is a clarion call to reject all the contemptible counterfeits our culture proffers and return to the role God established for every husband from the beginning: that of protecting, cherishing, nourishing, loving, leading, and providing for his wife in the same self-sacrificing way that Jesus loves His church.

    Marriage is in trouble....

  3. Because It Works
  4. Nothing in this book is hypothetical. The principles discussed have been tried, tested, and proven, not only by my own husband, but by countless others like him — men who are committed to living by these ideals to the best of their abilities by the empowering grace of God.

    The more successful a husband is at integrating these truths into his life and actions, the more secure his wife will feel in his love. That’s why every chapter ends with a bulleted list of action points, so readers will immediately be able to put what they’re learning into practice.

  5. Because You Love Your Kids
  6. No matter how grossed out your children act when they catch their parents kissing in the kitchen, there is a reassuring calmness that settles over their little souls when they know Mom and Dad love one another and are committed to staying together through thick and thin, for better or worse.

    The old adage is true: One of the best things a father can do for his children is to love their mother. It doesn’t take long to see the damage done to children when Dad is not committed to the marriage or involved in the lives of his kids: the statistics associated with fatherless families are heart-rending.

    If you love your children, you should nurture your marriage and invest in resources that will help you tend it more effectively.

  7. Because You’ve Been Waiting for It
  8. I am always thrilled to hear from women who’ve read my books and have seen the Biblical principles promoted bring positive change in their marriages. That’s an answer to the prayers I poured out while writing the books, and I rejoice over every letter I get that shares such victories and triumphs with me!

    I’ve even received a few letters from husbands, marveling over the changes they’ve observed in their wives’ disposition, thanking me for writing the book, and asking whether we have a similar book for men.

    I’m delighted to now be able to answer, yes, we do! So if you are one of those men who’ve been waiting for it to be publishied, I can’t think of a better time to buy…

  9. Because Now It’s On Sale
  10. Order a copy before Valentine’s Day, and save 25% (and pick up a discounted copy of my book while you’re at it):

    50 Ways to Grace Your Marriage...

And Here’s One Reason Not to Read It:


  1. Because You Think Your Marriage Problems are All His Fault
  2. If you are a wife who is hunting for something to hang over your husband’s head, please don’t buy this book. It was never intended to be used as ammunition.

    If your marriage is struggling, your husband doubtlessly deserves part of the blame — there are two sides to every story, after all — but instead of pointing fingers, I urge you to examine yourself. What changes might you make to improve your relationship?

    Sometimes women are unwilling to do what Scripture calls them to do (respect their husband) until their husbands fall into line with what Scripture demands of them (love their wife). They use their husband’s perceived failure to justify their own disobedience.

    That’s a loser’s game. You cannot make your own obedience to God contingent on somebody else’s performance. You’re responsible for controlling your own actions and reactions — attempts to control his are futile.

    So if your marriage is in trouble and you are trying to fix it without any help or cooperation from your husband, skip getting this book for now and start with prayer.

    Pray that God would open your eyes to things you may be doing to contribute to the relationship problems you’re facing. Pray that He’ll give you grace to make necessary changes, even though you have no guarantee your husband will ever reciprocate. Pray that He will help you see your husband as He sees him, and that He’ll renew your love and admiration for the man you married.

    Get my book or read the blog or sign up for the 30-Day Challenge and work your way through each of the action points. And be encouraged that God can make something beautiful of even the most hopeless situations.

    “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9, ESV)

Invest in your marriage. Take the 30-Day Respect Challenge!

Why I Keep Saying “Yes” to Sex

Why I Keep Saying Yes to Sex | a word to wives from lovinglifeathomeAuthor Leah Holder wrote a terrific post this week for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which she entitled Why I Keep Saying “No” to Sex.

The gist of the article is this: She says “no” because she is not yet married.

Sexual purity is important to her because it is important to God, and she has therefore made a commitment to save sex for marriage, however unpopular or difficult such a decision has sometimes seemed.

The Bible is very clear in its stance regarding sex outside of marriage. (Colossians 3:5; Hebrews 13:4)

The reason we have the skyrocketing rates of STDs, abortion, divorce, and single-parent families we see today is because far too many people have ignored God’s guidelines in the area of sex for far too long.

But there is a flip-side to the coin: The Bible also speaks clearly about what our attitude toward sex should be once we’ve walked down the aisle. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5) Sex between husband and wife, says God, is a good thing. (Genesis 2:24-25; Genesis 1:28, 31)

Sex within the context of marriage is part of His perfect design. That is why I keep saying “yes” to sex within the context of mine:

  • Sex is Protective
  • I’ll be honest. I didn’t fully appreciate how vitally important sex would be to my husband (and to my marriage), until after I’d married him. Like the vast majority of men, my husband likes to have sex. Often. After my early attempts to lower his expectations concerning frequency failed to convince him, I did what I should have done from the start: I changed my priorities to match his. Sure, I could have stubbornly insisted he wait for the weekend. He married me for better or worse, and — being a man of integrity — I believe he would have honored his vows regardless. But much of the joy and happiness and satisfaction and delight that comes from fully embracing God’s purpose for passion in marriage would have been forfeited had I done so. And it would also have made it far more difficult to resist the many, many, many temptations that daily present themselves in this sexually-charged culture, if he didn’t have a wife at home who is ready and willing to take care of his needs. To deny your husband physically is to leave him vulnerable and unprotected. (1 Corinthians 7:5) It is foolishly shortsighted. Why would any thinking woman do it?

  • Sex Promotes Good Health
  • There is not a vitamin, supplement, or herb on the market that benefits our bodies as much as monogamous sex in a loving relationship: It boosts energy and immunity; increases longevity; decreases the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease; alleviates stress, anxiety, and depression; strengthens and tones muscles; improves mental and emotional health; promotes deeper, more satisfying sleep; and fosters a more youthful looking appearance… just to name a few. Want to know more? The first 11 chapters of my book, Love Your Husband/ Love Yourself, discuss in detail the studies that support these and myriad other blessings that come from prioritizing sex in marriage.

  • Sex is Pleasurable
  • My husband took me out for a hibachi dinner date a couple of nights ago, and the other people at our table complimented our deft use of chopsticks. Where did you learn to do that? they wanted to know.The answer? We first visited a hibachi grill on our honeymoon, and my husband thought it would be fun to eat the entire meal with chopsticks, so we did (albeit very awkwardly). With every bite, more food fell back to our plate than made it to our mouth. But after 27 years of practicing every time we go out for Asian food of any sort, we’ve steadily improved so that now we’re both very comfortable and adept at eating with chopsticks. You may not realize it, but a similar thing happens with sex. Sex may be novel and new on your honeymoon, but it just gets better and better with practice, so don’t give up or quit too soon. I can testify that after 27 years, sharing physical intimacy with my husband is more pleasurable than I ever imagined possible when we were first getting started. What was fun but fumbling and awkward in the beginning, is still fun but has become more natural and easy over time.

  • Sex is Procreative
  • I love babies, and sex makes babies, so that’s just one more reason to love sex! While it is true that God intended sex for marital oneness, that’s only half the story. He also intended it for fruitfulness. And one of the advantages to embracing this aspect of sex is that it makes for greater spontaneity — no pills to pop or scrambling around in the heat of the moment for a misplaced diaphragm. Of course, being open to children does not automatically guarantee you a Duggar-sized family — we’ve known lots of couples who would’ve loved to have lots of children, but were only blessed with one or two despite never doing anything to prevent pregnancy. Still, there remains an obvious link between having sex and having babies, and the more comfortable you are with that fact, the easier it will be to fully enjoy the physical part of your marriage relationship.

  • Sex is Part of God’s Plan
  • God made sex. He made it for a purpose, and He made it good. Even if your marriage isn’t what it should be — or if sex with your husband isn’t what you thought it would be — you can still choose to live in cooperation and obedience to God’s original purpose and plan for sex in marriage. If your husband shows interest when you’re not in the mood, accept his advances anyway. Willingness often precedes desire for many wives, and responding positively and sincerely to your husband’s romantic overtures will put you in the mood in a hurry. If you are interested when your husband is not, initiate sex yourself. Admire him, flirt with him, and encourage him every chance you get, praying that God transform this aspect of your relationship into everything it was meant to be.

In our society today, I know a lot of women say yes, yes, yes to sex before marriage, and a lot of wives say no, no, no to sex afterwards. This is completely backwards. In the end, such practices lead only to heartache, frustration, disease, and constant emotional turmoil. This was never God’s plan for sex.

If you are single, do everything you can to protect this vulnerable side of yourself and save it for marriage, then share it with one person, completely and consistently, for the rest of your life.

If you are married, don’t treat sex like some rare, exotic spice to be sprinkled sparingly on special occasions. Realize, instead, that sex was meant to be a staple for married couples — more akin to bread and water or meat and potatoes — and should be enjoyed regularly in liberal amounts. Doing so will strengthen, support, and sustain your marriage like nothing else.


Check Out My Book

Girl Power: Don’t Waste It

Don't waste your girl power | a guide for using your feminine fortitude to its full advantageWe hear a lot about female empowerment these days…but how should we define it? What does an empowered woman really look like?

Is she wealthy? Is she world-famous?

Does she radiate prestige? Does she command the respect of her peers? Does she carry political clout?

Is she her own woman? Completely autonomous? Answers to no one?

Is girl power something she wears like a badge? Or wields like a weapon?

Would we even recognize an empowered woman if we met her on the street?

Maybe. Maybe not.

In the past half-century, women have spent so much time focused on fighting for equality and closing the perceived gender gap that much of the very real power unique to our sex has been lost: relinquished, squandered, forgotten, or ignored.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Girls are smart. We have brains. We can think.

And when we notice — as of late so many have — that the proverbial baby has been tossed out with the bathwater, we have sense enough to retrieve it. We can learn from past mistakes — both the mistakes we’ve made individually, as well as the mistakes made by the generations ahead of us — and change course as needed.

The battle for sexual equality has morphed into a full-blown attack on common sense and decency. Regardless what popular pundits of feminism may argue, being equal in worth and value is not the same as being identical in nature and function.

There are (by design) some very real, very wonderful differences between men and women. True power comes not by denying such differences exist, but by embracing those differences with gratitude and grace.

  1. An empowered woman INSPIRES those around her.

    It is no secret that girls typically outperform boys on verbal tests. Women are communicators at heart. We are relational to the core. We are good with words.

    But words can be used to help or to hurt. To encourage or to tear down.

    An empowered woman understands this fact and chooses her words carefully. She is not catty, caustic, or overly critical, nor does she curse like a sailor. That’s merely rudeness masquerading as power.

    A hurricane makes a great show of brute force, but look at the destruction, devastation, and despair that follow in its wake. Gentle spring rains may never make headline news, but they pack a potency we’d do well to emulate — the power to refresh and rejuvenate, to nurture and nourish, to bring life and growth and beauty.

    Words of Encouragement

    It takes sustained strength and directed determination to build up rather than destroy. To teach by example. To encourage. To bring out the best in others. To inspire those around us.

    This is real power. It is a power each one of us possesses. A power that women, with our communicative tend-and-befriend natures, are especially well-suited to employ — if only we’ll purpose to do so.

    “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. An empowered woman INVIGORATES the opposite sex.

    As the mother of eight boys (and a casual observer of their many friends), I cannot help but notice the effect feminine company has on a group of guys. When fellas know that girls are watching, they will run faster, play harder, and push themselves further than they’d ever do without such an audience.

    Beach Volleyball

    That’s because they are hard-wired to want to woo a woman and win her attention and affection.

    When a girl first starts to sense the sway she holds over guys, it can make her feel a little heady. At that moment, she faces a choice: What will she do with this newfound power?

    Some will choose to misuse and abuse it. When that happens, everybody suffers.

    One of the most devastating effects of the sexual revolution is that it has duped girls into believing they can use their sexual power indiscriminately, without diluting its effectiveness or damaging themselves (and others) in the process.

    That is a lie.

    It is a lie that has cheated many women out of the things they most desire in life: good health, lasting love, a stable marriage, a happy home, and bright, beautiful, well-adjusted children.

    An empowered woman doesn’t squander her sexuality. She understands what is at stake. She respects her power — and she respects herself — enough to use it wisely. She guards it. She protects it. She cherishes it.

    She says no to sex before marriage and yes to sex within marriage. When the circumstances are right, she channels all that vivacious energy into one man — her husband. And in doing so, she not only blesses her spouse, but she benefits herself, her family, and society as a whole in myriad and magnificent ways.

    “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
    ― Jane Goodall

  3. An empowered woman INCUBATES new life.

    Bearing children is certainly not the only thing a woman can do, but only a woman can do it. Only a woman can conceive, carry, and give birth to the next generation. This is a power that has been completely denied to men.

    Granted, men are necessary for conception to occur, but it is within the womb of a mother that new life begins, that each tiny human is knitted together. As women, we are given the privilege of participating in this miracle of creation.

    Pregnant woman

    There are many who have fought long and hard to give pregnant women the power to choose death, but the far greater power lies in our ability to choose life.

    An empowered woman values life. She recognizes life for the gift it is, a gift that she willingly passes on to her children, even at great personal sacrifice.

    If you are reading this article now, it is because your mother chose LIFE for you. And if you are pregnant now — even if the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy are less than perfect — you in turn can choose LIFE for your little one.

    This is what my husband’s mother did for him, although her situation at the time was far from ideal. Carrying him to term was not an easy choice (nor was placing him for adoption as soon as he was born), but it was the best and bravest choice she could make, and one for which our entire family is eternally grateful.

    “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” – Deuteronomy 30:19

  4. An empowered woman IMPACTS future generations.

    Of course, giving birth is just the beginning. As one philosopher observed, “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before.”

    Motherhood has a way of modifying how a woman thinks, of altering what she values. Things that may once have seemed extremely important will often lose significance once a baby enters the picture — not because the things themselves have changed, but because she has.

    Investing in the future

    An empowered woman is okay with this change. In fact, she embraces it. She recognizes what an incredible but fleeting opportunity a mother has to pour into the lives of her children, to love and hold and spend time with them, to train and teach them.

    True power is not to be found in the boardroom, but in the classroom. Not in the White House, but in your house and mine. When we invest in the lives of our children, we are investing in the future — a future that will be upon us much sooner than we expect, for in the blink of an eye, all our little ones will be grown and gone.

    “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
    — William Ross Wallace

  5. An empowered woman IMPARTS practical wisdom.

    There are many voices in the world today that want to tell us how we should live. What we should do. How we should think.

    When deciding which voice to listen to, it’s always a good idea to first look at the fruit. You shouldn’t plant apple trees if you don’t want to grow apples. And you shouldn’t take advice from bitter, angry, miserable people if you don’t want to be bitter, angry, and miserable yourself.

    an empowered woman imparts wisdom... passes down knowledge

    The Bible paints a compelling portrait of an empowered woman in Proverbs 31: She is smart. She is strong. She’s hard-working and industrious. She is capable, confident, and cool headed.

    Beyond all that, we are told that “she opens her mouth in skillful and godly wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness, giving counsel and instruction.” (Proverbs 30:26)

    An empowered woman has a wealth of wisdom and experience to share with others. The counsel she offers is sound, not some half-baked theory or failed rhetoric. It is tested and proven, tried and true. She teaches through example. She lives out her faith day by day, month by month, year by year.

    I’m thankful for the many wonderful mentors God has provided for me over the years – friends who were further down life’s road than I, who took seriously God’s charge for the older women to teach the younger to love their husbands, love their children, and be keepers at home. (Titus 2:3-5) As I transition into the role of an older woman myself now, I hope to clasp, carry, and pass on that baton as smoothly as they have done.

    “It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.”
    — Walter Lippmann

The power to inspire others, to invigorate the opposite sex, to incubate new life, to impact the future, and to impart practical wisdom — this is Girl Power in a nutshell. But “with great power comes great responsibility.” How will you use yours?

7 Reasons to Prioritize Sex in Marriage

Here’s a handy chart that details just a few of the myriad benefits available to couples who choose not to neglect marital intimacy. I’ve addressed these remarks to wives because (1) I am writing to women in the spirit of Titus 2:3-5 and (2) when evaluating the importance of sex in marriage, women have historically required a little more convincing then men.

Of course, there are exceptions to almost every rule, so if you’re dealing with a disinterested husband, show this list to him, since rekindling that fire will benefit him as much as it will you.

It should also be noted that when sex is pursued outside the context of marriage, many of these benefits are negated or even reversed. Promiscuity and infidelity increase your susceptibility to disease, cause premature aging, erode trust and stability in marriage, and promote unhealthy attitudes towards sex and marriage in children, to name just a few.

You’ll find details on all the studies cited above (and more!) in my book, LOVE YOUR HUSBAND/ LOVE YOURSELF.

Which of the seven benefits mentioned in this infographic do you find most appealing? Most convicting?


Check Out My Book

Silk Embroidery and Secret Codes


As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, one of my favorite pastimes back when we lived in Dallas was frequenting home shows. This may have been, as one friend suggested, my way of escaping the fact that at the time my husband and I were ourselves living in a miniscule apartment, together with a growing brood of small children. My friend couldn’t imagine how supremely happy we were in those modest surroundings, despite the fact we could sit at our dinner table and retrieve milk from the refrigerator, answer the back door, or switch on the bathroom light—almost without leaving our seats.

But the truth is that I enjoyed walking through other people’s houses because doing so gave me such grand ideas for decorating my own. We were blessed with an accommodating landlady who let us paint walls, hang curtains, add shelves, and plant flowers to our heart’s content, so our little hole-in-the-wall became more pleasant, warm, and inviting with every home tour we attended.


In reality, our humble abode bore little resemblance to the lavish residences we toured. The sum total of our living space would have fit into one of their walk-in closets with room to spare. But our home was characterized by a spirit of love and joy that I suspect was lacking in at least one of the sprawling mansions we visited.

What makes me think so? A sign in the master bedroom told me as much.

Lifestyles of the Rich


This bedroom wasn’t just a bedroom; it was an entire wing of the house. Such opulence you wouldn’t believe. An exquisite Persian rug covered the floor and felt lush beneath our stocking feet (visitors had been asked to remove their shoes at the door). The walls were adorned with priceless works of art—all original oil paintings or signed and numbered prints. Two overstuffed armchairs flanked the marble fireplace, a gleaming silver tea service perched atop an antique tray table between them. A beveled mirror in an ornate frame hung above the mantle to camouflage the high definition television built into the wall behind it.


Beyond the fireplace, a chaise lounge stood in front of floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows through which we could see a pristine blue granite pool shaded by potted palm trees and bordered by well-tended beds of trailing lantana, bright impatiens, and fragrant gardenias. Atrium doors in the master bedroom opened onto a wide veranda that overlooked the pool, granting the couple easy access for late-night dips in the attached Jacuzzi.

Of course, the focal point of any bedroom is the bed, and theirs was no exception. Centered on the wall opposite the fireplace was an enormous reproduction of something straight out of Princess and the Pea. It was so high that a stepstool was needed—and provided—just to climb into it. Four massive mahogany posts supported an ornately carved canopy that brushed the ceiling. Heavy curtains of silk brocade hung at each corner. The thick mattress was buried beneath a sumptuous duvet, its topmost edge folded back to reveal smooth satin sheets beneath, and the towering headboard was fronted by ranks of ruffled, tucked, and tufted pillows and bolsters in an array of complementary patterns, textures, and designs.

It was here that I spotted, upon closer inspection, the telltale sign that something in this home was amiss. There, standing prominently at the head of that army of cushions, was a small needlework pillow bearing the sentiment,

NOT TONIGHT, DEAR
I HAVE A HEADACHE

Keep in mind that everything (else) about this room whispered romance: A pile of logs crackled in the fireplace. Sweet violin music wafted through the speaker system. Scented candles flickered on the nightstand. And that luxuriant bed beckoned, “Come. Drink your fill of love until morning.”
It was enough to quicken the pulse of any husband still in possession of half his senses—but all for naught.

Should the pitiable man dare think of approaching his wife with tender words or ardent hopes, The Pillow stood sentry, ready to quench his passion with icy water. What a cruel trick! What a slap in the face! Did the heartless wife hide the cursed thing on that rare occasion she was in the mood? Did her husband’s heart lift when he noticed it missing?

The Corner of a Roof


The book of Proverbs speaks of such a home as this. It tells us unequivocally, “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it. Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred” (Prov. 15:16-17). And again, two chapters later, it declares, “Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife” (Prov. 17:1).

Whence does all this strife and tension and turmoil come? I’m convinced that in many instances, the root source is a wife’s negativity. Proverbs 21:9 tells us: “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” When most of us hear that verse, we picture an embittered, demanding nag who is impossible to please. That sort of faultfinding person might be described as being actively contentious, but for the purposes of the present discussion, I want to focus on the flip side of this problem: that of being passively contentious.


You see, a wife does not have to continuously harp on her husband in an irritating voice to be a thorn in his side. In fact, she can be absolutely insufferable without ever opening her mouth at all. How? By practicing the art of manipulation. She can sulk and pout or cry and carry on until she gets her own way or—what’s worse—she can simply withhold sex until her husband gives in to her demands out of sheer desperation. This is contention in its most insidious form, for her husband has no recourse. He must either capitulate or be driven mad.

If you habitually put off your husband’s sexual advances, if you routinely insist that he wait until some remote time when you are “in the mood” before you give him what he so desperately desires, then you are by definition being contentious. A good synonym for the verb “to contend” is “to resist,” which is precisely what you are doing when you refuse to have sex with your husband.

According to the Bible, a man would be better off inhabiting a corner of the roof — exposed to what? Scorching heat? Gale-force winds? Torrential rain? Anything would be more tolerable than sharing a house with a contentious, resistant, vexing wife. For the sake of your husband, for the sake of your children, for the sake of your home—please do not allow a lagging libido to limit the frequency with which you make love to your husband. Otherwise, you may exchange what could have been heaven-on-earth for something far inferior.

Sending a Different Message


I sometimes think back on the little “headache pillow” which first caught my eye during that luxury home tour so long ago. I’m sorry to report, that wasn’t the only time I’ve noticed such a hateful thing being used to accessorize an otherwise beautiful bed. In fact, I’ve seen so many “Not Tonight” pillows over the years that I’ve completely lost count. (There’s obviously a bigger market for needlepoint excuses than I realized.)

Every time I spotted a new one, I felt an intense urge to showcase a drastically different “message” on my own bed. I admired the exquisite needlework, but wanted my pillow to say something along the lines of “Tonight and Every Night” or “I’m Ready When You Are” or maybe even “Bring It On.”


Two things prevented my acting on this impulse. First was the knowledge that our parents, children, friends, and houseguests might consider it in poor taste for us to adorn our bed with such a straightforward reminder of why we share it. Second was the fact that, regardless how earnestly I searched, I could never find a store that even sold pillows with such sentiments stitched upon them. Go figure!

Still, it was an idea that refused to die. Although I could sidestep the second issue by sewing the pillow myself, the first concern still presented a problem. How could I phrase what I wanted to say in a way that others wouldn’t find offensive or embarrassing?

The solution came to me unexpectedly about twelve years ago when my husband and I were at a Sunday school class dinner. One of the other couples in attendance knew about the commitment Doug and I had made early in our marriage to always pray together before having sex, so when we tried to slip away from the party early, they couldn’t resist teasing us a bit.

“Are you guys going home to pray?” they called to us across the parking lot.

My husband answered back with a grin, “Well, we’ve already prayed together once today, but we might decide to pray again.”

“You know what they say,” the couple laughed. “You can never pray too much!”

And there I had it… the sentiment I would stitch on my pillow.


If you were to visit our home today, you would find a spacious master suite, complete with plush Persian rug and four-poster bed. The dust ruffle, duvet, and a mound of pillows were custom-made by me in complementary colors, textures, and patterns. And there in the center of it all, you would find a beautiful little velvet cushion, hand-embroidered with silk ribbon roses and tiny glass beads.

To the rest of the world it simply says, “You can never pray too much.” But to my husband, who can decipher my secret code, it sends another message entirely. To him, it clearly reads, “You can never have too much sex… and I’m ready when you are.”

The choice is yours. What message will you send to your husband?


The above article was adapted from my book, LOVE YOUR HUSBAND/LOVE YOURSELF: EMBRACING GOD’S PURPOSE FOR PASSION IN MARRIAGE, pp. 61-74.