intimacy

Ep 040: How to Stay Close with Your Spouse with Jennifer Smith (The Unveiled Wife)

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Staying close to your spouse is hard. Especially if you’re balancing work and a million kids. There is no sugar coating it! But when we know the purpose of our marriage, it becomes easier to make our marriage a priority. It is about communication, setting a vision, having those tough conversations, and creating time for intimacy. Sure, the arguments will happen! But it is how we respond in them that matters.

Jennifer Smith is a wife and mama to 3 little ones (and another on the way!). Alongside her husband, she provides tons of resources for married couples navigating hardships in their marriage. Jen and her husband are honest and open with the things they have been through and strive to provide hope for those walking in the same challenges.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Jennifer Discuss:

  • How knowing the purpose of your marriage makes it easier to stay close to your spouse in a full, busy life.

  • Having a vision for your marriage and the hope that it brings when you are going through hardships.

  • Thoughts on arguing with your spouse when kids are around.

  • Tips on openly communicating intimacy issues with your spouse.

  • Ways to express your feelings and communicate them in a way that won’t feel like an attack.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show!

I am so thrilled to do this one today. We have Jennifer Smith of The Unveiled Wife with us today.

We’re going to dive right in and try to keep this brief because we’ve got 7 ½ kids between us, so at any point somebody could interrupt or something could happen.

ALLIE: To start off, tell us a bit about your family. I wanted to give you space to share your marriage story because it’s the basis of everything that you do and it is really powerful. Can you give us a bit of background?

JEN: My husband and I have been married for 11 years and we have three children with one on the way. Elliot just turned five. Ollie is going to be 3 in about two months. Wyatt just turned one and the next one will be due in August.

We're really excited about our growing family and learning how to navigate all of that. It’s really exciting and fun.

Our marriage story is interesting and full of the ups and downs that I'm sure every single marriage faces. I know people's stories differ from situation to situation, but the hardships are hardships and it's difficult sometimes to get through. Our hardships started off right away.

If I could be really blunt, it had to do with sexual intimacy and it being really painful for me. For the first 3 ½ years of our marriage, we were just devastated. We had saved ourselves for marriage. We had all these expectations about what marriage would be like. We were really disappointed. We felt like we were suffering in that area. Because intimacy is such a requirement for marriage, it amplified a lot of other areas for us, like finances and just our attitudes on a daily basis were pretty negative.

We struggled for about 3 ½ years with that. Then God walked us through a healing process of fixing a lot of those areas in our life, including intimacy. A really unique part of our discovery is that things that were my personal care products, which I was putting on my body every day, was hindering my body from functioning the way that it should be, specifically parabens. I don't know if anyone's familiar with that, but we see it a lot in the cosmetic industry. “This is paraben-free.” I feel like there's a lot more attention coming towards that now, but back then not a lot was being said about it, so it was hard to figure out. But, we finally figured it out and once I took all of that out of my system and I'd switched all my personal care products, things changed within a week. It was pretty amazing.

Then it was this healing process of my mind and being anxious to go into sexual intimacy because I didn't want it to hurt. That was another year of retraining my mind. But, we figured it out and then we wanted to share our story.

We started blogging and sharing the things that we were learning. I was learning about how to be a wife, what God was teaching me about living a healthy lifestyle. It started gaining momentum so quickly. We have so many followers that love what we're doing and we feel so supported by them. It's been an incredible journey. We've been doing it for seven years now, which is crazy to think about. I feel like time's just flown right by.

That's the summary in a nutshell of what we've been walking through. My husband and I still blog together. We write resources for married couples and try to give them the encouragement that we felt was so necessary when we were going through our hardships. I felt like if someone could just have that little bit of hope to get past that one day, it's enough to maybe change the rest of their future together.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's so random what was causing your problem. People don’t realize. You guys have done so much in redirecting marriages, wives, and husbands to the Lord and bringing Him to the center of their relationships again. It's easy to get self-centered and try to fix problems ourselves. You guys have done so much work to “rebirth” that idea the way that it's supposed to be.

But even setting that aside, just bringing light on the Parabin thing. It's so random. People would never think to look at that. I can't even imagine how many countless women you've helped realize, “I had this problem too. I didn't really know how to talk about it, or where to go, and this was totally it.”

I think everything about what you guys have done is so amazing, and that's why it's grown so big. That’s why people love you guys so much is because you're so honest. To me, that's what you guys are known for. Being super honest. “Here’s what we're struggling with. If it’s you too, here’s some help; if not, that’s OK.

There’s a lot of questions I get asked and I can answer and that’s fine, but I really wanted to bring you on to answer them yourself because marriage is sort of “your thing” and what you talk about and they think it's important to get other “takes” on things.

One thing that I always get asked a lot is, “How do you stay close and remain in that close space with your husband in the midst of three/four kids, a really busy life? You guys are like us where you both work together. You run a business together. You’re homeschooling, right? We have a very similar situation. It's so amazing to be able to work together, and this was our goal, but if anything, it's harder to intentionally connect on a personal level because there is work, kids, and homeschooling involved in our relationship now. It's easy to go out on date night and end up talking about those things. What would you say is a way that you and Aaron have remained close throughout all the business, all the kids, and all the things going on in your life?

JEN: I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. It’s hard. I feel like there's so many high priorities, especially in this early phase of young kids. Aaron and I do run our own business. There's a lot of high-priority things that require time and attention. It does get really difficult to make sure that we're coming together and being intimate even if it's just a conversation or letting each other know where our hearts are at.

But, I think when we know the purpose of our marriage, then it becomes really easy to make that a priority. Aaron and I always try and come back to the purpose of our marriage is oneness and we know that we can't do this individually.

We can't parent individually. We can't run our businesses individually. Everything is so tied together to the oneness of our team that we have to come together. Sometimes I do forget this and I do struggle. I'm exhausted. It's the end of the day. I've been through a lot. I just want to crash; I want to go to bed. Then he's sitting next to me sometimes scrolling through social media or whatever, and I just want to go to bed.

But I know that the priority of our purpose of “being one,” of being on a team, I have to communicate to him. I have to tell him where I'm at, if I'm struggling with something, if the kids had a hard day, or whatever the thing is that's on my heart. I need to tell him and if for whatever reason I fall asleep before that happens, I have to make time for it either the next day or whenever I get that chance.

My husband and I do carve out time to do this. We try and do a date night once a week. If, for whatever reason it doesn't happen, because our babysitter canceled or whatever, we just do it as a family. We let our kids play in the living room with blocks or something and we'll just talk right in front of them.

We love to go on drives. Our kids love drives. Sometimes we'll put a movie on long drives or just encourage them to talk to each other. That gives us a time to go over maybe some of our goals or what are we working on. That's some of the ways that we try and come together.

ALLIE: I love the drive thing. We do the same thing. The kids are contained and safe. We will turn on a movie or music and, “everyone relax and be quiet.” Then we can just hash things out.

Also, one funny thing that we used that for was when we were going through a really rough time in our marriage, probably two years ago now. That’s how we would “argue.” The kids were there so you can't get out of hand. They are contained and safe. We can sit and discuss like, “OK you go and then I'll go next.” It was always civil and calm because the kids were there, but it was a way to work things out. The kids are safe and busy. We're fine. We're going to work this out and we're not stopping driving until we're fixed. It’s a funny way to do it, but whatever works when you have little kids.

I love how open you've been about your guys’ intimacy issues in the past and that you guys are totally on the other side of that now. A lot of the messages that I'm sure you receive and that I receive, were things like “I just can't open up to him because we have issues and it's hard for me.” Do you have any tips for being communicative to your husband about intimacy issues? Typically, the man doesn’t really use sex to feel close and the woman needs to feel close before sex. I feel like I get a lot of messages with that theme. How would you encourage people to be communicative to their husbands about intimacy issues?

JEN: The first thing I always say is start with the spiritual side of things. It's really hard to go into conversations like that without God really prompting your heart and making sure that your attitude and everything is under control. I always want to encourage people to go to prayer first. Pray for your husband's heart. Pray for your heart. Pray that everything that you do communicate comes out right, and that God would help you navigate that conversation.

You have to make time to be able to talk to your husband about these things, because if you avoid it, then you're talking about years of accumulation of things that aren't being said. And that doesn't help anyone.

One thing that I wish I had learned earlier is that you have to practice communication.

So those first conversations are probably going to be kind of muddy and messy and, they may not unfold the way that you'd hoped. You and your spouse are basically training each other in how you respond to one another, how you get messages across, or how you let each other know where your hearts are.

It takes practice over time. Like I said, my husband and I have been married for 11 years now. We have put in the investment of communication. We've figured out how to best communicate and we still mess up. It's a matter of doing. By doing you gain experience and you start to understand that you can work through that.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I love that answer.

Kind of on the same topic, do you have any more tactical tips for actually how to express things and communicate things in a way that doesn’t seem like an attack? It's hard not to go there when we're very emotional, they are hurting our feelings or whatever. What are some tactical, practical ways to bring things up, phrase things, to not make it sound like, “You suck. Everything sucks. I'm mad at you.”

JEN:  I think that understanding that God built our bodies with emotions is really important. But, we are still called to have self-control and we're responsible for how we communicate in those emotions. So, if you're really intense, if you have those really strong emotions, I would wait. I would push pause a little bit, just so that you can reign it in.

Then, when you go to talk to your husband, start with “I.” “I” feel like this is happening or “I” have been struggling because of this. Because when you start with “I”, they're focusing on you. Whereas, if you start out the conversation with, “I really feel like you are…,” you’re pointing the finger and starting with a complaint, and it's going to start the whole thing off on a negative foot.

When you start with what you're struggling with or maybe what you've realized over the last however long you've been struggling with an issue, I think it could soften things a little bit.

A long time ago somebody encouraged me to do “the Manwich,” which is complement, critique, complement. I don’t tactically use that, but you could. But, I just started with trying to compliment my husband and saying, “Hey, I really noticed you've been strong in these areas and if I could just encourage you in this other one…”

ALLIE:  Oh yeah. I love that. I think a lot of people’s main issue is communication. As far as Brian and I, he is very sweet and I'm very blunt. I have no problem saying, “I can't believe you did that that way. That was so dumb.” I have to tone it down and he's so sweet. But also we'll hold it in, so then it volcanoes out eventually. We had that going on for the first half chunk of our marriage. We had to really work on toning that down and smoothing it out. I hadn’t heard it called “the Manwich”, but someone told me about “the compliment sandwich kind of thing” and it really helped.

I didn’t want it to feel condescending. “You're so good at this. I just really wish that we could work on this.” I don't know, it felt weird. It felt a little bit unnatural, which is good. That's why it worked because it was my not my natural fleshly way of handling things and it really, really helped. I still try to do that when I'm focusing on being a good wife. It really, really helps. He always says, “I love talking with you because I want to grow and be a better husband. And I love it when you say it in that way.” It's not like, “this is another thing that's not going well.” It softens it.  

JEN: It softens your heart too. I think when you come at the situation with a compliment for your husband, your heart can't be in a negative place or you can't be gritting your teeth while you're complimenting them.

It really does soften the whole atmosphere. It brings a gentleness to the conversation that I think they appreciate.

ALLIE: Yeah, exactly. There's always something to be grateful for. There’s always some reason that you married him in the first place that’s good about him. Bringing up something that reminds you of that, especially if it's really an issue that you are hoping can be changed, it's hard to talk about those things.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

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If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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ALLIE:  Staying on communication, I don't even know a specific question but I just wanted to talk to you about arguing. Do you have any general tips for how to argue? The kids are there and if things get really heated, what are your tips for that kind of situation?

JEN: I have changed my viewpoint on this little bit. I used to think that arguing in front of the kids was a good thing because then they get to see you also make up and show apology, forgiveness and all of that. Because I believed that, I justified my intense behavior in front of my son. I remember, specifically, the moment that changed for us. My son was about 1 ½ maybe 2 years old and my husband and I were arguing in the kitchen. To us it didn't seem that intense, but we also had a problem with bickering at the time. Things were escalating.

Our son was standing between us in the kitchen; we didn't even recognize him. He was standing there crying as loud as he could, just adding to the chaos. We stopped immediately and realized that we were creating this atmosphere of intense chaos for our child and his little heart didn't need to participate in that. He didn't need it and we didn't need it. It wasn't a healthy way of communicating for us. That really opened up our eyes to what was going on.

Now there's times that things come up and we get a little heated in our conversations in front of the kids still. We recognize it a lot sooner, a lot quicker and we're quick to cut it off. We actually do practice apologizing to our children. “Mommy shouldn't have said that to daddy like that” or whatever.

I've learned there's other ways of showing the kids how to be in unity with my husband and showing that forgiveness and apology even if they don't see the arguing.

ALLIE: Do you guys go to another room and work it out?

JEN: Yeah. If we notice that things are escalating to where things are being said that we don't want the kids to hear, we'll save it for later and make sure that we go away or wait until they're sleeping or whatever. We do whatever we need to do to protect their hearts. We want them to see us as one unit. We want them to see us as a team. We are trying to cultivate that in their hearts so they know who we are and that they can trust us and feel secure around us.

ALLIE:  Yeah, absolutely. I've had a similar heart change with arguing in front of the kids. It’s really out there. I feel like that's more the common piece of advice is to go ahead and argue in front of the kids. It’s hard when we do that.

Like I said about the “car thing.” It makes you keep it in a conversation where you're just discussing it. I love that you had that change of heart after seeing, “this isn't really working for us” and making it work for your family.

JEN: To encourage those listening if there are continual heated arguments happening and the way that you guys are responding to each other and communicating is not healthy, that needs to be addressed.  

I think you guys can work together as a team to encourage one another to change and mature in that area. Because I think that even if we're doing it behind closed doors, it's still not a good thing. It's not healthy to be arguing with that kind of intensity, especially on a regular basis.

I encourage you to maybe evaluate that part of your marriage. If heightened, if it's intense, maybe work on that. Hopefully that encourages some people that are listening.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love everything that you said. We’ve gone through such a hard time with that and I wish that I had found you sooner because it would have helped me so much. Knowing that it is OK to feel like this, but you just need to address it. Not feeling shame or feeling like, “Your marriage shouldn’t be like this. You’re not going to make it.”

I remember one time somebody handed me a book and it was basically a scientific study on how to know if your marriage is going to make it or not. It said, “I'm a 100% accurate,  if I see this then you're eventually going to get divorced.” And it made me feel like, “there's no hope here.”

Jesus can radically change anything. That’s what draws me to your guys’ messages. It’s a hope anthem. Any marriage is if those people are willing to change or even one person is willing to change and work on things. I love that about you guys.

My last question for you is what is one way that you would like to encourage our listeners to pursue purpose, just right where they're at. If you want to relate that to marriage or something more general. What is on your heart in terms of them pursuing purpose in their lives right now, wherever they're at.

JEN: I would say that vision is really important and it's a really great way to experience that unity and oneness with your husband. My husband and I pretty much started out on our journey with goal setting and we love this. We love to take a day or drive or whatever it is and lay out on the table what are some goals that we can work on together as a team.

Now that we have kids, we even add them into the mix and ask ourselves, “OK, what can we do for Elliot? What can we do for all of them? What are some things that we want to look forward to in the future that we can work on today?

This really helps put us back on the same page too, so that he's not out chasing his dreams and I'm not out chasing mine. It really helps us keep the focus on our unity and our oneness. It reminds us about our marriage, what we're striving for.

We do this often. We do it at the beginning of every year, but also throughout the year as we're hitting goals or if new ones come up.

I want to encourage everyone out there that if you don't have vision for your marriage, you are basically living a little hopelessly because you don't have anything to look forward to. Even if you're going through hardships, if you have something to look forward to, it really gets you through that next day.

That was true for us. I think that was one thing that really carried us through those hard times that we were having. Establish a vision for your marriage, - for your family, if you guys work together or whatever it is that you want to goal set for - paint this picture of your future of what you want it to look like.

Even if it's a month from now, start. Start small and then work your way up to years or whatever. I really feel that it will get you guys communicating because you have to talk about how to accomplish those goals and what strategies you're going to make. It'll help you move forward together as a team.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think it's Proverbs 29:18, that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” It’s so true, as a family, as a couple, anything. I have applied it to my business, my team, our family. It's such a team building thing for you and your husband to be on the same page.

And I've found Brian’s goals will maybe be a little bit different than mine, or I just don’t have those goals right now. We can still pull it together and make it work together to where we're helping each other. I love that you said that.

Thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom. I am so honored to have you.

Jen has written how many books now? 8 or 10?

You’re at Unveiled Wife, pretty much everywhere on social media, right? Where are you most active?

JEN: I am most responsive on Instagram? I'd say it's just quicker for me to shoot out a response there. And then second would be Facebook.

ALLIE: OK. So, we'll link to everything there in the show notes.

I have Wife After God. It’s an amazing book. I encourage you guys to get it.  

Jen has been blogging a year longer than I have, so there is a huge archive. You can get lost in there.

It’s unveiledwife.com. Go check it out.

But thank you so much, Jen. I'm so excited to have you here.

JEN: Thanks for having me. This is so awesome.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 018: Prioritizing Sex in Your Marriage w/ Sheila Wray Gregoire

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As busy moms, we are in the hardest season when it comes to sex. We are exhausted majority of the time, we don’t feel sexy because things are leaking, we are being pulled on all day, and if we are being honest, sex isn’t our priority. We want it, but our bodies are too tired to do it. But sex isn’t just going to happen if we are waiting for it to happen. It has to be something that we start looking forward to. We need to have a different attitude and tell our bodies what to feel instead of waiting for our bodies to feel something.

In this episode, I am excited to sit down with Sheila Wray Gregoire to discuss Prioritizing Sex In Your Marriage. This episode is not light + it is not for tiny ears. We are talking about a lot of adult and marriage things. So, pop your headphones in and enjoy this episode alone! Make some space for yourself and enjoy!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Sheila Discuss:

  • The importance in believing you deserve sex + the impact it has on your drive for sex.

  • How libido works + varies from men to women.

  • Reverse libido + how to handle it.

  • Ways to prioritize sex among your busy life.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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A library of inspiration. 

Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes?  Want more details? Do you want videos?  Do you want pdf’s?  Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood? Did you say yes to those questions? Then the Supermom Vault is for you! It holds replays of my very best online workshops that aren’t available anywhere else, tons of really actionable pdf’s that are downloadable with just one click, more than 20 audio and video trainings from me, and professionally designed printables for your home to keep you focused and inspired.


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Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com and let us know you left an iTunes review. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's mini courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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DISCLAIMER:  Hey Friends!  Before we get into the interview with Sheila today, I wanted to let you know that this conversation is definitely not for tiny ears.  This is a moms-only discussion. We are talking about a lot of adult and marriage things. I don’t want you to get asked tough questions from your kids who might be listening.  So, pop your headphones in and enjoy this episode alone. I am so seriously thrilled to be recording with Sheila. I really think you will enjoy this episode. Make some space for yourself and enjoy!

ALLIE:  Hey guys! Welcome to this episode of The Purpose Show!  I am here with Sheila Wray Gregoire.  I am super glad that you are here!  Sheila is an author, a course creator, a blogger.  Some books that she has written are The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, 31 Days to Great Sex, a course about Boosting Your Libido.  Sheila talks so freely in such a refreshing way about marriage, intimacy, having great sex and prioritizing that.  She opens up discussions about what could be an awkward topic, and does it in such a refined way. I just love you so much and I am so glad you are here!

Welcome!  Why don’t you just start by saying a bit about yourself and your life?

SHEILA:  I started blogging and talking about parenting and general women-stuff and found that every time I talked about sex that my topic took off. It’s kind of ironic because it was actually the hardest part of my marriage when I first got married. I kind of laugh at myself at where life takes you.  We are empty nesters now, so that is a new situation.  My youngest daughter is actually getting married next month.

ALLIE:  Congratulations!  It’s so funny to be talking to you in that season and I am way on the other end.  I have a thousand kids and they are so little.  Side note guys:  Sheila and her husband have done camper-living and traveling.  And we have done that with our kids, so it is cool to see that you guys are into that and love to travel.

I wanted to have Sheila here to give us this relaxed conversation about how to prioritize sex especially when there are little kids.  I am sure you get asked all of the time.  With the exhaustion that comes all of the time, it is such an emotional mindset for women.  You just feel grabbed at all day. It is so hard. I get asked about this a lot and I just don’t know what to say.  I am really glad that you are here.

What would you suggest to women who feel like life is so busy?  They love their husbands. But if they are honest, sex has become the last priority.  It is so hard if you are just not feeling it.

SHEILA:  Most women do not get how our libidos work at all. It makes sense why we don’t.  If you watch any movie or TV show, there is a certain plot when it comes to sex.  And it goes something like this.  Two people are together and then they start to pant, then they kiss.  They take off their clothes and they end up in bed.  That’s always the way it is.

They pant, they kiss, take off their clothes and then they’re in bed. And that’s what a lot of women think sex is: touch, kiss, clothes, bed.

So there you are at home…and you’re waiting to pant. And nothing’s happening so you figure you’re just not in the mood, right? But actually, that’s not the way that our sex drives work for women.

There is a woman, Rosemary Abbott at British Columbia, who did this huge study.  What she found was that for men arousal preceded making out. That’s pretty obvious and for the life of me, I don’t know why anyone would need to do a research study on that. But they also found that women aren’t aroused until they started.

That’s the big thing that I don’t think we get.  For women, it’s not like your panting. And it’s not because you’re not panting that you are not in the mood. Our sex drives are almost entirely here (head); for men, they are a little bit lower. And what you think is going to determine what your body does.

So what happens is it’s nighttime, you’re in bed, and you’re thinking, “O man, do I want to?  I don’t know, he’s probably expecting something.” And we go through this in our heads.  So if we just decided, “I am going to have an awesome time, and I am going to jump in”, we would be asleep already.  But instead we run all of this around in our heads and we drive ourselves crazy.

The big thing that I would tell women is we have to stop waiting to get in the mood and we have to start getting a whole new mindset about sex.  Because sex isn’t just going to happen if you are waiting for it to happen. It has to be something that you start looking forward to.

The way you’re going to do that is to just start realizing that sex is something for me.  It isn’t something that was just created for men. Sex is also something for me.  When you have sex, you sleep better. If you are exhausted, that’s probably what you need to do.

You feel better.  You get fewer colds the more sex you have.

ALLIE:  I mean if nothing else, do it for the fewer colds, guys.

SHEILA: So we have to stop with this whole idea that we are not in the mood to have sex and instead, say, “you know what?  I deserve this!  I have been running around after everybody else. I deserve to have an awesome time!”

Just have that different attitude and tell your body what to feel instead of waiting for your body to feel something.

ALLIE:  And what a huge blessing for our husbands too, on their end with the typical, “O I’m waiting…”  We were out with friends the other night and the husband said something like, “goodbye sex tonight”.  Because he had made a joke and she got upset.  It was just the whole typical relationship of the man and the woman.  So what a blessing for us and also for them if that’s our attitude.  If we switch it and we are like, “yeah, I deserve to have an amazing night. I’m exhausted.”  Instead of using it like a weapon that “you get it if you behave” or “you get it if I am in the mood.”  It breeds this unhealthy weird power balance that can’t be good for us.

SHEILA:   No, and I think we need to realize that sex is not just physical.  That’s the way our culture portrays it, right?  That sex is all about this physical urge, this huge sexual release or whatever.  But really sex is actually a deeply intimate experience.

I did this massive survey of thousands of women, and what I found was that the magic years for sex in marriage were 16-24. A decade and a half after you get married. You feel totally comfortable with each other. You feel like you can let your hair down. You can be vulnerable. You know each other inside/out.  You’ve probably seen each other on the toilet.

The kids are all sleeping through the night. You’re not as tired. And that’s when sex starts to really work. That’s when things really click for a lot of people.  And I think it’s because you feel so close.

We have this mistaken idea that the best years for sex are your early twenties or the honeymoon, but it’s not. It’s when you feel really close because it’s intimacy that makes sex really great.  It all feeds each other.

ALLIE:  That makes so much sense. That’s also a very hopeful finding for those of us who aren’t there yet.  In your head, and maybe it’s a societal thing, but you think the older you get the worse everything gets. So if it’s not going well now, this is going to just keep sucking my whole marriage.

It is so the opposite.  We are in the hardest season. Most of my listeners are where I am at, or even younger.  It is so hard sometimes.  The elements are so out of your control. The babies are waking up, or you’re pregnant and you feel seasick all of the time. It’s just so weird.  Things are leaking that shouldn’t be and it’s just a very weird, awkward, unsexy season in a lot of ways. You can work around it and sure, it can be great, but it’s so hopeful to know that although I feel so close to my husband and we have a great relationship, that the best is yet to come.  I love that you shared that.

You talked about libido.  I know you have a full course on this.  I will link to this in the show notes for you guys, but can you give us a few tips for if you feel like you do have a low libido.  Even getting to that mindset of “ok, I deserve this.”  What if you just don’t want to. What would you say about the libido thing?

SHEILA:  I think libido is really a use it or lose it thing.  When you fall into the habit of not having sex, it is really difficult to get back with the habit of sex.  A lot of it is just because we get so busy. Sex comes last on the to-do list and it just seems like such a major imposition.  If you think about it that way, it’s really hard to initiate sex.   If you have been turning him down a ton, you get into this dynamic where he stops asking.  I am really talking about places where she has the lower libido.  About 30% of the cases are where he actually has the lower libido.

For those who do have a lower libido, sometimes you just need to take a look at your life and where your priorities are.  For example, I got a comment from a woman who said, “Look, I work full time. I have a 7 and a 4-year-old. My husband works full time.  My life is spent making meals, running errands, doing groceries, taking the kids to all of their activities, and I can’t have sex unless I feel pretty.  So I need to have a shower. I need to shave. I need to put on perfume. I need to look good. And I don’t have time for all of that.  How am I supposed to have sex, when I don’t have time for all of that?”  Look at your priorities.

ALLIE:  That’s such a list. It would never happen if that was my list.

SHEILA: I understand that laundry needs to get done. Groceries need to get bought.  But if you are in a situation where you literally do not have time to do the things that you need to do to make a marriage work, you have a problem. And you need to do something about that problem.  Because if your kid who is 4 is going to karate once a week, and swimming once a week, your marriage is worth more than a 4-year-old enduring a karate lesson.  A 4-year-old’s karate lesson doesn’t matter.

Maybe you need to figure out ways to get your husband involved in some grocery shopping so it’s not all on your shoulders.  Maybe we need to look at how we do life.  You can’t be in a place where you have time for everything except for your marriage. It doesn’t work.

What your kids really need is for you and your husband to be together. Your kids need you to have a rock-solid marriage way more than they need their extra-curricular activities.  

ALLIE:  That’s where the priority thing comes in.  What do you want?  This or that?  I was just talking to my husband about this the other day.  As we are getting into our 30’s, friends that got married at the same time as us are getting divorced and splitting apart.  We were talking about the sadness of losing couple friends, and who do you hang out with now.

He was saying you just expect that it’s going to be there and you are not cultivating that friendship.  That intimacy. That “I don’t just love you, we have a life together, and you’re always going to be there”.  It’s “I really like you, and I am enjoying you, and I want to be with you.”  You’re enjoying that relationship. Cultivating that relationship.

I think it is just so sad. I have been there where you just fall into that season of “oh, you’re just there, we’re just doing life together.”  Cultivating is so important.  Then the sex just falls in right after that.

SHEILA:  Honestly, most women that you talk to say that their marriage is a priority. But if you look at it, most of the time, it’s not.  So, I want to say, listen, “if you think your marriage is a priority, then you have to make it a priority.” I know that life is busy, but it’s also a choice.  There is a choice.

If you’re in one of those seasons where you’re working opposite shifts and it’s just impossible, you’re trying to balance daycare and money is very tight – I get it. But then make up a 5-year plan so that you are not going to be here forever. It’s not sustainable and you’ve got to get a life that you can enjoy. Maybe it means downsizing. Go back to an apartment because you just didn’t have the bills. Whatever it is.

You want your marriage to last. You want to just have fun. Enjoy your husband. Not be stressed.  Then we have to think differently about how we do our money, activities, and all this other stuff.

ALLIE: Yeah, if there is a season that is so difficult that you can’t even prioritize your main relationship, other than the Lord, are you planning to stay there? It should be a season, not how you’re doing life.

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Hey friend!  It’s Allie!  Have you heard of the Supermom Vault yet?

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Check it out!  It’s a really good simple start.

Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes?  Want more details? Do you want videos?  Do you want pdf’s?  Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

This is definitely the place to go!

Check it out!  Alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

 

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ALLIE: I want to come back to the reverse libido problem.  So if it’s the husband who is having that issue, what do we do if that is the situation.

SHEILA:  First of all, you have to figure out why.  Because it could just be that you have a higher libido than normal, and he doesn’t have a lower libido, and it’s perfectly normal. In that case, you just talk about. The way we talk about it is not that you’re an animal and  you can’t resist your urges.  You don’t want to say that.

You want to say, “I just want us to have a really intimate marriage.  I think we are missing out on it. Can we talk about it? How to live with passion and adventure and a better living life?”  That’s a better way to phrase it.

However, in a lot of cases when the husband has a low libido, it’s not that it’s normal. There could actually be something going on.  And that’s where we need to take a look. It could simply be health issues, or stress at work. Tons of antidepressants cause low libido.  You might need to talk to your doctor about that.

The #1 reason is porn abuse.  It’s really sad, but we need to get real about this stuff.  Sometimes, it’s not even that he is using porn right now. If you think about it, if you are an 11 or 12-year-old boy (that’s when porn abuse starts, that’s when they first get exposed), and they are starting to have sexual feelings. Then that feeling is paired with an image, or a video.  Not to get too graphic, but usually things are done watching porn so that sexual release is occurring.  That cements something in your brain so that you relate arousing with that porn instead of a person.

Even men who have stopped watching porn, even if they have gone through the battle and they have stopped it, they get married and she is not porn.   He might totally love her, but he is not necessarily aroused by her.  That’s when we really have to get to the root of it and start rewiring the brain so that sex becomes about intimacy and not about anonymity and not about weird stuff.  It is a difficult thing. So I would just say to make sure that’s not a factor because it is for so many men.  Especially in their 20’s and 30’s.

ALLIE:  I love that you brought that up.  It’s very sad.

My last question for you is I wanted to know what you would say to the wife who has been emotionally hurt. There’s been a lot of marriage trouble. Definitely not talking about physical abuse at all. But just a lot of emotional pain.  A rocky marriage. Maybe she is just feeling really resentful.  I recently spoke to a friend who was feeling like there’s such a wall.

It’s really hard without God because He can really help you break those things down and she wasn’t in that place. What would you say about emotions and past hurt is getting in the way of being able to open up and be intimate with your husband.

SHEILA:  First of all, there’s a big difference between emotional abuse where they actually try to control your behavior or you’re not allowed to have certain emotions, let’s put that aside.  If you are going through that, please seek a counselor, get some help. That’s not normal.

If it really is that you guys have really become distant and he doesn’t seem to want to listen to you. He doesn’t seem to share his heart at all. You’re living in the same house but you feel like you haven’t connected whatsoever.  Men tend to make love in order to feel loved. Whereas women need to feel love in order to make love.

ALLIE: So funny that’s the design.

SHEILA:  That can be a recipe for disaster because then you can feel disconnected. He wants to build that bridge by making love whereas she has no interest whatsoever until they emotionally connect.

So I would say that this is really a two-step process.  One is recognizing that when you do make love, you tend to feel closer.  There is actually a biological basis for that.  Where when you make love you produce Oxytocin which is the same hormone we produce when you are nursing your baby.  It’s a bonding hormone that makes you feel really close.

So after you make love for the next day or two, you tend to be more affectionate with him. You laugh more. The tension level comes way down. So if there is tension in the marriage, making love will actually bridge a lot of that gap that you might not understand.

So that’s part one. I know it seems like the last thing you want to do but try to throw yourself into it.  Try to remember how much you love him. Try to remember how much you want this marriage, and you might find that it starts to bridge a lot of that gap that you are feeling.

The second thing is your emotional needs do matter. If you are feeling distant, you do need to address that. It doesn’t always have to be this huge marriage makeover.  One of the very, very simple habits my husband and I started a couple of years ago when he was working out of town a lot, and we weren’t always home, is that every day we would still connect and we would share what was the high point of your day and what was the low point.

You know when you say to your husband, “what did you do today?” and he is like, “how am I supposed to tell you everything I did today? What do you really want to know?”  Just tell him two emotional things because that makes you feel like “I know where he is emotionally.” And he will know where you are emotionally.

Not where he had lunch or what he had for lunch, or how many sales calls he went on today.  That doesn’t matter. Because I know emotionally what’s going on with him.  It’s such a simple thing. It takes ten minutes a day but you feel a lot more connected.

It’s much easier than the question, “how was your day?”  Because you don’t know what to say to that.

ALLIE:  Right.  And they’re exhausted and you’re expectant.  I love the idea of what was the high and low because it is just a great emotional gauge for you to not expect much of him but you can totally tell where he is at by answering that question.  It’s such a good idea.   That was a very good, simple, practical idea and a good place to end, I think.

Thank you so much!  Where can people find you?  You have one of those blogs that has been there for so long, for ten years.  It’s overwhelming in a good way – there’s so much.

But I am going to link to the blog post that you shared.

SHEILA:  Yeah, so tolovehonorandvacuum.com has tons of stuff about sex and marriage. The sidebar has my top 10 posts for the day.  That’s a usually good place to start because those are the big ones.   You can find me at twitter, pinterest – just search Sheila Gregorie.

I do have my Boost Your Libido course which is perfect for anyone who has been really tracking with us.  I am going to give you guys a coupon code (use the code ALLIE at checkout). So hop on over and use that coupon code and let’s start getting this right. Because you deserve this.  You were made for this.  Don’t settle for anything less.

ALLIE:  Absolutely. I love that.  We will link to all of that in the show notes guys, just alliecasazza.com/shownotes.  Find this episode 18 and it will all be there for you guys.

Thank you so much for being here Sheila.  This has been great!

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Episode 009: How We Keep Intimacy Alive & Well with 1,000 Kids (feat. Brian Casazza)

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In this episode, Brian joins Allie to talk about how they remain so close and keep intimacy alive, even with one thousand children.

With February, the month of love, right around the corner, the topic will largely circle around love, intimacy and marriage. However, this particular episode comes from the many questions Allie receives from her followers.

People often ask how Allie and Brian remain to be so close and connected.

The biggest thing to remember is that in order to feel close and connected to your significant other, you have to stop putting your intimacy on the back burner, putting it off until after you care for your kids. You need to keep the fire burning all day long, so that when night arrives, you’re happy to spend time together.

(We’ll be discussing grown-up things in this episode, so be sure to pop your headphones in to listen.)

 
 

In This Episode, Allie discusses:

  • Intimacy is not all about sex.

  • Allie and Brian share the 5 steps they take to maintain the intimacy in their relationship.

  • Communicating your needs is important, but you must share those needs in a productive manner versus being combative.

  • Quick tips for scheduling intimacy into the day-to-day.


If you are looking for a simple way to connect with your hubby while you guys are apart during those long work days, let me help you out! I put together a list of 20 Text Messages that you can send to your husband to get a connective conversation started. It is a FREE download that you can save to your phone for whenever you kind of feel like you need to connect a little bit through the day!

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Thanks so much for joining me! I’m so excited to experience the show’s progression with you!

If you’ve loved this episode, help me reach more mothers who want to leave a legacy of intention and joy by heading over to iTunes (or wherever you listen) and leaving a rating and review. And, be sure to subscribe while you’re there.

Reviews are everything for podcasters, so I truly appreciate it!

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at allie@thepurposefulhousewife.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram

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