HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: The Secret Switch

I am my lover’s,

the one he desires.

Come, my love,

let us go out into the fields

and spend the night

among the wildflowers.

There I will give you my love…

Song of Songs 7:10

Dear girls,

So many years ago, I cannot remember the when’s or the why’s, I found a Secret Switch that enabled me to go from stern its-bed-time-and-this-is-the-last-time-I’m-warning-you-to-stay-in-bed Mama, to loving, welcoming, alluring lover.

But before I tell you more, let me tell you why we need this switch, lest you dismiss my simple solution as unimportant and impractical…

We were made for a garden. Lush plantings, waving grasses, rushing streams spilling into deep pool— that’s that kind of place God created for our first surroundings. Roses and hibiscus, lavender and lilies to scent the air. Oaks and cedars for shade, moss and mint to sleep on, a cool mist rising to moisten our skin and water the earth.

The first husband and wife honeymooned in Eden.

And then the Fall changed everything… except our deep need for beauty.

Buried not-very-deep inside every woman is a craving for the beauty we were created for.  Its there every time you run your hand over something soft, every time your eye catches a particularly clear color, every time you hear the chime of bells or sniff that scent of fresh summer rain. The need for beauty pulls at your soul, begging for more.

But life is not always beautiful. We get dirty, we suffer, we sweat, we get tired and weary and worn down.

And isn’t that about how every young mother feels sometimes?

A mother’s reality is not anything like Esther’s— set apart for six months of beauty treatments and six months of soaking in oils. Instead, moms of little ones and teenagers and toddlers and carpools live like Ruth, out in the fields gleaning what she can from what little is offered her. Then she trudges home to try to figure out what to make for dinner. Again.

No wonder sometimes the last thing a woman at this stage of life wants is sex!

And yet… might there be a way to alter the story just enough to add a bit of that longed for beauty back into the everyday life of such a woman?

And that’s where my Secret Switch comes in. Every night- every single night, without exception- I take a long, sweetly scented bubble bath.

I know, I know, you thought I was going to say something super spiritual. That I read the entire Song of Solomon as soon as I tucked the kids in… nope. Just a bath.

That bath became symbolic for me.

A transition.

The kids were in bed, my chores done for the day, my energy usually at a low point. And every night I filled my tub with luxury. Skin softening, soul sweetening oils and bubbles and bath salts. I lit candles, turned the lights down low, got out something pretty to wear to bed, slathered myself with lotions and a spritz of perfume.

In that twenty minutes or so of feminine decadence, I sloughed off my mama skin and all the stresses that went with it, and emerged a woman.

A dip into beauty, that’s what a bath came to be for me.

Women-who-work-too-hard and mamas need this Secret Switch in order to want to be lovers to their husbands. Falling exhausted into bed with spit up on your ratty t-shirt just doesn’t induce feminine feelings of mounting passion. Ever.

But there’s more… once I stepped into that bathtub, my husband mostly took care of any unexpected needs from our children. As in, mom’s done now.

And more… our bedroom has always been beautiful. Even when money was tight. Even when vacations were mostly camping. Even when the rest of the house qualified for “fixer-upper” status.  No laundry folding, no bill paying, no stashing stuff in the corner. Our room is for romance… and sleep.

Your husband may not readily understand why you need him to take on guard duty while you bathe… or why he needs to supply you with bubble bath and pretty linegerie and a beautiful bedroom. But I can almost guarantee you that if you explain to him that you’re getting yourself ready for loving him sexually, he’ll go to great and heroic lengths to help!

You see, my dear girls, we women need a little help getting there sometimes. While men are stimulated all day long by images of sexually enticing women, those flashing ads and strutting bodies don’t get us very far.

And of course, he’s supposed to know that and help you with lovely words and lots of affection through out the day… but honestly? He’s out fighting battles for you, pretty much separated from his soft side.

When he gets home he’s raring to go and you’re way back there without a drop of desire propelling you to meet him anywhere near half way.

So if this is going to work well for both of you, you’re going to have to take responsibility to get yourself wanting what you know you both need.

That’s what the Secret Switch is all about.

And we’re in good company, girls….Naomi told Ruth just what I’m telling you. Read it for yourselves in Ruth chapter three while you take your bath.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. Beauty in the bedroom and beauty in you… can you tell us all what makes you feel feminine and ready? Favorite scents? Best place to buy bubble bath? I’ll be Instagramming my favorite bath décor from my Pintrest all week. I’d love to see yours!

Posted
July 29, 2013
In
Charming, Features
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29 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Brooke G

    Diane, this is something my mom did every single night, as well. We learned to never interrupt her. Little did I know that it would become an integral part of my bedtime routine, as well.

    After I married, I quickly began the same ritual. Even though we don’t have kids yet, as an introvert, a bath is the time I get to myself to recharge after a long day at work. I look forward to it. Lovely!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. For me, as a fairly non-sensual driver-type of a woman, I have to dig deeeeep to find & see beauty. I love that you connect body, mind, and soul in your Secret Switch, because it takes that kind of trifecta to impact my psyche. So for me, the body-mind-soul connection is exercise, and more specifically, dance, and lately that dance is Zumba. It’s fun, feminine, energizing, and connecting for me. It connects me back to my body, and reminds me that I am a woman of great beauty.

  3. Andrea

    This morning, I learned of another mama who has stepped out of her family and marriage. Her kids are 13, 12, and 9 and are devastated, as is her husband. This is far from the first time I’ve heard this story, as it both my husband’s family’s and my brother’s. I struggle to understand how a woman’s heart gets to the point of walking away. I believe what you have shared here is about protection through healthy boundaries, about not allowing the little foxes to tear down the walls. My own mother struggled with this very thing, of not being lost in the sacrifice to others. It affected our family for a lifetime. As a woman who married later and was both able to travel and do and be, but also deeply longed for a husband and children in that season of unmarriedness, I do not want to judge but I have to ask how balance can come so that devastation doesn’t. I believe that the underlying action behind the bath is of reclaiming ground, remembering as Jesus did in the moment before He washed Peter’s feet, where he came from and where He was going. We are defined not by the title of mom or wife so much as of beloved and child of God, redeemed, and set apart. My heart is broken for my sisters, who’ve lost sight of their precious worth and allowed the enemy to come in and say they are not respected, not loved, not responsible. May the husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church, and may the wives be protected from the lies of flesh and self. You are right, it started in the garden. May the seeds that are planted be of righteousness, truth and joy in the Holy Spirit. Praying for the mamas and families of solid rock today, that their time in the water would restore their faith, purpose, endurance an joy at the blessing it is to be part of a family. Thank you, Diane, for writing this today.

    • Andrea, I hope every woman will read and ponder your comment. Such wise, hard won words. And I’ve seen so much of the same thing. Women who thought they were doing right by giving all the time, then in one grand display of despair, flinging it all away. How much better to believe what is true- that we are beautiful, made for beauty, and that we are responsible to see to it that we revel in beauty in order to be who we really are. Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully comment.

  4. Jodi Stilp

    “wanting what you know you both know you need.” So good. And you’re right… so much of “wanting” is preparing our minds and our bodies! Such good advice Di.

  5. Rebekah

    Such fantastic advice! Love hearing from your heart. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing that fighting for this time and intimacy is worth it.

  6. kim kolli

    “you tell us all what makes you feel feminine and ready? Favorite scents?”

    Try Origins Peppermint Body scrub.

    AMAZING….Energizing, relaxing, cleansing, and
    smoothing.

    It’s all about the body/skin/mind preparation.

  7. Anonymous

    Thank you for your encouragement! What would you say to mamas who work all day while dad stays home with the baby? We are tired too, but know that our husbands need a rest from the kids.

    • I’d say its time the both of you have a good talk. Let him know how much you need a “switch”. You’ll be unlikely to get that routine every night but just knowing its your turn every Sunday, Wednesday, Friday might be an amazingly freeing way of relishing beauty in the midst of a very packed life.

  8. DQ

    You are so full of wisdom, Diane, and gracious enough to share it with us. I wish someone told me this when I had my first child. Being a workaholic, I never took a break, never made time for myself and put the needs of my family far ahead of mine. No one told me I deserved a break. When I suffered with post natal depression (twice) I felt like running away everyday, but hid those feelings for fear of being judged. My husband worked late every night due to his job requirements and I didn’t have any chance of getting away into a bath (or anywhere else)…I was an anxious and nervous wreck trying to balance the kids and household and trying to get some sleep.

    My Secret Switch has always been in my mind – from my younger days of difficult childhood. There are times I tune out from the world and have nothing to give…it is my world of fantasy and dreams and books and movies as a means of escape, and sleep.

    You are so right – we women need to find our own beauty in the world of chaos. We need to align with Jesus’ view of us and bask in His warmth and love. Only then can we feel refreshed and ready to give willingly.

    • diane

      DQ,
      I’ve often thought that women ought to considering giving “woman showers” in addition to baby showers… or at least including a feminine gift for the mama-to-be. It’s time we all sent a message to every expectant mother that taking good care of herself is part of the responsibility of her care for her whole family- permission, as you say, to find our own beauty in the world of chaos. Thanks for contributing!

  9. A couple years ago, Bill and Laurie Keyes told Ian to make the mental switch from work life to home life in the car on the way home so that he would be here for me, mentally and not back at work (sometimes pastoring is a mental burden, as I’m sure you know!). I thought this was pure genius and it really worked for both of us. I never thought that I needed a “switch” time too from crusty mama to soft/clean/scented lover lol, but it’s so true! I’ll have to come up with something that’ll work for me as I am not a bath taker…

    • Cyndi Guidry

      Their wisdom is amazing! I remember growing up walking to the Keyes home and sitting with Mrs. Keyes and their daughter Darlene eating granola on top of vanilla ice cream. 🙂 To watch her tenderness with Mr. Keyes and her thoughtfulness with her children are something I will never ever forget.

      Thanks for sharing this, Sarah. I too, have to switch out of work mode and into home mode – such a fresh reminder! xoxoxo -Cyndi

      • Cyndi,
        They Keyes have a wonderful and wise influence on our church still! They led our pastor/elder retreat just this last June. Amazing how just watching a godly woman teaches us how to be one! Love you!

  10. Ann Menke

    BEAUTIFUL! This is truly what our Father wants for us. Thank you Di, for the courage to tackle this tough subject straight on through the Holy Spirit. Ok, off for a bath!!

  11. Kirsten Watson

    Thank you so much for this post today! It truly spoke volumes to me and my life. I am a mom of a 9 month old, expecting our second child early February, and I just turned 23 myself. After becoming a mom to a child who wakes at least 6 times a night and having a room designated to throw clean unfolded laundry in, I have most defenetaly lost that true sense of sexuality and beauty. It’s a lucky day if I even get a shower in! Haha. I need to make a big switch I my life as I get ready to become a mother of two! I love how you take the simple things like a bath or bedroom as a starting point to a beautiful thing 🙂 I am excited and ready to see how this can play out in my life and how The Lord will guide our marriage to even more beauty.

    Thanks Diane!

    With lots of love,

    Kirsten Watson

  12. E

    Thank you for these freeing words! As we are instructed to love others as we love ourselves, certainly the key to doing so is to first love ourselves. BUT, I had never thought about this in context of loving my husband well. As a wife and mom of an infant, I parade my disheveled appearance as a symbol of my servitude. Certainly I could never take time to feel beautiful because I would be washing away the physical proof that I put the needs of my family before my own. But, as it turns out, taking time to love myself/feel beautiful and serving my family are not mutually exclusive. This is fantastic news 🙂

    Also, if you’re looking for a good candle, the StellaMare ones (can be found at Fred Meyer) are magnificent!

    • E,
      I’m always looking for a good candle- love the ones at Anthropology but they’re so spendy I rarely light it! I’ll check out this one for sure. So good that you’re “getting it” and even laughing at yourself! We’ve all worn “the uniform”… just time to get tired of it and parade your loveliness for your husband to enjoy. Those kids will still know you’ve given your life for them… they’ll just think you’re pretty while you do it.

  13. Cyndi Guidry

    My Grammy did just this – kept her room as their “sanctuary” and taught me young to wear pretty nighties and smell lovely as we crawl into bed…

    …oh how quickly I throw my hair up, put on my jammies and just want to snuggle in without the luxuries of smells and beauty you describe.

    Thank you again, sweet friend, for these words. While my marriage is young and full of love and adventure, adding this little switch is sure to only add life to our intimacy.

    Love you – Cyn

    • Cyndi,
      Your grandma taught all of us! She was a lady through and through- beautiful right up to her last days. Nails done, hair clean, skin glowing. She sparkled beauty.

  14. Daniele

    I agree with everything you’ve said.. However my husband and I have a very different reality.. That area has been put in hold for the last 2 years. I’m so blessed to have married a man who tenderly holds me each night, crawls into my hospital bed to snuggle with me.Even if I’m spacy from meds.. I’m such a mess yet he loves me.. He shines Jesus in my life at some very dark moments.. And there not many things in life like an ostomy bag on your stomach to shout out “I’m Ready”..I struggle daily with feeling waves of failure flooding over me in so many areas of my life.. But I’m so thankful they’re just waves! They pass quickly because I’m alive and I’m blessed 🙂 21 years of a happy marriage that gets better each day even without sex? Ladies only Jesus can keep a smile on a mans face who has gone many many months and moons without this very important part of marriage.

    • Daniele,
      You have reminded all of us of the beauty God intended in marriage. This picture of your husband loving you through the really hard times, expecting nothing, just giving- isn’t it a picture of Jesus’ love for His Bride? As hard as your daily reality is, there is beauty there. I have watched (from afar) as you choose to be thankful, grateful, praise-filled. Of all people, you could be complaining and bitter. Instead, your words are full of grace and even joy.
      Thank you. We’re learning from you. I’m learning from you.
      Love, Diane

  15. Sue Phillips

    This has soooo much wisdom in it, Dianne, and I am blessed by it. I’m not a young mom anymore, rather a 51 year old mom of 3 adult children. I wish I had read it 25 years ago!! Thanks for sharing your heart in such deep ways, and for your vulnerability. I glean lots from you and your heart openly shared in your words!
    Blessings~
    Sue

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