The Truth Every Woman Needs to Know

The Truth Every Woman Needs to KnowThe Truth every woman needs to know? My work and my writing are often intense, and I’m sometimes accused of being “tough” on women. Because I desperately want women to know the Truth that no one told me.

My Love Story started like this …

I was born a blue-eyed blonde who was the apple of her daddy’s eye. But shortly before I turned 3, my mom packed her friend’s car with some essential belongings and left town with my older brother and me … while my dad was at work. He had no idea what was coming. None of us did.

We were always safe, and Mom took very good care of us.

But for most of my life, I experienced a haunting loneliness that I couldn’t explain and didn’t understand until more than 37 years later. My mother had kept me from my father. She had been abused as a child, and she was very confused about men and their behavior. She adored my three uncles, but didn’t really trust any other men … including my dad.

So she poured herself into being a mom and helping others. A very creative woman, she spent her days cooking and baking and sewing beautiful dresses for me with all kinds of ribbons and bows. How I loved to dress up! But life wasn’t always simple, and most lessons were painful.

Being from a divorced family was much more unique in the 1950s than it is now, and apparently something for a child to be ashamed of. I didn’t realize that until my Bluebird Troop visited our local radio station when I was 7. The announcer engaged in a live interview with each of the girls. I was so energetic – all twirls and smiles – and so excited to get to be on the radio. When the man came to me, he asked the same questions he had asked of the others, but there seemed to be something very wrong with my answers …

“What’s your name?” “Debby”
“What does your daddy do?”
“Oh, I don’t have a daddy.”

The expression on the nice announcer’s face changed drastically, and he quickly removed the microphone from in front of me and started talking to the next Bluebird. I was immediately flooded with an overwhelming sense of shame.

It was clear to me that I’d said something terribly wrong, but no one told me what it was. And I was too afraid to ask. So I filed the experience away under an enduring belief about myself: “There’s something drastically wrong with you, but no one will tell you what it is. No one will give you the slightest clue. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.”

I’ve never forgotten that day, nor the sadness of my dad’s absence. In my little-girl mind, he’d left me for unknowable reasons, setting the stage for my belief about my perceived faults and my conclusion that I would always end up alone.

The Number One Lie vs. The Truth Every Woman Needs to Know

So there you have it. More than likely, you’ve had similar identity issues … also based on your early life experiences. Lies about yourself, to be sure, but also about the opposite sex. These issues can limit our romantic success by clouding our understanding of who we are and why we’re here.

As you contemplate your own story – past, present, and future – I pray that you’ll see the Father’s loving hand in it. No one can change what happened, but you can gain a better understanding by allowing your Heavenly Father to show you the Truth about yourself.

from The Truth About Love

4 Approaches to Love

4 approaches to loveWomen (and men) usually take one of 4 approaches to love. These patterns will, no doubt, sound familiar.

These three of the 4 approaches to love don’t work in the long run.

PLEASING (moving toward)

Of course, you want to please the one you love. I want to please my man, too. However, I know I need to maintain a balance, or we will both lose.

As as Christian wife who wanted to please her husband, I thought I was pretty good at that “submission” stuff in my first marriage, but I didn’t understand the whole equation.

My sense of self depended heavily upon whether or not my husband approved of me and/or what I did. He often didn’t. In fact, he didn’t seem to like me much. And I must admit, at that point, there wasn’t much I liked about myself.

My submission wasn’t by choice. It was rooted in my fear. Fear of displeasing my husband … and losing him. And because of my fear, I was never a truly confident woman. And I lost my husband.

CONTROLLING (moving against)

Many women I meet are good at that “strength” stuff in their marriages. But is that strength also rooted in fear?

Sometimes we toughen ourselves up to get through life, and we lose our true strength in the process. In other words, many women develop a false sense of strength as a defense against being hurt. But in the end, it causes them and their partners to experience unnecessary pain, and they both lose.

AVOIDING/IGNORING (moving away)

Is the opposite of fear actually love? Or is it indifference? Sometimes we build walls to protect ourselves from rejection or hurt. However, defensiveness simply doesn’t work in marriage. Ever. Because one partner’s defense will always cause the other partner pain and lead to more defensiveness. That’s what the Negative Cycle is all about.

NOTE: All three of the above approaches to love are based in fear.

Balanced & Beautiful (moving together)

The fourth approach is described in 1 CORiNTHiANS 13:4-8b. Its Foundation is built upon knowing you are already loved. By Jesus, Who is Love Himself.

  • Love is large & incredibly patient.
  • Love is gentle & consistently kind to all.
  • It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else.
  • Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.
  • Love does not traffic in shame & disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor.
  • Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.
  • Love joyfully celebrates honesty & finds no delight in what is wrong.
  • Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.
  • Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
  • Love never stops loving.

Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.1 JOHN 4:18, TPT

Man and woman are created as partners. Essential partners in the work of the Kingdom of God. Through Christ, we are redeemed to fulfill the purpose for which we were created. Man is the Leader, and woman is the Follower. He’s not a dictator, and she’s not a silent, powerless subject. She has way more power than she realizes, but more about that later.

Fortunately, as we get things back in their proper, Heavenly perspective, man has what he needs to do his job, to live out his life passionately doing what God designed him to do.

You can learn to love well. I’d love to help. Contact me here.

A Different Man

it’s a woman’s job to love & pray for her man. It’s God’s job to make him grow … according to His plan, not hersDo you wish you were married to a different man? Or could change the one you have? You’ve probably heard the saying that when a man marries a woman he’s hoping she’ll never change, whereas a woman marries a man hoping that he will. It’s actually more than a hope for her. He may actually be her Main Project.

But men are not projects. They are people.

I don’t like to be the bearer of bad tidings, ladies, but God only created one perfect man thus far. And he’s required nearly six decades to refine!

On the Bright Side, however, if the Lord is doing such a great job on this one, I believe He can do the same with your guy! Your man can be so much more, and you can actually help him become Your Fearless Leader in the Dance of Romance!

Simply put, it’s a woman’s job to love her man and pray for him. It’s God’s job to make him grow … and according to His plan, not hers. PROVERBS 3:5

Your man wants to be your Leader in the Dance of Romance … to protect you and to guide you and to hold you … to choreograph the Dance to maximize your pleasure in being with him.

But much of the time we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by doing all the things that don’t work to change him … instead of doing things that do work to change him … things that he actually wants you to do to shape his behavior! Go figure.

You can learn what works … and unlearn what doesn’t!

How to Help a Woman Overcome Her Fears

For the last several years running, the most popular post on my Psychology of Men blog has been “Why Do Men Stonewall?” Stonewalling is withdrawing or refusing to respond to your partner. For him, it may be a response to his own confusion or feeling overwhelmed when she’s upset. Or he may just try to stay calm in the hope that she will also calm down.

How to help a woman overcome her fearsHowever, when he stays calm, it feels like he’s just being non-responsive to her, which only serves to make her even more anxious. The message his nonverbal behavior sends is that he simply doesn’t care that she’s upset. In reality, it’s counter-productive, and actually will increase her anxiety and frustration, propelling both into the same negative cycle that they are trying so hard to avoid.

It goes something like this, doesn’t it?

  1. She begins a conversation with something that sounds harsh – something that feels like it came out of the blue. She’s actually tapping on the door, trying to make contact with you.
  2. When you fail to respond, she assumes you didn’t hear her, so she talks a little louder. Now she’s knocking on the door wondering if you are even in there.
  3. Your heart races as you think, “Here we go again. This is not going to be good.” You try even harder to remain calm, hoping that she’ll settle down.
  4. You might even try talking firmly or “logically” to try to calm her … which only feels condescending to her. Shaming is not exactly sending her the message that she can depend on you to be there for her when she needs you.
  5. If she wasn’t really angry before this, she is now. Her feelings are seriously hurt, and she’s in defensive mode (please refer to Bullet Point #3). She’s now coming through the door with a two-ton wrecking ball, and she’s determined that you will hear her out.

To you, she’s in some sort of crazy rage, and you may begin to wonder if she has serious mental health issues. So you’ll have a difficult time realizing that, underneath her anger, is a huge backlog of fear.

She may have a difficult time recalling her original feelings, too. However, your best bet is always that she started the whole conversation at least a little worried that her concerns would be totally unimportant to you – based on verifiable evidence from any stone walls you’ve erected previously.

I have to tell you that I really do understand why guys do this so often and so automatically. It makes total sense to me, and I do my best to educate the gals about how their emotions impact you.

However, you must understand what happens for her as well. Basically, when a woman is emotionally flooded, and her partner shuts down during a disagreement, she’s most likely to say she feels:

abandoned * blown off * dismissed * frustrated * isolated * lonely
pushed away * rejected * shut out * undesirable * unloved * unwanted

Well, that was not what you were going for, right? You only wanted her to be reasonable – to stop making such a big issue out of whatever it was – or at least not to attack, blame, or criticize you in the process.

There is hope for redirecting this scenario. Here’s my #1 Tip:

  • The best place to start is to engage with her. No more stonewalling.

If it happens a lot, you may want to find a good couple’s counselor – one who gets where he is coming from, as well as her position.

Just remember that a woman often worries about her physical safety, as well as whether or not she is displeasing and/or unimportant to the man she loves. But that’s not all. We have other fears, too.

from Ephesians 5 Romance

The Truth About Love? find out here

3 Reasons You Are Here

You are here - at this time & place - for a reason.

3 Reasons You Are HereLife can be confusing. Things don’t always turn out like we expected. Problems defy solving. We drift from one thing to another. Looking for meaning. So why are you here? As I see it, the answers are simple. All you need is to realize three reasons you are here. On this earth. At this time in history. Although I believe the reasons are the same for all of us, how we play them out is a matter of our individual stories.

1. You are here to love.

God is love. You are created in His image. That means loving is the most natural thing we do. Because it’s who we are. 1 John 4:8, Genesis 1:26-27

2. You are here to be loved.

Love is an exchange. Not an obligatory form of reciprocity. But something that happens naturally. Because you are lovable. It’s how you are created. Genesis 2:18-25, John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10

3. You are here to take dominion over something.

Life isn’t just one big love fest. But love is the at the core of everything else. Including the particular way you are created to make this world a better place. And, yes, that’s natural, too. To take back what was stolen. To restore. To renew. To rejoice. Genesis 1:28, Ephesians 2:10

Natural? Yes, you are created for these reasons.

Your desire to love, to be loved, and to make a difference is in your DNA. That means it’s “natural” for you.

You also have an adversary. Every hero does.

He’s there to mess things up. To drag your thinking sideways. He tweaks things to make you think …

  • You have to be strategic (manipulative) with your love.
  • That you are unlovable. Or that love is owed to you.
  • And he often convinces you that taking dominion comes first. But it doesn’t. It rises naturally from loving and being loved.

QUESTION: If you were to make a list of reasons you are here, what would be at the top of your list?

How to Get Your Husband to Do More Around the House

How to Get Your Husband to Do More Around the HouseHave you ever wondered how to get your husband to do more around the house? It’s the number one thing women say they want from their man. So why are we so unsuccessful at eliciting his help? Because we miss the most important factor!

I recently read an impassioned post on Instagram. This lovely young woman had been away at work all day only to come home to chaos.

  • She took a time out, regrouped, and restarted.
  • Her husband went to the gym.

Her advice to women is that they don’t have to do everything perfectly. But it was clear she’d been trying really hard to do just that.

What is the One Thing she could have done that would have made all the difference for her and for her family?

Honestly, as an expert in male psychology, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when she stated, “… then my husband said in the middle of the chaos he was going to the gym.” Men hate confrontation … and women’s angry expectations that men support them in the madness to make everything perfect.

The Truth is:

  • Help around the house is NOT the number one thing every woman wants.
  • What she really wants is to be valued. cherished. loved. more than anything else.

And her husband wants to be her priority as well. Not treated like an employee … or worse yet … one of the kids who needs to get in line with the program.

How to Get Your Husband to Do More Around the House?

When you make your husband – your relationship with your husband – your first priority, he will value, cherish, love you more than anything else on the face of this earth. And he will begin to do more around the house … without being asked.

Learn how to make him your priority without losing yourself!
A Wise Woman’s Guide to Life & Love by Dr. Debi Smith

Impossible Hopes

impossible hopes

Once upon a time there lived a girl who was greatly loved by her Father.

He passed away suddenly, leaving her under the care and direction of her step-mother.

Instead of being cherished, she was forced to work as a slave for her step-mother and her two step-sisters.

She quickly lost her identity as a Beloved Daughter.

Fortunately, she had inherited her Father’s optimistic disposition, which enabled her to accept her lot in life without question.

She found comfort in Beautiful Dreams of Adventure and Romance. Her Imagination kept her going. She didn’t realize that it, too, was a Gift from her Father.

One Day she allows one of her dreams to become her wish. An Impossible Wish. The Prince is giving a Ball, and she wishes so very hard that she might be able to go. After reviewing just how impossible it is, she and her Fairy Godmother conclude:

But the world is full of zanies and fools
Who don’t believe in sensible rules
And because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes
Keep building up Impossible Hopes
Impossible Things are happening
every day.

Meanwhile at the Castle, The Prince is expected to choose a Bride from among his guests. So many girls – all eager to be his dance partner. Yet they are more like hungry wolves, seeking access to his virtue and his wealth. He’s bored with them all.

Except One. She catches his eye as soon as she arrives. She is so different. Delightful. There only to enjoy the experience – and him. And they soon fall in love.

They have One Unanswerable Question

(watch the clip here):

Cinderella_kissDo I love you because you’re beautiful?
Or are you beautiful because I love you?
Am I making believe I see in you
A girl to lovely to be really true?
Do I want you because you’re wonderful?
Or are you wonderful
Because I want you?
 
Are you the sweet invention of a lover’s dream,
Or are you really as beautiful as you seem?

Suddenly she disappears. Leaving behind only one small Shoe-Clue to her identity.

At home shortly after midnight, she assumes that’s all she gets of her dream. Determined to savor her memory of her encounter with The Prince, she goes back to taking orders as usual. But this time, with Stardust in her eyes.

Little does she know that The Prince’s desire for her as his Beloved consumes him. And he is also determined. To find her. Whoever she is. Wherever she is.

Unlike her, The Prince knows who he is. Royal blood flows in his veins. But he also knows that the Completeness of His Joy depends upon being with her.

Furthermore – He is confident that He is Her Joy and Bliss.

After an agonizing search, he finds her. And she takes her place as His Beloved.

Impossible Hopes? Nope.
So Very Romantic. Just like Jesus and His Bride.

Though we run away in shame, Jesus seeks us – wherever we are – whoever we are. He restores us to the Truth of who we are in Him. And we have the blessed opportunity to demonstrate that. Here and now. To one another. And to the World.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

“You are My Beloved. My Dream come true.”

Watch the Original Production with Julie Andrews!

The Proverbs 31 Woman & Femininity

The Proverbs 31 Woman and FemininityThe Proverbs 31 woman and femininity? We know about the pressure to perform everything perfectly. But learning what it means to be feminine in a world that devalues femininity is not an easy task. As previously noted, my father was absent from my life for 37 years, & my first two marriages ended in divorce. I believed all of that was my fault until I studied men as a Psychologist & Couples Counselor.

I enthusiastically taught all that I was learning
to any woman who was willing to listen.
And a lot of women got mad at me.
Really, really mad at me.

Something seriously important was missing from my approach.

Every woman had been “screaming” at me about it for years, but I hadn’t heard … until I stood face-to-face with it myself.

I knew Rule #1: Men are attracted to a confident woman. But now my knees were shaking. Could I sustain this new approach with a Cute Boy of my own?

  • What should I do with my own past hurts & vulnerability toward him?
  • How could I avoid knee-jerk reactions that were my default mode?
  • Would I be able to figure it out before it was too late?

All these questions led me into new territory.
And here are some of my thoughts.
Beginning with identity.

The truth about the Proverbs 31 Woman is …

We women have been doing the best we can with what the world has been telling us, but we’ve been robbed of so much in the process. We’ve been told who we are as “people.” We’ve learned to muscle up. Be tough.

But we’ve been forced into a new kind of old mold.
Our God-given identity has been stolen. Again.

The Feminist Lie

  • Not the I-deserve-to-be-treated-with-respect-&-paid-as-much-as-a-man kind of feminism. (That’s the good part.)
  • But the kind of feminism that killed our femininity.
  • The kind that says we are no different than men.
We are different & can be confident in that
… without castrating our men!

Because are created to carry a unique kind of power:
The unparalleled ability to inspire & influence.

  1. We must recognize the power of our femininity.
  2. Develop our power of feminine influence.
  3. Learn how to use our power wisely.

Therefore, the femininity of The Proverbs 31 Woman is worth our time & effort to explore, don’t you think?

What are your thoughts? I really want to know because we’re on this journey together. And because I look forward to hearing from you!

Learn more about embracing your God-given femininity
with A Wise Woman’s Guide to Life & Love

A Quick Turnaround

God's Goodness Leads to RepentanceHow quickly and easily You can turn me around, Papa. I woke up this morning wondering how I could make it through today. Then I thanked You for the Beautiful Dream You gave to me. And the Amazing Possibilities You have shown me for my life. I mean AMAZING! And my mood lifted instantly. You, Lord, are Irresistible!

Nonetheless, I am aware that – in the natural world – I am nowhere near any of that. Even so, my spirit quickens when I think of Your Goodness. Your Everlasting Kindness.

One thought led to another, and I remembered my walks on the Peninsula the summer of 2011. I’d march two miles up the shoreline, recounting all the reasons this would never work. My resolve was firm. I would protect myself. No one would ever hurt me again. I determined to erect a wall strong enough to protect myself from my own vulnerability.

The Repentance of Elizabeth BennetBut somehow, as soon as I made the Turnaround and headed back down the beach, all of my thoughts – and even the direction of my feelings – changed. Suddenly. Effortlessly.

In the words of Miss Elizabeth Bennet,
they were “quite the opposite.”

In a moment’s time, I found myself composing a message. Words that would not only encourage, but also put myself out there a bit further. So much for self-protection.

My resistance had been completely undone
by Your persistently insistent desire to bless me.

You and I went through the same routine everyday at the beach. You always won me over. And You hadn’t said a word. How did you do that?

The Beauty of Repentance

I know Your Word is Powerful. When You speak, something happens.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV)

But so is Your Spirit. And I suspect He is Your Method. Both then and now.

… Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6b, NKJV)

The Goodness of Your Presence always causes me to repent – to change my mind. And the Beauty of Repentance is being back in step with You.

Thank You, Papa, for Your Goodness. Your Kindness. Your Gentleness. Your Loving Heart that is ever focused on me as I’m learning to follow.

Always,
Your Beloved Daughter

Definition of repentance: Many understand the term repentance to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.”

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How, What, & Why of Men

The boys were outside playing on a sunny afternoon in May, when my husband announced, “I don’t think I want to be married anymore.”

I was a hot mess.

My whole world suddenly fell apart. Everything I’d counted on was disappearing right before my eyes. As the painful, scary hours turned into months, all my hopes for higher education seemed lost as I gave everything I had to being a single mom … and keeping us all afloat.

  • Emotionally.
  • Spiritually.
  • Financially.

I needed to work full time again, leaving my sons to deal with the loss of their father, and now the loss of their mother … as they knew her.

The boys and I struggled for 4 1/2 years before something began to shift. Looking back on it now, I know it was The Lord Himself. Because whenever we think “impossible,” we can be absolutely sure He’s having a different thought.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ISAIAH 55:8-9

When The Lord puts His mind to something, hang on tight! It’s going to be a wild ride!

I was 40 by the time I started college, and – like most older students – I wanted the content of my studies to have practical application to everyday life. As a single mother raising three sons, choosing my topic was easy. Every paper I wrote was about boys and men.

Writing my dissertation on Mothers & Sons was also the obvious choice, in part because I had already collected so much information, but also because I realized I had so much more to learn!

I still wanted to know …

  • How men think
  • What – if anything – men feel
  • Why they tend to do what they do

I was in for a real surprise. Men have been eager to share with me. Probably because I’m one of the few women who has cared enough to ask. And I don’t try to change them. That’s not what they need.

  • They not only have different biology, they have totally different life experiences that lead to a very different worldview.
  • Men feel very deeply. In fact, they are far more sensitive than we think they are. Even more sensitive than a woman – about certain things.
  • Their behavior reflects their God-given purpose on this earth and/or the frustrations around its non-fulfillment.

I have so much to tell you that it won’t fit in one post. So if you want to know more: