Friday, September 16, 2011

Sexy Habits to Develop While You're Single

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret...

Perhaps one of THE sexiest things you or your future spouse can do for each other can be summed up in thirteen letters. If you take nothing else away from my blog, please remember these two little words of immense importance: Be intentional!

Effort, I'm convinced, is really hot. The fact that you purposefully thought through the potential benefits of doing a particular thing (i.e. blessing someone through your words or actions), and went out of your way to actually take the time and energy to do that thing, communicates that you have tremendous respect for yourself, your future man and your God.

Throughout the New Testament, we constantly hear phrases like: "Everything you do, do it for the glory of God" (Colossians 3:17 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 are just two examples). Let me tell you right now, the Lord isn't about half-ass. He designed us to live in excellence! God's heart and command is for us to be good stewards of everything He has given us, including (but not limited to!) our bodies, money, work and relationships. He desires that we set goals, create good habits and work hard/sacrifice for what we want, knowing that after that vital season of planting, we're eventually gonna reap a friggin' amazing harvest!

Forgive me, I'm speaking in generalities right now. What exactly are some of these "particular things" we need to be intentional about? Well, bear with me, cause I'm about to let you know (i.e. Don't just skip ahead to the actual list just yet. Stay and get the heart behind it first...). Let me just say that the following list, while certainly influenced by the opinions of others, is my own personal invention. Over the years, as I would listen to messages on marriage or observe the praises/complaints of my friends and their spouses, I would silently collect these factual statements, which I quickly turned into a practical To-Do list of habits that would help me invest into my future. And, by the grace of Jesus, I've since been very intentional about putting them into practice over the past two (at least, but often more) years.

Why I never thought to actually share these with you singles (even in my teaching/counseling), I'm not sure. I guess that doing these things had become so normal to me that I forgot that many other people (both singles and marrieds) don't do them! But if the following habits aren't part of your daily/weekly routine, START DOING THEM! Seriously! Although I don't know for 100% certain, I'I strongly believe that the sowing of these seeds into my future marriage will reap some MAJOR benefits down the road. Just ten less things that I'll have to intentionally work on in marriage (because right now, they are simply natural for me to do them). You know, so I can spend that extra time doing the things I'm not doing now... (wink, wink) ;)

You'll no doubt laugh at some of the following suggestions (which can appear either really silly or completely Captain Obvious), but trust me that there is a bigger picture purpose (and great benefit) to you intentionally turning these things into habits while you're still single. Quick! Get a pen, you're about to take notes...  :)

1. Wash your dishes

Believe it or not, I actually have a lot to say on this little topic, but I'll spare you here and save it for an in-person convo if you really want to know my views. But I will say that if someone doesn't wash their dishes on a regular basis (everyday), it communicates many things...namely, laziness, lack of responsibility and lack of cleanliness. Effort, responsibility and cleanliness are three vital things you need in life, not to mention a marriage (people might disagree on the third one, but I would say that it has to do with health, if nothing else). Washing your dishes on a regular basis is a very small, but powerful, indicator that you are diligent and self-controlled enough to get the "have to" stuff out of the way first in order to have more time to enjoy the significant, fun things in life. In the words of Christian sex-counselor, Doug Weiss, speaking to singles: "If you're not washing your own dishes, you're NOT ready to get married!"

2. Shave your legs

Go ahead...laugh. I just did! But this is so true! Ladies, your future husband isn't gonna wanna feel your nasty-as, prickly legs when you're making love. Ick! Talk about ruining the mood! Let me pause here to say that I'm not naive...I know people still get it on whether the woman has hairy legs or not. But, seriously, what a major blessing to give your hubby the very best version of  you (soft skin!). Again, this intentional effort takes very little time, but communicates that you care about both him and yourself. Girls, even in the winter, when no one else is gonna know, I think it's important to keep up this sexy habit so it becomes second-nature by the time you hit the season where you so desperately need it most! Trust me, hubby will definitely appreciate those extra 5 minutes you take in the shower... ;)

3. Get rid of your bags

No, this isn't about de-puffing your eyes (although, while we're on that, drink more water, eat less salt and use a cold compress...), but about dealing with the baggage of your past. None of us need to bring emotional junk into our future marriages. This includes unconfessed (secret) sin, guilt/shame over past mistakes, unrealistic expectations of a partner, and lingering bitterness/unforgiveness towards an ex, your Daddy or an abuser (among others). Personally, I'm an advocate of counseling in many different forms: self-guided counseling (reading books/attending conferences about inner healing, journaling, processing with God...), informal counseling with a mentor (older Christian woman, pastor, or your "one on one" for you YWAMers to listen/offer wisdom), as well as formal Christian counseling (get over the stigma of what it means to "Go see someone." It is almost always worth me!). Throughout my twenties, I've regularly practiced a combination of all three of these things in order to deal with the things that have/are/could make me emotionally unhealthy. Although we'll still have our fair share of crying/emo days in a marriage, I'm sure, I think our future husbands would definitely appreciate having wives who aren't total basket cases...

4.  Chill with some kiddos

Whether we're break dancing to "Party Rock Anthem" or taking dorky pictures on PhotoBooth, I absolutely love to spend time with my nephews. And of course, my nieces too...and I guess, any cool little kids for that matter! lol  Hanging out with kids has so many benefits! For me, I completely de-stress when I spend time with children, seeing as I can just let my guard down and laugh at (and learn from) their innocent, uninhibited silliness. Plus, it blesses them to get attention and affirmation from a grownup (and an ego boost, I'm sure, when they realize they can make you laugh with a funny voice or a silly song). In addition to all those things, the "Duh!" statement here is this: Spending time with kids prepares you for having kids of your own! So, if you're not used to doing this, here is my suggestion...Call up a married friend/sibling with kids and offer to babysit (and, dare I say, offer to do it for free!). Not only would this bless your friend by giving him/her a free date night with their spouse, but it will bless you to be a blessing to a child. After all, Jesus modeled spending time with and investing into children, so I'd say that's pretty Biblical advice :)

5. Make Jesus your man

Not in the sappy, swoony "I'm dating Jesus!!!" kinda way, but in the sense that you are already making Him your ultimate priority. Are you living in such a way that your Saviour and Redeemer is not just #1 in your life, but that He IS your life? You don't have to be some holy-roller weirdo to make Jesus the center of all you are. It just means that you are choosing--again and again, each and every day--to focus the goals of your life on getting to know Him better, doing His will and giving Him glory. In practical terms, this means that we (again) make the effort to carve out time for worship, study of Scripture, prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit. Seriously, if time is an issue, fast Facebook for a day and see if that adds a few extra minutes (er, hours?) to your day. Again, it all comes down to priorities. We all know (head knowledge) that we need to hang out with Jesus regularly, yet many of us fail to do this (myself included). But remember, it is only through HIS guidance and grace that we experience anything of lasting fulfillment in our lives. When we are seeking first His heart and ways, life in abundance is the natural by-product. And who doesn't want abundance, both now and in your future marriage?

Yeah, I thought so...

LOL...well, THAT was fun to write :) I seriously hope that you did put some pencil to paper there, or that you're at least saving this blog on your desktop ;) Really, I think that these are small, but significant steps we can all take now in order to invest into our work ethic/outward beauty/servant hood/spiritual life in the future.

And, if you didn't catch it when I said it before, there are actually ten things on this list, so this is just Part One. But between now and when I post Part Two, seriously consider this list and the importance of each suggestion. I hope you are able to see the bigger picture and choose to cultivate effort and selflessness in your life prior to reaching the altar. Like I said, I'm highly convinced that it is well worth it!

Until next time...  :)

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