Posts tagged part 2
HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what every women really wants #5


(part two)

Dear girls,

I wrote last week about what every woman wants— faithfulness. And though I may use implication here to dance around and hint and subtly imply, God isn’t quite so shy with His words:

May your wife be a fountain of blessing to you…

 Why spill the water of your love in public, having sex with just anyone?

Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,

or embrace the breasts of an adulterous woman?

And then, as He often does, God answers His own questions. He gives both husbands and wives the way to avoid what He terms “incredible folly”:

Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife.

You should reserve it for yourselves.

Don’t share it with strangers.

Proverbs 5

And so, my dear girls, we need to talk about our part in the faithfulness we want forever. Because to “just say no” to the pulsing need and power of his sexuality is not God’s plan— nor is it enough.

God created marriage as a safe place for a man to entrust his sexuality to a woman whose desires are cultivated by his.

The beauty of His story is evidenced in the way a man responds to the unveiling of a woman’s body. And then the desire a woman experiences when her husband  responds.

An enticing dance between two entirely different and uniquely created people who want the same thing— union, completeness, satisfaction, love. 

Last week I wrote to the men about how to be faithful to their wives. And yet even as I was writing, I realized that this cannot be the responsibility of men alone. We, as woman, have a role to play in our husband’s faithfulness. Just as he does in ours.

And so today I want to argue last week’s points backwards. To talk to you about partnering with your husband so that he doesn’t have to fight “every man’s battle” alone.

Three Ways To Help Your Husband Be Faithful:

1.  By focusing on him.

When life gets busy and kids and careers and all the gazillion realities of real life for real women overwhelm us, our men generally get back-burnered.

They’re strong, they’re independent. They can take care of themselves.

And so we forget what we knew when we were first connecting— that our men need times of our full attention. They need us to see them. To pick up on the subtle hints that maybe their world is running a little ragged.

They need us to notice the victories of every day. To applaud their strategies, to recognize their contribution to a better world.

Our men need us to be proud of them.

Because, frankly, most of our men are being sent the message that they’re insignificant, insufficient, inept and unnecessary. And sometimes, unknowingly, we add to that pile of inadequacy by simply not seeing them.

2.  By delighting him and delighting in him.

Thirty-six years ago when I was doing everything within my feminine powers to capture Phil’s heart, I had this science of delighting a man down pat.

Did I flirt? You bet I did. Did I make him smile? Yep. Did I hang on his every word, rub his shoulders, dress myself attractively, wear shiny lipstick? Of course I did!

I wanted Phil to want me because I wanted him. And I still want him. I want all of him. I want only him.

Maybe it’s time we resurrected the art of alluring our husbands. Of enticing them to laugh. Of making them feel as good as they really are.

And while we’re at it, why don’t we remember what it was about him that got our attention in the first place? It’s still there, buried under the responsibilities and pressures of the battles he fights every day. And maybe we’ve lost sight of him because we’re too busy trying to remake him into our BFF.

Paula Rinehart, one of my all time favorite writers for women says, “If you hold up a negative lens, you’ll see what you expect to see.” And, “men aren’t women with big feet and beards, they’re completely other.”

She’s right, you know. These other creatures with beards and big feet will never measure up to a woman’s standard of perfection. They’re not supposed to. If we’re to delight them and delight in them we’d do well to remember that.

3.  By pursuing him.

My mother diligently taught me not to chase men. “Run just fast enough to get caught” was her 1950’s mantra. But when it comes to marriage, her dating advice runs on empty.

Husbands want to be pursued. To be sought after and admired and yes, he wants to know you’re aroused by him too. Your husband wants to be wanted. Of course he does.

And here’s the sad truth, girls: There are always women waiting in the shadows to pursue your husband.  

A wise woman who values her home knows this and makes sure she’s not simply using her husband as a garbage-taker-outer and kid-watcher.

A wise man who values his home knows this and sets high walls around himself to guard his purity.

A wise couple talks about this. They ask each other questions. They choose to focus on each other. They choose to find delight in each other and to give the other delightful memories. And they are both so busy pursuing each other that there’s really no room for anyone else.

That is what faithfulness really is: two people investing in each other to such an extent that nothing and nobody can wiggle into unseen cracks. Not babies or teenagers or anybody else. Ever.

From my heart,


PS: Okay, let’s hear it. Can you shake us out of our stupor and remind us how to focus and delight and pursue our husbands? Can you tell us how you are helping each other to remain faithful?

PSS: Just to be clear— a man or a woman is always completely and irrevocably responsible for his own faithfulness. We can join each other to fight against unfaithfulness, but it is ultimately always a choice a man or a woman makes.

Adultery is never, ever in any way the fault of the other.



We lingered at the café, my friend and I, talking about how her life had fallen apart with her marriage and how she was learning, slowly, to trust God again. It hadn’t been easy.  After all the rejection and shame and horrors of her husband’s unfaithfulness, to believe that God cared seemed a stretch. After all, hadn’t she prayed and obeyed and done everything she could to get it right?

And hadn’t God failed to do His part? 

Nothing had worked out. Not the marriage, not the man, not the vice grip of addiction to sin that had strangled the life out of the once well-intentioned husband.

Who could blame her for worrying now? For hesitating to trust a God who hadn’t done what she’d been so sure He could and would and certainly should.

And that, my dear girls, is at the heart of all our worry.

That underlying knowing that God does not always do our bidding. That the platitudes aren’t true. That everything does not work out. That sometimes awful stuff happens and people don’t get healed and marriages do fall apart and we can’t do a thing to stop it.

In honest moments we wonder… 

How are we supposed to trust God with the truth?

You’ve heard the platitudes too, maybe spilled them on a hurting friend, that if we’ll…

only trust… let go and God let God… drum up enough belief… then God promises to work it all out for us.

A happy ending. Amen.

But life doesn’t work that way and neither does God.

Ask Paul. And Peter and John and James… their stories tell of a different kind of worry-free faith. Before pop-theology painted a gaudy façade over the truth. 

Every one of those men discovered a secret. Paul dubbed it The Secret.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need,

and I know what it is to have plenty.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,

whether well fed or hungry,

whether living in plenty or in want.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 

Philippians 4:11-13 

Lesson #2 about Worry:

It’s not what I do that matters, it’s what Jesus has already done.

Here’s what I mean:

On that day a month or so ago when I melted down in a grand display of run-a-muk anxiety, at it’s root was worry.

  • Worry that I would fail
  • Worry that I wasn’t organized enough or good enough or able enough to do what I expected myself to do.
  • Worry that others would think less of me

But I’d forgotten something vital. I’d forgotten The Secret.

That whether I do right or do wrong…

Whether I am a shining example of organizational skills and stellar hard work, or a pathetic failure at anything admirable…

I am not the point.

My perfect performance is not the point. Whether my family is perfect or my job stellar or my bank balance growing, is not the point.

Because Jesus took me in all my inadequacy and placed me in His beauty. Its not about me anymore, its about Jesus. I, in all my brokenness, am hidden in Him, all tucked into His perfection.

As long as I remember that, my own less-than-perfect performance won’t destroy me.

And as long as I remember that, I don’t have to demand that God work everything out all hunky dory the way I wish it would be. 

And that, my dear friends is the reason Paul and Peter and James and John and all those others whose stories weren’t perfect could be content and at rest and filled with peace and joy and hope in the midst of the messiness of real life.

But see that lovely word again, dear friends, Paul learned.

And that’s what you’re doing.


Slowly but surely you and I are learning the how-to’s of being women at rest in Him. We are learning the Secret.

From my heart,




Part Two

The first time Phil asked me out I wasn’t even sure he had.

For several weeks after I graduated, he seemed to seek me out, though without the least hint of flirtatiousness. Somehow I’d find myself engaged in conversation with him and the flock of energized young people that always seemed to surround him.

We talked about dating standards, how far was too far, and the book that was propelling him to a higher calling: The Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot.

Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary, was Phil’s hero. He read and quoted and studied Elliot’s too-short life. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  Jim Elliot

I listened in awe. Who was this man? Dare I believe he might be interested in me?

One night we found ourselves sitting across the way from each other at the same restaurant. Phil was trying to listen to his friend justify his engagement to a woman he barely knew and constantly fought with. But his eyes kept wandering over to my table where I listened half-heartedly to the beginnings of a romance between one of my best friends and our young youth pastor.

Neither of us could stop looking at each other. 

When I walked as slowly as my feet could possibly take me to the bright yellow 1974 VW Bug my parents had given me when I’d graduated, Phil quickly cut off his futile conversation and hurried to catch up with me.  "Luis Palau is speaking at Mt. Hermon this Friday night and I’m thinking of going. I’ve heard you say he’s your favorite speaker, do you want to ride with me?" 

I mumbled some sort of barely coherent agreement and drove home on Cloud 9.  "Had Phil Comer just asked me out?"

When I saw him later in the week and he arranged to pick me up at the bank I was working at, I knew this was it. I had a date with the coolest guy in the church and I was terrified. 

Looking back I wonder why I was so afraid of Phil Comer. And why that fear kept me bound up and hidden even as his love for me coaxed me out of my self-protective shell. I was a confident girl, at least on the outside. People liked me, I fit in. But somewhere deep inside I felt like I was faking it. No, that’s not the whole truth— I knew I was faking my faith. 

Every day I got up early to read my Bible. I memorized stacks of Scripture, first with the Navigators system and then with my own 3x5 cards lined up on my bathroom mirror. I 'witnessed' to friends at school, inviting scores of kids to church. I sang in the church choir even though I could barely carry a tune, went to Bible study and took copious notes, sat in the front row every single Sunday. 

But every night I went to bed haunted by my inadequacies. 

What if my friends at church discovered who I really was? What if one of those nasty words that seemed to lurk right in the forefront of my mind slipped out? What if I 'backslid' like so many of the seemingly faithful had done? 

Could everyone tell that all my working hard to be a good Christian girl wasn’t working its way into my heart? Would Phil discover that I wasn’t good enough, that no matter how I tried I just couldn’t seem to get it right? 

On that first date I kept all that worry contained, measuring every word, every gesture, every expression on my face. But it was hard to stay uptight and pretending with Phil. His faith was so real, penetrating every facet of his life. The man oozed passion for God and talked like no one I’d heard before. 

Phil put me at ease by drawing the conversation to his favorite topic: Jesus. By the time we’d gotten to our destination I’d forgotten to be nervous, caught up in a conversation that held me in a grip of fascination. Phil asked questions, not about me and my history, but about what I thought. He introduced topics that brought the Bible right smack dab into the middle of life. With an honesty that startled me, he let himself be less than perfect. 

On our way home we stopped at one of those breakfast-all-day restaurants and I silently struggled with a dilemma. My dad was expecting me home at 11 and at this rate I wasn’t going to make it. No text messaging to bail me out. How could I tell this fully-into-his-career man that I’d have to find a payphone and call daddy? Before I’d drummed up the courage to do what I knew I had to do, Phil glanced at his watch. “Why don’t you call home and let your parents know we’re going to be late? Tell them we’re about 15 minutes away.”  Like it was just fine. Like he didn’t see me as a barely-out-of-high-school-girl. Like problems could be solved with simple solutions instead of worried and churned over until they became great moral conundrums of impending disaster.  

And that’s the way it’s always been with Phil. Simple. Black and white. Low on drama, high on solvability.  For the first time I could remember, I relaxed fully with a man. Me, the introvert whose stiff awkwardness made the social dance of dating mostly miserable. 

In the coming weeks and months I would discover that being with Phil allowed me to be more fully myself. A me emerged I hadn’t known. Because he respected my ideas and encouraged my input, I grew bolder and bolder about sharing what I thought. I read him passages I had underlined in my many books. He liked that.  

I teased him when he tried to imitate my British tea drinking habits by ordering his with cream and sugar and then failed to realize the combustibility of the squeeze of lemon he added for good measure. Thirty-six years later we still laugh about the curdled mess that filled his cup on that first date. 

And so began our journey down a road that would lead to a lifetime of learning to meld two distinctly different and seemingly incompatible lives into this state the Scriptures call 'oneness'.  It would not be an easy road. Nothing like the fairy tales I’d fill my head with. I would get my feelings hurt. There would be risk. I would learn to be honest, to trust God instead of connive to get my way.  

Most of all I would begin to understand what no one had ever told me before— that a woman’s love is wrapped up tight in her respect for a man.  

But that’s a topic for another day… as Our Love Story continues next week.

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