some names have been
omitted from this post
The bar was dark and the patrons mingled along the stained concrete floor amongst the stone pillars accented with lit bronzed lanterns giving off a warm glow that cast on everyone's faces. I stood beside my friend with her halo of blonde chin length curls and we leaned in toward one another in conversation to barely be heard over the music being emitted from the overhead speakers.
Up ahead, an older gentleman nearing fifty began moving toward me, dressed in jeans, a crisp collared shirt and cowboy hat. He was handsome and although had certainly aged gracefully I wasn't interested as our ages were at distant extremes.
He strode up to me and approached, his grasp holding a glass beer bottle and under his mustached mouth he conveyed a smile with a deep but velvety question...
"Can I buy you a drink?"
"No, but thank you." I responded politely.
He looked at me with amused curiosity and with another smile he responded,
"And why not?"
I took a deep breath inward. I could have told him because I don't accept drinks from any man in any bar because I believed if a woman let a man buy her a drink he'd expect something. I was also full of self pride and would be darned if some man was going to buy me a drink because I could buy myself one, thank you very much. But as he conferred with his male friend in low tones and his eyes glistened at me, I heard the words "...fine young thing..." utter from his lips and I recoiled inside.
"Why?" I asked him, echoing what he'd asked me.
He nodded waiting expectantly for an answer from me.
"Because you're old enough to be my dad. That's why. It's inappropriate."
I replied with a polite tone yet firm.
He stood there shocked at my honesty, tipped his hat, said "Okay" and walked away.
As women it can be understandably incredibly frustrating when our dating age bracket seems to be going higher with each passing year while men's plummet lower and lower as they grow older and older. When were twenty we have forty and fifty year old men looking aka leering at us. When were forty we have sixty year old men looking at us. I see it in the grocery store, the convenience store, the shopping mall and restaurants etc... their gaze lingering, hoping you will meet theirs. I see it in traffic at stop lights as they grin from their convertible BMW's eliciting an internal eye roll from me.
We aren't flattered...
but maybe creeped out.
Why is it socially acceptable for a man to hit on,
date and marry a much younger woman?
Why do some men believe they are entitled (holding an over inflated ego and an obscured view of themselves) to have a much younger woman on their arm? It's rampant on dating websites these days... men are searching for a woman at least one if not two age brackets younger than their own.
Youth trumps, it seems by society's standards and so many men want a woman still in the throes of flawless outward beauty to flash as a trophy of sorts on their arm to the world that screams:
"Look at me and what I have." = EGO
Men are not God's gift to women
Men may believe that younger women say "Yes" more often than women in their own age group. Younger women could possibly do this (?) and who knows the reasons but consequently the man can then happily take the reins, guiding the relationship to be on HIS terms as he sees fit.... but for these men is this about leading or control? For men is it about "having it my way" because their ex-wife actually voiced opposition occasionally and they didn't like it? Knowing what the important driving force is for a man to date a much younger woman is telling in his own growth and if he's become stagnated.
He may get a huge ego boost knowing he's "still got it" which doesn't really make any sense because if as an older male the agenda is to attract, date and possibly marry a much younger woman one would surmise that he always stands a higher risk of being used financially if she's barely standing on two feet in a tiny apartment, a hefty car payment and barely enough money to feed her cat... not always a reality of course but we also know people in general don't want to be conned but instead genuinely loved. A woman on equal ground will more likely see the value in him not his wallet. A woman on equal ground will see him as an asset of endearing masculinity, an equal and a blessing to her life not to her pocketbook. A woman on equal ground will have decades of experiences, stories and changing (growing) views that add depth and interest to conversation over wine and candlelight. It's the things of substance like these and more that men are ultimately missing out on when they choose to date a much younger woman. It's certainly something men should keep in mind when they choose who they wish to pursue in dating.
Younger women may appear much easier to impress in a man's eyes than older women but that may also be in part that older women are in a different place of maturity... in that as a whole they aren't going to be swept away with moonbeams in their eyes by big shiny toys or expensive cars or fancy restaurants. Knowing that these shiny objects and experiences are just fleeting materialism and image that can definitely be enjoyed but at the end of the day offer no real joy but instead it's a warm, loving, genuine heart that does...
and at the end of the day men need to remember that all external beauty fades over time no matter how young their date is, as their own looks do, but the beauty of someone's heart never fades...
and that's what matters most.
BUT A KIND
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
image “Man Fedora Hat Drinking Coffee Etching” by vectorolie via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
some names have been changed
or omitted in this post
I glanced at my Coach watch as I sat in my children's psychologist's waiting room noting it was nearly a quarter to ten...
It was almost time, I thought to myself as my eyes surveyed the brightly lit sparse room with magazines, plastic backed chairs and an ocean mural on the opposite wall.
My cell phone began ringing and I dug through my purse for it, finally extracting it from an inside pocket. Rising from my chair and seeing who the caller was displayed on the screen, I answered it and slipped outside into the breezeway... leaves scuttling along as my camel hued boots trekked through them... a slight breeze was stirring and caused my hair to whip around my shoulders...
"Hello?" I answered
"Hey..." came the all too familiar voice over the line like that of warm baked bread but today, this morning, it sounded slightly off, like it was pinched and in pain. Two hours earlier I had told him goodbye unbekownst to him for the last time over breakfast and making two school lunches in our kitchen as he hurried out the door to work.
"I just got served... I wish you would have talked to me first." His words came slowly at first but then rapid as if they were like steam being released from a tea kettle in a quick spurt.
My breath caught momentarily, reality had arrived, and the October wind carried my breath away....
"You wish I'd talked to you?" I repeated what he'd said because I couldn't believe anyone could disperse such an unnerving utterance like that. "Oh, I'm so sorry... Well, I wish you'd talked to me first... before you decided to go screw other women." I replied into the phone as my long hair whipped around my head.
"You had indiscretions!" came the verbal assault back at me ninety to nothing and I clutched the phone so as not to drop it on the hard pavement in shock.
"What?!" I gasped.
"Yeah! With Jeremy! You did!" He half yelled, half retorted back and I was now thoroughly convinced he'd fallen and hit his head, maybe suffering some sort of stroke or early dementia because his accusation was just plain crazy.
"Are you crazy?!" I asked him in dumbfoundedness, my immediate world, my surroundings... the bench, the floor to ceiling glass windows revealing other doctor offices along the corridor of the breezeway suddenly began reeling around me in a dizzying kaleidoscope of colors...
"Oh my God... have you lost your mind?" I asked him coldly yet not really expecting an answer from him. Shock and fury overwhelmed me that I was standing accused when I had not stepped out and yet he had multiple times. What was worse is he'd pushed for marital counseling through our church which I'd agreed to and yet not during a single session with our Pastor had he once mentioned any infidelities.
"You fool!" I cried into the phone... "You were so insecure, so certain I must have done something you convinced yourself I did, you continually threw him in my face... You're throwing everything away over nothing! I haven't done anything! I don't appreciate being accused of something I haven't done and I don't appreciate you accusing him of doing something with me!" I informed him... pity overwhelming me for him on the line... sudden pity that anyone could be so blind, so insecure, so damn stubborn and not see what had stood before him... faithfulness and two sweet children but instead... looking, fishing, for ludicrously "justifiable" excuses in his twisted paranoid mind for his failing concious choices he had made out of selfish sin. Likewise years ago when I'd been single Jeremy may have walked away out of mounting frustration and I had failed out of weakness to share my heart when we'd dated but the man who had vowed to honor, love and cherish me before God had not followed through and now had the nerve to justify his actions on baseless lies he'd created.
"I'll take the stand and a lie detector test! I have nothing to hide!" I told him... "You're the one who cheats and then you come back and accuse me. I am done." I hung up.
When a spouse has been cheating they may come up with the false idea you have been too. This is called projection. The thief judges by his own condition. They are transferring all of their indiscretions, lies and the facade they've carefully orchestrated for however long as your behavior and the reason for the failure of the relationship.
But this couldn't be further from the truth. They have lived in their alternative world of lust and lies for so long they have convinced themselves the person they know and love must have done the same as they have, that they too are swept up in a quagmire of extramarital sex and conniving deceit fueled by deeply rooted jealousy and insecurity within.
But they are wrong.
Cheating spouses may twist and spin the truth to suit themselves, to help them feel better, to massage their fragile egos and to justify their meandering souls.
But it doesn't work.
You may feel rightly incensed by the false accusations when you've done nothing, like a piece of your heart has been ripped out and in that you may feel bewildered that the one you're with doesn't appear to know you any better than that. Because even in the worst days of your marriage, the days of frustration and irritation, those dark days together when it would have been so much easier to throw in the towel and walk off, but instead you clung to those orginal vows you made, took a deep breath, dusted yourself off and walked in the next room to begin again... you have remained faithful to the marriage no matter what your emotions of the heart have been, no matter what past regrets you may hold and yet now you stand on the pavement among dry brittle detached leaves of October being told all those many many times you dusted yourself off and vowed to begin again, to not give up and tucked yourself under his chin with your hand clasping his in quiet resolve were essentially all for nothing... to now be told it was essentially a waste of your time.
It's one of the most tragically tear jerking experiences
to realize this and the sadness that goes with it.
You know who you are to your core and eventually you just have to move on and live your life no matter how many times the person continues to falsely accuse you.
There are always signs of a cheating spouse however subtle... the signs are there... waiting to be noticed or discovered in the busy day to day activity we call life. Some signs may not be realized until much later, after the fact, in hindsight and you will have moments that cause you to take pause and say to yourself "Now I see why he did this or that... "
That knowledge certainly doesn't make it any easier to swallow and you may beat yourself up (unnecessarily) but don't.... because it's not a reflection of you... it's a reflection of their character. The truth is... you are brave. You gave your heart... you trusted, you believed, you tried. There will always be things you see later with more clarity that you could have done better in a relationship and in that there is grace too... there are always second chances in life and an opportunity to grow.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
“Leaf On Road” by winnond via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Signs Of A (Possibly) Cheating Spouse:
1. Any changes physically; working out suddenly, new hair style, tanning, teeth whitening, Rogaine, new wardrobe, etc.
2. New products; new deodorant brand, new music preferences, new cologne, new shampoo, etc.
3. Shady-ness; won't put his/her cell phone down and seems to be worried you might look at it, now goes to the movies "alone", his work hours change, he/she begins traveling for work more often, hides his history on web browsing, hides calls, deletes texts and photos, makes calls in private or outside, suddenly spends more time with a co-worker, etc.
4. Cleanliness; suddenly he/she is keeping their car cleaner and their clothes go to the dry cleaners with promptness.
5. It's all about them; suddenly he/she needs more "me time" and less couple time... he's off to "play golf" or "see a movie" etc when in reality he's meeting "her" or one of many he's seeing.
6. Sex; he's either withdrawn from you and is never in the mood or he's like a raging horn dog all the time... well, more than usual.
7. You're wrong; and he/she is always right, you can never seem to please them anymore and he/she always seems irritated with you.
8. Turns the tables; he/she used to be a self professed conservative... now their a liberal and wants to make pot legal... you sit there staring at him/her thoroughly convinced they've had a batch of brownies from Portland Oregon over-nighted because clearly he/she's high as a kite.
9. You're "delusional"; you tell him your concerns that he is going on a work trip and will be riding in a vehicle for several hours alone with someone of the opposite sex. You voice how you don't believe this is appropriate considering he's a married man. He/she dismisses your concern and says you're dreaming up a scenario that will never happen and does what he chooses.
10. He/she turns on you; he tells you that you look horrible. He says you need to lose/gain weight, he tells you that he's not happy, he accuses you of being unfaithful when you haven't and he has zero evidence of such.
As women we slowly glide from our youth to more invested years of wisdom and we realize all the more the importance of our unfading internal beauty over whatever we choose to adorn ourselves in on the outside. We know we may each have worn things "back in the day" that give us pause, that make us think "Oh, what was I thinking?!..." yet that also can give us the perspective of:
"I may have made some rather questionable wardrobe choices but I am not those choices. I can give grace to myself as in all things, not sweat over the too-short shorts, the past barely-there breast baring tube top, the summer I wore the too short sheer skirt.... I can move on and give that same grace to other women... to not view them with scorn, with judgment or a wrinkled nose but instead with a smile and love."
We can be mindful and remember that the clothes a woman wears don't tell the whole story nor is she a walking advertisement in a desire for sex.
At the end of the day we know as women we are all susceptible to the grave danger of being viewed by a man out there with wrong thoughts, being viewed by a man with lecherous intentions, being viewed by a man as someone to be used, abused and discarded. As women we are all susceptible to being viewed like this on the street, in a parking lot, at a game, at a party, in a bar… whether in a dress or pants. And for a man with those thoughts, those intentions, a predatory-like agenda, there is a risk to us all called...
As women we know it doesn't matter what we wear... it's not an invitation for a man to rape. There may be men who are cocky and flagrantly believe that a woman's questionable clothing translates to her "asking for it" yet this couldn't be further from the truth. A man who rapes is not strong but weak, wishes to dominate something or someone because of his ignorantly selfish, addictive, narcissistic flesh, a man who is perverse and not walking in light but instead walking in darkness and taking what is not his. As women our clothes aren't an invitation for our bodies to be taken, to be used, to be abused, nor to be cat called at, to be intimidated, to be provoked, to be seen as less than.
As women we shouldn't have to wear t-shirts that say "NO". Unfortunately, society has had a history of placing blame on the woman for being "too this", "too that", "too drunk", "too loose" and hence "allowing" it to occur... which couldn't be further from reality. The truth is… a man who rapes? It wouldn't matter if a woman wore a ski suit; if he intends to commit a criminal act like rape he will do so regardless of what his target is wearing. Rape is a violent violating criminal act. In this world we as women need more men to be vocal against rape. The sole responsibility to voice concern should not rest on women's shoulders alone. We need men's support, their spreading of awareness... we need them to be the one guy who when other men are cat calling a woman on the sidewalk or grabbing a woman's arm... to say "Hey! Cut it out! Leave her alone!"
We need more men like that.
And as women we can all lift each other up, to inspire, to comfort and to take a stand together...
There is no
"dressing up RAPE"
to be acceptable...
It's wrong no matter what she wore.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
image “Pinup Style Portrait Of A Beautiful Fashion Model”
by stock images via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I sat from afar... watching them.
The remnants from my lunch along with a crumpled paper napkin sat on the counter, my boots perched on the stool rungs as I sat wearing jeans and a softly faded white and grey striped pullover, my earrings dangling like glistening mini amber chandeliers as I reached in my handbag to dig around for a Chapstick and lipgloss. As I did, I glanced back over as they finished at the register and began striding toward my direction.
She was tiny, no more than four feet something and slender... with beautiful long dark glossy hair that she had taken the time to curl. She wore cerulean blue pants with heels and a quarter length sleeve blouse in a silky cream. I had seen them enter the store twenty minutes earlier... him in baggy jeans and a dress shirt, his hair immaculately styled, walking a good eight feet ahead of her, ignoring her as she struggled to navigate the uneven pavement in her precarious heels... heels she had worn in an effort to look nice. He swaggered ahead, cocky in demeanor and one would hope honestly oblivious to her struggle yet obviously questioning how on earth he could be...
Now she pushed the cart, struggling with the weight of it as it was filled to the top with groceries and essentials and yet he strode ahead once again seemingly oblivious to her existence. Then he stopped abruptly and waltzed past her. I watched as the scenario painfully unfolded... her coming to a halt with the shopping cart, turning back to call out to him...
He ignored her.
She called again "What is it?"
He threw a "I forgot something" back at her over his shoulder with visible irritation and kept walking.
She stood there for a split second like she was contemplating what to do... she looked like she wanted to cry then she let out an audible sigh and with frustration turned the heavy cart around to go back after him.
No, stop... I wanted to tell her.
I wanted to take her by the arm, sit her down and spell out all the ways he was no good for her... how he was treating her like she didn't exist, how he had been checking out another woman when they were at the register, how he was blantantly dismissive of her.
I wanted to tell her that no, she should not chase after him. That no, she didn't have to accept his behavior, that she had every right to put her foot down and say "no more."
I wanted to tell her she could do much better based upon his callous treatment of her, that she didn't have to settle to be loved with a love that was draining and never fulfilling because that's not love... that's death in a cup.
I wanted to tell her that somewhere there was a man who would love her, keep her on his arm, show the world how proud he was to have her yet not out of narcissistic egotism but out of gracious appreciation for her heart and soul. I wanted to tell her that yes, somewhere there was a man worthy of her love and that although she hasn't met him yet she can pray for him to walk into her life not with a boyish swagger but with a manly stride along with Godly character.
I wanted to tell her all these things...
Things she might know or not... things she may deny but later come to know as truth... things too painful to want to hear... things we often want to push away and sweep under the rug because listening to them means possibly facing them and watching the clock tick by as we lose more time in our youth, our life, to begin again as we wish to... not quite realizing how much we really are losing by investing ourselves in a love that doesn't really meet the definition of love.
Yet no matter what our age... whether we are five, twenty, or forty, we can pray for our future husband, our future love and ask God to keep him safe, keep him in His word, to give him wisdom and to guide him toward us. We can pray for a man of Godly character who will love us with sincerity... that calls us by name in genuine love and holds our hand to walk the narrow path together...
beyond blessed to have us by his side.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
image “Shopping Lady With Trolley” by digital art via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As women we go into marriage wondering what is expected of us... what is it that our husbands want, need and desire. As brides it's sometimes difficult to know what (often undefinable) acts of love make up a wonderful wife... especially today when we wear so many hats, as some of us work outside the home in addition to caring for children and managing a household.
Likewise women who work from home have their own challenges as finding a balance is still needed. No matter how many hats we juggle in our role as a wife (and mother) it can be taxing and the pressure we may put upon ourselves infinite.
There is no such thing as a perfect wife…
anymore than there is a perfect husband.
Yet... there are some things we can keep in mind
and do to be the best wife we can be for our one love....
1. Don't nag
Seriously. It's a killer in a relationship. Like nail biting, once you start it's a difficult habit to break. But yet it can be done. Husbands don't want to be nagged. When we nag our children (like doing homework) it pushes them away creating the opposite effect we desire. It's not any different than for our husbands. We married to be his wife not his mother. Ignore his dirty clothes on the floor by the bed. When I was first married that was one of my pet peeves... his dirty clothes on the floor by his side of the bed. Yes, it's not attractive, I hear you. (It's truly not and it's not exactly a turn on) ... yet I found a solution... his "side of the bed" became the one by the wall so when I entered the bedroom I never caught a glimpse of his mess. Problem solved! No more (visible) mess. No more nagging. We can find a creative solution to make the situation manageable, bite our tongue or we can wear ourselves out nagging and drive him nuts in the process too.
When we choose instead to give life with our words and be an encourager whether it's what he's done to help around the house, what he's done to provide, etc... when we are his number one cheerleader, it lifts him up and then he will do the same for us (unless he's a narcissist, let's be real... then we are kidding ourselves and need to say "so long").
2. Have sex
Men want to feel wanted and desired by their wife. Sex tells him he's loved, he's accepted by you and it fuels his masculinity to go out and conquer the world. It lifts him up knowing he rocked your world (hopefully he is rocking your world... and not being a selfish lover) and you lit up his.
3. Men need a soft spot to land too
He needs to know you have his back, that you are loyal, that you are there for him at the end of a long day. He wants to see your smile at the end of each day, feel your embrace and hold you as his burdens melt away. Men feel enormous pressure (even if as a woman you contribute financially) to provide for his family and often they keep silent about this stress so as not to put any additional burden on you. As endearing as that might be it's important he knows he can come to you aboutanything... letting him know how much you appreciate the hard work he does, the hours he puts in and observing the latest strides he's made on a project or new client he's attained... he will appreciate your thoughtfulness and encouragement.
4. Pray together and for him
When we set aside time together to pray, read our bible, watch a program like Joyce Meyer as a couple... it draws us closer, uniting our focus to God and makes us evaluate where we are, how were doing and where we wish to go. If he doesn't make time with you a priority on a spiritual level don't let that hold you back... spend time with God, live authentically and let your faith shine... don't let anyone turn off your light!
5. Let him be the man
Let his masculinity shine. It seems today men are becoming more feminine and women are taking on more masculine qualities. In a society that is unfortunately becoming reversed it only takes watching one episode of the Bachelorette to see the manly ruggedness of beards, goatees and rolled shirt sleeves being replaced today by shiny waxed bodies, hair slicked with gel and skinny jeans... leaving some men spending more time in front of the mirror than the typical woman. As women we bring feminity to the relationship and to the home... we bring a soft touch, a caress, a whisper, a playful laugh... we bring curtains, flowers and scented candles... we bring the opposite of the man... the rough, the hard edge, the strength... and yet in that is the absolute sexiness of their ability to be gentle. Every woman needs to be able to hold her own, to stand on her own two feet as dependency is never attractive nor healthy... yet choosing to let his masculinity shine... letting him help you when you need it, lifting this, carrying that, letting him feel needed... he loves it.
As women wouldn't it be wonderful to have a guide on being the best wife we can be for our husbands... if there was such a guide (as well as one for husbands) just imagine how fewer divorces there might be. There isn't a magic solution out there but learning through trial and error, learning from others and following God's word to walk in purposeful love each and every day with our spouse and making them a priority will go a long way in living the best version of our love story!
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
image “Couple Silhouette On The Beach At Sunset” by pat138241