Victoria's Little Secret
by: Lysa TerKeurst

Okay, confession time ladies. Victoria's got a little secret, and I'm not in on it! This newfound knowledge came to me last week with the treasure I found while cleaning my office. I was making great progress when suddenly I spotted an envelope with hearts all over the outside and a certificate inside.

I was thrilled to have found this unexpected surprise, I eagerly opened it and found it was a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret. "Oh her," I thought, a little disappointed. Not that I don't like sweet little Victoria, it's just that she is a reminder that my post-kid body leaves a lot to be desired. The thought of wearing something scratchy, overly revealing and undersized just doesn't motivate me to make a special trip to the mall.

I guess when I got the gift certificate, I filed it away with good intentions to use it when my taste buds died, my body shrunk, and muscles suddenly appeared in all the right places. So, when had I gotten this little gift? Upon closer investigation, I doubled over in laughter as I realized the certificate was over 10 years old! My husband came over to see what was so funny and I handed him the paper. He found no humor in the situation and offered to take it off my hands and use it to buy me a gift. I just smiled at him and requested that he remember two things on his shopping trip: warmth and comfort! Does Victoria make flannel PJ's?

Whether it is because of changes in our bodies, sleep deprivation, time constraints, financial pressures, or a myriad other things, marriage changes after kids. But it doesn't have to be for the worse. We must still make our marriage a priority and watch it grow stronger through the kid-years. After all, one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is the security of a solid love relationship between Mom and Dad.

We know this with our heads, but the realities of life make it easy for marriages to slip into what I call "business-partner mode." You are doing life together and sharing responsibilities, but your relationship is void of the romantic spark that keeps a marriage exciting and thriving. Finding that 10-year-old certificate was a wake-up call for me to take an honest assessment of where the romance barometer was registering in my marriage. And to be honest, we were found lacking.

Somewhere between two hectic schedules we'd stopped getting intentional with our love life. Soccer games, gymnastics meets, school projects, serving in ministry, home repair projects, yard work, running a business, paying the bills are all important things, but they had crowded out time for Art and me to just be together.

So, instead of hoping things will magically reignite and get better, I've decided to actively pursue a richer relationship with my husband. It will be a matter of choice, not chance. Here are some of my newly resolved choices:

1. Seduce him.
Oh, gasp! Is that allowed in a Christian magazine? Absolutely! I know when my husband has been left wanting for too many days in a row, he gets cranky! So, I thought about what makes me just as cranky. The answer is food, or the lack thereof. When I'm really hungry and can't get some food, my perception of everything gets skewed and my mood sours. This is true for most women, so to continue this analogy, imagine for a minute that your husband was your only source for food. But, every time you went to him to get this nourishment you not only want but need, he responded, "Not now. I'm too tired. I have a headache." It would be quite irritating.

When I think about this scenario, it breaks my heart to think of how often my husband comes to me for the intimate nourishment that he not only wants but needs, and I don't respond. So I'm challenging myself to make the intimate needs of my husband a priority. God says that sex inside marriage is a gift and through it He blesses the husband and the wife. Most husbands would love it if their wives were a little more intentional about initiating intimate connections, so seduce him!

2. Serve him.
Oh, I can feel eyes rolling on this one. However, I've discovered that my husband sees me serving all kinds of people … our kids, the women at Proverbs 31 Ministries, friends and neighbors. But when is the last time I really looked for something he wanted and did it for him? Sometimes the thing we least want to do in our marriages might be the very thing that could help our relationships most.

A friend of mine doesn't like to cook, but a homemade meal means the world to her husband. Recently, I encouraged her instead of trying to convince him his expectations are unrealistic, to make it a priority to make him feel respected and loved by cooking for him. It was what she least wanted to do, but after she cooked her husband a delicious meal, the smile on his face and the pep in his attitude gave her the motivation to pull out her cookbooks more often. Instead of getting offended the next time your spouse asks if you can do something to better meet his expectations, why not see it as an opportunity to invest in your marriage? It's worked wonders for my friend's marriage and it just might work wonders for yours as well.

3. Simply be sweet to him.
Why is it that I can be so kind to strangers and then - just seconds later - impatient and unkind to those I love most? Unfortunately that old saying is true, "Familiarity breeds contempt." I don't want short fuses, quick tempers and rushed conversations to be the legacy I build with my husband. The Bible tells us to be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19 NIV). I have to not only desire to be kind to the ones I love, but I have to choose to do so each moment, reaction by reaction. I have to think about my words before I speak and ask myself, "Am I being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry?" If this is what I really want for all my interactions with my husband, then I've got to make the choice to swallow my quick wit and cutting remarks, and simply be sweet!

So, my little hidden gift certificate actually has served me well. It was a sign that I need to make some adjustments and investments. I think I'll ask Art if I can accompany him to the mall. And no, I won't be in search of flannel. Maybe I'm starting to clue in to Victoria's little secret after all.



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