Discover Real Intimacy – Awaken Love Book

Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage

Releases TODAY on Amazon!!

God has changed me in so many ways. Sometimes I worry that I will forget how far I’ve come – from a wife afraid to fail and content to fill her life with activities and busyness, to a confident, sensual, beautiful woman constantly seeking more intimacy with her husband and with God. I want to remember; to dig deep and stand in awe of what God has done in my life, and in the lives of the women in class. Today my new book Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage releases on Amazon. I pray that through it you will not only have a better understanding of God’s design for sex, but that you will encounter Jesus’s redeeming love.

It feels both exciting and terrifying as I release a part of myself into the world. In Awaken Love I share my story about discovering the importance of sex, but I also reveal the battles I have faced along the way. Intimate sex does not come easily or naturally. In a world filled with lies and brokenness I had to uncover God’s truth and healing to claim freedom. I had to open myself up to new experiences, learn about my body, and start talking about sex with my husband. Deep intimacy comes with vulnerability. I could not have done it without depending on Jesus.

What Awaken Love Is

I wrote Awaken Love to help wives discover the sex life God wants for them. Though God created men and women very different, God wants wives to enjoy and cherish sex as much as their husbands. In fact, wives have important things to bring to the table, or should I say the marriage bed. Wives will stretch their husband to move beyond the mechanics of sex toward intimate connection. Though Awaken Love is written to women, the book is packed with stories and information that will help a husband understand God’s design for sex, the battles his wife faces, and how her body works. Awaken Love offers an honest look into how to create real intimacy in marriage, so you can find freedom in the marriage bed.

Filled with relatable stories and practical examples, the book will challenge you to move beyond head knowledge to heart knowledge. Discussion questions throughout the chapters will encourage you to bring sex out of the silence and start talking with your husband, friends or even your kids. Action Items at the end of each chapter will help you take steps of growth. The book is not theoretical it is real life.

Awaken Love offers everything women need to create the sex life they want; from understanding God’s design for sex, to unraveling the lies, baggage and brokenness that impact their freedom. With practical examples the book will equip you to both communicate and create excitement using words. The book will educate women about their bodies, how to make intercourse connecting and even different delights that create fun and excitement. Along the way we dive into the importance of feeling wanted and desired. When we change ourselves, we can change the message of sex for the next generation.

Final Thoughts

I have witnessed God’s transformation countless times when I teach classes to women and watch them awaken to the truth about sex. As I share my story and the stories of women in class, I pray that you will understand the power of sex to create intimacy. But more than that, I pray that you will understand how much Jesus loves you.

 

 

Get your copy of Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage

p.s. If you live in the Twin Cities I would love to have you join me for my book release party on Friday Sept 21. Please RSVP on Eventbrite 

The Joy of Sharing Life

My husband and I are very different. We have different tastes, passions, and even things that we love during sex. As I have matured, I am learning the joy of sharing life. I find pleasure in  seeing delight in my husband’s eyes. I don’t try to convince myself to fall in love with something just so we can have common interests. I have fallen in love with seeing my husband’s love of life.

My Husband’s Passion

Recently my husband and I went on our annual getaway and Jim had an agenda in mind. He wanted to go to Watkins Glen race track in New York. To be honest, the thought of going to a car race used to make me bristle. That was part of Jim’s old life, with old friends about makes, models, and racers that I had no interest in. Sitting at a track in uncomfortable stands, listening to cars so loud that you couldn’t even hear each other speak, was not my idea of quality time.

But as we entered the track on Saturday, I watched Jim’s face. The face of a little boy, so excited that he forgot everything else. Sucking in the smell of unburned hydrocarbons reminded him of sweet times spent at the track with his brother that died far too young.  We spent the day looking at old cars displayed on the inside of the track. I marveled as he sparked conversation after conversation about the _____ on the _____  from the _____. With my encouragement he shelled out the dough for his souvenir t-shirt and we waited for the autograph he sought. I don’t have to enjoy the races, I just need to enjoy seeing my man happy. I want to see a piece of his world.

Differences

My husband and I are different. On vacation Jim loved the car race, while my favorite part of the trip was hiking the Watkins Glen State Park and marveling at God’s creation. When I ask my husband to share about his life, conversations usually revolve around work because that is where he spends his days. I spend my days talking about classes, writing and what I am learning about sex. Just like the rest of life, learning to enjoy sex has required us to give and take. I don’t want to just have sex the way that I want to have sex. Sometimes I want to see the delight of a husband that gets what he wants, and that has required growth from both of us.

Differences in Sex

My husband has certain activities during sex that he loves. It has taken a conscious effort for me to fall in love with the spooning position that provides no eye contact and little clitoral stimulation. Learning to enjoy doggie position  required me to face my fear that my husband was an animal and instead enter the eroticism of power. Other positions have required that I face my own insecurities or lies about the role of women during sex. But just as important, I have learned to like the activities my husband likes, simply because he loves them.  When he shows his delight, I get excited. That is the power of connection during sex. His arousal drives my arousal, and mine drives his.

But the give and take of sharing life is a two-way street, even during sex. My husband has stretched to enjoy what delights me. Jim has learned to use words before or during sex. He speaks what he wants to do to me, or makes up a scenario that I will find exciting. Jim has expanded his repertoire and mixes things up because I like variety. When I shake off one thing, he heads a new direction. He is more in tune to my body, sometimes moving slow and connected to let me catch up. Even the little things like turning on the twinkle lights helps me to enjoy sex, and he loves it because I love it.

Final Thoughts

Marriage involves lots of give and take, but we aren’t supposed to lose ourselves in the process. Your husband may not love car racing, or like the same things during sex that my husband does, but he should have his own desires. If we want to know our husband then we need to embrace who they are. We don’t just keep compromising and giving up our own passions. We boldly share our life with the person  we love, but also learn to enjoy our spouse’s enthusiasm. I love that God created my husband so different than me. He has shown me a whole new world.

Practicalities of Talking About Sex in the Church

The world is screaming at us about sex. Non stop sexual advertising, pornography, TV shows and movies all constantly communicate the worlds standards and ideas. The church remains shockingly silent. Which in itself communicates something about sex, doesn’t it?The only way for the church to take sex back for the world is to start talking about sex. And not just in vague spiritual ways. People are looking for real answers!

You don’t wait for your pastor to lead the charge. They have their own brokenness they are dealing with. If you know and understand God’s truth about sex, then you need to start talking about sex. With your kids, your friends, and people  you mentor. We have to speak the truth about sex , but how?

I want to share some things I’ve learned from the past six years of teaching and writing about sex in the church, in hopes that it will give you the courage to start talking.

Depersonalize

Most conversations can be depersonalized. You don’t need to share specific details about you and your spouse Rather you can talk in terms of,” most men or women…. “  To communicate empathy, you could say something like, “a lot of us have trouble with….” Talk in terms of general categories like men,women or Christians.

Educate don’t Prescribe – we are all unique

Every single person and couple are unique. We come with different baggage, insecurities and even physical bodies. What works great for you may not for someone else. Our job is not to prescribe or convince but to educate and let individuals discern what is right for them. Don’t start giving people “you shoulds“.

Use personal stories  – only when it helps them understand.

Sharing your own personal stories of struggle can be a great way to encourage others and to help them understand what you have learned. Share in general ways and filter everything through God and what He has taught you.

Focus on yourself, not your spouse

Always focus on yourself and what you’ve learned, not on your spouse. Always shift the focus from their frustration with their spouse, to what they can do different. Don’t ever take sides because you have only heard one side of the story.

Avoid first person – they should not be able to visualize you and your husband

When talking about the physical aspects of sex, always avoid speaking in first person, as if you are telling a story. What you say should not cause someone to visualize what you and your husband do in your marriage bed. Don’t say things like, ” The other night I was ….

If you can’t say it in person, then don’t say it.

Years ago, I woke up in a panic when I realized I had taken readers into my marriage bed by describing a scene. After retracting the article, I wrestled with where the lines are when I write about sex. I decided that I should never write something that I was not willing to say face to face with someone else. If I can’t teach it in a class, then I shouldn’t write it. Though you may not write about sex, many of us communicate using text or social media. Be very careful and don’t say what you aren’t willing to say in person.

Final Thoughts

People are looking for answers in the area of sexuality and it is a huge opportunity to minister to others. Instead of waiting for your pastor to start talking about sex, become a resource to others. Though we need to be careful about what we say, our attitude, comfort and tone communicate as much as our words.  Help others learn that we can talk about sex in good and healthy ways. Maybe even consider leading an Awaken Love class!

Talking About Sex in the Church – Walking the Tightrope

I have taught sex classes to Christian men and women for over 6 years. I have also written pretty detailed instruction articles on the blog for everything from oral sex, to frenulum orgasm, to how to enjoy intercourse. Along the way I have wrestled with what topics I should address and what felt like too much. At what point would I lose my audience because I wanted to educate and provide answers? Where is the line between respectful instruction and graphic detail? How do I vulnerably share the struggles and triumphs of working on my own sex life without letting people into my bedroom?

The lines for teaching about sex require careful discernment and humility. Though you may never  teach sex classes, I believe that only ways Christians can take sex back from the world, is by talking about sex. Like Juli Slattery says in Rethinking Sexuality, instead of letting the world disciple us about sex, the church, meaning us, need to disciple others about sex. We have to learn to talk about sex and walk the tight rope between helpful information, and going too far.

Providing the Whole Story

From the first class I taught, I always believed that women needed the whole story about sex. How could I just tell women how wonderful God intended sex to be in marriage without providing answers about how their body worked, or how to make sex fun and creative. As part of the class,women are emailed a short article about sex every day. Some of the articles get, shall we say, “pretty detailed”. I don’t send the articles to try to convince the women to participate in certain activities. Rather I send the articles to educate and empower them. I want them to decide with their husband what to enjoy in their marriage bed. I want to open their minds to consider the amazing freedom God gives us. We cannot provide answers to the spiritual aspects of sex without providing real answers on how to create a mutually enjoyable experience.

Respectful Details

Some of my favorite books about sex are secular books, Orgasms by Lou Paget and She Comes First by Ian Kerner. I like the books because they provide detailed suggestions for technique without becoming graphic. Using black and white sketches they make sense out of positions and acts in order to enjoy each other.  They depersonalize the information while still capturing the importance of relationship. When I teach or write, I try to provide important details that will help you to create the experience you want with your spouse. I don’t need to personalize instructional details.

Connecting with Stories

One of the most important principles we need to understand about sex is that it is a journey. I do not have everything figured out, and I never will. Through vulnerably sharing my own struggles, I hope that you will connect with my story of constant growth. Snowboarders say, if you don’t fall once in a while, than you aren’t learning anything new. The same is true in our sex life and in intimacy with God. If you don’t feel bruised once in a while, than you haven’t stretched yourself. If you don’t feel scared out of your wits once in a while, then you don’t really need God. I share my struggles because I want to spur you on to experience the highs and lows of going for it.

Final Thoughts

I consider how I speak and write about sex to be a reflection of Christ that is within me. If I am going to maintain credibility with church leadership or even other Christians, I have to understand that I must handle the topic of sex with the utmost care and humility.

But learning to communicate respectfully about sex is not just an issue for me or other Christian bloggers. If we are going to start talking about sex in the church, then we all need to figure out how to walk this tight rope. The best resource for a young bride in the church should be sitting down one on one with a married friend. Women struggling to enjoy sex, should find encouragement and guidance from married girl friends. Guys looking for answers should find Godly men willing to move beyond joking to have a serious conversation packed with answers. We all need to learn to talk about sex in respectful ways.

So next time I would like to share some of the practicalities that I have learned about talking about sex in the church.

 

 

5 Ways A Husband Can Help His Wife Feel Beautiful

I began the series on beauty by sharing the story of a husband’s concern for his wife who seemed uncomfortable when he watched her undress. I’ve spent the last several posts sharing my story about embracing my beauty in order to help other women. Realizing how my past shaped my self-image, that baggage created insecurities, that I am God’s unique and beautiful creation, and that practical choices  made a difference, helped me embrace my beauty. Though a husband cannot convince his wife that she is beautiful, he can help his wife believe he thinks she is beautiful.

Respect Her Wishes

Our story started with a husband asking what he should do if his wife seemed uncomfortable when he looked at her boobs  while she undressed. Though I steadfastly believe that a husband feasting is eyes on his wife is God’s good design to affirm her beauty, not all women are there yet. In the meantime, God calls husbands to love their wife like Christ loved the church. Jesus gave up himself for us and I believe husbands are called to do the same for their wife. If your wife hates your eyes on her, are you willing to give up looking at her, in order to make her feel loved?

I can imagine a husband having a conversation with his wife something like,

When you get dressed, I can’t keep my eyes off of you. I think your body is totally amazing! But it seems like sometimes you feel uncomfortable. Loving you is more important than being able to look at your body. If you want me stop watching, I want to respect your wishes. I want you to always feel loved and respected.”

The same attitude goes for grabbing parts of her body, or making comments about her body. If she truly doesn’t like it and she has communicated as much, then stop. Ask her how it makes her feel when you do it, empathize and love her through your actions.

You have to earn her trust and respect before she can freely share herself, and isn’t that what you want?

Keep Your Eyes and Thoughts on Her Only

A husband faces an uphill battle in gaining his wife’s trust with her body. Women have experienced too many men gawking, whistling, making fun of, or using a woman’s body. We know that men lust after images of porn or just visually undress women in their mind for their own gratification.

One of the most important things my husband has done since the beginning of our marriage was to battle lust. Without me even asking, he guarded his eyes during movies, or ads on TV. Until you take lust seriously and squash out every last bit, you will never gain real freedom. You cannot stop looking at porn and allow your eyes to wander on the woman jogging down the street. Your wife wants to know that you only think about her. She wants to be your only measure of beauty.

Speak What You Think About Her

Remember how I talked about God’s amazing design; a man has eyes that look at his wife and say, “Wow!”, while a woman’s deepest desire is to feel beautiful? Well, it doesn’t work unless you start expressing what you think about her with your words.

When I finally started embracing my beauty, I remember having a really hard conversation with my husband. I told him, “I really want to believe that I am beautiful, but if I am going to believe it, I need to hear you say it. I need you to tell me when I look beautiful.” And he replied, “Don’t I  tell you all the time?”

Now I don’t know if he had been telling me and I just didn’t hear it, or if he had been thinking it, and not speaking it out loud. Since that conversation, my husband has become a big part of helping me embrace my beauty, and I love it!

But your wife does not want you telling her she’s beautiful because Ruth said to say it more often. What she really wants is for you to take what you are thinking in your head, and speak it out loud to her. Your wife wants to know even your thoughts.

See All of Her

When I think about embracing beauty, I can’t help but think of Song of Songs and the passages where he admires her body with his words. Rather than just focusing on his favorite erotic zone he admires her from her feet to the top of her head.

Your wife wants to know that you love all of her, not just her boobs. You have to see and appreciate every part of her, especially as her body changes. If you keep your eyes pure and she becomes your standard of beauty, then you will love every curve, wrinkle, stretch mark, and unique feature you discover.  See all of her.

Match Your Wife’s Growth

Your wife sharing her body with you is as vulnerable as you sharing your fears and failures with her. Yet it is what most husbands desire most. Here is the real kicker, what your wife desires most is that you share your insecurities, fears and failures with her. She wants you to be vulnerable with her. Don’t expect your wife to grow when you are not willing to grow too. In fact, you don’t need to wait for her, you can lead the charge. Have the courage to grow in order to meet her needs first.

Final Thoughts

Marriage is this amazing people growing machine to grow both husbands and wives. Though you can’t force your wife to grow, you can spur her on by growing yourself. Give up yourself for her, take your thoughts and eyes captive, use your words, see all of her and match your wife’s growth.

May God bless you as you lay down your life for your wife.

Baggage Impacts Feeling Beautiful

Past sexual baggage impacts how we feel about ourselves. Whether your were rarely asked out on a date, or felt like all boys were interested in, was your body. Maybe we used our body to feel important and turn a boys eyes, or maybe we have experienced rejection and now hide to protect ourselves. Most of us have some kind of sexual baggage that has changed how we feel about our body. An important step in feeling beautiful is to recognize and heal from past sexual baggage.

My Story

At college I majored in Engineering. Classes filled with boys maybe had one other girl in class. Even with the odds highly in my favor, dates were practically nonexistent. Another sign of just how unattractive I was.  So I focused on my studies.

My senior year in college I met my husband at a bar with a mutual group of engineering students. From that point on, God started crossing our paths on campus. Months later, when Jim finally asked me out on a date, I fell head over heels in love and announced to my roommates, “I am going to marry him”.

When I met Jim, I was a virgin but I knew he had 2 serious past relationships. So I figured if he was going to fall in love with me, I needed to initiate sex. I was the one that brought up the conversation about sex, got on birth control and helped plan for the big night.

The Impact

After years of never feeling like my husband thought I was beautiful, the pieces began to fall in place, and I started to  understand the reason why. Since I fell in love first and since I initiated sex, I had 2 choices. I could believe that …

  1. Jim was trying to be a better man and do things different
  2. Jim was not really attracted to me. I just made a good practical choice for a wife.

Something that I’ve learned after teaching sex classes to over 600 women, is that it is a rare thing for women not to have baggage about our attractiveness that impacts our marriage. We may have been being whistled at – or not. Maybe men used  us – or we felt ignored. Our husband might have pushed boundaries or struggled to keep their eyes pure.  We may have used our body to get guys…

We are not going to go into sexual baggage, but I want you to understand that sexual baggage can profoundly affect what we believe about our bodies and our beauty. There are reasons we feel the way that we feel. When we face our past and unravel those reasons, then they don’t hold so much power.

Nobody is to blame for my past experiences, they just happened. They helped to create empathy and compassion in me. But they also caused me to believe lies about myself. Even when Jim told me he was crazy about me, I didn’t believe him.

Understanding my past baggage has helped me to believe the truth. My husband is crazy about me and thinks that I am absolutely beautiful. Vulnerably talking through our past has helped me to believe the truth.

Have you sorted through baggage that impact how you feel about your desirability or beauty?

Our Past Shapes Whether We Feel Beautiful

I’ve never really written about feeling beautiful and yet it is a huge part of my testimony. In many ways, learning to feel beautiful was the first step to finding freedom. Not just freedom in my marriage bed, but in all of life. One thing I have recognized is how much my past  impacted how I felt about myself.

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The Importance of Feeling Beautiful

During the Men’s Edition of Awaken-Love, while discussing the challenges wives face with body image issues and feeling beautiful, one of the husbands tentatively posed a question.

“So, every time my wife gets undressed, I can’t stop looking at her boobs.”

After letting the confirming chuckles from the rest of the men pass, he continued,

“But my wife seems really uncomfortable with it and I don’t know what to do.”

I had to stop and remind the husbands in the room, “Your eyes are not a bad thing. God designed you with eyes that go, “wow!” when they see your wife. They are God’s good creation to affirm your wife’s beauty. But that is not always easy.”

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Talking About Sex in the Church – RETHINKING SEXUALITY

After 6 years of teaching Awaken-Love to Christian wives and husbands, I am painfully aware of the need to talk about sex in the church. But we cannot limit ourselves to just talking about sex within marriage. God created us as sexual beings from the time we were born. We need to understand what the bible says about all areas of sexuality and even equip ourselves to minister to others.  Dr. Juli Slattery has written an amazing book and curriculum called Rethinking Sexuality that is both grounded in truth and steeped in grace.

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Fun Locations for Sex in the Summer

Summer is a great time to have sex in new fun locations. Things just feel lighter and more relaxing. Go a little crazy and look for opportunities to create some amazing memories.

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