My 7 Favorite Ways To Cultivate Intimacy In Marriage

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Intimacy in our marriage is vital for our flourishing relationships, but we must recognize that it is far more than just physical. If intimacy is to grow, it must start in the heart. Here are seven ways to cultivate a heart for your spouse and for your relationship today.

When I became a wife at 21 I had many things to learn as I embraced this new role. One of the areas I was challenged to grow in was my understanding of intimacy. I had always defined intimacy as something physical. Whenever I heard the word, I automatically assumed “sex” as the only way to be intimate.

From day one of my marriage, sexual intimacy was our greatest struggle. This area of our relationship was burdened for almost four years. And the frustration we faced from feeling unfulfilled amplified other areas of contention in our marriage.

I did not feel intimate with my husband because we were not being physically intimate. I felt inadequate as a wife and my insecurities only increased over time.

Then God revealed to me that although sex and physical intimacy are important in marriage, it did not fully define “intimacy.” I researched the word intimacy and realized that intimacy is much more than physical. Being intimate with my husband meant offering my whole self, my whole heart to him, making myself known and getting to know him better. It meant building trust as we become familiar with one another, cultivating a strong bond of deep friendship that does not compare with any other relationship.

Distinguishing the truth that intimacy is much more than sex opened my heart to the importance of embracing intimacy with my husband, regardless of our marital issues. Especially because of our marital issues! If we continued on with the ache of feeling like we were only roommates we most likely would have pursued divorce. But God intervened and helped us to gain a better understanding of how to be intimate in marriage. This revolutionized our relationship!

No matter where you are in your season of marriage, I want to encourage you to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be intimate in marriage and why it is vital to initiate and embrace intimacy in your marriage.

Here are my 7 Favorite ways to cultivate intimacy:

1. Don’t be too serious. Tell jokes, play, laugh! Life can definitely present seasons of hardships, but we need to keep a positive perspective to avoid becoming a nagging spouse. Be creative and be willing to have fun amidst the hardships!

2. Do something together.  Find a project you can work on together like a house fix, a hobby, a gift for someone, ect. Being present together will affirm your friendship and will stimulate great conversation as you work side by side.

3. Get physical every day. Even if it is just holding hands! Although I mentioned that intimacy is not just physical, being physical definitely helps couples enter into that place of trust and love.

4. Write your husband a love letter! Affirming your love for your husband can spur a very personal connection with him. Take time to use your words through writing to cultivate intimacy as you open your heart up to him.

5. Pray together every day, especially for your marriage. The most intimate you can be in your relationship with God and your spouse simultaneously is through prayer! Doing this should be a top priority as it will bless your relationship like nothing else could.

6. Go on a hike or watch a sunset and talk about how God is pursuing you both. Part of initiating intimacy is being willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be sure to talk to your spouse about how God is working on your heart.

7. Talk about major issues. Topics to include are faith, the condition of your marriage, future goals, parenting, finances, politics, ect. For some couples talking comes easily and for others it is a source of strain. Pray first and ask God to help you, but you must be willing to engage in meaningful conversation so that you two can get to know each other better!

I hope these encourage you and inspire you to cultivate intimacy with your husband.  If you have more ways of cultivating intimacy in marriage please leave them in the comments below to inspire others!

- Jennifer Smith     Unveiledwife.com

Unveiled Wife

Jennifer Smith began UnveiledWife.com, a web-based ministry for wives, in March 2011. She publishes weekly marriage articles including encouragements, devotions, and prayers of the day. She authored The Unveiled Wife, Wife After God, and 31 Prayers For My Husband. Jennifer is devoted to encouraging wives all around the world to develop God-centered marriages. Connect with Jennifer on social media @unveiledwife!

How to Give Our Children Hope

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Children need hope. How do we, as parents, give it to them? Kids have an innate understanding of when they've done something wrong. Speaking to our kids about their weaknesses and sin is actually an opportunity to give them hope. Read more at The Better Mom!

In a recent interview, Sally Lloyd Jones, author of the Jesus Storybook Bible, offered such simple but profound advice on giving hope to children.  

Here is a just a portion of what she said:

Children look to us for everything. But in all that we’ve given children, have we forgotten to give them hope? Have we left them in despair -- looking at what they should do but don't? Looking at who they should be but aren’t? How do we give hope to children? When we take the focus off them and put it back on God where it belongs. They don’t need to be told to try harder, believe more, do it better. That just leaves them in despair. We need a Rescuer.

I know that many parents struggle with how to talk to their kids about their need for a Rescuer. On so many occasions, I’ve had conversations with parents who ask, “How can I talk to my children about their weaknesses and sin? It doesn’t feel right. I want my children to feel good about themselves.”

Let us not forget that kids have an innate understanding, a God- given conscience, when they’ve done something wrong. And speaking to our kids about their weaknesses and sin is actually an opportunity to give them hope. Yes, hope! Because our sin points us to our only hope—the Rescuer we’ve been given in Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:17–18)

Sin can be explained in several ways, but a few ways that resonate with our children include: sin is breaking God’s law, choosing our way over God’s way, or making something or someone more important than God. It is, in essence, failing to love the Lord and love our neighbor with all of our heart. (Matt 22:36-40) Which, by the way, we all do.

And daily.

When we teach our children what sin is, it is equally important that we teach them that not only does sin always lead to our own sadness, but sin also deeply grieves the heart of God.

But then! We must offer our children the very good news that because of Jesus, they are unconditionally forgiven, accepted, and loved. And that when they confess their sin, God casts it into the depths of the sea, to be remembered no more! (Micah 7:19)

So when we teach our kids how to recognize and confess sin in their life, we must always finish with a drenching of grace.

Yes, sinful is who we are in the flesh- in our fallen nature.

And because of our fallen nature we make choices that are not in line with who God created us to be. Even in our finest moments, our actions, if not our motives, are tainted (Gen. 6:5).

But.

Who we are in Jesus Christ is wholeheartedly loved and accepted children of God.

We can’t out-sin God’s love! (Romans 8:39)

To give our children hope we have to remember how the story ends.

It ends with “You have a Rescuer who loves you and gave His life for you. And when you are in Christ, God looks at you and sees only the perfection of His Son covering you.”

Because of Jesus, we are forgiven and free.  And in that good news, our hope is anchored.

All is grace,

Jeannie
www.jeanniecunnion.com

jeannie cunnion

Jeannie Cunnion is a Jesus lover and a grace clinger. She is the author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child, and her passion is encouraging moms to live in the very real freedom of God's unwavering love (a message her own heart needs to hear daily!). Jeannie has a Master’s degree in Social Work and she serves on the board of Raising Boys Ministries. She also serves as the Council Co-Chairman at Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT, where she enjoys leading parenting groups and Bible studies when she isn’t cheering on her three boys at one of their sporting events alongside her husband, Mike. Jeannie would love to connect with you on her website at www.jeanniecunnion.com.

Bi-Weekly Whole Food Meal Plan for July 5–18

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Welcome to The Better Mom Whole Food Meal Plan.

Summer's here! Time to fire-up the Grill and enjoy flavorful and Fun Summer cookouts. With these "top 10 Best Grilling Tips" and our summer grilling meal plans, you'll discover the secret to easy, healthy meals the whole family will love! 

Summer's here! Time to fire-up the Grill and enjoy flavorful and Fun Summer cookouts. With these "top 10 Best Grilling Tips" and our summer grilling meal plans, you'll discover the secret to easy, healthy meals the whole family will love! 

Our free bi-weekly whole food menus open into a convenient pdf that includes links to each of the gluten-free recipes featured making it easy to access them with just a simple click.

Once you click on the graphics below, you can easily save these gluten-free menus to your computer for easy access anytime you need them. Then, simply click on the links within the meal plan pdf to gain instant access to each of the recipes. (Please note: Many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf document. So be sure to save the meal plans to your computer first.)

July 5–11 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for July 5–11: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

July 12–18 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for July 12–18: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

In addition to the gluten-free meal plans above, we're pleased to provide you with a free meal planning template perfect for creating your own custom meal plans:
• Meal plan template PDF 

To learn more about meal planning, please check out my FREE Video Course: Mastering Meal Planning. My hope is that this will be a great resource and encouragement for you whether you’re just getting started with meal planning, or are a seasoned expert.

Always a treat to share healthy meals with you! Let’s give thanks to the Lord for providing us the opportunity to nourish our families in this way!

Joyfully Serving HIM, Kelly at The Nourishing Home

Pouring Out Requires Filling Up

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As we gathered around tables set with gold, blue, and green chargers topped with china; iced water poured into crystal, flowers brimming over vases, we also noticed several lovely, mismatched little pitchers scattered amongst the setting. Some were plain creamware, others cut-glass, some painted with dainty flowers, others edged in gold.  Joining us at the table set in her kitchen area, Sally Clarkson picked one up and reflected, “We wanted you to take with you a reminder of your need to be filled, as you constantly pour out to your families at home.”

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Words that Shape Hearts for Eternity

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After the final kisses, the final prayers…after the last story book is closed and toes are tucked tightly beneath quilts- I sip my tea. Every night I drink it in, leaning with one ear bent toward the hall- hoping tonight might be just the one where bed time goes off without resistance.  But the creak in the wood below my feet betrays one of my babes headed my direction. 

Up. Again. Deep Breath. 

Peeking from around the corner, almost whispering…"Mom? Will you pray for me again?” 

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How Satan Confuses Women to Disable the Church

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How Satan Confuses Women to Disable the Church

She is sitting quietly in the back row on the end of the isle during women’s Bible study. No one knows that before the teaching begins, she is listening to the Holy Spirit and praying for the power of God’s will to be revealed to each person that sits in the room. She is praying for the speaker, the small groups leaders, and different women sitting around the room as the Spirit of God leads her. And no one knows that among them is a sister who has the gift of intercessory prayer. 

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