Monday, October 29, 2012

Woman How Great Thou Art!

my book is now LIVE!
(Check out the "Woman How Great Thou Art - the book!" page link above for reviews& the latest BUZZ!)

Woman How Great Thou Art

NOW available on Kindle or Nook eBook versions!!
(oh! and you can get a Kindle app for your PC, tablet, ipad and probably anything else for free! so, don't worry if you don't have a kindle - you can still read it!)



CLICK HERE to get to the publisher's site which will lead you to either Kindle or Nook versions.


(Yes, we are aware the cover photo looks bad on the amazon site, they are working on fixing that as we speak!)

Can't wait to hear what you think!! :-)
XOXO,
Theresa



Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


Please SHARE!


follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Embracing my Feminine Genius!

Embracing my Feminine Genius!

Well, your favorite blogger ;-) is beginning another new adventure!

Here's a video to fill you in!  (Make sure to watch it until the end!  That's where the big secret is revealed!)

Yes, I know, many of you have seen it already on Facebook, but for those who haven't ... Enjoy!

Here's To Love!





Oh! & Stay tuned! my book, "Woman, How Great Thou Art" will be released in eBook format soon!  There have been a few delays ... of course!  Patience! :-)
 (Paperback coming in January!)

Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


Please SHARE!


follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I am Woman, LET me Roar.


"I am Woman, LET me Roar."


I am a guest blogger at The Guiding Star Project, check it out!




Oh! & Stay tuned! my book, "Woman, How Great Thou Art" will be released in eBook format in less than a week! (Paperback coming in January!)

Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)

Please SHARE!

follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The World Needs Feminine Women OR Girlie-girls Unite!


The World Needs Feminine Women
OR
Girlie-girls Unite!

(This post is a smidge longer than normal, but the topics themselves could be covered in an entire book!  So, hopefully I go into it enough to pique your interest, but not too much to overwhelm ... hopefully! ;-)

I would never have called myself a “girlie-girl” growing up.  I thought of myself as strong, tough, not frilly.  I was much better at karate than I was at ballet.  Lace and ruffles would never see the light of day on me and my classic blacks resonated that tone.  (It’s funny, I think over half my wardrobe is still black!)

However, lately I’ve seen this phrase in a new light.  G. K Chesterton has a great quote about a thing being most perfect when it is utterly what it is:

 “I like the Cyclostyle ink; it is so inky. I do not think there is anyone who takes quite such a fierce pleasure in things being themselves as I do. The startling wetness of water excites and intoxicates me: the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, the unutterable muddiness of mud. It is just the same with people.... When we call a man "manly" or a woman "womanly" we touch the deepest philosophy.”

To be a “girlie-girl” then is to be who you are as woman in its fullness!  A girl or woman who is completely womanly is perfection.

Now, I’m not about to don ruffles, but it’s embracing the “feminine genius” in yourself as Blessed John Paul II spoke about.  That feminine uniqueness, that womanly spark is a richness that makes her so totally girlie – a woman who exudes womanliness.

The world needs women like this.  Too often, women feel a need to change themselves, to conform to the standards the world has set in order to “fit in” or “succeed.”  Whether it’s altering her appearance (into a no-nonsense businessman to prove she is serious on the one hand or into an object to be lusted after on the other), altering her priorities (putting business ahead of relationships, for example) or even altering her very own feminine body by destroying temporarily or permanently her fertility, she is admitting that she is not good enough. Yet, she IS!



I want to shake my fist at earlier feminists, “WHY DID YOU SETTLE?!!”  Here society was on the verge of a new era and instead of demanding feminine qualities be respected and honored and that society must change in order to do that, they said, “Please! Please! Let us play!”  And the response was, “Well you will have to prove you can be one of us, but fine, I guess.”  So they ran ecstatic into the arms of those they claimed to be rebelling against, casting all femininity aside in order to gain access and power in the corporate and governmental world.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there is a whole level of catastrophe occurring all around us on a deeper, though very basic level.  On a physical level all this suppressing women’s femininity and fertility is dangerous and downright detrimental to our genetic make-up of future generations.  Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel, gives an eye-opening presentation on the BIOLOGY of the Theology of the Body.   Did you know that men and women are different down to our genes?  (The next few paragraphs are just a sampling of what I learned from watching a DVD of hers; for more info, you’ll have to get the DVD yourself!)

For example, we normally say women and men think differently.  Our brains are actually differently formed, so we do, in fact, actually think differently.  You’ve heard the analogy that men think like waffles and women think like spaghetti, right?  Men are very compartmental in their thinking and focus on one thing at a time and even have times where they can blank out.  When men are stressed, they have a beer, watch a game, then are back on track and can hear again.  Women think like spaghetti.  Every thought and concern is always intertwined and she is constantly thinking about several things.

Anthropologically, men were hunters.  They were single-minded, single-issue, highly acute concentration, and not easily distracted, which helped them stay alive and propagate the species.  Women were and are about community, about being interconnected.  We women can keep track of a number of things all at once and even get an emotional lift from interacting with other women.   Thorn says that “women are super highways of emotions and men are country roads.”  Yet, men’s brains are larger, but women’s are more dense having lots of criss-crossing of neurons, many spots of connection.  This is why if women have a stroke, it’s potentially a lot easier for them to recover because there are other connections that can take over.  If a man has a stroke and it hits the language there’s only one other spot of connection in his brain that could help that recover.  This is why it is more difficult for men to recover from traumatic events.

So, down to our biology, we are so VERY different; and, yet! – we were created to complement and physically affect each other.  Vicki explained that we all give off what are called pheromones, molecules of affiliation that our body puts out.  80% of us are capable of perceiving pheromones.  Women pick up the pheromones of other women they are around most frequently and this is why they end up cycling together.  Chemical contraceptives change our pheromones and our response to pheromones on several levels. 

There are different pheromones a woman puts out when she is ovulating and men sense these pheromones.  As the husband and wife live in a monogamous relationship, the man’s testosterone rises and drops with her fertility cycle.  When she is pregnant, his testosterone is at a lower level and he actually becomes more calm, more domestic.  On the same note of affecting each other, the sperm from a monogamous relationship (because it takes around six months for her immune system to accept it) actually acts as a natural anti-depressant for the woman and also has nutrients that improve the health of her uterus and cervix.  Gender is so very important!

There was an interesting study that Ms. Thorn cites (that I will get more details on soon) but it was among apes.  There was one male and many females.  The male ape had three favorite females he would go to for sexual intercourse.  Then the scientists put those three females on hormonal contraception and he abandoned those and chose three others.  Then they put all the females on contraception, and the male’s testosterone levels dropped by 50 %, he began to masturbate excessively and rape violently.  They took all the females off the pill, and the male went back to his three originals and everything went back to normal.

Ms. Thorn also explains how male fertility has decreased 50% since advent of the pill for different reasons.  First, there is estrogen in water system; men have way too much estrogen in their bodies.  Also adding to the problem is the estrogen in meat.  We don’t know what kind of impact this will have, but it is changing all of us.  Second, the pill affects how we perceive pheromones.  If not contracepting, a girl meets a guy and he smells nice.  This is the “first cut” on finding a mate.  This is actually a basic biological reaction that means he’s compatible to her immune system.  (Again, for more details on that, you’ll have to buy one of Vicki’s DVDs!)  If we are among the 20% incapable of perceiving pheromone signals or if we are contracepting, our signals are confused.  We then choose someone not compatible to our immune system and fertility of such a couple is greatly reduced.  The pill also interferes with the mate choice.  Women who are chemically contracepting choose “Mr. High Testosterone”; however, women not on pill, choose someone a little softer, “Mr. Nice Guy.”

Ms. Thorn also cited Alexander Sanger who is Margaret Sanger’s grandson (yes the founder of Planned Parenthood).  Alexander Sanger wrote a book called “Beyond Choice.”  Thorn recalled, “He said in it that ‘the pill is horrendously bad medicine not only to the woman but to society, because we have tipped our fertility in a way we will never recover.’  It isn’t that you wouldn’t love this person, but if you are trying to conceive, you are more likely to have miscarriages, problems conceiving and fertility failures.”  (Just fyi, Mr. Sanger is still a pro-choice advocate and Chair of Int’l PP Council despite his thoughts on the pill.)

I could go on and on, but this is getting long enough! :-)

Ms. Thorn believes that having a population heavily male in the majority (like China because of the sex selection abortions) will lead to war.  So much testosterone without the balance of the feminine is dangerous.  Humankind was created to have slightly more women than men, and we are messing the proper balance of the human race.

This physical/ bodily reality echoes back to the moral reality of women living out their feminine genius to balance society.  Perhaps, one day, we could create a more balanced culture, one which balances masculine and feminine, one which compassion and understanding rank higher than self-asserting pride and aggression.  Is it any wonder that societies in which the women are almost completely covered are also the most aggressive?

Let us raise up women, not to just play the game but to change the rules! It is time to unleash your inner girlie-girl!



Oh! & Stay tuned! my book, "Woman, How Great Thou Art" will be released in eBook format in just 7 days! (Paperback coming in January!)


Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)



Please SHARE!

follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

Monday, October 1, 2012

“Filioque” the KEY to Marriage OR “Filio-what the heck are you talking about?”


“Filioque” the Key to Marriage
OR
“Filio-what the heck are you talking about?”

(Okay, you know you are a theology nerd when you have a “Filioque” revelation in the shower! But bear with me, this is very cool!)

A smidge of Church history: did you know that the first big schism in the Church was in the year 1054 between the Western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church?  At the top of their list of disputes was the argument over one Latin word: Filioque, which means “and the Son.”

As we state in the Nicene creed, the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.”  The Eastern Church thought this ridiculous because any object can only have ONE source, ONE origin.  No object can have two sources; there had to be one, original source.  So, they believed that God the Father is the one source of both the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Western Roman Catholic argued (St. Augustine really helped to clarify this) that it was the unity of the Father and the Son that was the one source from which the Holy Spirit proceeded.  That union was so great it became the ONE source.

Shamrocks were used to help describe the Holy Trinity: 3 Persons and 1 God

This is absolutely vital when understanding marriage.  The lure of our secular world, and in fact the temptation of the flesh is to choose one leader, to seek power.  It always leads to the question “who is in charge?” or “when it comes down to it, who makes the final call?”  This questioning further fuels the battle of the sexes and an attitude of “get yours before it’s gone.”

But that is looking for the “one source” and missing the answer that “Filioque” gives us, which demolishes the battle before it begins.  This key of “Filioque” shows us that the Father and the Son, two separate Persons, form a unity so complete that it is a one source.  In the same way, we cannot look at husband and wife in terms of weighing merits, skill sets or value, to determine who is “number one.”  It is in the UNITY that their family will find a leader!

She in her beautiful femininity complement him in his rugged yet compassionate masculinity, not ever understanding each other completely, but respecting each other’s uniqueness.  It is not in “who is better?” but in the celebration of the uniqueness of each gender that true love, true unity can be formed.  And in THAT unity your children, your friends, your family find a life-giving ONE source of leadership, strength and sacrament, a physical reflection of the invisible reality of the Triune Love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.



Oh! & Stay tuned! my book, "Woman, How Great Thou Art" will be released in eBook format in just 14 days! (Paperback coming in January!)


Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)



Please SHARE!
follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just for Fun!

Just for FUN, I'd love to share with you our family's blog!

We have switched to a mainly plant-based diet, and it's great!  Because I don't think people realize how easy it is, I posted a series of photos walking through our favorite recipe: Cream of Broccoli Soup!

ENJOY!

http://martinminutes.blogspot.com/2012/09/cream-of-broccoli-soup.html

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary


Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

(I had begun this post on the feast of the Queenship of Mary, but perhaps it is just as beautiful to be given as a birthday present to our Mother.  Happy Birthday, heavenly Mama!)

Are you getting the feeling this is going to be a rather Catholic post?  You are so smart!  I know there are many of you reading this who are not Catholic; however, you might actually get more out of it than the Catholic followers!

The thing is, there are some pretty deep misunderstandings about the Catholic Church’s opinion on women as of late and from a Catholic perspective, I thought I’d give a whack at setting a couple things straight. (No, I’m not the pope, so my authority in these matters is probably questionable.  I did study Catholic theology for eight years and have written a book on the matter – set to be released in eBook form next month, check it out! – “Woman, How Great Thou Art.”  I know, I know, shameless plug. ;-)  But seriously, my knowledge is founded in Scripture, papal writings and Church documents.  If you have a question about some part of it, just ask and I can give you the source.)
If you really give me a hard time, I'll have to send Louis, oh! I mean Wolverine! after you! ;-)

So, here we go.  From watching the news, talk shows, reading the paper, you kind of get the feeling that the Catholic Church is really behind the times when it comes to women’s issues.  Somehow, because women cannot be priests, and because the Church does not condone hormonal contraceptives nor abortion, that somehow it views women as less than men.  This creates a vision that the Church wants to keep women in the kitchen, hold them back, and thinks they are not good enough to hold the clerical position.

I can hear you, “and you’ll say that’s wrong, and the Church does all these things because she loves women.  We get it; you’ve drunk the koolaid.”  Yes!  Exactly!  But no, no mindless koolaid drinking here.  Every argument against the Catholic Church when it comes to women can be summed up in one word: Mary.

“Oh,” you say, “you mean the humble, oh-so-pious young girl, who looks annoyingly meek and never raises her eyes, who is always submissive?”  Haha, no.  I mean the young girl who had the guts to say yes to a heavenly being and accept the gift of the Son of God in her womb, a young girl who knew what scorn and scandal she would bring on herself by being pregnant outside of marriage, but said yes anyway, a young girl who rebelled against the norm in her complete surrender to God, a young girl who held within her womb the very being of God.



God could’ve chosen any avenue to save His people.  He could have merely become an adult man, it was not outside His power.  Yet, He chose to come to earth through a woman.  God chose to become a fetus, to let the very first home of His incarnate Self be a woman’s uterus.  Every child has genes from his mother and father.  The only human genes Christ received where that of a woman.

God elevated all of womanhood in choosing Mary to be the mother of God.  Yet, He took it a step further in honoring her Queenship in heaven.  There is no other human being who reigns in heaven.  No other Saint nor pope nor prophet is held in as high esteem as Mary.  Christ is the King, but He is also God.  The only fully human person who rules in heaven is a woman.

And every pope, every Saint, every Catholic begs for her prayers and guidance.  It is a woman that is held in such admiration.  If it seems that the Church is saying “no” to certain things, it is only because she knows that women deserve better.  Women are so respected that the Church does not want to be a part of breaking down her fertility, dismantling her feminine parts.  The world needs to change to see her femininity not as a setback but as highly dignified; it is the world’s mindset that should be forced to change, not the woman.



“But!  But!  The priesthood!”  Ah, yes, the all male priesthood.  Well, I have an answer for that, and it will probably surprise you.  But you’ll have to get my book to hear that one! ;-)

Let’s hear it for woman, who so totally rules!  
Mary, our mother, happy birthday, dear Queen!



Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)


Please SHARE!
follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Busy, Busy! Stay Tuned!!!

I have been missing you!  I have many half-written articles waiting and begging for me to return to them and complete them, but I have not been able to get back to it yet.

But I will THIS WEEKEND!  Stay tuned for "Why the World NEEDS Feminine Women" and "Queenship of Mary: what the Catholic Church really thinks of Women" and "I am Woman, LET Me Roar!"

In the meantime, check out this GREAT article, by Leah Jacobson, foundress of The Guiding Star Project.

The Clash of the Catholic Feminists


You can click on the title to link to the full article, here are some excerpts:

"After reading an article tonight on CNN about the Catholic nun who brought her “star power” to the DNC, I just couldn’t help but express my utter bewilderment by their use of the words “Catholic” and “Feminist” to describe this woman. When I hear the term Catholic Feminist, I see a completely different woman than Sr. Simone Campbell.  I see the women of The New Feminism Movement. Such women as Pia De Solenni, Janet Smith, Dr. Angela Franks, Helen Avare JD atWomen Speak for Themselves, Marjorie Campbell and all the contributors at New Feminism, the smart gals over at IuseNFP.com, Theresa Martin from New Feminism Rising,  Jess Smith from NFPworksblog.com, Kristin Detloff atLivingtheSacrament.com, and the list could go on and on. The Catholic women I see who identify themselves as Feminists look nothing like Sr. Simone."
...
"There is indeed a new wave of Feminism rising. It looks nothing like Sr. Simone Campbell. It is a hopeful and positive view of women and their abilities and when the swells of its message reach the ears of mainstream America we will see those who would support the destruction of the feminine gifts relegated to the ranks of  true misogynists."
POWERFUL stuff, Leah!!!  We are so proud to have you in the New Feminism movement!

STAY TUNED FOR MORE... my apologies for being away, but if you want to know what I've been doing...my first newspaper, done.  I am the new Associate Editor and Communications Specialist for the Diocese of Winona.  The Courier is our diocesan paper.



Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)

Please SHARE!
follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NFP is at the Heart of New Feminism!


It’s NFP Awareness Week!

Did you know it was NFP Awareness Week?  Well, you do now!  I just wanted to create a short post here to connect you with all the things that are going in the NFP world!

Living The Sacrament


What is NFP?  I’m so glad you asked!  NFP (natural family planning) is a natural way for a woman to chart her fertility cycles.  Through this method, she is able to know when she is fertile and when she is infertile.  She is also able to see right away if any problems arise and actually can go to NFP knowledgeable doctors to care for and solve the problem.  (Many doctors use the “pill” or oral contraceptives to “solve” menstrual problems; however, in reality, it is only masking over the problem.  This is why some refer to it as the “bandaid effect” of the pill.)



This is also great for spacing children!  My husband and I have 4 wild little boys, but we actually waited four years after we were married before having children.  (We discerned that living as starving grad students in Italy was not the best environment for a baby!)  And we only used NFP all that time – it really DOES WORK!



What a better sign of the New Feminism than to celebrate, become knowledgeable of, and embrace a woman’s fertility and femininity!  Her body is beautiful!  Her fertility is not a disease! 

NFP is cheap, drug/ hormone free & marriage building, but don’t just take my word for it! 


Great Sites and Resources – to build YOUR AWARENESS of this amazing New Feminist tool:
For AWESOME, edgy pics to use on your social media pages: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.265098176924496.42543.210800962354218&type=3

For Info about “What IS going on in the NFP World?”
http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/9651/Top-5-NFP-Happenings.aspx (this article has lots of sub articles too!  So be sure to click all around and learn!!)

For basic, easy to understand info on the science of NFP:

For more in depth info 
(AND if you have OB/GYN health concerns! Paul VI Institute uses nfp to care for and HEAL the woman’s actual problems.  They call it FertilityCare and have invented NaProTechnology – amazing miracles happening for women here!)

NaProTechnology: 
LOOK at this chart which shows how much MORE effective NaPro is than any of the IVF procedures!!

A BRAND NEW Book for non-medical people (like us!) – Can’t wait to get this one!!
“The NaProTechnology Revolution: Unleashing the POWER in a woman’s cycle” – What every woman has a right to know about her body...her health...her future!

Another SASSY NFP site that is edgy and true (and LOADS of FUN!): 
1Flesh – Bring Sexy Back.

Here are 6 Incentives to Choose NFP:

And with all this INFO going around – HOW ABOUT A PRIZE DRAWING?!!
The IuseNFP site just launched a NEW site and are having a “Grand Opening Give-away”!  Check it out!


Every woman deserves to know how and why her body does what it does.  Because I chart my cycles, I was able to see a huge shift after being on my new ETL food plan!  My cycles have always been irregular, but after this plant-based diet for 6 months, they normalized!  From waking temps, to fertile signs, to length of the cycle – it all changed!  I would NEVER have known that if I had been taking oral contraceptives.  Plus, we eat everything as organic as possible – why would I want to then pump ME full of hormones?!  Just two more stats to leave you with as you celebrate NFP and help others grow in awareness too:

1. The divorce rate of NFP practicing couples is LESS than 2%!  (The national average divorce rate is above 50%.)
2. Couples using NFP report having sex more frequently than their contracepting peers (Some are concerned about the time of abstinence from sex during the fertile phase if you discern to postpone pregnancy at this time.  But the communication NFP cultivates, builds your love and intimacy, and you have a honeymoon stage every month!)

MORE Resource Sites!
Edith Stein Foundation: http://www.edithsteinfoundation.org/
The Guiding Star Project:
http://theguidingstarproject.com/
Living The Sacrament: http://livingthesacrament.com/
New Feminism Movement: www.facebook.com/NewFeminism 




Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)

Please SHARE!
follow me on Twitter!! @newfeminism

And simply because I can’t resist here’s one more photo! (sorry for the language, but I think a little spunk every now and then is a good thing!)



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

30 Ways to Inspire Your Marriage







30 Ways To Inspire Your Marriage!
(note: this is written from a Catholic/Christian perspective, but most of it is valid for any marriage!)

In the beautiful relationship of marriage, a couple has a unique ability to build up or tear down their beloved in a profound way.  The ones who we love can touch us most deeply.  This is why it is important to be reminded of the hundred little ways we can love and enrich the life of our spouse: if we take our eyes off the ball, even without a real negative action, just the lack of a loving one can cause hurt in our loved one.
    
Unity is the key to having a happy, fulfilling marriage.  When a husband and wife are truly united, they can face anything, overcome any obstacle and keep a joyful control in their family (despite the unending mutiny attempts by their children!).  Unity hinges on love, which is bound to communication.  One cannot be unified to another if they feel rejected, depressed or distant from their beloved.  What you will see in these little “ways” are examples of communication, expressing love (which must be communicated – verbally, physically or emotionally – to be felt), and fun ideas to bring your level of unity and intimacy even deeper. 
   
Our marital unity comes from the joining of two individuals, whose individual needs must be cared for or there can be no unity.  One more thought before the list, there are five levels of communication & with each level, comes more vulnerability (revealing more about oneself) and therefore a deeper intimacy:  1) cliché or small talk, 2) sharing of facts, 3) sharing of opinions, 4) sharing of feelings, & 5) sharing of needs.  The deeper the level of communication is, the more intimate the relationship will be.  A married couple should practice communicating in the last two levels (at least once a day).  This is especially true since we will only feel truly loved if our deepest needs are met
Our needs can only been met when we learn what they are, how to articulate them and how to respond to our spouse articulating his or her needs.

So, without further ado, 30 Ways To Inspire Your Marriage!

1.  Have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself.  Make jokes (though avoid negative humor that can tear each other down); having inside jokes that are you & your spouse’s secret laughter is so fun and unifying!

2.  Flirt.  Be playful!  Think about what you said/ did when you were first dating.  (It might be worth it to have a fun redo of the very first date you ever went on!  Try to remember what you said, what you did – it will make you laugh for sure!)

3.  Schedule a “date night” once a week.  Come hell or high water, you’ve GOT to have it.  (Because THIS is where the communicating happens and begins to blossom despite our busy life!) Can’t afford to go out?  Not a problem!  Just plan one night a week when after the kids are in bed, you don’t do anything else, but sit and talk (well, maybe have a glass of wine too!).

4.  Food.  Do you know your wife’s or husband’s favorite thing to eat?  It goes a long way to show the care and appreciation of knowing their favorite thing and making it for him or her. (Or buying it! ;-)

5.  Pray.  Pray together and on your own.  (A Christian marriage calls both husband and wife to “be subject to one another out of reference for Christ.”[i]  No spouse is boss of the other, they are servants and lovers of each other and let Christ be the boss.  But how can He be the boss of your marriage if you don’t know Him?)

6.  Forgive readily.  (Sometimes it’s important to say the words “I forgive you.”  Saying, “it’s okay” could allow the possibility of bringing back this discussion at another time when you’re ticked at him or her again.  But saying “I forgive you” relinquishes the right to bring it back, and that’s why it is so healing for a relationship.  It gives the security that your wife or your husband is loved – unconditionally.) 

7.  Eliminate hurtful criticism.  (There is so much good that your spouse does for you!  If something does need to be pointed out, sandwich any criticism in between praise.  But most of the time, he or she already knows what they’ve done wrong and are just looking for forgiveness, acceptance and love…)

8.  Text away!  (texting can be a way to keep you laughing, keep you flirting, keep you united even while apart without it having to be a formal phone call or even email.)

9-13.  Do one small thing working towards fulfilling your spouse’s deepest emotional need.   
Seems like a loaded one right?  Ah, but here’s the thing: “Most conflicts are caused by spouses feeling that their primary emotional needs are not being met.  The primary emotional need for a woman is security – not necessarily financial security but a sense of security that stems from knowing that she is truly first in her husband’s thoughts, priorities and affections.  The primary emotional need for a man is a sense of adequacy – a feeling adequate to the task of being a good husband, father, provider, lover or whatever other role is important to him.
“When a wife senses she is no longer first in her husband’s life, she tends to criticize and attack those activities or persons who are usurping her place.  Faced with such criticism, many husbands respond by feeling very inadequate and either erupt in anger or withdraw emotionally from the relationship which effectively fans the flames of the wife’s feelings of insecurity. The wife’s pursuit of her sense of security and a husband’s need to assert his adequacy can create a downward spiral that explodes in bitter conflict. 
“Understanding this pattern and being able to verbalize our unmet needs can help to douse the flames of a raging conflict and lead to a deeper understanding.”[ii]

[so, let’s unpack what that would look like!]


Ladies:
9.  When your husband gets home from work (or when you get home – the first time you see him after a day’s work let’s say), let concern for how he is doing, affection and appreciation be the first thing he receives from you.  (When was the last time you told your husband you appreciated his work?  Or is your first thought when he gets home, “here take a kid” or “how could you forget ____!” ?  Do you look to get your break first or to find out about his day?)

10.  Pray for God’s eyes.  God sees only goodness and beauty.  Ask God for His vision of your husband’s goodness and great qualities.

11.  Tell him!  We know you appreciate your man’s style of being a husband and all the little things he does around the house to make it better for you and your family, does he know it?  Tell him!

12.   Whether voicing it out loud, writing notes, or scribbling with lipstick on your mirror, let him know you still find him attractive and sexy!  (Let him know he is well “up to the task”.  Because men do more initiating sexually, women can take it for granted that they feel adequate in the area of sex.  They think “well, we made love didn’t we?  That affirms him!”  But not always.  Just the simplest comments go a long way to building up your man.)

13.  When you see him struggle, affirm his efforts and encourage him.  (Be careful not to give advice, unless asked for, because this can feel like you don’t think he’s doing a good job.)

Men:
9.  When you are involved in one of the activities that keeps you separate from your wife, maintain contact!  Text her in the middle of the day (ex. “I love you! just sayin’ ;-)” or “miss you! this is so boring!”), send her an email, call her – just to check in and affirm in her mind she IS numero uno in your life.

10.  When you get home at the end of the day, let kissing your wife be the VERY first thing you do!  (Yep, that’s right.  Before taking care of the yard, the dog, the house, the kids, changing your clothes, even putting your things away…let HER be #1!)

11.  Respond, don’t react.  (When she is nagging you, which yes – she should work to avoid, but when she is, work hard to see beyond it.  She is really missing your attention and feeling insecure in her position in your life.  Resist the urge to retaliate; let her know how much you love her.)

12.  Before planning a night with the guys or a guy get-away, check with her.  (This lets her know that her concerns are first in your life, even above your best guy friends.)

13.  Remember, plan, and prepare for Date Night.  (When you work at putting your wife and your marriage first, both will be filled with joy!)

**************** 

14.  Use “I” statements when communicating with each other.  (Avoid “you” statements.  Avoid, “why do you waste so much time watching tv?” say instead, “I feel pushed aside like I’m not first in your life when you spend so much of your free time watching tv.”)

15 – 20: Ideas for Date Nights! (IDN)  [caution! The Date Night atmosphere should be a “safe zone”.  Where you or your spouse can share whatever and be met only with love, acceptance & forgiveness if needed…and maybe flirtatious laughter.  This will come a little easier to the ladies than to the men, but it is really important for unity in your marriage.  It’s also important for the wife’s level of security, if she knows that she can bring things up in Date Night she doesn’t feel a pending doom over her relationship whenever something is not quite right.  She is at peace, knowing she will be able to share her thoughts and feelings; she feels cared for.]

15.  IDN: Dream together.  Share ideas of what you want your life together to look like in 10, 20, 30 years from now.  (Jotting them down would be fun too!  You could even add doodling of little hearts and such…wait, no…that’s just for me. ;-)

16.  IDN: From your dreams, which are truly dreams you yearn for – that you would be sad if it never happened?  Share those and ways you could together take steps now to make them a reality.

17. IDN:  “Ten Statement Autobiography”.  (If someone wanted to know you, what are the ten most essential things he/she would have to know about you?  In these statements please don’t include obvious external facts that anyone would know.   Rather they should reveal the person you are hiding behind the masks and cover-ups.  What is your deepest reality?  Let these statements reveal fears, hopes, trials, joys, circumstances and perceptions which make you the unique person you are.  To READ them: exchange statements.  Read it TWICE.  Once with your head, once with your heart.  And dialogue about them.  You take one at a time. Ex) husband talks about the wife’s statements.  Not to discuss, dispute or question the statements! But ONLY to understand them and how your beloved feels about it…and how much you love him or her… and when the wife feels he completely understands what she wrote, then and only then it is her turn to understand his.)

18.  IDN:  “I” method practice. (Answer the questions, and share as above, reading twice and understanding… 1. I feel grateful when you _________.  2. When I think of our future, I feel _________.  3. Lately I have felt some anxiety about _______________ because ___________.  4. An emotion I have trouble sharing with you is ________ I usually feel this emotion when _________.  5. I feel close and connected with you when _________.)

19. IDN:  “Hot Spot Sharing” (This one is sensitive, so only go there when there is no tension from anything else.  We all have “hot spots” areas that when brought up strike a sensitive nerve & creates an emotional response – which happens so reactively, almost before we know it!  In marriage, it’s helpful to know these hot spots so we might be sensitive to them.   1. What are some of my hot spots?   2. What are some of my spouse’s hot spots?  3. How does your “hot spot” affect your self-worth?  Ex) when you tease me about my weight (hot spot), I feel sexually unattractive (self worth).  I feel _________ when you _____________.  Remember: this is not a judgment on your spouse, but a sharing of a deep feeling.  Refrain from saying, “but I think you look beautiful! I was just kidding!”   It’s not about the intent; it’s about the feeling of the person sharing.)

20. IDN:  Share deeper ideas.  (What do I think about God? How do I feel about my answer?  WDITA death? HDIFAMA?  WDITA being open to having more children? HDIFAMA? WDITA the problem we are arguing about? HDIFAMA? etc!… all these should be written out ahead of time and then exchanged at DN, maybe over dinner?  Read twice, etc.)

21.  Be respectful.  Say please and thank you.  (You would be surprised how often we take for granted the ones we love the dearest.  A little respect goes a long way!)

22 – 25 Sexual Intimacy.  (Showing your love through your sexual intimacy is another way you communicate your love to your spouse.  It is an extension of your communication & unity that you two have in every other area of your life.  As they say, if you aren’t communicating well in the kitchen, you won’t be communicating well in the bedroom!  Your sexual relationship is personal, deep & binding.  It will be up to you two to communicate about it, but here are a few ideas to inspire your love.)

22.  Breathe a sigh of relief; you’re different from each other and it’s okay.  In fact, it’s better than that – it’s perfectly beautiful!  (So often women can say things like “why does he think like that?  he has such a one track mind!”  Or men also, “she’s just too sensitive and too emotional!”  Learn to appreciate the ways that your wife or your husband is different than you.  And you are not weird nor messed up.  We just were created differently.  Real quick let’s look at some of those difference in this area (to affirm to you that you are not alone!): 
                Men: more physical, compartmentalized, seeks physical oneness and sex is a high priority.  Women: more relational, wholistic, seek emotional oneness, other priorities may be higher.  Men: are stimulated by sight, body fragrance & are body-centered.  Women: are stimulated by touch, attitudes, action, words & are person-centered.  Men: need respect, admiration, to be physically needed & physical release.  Women: need understanding, love, to be emotionally needed & time.  A man’s sexual response is quick excitement, usually initiates, difficult to distract.  A woman’s sexual response is slow excitement, usually is the responder, easily distracted.  A man’s orgasm is (did I just go there?…oh man, yep…) to propagate species, is shorter, more intense, is physically oriented, and he nearly always reaches it.  A woman’s orgasm is to propagate oneness, is longer, more in depth, is emotionally-oriented, and satisfaction is possible without reaching it. And that’s just the way God made us!  And each has its own dignity and worthiness!  So let’s change our language to, ‘I might never understand how he can think that way/ or how she can feel that way, but I admire and love that about him/her!’)[3]

23.  Pillow Talk.  Let your spouse know what you like, what you don’t (in a non-critical way).  It’s the only way he or she can learn to express their love in a better way.  (Oh, and listen! to what your spouse says ;-)

24.  Sex is self-giving, not self-seeking.  Often sex is dismissed as merely an activity like playing tennis.  You do it because it feels good.  But the gift of sex in marriage ought to be a loving act – a physical communication of your love.  Love doesn’t use someone else for their own pleasure but seeks to do what is best for the beloved first.  PRAY with and for your spouse that you may both continue to understand on a deeper level the great gift of your bodies to each other.

25.  Sex is a renewal of your wedding vows.  So let it be freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully given!  Be present to the person you are with; let nothing come between you!  Discuss what this means to you and your marriage during DN.

26.  Go on an annual marriage retreat.  This would not be a vacation or resort, but a retreat for you both to focus on your love and your marriage.

27.  Receive the Sacraments – particularly confession and the Eucharist.  (there is nothing like purity of heart to give you a fresh look, a fresh love for your spouse!)  note: for non-Catholics, making a good confession of your sins to God and joining in your Church’s service every Sunday is imperative!

28.  Learn your spouse’s love language.  (From the book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman, there are languages of touch, quality time, gift giving, words of affirmation & acts of service.[4]  It’s difficult to learn a new language – especially when you’ve only spoken one your whole life!  But you CAN do it!  And work to understand without critique and appreciate your spouse’s efforts!  Sometimes the smallest gesture in a different love language takes the most effort.)

29.  Learn when your spouse just needs a break.  (ex) guys, you can speak her love language til you're blue in the face, but she might just need you to change a diaper and do the dishes to fill her “love tank” up!  Or ladies, you might have a long “honey do” list for your man, but he might just like an evening with you or just to sit and drink a beer and not. move. from. the. chair…just to get the stress off.  You are each other’s lovers and protectors – not in a controlling way but in a cherishing way.  Don’t let your beloved get burnt out, step up and help out.)

30.  Remember your common passion.  You didn’t fall in love because you were so different; you fell in love because you connected on some level.  As they say, “friendship starts after the words ‘me too!’”  What passion do you share?  What dream do you share for the future?  For your life together?  What philosophy on life do you both adhere to?  Discuss it.  Empower it.  Cherish it.  And your unity and love will grow ever deeper.

Bonus!
31. The more you give, the more you receive.  Love finds its fulfillment when you give it away.  Each human person finds the fulfillment of who you are meant to be, when you give of yourself to another out of love.  The more you give in love, the more your spouse’s heart will be filled and will respond in kind.  And God’s blessings will abound! J


Now you see why I only did 30!  I have more but it would have been way too long!!! J  I hope you enjoyed that.  lol!

Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours!  (Please comment below!  And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the discussion.  Thank You!)

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[i] Eph 5:12
[ii] Tate, Lloyd and Jan.  In Home Marriage Preparation.  Pg 68.
[3] Tate pg 92.
[4] You can take your Love Language Test Online! http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

How I came to write this:
There was a post going around on facebook and twitter about “50 Ways to Inspire Your Husband”.  I read it and was unsettled.  Some of the ideas were fine, even good, but something was awry.  The more I thought about it, the more I did not like that list, because it was fundamentally incorrect.  It seemed to be focused on the husband in a singular, autonomous way.  Almost in a selfish way (just a hair to that side, but it’s there), like we would find in many of the American self-help themed books.  It’s “he needs to find his dream, do his thing when he wants to, feel great about being him, and be applauded all the way” attitude.
Now, hold on!  I am not opposed to women appreciating, applauding, supporting, inspiring or encouraging their husbands.  I am all for it!  But I do believe all the support and love a woman can give her man should be to bring out the best in him, and the best in them.  Sometimes the best in him would not be giving him enough time to “do whatever he wants”, but perhaps creating a loving environment that makes the self-giving side of family life more beautiful and enriching. 
Marriage is not two individuals hanging out and being their best individual selves under the same roof.  It is a real unity of the two.  The marriage itself takes on life!  So, inspiring your husband ought to be towards that same unifying end not merely his successful, autonomous self.
So, with that reflection, I thought, “It’s so silly when people complain and don’t do anything about it.  I should write a new list.”  And here is the result, it’s only 30, because it was getting way too long and they are jam-packed points, but anyway…I hope you enjoyed it!