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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome to Day 4 of the Intimacy Challenge!

In case you are a visitor here, I'm taking part in the Christian Marriage Blogger  Association (CMBA) half-marathon challenge. The goal is 13 posts in 13 days. I'm using my challenge to challenge you to grow the intimacy in your marriage.

Today I'm dealing with the sensitive issue of physical attraction and body-image. It's a touchy subject, but I firmly believe that couples have to deal with it if they are going to reach the highest levels of physical and emotional intimacy.

There is a verse in scripture that can change the way you think  about your body.
The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 
1 Corinthians 7:4

That's right, part of being "one flesh" in marriage is a mutual ownership of each other's bodies. It's a bold and daring arrangement, isn't it? But I believe it is a key to intimacy, especially physical intimacy. Offering your spouse the gift of your body takes fearlessness,  shamelessness, and a great degree of vulnerability.  That's what we want to go for today.

So I'm pushing you a bit with today's challenge, only because it is SO important!

Day 4 for Wives
Your Husband Likes Your Body

You may find it hard to believe, but your husband finds you very attractive. Maybe he doesn’t do a good job of conveying it, but most likely he actually thinks you are stunningly beautiful. Or maybe he has stopped trying to tell you because you always dismiss his complements or argue with him by pointing out your flaws. Or maybe you have bought into the lies that the media, advertising and pop culture promote on what it means to be beautiful, and you just can get past it.

Does your negative body image make it difficult for you to be naked in front of your husband? As a result of shame and fear, too many women insist on sex only with the lights out or wear baggy oversized nightshirts to bed in an attempt to hide what they perceive as their flawed exterior. Too many women are hiding from their own husbands!

The thing is, your husband is hard wired to desire your body, regardless of the flaws that you see.  He likes your body and he wants to see it. As I said above, your body actually belongs to him, as his does to you. He wants to see what’s his!

Today’s challenge action may require you to step outside your comfort zone – for some of you, it maybe way out.

Today you are going to challenge your husband to a “strip” version of your favorite card game. If you don’t have one, don’t worry about it. I’ll give you a simple one you can use for today’s challenge.

At some point during the day, either call him, text him or email him and suggest the idea. Be as flirtatious about it as you can muster. Then, make sure the cards are somewhere very visible so he can’t help but notice them when he arrives home. Tease him about it some more.

Before you start playing, agree whether things like watches, glasses and earrings count as “clothing.”

If you want to add a fun twist, let the winner of each hand decide what the other person has to take off. Add a twist to the twist and let the winner also remove it!

If you are really feeling bold, when it is time to play, suggest upping the ante with a “winner takes all” stakes. The loser is the one who loses all their clothes first. Whoever wins gets to be in control of how things go from there for the night!

(If you don’t have a card game, or if you need one that will move along more quickly, use this one.  Simply shuffle a deck of cards, and take turns cutting the deck. High card wins and the low card has to remove an article of clothing. If there is a tie, you both lose a piece of clothing.)

Leave a comment on the blog or Facebook page us know what card game you played and who won!  No details required on what happened after the game was over.

Today's question is a going to stretch your boldness. I encourage you to think about your own answer before you ask it.

“The Bible says that my body belongs to you and yours belongs to me. What do you think that means for how we should love each other physically?”

Day 4 for Husbands
Your Wife Needs to Feel Beautiful

I’ve written several times before about the body image battle that your wife faces on a daily basis (see here and here to see those posts). It’s a battle that rages constantly. It’s a battle that she desperately needs your help with. Today, you are going to help her.

Yesterday I explained how easy it is for your wife to feel unloved. Her self-image as it relates to her appearance is probably one of the easiest places for her to feel accused about her “un-lovability.” One of the most important ways to show your love for your wife is to make her feel beautiful.

How do you know if she has self-image issues? It usually shows up when you try to pay her a compliment and she denies it or proceeds to point out what she sees as all her flaws. She refuses to have sex unless the lights are off. She wears baggy over-sized t-shirts to sleep in, hoping to hide her exterior imperfections. She can’t look in a mirror without commenting on her defects.

All these are signs that she needs your help. Today you are going to give it to her by focusing on loving her in ways that make her feel beautiful.

Today’s challenge is to be particularly affirming to your wife about her appearance throughout the day. The thing is, you have to be GENUINE about what you tell her. Women can sense a fake or forced compliment a mile away.

Here are some ways to affirm your wife’s beauty as the opportunities arise.
  • As she steps out of shower or bath give her a smile and a nice long look. Tell her you want to store that picture squarely in your mind for the day.
  • If the lingerie she wears today is appealing to you, tell her. If you missed seeing her naked from the shower tell her about “storing the picture” after she puts on her bra and panties.
  • When she is dressed, compliment her outfit, but be specific and be sincere. What do you like about it? The color, the fit, the way it accentuates her figure. Which parts?
  • If you like the way she does her hair that day, tell her. Hair is important to most women, thus the invention of the phrase “bad hair day.”
  • When you kiss her goodbye for work, if she is wearing a perfume you like, take a deep whiff and tell her how much you love how she smells.
  • In bed tonight, snuggle up to her and tell her how much you love how her body feels against yours and how you fit together.
  • If it seems she would be open to it, gently and lovingly invite her to remove her sleeping attire, and continue to lavish your praises on her nakedness. (Important: don’t pressure her or make her feel like a disappointment if she declines. Remember the whole point is to make her feel attractive.)

A sensitive topic like this is very difficult to cover generically because there is such a broad spectrum of women’s responses to the body image issue. You know your wife and how she might best respond, so you musty use your judgment on how far you can take this with your wife. Here are a few caveats to be aware of:
  • If you are too over the top with compliments, she’s going to think you aren’t being sincere. Use discretion and tact!
  • Be aware of the fine line between making her feel beautiful and making her feel objectified.
  • Keep in mind that this is not about making her feel sexy - that is something altogether different in a woman's mind. Do your best not to think like a man.
  • Don’t take it personally if she rejects your admiration. Instead, just be more determined to be a better job of making her feel beautiful.

The main thing is to look for and take advantage of opportunities to affirm her beauty. She needs to know that she is beautiful to you.  It’s not enough to do this for only one day. Learn the daily habit of paying your lady sincere compliments on her appearance. Your wife is in a daily battle over her appearance and you are her strongest ally. If you are not vocally for her, she will think you are against her.

The purpose of today's question is to have an honest and open discussion about what it means to give each other the gift your own bodies. Remember, this is a gift that cannot be taken, only offered.

“The Bible says that my body belongs to you and yours belongs to me. Do you know how happy it makes me that you are mine?”


CassandraSalamone said...

Fun!!! Thanks for the idea:)

Scott said...

Thanks Cassandra.

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