Does Your Husband Understand You? {Two Small Things That Would Make A World of Difference}

Does Your Husband Understand You - Two Small Thinge That Would Make a World of Difference
My husband and I talk a lot about how hard it is for men to understand women. We wives are so hard to figure out.

John once asked an older man if he understood his wife,

After all these years, do you understand your wife?

“Understand her—no way,” this sage man responded- “enjoy her, yes!”

His comment made my husband roar in laughter, but it also encouraged him.

In thinking about this I have found an image, which I hope, might help your husband or other men as they seek to understand our needs.


Picture for a moment a flashlight. One that takes 2 “Double A” batteries.

Over time it’s easy for these batteries to grow dim. They just get worn down. Sometimes one will go out before the other. Soon the flashlight will begin to flicker and the light will fade. It’s time to recharge, to put new batteries into your flashlight.

We women need two batteries to keep us bright.  Our “Double A’s” are appreciation and affection. These qualities can be rare in our worlds.

Appreciation. A 4 year old is not likely to say to his exhausted Mom, “Wow, Mom, you are doing a good job raising me.” There’s not a lot of appreciation for laundry done, dinner fixed, clothes washed.   It’s a rare husband who says, “Thanks honey for carpooling the kids all over the place today. I appreciate you.” A comment like that would do wonders to increase our battery life!

Affection is the second of our batteries that can become depleted. It’s hard for us women to get excited about sex if we haven’t experienced affection. It can make us feel cheap or used. Simply greeting us with a hug at the end of the day and saying, “I missed you today,” can help to recharge our battery. Give us a hug in front of the kids while exclaiming, “I love this woman, ” and you hit the jackpot! A phone call or text message just to say, Hope you are having a good day, can make a huge difference.

It’s a wise man who asks himself if his wife’s batteries need to be recharged. They probably do! As you men take steps to recharge them don’t be discouraged if we women don’t respond right away. Sometimes it takes repeated efforts. Just persist and we will lighten up in due time!

I hope you ladies will pass this along to your husband. It just might help him to realize that you are normal!


Susan Alexander Yates

15 Romantic Gift Ideas for the Man You Love*Ready for Valentine’s?  Here are 15 surprisingly romantic (and affordable) gift ideas for the man you love! 

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love Your Husband for Kindle
Subscribe to Club31Women*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get 2 FREE eBooks),Subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

15 Surprisingly Romantic Gift Ideas for The Man You Love

15 Romantic Gift Ideas for the Man

We are hopeless romantics. He and I. 

And, yes, we realize that this doesn’t really fit with the times we live in. Everything comes at you so fast and so much is quick and disposable.

No time for slow. Thoughtful. Hopeful. ‘Til death do you part.

But for some reason we still hang onto our old-fashioned romance.

We still hold hands.

We still kiss on the lips.

We still give little love-gifts and whisper words of kindness.

And while we recognize that this is only small stuff, we consider such things as a kind of glue that connects our two hearts.

So we keep it going. Even after all these years. Even though it goes against the flow of the world we live in.

It’s also why – after having 8 children and over two decades of marriage – we still celebrate Valentine’s Day like a couple of young lovers. 

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson in WinterAnd we still enjoy giving cards and small gifts to one another.

As far as I’m concerned, I think he has it somewhat easy. Chocolate. Flowers. Books. Jewelry. And that’s just off the top of my head!

But finding something “hopelessly romantic” for him? That’s another matter.

He used to tell me, “Oh, don’t bother. I don’t want anything anyway.” But that’s no fun! How can you “exchange” gifts if only one of you is giving? Exactly.

So over the years, I’ve found some neat gift ideas that he actually liked – far more than he probably thought he would. Things that he wouldn’t necessarily buy for himself, but enjoyed all the same.

Surprisingly romantic gifts.

Valentine's Present

And I’m sharing with you some of those ideas today….

*All products below are under $40 and intended as practical, helpful, or inspiring—-and surprisingly romantic. (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Red Knife1

1. Deejo Linerlock Red 27Gram Knife

So you don’t think a knife should be considered as romantic? But didn’t you notice that it is red? And don’t forget that many men are drawn to these things. I know because I asked a group of guys in our church and received an enthusiastic “yes!” in reply.  This is that surprisingly part of romantic gifts for men. Available here.

Just the Ticket

2. Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer

Have you ever seen one of these? I thought this was such a great idea! It’s a ring-bound book where you can keep and record any special concerts, shows, trips, and sporting events. I don’t know about you, but I’m always finding various ticket stubs and receipts scattered across my husband’s desk. So here’s a creative way to gather all those memories in one place! Available here.

Bend Soap Company

3. Luxury Sweetheart Gift from Bend Soap Company

Ah yes, surprising isn’t it? Now hang in there with me on this one. It’s true: my husband is not likely to sink down into the tub on his own. BUT if I invite him to join me….and offer to scrub his back….Well, that’s another matter entirely. And soaking in a soothing tub together….?  ROMANTIC.

More details on soaps, scrubs, lotions, and gift sets available here. (And because they’re good friends of ours, they’re offering $5 off for the gift set. Just use the coupon code LOVE31. )

Mrignt Mens Casual Loose Fit Multi-Pockets Zipper Denim Vest Jacket

4. Mrignt Mens Multi-Pockets Zipper Denim Vest Jacket

You know how we women get a little swoony when we get a beautiful new sweater as a gift? Well, for some reason, a manly, multi-pocketed vest seems to have the same affect on a man. I’m not sure I can even explain it. It’s just their thing. And far more romantic than it might first appear. Available here.

Rosemary Salmon by catzinthekitchen

5. Cook Up Something Special Just for Him

So you’ve heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Some truth there. So cook up his favorite comfort food like maybe this Beef Stroganoff, or try something new and fabulous such as these Rosemary Salmon steaks. Put on a movie for the kids or wait until they’ve gone to bed, and then enjoy a long, romantic dinner for two.

Scratch Map World - Unique Scratch Off Map Travel Gift with Flags of the World and US States - By Landmass Goods

6. Scratch Map World

Whether your husband has traveled – or could imagine where he’d like to travel someday – this map would be fun to have on his wall. Maybe even the two of you could dream together about the places you’ve been and the places you’d like to go! Available here. 

Deluxe Hot Sauce Making Kit

7. Deluxe Hot Sauce Making Kit

So at first I thought it was just my husband, but when I mentioned the idea to my friends? Many of them said their husbands would love this too. Kit includes everything you need for making 6 sauces and you can do it at home! I’m going to resist the obvious remarks about it being *hot*….although it’s very tempting! Available here. 

Complete Shaving Kit

8. Complete Shaving Kit

My husband has a beard and mustache, but if he didn’t? I’d definitely want to get this kit for him. This is waaaayy more romantic than disposable razors (and cheaper to replace than expensive cartridges)! He might not get it for himself, but if you gave it to him….? Might be just the thing! Available here.

Matthew L Jacobson in Office

The Man I Love

Beard Pack by Grave Before Shave

9. Beard Pack

As my own man has a beard and has for many years now, I’d be inclined to go this direction. The pack includes two beard oils (by Grave Before Shave – get it?), pine tar soap (manly!), and a switchblade. It doesn’t come in a gift box, but would look nice in one of those inexpensive wood boxes you can pick up at most craft stores. This has a certain cool factor, plus it smells sooo wonderful! Available here.
100 Ways to :ove Your Wife 400Gift

10. 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

★★★★★A fantastic and practical read
This book was just great. It was a quick read but very practical. He gave you numerous examples on how to love your wife and examples of how not to. Some of the chapters were super short but since each chapter was one of the ways to love your wife it worked out. Great read! ~ Amazon review

I almost didn’t include this in our list here. But then we received so many enthusiastic “thank you’s”  recently from guys who found this book very helpful in their desire for a better marriage. It is full of short, practical and inspiring ways for a man to love his wife. And if you’re looking for “his and her” gifts, there’s the companion book for wives, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson (me!). Available here.

Leather Travel Journal

11. Classic Genuine Leather Travelers Notebook

I wondered if this journal might have lost favor in the age of digital technology, but when I asked a group of guys about it? They all gave this one a big thumbs-up! So apparently, this is a timeless gift that he’s not likely to purchase for himself, but would be secretly thrilled to own one. Available here. 

Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen, Black, Classic Design


12. Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen, Black Barrel, Classic Design

Super cool pen to go with his leather journal. Or maybe just a really amazing pen all on it’s own. It writes and looks like a very expensive pen, except that it’s surprisingly affordable. And surprisingly romantic. Available here.

Givenchy Play Intense by Givenchy

13. Casual Fragrance for Men:  Play Intense by Givenchy

My husband is not a big “cologne guy” but even he admitted that he liked this one. It has a light, classy scent – not overpowering – for the guy who just wants to smell nice. Know what I mean? Masculine. Available here.

Ciera Rose Carter Cards

Ciera Rose Carter Cards 1

14. Handcrafted Cards from Ciera Rose

Our young friend and artist, Ciera Rose, creates and watercolors these adorable cards! (I know, “adorable” isn’t a very masculine word, but you know what I mean, right?). On some years, my husband and I have skipped the gifts and simply exchanged cards with one another. And I’ve kept every one of them in a keepsake box. True treasures. Ciera Rose card collection available here.

Timex Men's Expedition Uplander Watch with Camo Nylon Band

15. Timex Men’s Expedition Uplander Watch with Camo Nylon Band

I’ll take the pearl necklace anyday, but for him….? An expedition watch is more like it. And this one communicates “adventure” and “challenge” and “conquer” all in one and at a decent price. Available here. 

So there it is….15 surprisingly romantic gifts for the man you love.

Happy Valentine’s to the both of you!

Heart Roses*My husband, Matthew, also put together this creative list of Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Your Wife! (And, no, we don’t “peek” at each other’s ideas, in case you were wondering! :)

In His grace,

Signature small


*A small reminder, or if you’re new here: If you purchase the items through the links here, I might get a small affiliate compensation – with no additional cost to you – from some of  them and so I thank you for that. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that I share this as my genuine opinion and personal enthusiasm for these items. See my full disclosure here.

25 Warm-Your-Heart Winter Date Ideas

25 Warm-Your-Heart Winter Date IdeasI don’t think anyone ever really means for their love to grow cold.

And I’m not saying that ours is any chillier than when we first began.

Over twenty-three years ago.

But I will tell you that we find ourselves emerging from a very challenging season. And maybe you know what that’s like?

And I say “emerging” although that’s a rather optimistic statement considering not much has changed.

We’re still caring for Matthew’s dad who is on hospice and Matthew’s mom who is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. And we’re still the parents of 8 children, including a daughter with special needs.

Still homeschooling.

Still writing and involved in ministry.

But we’ve found that with all these “stills” that we’ve had to do a lot more “divide and conquer” than we would like.

And it’s easy for our to-do’s to get in front of our vows of I-do.

Yet we’re determined to not let that ever happen. We’re committed to keeping our love alive and our hearts warm.

So even when everything is swirling all around us, we will slip away for a much-needed winter date. Simple, inexpensive, and fun. 

And we are always – always – glad we did.

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson Winter
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

25 Warm-Your-Heart Winter Date Ideas

1. Bundle up and go for a walk.

This is probably our favorite (and cheapest) thing to do! The picture above is of him and me on a chilly Pacific Northwest day – and he offered me his coat to keep me warm. *swoon*

2. Get out the ice- skates and find a frozen lake or rink.

We live in this really cute western town where they have a tiny, old-fashioned rink – complete with twinkly lights – and you can skate for something like $5 if you have your own skates.  You can find skating rinks in many cities, so it’s worth checking out…and oh, so romantic!

Winter 7

3. Enjoy a hot coffee together.

Latte means love. Well, at least I think it does. And he knows it. So he’ll often grab me and we’ll head out to one of our favorite coffee places to sip and talk for hours.

4. Head up to the nearest slope and go sledding!

For us, that just means the hill at the end of our driveaway (terribly convenient) OR we might drive up the mountain and find a more challenging run.  Some years we’ve used “real” sleds and other years we grabbed whatever we could find in the garage. Either way, there’s a lot of screaming…all from me. :)

Winter 8

5. Roast s’mores over an open fire.

Now we happen to have a fireplace where we can do this right in our own living room if we want, but we’ve also made them outside over the fire pit. And don’t just settle for Hershey’s Chocolate Bars…Try Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, MilkyWay bars, or go gourmet with Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt!

WInter 2

6. Head up the mountain for some skiing or snowboarding.

We have a number of friends who love a day on the slopes. It’s a great way to get exercise, enjoy the winter, and enjoy time together all at the same time!

7. Order Chinese take-out or Japanese sushi.

Maybe this isn’t your thing, but we think it’s good fun to try new tastes  – and it counts as a date because we don’t have any dishes to wash either.

Winter 6

8. Get set up for a game night.

Nothing like a little friendly competition over a game of Scrabble or Boggle or Settlers of Catan! And I always end up laughing as he tries to get away with some made-up word. Guess it’s worth a try?

9. Start a snowball fight.

Seriously. A good snowball fight can do amazing things for your marriage. Especially if you win. 😉

WInter 1

10. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Might sound cheesy to you, but I think it’s wonderfully romantic. And sweet. And memorable. So do it, if you can.


11. Curl up and watch an old movie.

So when he walks into the door and smells the popcorn…and wonders why the house is so quiet (kids are not allowed)…that’s when he knows it’s movie night! Personally, we enjoy BBC period pieces like Wives & Daughters or Pride & Prejudice. But sometimes we’ll just watch an oldie like The African Queen. Occasionally, we’ll watch something more recent like Hundred Foot Journey – and now War Room is out!

WInter 3

12. Go play in the snow.

Not that you have to go dog-sledding. I just liked this picture. But you CAN build a snowman or a snow-fort, if you have enough snow!

13. Plan an indoor picnic for two.

This is more fun – and easier – than one might think! I first got the idea from a friend who sent us off on our honeymoon with a basket full of goodies to eat. We arrived at our destination on a cold, rainy night and had the best time enjoying our “picnic on the floor.” But you don’t have to be on your honeymoon to enjoy a picnic for two!

Chocolate truffles

14. Try out a Chocolate Tasting.

How could you go wrong with this one? Occasionally either he or I will pick up some various chocolates – it could be simply a variety of bars from the grocery store OR (my preference) a splurge at the local chocolate shoppe – and we’ll sample and “evaluate” each one. Mmmm!

Winter Date Ideas

15. Be brave and join a dance class.

What a wonderful way to spend a winter evening! Haven’t you always wanted to learn how to swing dance or ballroom dance or….? Yes? If you (or he) are too shy to attend a class, you could always attempt to learn at home. At the very least, it will be good for laughs!

16. Snuggle up by the fire.

Or heater, if must be. The point is that a cold winter is a good excuse for extra snuggling up. Maybe talking. Maybe not. Just being close.

Winter 5

17. Sip on hot chocolate.

Do we ever outgrow our love for hot chocolate? I don’t think so. But as a grown-up, you might want to try the more gourmet hot chocolates out there – something like Moonstruck Chocolate Mayan (with cinnamon and almond – yum!) OR  Moonstruck Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix.


18. Put on a pizza night!

But not your basic take-out pizza…Instead, why not bake one at home together! Yes, I mean that. You can follow the recipe for this Garlic Three-Cheese Pizza from catzinthekitchen and you’ll probably fall in love all over again. With the pizza, if not with each other! :)

Winter 9

19. Check out the winter rates of some of your favorite getaways.

Now hang in there with me. I know you’re probably thinking, Hey! That doesn’t sound “inexpensive.” And maybe it’s not compared to a $10 Coffee Date BUT you might be surprised to find out how much less expensive it is to the regular cost of going there. Often resorts and other similar places offer discounted off-season rates and it might be more affordable than you thought.


20. Cook up something yummy for him (or him…for her!).

Like this amazing Tiramisu Cake that Joshua Rief made for his wife for her birthday. Um, hello? Is that the most deliciously romantic thing you’ve ever heard of? Espresso. Mascarpone cheese. Cocoa. Dark chocolate. Cognac. Chocolate-covered espresso beans. Yikes. That’s all I can say.

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

21. Enjoy a quiet evening reading together.

Sometimes he will read aloud to me or at other times, we will each read our own books and share bits from them. For instance, you could both be reading your 100 Ways to Love books and pick out one way you want to love each other better! 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson (me!) or 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson (him!).

22. Soak it up in a hot bubble bath.

Our tub is large enough to fit us both (is that considered TMI?), so we enjoy sinking deep into the bubbles and talk or flirt as we feel. We both find it very relaxing, as well as a lovely way to connect. (Probably more my thing than his, but he’s become a good sport.)

Winter couple


23.  Go for a snowshoe adventure.

Many places let you rent snow shoes (or buy for a fairly reasonable price) and you can go most anywhere on them. I’ve also heard that it’s nice to go out under a moonlight night – either on your own (just be safe!) or on a guided tour. Adventure and romance!


24. Go bowling.

There. I said it. But please don’t tell my husband because I don’t actually like bowling. But if he can take a bubble bath . . . then I suppose I can go bowling.

WInter 10

25. Take off on a long, slow drive and take in the scenery.

I love this one. And because I married this guy who grew up in the sub-zero temperatures of Northern Canada, he really knows how to get around in the snow. So he drives and I sip my latte and take in the incredible beauty of winter. Breath-taking. 

Alright, there you have it! 25 wonderful ways to warm his heart and yours.

So why not make the most of this winter?

And turn the heat up.

In His grace,

Signature small

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love Your Husband for Kindle

Subscribe to Club31Women

*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get 2 FREE eBooks), Subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

5 Tips for When He Is Wrong and You’re In the Right

5 Tips for When He Is Wrong and You're In the RightIf he would just listen to me – really hear me out – then we could be done with this argument and move on with our life!

Ever been there? Ever had those kind of thoughts?

I would venture to say we have all found ourselves in the position where we knew for a fact we were right and our husbands were wrong. If you’re like me, sometimes you want to grab him by the shoulders and give him a gentle – maybe not so gentle – shake and say, “I’m right!”

Fortunately, I don’t know many people who that has actually worked for. If they tried, I’m sure the complete opposite of what they wanted would happen.

So what’s a Christian girl to do?

Couple Drifted Apart

These are my 5 tips when he is wrong and you are right . . . some may surprise you.

1. Prayer. This is absolutely the best thing we can do.

We may indeed be right, but the only way for our husbands to see that is through a good old-fashioned heart change. A heart change from the only one who can, God. I have found that there is always a change of heart, but it may not be my husbands…it may be mine.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

2. An appeal. Once heated words have fizzled, try approaching him again, but in a humble way.

This should not be about pride or proving oneself. State your reason for why you feel a certain way then leave it at that. This is not, “Giving in,” but is kind, reverent, and thought-provoking.

3. Submission. There is such power in submission.

When we can yield to another even when we feel the urge to stomp around is delightful in the eyes of the Lord and is the ultimate use of self-control.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

4. A quiet and gentle spirit.

I’ve tried nagging and it doesn’t work. In fact, it’s one of the quickest way to put a barrier up. Our husbands need and deserve our respect no matter what we feel in our hearts. Sometimes we just have to obey the Word of God and trust Him.

1 Peter 3:4 …but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

5. Captivate your thoughts.

When those of thoughts of shaking his shoulders flood through our mind we must take them captive immediately before they penetrate our hearts.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

The arguments and disagreements will come—it’s inevitable. There must be a line that we as faithful women draw, a boundary.

We have to prayerfully know when to back down and trust God and let Him do His thing.

Our husband’s heart may change in the process, or it may be our own. The most important thing we can do is to invite Jesus in on it, on all aspects of our life. When we do this, the arguments are no longer in vain, but can be used for the glory of God to reveal hearts and bridge the differences together.

*How about you? Have you been in a similar situation and gave it to God? What changed?

Brittany, Sweet Country Roots

Brittany StyronBrittany Styron lives life in North Carolina. She is a believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, and momma to four amazing kids. She has a passion for country living, cooking, any thing vintage, gardening, homeschooling, and encouraging women in their roles as wives and mothers. She blogs honestly about all these things at Sweet Country Roots. You can find her on Facebook at

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love Your Husband for Kindle

Proverbs 31:25,26

*If you’d like encouraging and inspiring posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get this free Proverbs 31 print), subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

How to Be A Happy, Romantic Empty Nester

How to Be A Happy Romantic Empty Nester

This is me, reporting live from the other side of taking our baby to college three months ago. Now everyone approaches me gingerly and asks quietly, “So, how are you and Matt doing? Are you okay?”

At first I felt guilt for my cheerful, “We’re doing great!” response, but now I’m starting to explain to people why.

Why are we happy, after both kids have left home? (I did not say BECAUSE they have left home.)

It started a few years ago.

I want you to stop and think about that. A few years ago Matt and I started looking ahead to our kids leaving home. We started talking about it and planning for it.

“We have to get good at this,” he said to me. “We have to practice enjoying each other now, so that we don’t end up as devastated, lost parents who have no idea how to have a relationship with each other when the kids are gone.”

That was the most fun practice ever.

We started dating in earnest, and he practiced flirting with me even more than usual –just like in the old days when it was me and him sharing a pizza over a Saturday night Star Trek episode.

And I started flirting back.

Kids? What kids?

Eyes met across the room. Wink, wink.

It started to come back to us –how much fun we had when we were dating and in those early years of marriage, before the first positive pregnancy test changed everything. We really liked each other –enough to get married!

Something else we did before the kids left was to find great meaning in our labor for the kingdom of God.

We fell more in love with the church family we were ministering to. Matt grew in sharing the good news of Christ in his sermons. I grew in sharing the good news through blogging.

I got a job teaching Spanish to high school students in a Christian school, and I decided I could spend the next 20 years (Lord willing) investing my life in these teenagers, now that my own were out of the house.

When we dropped off our baby at college (with a big gulp of tears, I have to admit), we came home to do meaningful work.

We do love and miss our kids terribly. My daughter and her husband just came home from college, for the Thanksgiving holidays, and I could not stop hugging her. And oh how I miss my son’s size 11 shoes cluttering up my kitchen floor. I cannot wait to greet him at the airport next month, even though he flies in at midnight. My plan is to shamelessly kiss his cheeks right out of the gate.

We miss our kids, but we have a life.

We have practiced a romantic, thriving marriage relationship, and we have centered our joy around loving and serving the Lord with all of our strength.

So if you’re a year or two away from having an empty nest, NOW is the time to start working toward your own happy next stage of life.

Time to start flirting more with that man of yours. Remember how you used to look at him, as if he were the only one in the world? Practice that.

And time to start spending long hours with the Lord every day. Make Him the center of your life. Ask Him how He would like you to serve his kingdom, as you enter this next season.

Don’t let the empty nest sneak up on you. Plan to be happy!


Christy Fitzwater

Christy Fitzwater and Family

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love Your Husband for Kindle

Proverbs 31:25,26

*If you’d like encouraging and inspiring posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get this free Proverbs 31 print), subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

Is Your Perfect Way…Getting In the Way of His Perfect Story?

Is Your Perfect Way Getting in the Way of His Perfect Story? Our first home together was a 1930’s bungalow, the only remaining vestige of a farm in Crozet, Virginia.

When we moved in, then, it had about 50 nearly-new spec homes around it, transforming it from a charming farmhouse into the gangly outlaw of the neighborhood. In exchange for reduced rent, we stripped wall-paper and sanded floors and painted trim. We also added a pull-down staircase into the attic in a harried attempt to compensate for the hole our friend made in the ceiling as he foisted our boxes up into “storage.”

Most of those boxes were Nate’s; I brought only a small dowry to our union.

I thought he must be a pack rat, then (you know, all those guesses you make about this person whose ring you’re wearing but whom you still barely know). Poetry anthologies and historical biographies and more works of C.S. Lewis than I knew he wrote.

We loaded up that cob-webbed crawl-space in the ceiling with box after box of books that didn’t have titles like “Growing Your Heart for God” or “How to Change the World for God” which were the only kind of books that I read at that time.

The attic concealed them, so I ignored them.

Is Your Perfect Way Getting In the Way Of His Perfect Story?

When we moved again three years later into the home that didn’t have an attic, but a basement, and one into which we walked through every day from our garage up to the first floor,

I remembered the books.

The boxes of books.

“Can’t we just sell them?” I inquired with an added edge.

I now knew he wasn’t a pack rat, but he had another habit I didn’t quite get. Nate loved story and verse and layers that unfolded over pages — ideas, but not the kind that were quick to digest. The ones that took time to unfurl.

I, on the other hand in that season in life, had little tolerance for this.

Who had time for layers, unfurling, when there were souls to save? And there was always Cliffs Notes anyway.

One day, either with words or with looks or with the stone cold indifference that a wife who’s fixed on what she wants can wield, I’ll convince him to drop this hobby and give his time to something of actual significance.

Is Your Perfect Way Getting In the Way of His Perfect Story?

Ten years later and I’m out of Nate’s sight, down the hall, but close enough to hear it all.

One child’s heart is sunken and their words are all tangled in pain and hurt and anger. Nate’s fielding them in the family room.

It’s the child I’ve been zeroed in on — praying for in the early hours and talking, long, with in the afternooons. I need to tell him what I’ve been doing with this one, I thought. Five children and laundry and dinner and math worksheets and piano practice and I hadn’t briefed him yet on this particular child.

Before I could walk through the door of our bedroom, he’s responding. Oh no, I thought. This wasn’t my approach. This isn’t what I would do. How do I intercept this?

History or the Holy Spirit stopped me.

The books. The boxes of books. 

Several years into our marriage — several years of storing those books — and I’d felt a nudge: read. Read a story. I padded down to the basement and rummaged through those boxes and blew the dust off the volumes that were well-loved, dog-eared and inked.

And as I read those stories, I remembered a young girl — a young me — with pig-tails who rode her bike to the Reading Railroad and to the library only to return and spend hours buried in story in the corner swivel chair of her parents’ sunroom.

She hadn’t yet taught herself that life was a set of rules, with clocks on every wall and boxes to be checked.

She had vigor, then.


Is Your Perfect Way Getting in the Way of His Perfect Story?

I married Nate for his passion to share gospel to the ends of the earth.

I wanted a leader who wouldn’t tire and who would leave behind him a ripple of impact. I liked the parts of him that were just like me and the ones that weren’t, I ignored in hopes that they would go away. Becoming one was becoming “same,” to me then.

Yet this leader of mine — God — used my husband to bring out sides of my heart and my hunger for Him that were long-latent.

At twenty-three, I didn’t see that my driven-self needed to get lost in the Love Story of all ages and stop approaching it like it was a playbook. Those books in our basement and the man who bought them and read them and shared them widened my lens to see the layers of God’s beauty.

I never read the Bible or my heart the same again, afterwards.

A decade and a half later and down the hall — with a house full of squeals and giggles and squabbles, not just books — and that man who approached my child’s heart from a different angle than I would have, was doing the same all over again.

I could interrupt and correct him or I could press my knees against the floorboards and ask God to use this mixture of different persons into one union to bring crazy glory for Him.

Is Your Perfect Way Getting in the Way of HIS Perfect Story

Dear bride — married for 3 months or 20 years — might it be time to loosen your clutch and consider that your perfect way is getting in the way of His perfect story? Seems like too big of an ask, as the laundry list of things you’d like to change about that man is ever-growing?

Then, start with one.

Pick one area you’ve had your eye on for that man of yours to change and ask these two questions of God:

1) What is it in me that you want to reach while I’ve been biting my nails and staring at him?

and 2) Will You turn this one spot of friction into a place where I fall more in love with You?

Your man who’s not budging may be revelatory of the unrelenting hand of God to reach new places of your heart.

A friend I’d prayed for for years, came to know Jesus after reading my book — the book I wouldn’t have cared to write had it not been for the man God used to unlock me, this little evangelist, with dreams — and stories — I’d never knew I had.

~ Sara Hagerty

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet4Sara Hagerty is the author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things.  “This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a very long time. Sara Hagerty is a particularly gifted writer (she has the most lovely writing style!) and her story touches the deepest of places. I found myself stopping many times while reading and just staring off as I pondered the truth of what she had to say. Inspiring, convicting, and touching. I highly recommend this book!” ~ Lisa Jacobson

Proverbs 31:25,26*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get this free print), subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.