The Man Thing

Tim

They say women are complicated. And I agree—wholeheartedly—but I don’t think men are as simple as some suggest.

It’s not just sex, food and more sex that makes a man tick.

There’s something else I can’t put my finger on. All I know is that I don’t know what it is.

But it’s there—the man thing.

On Sunday, I sit in the back of a pre-marital class my husband runs waiting with the kids for him to wrap up so we can go to lunch.

Tim is moderating a talk on personality differences.

The speaker is Dr. Edward Mendez (my favorite counselor) but I wasn’t paying attention because I’ve heard this talk many times by now. (Sorry Buddy)

But then, Dr. Mendez speaks words I haven’t heard before.

“One of the most thrilling things I’ve ever heard from my wife other than “let’s get it on” is “I study you.”

What?

I stopped and held my breath. What does that mean?

“I study you…”

This is what excites a man?

To be studied?

For Dr. Mendez, this means his wife spends time trying to understand him–to know him, to research and delve deeply into his emotions and heart.

She cares enough to go the extra mile and understand his personality and what makes him tick.

Oh noooo…I think. This is way harder than sex and cooking.

I’m not so good at this part.

I’ve got some issues here.

My dad was, at times, a very difficult man to get along with as I grew up. And although he changed into a gentle guy at the end of his life, in the early years his explosive anger often shut me down into a turtle shell of self-protection.

And sadly, old wounds linger and seep into adulthood.

Sometimes, when my defense goes up, I retreat. I stop trying to know my husband and understand him. I hide in my turtle shell and refuse to come out.

And honestly (God forgive me) I don’t always believe the best about my man.

The next day Tim and I work on a project together. Its three days past deadline, but with our busy schedule and Homecoming high school drama we were left overwrought and without ANY margin this weekend. Finally we sit down and address it.

Tim was tense—short even—and snippy with me.

I am light-hearted for about an hour. Then I get weary of being nice to a grump.

And Everything in me wants to power up and launch back surly for surly.

But then I think about Dr. Mendez’s words and instead of moving to the defense, I carefully measure my words and watch him.

I stay neutral. I don’t retreat or engage. I study him like a history book.

Once we hit send on the project, a huge smile crosses over his face.

“Ahhh babe, Now I can relax and be with you,” Tim sighs.

His countenance changes—storm clouds to sunshine—and he picks up my hand and squeezes it.

And I realize his terse behavior isn’t about me at all—it’s about the task at hand.

Holy cow!!! I learn something new about this man.

What you see with Tim (his behavior) is not necessarily what’s going on under the surface.

This is super ironic because I’m tumultuous inside and calm as a cucumber on the outside.

We are polar opposites when it comes to expressing emotion.

It would be easy for me to write off my husband off as over-reactive (and honestly, easy for him to dismiss me as a non-emotive ice cube.)

But when I take the time to study him–to look closer and read his cues, I see another story.

I see a different personality than mine, certainly, but a man with good motives who loves and cherishes me but operates very differently.

It’s evening now. I lay beneath his feet by the sofa, reclining back. Tim plays with my hair for a solid hour as we watch the Patriots get whooped on by the Chiefs.

And despite the fact our fantasy football team (the amazing Ladera Lambyasoures) is losing because the Patriots defense is a bust, I purr like a happy kitten as Tim speaks my love language of affection.

This studying thing was a good investment because I’m pretty sure if I had been bitchy back, I wouldn’t have gotten the princess treatment later.

Maybe men are not so complicated.

Maybe all my man needs is sex, good food, more sex and a woman who truly seeks to KNOW him.

If only I could get this right more often!

Thanks Dr. Mendez…

–Samantha

How do you study your spouse or significant other?

Not So Cheap Thrills

I should have known I was in over my head when the woman in reservations asked for my credit card to hold our brunch seating.

But after all my diligent research I figured it couldn’t cost TOO much to celebrate our Daddy in style.
I threw out my old gift giving ways this year.  No ties or sauces for daddy, no sports visors or knick-knack items –this year I wanted to dazzle my man with creativity. 

 My husband Tim adores Bloody Marys so I did a little sleuthing.  I discovered the famous drink was initially formulated by the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan, New York.  I also found out the St. Regis in Monarch Beach, not far from our home, offered a three-tier Bloody Mary bar on Father’s day. And the best part…each custom concoction was only a mere $10.

It sounded reasonable, so I called and made a reservation at Motif –the main restaurant at the hotel.

Father’s Day arrived and my hubby was dressed up and amped up for his special DAD activity. After an early breakfast in bed, church, and dropping off the big kids, Tim and I and little Kolby headed over to the stunning hotel overlooking the azure blue sea.

The valet whisked our car away and we entered the grandeur of the St. Regis.  Vistas and views met our every turn and rich people glided and tottered by in impossibly high heels.  We found our dining establishment and checked in with the hostess who handed us glasses of champagne while we waited.  I people watched and played with Kolby who climbed up and down the majestic staircase.

Tim ventured into the restaurant to take a peep at the Bloody Mary bar.  His eyes were big when he came back and he bubbled over with energy as he described the decadent condiments and accoutrements.  Then he casually inquired how much the brunch cost.

“I’m not sure,” I replied.  “The drinks are only $10 so it can’t be that much, maybe $45 a person?”

This seemed like a large number to me.

Tim wandered away again as I downed my bubbly and played with my little girl.  He came back a few minutes later with a giddy and dazed look on his face.

“You must really love me,” he stuttered.

Quizzically, I turned.  “Yes, I do…why do you say that?”

“Because the brunch is a bit more than your highest estimation,” Tim gulped.

“How much is it?” I whispered.

“It’s $115 a plate and the Bloody Mary Bar is on top of that,” he frantically giggled.

I furtively looked around.  “Maybe we can run?”

Then I remembered they had my credit card.  We were stuck.

My eyes filled with tears.  “I’m so sorry; I didn’t know it was so much.”

Tim looked at me with laughter, kindness and mirth.  “I know honey.  It’s ok.  But we are going to get our money’s worth today.”

We stayed for almost three hours and ate and ate and ate and ate.  And truthfully, it was the finest buffet experience of my life.  Kolby even took a nap and they brought her a blanket to lounge.

I’m realizing over and over again, that although I have plans, God loves nothing more than to mess them up.  His ways are mysterious and daring.  He invites me to trust and to lavish love on my husband. 

It wasn’t in my budget.  I had to charge my almost $300 brunch, but my husband felt treasured and esteemed in a different way than normal.  It was extravagant love and maybe that’s reason enough to be a little crazy and a lot of broke.

Oswald Chambers said…

“It is more and more impossible for me to have programs and plans because God alone has the plan, and our plans are only apt to hinder Him, and make it necessary for Him to break them up.”

No Money, No Honey

I’ve never really understood how “visual” men are when it comes to being attracted to the opposite sex.  Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and my metrics for measuring up a dude are vastly different.  Sure, looks played a part in my overall decision-making process but it was never a deal-breaker if the guy had other stellar qualities.

(*note: my husband’s hotness was a bonus on top of his other attributes)

But when I saw a new study in the OC Register the other day, I had an epiphany.  The article, titled –Women aren’t looking for an unemployed man, online dating service’s survey discovers, suggests single men without a job are lonelier than the Maytag repairman as 73% of women refuse to consider dating an unemployed man.

(For those too young to remember, Maytag had an ad campaign showing a lonely repair man in his shop insinuating their washers and dryers rarely break…)

And then it hit me why men date hot chicks who have the brain cell capacity of a flea – it’s because men are wired to be visual in the exact same way women are wired to seek financial security from a mate.

Tit for Tat.  Hot Chicks vs Cold Hard Cash.  Show me the Money vs DD Cup Size

Jokes aside, I have to believe it’s how God designed us.  Despite feminism and women’s rights, the truth is most women feel vulnerable when they are pregnant or raising small children and a husband  with an adequate income allows her to focus on nurturing and caring for her young without the burden of financial stress. 

I know this all too well because when I was single mom the financial stress was OVERWHELMING.  But once I got remarried, the burden lifted.  I still had to go to work and provide but it felt more manageable with a partner.  I don’t believe women are designed to carry the financial burden alone. We can do it (and some do it very well) but it doesn’t sit well on our frame just as most men struggle to get up at night with baby.  They can certainly do it but it mommy does it so much better with a smile and a song instead of bad words from a cranky and grumbling daddy.

The male focus on visual aesthetics is not just immaturity.  According to Dr. Phil McGraw, it’s a “psychosocial, biochemical and neurological gap—so trying to get a man to function according to female standards is like trying to get a pig to fly. It’s just not going to happen. That old but often accurate notion that men are hunters seems especially applicable here.”

 
Men need to be quick on their feet and act fast to bring home the bacon while women need to plan and store provisions for a long winter and hungry mouths to feed.
 
Terry – a reader from the Register article responded: ” A man is set up on a blind date, first question, what does she look like? A woman is set up on a blind date, first question is, how much money does he have?”
 
But here is the catch, although we are designed to operate in a certain manner, we, unlike our four legged friends, have a choice in the matter.  We don’t have to  take this”pre-wiring” to the extreme.  Not every woman needs to be a gold digger and not every man needs to be a skirt chaser. 

We let the world distort God’s standards of provision and beauty.  We let Cosmo and Maxim tell us what matters most and we tune out the simplicity and brilliance of God’s design for male/female relationships.

A man who can provide a roof over a woman’s head and put food on the table is a good catch.  A man who will take a job at Starbucks, or parking cars or get up every morning and apply for a hundred jobs in a bad economy is a treasure indeed. 

A woman who takes care of herself and others, has a sweet spirit and big smile (though she may not be a super-model) is still a beauty.  A woman who follows God, is faithful and true and loves without barriers is ravishing.  And a woman who is physically appealing on the outside but nasty on the inside is not worth the misery of a dreadful marriage, or worse yet, an expensive divorce.

I think it’s time we stop complaining how men only like hot chicks and women only want guys with a job and instead start redefining what real beauty and real provision actually are.

And maybe we need to fix our broken “pickers” so we spot the real jewels when we find them. 

Is your “picker” in need of some fine-tuning? 

 

 

Boys, Video Games and Extended Adolescence

The football passed back and forth tossed in high spiraled arcs. I smiled as I watched my son Kyle and our dear friend Michael wile away the last sunshine of a lazy Memorial Day and hang out man to man-or better yet man to almost man.

Kyle, at almost fourteen, is on the cusp of manhood -teetering precariously between maturity and immaturity on any given day. But with every pat on the back and encouragement from the dudes in his life (dads, grandfathers, mentors, coaches and older friends) he continues to inch towards adulthood.

I was struck with emotion when I realized how each one of our male friends went out of their way at some point in the day to connect and encourage my son. I don’t take that blessing lightly because I know how crucial it is for men to intentionally lead, parent and guide our sons if we are to regain and raise another generation of valiant men.

And this rite of passage is something I see sorely lacking in our society.

We used to send our boys off to college and the military, or at the very least an apprenticeship and have them return a little worse for the wear –but independent and savvy enough to survive on their own. Men led each other.

But there is a whole generation of men floundering.

I scratch my head and ponder where have we gone wrong? Could it be rampant divorce, boys abandoned by dads, or a culture targeted by media and bombarded by leisure?

Somehow we have we allowed our boys to stagnate –numbed, dumbed down and distracted by video games, sex and pornography. They are missing the glorious adventure and crucial transition of becoming their own man and surviving.

As the mother of a son, I know the last thing I want is his twenty-nine year old butt parked on my sofa –jobless –and playing Call of Duty shouting for me to make him and his boys a sandwich.

Church planter Darrin Patrick calls this type of male a “Ban,” a hybrid of boy and man.

Ban is a juvenile because there is an entire market niche created for him to live in the lusts of youth. He is the best thing for the porn industry and the video game industry (48% of men between 18-34 play video games for almost 3 hours a day). Ban puts off adulthood, mortgages and marriage. Women give up waiting for Mr. Right and settle for Mr. Ban, an apathetic, sarcastic boy man.”

So why the rise of Ban?

Sometimes I think we have taken away the most necessary elements of story in our son’s lives –conflict. Our boy’s shoot aliens on a screen instead of battling real villains or bullies on the playground. They look at porn instead of fighting for a woman’s heart and they flounder for meaning instead of forging a life of courage wounded and bloody from the trenches.

We protect and screen the hard knocks of adversity unwittingly sacrificing the triumphs of overcoming a great challenge and we give our boys crumbs to feast on instead of a meaty life of adventure and purpose.

It makes me want to send my kid off to wilderness camp or the military…but I think I’ll settle for football and a North Dakota trip this summer at least for now.

What do you think about Ban?

And more importantly…What can you do to invest in a boy or a young man today?

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Get to Know God -Real Dude Spiritual Leadership

If Real dude spiritual leadership starts with getting to know God, then what does KNOWING look like?  I hesitate to give any sort of rules or a 3-step plan because I know (all too well) it’s far easier to check off a list than to pursue a relationship, so maybe the first tip simply is this:

1.    Throw Away the Rulebook

Religion is about rules, relationship is two-way engagement. 

Getting to know God is a lot like meeting a best friend or a spouse and the space between the initial spark and eternity.  One day you are alone and the next –a son or daughter of the King.  You have become the bride of Christ (not a super masculine metaphor here) but the point is –you enter into relationship and it is sacred and set apart and it is good.  

Getting to know God starts with a yes.  You ACCEPT his invitation.  You say giddy-up to a grand adventure.  It is jumping into a wild river and not knowing where it will take you.  Faith is your only rope to hold onto.  Grace is your life-preserver.

2.    Seek Him not Stalk Him

As a bookworm-y sort of gal, I determined to know everything about God.  So for the first ten years as a Christian I became what Bob Goff calls a Jesus Stalker.

I read through the entire bible six years in a row.  I attended two to three bible studies at a time.  I listened to preacher pod-casts (actually we called them tapes back in the day) and I memorized plenty of scripture.  I read every Christian book on the market –including the men’s section and the care section and even the exegetical section.  I had a prayer journal with pictures (I used Christmas cards and pasted them in –all pre-Pinterest).  I had a sermon journal and a reflection journal and a “I’m clearly the best Martha” journal.  I even enrolled in seminary.

I chuckle now at my incredible pursuit to learn about and SEEK Jesus –and then slightly vomit in my mouth when I think about how annoying I probably was.  I was a modern-day Pharisee in a mini-skirt running hard and fast on a spiritual treadmill trying to win the approval of God. 

3.    He’s Got Your Back

The problem with the spiritual treadmill is eventually you can’t keep running any more –usually when a monster storm of circumstances hit and you lose your footing and go flying through the air and land in a sorry heap (At least that’s what happened to me)

One day, Jesus determined I had enough head knowledge and he picked up my ordered little universe with highlighted chapters and sticky notes and chucked it against the wall. 

In this season I learned to DEPEND on Jesus and apply everything I had so earnestly learned into a real and working faith.  I learned to listen and not just ask, I learned to be still and rest in him and I learned freaking HUMILITY.  I grieved and wailed and groaned to my God until the tears ran dry and there I remained –somehow still standing before a Holy God.

And I learned he never left.

4.    Don’t be a Martyr (unless Jesus renames you Stephen)

Time marched on and then I married a pastor and we planted a church and like Isaiah I said, “Here I am God, use me.”  Only I forgot to set good boundaries and it came out more along the lines of “Here I am Church, abuse me.”

This was my entry into the Martyr season of my life, unfortunately I to had to crash and burn-out (again) before I listened to what God actually wanted me to do and not want I thought I should be doing.  I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t tell me to work outside the home and lead a women’s ministry and build a freelance writing career and raise three children and start a church all at the same time.

Only Satan could be such a masochist.

But the enemy of my soul didn’t have the last word.   Jesus picked me up –again- and gave me a lesson on boundaries and we started over.  Much of my journey has been trial and error, but certain activities do draw me closer to God.

5.    Spiritual Disciplines that ACTUALLY work

     a.    A life of Prayer

     b.    A life of Worship

     c.    Space to Reflect

     d.    Jesus with Skin On (friends who keep you accountable)

     e.    Occasional Fasting(from food, tech, muffins or anything you obsess on)

     f.     God’s Word

Here is what this looks like in my life…

 I do only what I am called to.  I say no more than yes, but when I say yes I am all in.  I mother, I write, I go to the park and swing in the sunshine, and I have time to love my husband.  I volunteer within my giftedness and serve when I see a need and where God opens a door. I lean into friendships. 

Life is much quieter now –more simple and yet far more abundant.  I pray constantly but it’s more like breathing and talking to my best friend instead of me picking verses and promises and expecting God to move in my time.  I journal when I want to probe my heart.  I read to grow deeper and I try to find solace and encouragement in the scriptures –not as a to-do list or a way to gain the approval of God.

Part of getting to know God was also getting to know myself and the depravity of my own heart. 

So when I reflect on getting to know God –I can only describe it as a long journey with a good friend who just so happens to be the creator of the universe. 

And the Real Dudes I see who are near to God seem to roll with the Big Guy too.

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Real Dude Spiritual Leadership

When Christian husbands hear the words Spiritual Leadership they often cringe and move into an emotionally defensive ninja posture. They cover their ears and hum “nu nun nu nun” to drown out the sound of the “oh so subtle” but fully loaded assault they know their wife is about to lob at them.

“Did you hear what Pastor Awesome did for his wife for their anniversary? OMG…he flew her to a chapel in Tuscany where they ate biscotti and strawberries dipped in crème fraiche. Then he knelt before her, gave her a monogrammed gold leaf bible and prayed for world peace. Wow, what spiritual leadership!”

And then this sweet, loyal and loving husband, who goes to work every day, provides a home and provision, plays horsie with his kids, coaches baseball and takes his wife to brunch every Sunday after church hunches his shoulders, looks morose and feels completely inadequate.

And the reason he feels like a schmuck is because too many women confuse Spiritual Leadership with a cross between Fabio and their youth pastor –a Jesus-y James Bond sort of guy with a golden tongue who waxes poetic spiritual metaphors about car-care and the football draft from his pre-dawn quiet times with the Lord.

All too often, Christian wives inadvertently adopt a distorted idea of Christian manhood as a spiritual measuring stick for their husband. They take a few examples of biblical application regarding humility or faith (or any fruit of the spirit for that matter) from the pastor’s Sunday message and apply it with a broad stroke to beat their husbands up with after the service.

They don’t envision a real man, a real life and the day-to-day decisions which encompass true spiritual headship of a family. Pastors aren’t all saints or perfect husbands (although my man is a rock star) and a guy doesn’t need to work for the church to be a true minister of Jesus Christ and strong spiritual leader to his wife and kids.

What men do want to aspire to (and their wives can gently encourage them to) –are spiritual disciplines which will help them develop a closer relationship with God and therefore build strength and leadership within the marriage. So, I’ve got a few ideas culled from the plethora of awesome men I have the privilege to know (and yes…I’m talking about you Mariners MV men) . These are the traits and attributes I see exhibited in their lives which bless the socks off their adoring ladies!

Sam’s Tips to Develop Real Dude Spiritual Leadership

1. Get to Know God

2. Pray with your spouse

3. Intimacy (Christian code word for SEX)

4. Serve One Another

5. Parent with Purpose

6. Rethink Love as an Action Verb

The next six blog posts will address these traits and give helpful suggestions for Christian couples who are honest enough to pull out the jammed logs blocking their vision and get real about their marriage, the state of their own heart and what it means to love like Christ did.

And just in case you think this is a series written only for men…I want to challenge you with this.

I believe, above all these tips, the most important factor in a man’s spiritual leadership is his wife’s ability to AFFIRM, stop nagging, pray, forgive, and become her husband’s biggest champion allowing God to transform her husband into the man of her dreams in his time.

Care to join me on the journey?

Side Effects, Katy Perry, and the Forbidden Fruit

My last post “Talk about Sex” generated some tremendous dialogue and initiated more questions than I have answers for.  Clearly I hit on a hot button by openly discussing why I talk about sex within the church community. 

What I hear people saying loud and clear is “we need this conversation and we need more of it.”

I hear you.

And since I’m not one to shy away from a tough debate, giddy up, let’s talk about this, in-depth and with radical honesty.

Before we begin though, I want to lay some ground rules.  There are many points I want to address on this “oh so sensitive topic” and I won’t be able to do it all within one post.  I would be glad to oblige if I didn’t have three kids, two jobs, ministry and a husband. 

I know.  I know.  I need some cheese and crackers with my whine, but please be patient with me.

I also want this to be a two-way conversation, not a diatribe.  So play along.  Feel free to engage and comment.  I feel vaguely safe from all the haters out there who violently disagree with me, mainly because we are online and you can’t yell at me, but take it easy on the punctuation marks and the name-calling.  I have a list of alternative bad words if you need to be creative.

Ok…now we have some ground rules.  Here are some of the topics I want to cover.  If you have suggestions too, I am wide open.

  1. Waiting is HARD to do.  (Give me a REASON to be pure)
  2. How far is too far?
  3. Why does the church ignore singles?
  4. Why is sex important to God but not Sr. Pastor’s?
  5. The bumbling buffoon and the media (Counteracting the stereotype of the incompetent male)
  6. Wives –the ministry of intimacy.
  7. Talking about sex with our kids

 

Shall we begin?  Let’s start with “Waiting is HARD to do”…  And we’ll begin tomorrow. 

Totally lame right?  I lead you to begin a great conversation, and then I leave you hanging.  It’s sort of like what we do with our kids.  Every day they are bombarded with images of blatant sexuality.  The world says it looks good, feels good and it’s so easy to get.   

But then we –as good Christian church people tell our kids, “oh by the wait, just wait another twenty years for it.”

Your boner is bad.  Sex is wrong.  And for God’s sake, “do not touch yourself.”

And then my Jr. High kid turns on the radio and Katy Perry says, “Forget that nonsense. You won’t die if you take a bite of this yummy sexy hot red apple.”

Of course we might think twice if they showed us all the side effects of pre-marital sex… you know, like the disclaimers on the pharmaceutical ads?  “This drug will help you with your depression… could cause dementia, diarrhea, increased sensitivity to noise and loss of desire to do anything fun…” sounds awesome!  I’d rather be depressed.  (See 10 Worst Prescription Drug Side Effects to laugh your butt off)

Actual Side effects of sex before marriage include: Unwanted pregnancy, emotional scarring, abortion, HIV, HPV…which leads to ovarian cancer, genital warts, STD’s and the slow but gradual ripping apart of your soul, so that one day when you do find “the one,” you won’t actually be capable of emotionally connecting with a human anymore and porn on the internet and masturbation will be your “go to gal” instead of a real live complicated woman. 

Wow…that sounds appealing.

But what if I told you there was a good reason to wait?  And it was a compelling reason that doesn’t suck?

Would you wait for dinner if you knew you were having a filet mignon and sushi or would you go ahead and feast on Cheetos every night?  And never, ever be really satiated?

What about waiting for ten million dollars?  Would you work for five or ten years to collect a fortune or would you settle for a thousand bucks today?

But we’ll get to that tomorrow.  And maybe it will be worth the wait ♥

 

 

Talk About Sex

Yesterday, someone in my writing group suggested I write a lot about sex. 
 
Ummmmm guilty.  I actually mention sex in my blog posts six percent of the time.  I calculated this number for personal clarification or possibly because I was a tad bit defensive.
 
So, I think this “sex talk allegation” deserves a proper response.
 
I don’t talk about sex simply for shock value, because I want you to think my husband is a voracious horn-dog, or because I am a secret sex addict -as a woman in my group suggested.
 .

I talk about sex because I believe the church has done a really bad job in not talking about it. 

 

There.  I said it.  I think the church has screwed this one up (no pun intended).
 
We (the church) have let the world define sexuality and allowed it to be removed from its very creator.
 
We have let the world define sex in marriage as a chore and adultery as an epic romance.
 
We have let the world  polarize “sexy” into something perverted, unchristian and sinful. 
 
We have allowed marriage to become a business deal and sex to become a hobby.
 
There is a an epidemic of married women who are so exhausted from working full-time, raising kids and trying to be superwoman they are neglecting their husband’s sexual needs and justifying it all in the name of feminism. 
 
There is an alarming trend of married men who are so resentful of women emasculating them, they have turned to porn, football and work addictions to cope (only further isolating their wives by disengaging their hearts even more).
 
And the mere fact that a pastor’s wife openly discusses sex and (gasp) encourages it in marriage makes some people uncomfortable.
 
Just to be clear, my husband has a perfectly normal desire for intimacy.  He is a healthy male who loves and desires his wife.  And I am not always frisky.  In fact, I am usually exhausted, overwhelmed and sometimes play dead to get some sleep.
 
But when I let God whisper into my marriage…I am reminded that I chose this man and made a committment to care for his needs, not justify my own.  And I try to find, deep within me -in the dregs of my crusty heart, the extra effort to love my husband in a way he feels loved. 
 
I talk about sex because someone in the church needs to. 
 
So when a fellow writer insinuated I might be a sex addict yesterday because  I blogged about how my husband and I take vacations or “sexcations” without our children I just about fell over. 
 
Not everyone get’s my humor.  And not everyone has the luxury (or the misery) of knowing my heart behind the words I pen.  I write satire.  It’s supposed to make you laugh not analyze my neurosis.  And for the record, I’m pretty open about those too.
 
In all honesty, my husband and I didn’t have sex before we were married.  Maybe that’s why we like it now.  We have the security of knowing, without a doubt, we love each other for more than how we make each other feel.  I practically skipped down the aisle when I married this man because I knew he loved me for me and not for sex. 
 
I actually went to an SA (Sex and Love Addicts) meeting once.  My friend dragged me there because I was struggling to end a bad relationship.  After one very poignant and humiliating meeting, where I thought I was going to die, I drove home and broke up with the jack waggon.  Thank you SA for empowering me!
 
I make jokes about sex.  This is true.  And it’s possible it might be on my mind more than usual right now because I’m trying to get knocked up.  But the deeper message I want to communicate is we as the church need to reclaim sexuality as a good thing within the relationship of a committed marriage. 
 
And that’s why I talk about sex. 
 

Ferris Keller

My husband has many unique attributes –some quirkier than others, but my favorite “Timism” has to be his distinct approach to making friends with everyone he meets.  Remember Ferris Bueller?  That’s what it’s like being married to this guy.  The world is just waiting to be Tim’s new friend.

Saturday, Tim and I (and our littlest girl Kolby) hit the mall to do some Christmas shopping.  But I made sure to lay down the ground rules before we left the house.

The rules were:

  1. No spending four hours debating over a single present.  That means we get in, we get out and we do not make dinner plans with our new best friend –the retail associate.
  2. No negotiating over prices in loud obnoxious voices.  This is the Mission Viejo Mall not the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
  3. No buying man purses.
  4. No strange behavior.

First we went to the Apple store, where in less than four minutes I had purchased a gift for my daughter that starts with an “i” and rhymes with mad.  (Sshhh!!!  Faith will be so excited). 

I knew exactly what I wanted and quickly made the purchase.  Just as I reached out to grab the receipt, Tim walks up with his new Apple BFF (some random retail dude) and I have to redo the order because I now have a $10 discount.  Then Tim and Apple guy start talking religion and technology and ten minutes later I excuse myself and head over to Pottery Barn.  I browse for a long time and then call him and leave a frantic text message to extricate him from the store.

Then we go and try on perfume at Nordstrom’s.  I find one I like and my husband debates eau de toilet vs. perfume with the lady –for another twenty minutes.  Once again I have to drag him out of the store because he has made a new “she-friend” and they have exchanged business cards.

Now we go to the hair kiosk and try on extensions and he makes another new friend with the hair lady.  I just love extensions because I have baby fine hair and sometimes, I wear them, and pretend I am a blond Kardashian.  Please don’t ask me if I have them on.  If my hair looks awesome just assume I do and if it looks stringy and like Rogaine would do me some good, you can assume I don’t.

Tim likes extensions too.  Sometimes he wears them and I pretend he is Fabio.

 

 

Then we go to every single kiosk in the mall to look for the perfect iPad cover for Faith and another one for Tim.  I bought him an iPad for his birthday in November and apparently he needs a different iPad cover for all the different ways you might ever want to use an iPad…like on a gondola in the Alps, preaching a sermon in Tuscany, or dancing in the Bahamas.  So there’s the mountain man iPad cover, pastor iPad cover, techno Ipad cover…and so on and so forth.

I’m dying here because all the stupid cases look the same but my sweetie has to check out every single freaking one before he can make a decision.  Then we run into our friend Dan and now we have a shopping posse.

Dan joins us as we head into Brookstone and my husband decides to climb into the massage chair.  The whole store gets a play by-play account as Tim’ calves, arms and derriere are massaged by the a-ma-zing chair.  Tim tries to negotiate with the young girls on the price and asks them very loudly to knock off $1000 off the large price tag.  They laugh and think he’s cute and weird and I crawl into a hole…and die again.

We head to lunch at Nordstrom’s café and have a lovely meal with Kolby and Dan and then inevitably, we go to the man purse store –Tim’s favorite place at the mall. 

And I’m sucked in to his excitement because he’s like a little kid amped up on Lucky Charms and he’s so excited to try all the bags on and find just the right one to fit his new iPad and make him look like James Bond. 

Kolby found one too.

We have a new name for the man purse.  It’s now called a holster and if you call it a murse Tim will pull out his gun and he might have to shoot you if you mock him. 

And I buy him a new holster because I am sucked into the vortex of Tim Keller and his exuberance.  And this man is so stinking energetic and adorable and friendly, he’s like Lassie and you just can’t help yourself from loving him because he’s contagious and absolutely priceless.

And that’s probably why he has over a thousand friends on Facebook and it’s why I go to bed every night with a smile on my face (though he might tell you it’s for another reason).

The Man Cave

Let’s face it-guys need a place to get away from the madness of life and chill. It might be a garage or a rumpus room; but it needs to be semi-isolated and have a door to shut.

Now the goings on in this elusive environment is a mystery to the female species and we scratch our heads in bewilderment and wonder, “what the heck you boys do in there?”

We suspect games are played, Sportscenter is watched , and maybe even video games-but we don’t really know and the evolved wife doesn’t usually care because the man is content and out of her hair.

In our house we lack a traditional Man Cave. The garage is too full of man stuff (i.e. a large Caddy) and tools, so my husband has forced himself out of the only potential extra space in our home; so the poor guy had to improvise, and this is what Tim came up with, the “He-Restroom.”

For Sale

In the He-Restroom, Tim hides out on a daily basis with his iPhone.  I was concerned for a while because I didn’t think it was healthy for anyone to be pooping for a few hours a day, and suggested maybe we have his colon examined, but then he reassured me he wasn’t pooping the whole time, he just likes to be alone and play Words With Friends and read the news.

What? (Deep breath and process)

And, I think I’m ok with this and it’s a totally valid need and I respect his quest for solo male time. I even honor his ingenuity in creating a little man cave in the lavatory.

And maybe I’m a little jealous.  Because when I go potty the kids barge in and talk to me, the baby sits on her little potty and it’s like a stinking fiesta every time my butt hits the porcelain; which is why I generally try to keep my restroom time as short as possible.

But a dude can shut the door and check out for an hour and it’s no big deal. So unfair!

My son admitted he was tardy for school the other day, and that his social studies teacher (a guy) loudly confronted him in front of the class, “Kyle, you better have a good reason for being late.”

Kyle replied, “Sir, my step-dad had to use the rest-room.”

And the teacher replied, “Ok,” and nodded his head like it was perfectly understandable.

I guess you just have to be a dude.

 

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