I’m a serial dater. Technically, I’ve been dating the same man for 12 years now, but that qualifies, right?
I think I’ll always be a fan of date nights. There’s just something about a hard stop in the middle of the week that is both comforting and exciting. No matter what, come Thursday, Riley and I will be spending quality time together. If it’s a chaotic season for us, we plan a bit of quiet (like an evening reading in front of the fire or dinner and a movie in); during the long stretches of regularity, date night brings new adventures for us (like exploring a nearby town or ice skating).
“The strength of a man is first a soulish strength—strength of heart. And yes, as he lives it out, owns it, inhabits his strength, he does become more handsome. More attractive. As the fruit of an inner reality.”
(John and Stasi Eldredge, Captivating)
Rear end wearing out the same pew for most of my childhood, I wondered what God’s plan for my life would look like. I assumed it would involve a shiny one-way plane ticket for overseas missions. My twelve-year-old brain was convinced I’d make a hut my home and teach African bush children how to speak English. (Not super sure why African bush children would need to know how to speak English, but that’s beside the point.) Divine direction would come singing my name so clearly—in Swahili!—and I’d dance my way into a glorious kingdom legacy.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Few topics will raise the alarm in today’s culture like biblical submission. Those outside the Church consider it the same way they consider racism or polygamy, while it’s difficult for even the most die-hard good girls gracing the pews every week to not think of submission in the same terms as those weird passages on not touching a woman on her period and never cutting her hair. Surely the submission thing was meant to be geared toward the culture way back then and not to us, right? Haven’t we outgrown the whole slave/wife deal by now?
Brace yourselves, friends: wedding season is here!
One of my favorite parts of ministry life is helping starry-eyed couples prepare for their big day (and the years that will follow). While it’s tempting to place a huge focus on the wedding itself, there are some personal investments you can make to grow your soul between “Will you?” and “I do.” I’d like to offer some helps I’ve gathered for a soon-to-be bride to flourish spiritually.
Our culture has gone through a gigantic shift when it comes to openness about sex. My grandparents’ generation could hardly whisper about it, but today, unless you’re Amish, you can’t go any significant amount of time without being boldly confronted by it via billboards, commercials, movies, music, magazines, social media, etc., etc., etc. I think pretty much the only exception is the pulpit. For whatever reason, believers in general still find bedroom activities fairly taboo.
Apparently God missed the memo that sex is inappropriate to discuss openly, honestly, and without shame. Poor God. He keeps breaking religious rules. It’s like He can’t help it. I’m being cheeky here, but if we are going to develop a deeply biblical worldview, we have to be willing to experience our own gigantic shift when it comes to talking about sex. If the wise, loving, and good Creator of sex wants to shed some light on it, why would we feel too pure and precious to have the sex talk?
The pastor proclaimed triumphantly, “You may kiss the bride;” just as the new couple commenced their long-anticipated Hollywood movie moment with the swelling music and admiring onlookers, the three-year-old ring bearer with a buzz cut—my brother—cried out in a painfully clear voice, “EWWWWW!!!”
How long you have been married, and how did you meet?
Riley and I have been married for five and a half years. We joke that we met through Hurricane Katrina. His dad took my high school youth group to do disaster relief work in New Orleans (I know—romantic, right?). During one of the devotions, he mentioned his son, who was going into ministry. A girlfriend nudged me and said he sounded cute. A few months after we got back from the trip, my friend told me she had found (read: stalked) this guy for me. She gave me his Facebook info, and so I shot him a message and said, “Your dad took us on a mission trip. Tell him thanks and hi.” (I found out later that his dad didn’t recognize my name until Riley said, “She says you called her Giggles.” Greeeaaaaat….) His dad said, “Oh, she’s a good girl!”