Posts tagged respect

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)

HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: on arguments and admiration

(image by Hillary Kupish)

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I got in an argument with my husband.

I know that might shock you. Pastors and their wives don’t fight, do they? With all that training and talking and generally being super heroes in the spiritual world, how could they possibly lower themselves to ugliness?

We do. And we did.

But the possibility of coming out the victor in a scuffle with a professional communicator has a probability factor of practically nil. And so, frustrated with my inability to wrestle him into agreement, I decided to write it down— to make a list of all the things I was mad about.

If I couldn’t out-talk him, I’d try to out-list him.

First, I decided I’d better read my bible.

After all, we all know that winning an argument with a preacher requires Scripture. I’d come locked and loaded. Clearly, I needed God on my side in order to sway him.

But this was a Monday morning and somehow I’d left my bible at church the night before, so I rummaged around the bookshelves until I found a different bible—an Amplified Bible.

Ah ha! Just what I needed to amplify my message of frustration to my man!

This, my dear girls, was way before I learned that God speaks to His children if we will only listen. I wasn’t listening. I didn’t know I should be. I’m not even sure I would have if I’d known.

I was just mad.

Retrieving the barely used bible, I sat on the sofa, ready to load up on I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong verses. And just as I did, a big chunk of pages fell out, spilling God’s Word, quite literally into my lap… to Ephesians 5:33:

However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self;

There it is! Surely, this must be the Lord giving me what I need to pound some sense into that man of mine…

I kept reading…

and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].


I put my pen down. Tore up my list. Got on my knees and wept.

My husband didn’t need a list of what he was doing wrong in order to love me the way I wanted to be loved… 

He needed a list of what he was doing right in order to be loved the way he needed to be loved.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? The moment we launch a crusade to bring all his manliness under our control so that we will be loved the way we want to be loved, we lose all possibility to be loved… or lovely.

But when we finally get it, when we get sick and tired of trying to lasso all that wildness, when instead we set him free to go and conquer his world, his way— something unexplainable happens— we fall more deeply in love with the man that he is.

We don’t feel more loved… we feel more love.

After years and years of being surrounded by women… of leading and teaching and counseling and loving women… of being a woman, I have become convinced that this is the one beautiful, mystical silver thread of sameness that runs in every woman’s veins—

We respect and therefore we love. 

Somehow, I think, if we understood this better… if we became convinced of the truth of who we are and who we are made to be, every one of us would pay close heed to this tiny tidbit of truth tacked on as a seeming afterthought to God’s pointed command for husbands to love their wives.

It’s almost as if God is trying to tell us something…

And too, I believe, if our men knew this about us… I mean really understood that our love for them is intangibly tied to our respect for them… it would make a difference in the way they live the every-day with us.

And so, my dear girls, don’t you think it’s time we focused our minds on honor; preference, admiration, respect… maybe even a pinch of… veneration? Knowing all his flaws and failures, eyes open to who he was yesterday and will probably be again tomorrow, might we dare let go control enough to just flat out admire him?

To see him through eyes free of bitterness for who he hasn’t been, for what he hasn’t done, for all those things that disappoint down deep?

Because, the truth is, when I purpose to notice those things about him that make me prefer him, when I regard him through the filter of honor, that’s when my chest fills with those feelings of love. 

And so, my dear sisters in this struggle to get it right, here is our own list…


1.    Respect him

2.    Reverence him

3.    Notice him.

4.    Regard him.

5.    Honor him.

6.    Prefer him.

7.    Venerate him.

8.    Esteem him.

9.    Defer to him.

10. Praise him.

11. Love him.

12. Admire him exceedingly.

And my prayer:

That… we would become a rare remnant of women skilled in the art of admiration.

That…  we would do it on purpose, not mindlessly burying our heads in the sand, but mindfully choosing honor anyway.

That… single women would gift their brothers with golden words of sincere regard.

That… married women would grace their husbands with exceeding admiration, showering them recklessly with words and gestures and expressions of approval.

And that the men God has gifted us with would see themselves thru the eyes of the One who created them and is crafting them into His ideal…  because we do.

From my heart,


PS. Some of you are great at this. Most of us are not. This week after Valentine’s Day might we focus on this aspect of loving our men?

And can you sneak in here and tell us how you did?

And for any men who dare sneak a peak into our place here, would you tell us how your wife or girlfriend or just-friend purposely gave you the gift of great respect? We want to learn.


HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what women really want #1

Last week I asked women to write and tell us what they really want from their men. I’d anticipated your answers, made a list of things I thought you’d say, outlined what I wanted to write about. But you surprised me by both what you did and didn’t say. Every one of you included somewhere on your list, this one thing… What every woman really wants…. Spiritual Leadership

Dear sons,

I have been writing to the women in your life for a long time now.

Words about their need to find all their hope and soul-satisfaction from Jesus.  About how to then turn around and pour the love they find in Him back into you, with skill and on purpose.

I hope you’ve noticed the effort your women are making to love you well, to love you the way you want to be loved— with respect and friendliness and with an awareness of who you are.

Now it’s your turn to listen.

Because the imperfect-but-trying women in your life have needs too. And because sometimes we women talk too long and too much about things even we don’t understand.

I think we’ve made something simple sound impossible.

And I’m hoping you catch a glimpse of a way to be who your are meant to be in a way that works for you.

Three Ways To Be A Spiritual Leader:

1.  Initiate

What your women are hoping for more than anything else, is so simple it’s almost laughable. They want you to understand their need to be led. Not dominated. Not preached at. Just gently and consistently led back to centering their hearts on Jesus. They’ve grown weary from feeling like they’re always the ones to lead the way back to God.

They want you to say:

“Let’s go to church tomorrow…”

“This morning I was reading in my Bible…”

“That message really spoke to me about…”

To a woman, that is spiritual leadership. When you take the initiative, when you make the suggestion, when you say it first… something inside of her falls more deeply in love with you. A woman admires a man who alerts her to focus on God. Respect grows, not because you’re perfect, but because you recognize who is and you love her enough to point her back to Jesus.

2.  Remind

Your women are smart. They know better than to think you can meet their every need and want and expectation. They know what you sense- that they’re needy, achingly so. It is the plague of every woman. And your women know that only Jesus can fill that emptiness.

Still, we forget... every day we forget.

And that’s when a woman becomes crabby or whiny or short-tempered or demanding.

What a woman really needs from you is simply a reminder. Bring the conversation back to Jesus. Remind her that He is taking care of her. Point out His faithfulness in her past. That He will not fail her now. That He loves her more than she can possibly know.

If you do this, and you’re nice about it, you will see immediate relief. She’ll sigh. Her shoulders will relax. She’ll nod her head and look up to you and be filled with gratitude. Because she knows… and agrees… and forgot. Again.

 3.  Pray

This is the big one. The hard one. Yet the one thing every woman will recognize as the ultimate spiritual leadership. You don’t have to pray long. You don’t have to pray first thing every morning or last thing every night. All you really need to do is grab her hand when she’s worried or frightened or feeling something she shouldn’t. Just hold her close and bring her to the Father. Out loud. By doing that you are showing your wife or girlfriend that you love her enough to bring her to the One who can fix everything. Yes, you are strong, yes you can solve most things… but by leading her into the presence of the One who is fully in charge, she sees you as the ultimate loving leader. Her relief and peace of heart will be palpable.

That, my dear sons, is what spiritual leadership looks like.

You don’t have to be eloquent or perfect. No theology degree required. All you need is an awareness of Jesus and the boldness to bring the woman you love to Him.

So simple. So very hard to actually do.

But I guarantee you this- if you will do these three things:

If you will initiate and remind and pray with her… she will respond.

She can’t help it. A woman’s feelings of love and attraction are so tied to her feelings of respect that she cannot separate the two. And nothing elicits the respect of a Jesus-following woman like a man who is bold enough to grab her hand and say, with Paul,

“Follow me, as I follow Christ.”

(1Cor 11:1)

May God give you the boldness to lead her closer to Himself.

From my heart,


P.S. Girls, your comments are fueling these posts. Can you tell me how your husband or boyfriend leads you spiritually?

And men, is there something we should know? Can you help us learn how to approach this often intimidating subject with grace? We're learning... all of us. To hear directly from you men would be an incredible help.


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!

HE’S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: What Every Man Should Know About The Love Of A Woman
Diane Phil.jpg

This week, Phil and I took a road trip in his mini-cooper convertible to Victoria, BC.  It’s a romantic, European-style city sitting on a busy harbor, surrounded by breathtaking countryside. We went to celebrate 35 years of marriage— three and a half decades.

 And while we were there we talked about how we’ve seen our love grow and flourish— and we talked about those not-so-nice times when we’ve been at each other’s throats, cranky, self-centered, off. Because two strong-willed, opinionated, passionately idealistic people like us most definitely have those “off “ times too.

And we talked about the fact that not every one of those twelve thousand seven hundred and seventy-five days of married life has been smooth and peace-filled or even close to the way we would have scripted…

We’ve lived in four different cities and moved thirteen times. (stress!) We managed four pregnancies (stress!) and raised four children (stress!) through sleepless nights, (stress!) toddler tempers (stress!) and teenage worries (extreme stress!).

We’ve had a few hardships too— my unexpected and unexplained deafness, Matt’s juvenile diabetes, difficult bosses, relationships gone bad.

We’ve been swindled, criticized, hurt, misunderstood.

Real life stuff.

So how is it that I can say I am honestly, really, more in love with my husband today than I could have possibly imagined on July 15, 1978?

The answer is so simple.

I wish every man knew this secret.

I wish every girl dating the guy she thinks she might want to marry knew it.

I wish every couple struggling to stay married and stay happy knew it.

I wish I could brand it across the brain of every married man so that he had to see it before he made a choice that could unravel and wreck his wife’s love…

Drums roll….

I am passionately in love with my husband after thirty-five years of real life because I respect him.

That’s it. Simple. Basic. Doable. Truth.

He’s far from perfect- a big personality like his comes with certain side effects. And though goodness knows, I’ve tried, I’ve never managed to quiet him down or neaten him up. He’s not a man to be controlled or coerced into doing things my way.

No, I don’t feel all this passion for him because he’s reached the pinnacle of the Ideal Husband, or followed Ten Steps Guaranteed To Make Your Wife Happy Forever.

My feelings of love for Phil are rooted in days and weeks and years and decades of watching him relentlessly, doggedly align his steps one at a time to follow Jesus. Not perfectly, but persistently. Every day.

And I’m not talking about rule-abiding, moralizing, rigidity. Every attitude, every decision, every emergency, every heart-ache, every disappointment, every bump in the road of real life, gets wrestled to the foot of the Cross. Surrendered.

And that’s why I am more in love with this man today than I ever would have thought possible 35 years ago.

I wish every man realized that a woman’s feelings of love are wrapped up tight in her respect for him.

I wish every woman knew that a man who is good and godly will grow more and more attractive and compelling and sensuously appealing as the years go by.

One choice at a time… that’s all it takes to win the love of a woman for a lifetime.

From my heart,


PS. Girls- can you leave a list of why you love your husband/boyfriend/fiancé? Might just be an insightful read into the way a woman loves.

Next week, we will talk about the "Secret Switch" I mentioned last week!








Dear Matthew, Today, instead of writing you a letter about who you should marry or how you should act,

I’m keeping it simple.

Because what I want to talk about today has nothing to do with her and a whole lot to do with who she will become...

if you will be this kind of man.

And you’ve watched this all your life. This being— this doing that leads to being.

Since 1975 your dad has made a choice every single day that has led him into a life rich with wisdom. Count that, son, 38 years!

I’ve posted this before, but am absolutely certain that this needs seeing again. You and your Jesus-following friends who have set your faces to honor God, to know Him and love Him and lead others to do the same—

you need this.

This is not just another rule to follow.

This is a decision your dad made and stuck to… for a long, long time.

It is why I trust him. Why my respect for him has grown over 34 ½ years of marriage.

Why that respect turned into love so great I can’t see the keyboard as I type these words to you…

And why you need to read this again.

I love you!