Posts tagged marriage

OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us

and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Ephesian 5v1-3


Dear Matthew and Simona,

I sit in my tiny cabin in the woods and I wonder what you’re thinking as I write these words about intimacy and sexuality. Are you understanding the depth and beauty of intimacy? Do you get the need for purity?

You’ve both been so patient… and encouraging as I’ve stumbled my way through writing about The Bedroom. These are words I want to say, words I know need saying— but still… it feels awkward and just a little uncomfortable.

Matt, with your wide-open way of guileless transparency, you invited me into the fringes of your conversations with your dad about every man’s struggle. Listening to the two of you talk only increased my respect for you— for both of you.

I got to listen as you and your dad talked about…

why to stay pure and…

how to keep yourself pure and…

when that commitment to purity got hard and …

what to do then.

I think sometime last year when you and Simo were engaged we started talking about purity beyond virginity. About staying pure when you’re married and actively invited into a full expression of sexuality. I remember the look on your face that meant, What in the world are you talking about, Mom?

Somehow we get the idea stuck in our heads that purity and virginity are one and the same. That marriage solves the struggle. Not true.

Not even close.

In fact, I would argue that the giving away of one’s virginity opens the door to a life long struggle for purity. Because sex is just so great, so satisfying, so right and good and… okay, you know what I mean. And because of that something in us always wants more.

Yet God’s design for sexuality always requires intimacy. And intimacy takes work.

Intimacy is inconvenient.

Intimacy begs for humility and consideration and an extra shower and…

More effort than sometimes you’re up for.

And in creeps the temptation to take a short cut. To forego intimacy in favor of pornography… and masturbation… or fantasy… or to be in some subtle way less available to each other because all the giving implicit in the intimacy part of sexuality just seems exhausting sometimes.

What then?

What do you do when you want sex, need sex, crave sex… but things aren’t working for the two of you and you’ve not enough energy to solve it all right now.

That’s real life. Normal life. Less-than-ideal-life.

Here’s my list of…

What To Do When Real Life Interrupts Real Sex:

1.  Surrender your body to God, allowing Him full control over your sexuality— whether that means you want more from your spouse or you’d prefer less.

2.  Be careful not to hold back on sex as a sort of barometer of your relationship. In other words, be willing and warm even when the other is being a little… unlovable.

3.  Make a covenant with each other to be committed to fully meeting each other’s sexual needs. Which means masturbation is out. You’ve got each other for that now. Don’t be embarrassed— you love each other.

4.  Talk about that. Be honest. Be kind. Be welcoming. Laugh a little. It’s not the loving thing to do to be silent or subtle about your need and then try to meet it yourself.

5.  Be creative in sexually loving each other when real life makes real sex challenging or impossible. This is your way of honoring each other’s genuine need for sexual expression within the safety of just the two of you.

6.  Never, ever, ever, look at pornography. Ever. That’s not real. It will sicken your appetite for satisfying sexuality. It will destroy your confidence in each other’s ability to delight and satisfy.[1]

7.  Stay faithful. Don’t even let your mind go there— banish lustful imagination or fantasy. If you’re attracted to someone else, avoid them like the plague. Focus on each other. Flirt only with each other. Keep wooing and wanting and watching out for each other.

You both want that rare and beautiful treasure: a lifetime of love. Never give up on that. Do what it takes. Stay faithful.

Give and give and give and then give just a little more.

Keeping your selves pure and your bedroom vibrant is an investment in the future of your relationship, in the future of your family, in the writing of your story.

From a heart that wants so much for you,


P.S. For those who are reading:

What can your husband do to open up this area of your lives for an honest clearing of the air?

What can your wife do to show you she means it when she says she “wants all of you”?


[1] If you do get caught in that hard to avoid web of porn, get help. Seriously, don’t try to undo it on your own. At our church and at many others there are groups of men— and women, who meet together for accountability and freedom over the death lock of pornography. Be brave enough to join them.


(image by Hillary Kupish)


OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom #4 Dear Matt and Simo,

I used to think that communication was the key to a happy marriage. Isn’t that, after all, what the experts say? And so I set about to communicate with a capital C. Every grievance, each oversight, any hint of bump up against my ever wary feelings— all very carefully communicated lest we miss out on the kind of marriage we both wanted.

It didn’t work.

Instead of bringing us closer, my determination to tell all drove a wedge between us. My constant “nicely said” rebuke left Phil feeling defensive and brittle around me. I was building a wall between us and for the life of me, I didn’t know why or what to do about it.

Until I noticed a pattern.

Every time we made love, the wall fell down… at least for a while. My feelings stayed temporarily safe from that tendency to make a big deal out of everything, and your dad just got nicer, with a certain sweetness that made him easy to live with.


And I began to wonder if maybe communication might not be the only key to a happy marriage. In fact, I began to suspect that intimacy— safe, satisfying, sexuality at it’s best— might be at least as important as all that talking I’d thought we needed.

Years and decades later, I’m sure of it. And because I now believe that the quantity and quality of your lovemaking bears a direct reflection on the quantity and quality of your communication, I have some advice for those just figuring it out.

For the men:

Respect the role beauty plays in her sexuality. If you can help her know her own beauty, see herself through your eyes, and shield her from the biting criticism she sees in the mirror, she will respond with the passion you know is in there.

How To Respect Your Wife’s Need For Sensual Beauty:

  • Tell her she’s beautiful. Often. More than you think is necessary. Be specific.
  • Smile at her, admire the way she swings her hips when she knows you’re looking, tell her what that does to you.
  • Shower her with the feminine beauty that she craves. Bubble bath, perfume, lotions, candles.
  • Make room in your budget for pretty things: underwear, lingerie, fresh sheets. Beauty matters— to her.
  • Keep your office out of your bedroom and your clothes off the floor. Help her create a haven in your room- a place not for work but for play.
  • Give her time to cultivate beauty. A woman who works all the time and doesn’t take time for beauty is not a woman who is thinking about her sensuality.
  • Beware of crass humor, it’s a sure turn off for women. Instead, lighten the tone of your romance by laughing with her.
  • Clean yourself up so that she wants to be near you. Take stock of what you look like and smell like from your teeth to your toes. It matters.

For Women: 

How To Respect Your Husband’s Need For Sex:

  • This is not some sort of base animalist urge, but a God given need for intimate physical expression.
  • Tell your husband that you are always available, that you always want him even when sometimes you don’t feel like you do.
  • Determine to partner with your husband in his fight for purity, it’s your battle too. Let him know you want all of him, always.
  • Be the willing, eager recipient of all he has to give while you guide him in giving you pleasure too. No man wants to make love to a martyr. His pleasure increases exponentially with yours.
  • Save your energy for sex. Budget your time, your day, your availability so that he knows you’re willing and waiting and eager.
  • Seduce him on a regular basis. A phone call, an invitation, a note.
  • Fill his memory with sensual pictures of your sensuality for when he doesn’t have you near.
  • Cultivate your own sensuality. You are made for this, biologically and emotionally. Own that. Enjoy it.

And remember this: When all is well and vibrant and satisfying in the bedroom, all those annoyances and bumps that happen in real life just don’t seem to matter as much.

And this: If it’s not working, don’t give up or pull away. Get help.

From my heart,


P.S. Thoughts? How can your husband bring beauty into your sensuality? And how can your wife respect your sexuality? It’s high time we started talking about this area of intimacy.

(image by Hillary Kupish)

HOW TO BE FREE... indeed

OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom #3

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

John 8v36

 Dearest Simona,

On Saturday Jude and Mo and Sunday spent the night. We had our usual fun with Pops: eating quesadillas and popcorn, trekking out in the dark to walk to the park around the corner, watching The Apple Dumpling Gang.

As I puttered and ordered my home, I relished their laughter over the silly innocence of the Wild West as Disney depicted it. Simple, harmless, fun.

The next morning they each took their turn in the bathtub. Sunday first, with pink bubbles and Amma’s lotions. A girl in all her glory, beautiful and sure of it.

Then the boys. They wanted G.I. Joe’s in with them, asked for the green bubbles that smell of pine trees and adventure.

I poked my head in just to be sure the water stayed in the tub, and they hardly noticed me. Jude, I’m sure, was dreaming up a story. There were battles to fight and bad guys to vanquish.

What struck me as I bustled about getting ready for church was this: they are free. Free of inhibition, free of shame, free of that pressing need the rest of us feel to be perfect, to measure up, to conform.

If I could only hold these moments forever. Just pause right here in this place of innocence, of freedom.

Because I know what’s ahead; the hurt, the bruises, the embarrassment, the mockery.

The world of boys becoming men is brutal.

I watched it with my own boys.

How John Mark’s passionate enthusiasm was made fun of. How Matt’s gregarious greetings were sometimes met with sullenness and how he learned—the hard way— to restrain his joy, to hold back.

I ached as only a mama of boys can ache, over how the assault on my sons bound them with cords of shame. How, too often, they seemed pressed into less than who they were made to be.

And I ached for Sunday too, because I know that…

The whole world seems to conspire to steal a woman’s freedom.

I remember when my daughters knew their own beauty— when the mirror reflected loveliness, not flaws. I miss those days when my daughters knew they were princesses and warriors all wrapped in one, fearless and free.

What happened to my girls? To my sons? To me?

What happened to the freedom that marked us as children? Where did we lose our firm belief in our own beauty? When did we lose sight of our strength and begin to cower under the gaze of a merciless world?

And more important:

How can we get our freedom back? 

Because, my dear daughters, that is what our husbands need from us more than anything else— freedom.

Freedom to love and be loved, freedom to find our own strength, freedom to be ourselves without inhibition.

And I know it’s complicated; I realize that simple steps don’t work. But I also know that it is up to us to clear the obstacles in our path to freedom. First we ask God to show us, to give us insight into ourselves and what is holding us back. Then we obey…

1.  Forgive freely because nothing binds us tight like bitterness. Forgive every man who has hurt you lest you build walls that no man can penetrate. Forgive your husband for not being what you’d hoped he’d be. Forgive yourself for not being perfect enough or skinny enough or simply enough.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving the other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4v32

2.  Encourage freely because to give words of courage to your husband and to yourself is to set the both of you free of unrealistic expectations. Telling him that you love him, that you like him, that you love his touch and welcome his body, that you’re so glad he’s yours… those are freedom words.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love.” Ephesians 5v1

3.  Give freely because in giving we receive. When we give without holding back, with passion, with generosity—that’s when we receive. Give and give and give until he’s satiated with your loving, and you’ll know that freedom of absolute abandon.

“…Freely you received; freely give.”Matthew 10v8

 4.  Give sexually because when you freely embrace your own sexual passion, he is set free to be who he is. He knows that when you give with abandon, you’re loving him, enjoying him, wanting him. Nothing speaks courage to a man like a woman who wants him.

“Come together again” and again and again “lest Satan tempt you…”

I Corinthians 7v5

Your freedom is the key to unlock courage in your man.

The man whose wife is sexually, emotionally, and spiritually free knows a boldness of soul that releases his own inborn manliness. He becomes that little boy in the bathtub— able to conquer, eager to explore, fearless.

Against the backdrop of your freedom, he becomes free again. Free to love with abandon, free to feel intensely, free to pursue and respond, free to fail and to risk and to try again.

Praying, and hoping, and wanting you and every woman to know freedom,

From my heart,


P.S. I want to wrap every girl-woman and every boy-man close and hide them in the safety of a mama’s love. But I can’t. My arms aren’t big enough. The real world is too big, too unsafe for unsuspecting innocents.

But I know who can.

I know the One who keeps us safe, loves us sure, likes us as we are. He’s the One who relishes geekiness, infuses souls with warrior like strength. The One who sees our beauty and celebrates our loveliness.


Can you tell us how He is setting you free to love with abandon?


(image by Hillary Kupish)


OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom #2

And you husbands

Love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church.

He gave up his life for her…

In the same way,

Husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies…

This is a great mystery

Ephesians 5v25,28,32


Dear Matthew,

When you were a little boy you lived for the moments when all of us were all about you: Vanquishing your older brother with a wrapping-paper-tube-turned-Star-Wars-light-saber. Taking piggy-back rides on Bekah’s back, reading stories on Elizabeth’s lap.

Those were your happiest times, the moments when you were fully yourself and wholly free to be anything you wanted to be.

And now you’re a man— and a husband.

As a husband, your are tasked by God Himself to partner with Him in setting your wife free to be fully herself and wholly free to be everything God created her to be.

Your God-given instructions are found in Ephesians 5vs 21-33, but for today there’s just one word I want you to think about:


God instructs husbands to so love their wives that they become radiant women.

That, my son, is a task for a lifetime.

Because for a woman to radiate, she must be washed and soothed and immersed in true love, in the kind of love that only God can give. And yet… He tasks you to represent Himself to your wife.

He goes so far as to tell husbands that they ought even to love their wives as their own bodies. Which leads me to suggest that He’s hinting at sexuality here too.

God is saying that your coming together in the bedroom is not so much about releasing your pent up, pulsing, driving need, but about unleashing her more hidden, yet-to-be-fully-discovered passions.

But how? Men and women are so distinctly different. A man is aroused primarily by what he sees, while a woman is aroused first by how she feels.

And so I’ve put together a list, of course. And I’m hoping the women who read this post will add their own ideas in the comments.

Six Ways To Set Your Wife Free:

  1. Be nice— all day long. A nice man, one who is kind and thoughtful and quick to give way rather than demand his own way, is incredibly appealing to a woman.
  2. Be humble— learning the art of the apology. The minute you’re short or disapproving or critical or in any way rejecting, apologize profusely. “I was wrong.” “I was a grouch.” “It’s not your fault.” Those are the words of allure to a woman.
  3. Be generous— with words. You don’t have to be poetic or prolific, but she craves your words, relishes them, blossoms under her husband’s generosity— and freezes under his silence.
  4. Be generous— with beauty. She needs beauty. She was created for beauty. She needs you to get that and to figure out a way to recreate the beauty of Eden in order to thrive. And she needs you to tell her she’s beautiful over and over again until someday she believes you.
  5. Be affectionate— the kind of touch that isn’t (initially) for sex often leads a woman to want all of you. Women respond to touch, it is part of her sensuality mechanism. Purposely showing fondness in words and touch and flowers and kindness goes a long way.
  6. Be honest— “I am entrusting my sexuality to you and to you alone. That scares me because my need is so great, but I am trusting you.” She has no idea how much you need her, how often you think about making love to her, how often you really want her but don’t approach her because you’re afraid of rejection. Tell her. More than once. Tell her honestly and vulnerably. That’s actually strangely exciting for a woman.

And one last word: go slow. Seducing your wife to her fullest freedom is a form of art. It takes time, it takes learning, it takes practice.

But hey, you’ve got the rest of your lives!

From a heart that wants the best for both of you,



(image by Hillary Kupish)


OUR HOUSE: The Bedroom #1

Eat friends;

drink and imbibe deeply,

O lovers.

Song of Songs 5v1


 …drink your fill of love


Dear Matt and Simona,

God likes sex.

He approves, He smiles, He delights in seeing His created ones drinking deeply of this gift from Him.

In fact, He likes what He made so much that He dares use it as a metaphor for the intimacy He invites each of us into with Himself.[1]

But here’s what worries me:

Lots of married couples act as if sex is really not that big of a deal.

They don’t talk about it much, don’t try that hard, don’t wonder why they’ve settled into a less-than-terrific routine of barely enough and barely good enough sex to satisfy either of them.

And I think that makes God sad.

Because He makes a big deal about sex. Good sex (the married, mutually satisfying kind) and bad sex (the adulterous or manipulative or enslaving kind) are woven throughout the narrative of God’s story.

In fact, mid-way through the Bible, He stops and writes a whole book about sex. (The Song of Solomon) As if to say, “Really, you guys, this is what you need!” Yet sadly, throughout history, people have blushed their way through the Song of Solomon, trying to pretend that He didn’t mean sex… surely!

And of course, the two of you know this. You are imbibing deeply, the honeymoon isn’t over, you’re delighting in each other and learning the language of a love you hardly knew possible.

But just in case… just to store away for another day down the road when you’re tempted to minimize intimacy because life gets in the way… I want to remind you…

Why Sex Is Really A Very Big Deal

1.  Sex creates intimacy. Sex creates a mystical moment of intimacy so intense, so momentarily out of control— that your hearts burst with the wonder of it. Together.

2.  Sex releases hormones. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, all of which flood your bodies with feelings of love during and immediately after sex. Which means that frequent, passionate sex actually keeps you feeling in love with each other.

 3.  Sex makes you nice. The vulnerability, the satisfaction, the ecstasy of sex, all combine to leave the both of you feeling… nice: full of grace, uncritical and kind.

 4.  Sex keeps you loyal. Two, now forged into one can take on the world! A woman who gives that kind of passion, a man who gives that kind of pleasure— there’s no stopping them.

 5.  Sex is thrilling. That unrestrained passion between a man and a woman who have pledged to be with each other forever is better than any other rush life has to offer.

If someone could market a pill that created intimacy, released mood enhancing hormones, made people nice, kept couples loyal, and guaranteed a rush of out-of-control but not-life-threatening thrill… they’d be rich!

And Someone has.

So please, my dear son and beautiful daughter, make sex a big deal.

A really big deal.

When it’s less than great, get help. Take someone you feel comfortable with aside and ask questions. Read books. Keep at it. Don’t stop. And whatever you do, never, ever let life get in the way of this gift God has given the two of you together, forever.

From a heart that wants your love to last and thrive over a lifetime,


For those who are reading: I will be writing about sexuality and intimacy for the next several weeks. If you have questions that you think I may be able to answer, please email me at

Some great books:

1. Sheet Music by Kevin Leman

2. Intimacy Ignited by Dr. Joseph & Linda Dillow and Dr. Peter and Lorraine Pintus

3. Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus (for women)

4. Intended For Pleasure by Dr. Ed Wheat


Do you know of others? 

(Image by Hillary Kupish)




[1] see Ephesians 5v21-33


Dear Matthew and Simona, This is your first Christmas.

Not ever— but together… as two who are now one.

All the other Christmases you’ve experienced have been about Matthew. Or Simona. Or Matthew trying to catch Simona… and Simona (in the words of my less-than-subtle mother) “running just fast enough to get caught”!

This Christmas is not about any of that. The wedding is planned and accomplished, photographed and photo-shopped. The honeymoon is over and done with remnants of beautiful memories tucked away in boxes.

This Christmas is your first as ONE.

It is about the ONE you are becoming; the forging of Matt into Simo and Simo into Matt. This Christmas is about becoming MatthewSimonaComer. MSC.

How can it be that one ceremony, a few words of promise, a signature on a document, can change everything? Can change you?

Can change Christmas?

When each of you chose to entwine your life with the other, it was more than merely an act of commitment—those vows you spoke were a decision.

Though you could not have fully understood all the implications of that decision, the dawning of what it meant is now changing the way you do life.

Your giving of yourselves to each other before God is unleashing changes in the fundamental essence of…

who you are

how you live

what you do


what you don’t do.

This ideal of two becoming one has chafed for centuries. It’s never been easy. In fact many take issue with this idea. Because, let’s be honest, this two melding into one is…



inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Two becoming one goes against the grain of all that independence and individuality we fight for so furiously.

Two becoming one is fraught with giving up… giving in… working it out, choosing.

Jesus said it succinctly:

“Haven’t you read… at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said,

‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6

The joining of Matthew to Simona and Simona to Matthew is both a mission and a mystery.

Somehow, in some way we can only see in snatches, the blending of the two of you into ONE hints at the bending of God come down— His mission, first glimpsed by Mary with a babe in her arms.

This blending of the two of you mirrors God’s love-fueled determination to set His bride free of all that came between His heart and ours.

And more…

This forming of something beautiful in the blending of two into one hints at the mystery of a God who created us with the capacity, the need, to live in Him.

To be ONE with Him.

Paul called it a “profound mystery”, this loving and leading, this two becoming one, this dance to the sometimes discordant music of romance and real life.

My dear son and daughter, may I just ask you to take a moment and think about that? To ponder that profound mystery… to allow yourselves to see who you are becoming?

And more:

Will you give yourselves grace when this forging is harder than you’d thought it would be?

This losing of yourselves to find who you really are— together— is never easy; it takes time, it takes talking, it takes thinking through.

And it takes forever.

Loving you both, and loving the emerging of who you are,


From my heart,


P.S. To those who are listening.. Is it worth it? This work of giving up and giving in and giving to each other? Are you learning to be who you really are in the midst of becoming One? Can you tell us about it? Your stories make truth real.




How To Start Your Story Well

part two

Dear Matt and Simona,

Last week I gave you a peek into the mistakes your dad and I made in our first year of marriage. Nothing fatal, not enough to make us give up, but hurtful mistakes none-the-less; errors in our way of doing our new life together that took a while for us to figure out.

I gave you two pieces of advice, things we wish we’d understood and implemented early on in our marriage. And today I have two more.

1.  Say no to others so that you can say yes to each other.

This is going to be as difficult for both of you as it was for us. Anyone who loves people and values relationship will struggle with sorting through and prioritizing… which in real English means being realistic and disappointing people whose favor you care about.

There is this pervasive message heralded in magazines and conversations and just about everywhere in our culture— that we should be doing more. Work faster, network smarter, connect frequently, know everything… and of course, Just Do It!

What happens in real life with all that over-doing is a weakening of relationships. You only have so much time to go around and so you end up parceling it out in tiny, unsatisfying tidbits.

Here is a better way: sit down together and create a matrix for how you will decide to use your time. I’ll be writing more about this later, but for now just start talking about it— patiently. Look for time wasters. Figure out what “fills your bucket” and what drains you— or who drains you.

Guard yourselves from those time-wasters and soul-drainers. Let your friends know that you cannot say yes without first checking with each other— that’s what married people do—without apology. It’s not confining, it’s fun!

You are now we.

2.  Be patient. With yourselves and with each other.

Resist the temptation to expect perfection—from each other or from yourselves—in all areas of your life:

  • Sexually: You’re learning. And there’s a lot to learn! Be patient with the process, enjoy the process! Keep reading, keep trying, keep talking, keep laughing.

(more on this later)

  • Time management: It’s a whole other world now of taking each other into consideration as you plan your days. Be patient with each other’s mistakes.
  • Conflict: Be persistent in talking to each other about why his not doing what he said he’d do… or how her not being available when you want her… is creating stress. Figure it out. Be nice. Try again.
  • Home: This is a whole other area neither of you have had to factor in before. Dorms and roommates are hardly preparation for making a home. Be patient, go easy on each other. Avoid bossiness or criticism and instead work together with a mutual goal of creating a space that is a refuge and delight for both of you.
  • Family: You are not the only ones making adjustments. Your families are trying to figure out how best to fold you into their changing dynamic. They may intrude on your space too much, or seem less than happy with you… give them the gift of patience as they struggle through to a satisfying new paradigm.

Talk to them! Be gentle, not rejecting. Let them know you’re both trying to figure it out, that you value them, that you need more time together to forge this new family into something satisfying and right.

(more on this later)

  • Emotions: Change of any kind wrecks havoc with moods, feelings, reactions, energy. That’s normal, plan for it. What you want is to learn to recognize that the tension you may be experiencing is not the other’s fault. It is just part of life— the underside of change. And you want to allow each other the luxury of not being “up” and “on” all the time.

Her moodiness does not mean you have failed to make her happy. His crankiness isn’t your fault.

Learning to stay emotionally connected and yet mood-independent takes time… and patience. 

  • Communication: This is a challenging one. There is the whole male/female language barrier, as well as completely different family approaches to solving conflict. Add two different personalities, throw in various but not always the same values, and you’ve got some learning to do. Be patient! This one is going to take a lifetime.

You’re going to blow it. You’ll need to apologize—a lot! That doesn’t mean your relationship is fatally flawed, just that it takes a tremendous amount of time to learn to talk and listen and ask questions and respond well. Give each other a lot of grace in this area. Give each other room to grow, room to grow up.

(lots more on this one later!)

A lot to think about, I know. But do the thinking now while life is fresh and your story just started. So much better than looking back with regret at your own blunderings!

I love you both!

From my heart,


P.S. For those who are reading: Have a good story about any of these areas? Or some practical advice? We’re listening!

And join us on Instagram @hespeaksinthesilence for our #norushnovember challenge as we take some time to slow down and enjoy the little moments this month! 


(image by Hillary Kupish)

INTENT: goal, purpose, design, plan, aim

Dear Matt and Simona,

You’re married!

After months of planning and preparations, endless lists and endless work, the wedding is over. The two of you stood before friends and family, before God Himself, and said, “I Do.”

The wonder of your wedding day is still sending ripples of delight in my mind, memories I will cherish for a long, long while.

Simona, your elegance cast a magical beauty over the entire day. Matt, your laughter lit the night with joy. Could your grin have gotten any bigger?

We waved you off with our blessing and our prayers. And then your dad and I turned to each other, grasped hands, and prayed. We asked God to fill your night with the joy of discovery. To fill your hearts with confidence. To fill your minds with pictures of beauty. To fill your honeymoon with memories you will both relish forever.

And we prayed that you would both remember what we’ve told you:

That the purpose of your honeymoon is to know and be known. It is the beginning of a lifetime quest for two people to so understand each other that they begin to think as one. To meld bodies and lives and hopes and dreams into an unbreakable bond of wholeness.

To become one.

And to that end, it is a set apart time.  This is not simply a vacation. Not just an expensive adventure.  If you get a little sightseeing in on the side, great! But you’ll have lots of vacations and only one honeymoon.

Your honeymoon is a time for the unveiling of yourselves to each other. For undressing, and uncovering.  It is a long anticipated choosing to be “naked and unashamed”.  To be before each other just as you are, without masks or covering.

You have both waited for this— have guarded yourselves and each other in anticipation of a lifetime of unrestricted passion. You love each other. You want each other. You have waited for intimacy on the promise that this gift is best unwrapped under the covenant of forever.

Forever begins now.

But a great honeymoon doesn’t happen by accident. Like most things of high value, you will have to be intentional about this time. You will not want to squander the potential of this beginning.  And so I have put together a short list of ways to purposely create an environment in which you will both thrive. A list of guidelines in order to intentionally write your history well.

Six Guidelines For A Great Honeymoon:

1.  Guard these days

That may mean you’ll need to turn off your phones. Do not return texts. Don’t like anybody’s pictures or messages or requests. Instead, turn all your attention to each other. Too soon you’ll be stressed by the tensions of all the other demands on your time. Now is the time just for one another.

2.  Give yourself completely

It takes a tremendous amount of trust to unveil your real selves to another person. To not pretend. But those who do will have the reward of a love that is real.

Two cannot become one if there is hiddenness.

This is the time to tell each other what hurts deeply, what gives you courage, why you fell in love and what you hope the years ahead will hold.

And it is a time to be all about the other. To coax and allure each other into a safe place.

3.  Laugh a lot

Instead of taking yourselves too seriously, allow room for hilarity. Sex is fun! Sure, the timing can be complicated, but learning is the best part. Be gentle with each other, be friendly and affectionate, don’t try too hard to imitate the movies- sex just isn’t always so hot and instant, especially at the beginning. Have a blast learning to get it right.

Then bask in the rush of emotions that will have your redefining the word happiness.

4.  Affirm each other frequently

You both need to hear the unedited pleasure of each other. Don’t hold back, say it, show it, tell each other what makes you feel like you’re coming out of your skin with the joy of it. And then say it again.

Please, please, please do not allow even one discouraging word to shadow your intimacy. If you have a mean moment, apologize immediately.

This is a sacred time, honor that.

4.  Spend time alone with God each day

As absorbed as you are with each other, you’ll be in danger of imposing too much need on each other unless you each spend time alone with the One who is your “life that is truly life.” Honor each other’s individual-ness by giving each other space to be alone with God. Then come together and share what He’s telling you. This is the way to greatest intimacy.

And one last word of advice:

6.  Have Fun!

Flirt, rest, jest, tease, talk, sleep, eat, indulge, play! Be lazy. Relish beauty. Find gifts for each other. Write notes. Tell stories. Crack jokes. Swim in the ocean, splash in puddles. Saturate all your senses with the pure joy life.

My dear son and daughter, take these days as the gift that they are. You are free, you are healthy, you have plenty, you are loved.

With much love and hope for the two of you,


P.S. For those who are reading: Do you have anything to add? Or any questions to ask?

Let’s start a conversation for a few weeks on what you hope, what you wish, what you’d do different in order to intentionally write the story of your first days as husband and wife.


(image by Hillary Kupish)

Tomorrow my son’s long anticipated book, Loveology, will appear on the shelves of bookstores.

Today I sit at a coffee shop in Portland with my own copy in my lap and marvel.

This is my son— the one I taught to form letters and read words. The same boy who, in ninth grade, agonized to meet his page quota for a paper on Silas Marner. Not because he couldn’t do it, but because he fought his teacher’s insistence that papers must be long and wordy.

This book isn’t wordy.

Instead, John Mark has broken the worn-out publishing paradigm that insists that more is better. He has written a treatise on marriage for a generation that reads fast—to the point, crystal clear, wise, and raw.

For the first chapter of my reading, I did what I always do. I got out my pen to underline the most important points; my way of remembering what I, as a way-too-fast reader, need to take with me.

I underlined nearly every sentence.

Then I started taking notes. Along the margins, in my notebook. Arrows and circles, numbers to follow along more closely… I found myself treating Lovelogy like a workbook.

Pretty soon I stopped reading it for a review and started reading it for me.

For my marriage.

For my understanding of the Father’s intent when he made Adam one way and Eve another and then told them to go and do their task to change the world.

And then, about half way through this book, I had to stop and close it tight for a while.  Because through these words my own son put on paper, the Father began to speak deep into my heart about things I thought I knew but didn’t.

About men. About marriage. About God. About me.

And also…

About purpose, about pleasure, about the point of it all.

And then I had to grieve, just for an honest little while.

Because I didn’t know this plan for marriage 35 years ago when I married Phil. I knew some, but not nearly enough. And if I had known, really understood what marriage was all about and what marriage was for, I would have done those first years differently.

Why didn’t anybody ever tell me?

That marriage is for more than my own happiness.

That my success as a wife is not measured by my success at making my husband happy.

That marriage is about achieving something far beyond ourselves, something that can and should and will, if we let it, change the world.

And that is what my son’s book is about— a plan from God to change the world.

I’ve gushed more texts to John Mark as I’ve read his book than is seemly— I can imagine the rolling of his eyes as he dismisses his mom as slightly manic.

But I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to fully understand how fairy tales shape a woman’s heart. And how crushingly sad a woman feels when she realizes she didn’t marry Prince Charming after all. Or how embarrassingly bad a woman can behave when those dreams don’t carry her away on the white steed of her imaginary world.

My first years of marriage were not what they should have been because my view of marriage was not what it needed to be. I married a good and godly man and still managed to shame him for being less than I needed.


Because I thought about marriage mostly wrong and so I did marriage mostly wrong.

Loveology is the right way to think about marriage. God’s way.

Steeped in Scripture, filled with background and history and explanations and word studies, this book fully explains. John Mark makes sense of the mystery Paul talked about while exploding the myths most of us believe.

I needed this book.

You need this book if…

  • you hope to get married some day
  • you are afraid to get married
  • you want your sons and daughters to go into dating and marriage with God’s wisdom to guide them
  • your marriage failed and you want to understand why
  • you’re unhappy in your marriage and want to know what to do
  • you want hope
  • you want truth

And most especially, read this book if you’ve been following these He’s Not Your Prince Charming posts.  Because John Mark explains all the why’s and what’s and how come’s that keep haunting your misplaced dreams.

From a heart

… bursting with pride in my son,

… humbled by my own brokenness,

… thankful for the faithfulness of my husband,

… and hopeful for the next generation,


PS. Who’s going to the Loveology event in downtown Portland this weekend? Let us know in the comments and look for me, I’ll be there!



Dear Girls, Years and decades and eras ago when Phil and I were dating I was convinced he would be a terrific dad.

After all, I reasoned, he loved to play with kids. Wrestling and teasing and throwing his nephews in the air, Phil seemed, in my vast experience, to have all the makings of a wonderful father.

And even though my criteria were laughably shallow, I was right. Phil has been a terrific dad to our four children.

Just a couple of days ago he got a text from Matt, asking for help and guidance about ministry he was being called to do. What to say, how to study, the best way to approach the opportunity.

I watched as Phil once again took an opportunity to disciple his son.

To raise up the next generation to teach and think and lead. 

And I watched as my son listened and learned and prepared to take the baton from his father and run his own leg of the race.

I watch as my oldest son, John Mark, leads his own sons and daughter. How he, who is so different in so many ways from his dad, is at the same time, so like his father.

I watch John Mark encourage and discipline and disciple his children— and then how he throws them in the air for a raucous wrestling match. Just like his dad.

And girls, I want the same for each of you. Because if you marry a man who understands his essential role of imitating the Father as a father, you and your children and your children’s children will be blessed beyond belief.

Trust me, I know. I live the results everyday.

That is why I want to invite you to attend a seminar Phil and I are teaching on November 8th and 9th. It’s called Intentional: Raising Passionate Jesus Followers.

This seminar is a culmination of a dream that started while Phil was in seminary and our first born was just a few months old. Over 3 decades ago! We knew we didn’t know what we were doing and so we began an intensive study. Gathering wisdom, delving into the Scriptures, asking questions, questioning the answers.

Now we have gathered what we learned and crammed it into six teaching sessions. We’ll tell our stories, explain the Biblical basis of the why’s and how’s, tell you what we did right and a whole lot of things we wish we’d done differently.

And here’s the real reason to come girls: When I saw, just a few days ago, Phil bent over his big, worn Bible pointing out to my son the truths that applied to his questions, I fell in love with the man all over again.

A great big swelling of I can’t believe I get to be married to this man kind of response.

And I want that for you.

Every one of you. Because in ways I do not fully understand, a woman’s feelings of love are all wrapped up in respect. I feel love for Phil because I honestly, really do respect the man. A lot.

Yes, he’s a good man. And yes, he’s good to me. But the real reason I respect him is because of the way he leads his family on a firm Biblical basis to follow Jesus with wisdom and passion.

If you’re married, bring your man. Please. This is not a seminar simply for mothers. It is a chance for men to see what spiritual leadership looks like and sounds like and is in everyday life.

If you’re not married, bring yourself. This is a chance for you to get a whiff of what you really want. For you to see what spiritual leaderships looks like and sounds like and is in every day life.

And it’s a lot more than wrestling with the kids…

From my heart,


PS: sign up by going to the website And let me know if you’re coming!


Dear girls,

Sometimes God gives us a task that is just too big for us. It starts, most often, as an idea. A spark.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if…

And somehow that tiny spark starts to light us up. We glow when we think about it. The idea warms us. We find ourselves wanting to flame it into something tangible and real.

We dream.

Someday I’d like to…

As the dream grows and takes shape we who walk and talk with, and listen to Jesus are in constant conversation with Him about this idea. He is, we believe, the One who sparked the vision in the first place.

Lord, is this from You? Might it be Your prompting? Are You behind this dream?

That’s when we let others take a peek. Tentatively, protectively, we share the dream. Or part of the dream. At least the part that doesn’t involve us.

Somebody really ought to…

We hope our closest people will jump up and down and tell us they’re with us. That they’ll point out that we’re capable. That they’ll give us the courage to go for it.

You were made for this moment… I can see it….

That rarely happens.

Usually, people who love us caution us.

What if? You know that time you? Be careful? Have you thought of?

And the dream falters. Those doubts and fears and insecurities we’ve ignored like buzzing flies land on our skin and burrow deep.

Or for some, stubbornness sets in. We set our jaw and feel sorry for ourselves and resent the ones who love us enough to tell us not to try that thing they don’t dream about and wonder why we do.

Why doesn’t she understand? Why does he always have to throw cold water on my ideas?

And sometimes we just let the dream die right then and there. It was ours for a moment but now its not. We go on with what we’re supposed to do but the spark is gone from the day-to-day. The burdens we carry seem a little more burdensome. The boring must-do’s a little more wearying.

The next time that sparks tries to ignite way back wherever it is that dreams are born, we snuff it out. Immediately. No use dreaming. That’s for other people, not for ordinary, less-than-amazing people like us.

Our dreams, we’ve been told, are selfish.

What about the kids? The house? The future?

And as we grow older, that daring, adventurous, BIG part of our soul just shrivels up and dies. We’re not heroes-in-the-making anymore.

We drudge. We crank. We grumble.

And that, my dear girls, is what happens when we squelch the dreams of those we love.

When we caution our man about all the things that could go wrong…

When we insist we know it’s not for him or for us or for our future together…

When we point out the obvious— that nobody dreams that big except the somebodies.

And we don’t let him be a somebody because… well, I don’t really know why.

When my wants clash with his dreams and I get squeamish maybe its just because I’m afraid. And maybe instead of trying to talk him out of it I should just trust him.

Or maybe not. Maybe I can’t trust him because I think he’s selfish and foolish and just wrong. Maybe that idea is just no good. Or no good for me. Or for the children we have or might have someday.

But what if we decided to trust God?

To say Yes.

To dare to let him dream and maybe even fail.

And then be there to tell him he’s not a failure, but a man brave enough to dream and you love that about him.

And then to pick up the pieces and let him dream again because you really do.

You respect a man who dreams and does because dreaming and then doing that dream is heroic.

And rare.

And worthy.

Girls, I think it’s time we dare to let our men dream.

It’s time to let him know we’ve got his back even when we’re scared. That it’s okay if it doesn’t work out because we’ll still be there to let him dream again.

I think it’s time that we realize that He’s Not Your Prince Charming but he is a man with a need to dream. And if we’re the ones to squelch the dream he’ll never get to be that knight in shining armor he needs to be.

And if you think so too, I’d urge you to read Sarah’s story. It’s found in Genesis, chapter 12. Her husband had a dream and she chose to follow it with him through all the messes he made in the process. She risked, she endured, she laughed and she cried and she lost and she gained.

And she learned to trust God even when her husband failed.

I think it’s time we choose to be like Sarah. 

From my heart,


PS: Sarah made some not-so-nice mistakes in the process of trying and so do we. But we can give each other courage by telling our stories- both good and bad. Would you tell us yours?

HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: a story and a secret

Once upon a time much, much different than ours, there lived a beautiful young woman. Her home was nestled in the hills of a land filled with scented cedar forests, rolling meadows, and dancing streams. Cave-like caverns had been carved into rock outcroppings where artisan wells offered cool respite on hot summer afternoons.

Every day Rebekah gathered at the well with other women of the region to fill jars full of refreshing water. These friends laughed and splashed and dreamed out loud of the love and adventure they hoped would come their way.

And every day Rebekah left those fleeting magical moments just a little more lonely.

What is wrong with me? She wondered.

Why do my insides ache with need?

Why can’t I be content like the other girls?

They seem so satisfied with all the same dreams— to catch the eye of one of the boys we have always known, to marry and bear his babies and stay right here.

To stay the same, always the same.

Why can’t I want that too?

Why do my dreams leave me bereft of hope?

Often she would cry in the lap of the nurse who had cared for her since infancy.  An old woman now, she was full of that fiercely loyal love that pulses through the veins of a lifetime caretaker. And she was the only one who understood.

One sweltering evening as the scorching desert sun finally inched its way behind the sacred mountains, Rebekah hurried to the well to fill the earthen jars with fresh water. She loved this time of day, a chance to leave the stifling tents, to splash refreshing liquid over her dusty face, to get away from the monotony of reality.

As Rebekah emerged from the hallowed out cave entry to the well, her water jars sloshing, feet slipping in the red mud, she spotted a strange man waiting. He looked old, wizened, and very, very hot.

Please, he said in a sand choked voice, will you give me a drink?

Certainly, sir, and she lowered her jug for him to drink.

Sympathizing with his obvious exhaustion, Rebekah offered to fetch water for his camels as well. Their plaintive moans making their need obvious.

Down she ran to the bubbling water, then up again with the heavy jar.  The camels drank deeply, forcing Rebekah back again and again for more of the desert treasure. When the camels were finally satiated, the servant silently held out a gift.

In his hand, lay a glittering nose ring and two intricately carved gold bracelets. Their beauty took her breath away.

For me? But, but, why?

All the man would tell her was that he came from far away and needed a place to rest for the night. Hurrying to her brother’s house, Rebekah showed him the treasures and recounted the story of the strange traveler.

Laban saw the opportunity for what it was— a chance to earn some much needed gold. He welcomed the man in, eager to know his business.

To Rebekah’s utter surprise, the strange servant told a mystical story of an enormously wealthy father from far away who had sent his servant to find a worthy wife for his son and heir. The servant seemed certain that Rebekah met all criteria his master had requested.

Would she pack her things and mount his camels and come away with him?

A home of her own to care for, a man of her own to love, a life away from the dreariness of her daily life— she practically ran for the camel train.

Was this it? A fleeting chance to embrace adventure? To break away from the everyday? Dare she link her life to a man she’d never met? A man different than all the boys who’d filled her charmed childhood?

Everything in Rebekah’s soul cried yes!

In a flurry of planning and packing, Rebekah, with her much loved nurse beside her, faced her future with all the courage of a beautiful woman awaiting her prince.

On the dusty camel ride to her unknown home, Rebekah had plenty of time to regret her impulsivity. Yet the sheer newness of her ever-changing surroundings kept her looking forward, searching for the future she’d only dreamed of.

What little she knew about this man who would be her husband intrigued her. He was an only child, coddled by both his mother and his father.  With a rich heritage of faith and wealth beyond her wildest imaginings, Isaac was certainly the most eligible bachelor she’d ever heard of.

This was a fantasy way beyond what she had dreamed. A love story so delicious it read like a fairy tale. She was on her way to meet her Prince Charming and to live happily ever after.

By the time the caravan’s journey was drawing near to her new husband’s home, Rebekah could barely sit upright in the saddle. Every bone ached, her hair felt like a ratted mess of dust and sweat. Covered head to toe, Rebekah felt more like an ancient mummy than the beautiful bride of a rich prince.

Her frequent groanings and persistent complaints finally induced the servant to stop short of their goal. Their camp that night edged the graveled banks of a shallow river. With her nurse providing cover, Rebekah slipped into the cool water with a sigh of relief. Luxurating in the moon lit moment of privacy, she allowed herself just a moment to imagine what lay ahead.

Would her husband approve of the servant’s choice? Would he be kind? Gentle?

Looking at the whiteness of her skin she wondered what he would think of her?  Would her body please him? Would he want her? No man had ever glimpsed so much as a hint of the form of her womanhood, encased in great swathes of cloth as she always was.

What would it be like to unveil herself to this stranger?

Thinking about the story the servant had told her of Isaac’s deep grieving for his mother who had so recently died, Rebekah’s sympathetic nature longed to love the pain away— to ease the ache by wrapping him in her arms and drawing him close.

The next day brought hope on the horizon. Her new family’s fields lay everywhere she looked. Lush and growing, straight rows pushed out of the tilled earth, bursting with promise. Here was a heritage of hard work, evidence of men who went after their own dreams. Rebekah’s respect for her soon-to-be-husband grew with each step of her weary camel.

Who was that in the distance? Why was her heart pounding so? Could it be him?

Quickly, she slid off the side of the lumbering giant, straightening her garment. Rummaging through her bag, she hurriedly threw off the yards of dusty linen, replacing her covering with a delicately woven veil. Her wedding veil.

She would walk on her own two feet to meet her prince. No hiding for her! She would face this man who held her future in his hands. Mustering all the grace she could manage, Rebekah met Isaac as he came across the field in the waning light.

What she saw nearly took her breath away. Isaac was nothing like the boys who had her filled her childhood with laughter and annoyance. Before her stood a man with the callused hands and broad shoulders of one whose life was spent working.

But what caught her heart were those eyes that barely looked her way. Sad eyes, brimming with deep grief. Every part of her being longed to reach out and soothe that sadness away.

But first the servant must tell his story. Every agonizing detail. When would he ever stop? Isaac kept glancing her way. Catching her staring at him. The slightest smile. Was that a dimple?

On and on the servant droned until Rebekah thought she’d burst. When Isaac cleared his throat, sitting up straight as if to speak, the servant fell silent. Ah! The ceremony. Of course.

Hurriedly, as if to get it over with as quickly as possible, the servant recited the words that would bind Isaac and Rebekah together for the rest of their lives. The timbre of his voice intrigued her as he recited the ancient promises.

Hidden behind her veil, Rebekah could only wish for a chance to know the kind of love she dreamed of. What would he think of her? Could he be as full of fear and wonder and hope as she?

Leading her to his tent, his hand barely brushing her back, Rebekah’s knees nearly gave way. So soon! Before she could fall, Isaac reached for her, holding her to himself. He stopped.

Rebekah, are you afraid? 

Yes, yes— no! No, of course not.

Isaac’s whole being stilled. Gently, firmly, he turned her towards another tent, one set aside from the cluster of the camp.

Let’s go in here instead. This was my mother’s tent, you’ll feel safe here. 

Brushing aside the heavily draped opening, Isaac ushered his bride into a place of wonder and beauty. Her breath caught as she unwrapped the lacy fabric that hid her face— a palace in the middle of this manly camp! Rich tapestries lined the walls, piles of soft furs beckoned. Rebekah’s soul responded to the invitation of warmth and welcome.

Turning to Isaac, Rebekah knew without words that his giving of this gift was as unexpected to her husband as it was to her. An offering of tenderness, of protection, of understanding... of love.

Now it was her turn to give. To offer him her beauty. To bring her whole self to her husband, without borders or boundaries or inhibition or fear.

This man who grieved— yet gave that grief to her in a moment of unselfish intimacy. She would give herself fully to him. She would ease his pain. She would invite him into the depths of herself with joy and abandon.

And so Isaac loved Rebekah there. And Rebekah brought him the comfort only she could offer. A comfort that healed the brokenness of his hurting and brought hope again.

Genesis 24

(my version)

From my heart,


Girls, I hope you enjoyed my imaginings. And I hope you will read the real story for yourselves— especially that last benediction, verse 67. Because tucked into that last phrase lies a secret every woman should know.

Do you see it?

Have you grasped the immeasurable power of a woman to be a beautiful hiding place for her husband?  A refuge and relief from all the hurts and pressures and fears and worries that dog their steps?

Have you understood, at last, the deepest need of your man? To be embraced and loved in the way only you can love him?

Will you be that safe place for the man God gave you?

More on this next week… and please, your vulnerable words of comment are compelling me to dive deeper into expressing the words of what we all want— the way to a richer and fuller intimacy and joy.

From my heart,




Dear Girls, I’ve told you my story… 

And I’ve written endless letters to my son about what kind of woman to marry… though on that day I married Phil I wouldn’t have qualified!

But here I am nearly 35 years later…

Still married. Very much in love with my husband. Happy and thriving.

And honestly, I wonder why. So many of my friends and family have seen their marriages ripped apart. Or drift apart. Or generally disintegrate. Good people, godly men and women. People who started out in love and who ended up hating each other.


Is it because they married a jerk? Or that they themselves were hidden jerks and marriage unveiled their jerkisms? But that doesn’t make any sense because who does not have those moments of appalling jerkiness? I have often been that impossible-to-please-person in our marriage. And Phil has had his less-than-stellar moments too.

No, its not our goodness as people that has made our marriage work. Nor is it simply our commitment to keep working on it. Sometimes that very commitment brings out the ugliness in each of us. (We’ll talk about conflict later.)

I think Phil and I found a secret along the way that kept us from failure. Not so much a nobody-knows-but-us kind of secret, but more of a mystery-that-can-be-explained-but-is-not-logical kind of secret.

It’s simply this:

I have discovered that I am incapable of satisfying Phil

and Phil has discovered that he is incapable of fulfilling me.


I have discovered a deep satisfaction in Christ that has taken pressure off of Phil to spend his life attempting to satisfy me and

Phil has found a deep satisfaction in Christ that has taken the pressure off of me to be enough to satisfy him.


That deep down satisfaction has made us free to love each other well and skillfully because we are so well loved by God Himself.

Isn’t that the mysterious secret of Ephesians 5? That marriage is meant to be a picture of the way Christ loves His Bride and the way His Bride responds to that love?

Not a paradigm of Phil loving me so well that I respond in perfect love… but a picture of Phil being so well loved by Jesus that he cannot help but love me well… and me being so well nurtured and nourished by Jesus that I cannot help but apply those skills to lavishing the same kind of care on Phil.

So marriage becomes the place where the Gospel is lived out in our lives. Two imperfect people being loved so perfectly by God that they in turn love each other in a faltering attempt to demonstrate how well loved they are.

Or, as Tim Keller so brilliantly puts it:

The gospel is this:

We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe,

yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope…

the hard times of marriage drive us to experience more of this transforming love of God.

But a good marriage will also be a place where we experience more of this kind of transforming love at a human level.

(The Meaning of Marriage, pg 48)


And that’s the main purpose of this series: To remind you that the man you married is Not Your Prince Charming. And to point you to the One who is.

Because only then will you be free to love lavishly. Only when you are all caught up in a passionate love for Jesus will you be capable of passionately and persistently loving your husband over years and decades of real life living.

And so before I start in on the bits and pieces of gathered wisdom I’ve discovered in His Word over the 35 years we’ve been married, I want to urge you, my girls, to fully embrace this truth:

That the gospel is all about God’s all-consuming love lavishing all that He is on all that I am.

It is about me dying with Jesus on that Cross. Dying to my dreams and my must-have’s and my rights and my way. Dying even to my happiness.

And then it’s about staying hidden so tight in Him that He resurrects all those broken places and fills me with Himself.

And then I change. Slowly, imperceptively at first. Simply by being so near Him that His breath warms the skin of my soul and colors my world in a way I’d never thought possible.

Joy comes. Rest. Delight. And so much love that I cannot help but spill it somewhere, on someone…

And I become who I am meant to be. He makes me holy… which is really all about being wholly who I am.

The way I respond to my husband changes. The way I handle worry changes. The way I handle all those irritating, soul-stretching everyday-bumping-up-against-each-other interactions that happen in close proximity with another person… changes.

I change...


He changes me...

when I choose to die with Him...


May we fully grasp the reality of this Gospel— this news that is so good it changes everything, even and especially the way we love.

From my heart,


Three passages to sink your soul into this week:

  1. Romans 6- notice that word choose used over and over in the NLT
  2. John 6vs28-35- that word, believe, actually means to fully entrust yourself to God. That’s my “work”.
  3. John 15- to abide has to do with tucking myself into God.

Phil’s proposal took me entirely by surprise. I’d spent the week grieving over losing him, wondering how in the world to pick up the pieces, and finally getting to the point of complete and total surrender.

I knew he loved me. And I didn’t doubt for a minute that I loved him.  But I was powerless to take away the worries that nagged at him— his need

to know for sure... to dissipate all doubt... to have everything perfect.

And so I’d let him go. And in the loosening of my heart’s grip on Phil, I’d discovered a greater joy in Jesus than I’d ever experienced before. I knew He would take care of me and that knowing left me riding on a high of unexplainable peace.

So when Phil called and asked me if I’d go out with him on Friday night I was immediately confused. Why? Hadn’t we dragged this out long enough?  Never in a million years did I suspect he would ask me to marry him.

When Phil came to pick me up, my family started acting extremely strange— smirks and grins and giggles. I was embarrassed and not a little annoyed, suddenly wishing I lived on campus rather than commuting to college across town. Couldn’t they see how hard this was for me?  Closing the door behind us, I let out a sigh of relief.

And that’s when Phil asked me to marry him. Right there on the front porch of my family’s home— the home he was asking me to leave so that I could join my life to his.

I don’t remember more than a few snatches of the words he used, in fact, I’m still not sure I even answered with any sort of clear affirmative.  What I do remember is an overwhelming sense of being loved and the awkwardness of our first kiss that left us both laughing out loud with the joy of it.

Yes, yes, yes!

He wanted me. This man I admired more than any other was telling me that he wanted me forever. I could hardly believe it, and yet I knew without a doubt that this was right, that God was in this, that He had brought us together.

When finally we came down from the high of that moment, the planning began. How long till we could pull together a wedding? Could we do this quick now that we’d decided? Was four months long enough? Was there any reason to wait?

We settled on a July date and got to work. Or at least my mom got to work. I mostly walked around with my head in the clouds and let her do all the details.

But a funny thing happened in all the flurry of planning and doing and dreaming— Phil and I began to argue. We’d never argued before. Not once. Now it seemed that my feelings were hurt all the time and he was frustrated and we spent hours and hours working out what we couldn’t understand. What was wrong with us?

The pre-marriage counseling we got was minimal. Our pastor met with us a couple of times but we were so sure we knew how to do this that we weren’t listening much. There were no personality tests or workbooks to fill in, though I was reading everything I could get my hands on and tucking away a whole list of rules to follow for the perfect marriage.

And all that kissing was keeping us heated up so hot that I’m not sure our brains were registering much anyway. Tension was mounting as we counted down the days one at a time. To my mom’s frustration, we spent more time planning our honeymoon than our wedding!

I was certain we were going to have the Ideal Marriage. Of course we would— Phil was my Ideal Man, after all. And I was reading my way through a stack of books to learn how to be the Ideal Wife.

Clearly we were heading for a crash but just as clearly we couldn’t have seen it.

And that is why I want to write this series. Because we did crash and we didn’t see it coming. And there are things I learned in that crash that no book every mentioned.

Things about conflict and oneness and humility and honesty— about two strong-willed people attempting the impossible task of melding their lives into one without destroying each other in the process.

And perhaps most important, I want to write about why he’s not really your Prince Charming no matter how much you love him. And how I, as a woman, as a wife, could choose to spend the rest of my life honoring and loving him skillfully… or draining him of every ounce of dignity by trying to make him into my Ideal.

But I didn’t know any of that on my wedding day. I just knew I loved this man and I had lived for months in that uneasy fear that if he discovered who I really was he’d change his mind.

When July 15th dawned clear and bright and he stood in front of our church and family and pledged his faithfulness for the rest of forever, I breathed a great sigh of relief. The hard part, I was sure, was behind us. Now my Prince would rush me off into our Happily-Ever-After where we would be… happy forever!

And now, nearly 35 years later I can’t help but laugh… and shudder a little… at my fairytale take on life. I had so much growing up to do, so much learning about real life and real love and real happiness.

So come along with me and learn from the rest of my story. Learn what I wish I’d known then, what I want my girls to know now. Learn from my mistakes and learn from my discoveries. Listen better than I did and you’ll undoubtedly avoid many of my blunders.

Most of all, it is my hope and my prayer that you will discover your real Prince Charming. And he’s not the guy you’ve got your eye on.

He’s the One, the only One, who will make you all-the-way-to-your-bones happy.

And He’s the One who will give you the strength and the will and the wisdom and the skill to love your man well.

To all of my girls, with all of my heart,



A week after Phil broke up with me he proposed.

It was, he explained later, the longest week of his life. He couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, could hardly function. Even though we’d planned this break up for a month— after praying for peace and finding only worry— the intensity of his emotions took him by surprise.

And so he did what he’d been taught to do: he sought counsel. First he talked to the other pastors he worked with. Mostly they just laughed at his concerns. The age difference? No bother. The idea of marrying a partner in piano playing? Nonsense! That covered, they offered to cancel staff meeting and go buy the ring!

He began to wonder if maybe he’d made a mistake.

Next he took my dad out to lunch. Not, he assured him, to ask his permission to marry me. But if he did decide what would my dad’s response be? What did he think?

My dad just laughed and enjoyed the free lunch.

Then Phil called his parents. His mom was all for it, more than ready for her middle son to make up his mind. Her only question was, do you love her? When Phil couldn’t stop talking about how much and all the reasons why she, too started to laugh. His dad agreed. Time to ask her, son.

Still, Phil worried. What about just knowing?

I was oblivious to the drama. The breakup, as far as I could see was final. And so I spent my days trying to reimagine my life- sad, but determined to set my wobbly feet on that Solid Rock we’d sung about.

The reality for me was that practically from the day we’d started dating I’d been holding my breath, hoping to marry Phil. He was everything I wanted and then some. I loved the vision he painted for me of a life lived completely and entirely sold out to God.

Serving along side this man would be the highest honor.

There was not the slightest doubt in my mind that I loved Phil with the kind of love that happens only rarely. I knew I wanted to spend every moment of the rest of my life loving him. Sure, I had worries about certain parts of him... there was that moodiness that caught me off guard sometimes. And the pace he set for himself made me wonder how I'd keep up. But I'd looked those things square in the face of reality and decided I could deal with those glitches. Or at least I thought I could. Because my deep respect for him as a man, as a person, as a follower after God, overshadowed the rough edges that I was pretty sure would poke from time to time.

Once when he’s asked me point blank if I had any doubts, I’d wavered between my self-protective tendency to pretend and the truth. Dare I let him know how deeply I loved him? Wouldn’t that be humiliating? Shouldn’t I just act like I wasn’t sure either in order to save face?

In what was for me a great leap of faith, I told him the truth. Even now I remember that swallowing of pride, then the great rush of trust that I had done what the Father asked of me. I could sense God’s approval even as my face flamed with the admission.

No, there was no doubt whatsoever. I wanted to marry Phil.

I still don’t know what finally changed Phil’s mind. Neither does he.

Maybe we both had more surrendering to do. Maybe he had to count the cost of trusting God for the less-than-absolutely-perfect-ideal. Maybe I had to let go of him in order to begin the journey to learning that “I dare not trust the perfect frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

All I really know is that as soon as he asked, I said YES!

And do you remember what I hinted at in the first part of our story? Early on in our relationship Phil set a high standard for physical boundaries in order to protect both my purity and his own integrity.

Lots and lots of affection…

With purposeful restraint of passion.

For us, what that amounted to was no kissing. Okay, maybe a peck on the cheek from time to time— but none of that lip-locked, hot and heavy, body-entangling kind of kissing.

But when he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him, making a commitment to love and protect and cherish and lead and provide for me… that’s when he kissed me for the first time.

Magic. Beautiful, melting, magic.

And I know that sounds corny. I know that no one does that. I know its kind of… strange.

But for us… for the hope of our future… for the kind of all-in-forever romance we both craved— it was just the right way.

Tomorrow I’ll finally get us to the alter… and then we can begin this series…

Together we'll commence the conversation and the teaching and the learning about why ... and what to do... with the absolutely true fact that…

He’s Not Your Prince Charming.

From my heart,



On the Sunday after Phil broke up with me, I slipped into church reluctantly. I knew he’d be there, on the platform leading worship. I knew I would cry, unable to hold back the grief at the loss of the life I’d dare to dream of. 

I wanted to be strong but I wasn’t. Wanted to be cool and remote, but my red nose and swollen eyes wouldn’t fool anybody.  And so I tried to avoid anyone I might know by finding a seat in the back corner, as near the exit doors as possible.

All my fears and feelings of inadequacy and fakery and not-good-enough-ness kept my shoulders slumped and my head down. I wanted to believe what I’d been taught, that God had a wonderful plan for my life. But how was this wonderful?

What I hadn’t factored in was a redeeming Savior and His relentless pursuit of a woman who needed to know Him in a way that would fill up all those achingly empty places in my soul.

All I remember about that morning was the words of the hymn we sang:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

Every word sank deep. Soothing, true, hope-filled. This was what I was longing for, what I needed. A hope built on One who would love me always, no matter what. 

Could it possibly be true? With all my less-thans, all my pretending to be better than I was, could I learn to wholly lean on Jesus’ name?

It was a theme that would echo over and over again in my life. That when dreams die and wishes don’t come true, when things happen that I don’t want and when I can’t make the hurt go away, Jesus is there...

Really there.

I went home elated. Fully surrendered, ready for whatever God had for me. I wanted more of Him. I wanted to be able to sing the last verse and mean it…

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found;

Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the Throne.

Something significant happened deep inside me that day. In losing something I wanted, I gained more of what I needed. 

A deeper trust.

A greater intimacy. 

A new sense of adequacy.

I was just beginning on my journey to finding Grace.

And even though I said I would finish our story today, I just can’t. Not yet. It would seem not right to tack a happily ever after ending right here.

I knew our break-up was final. Phil didn’t need space, he needed peace. And I was powerless to put that peace in his heart. It was over.

The real story is that God met me here in this broken place.

And so I’ll just have to tell you the rest next week…

And then we can get started on why I wanted to start this series in the first place.

Until then, thanks for listening,

From my heart,





part 1

part 2

Once upon a time I fell in love with Phil.

I fell in love for all the obvious reasons—all that tall-dark-handsome stuff. Throw in a really cool car, the fact that he was a drummer, the brown suede jacket (with fringe!) he wore, his way of smiling that insisted on response… and I fell head over-heels.

Falling in love was easy.

Riding the ups and downs and tensions and worries of wondering if this was The One? That was hard. 

Pain-filled. Humbling.

Our relationship didn’t develop slowly with friendship first. Instead we rushed headlong into romance. It was a fun, exhilarating, all-absorbing, drastically life changing time.

Everything about Phil was intense: every conversation, every decision, every date.

He was 26 years old, had finished college, then found his niche in music ministry. Just two years earlier, he’d quit the rock band that had defined his life for 9 years and was now a pastor at one of California’s first mega-churches. 

The man spent every minute living, breathing, and thinking ministry.

He had strong ideas about everything.  And I do mean everything.

I loved that! I’d only been a Christian for about 3 years when we started dating and I was still figuring it out, wishing for a rule book to get it right. Or at least clear instructions about what I should do and what I should avoid and what I ought to say,when

The attrition rate of new Believers during those Jesus Movement days scared me—  how could I avoid being one of those who “fell away”?

Phil read his Bible voraciously and made sure I was reading mine. For him, this was no rote discipline of duty. He read to discover, to absorb truth, to know God.

He thought about what he read, scribbled notes in a journal, underlined, questioned and studied. And then he talked to me, inviting me into conversation— the depth of which I’d never before experienced.

Our conversations centered around the Scriptures we were reading.  We memorized verses together, mulling over this way of living in alliance with God. It was a heady and exhilarating time with a whole unknown world opening up to me.

But I was scared.

This man was just so much better than me. Smarter, quicker, stronger, more focused and absolutely sure of his calling. I was a freshman in Bible College surrounded by students who had been raised with at least some background of faith. While I was untangling the Patriarchs’ stories, getting lost among the Prophets, and barely understanding the Sermon on the Mount (Blessed are the poor? Are you kidding?), everyone else seemed to know everything. 

And that, I think, is when I first started to pretend.

I’d nod my head knowingly, keep my mouth shut, and fake it. I copied the way others prayed, God-blessing everyone I could think of.

When Phil prayed I’d add all the expected amen and yes, Jesus affirmations in order to sound more sincere.

 Instead of understanding that growing a backlog of faith takes time, I hurried to catch up in order to feel adequate, accepted, good.

With no concept whatsoever of grace, I performed the way I thought I ought to, the way I thought Phil wanted me to. Phil was an idealist and I longed to be his ideal.

And that, no doubt, set me up for some deep disappointment down the road.

Phil was as intense about our relationship as he was about everything else. After 3 dates in 4 days, he initiated “the talk”.

He wasn’t interested in dating just to date. He was on track to marry and wanted to pursue this relationship with that in mind. What did I think?  

Well I would have eloped then and there, that’s what I thought. But I managed to say something somewhat sophisticated like me too, and so we were off.

We had rules.

No kissing on the lips, quick forehead and cheek kisses were okay. Limited hugging, but lots of hand-holding. We avoided being alone at my house and I was absolutely not allowed in his.

Phil was shockingly upfront about why. He’d not lived a pure life before giving his life to Jesus and no way was he going to mess up now. Keeping a safe distance just made sense. 

And those rules worked to make me feel like the most cherished woman in the world. Phil was protecting my purity while guarding his.He wanted more of this relationship than groping in the back seat of a car. He chose to keep his hands to himself while he handed me his heart with the purest trust.

Phil opened his life to me and let me in. He probed the corners of my introverted self— he discovered me.

I’d never had anyone want to know me the way Phil did. Slowly, timidly, I let him see the real me. I shared my worries. Let him see my inadequacies. The more we talked the more I could see my place in his life. He needed help, was barely managing to keep up with the frantic pressures of a mega church music pastor’s life. 

Our differences seemed destined to compliment rather than conflict. 

But there were two problems. Two glitches to the Ideal.

First of all, I was almost 9 years younger than Phil. Was that okay? The second question worried him more. While Phil’s ministry revolved around music, I could barely carry a tune. I couldn’t sing, play the piano, or read music. How in the world would I be a music pastor’s wife? 

His fellow pastors ridiculed the questions when he worried out loud to them. They teased him out of his intensity and told him to relax, forget the “role”. He needed a wife, not a pastor’s wife

Still, that sense of sureness eluded him.

We’d been told that we would just know.

Everyone said it: You’ll just know when you find the One. 

But Phil didn’t know.

He knew he loved me and made no bones about his attraction to me. He knew I loved him enough to lay aside my plans to join his, we knew our parents approved, that our goals coincided… but he didn’t just know. 

And so we broke up.

Because he didn’t know.  And he needed to know... 

Our story could have ended there. I thought it would.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you why it didn’t.



Feel free to e-mail in your questions for this new series about love and marriage from a Biblical perspective at

A New Series To Start

For weeks and months now I’ve been writing Letters To My Son, a series of answers to his question, posed a year or so ago,  “Mom, what should I look for in a wife?”

Such a simple question.  Such a long and involved way of answering.

I think he assumed I’d answer by talking, the way mothers do, about beauty being more than skin deep and all the fine qualities a good woman should have.

And I suspect he thought all this talking would take an hour or so.  At the most.

And now I’m finally just about talked out.  Thirty-five letters and ten months later.

I’ve loved your responses, mulled over your questions, treasured your insights. What has emerged from my mail is a generation of men and women who want to do relationships right. Who’ve seen what happens when a man and a woman mess up.

And you want more for yourself.

You have astounded me by your willingness to read and learn and ask questions and gather wisdom and wait for the right time.  You have no idea how honored I’ve been to be a part of the conversation.

But now I think its time to talk about some other things.

Because, you see, I’m hoping all this talk about dating and marriage and falling in love and honoring God and each other will actually lead to some of you falling in love and getting married!

And so, at the urging of some of my advisors...

(part of our blog team: Elizabeth, Kristi, Abi and Fallon)

and my niece, Brittany...

I am embarking on a new series.

A series I’m calling He’s Not Your Prince Charming.

While the Letters were written for men about women,

this new series will be written for women about men.

I'll be attempting to explain what I’ve seen and to make sense of what the Bible says about how men work and what they’re called to and why its sometimes so hard to fit our lives with theirs.

Now I am certainly no expert on men or marriage or much of anything else. I’m just me- a woman,  a wife, a mom. You know my story, how God allowed my me to go deaf and in turn taught me what it means to listen.

And since that near failure of my faith and the subsequent failure of my hearing, I have focused on listening to God in the everyday messiness of life and relationships.

And in all that listening, I’ve gathered some things to pass on to you. About what love really looks like, about conflict and communication, about honesty and humility and intimacy. I want to tell you how I found  joy in the midst of tension and rest in spite of my perfectionism. I want you to know that marriage can be both a crucible for building character and a refuge from all that performance-based scrutiny that is real life.

But first, I want to tell you more of my story.

Because this will be a series of letters to my girls about things like finding satisfaction and dealing with disappointments and learning how to love the men in our lives with skill and wisdom.

A mixed bag of lessons learned along the way of listening with both my Bible and my heart wide open.

So for the next couple of weeks I’ll be inviting you into the intimacies of how I met and fell in love with Phil all those years ago. I’ll tell you what I saw in him, why I fell in love, and what I thought my life would be.

And I’ll let you know mistakes I made and lies I believed. I’ll tell you what I was thinking then and what I think now. How I’ve changed and what I wish I’d known.

Most of all I will remind you over and over again that fairy tales are not real life. That our stories include great beauty and dark disappointments.

That falling in love is not the end of the happily ever after, but the beginning of learning to love our neighbors as ourselves.

From my heart,


P.S. I’d love to hear your questions. Though I’ll not be able to answer every one (partly because I don’t know!), I will attempt to include answers in every post.

I promise to pray and ponder and listen in the hopes that we can mine for God’s wisdom together.



Dear Matt,

Last week I posted the first part of Dad’s letter to you. He packed so much wisdom into his letter that I decided to give it to you in smaller bites so you would be able to absorb it all.  Here is the rest of what he wrote about dating and pursuing a woman and listening to God in the midst of it all.

I know you know this, but I’ve just got to say it again— you have a rich heritage of faith gifted to you by a father who has pursued God single-mindedly for all of your life and many years before. And for all those who are listening in, may you grow to be this kind of man by keeping your eyes on the finish line.



Dear son,

After thanking God for His peace and His promise to guide you, here is my “practical” advice:

This is what dating is for!

1. Take it slow

2. Have fun

3. Become friends…

  • Can you be yourself with her?
  • Do you like just being with her?
  • Do you like talking to her?
  • Can you share your dreams with her?
  • Does she listen as you share your heart with her?
  • Does she really like who your are?
  • As your generation says it: is she "into you"?
  • Do you look forward to the next time you get to be with her?
  • Is that growing or diminishing the more you get to know her?

4. Stay pure 

  • I know I’ve told you this again and again and that you’ve made that commitment already— but remember what 1Timothy 5v2 says.  You are to treat young women “as sisters, in all purity”. You wouldn’t make out with your sister!

5. Does it ‘click'? 

  • I believe God has made us three-part, body, soul, and spirit. When God brings the woman to you that He has for you, it should ‘click’ in all of these three areas.
    • You should be physically attracted to her; you should think she’s beautiful! Your wife will need to know this and will want to hear you tell her often!
    • You should click in the area of the soul. Do your personalities, your goals, your dreams fit together well? You won’t be the same but you must be a good match, i.e. if you want to have three kids soon after getting married, and she wants to wait ten years and maybe not have any, it’s not a good fit.
    • You should fit well in the spiritual area. You both need to know Jesus, love Jesus, and be walking with Jesus.

6. Spend a lot of time with her around people you respect.

  • Most should be older and wiser than you.
  • Let them observe the two of you together.
  • Let them speak into whether or not this relationship should proceed to marriage.
  • Although it sounds self-serving, I believe your parents will be a huge part of this.

7. Do you have peace?

  • Is God giving you continued peace as you proceed in the relationship? Granted peace is a bit subjective but here’s what I have discovered about peace. You know when you don’t have it!  And if you don’t have it, as your Mom said: “Wait! No peace? Don’t move!”
  • Because it is either: 
    • Wrong girl, wrong time.
    • Right girl, wrong time; God is saying, “She’s the one, but not yet” or “first finish school”, or “you’re not ready” or “she’s not ready”.
    • OR...Right girl, right time!
  • And if it is right girl, right time -- Go for it!
  • Keep praying, keep seeking counsel, enjoy her company...and when you are ready and able to both support her and spend the rest of your life with her just say…

8. “Will you marry me?”




Make Her Feel Safe

Dear Matthew,

I woke up this morning feeling safe.

Pushing back the thick down comforter, I slipped out of bed while your dad slept soundly. Jackson led me excitedly to the laundry room as he does every morning, where I filled his bowl with 2 scoops of dog food, which he wolfed down as if he was afraid he might starve. I get the impression that he’s just not sure if I’ll remember to feed him one of these days and so he starts off every morning on a mission to remind me. Just in case.

And I think I used to be just like our dog.

Unsure that anyone would love me enough to take care of me every day.

Always. No matter what.

Would this be the day when Phil would stop loving me?

Would he be too busy to care today?

Too distracted to remember my presence?

Too enamored with all that the world outside our little home offers to notice me?

And so I’d wake up every morning asking those same questions, just a little fearful, hesitant. Watching to see if what I feared would come true. Feeling that maybe I needed to remind him that I’m hungry for his love, for assurance, for that pat on the back.

And every day for 35 years your dad has just loved me. Again. Until I finally feel safe and secure and sure that yes, today he’ll still love me. No matter what.

Matthew, I want you to understand that every woman, in her own way, enters every relationship feeling just a little unsafe… and that she’s looking to you with just a hint of fear behind her eyes… and that you can either fuel those fears or choose to go on a mission to make her know she's safe with you. No matter what.

And so, my dear son, in case you’ve missed the clues while growing up in this home where love has made your mama feel safe, I’d like to make another list.

This is how your dad did it:

  1. He tells me he loves me. Over and over and over again. Using words. Lots of words.
  2. He is affectionate with me. Ruffles my hair, holds my hand, sits close.
  3. He looks at me when I talk. Not over my shoulder or out the window- at me.
  4. He stays aware of me, choosing to see my beauty and look away from other women.
  5. He lets me be who I am, never hinting that if only I’d do more or be different he’d love me better.
  6. He never yells at me— ever.
  7. He prays with me whenever he senses that fear again.
  8. He seeks out my advice.
  9. He guards me from bad guys- locking the door, looking around, letting me know that he’s on it.
  10. He pays the bills. On time. Every time.
  11. He goes to work. Every day.
  12. Sometimes he empties the dishwasher…

I could write a whole letter on each of these dozen ways your dad has chased my fears away. There are stories and reasons and Scripture and so much more to say about making a woman feel safe.

This is how a man loves a woman, Matthew. Every day. For a lifetime. Starting now.

I love you!