The Plea for Shining Armor

Have you seen that poignant meme that’s going around?  It says something about girls not wanting a knight in shining armor, but one in damaged armor because it shows he knows how to fight – and win.  My dear friend, Brianna Tibbetts even wrote a fantastic children’s book with a similar premise: The Knight in Battered Armor.

However, as much as I get and like that meme, some of us just come shiny.

Our armor is polished to a shine that’s mirror-worthy.  We reflect the sun so bright it blinds you.  We haven’t seen a single real battle in our lives.

And you like us that way.  You with holes and divots and bleeding wounds.  You’re looking for blindingly shining armor.  Someone who rides at you on that white horse with a smile so enormous you know they’ve never experienced real suffering.

We with our glistening, shining armor – we had great childhoods.  No one beat us.  No one starved us.  No one abused us.  Oh, our parents weren’t perfect – no one’s is. But you get to chuckle and swallow the lump in your throat listening to us complain about that one time a parent yelled because we swept all our mountain of toys under the bed instead of thoroughly cleaning up.

You laugh with relief because you were actually looking for shining armor.  You with your sword scars, your missing limbs, your armor in pieces.  You wanted rainbows and sunlight and summer grass and fireflies and hot chocolate.  You wanted to be reminded that life was worth living.  That in some pockets of the universe, there was endless joy.  Endless love.  Endless acceptance.

So you picked the purest, the sweetest, the brightest, the most innocent.

And you made us yours.

And we loved you.

But then when the old wounds ache late at night, when the thunder roars and rains fall, and when your old demons rear their heads and occupy long days in your soul, that’s when you find our shining armor an offense.

We don’t know how to take care of you.  We only know how to shine.  We don’t understand what you’re going through.  But we try.  We cry with you.  We hold you.  Our armor dulls under the stain of both of our mingled tears.

But you wanted shining armor because your own armor was frayed, broken, and warped.  And at least we showed up with armor.  Brand new is better than nothing.

However, we’re green, our noses fresh and unfreckled, our complexion peaches and cream.  We’ve never met a demon.  It takes all our energy and empathy and strength and understanding to get it.  Yet we try.  We take off our helmets and try to cram them on your head, ill-fitting and stabbing.  You screech at us.  It doesn’t work.  Don’t we get it?  You need something worn, something smooth from use, oiled from weeping, slick and easy to slide on because of the blood.

We don’t have that kind of armor.  We never did.  All we have is the crisp newness of a glistening mirrored face.  Staring back at you.  Showing you how damaged your breastplate has become.  It’s falling off your body.

In the end, you hate us for being shiny.  You resent us for being bright.  For being fresh.  For being naive.  For the joy you so once so eagerly sought.

But you’ve forgotten that’s what you wanted.

And, you know what?  In the end, you get your wish.

Because, living a lifetime with you –

We’ve become battered too.

MY NEW NOVELLA! – Captivated by Catalina!

I spent my tenth anniversary enjoying my husband and the beach and charm of Catalina Island!  Getting inspired by one of my favorite places, I wrote a Christian romance novella set right in the gorgeous town of Avalon.

The novella is being edited and will be available on December 5th, but is up for pre-order now!

You can get it HERE.

Here’s the blurb:

Getting stuck on an island might be the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

Marcella Brighton is a single, lonely career woman whose job promotion means she is forced to move away from everyone she knows and loves. When her older sister offers a comfort cruise to exotic islands, she jumps on it, and falls in love with Stop #2: Catalina Island. The charm of the small city of Avalon is both refreshing and heartwarming. And she especially bonds with the hot Hispanic zip line guy, Josef, who’s also a dedicated Christian.

Yet when a lost phone keeps her from getting back to her cruise on time, Marcella finds herself stuck on the island without a single familiar face – except Josef’s. But is forty-eight hours enough time to truly fall in love


The cover!!!

Catalina cover smaller

Ten Years

to Brad


A decade of laughter, sorrows and dreams

A decade of three new human beings

A decade of love, pride humbled and lost

A decade of following Christ and counting the cost

Started on an island, came full round

As we walk now hand in hand on sandy ground

Older, kinder, smarter, quiet

Feasting on a gratitude diet

Love ripened and mature

Hopes in the future, worries blur

Full of nothing but peace and grace

I never tire of gazing at your face

“I love you” has never been more true

I love doing life with you


What She Wants You to Give Her for Christmas – Based on Myers-Briggs Type

A general, stereotypical guide to giving that special woman in your life just what she wants for Christmas.  You still have time!  Christmas isn’t for five more days, men!  😉


ESFJ – A super personal and unique piece of Etsy jewelry with her loved ones’ names engraved on it.

INFJ – High quality art

ENFJ – Donate to her favorite charity in her name, and then plan a future outing where you’ll volunteer at the charity with her

ISFJ – Chocolate and a maid for a week

ESTJ – That Pottery Barn formal chair she’s been eyeing.  It has to be THE color she picked out though.  Don’t try to guess.  It has to be perfect.

ISTJ – Is a bit horrified that you’re spending money on her.  Wants you to save it for a rainy day and clean the house for her instead

INTJ – For the glamorous INTJ woman: expensive perfume.  For the nerdy INTJ woman: books.  For the balanced INTJ woman: books that smell like perfume.

ENTP – Memorabilia from the last geek convention you both attended together

INTP – Tickets to a lecture given by her academic hero, or a comedian, or a book written by her hero/comedian that’s sat in her Amazon shopping cart forever and she forgot to buy

ENTJ – An antique or memorabilia from her favorite time in history.

ISTP – Has no interest in “gift-giving” on the whole.  Doesn’t mean a lot to her.  She’ll take  cash.

ESTP – A board game that guarantees she’d be able to cream the whole family next game night

INFP – A new kitten

ISFP – Fancy cooking oils and culinary delicacies

ENFP – A scavenger hunt to find clues to discover that you’re mysteriously taking her on a date

ESFP – Tickets to a theme park


Or, if all else fails, probably every type wants an ISFJ or ISTJ to come clean their house for them, while the ISJs are getting their own maid.  Can’t go wrong there…  😉

Clean Romance, Infertility, and Marriage Advice from Melanie D. Snitker!

MelanieDSnitker2016Melanie D. Snitker is a sweet author friend of mine from Texas.  She writes stories with a heart – an emphasis on a deep love for each character, and a romance to go with it!  I’d like to think that if you enjoy my novels, you’d enjoy hers.  🙂

Melanie has prayed for me, knit baby cutesies for me, and encouraged me at the hardest of times.  I hope all of you can support her worthy books!  Thanks for being you, Melanie!

You can purchase Melanie’s books here on!

Snitker All Books 2

Me: Hi, Melanie! Here at BlondeRJ, we’re all about Myers-Briggs types.  Share about being an ISFJ and what your personality is like. 🙂

Melanie: You know, I’d never thought much about the Myers-Briggs types until I met you, RJ! I find it all fascinating. Like you mentioned, I’m an ISFJ. I’m definitely quiet and very introverted. I get along well with people, and I tend to be a really good listener. If I say I’m going to do something, not only will it get done, but I’ll do my best while I’m working on it. I’m organized, and I rely heavily on lists and my online calendar. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced ties into my being an introvert: I also tend to worry about what others think. I’m slowly getting better about this as I get older, but it was something that held me back for a long, long time. I think that it will always be something that’s in the back of my mind to a degree. I have to admit I really admire those who can say and do anything and not worry what others will think!

Me: Even we 100% extroverts can be people-pleasers and worry what others think, for sure.  I’ve been LOVING the book When People are Big and God is Small by Edward Welch, and would love to recommend it right now to my readers.  It’s helped me put God in His proper place, and see my need to love others instead of just *need* them.  🙂
Speaking of loving people, you write the sweetest romances ever. What first inspired you to help and write about clean romance for Christians?

Melanie: I enjoyed romance novels as a teen, but didn’t really read much beyond Janette Oke, Dee Henderson, and a few other Christian authors. When I got into high school, I started to browse through some of the other romance novels at the library. I was shocked to find that clean romance was a difficult thing to find. That’s when I decided I would start writing the kind of romance novels I wouldn’t mind my own daughter reading some day.

Me: What a sweet legacy!
How many different places have you lived, and what is your favorite?

Melanie: I’ve lived in Arizona, both in Flagstaff and Phoenix. A lot of people that haven’t been to Flagstaff are surprised to find that it has a lot of mountains, and it can get a fair amount of snow in the winter. I’ve also lived in many different places in Oregon as well as Texas (where I currently reside). My favorite place to live overall is Texas. The people here are incredibly friendly, I like the mild winters, and I love all the wildflowers (bluebonnets, especially) in the spring. My second favorite place would be Oregon, especially in the fall when all the leaves turn. Gorgeous!

Me: I live in the gorgeous pacific northwest as well!  Love it!
Melanie, you were a huge encouragement to me two years ago. Can you tell us about one of the hardships you’ve experienced and how God has used that in your life? ❤

Melanie: I have endometriosis and it has resulted in a lot of infertility issues that I’ve dealt with for a long time. It took two and a half years of tests and a surgery for my endo before we found out our son was on the way. After he was born, we’d hoped that the next baby would be much easier. Four and a half years later (after another surgery and different medications), we were finally able to try one round of IVF. Praise God, one of those sweet embryos burrowed in to stay, and our daughter was born eight months later. There were so many times during this journey when I wondered where God was and why this had to be so hard. But I learned more about patience than I would’ve liked to, and I also learned about God’s perfect timing. There have been many times in the last six years since our daughter was born where I’ve looked back and realized that, even though I didn’t think so at the time, God really did know what He was doing!

Me: I loved your faith when I was going through that hardship myself!  And you have absolutely beautiful kiddos!!  You have absolutely beautiful characters too.  😛 Which character, in all of your books, is your favorite?

Melanie: I’m going to have to go with Lexi (although Lance is a close second). She’s introduced in Finding Peace, the first book the Love’s Compass series. Then she and Lance get their own story in the second book, Finding Hope. She’s my favorite because she goes through a lot in her life with a cancer diagnosis that leads to a complete hysterectomy which saves her life. It also means she’ll never have children of her own. What causes her inability to get pregnant may be very different from what I or many of my friends have experienced with infertility, but many of the emotions are the same. She’s definitely a character that was written straight from my heart.

Me: Awww.  I remember Lexi!  So what’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your books?

Melanie: I’ve had several readers thank me for creating quality, clean romance novels that they can read without the guilt, and that they wouldn’t hesitate to let their teen daughters read as well. It’s what I originally set out to do, and even though the road of an author can be a rocky one at times, it’s encouragement like that which reminds me it’s all worth it!

Me: Amen! On a real-life front, how do you think we, as Christians, can learn to love like Christ more in our marriages?

Melanie: I think it’s easy to get caught up in every day life. Things get hectic, the kids always need something, and by the end of the day, it’s easy to feel like we have nothing left to give. But it’s the little things that show Christ’s love in a marriage. Like when my husband is completely exhausted, yet takes the trash out with a smile. Or when I’ve had a rough day and I’m tired, but I bake my husband the cookies he loves because it will brighten his afternoon. The other day, we had a busy afternoon full of cleaning and grocery shopping. I’ll admit, I was a complete grump by dinner and not much fun to be around. Instead of getting upset with me, or even letting my mood change his, my sweet husband made a trip to the store to find something I was looking for, and even brought something else back that made me laugh. Finding ways to put our spouse first, even when it isn’t easy, can give us even a small glimpse of the kind of unconditional love that Christ has for us!

Me: I think your home must be very joyful and warm.  🙂  Thank you, Melanie!

Melanie: Thanks again, RJ!

On Being Married to Four Very Different People


I’m married to four different men.  


I’m married to three at the same time, and keep getting remarried to one over and over again.

And no, I’m not a polygamist.

Let me explain.

I was at a bridal shower last month and the host opened up the floor for people to give the bride-to-be advice.  I hadn’t come prepared to say anything.  I had a newborn, was sleep-deprived, and was barely clearheaded enough to know what day it was.  But as I listened to the advice she was getting, I felt a sudden desire to share what she wasn’t hearing.

So many people told her, “Put Christ at the center of your marriage.”

“Make Christ the center of your marriage!”

“Keep Christ at the center!”

Like, seriously people, what does that MEAN?


No offense to the advice-givers, but I’ve been married for 7 1/2 years, and I have no idea what that means.  How would a young woman who’s never been married have any idea what that means?

It’s not even biblical.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say, “Make Christ the center of your marriage.”

It says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matthew 6:33) and to let Christ rule supreme in your OWN heart, but it never says “Make Christ the center of your life AND this other guy’s.”  It’s impossible.


For some people, I know what they’re trying to say, but I think this is a trendy comment. It feels like a very cute phrase, but what does it mean?  Ask a Christian couple in head-over-heels happiness on their wedding day if “Christ is at the center of their relationship,” and they’ll tell you YES because they’re happy and things are blissful right then.  Let alone the fact that both of them could be living as selfishly as all get out and have no idea what real marriage looks like.

Ask another Christian couple if “Christ is at the center of their relationship” after their child has died and their finances have fallen apart and they’re struggling and seeing a counselor, and they might say NO, because everything looks bad and they feel unhappy, let alone that it may be at that moment that they are drawing close to God like never before.  I think we often have a lousy idea of what being Christlike actually is – and are far more concerned with what it outwardly looks like.


For others, they might mean that the bride-to-be should be actively pursuing putting their marriage in a focused-on-God state.  But that’s even worse advice!  Many women are running around stressed and weary trying to force her marriage to be more “spiritual.”  Trying to force her husband to spend time with the Lord with her, trying to force prayer time, force service, force giving (and vice versa!) and it’s just not possible.


Controlling something that takes two people is just not possible.

Many women spend more time and energy worrying about whether or not their husband or their “marriage” is righteous and God-focused, when all she is supposed to do is focus on whether or not SHE is righteous and God-focused.  What we should be telling a bride-to-be is that her “marriage” and her husband is not a fixer-upper project she controls, and that when she and her husband individually make sure they have a personal relationship with the Lord, that sanctification will follow.  That she’s not responsible for both halves of her marriage – only her own half.  That she and her husband will not go to heaven “as a set” but will be responsible for their own individual salvation.  That spending time pursuing God as a couple is wonderful and worthy, but will never take the place of pursuing God individually – it’s just an added bonus.  That if her relationship with God MUST involve her husband holding her hand, that she may not have a relationship with Christ at all – and it’s not going to stand the test of time if (God forbid!) something happened to her husband.  And that each spouse spending their energy trying to force the other to “make our marriage Christ centered” is a waste of time.  If only we taught brides to be more focused on their own personal walk with Christ, and not to idolize their husband.


Because your spouse is a rapidly changing, growing living being.

Which leads me to my four husbands. And the advice I gave the bride-to-be that day.

My mom always said that you marry three people: the person YOU think he is, the person HE thinks he is, and the person he really is.  I think that’s dead right, but I think she’s missing the fourth guy: the person he will become.


I met my husband when I was 19 and he was 18 years old.  Today, we are downright unrecognizable from back then.  Some things I miss, most things I cringe when I remember.  Most of the changes have been great, a few a little sad.

And 7 more years of marriage from now, he and I may be downright unrecognizable from where we are today – and I don’t just mean physically, although we do drastically change physically as well!  Currently, we are 29 and 30 years old, parents of three little girls under the age of 6, homeowners in the pacific northwest, members of a small church, anime aficionados, an author, a League of Legends player, a K-drama enthusiast. But 7 years from now, none of that could be true.

No one warns brides-to-be and husbands-to-be that you’re also marrying a stranger.


Age, situations, accidents, promotions, jobs, friends, parenting, LIFE… it changes people. The things you love about your spouse today could disappear tomorrow.  The things that irritated you about them last year could be endearing traits you miss with all your heart next year.  The personality traits you thought you could count on could morph into something else entirely.

You are committing to marry someone who WILL BE, in ways you can not predict.

It’s a bit frightening!


Have you ever answered the question, “Why do you love me?” with “Because you’re you?”  Well, what if they stop being “them”?  And become someone else?  We all do.  And that’s true love – committing to love that person no matter who they are tomorrow, no matter how life and trials and growth warp and change and mature and harden and soften and challenge and strengthen and weaken and bruise and injure and purify and solidify them.

Can you love a person you may not know tomorrow?


That’s the thought I want to share with brides-to-be.  Can you let go of everything that person does FOR you today that makes you feel good, and love a person who may do none of those tomorrow?  They can’t really answer, “Yes, I can,” because they’re not there yet.  What they need to answer is, “Yes, I choose to commit to do so” because they are making a choice, and God promises to help them to succeed.  Love can grow and change and morph as well, and, while the devil wants to tear apart marriages, God vows to help us love like He does, which is unconditional and completely inclusive, no matter what life throws our way.


Could You Love This Genderless Person?


WARNING: Adult material (sexuality and homosexuality)

Please don’t read ANYTHING I say below out of context.  Please read the whole article to get the gist of what I’m trying to say.  At some points, I’ll go heavily into speculation, so bear with me on that.  I’m just thinking “out loud” here.

This article is not a recommendation list.  I mention these dramas to prove points in this article.  Watch all things at your own risk.  


Many of you know I’m fan of Korean (and some Taiwanese) dramas.  On the whole, the evidence that South Korea is a primarily Christian nation shows in their TV.  The dramas I watch tend to be BBC-type 16-20 episode stories – wholesome, modest and have basic Judaeo-Christian values.  Creative, formulaic, and pleasant, they appeal to me much more than our overly sexualized, bad-language-ridden, or just immature American TV.  I like live-action Korean dramas much more than anime even.  It fits my personality and story style.

However, in the last couple years, I’ve been sorry to see the experimentation Korea – and Taiwan – are taking in gender fluidity.  While out and out gay couples aren’t shown – as Korea, thankfully, has not accepted such things yet – I think it’s only a matter of time.  😦

The trend is “gender bending.”

It’s nothing new, really.  We did it in the States – for KIDS – in Mulan.  Japan’s done plenty of it.  Matter of fact, there’s been a transgender individual in almost every Japanese show I’ve seen, which is why I don’t like live-action Japanese TV. Just about every time I watch what would normally be a family-friendly G-rated show, there’s a cross-dresser. They’re inundated with it over there in Japan.

It concerns me that I see it coming to Korea.

Gender-bending shows, like Coffee Prince, You’re Beautiful, Hana Kimi, and the latest, Taiwan’s Bromance, are fan favorites internationally.  In all of these shows, heterosexual, beautiful girls dress up like boys and live or work among men due to various reasons.  None of the reasons make a lot of sense, and all seem to be very contrived, but thus lies the problem in romantic comedy (rom-com) plots: got to create some unbelievable circumstances to force the couple to be together.  In Coffee Prince, she needs a male-only job to make more money for her family.  In You’re Beautiful, she has to sing in a male k-pop group in her miscreant brother’s place.  In Hana Kimi, she infiltrates a boys’ only school to convince her idol to get back into track and field.  And, in Bromance, a fortune teller told her parents she would have bad luck unless she pretended to be a guy until her 26th birthday.  All pretty lousy reasons to fake masculinity, if I do say so myself.  😛

Can you tell which one is the female in each?



chinese taiwan drama_bromace 爱上哥们_赖雅妍_Megan Lai_陈楚河_River Chen_ai shang ge meng_seoul in love now blog_1

In almost all of these shows, with the exception of You’re Beautiful where he knows she’s a girl, one of the leading men in the story – Mr. Macho Masculinity himself – falls for our boy-girl not knowing she’s a girl.  Mr. Leading Man is staunchly heterosexual, and is surrounded, usually, by a cast of other handsome males whom he has never had feelings for.  His affection for the weakling, feminine-faced new guy (our cross-dressing girl) confuses the living daylights out of him.  And, at some point, he has to accept “being gay,” or at least looking like it, in order to embrace his deep love for the girly-guy, who must exude some sort of strong feminine pheromone, even though the entire world can’t tell her gender.


Now, if you’re a straight male reading this, you’re cringing.  I don’t know a single guy who’d say that his ideal love story involves falling for his best guy friend, whom he didn’t know was female.  It insults men on every level.  And the guys in the dramas are hurt.  They’re hurt when they think they’re becoming gay over their bestie.  They hurt when they found out how deeply she’s lied to them.  They’re broken down, confused, and hung out to dry.  It’s painful to watch.  Yet they get back up and keep loving her.


This stuff hits women hard in the warm fuzzies. 

And I started to think about why. I’m convinced there’s a much deeper spiritual longing going on here.

As “Occupiedterritories.tumblr” said, in a Coffee Prince exposé,“K-dramas depict love as an overwhelming totality so ecstatic that it transcends just about everything and approaches the realm of the metaphysical.  Love transcends not just sexuality (which it embraces and folds into itself) but, more precisely, sexual identity (which it dissolves and makes moot).

Because our male leads haven’t fallen in love with a woman.  They haven’t fallen in love with a man.  They’ve fallen in love with a genderless soul: what is assumed to be a person at their deepest core.  Many of them swear off sex, because, as heterosexual men, the thought of sex with their “male” lover revolts them.  Instead, there is a chasteness to the relationship that is rarely seen on TV (or in real life!)  Except for a kiss or two, they bond on a much deeper level – one of friendship, camaraderie, and dedication.

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A woman wants to think that, at her least attractive – even looking like a man –  that her personality, her friendship, and her soul would be desirable enough to change a man’s sexuality.  That he could get past anything to love her.  That it’s not really about sex at all.  That it’s not about her body at all.  In a culture that tells you you have to be a certain cup-size, a woman wants to think that a man will love her if curves and a female reproductive system don’t exist at all.  That he loves her deepest soul – a part of who she is that makes her unique, individual, and transcends her physical self.  


Every woman’s dream.

Every human being’s dream really.

All of us are looking for a relationship, love, and passion that cannot be attained on earth.  Even the hardest, coldest, bad boy needs to feel like he’s loved for who he is – even if that lover is him loving himself.  We look for it in many, many places, but, most popularly, in other people.


Human beings are sinful.  They’re selfish, physically-oriented, small-minded, and weak.  We get sick, we die, we change our minds, we reject, we abuse, and we distort.  We’re not telepathic and we see the world only through our own eyes.  Our understanding of the spiritual worth of a human soul is limited at best.  And, when we find out the ickiest and nastiest about people, it tends to turn us off from that person.  People “fall out of love” every day, with divorce rates at its highest in the last decade.  Bullying is impossible to avoid in most school and work settings.  Finally, more and more, human beings are turning to experimenting sexually, with homosexuality being at its peak in the U.S., with experts guessing at around 10% of the population.

I want to say, firmly, that I stand with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin.  It isn’t natural, it isn’t something you’re born with that you can’t choose to avoid, and it is wrong in God’s eyes, Biblically.

The gender-bender premise is dangerous. In an effort to spiritualize love, like we should be doing, we fall short when we take God-created gender out of the equation. Instead of being a squeal-worthy comedy-fest of true heterosexual love succeeding against the greatest of odds, gender-bender shows introduces dangerous new ideas, like:

  1. Myth: Men don’t appreciate femininity. Women should shake off things that make them female, and should strive to be just like men.  Androgyny is more attractive than embracing the way God made us.

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I have had many guy friends in my life, yet I am one of the most girly people I know – all of my friends will tell you that.  I’ve never upset a guy because I was girly.  I truly think most think “viva la difference” between us.  They like my perspective, and I value theirs.  A girl once told me that my husband needed a tomboy girl – one that played basketball with him, didn’t wear makeup or jewelry, and stuck to blues, grays, and masculine clothing.  He couldn’t possibly appreciate a pink-loving, girly-girl.  Well, turns out, this is the same man who buys me new high heels every year, and likes seeing me in skirts, and long hair dyed pink.  He said it would be pretty boring if I was just like him.  No matter how you dress, your husband married a woman because he wanted a woman!

God created us to complement eachother.  That’s “complement,” like being an opposite matching puzzle piece.  I’m not sure if you’ve had close friends of the opposite gender – although you should have one if you’re married!  The bond can be strong, coupled with the fact that hormones were created to get in there and add spice to the pot that doesn’t exist with same-sex friendships.  It’s so easy to let your relationship with the opposite gender get too close and go too far.  Why?  Because we’re created to be close like that.  We’re created to have ONE spouse, of the opposite gender, who complements, intrigues, attracts, and interests us.

I sure love my girl besties, but none of them will ever compare with the bond I can only achieve with one man.  There’s just something about it.  God created it.

  1. Myth: Gender doesn’t matter.

People want to claim that gender and sexuality matters as much as a pair of shoes.  Wear one pair today, toss ‘em and change to something else tomorrow.

But it seems that gender is intrinsic to our personality and soul – much more than human beings would like to admit.  Even God identifies SOLELY as a He.  Jesus was clearly born male, and He still sits at the right hand of God – male.  And God the Father is inherently male.  Father = male.

Once I heard someone wonder if we would be genderless in heaven.  The concept sat very badly with me.  Maybe I don’t have much of an imagination, but I can’t see how I’d still be RJ Conte in heaven without being female.  Even if my heavenly body isn’t as physical as this one, I think that, if God is male, I will still be female.  God could totally do something miraculous and create new genders or abolish them, but we see no precedence for this in Scripture.  We see commands to embrace our maleness if we’re male, and our femininity if we’re female. We see different roles, different strengths, and even occasionally different commands for males and females, husbands and wives.  We hear of dead people and angels referred to by gender.


I think we wonder about gender in heaven because there will be no marriage.  I personally don’t think that means there won’t be gender.  There’s no need for marriage, because intimacy in heaven will be complete.  No sexual act with a spouse here on earth will compare to the spiritual – and perhaps physical, mental (telepathy, anyone?), and emotional intimacy we will have with God and other people in heaven.  Marriage will seem like a cruder, less effective method of trying to bond with people.  What about when you can know them completely in a new form?  What about when every moment in God’s presence is pleasurable? Sex will be pointless.  Can you imagine being intimate with God? 


I think that’s the point of our pitiful attempts to create the perfect love story.  It can’t compare to the love of God.  He loves our very soul.  He inhabits our body.  He embraces and partakes with us of our emotions. He knows every single thought we’ve ever thought or will think. He doesn’t care what gender we are – His love is the same.  He died for us.  He is the ultimate author of passion.  He is the ultimate lover.  He fills you from the inside out.  He defines your true worth.

There is no intimacy like being inhabited by Christ. 

There is no intimacy like knowing the God of the universe and being known.  Like being died for.

You’re just not ever going to find that in a human man.  Even if you dress up like one.



RJ Conte writes about love and the Christian life for young adults.  Her latest novel, a romantic suspense, will be released in February on





We Are Losing Our Men

First, my disclaimers, which will be in bold so no one misses them.

YES, I harp on women on this blog. YES, it might not look fair. Here’s the thing. I *am* a woman. So I talk to women. It makes no sense if I sit here and lecture men on everything they’re doing wrong. It would just make me look bitter and arrogant. I really don’t feel qualified to lecture men.  I write about things I’ve learned the hard way or things that motivate me into action. I write to women. Men have responsibilities in relationships too, but I’m not going to talk about those in this article.  That being said, MEN, if you want to send this post to the women in your life, feel free to do so. I hope that I represent the issue well, and that this helps in your relationships.  WOMEN, if you want articles that talk about how men fail in relationships or life, the Internet is full of those. You’re just probably not going to find those on this blog, because I have enough failures of my own without having to point fingers at the men. If this helps any of you dear women, then God will have already used my mistakes. ❤

You’ve heard it, over and over again: don’t treat your guy like your girlfriends. Wait. You haven’t heard that? Okay, back up. It’s true.  Your husband or boyfriend or father or brother is not “one of the girls,” ladies. It doesn’t mean that he can’t go clothes shopping with you or appreciate how you do your hair. It just means that he’s not a girl and should not be expected to fill that role in your life.

HOWEVER, I think we’ve taken this to some extremes.

We’ve decided “not a girl” means “not a human.” And we think they’re impervious to the emotions and hurts and needs we women feel every day.

Let me explain.

How many of your homes look like mine? Husband walks in the door after a long day, and is met with a wife that hugs him, kisses him, and then begins animatedly talking about her day. She starts out trying to be positive, but soon it’s all about “Bertha, the neighbor, who said something stupid and hurt my feelings” and “Sally and Susie, the toddlers, got into this and that,” and “Great nephew Sammy is a mess and it breaks my heart!”

Weeping goes on against his shoulder, and the wife’s needs are met, her heart strengthened and relaxed. He has been her rock yet again.

Then he turns to her and says, “This blasted technology is acting up again, and it makes me so mad. Can you tell Sally to please be quiet for fifteen minutes so I can think?”

“Honey, honey!” Wifey scolds. “How dare you be frustrated? Sally is two. She needs your reassurance and compassion. She won’t understand. You’ve hurt her feelings. And how silly to be so angry over technology! What’s wrong with you? You’re usually so patient.”

And, if the husband is anything like mine, he bravely shuts his mouth, sucks in his negative feelings, and lets the wife’s hypocrisy burn right through him.

Because it isn’t fair.

Studies have shown that men feel guilt, embarrassment, shame, pride, depression, and stress just as much as women. They simply don’t always feel the need to show it so obviously, or feel safe and secure enough with another human being to want to. (Warning, this link has adult comments on sexual things)

This stigma about expressing oneself may contribute to the fact that, across the

world, suicide rates for males are anywhere from two to SIX times higher than it is for females.

We are losing our men.

Our husbands are not to be our punching bags, to suck it up and take our emotional tidal waves every time they’re with us. They are humans with full emotional capabilities, needs, and fears as well. Because they may not always want to or feel safe enough to volunteer their vulnerabilities does not give us the right, as women, to assume they have none and to walk all over them with our own problems.

In a culture of easy sex, breakups, and too many sequels of James Bond, men have this assumption that they’re supposed to be tough, emotionless, and unattached. Because they don’t feel the need to express their emotions the way women do, that they simply don’t exist. That they are super-human or different from women in so many core ways, instead of fallen, emotional beings, who have needs to be loved and respected and cherished – something God does for all of us, and what we’re commanded to give our husbands.

Here’s a good test: Something has upset you and you’re crying about it. Can you go a full twenty-four hours without sharing it with your husband? Can you pray about it first? Can you spend a full day just talking to God about it, or do you feel like you’re about to explode unless you get yourself some manly arms and a listening ear?

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TALKING THROUGH PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SPOUSE. There is nothing wrong with leaning on the emotional support a husband can bring. But is it all about us?

Have our husbands simply become disaster hotlines?

Is there a give and take between listening, comforting, and sharing God’s truth between both of you? Or has your marriage become a husband-counselor/wife-counselee scenario only?

Do any of you have distant husbands? Husbands who seem apathetic or uncaring? Husbands who seem closed off and changed?

Have you ever, ever considered it might have something to do with you? Have we, as women, ever shut up long enough to listen to our husband’s heart? And waited, maybe months, if need be, to gain his trust back so that he thinks we care again to hear his heart?

Can we purpose to go to God first and approach our husbands with our problems second? Can we choose to go last during “talking time” and ask the right questions to get our men to be able to share their own concerns with us? Or have hours gone by with only the wives having shot their mouths off about Friend X and Student Y, leaving your spouse weary and ready for bed?

Do you have your husband’s heart? If not, is it because it’s been about you for so long?

Listen to your conversations between your husband and yourself. Is it mostly you talking? Does he only open his mouth one third or one fourth of the time? Having a quiet husband is no excuse. I have one of the world’s most introverted spouses, but, when I ask a few questions, give him eye contact, and just listen – because I’ve already gone to the Lord about the irritating situation that came up Blanche’s birthday party, I find that it’s just not more important than hearing how my husband made the work basketball team, and that he’s as excited as a little boy at Christmas.

Once again, I am NOT advocating that you tell your husband less. I am advocating PERSPECTIVE. Selflessness. Wait on the Blanche’s birthday party conversation until your husband has talked first. Make sure you’re in a better, unemotional state. Don’t let all your pent-up anger out on him.  Don’t always be looking for Hubby to pat you on the back and raise your ego. Wait a day or two until he’s talked his 50% of the time. There can be majorly important things from his soul that you’re missing because you’re busy whining about someone you’ll never see again who happened to be at your friend’s party.

Grab your man back gently by being mature, by letting him know he’s not God in your life, and he’s not required to solve all of your problems within the hour they happen.

“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”  Matthew 7:12

Would you want a man who walks in the door every day and goes, “Peter was so nasty to me! Wait until you hear about our entire two hour conversation word for word! Just a minute. I can’t talk while I’m sobbing! What a mean man! Will you speak to him for me and make him stop! Oh, I’ve just had it. I need chocolate. Wait here. This is going to be a looooooong night!”

I don’t think so. Yet we’ve made these same men put up with this, day after day, from us.

Instead, I’ve started asking, “How do you feel about what happened at work today?”

Like any normal man, he snorts, and goes, “Feel? Me?”

And I look him straight in the eyes and say, “Yes. You. You’re no alien. I acknowledge that you have valid feelings too.”

And you know what? He does. Turns out he was pretty disappointed about something, that he would’ve stuffed down if I looked right past him and babbled on about how Sally and Susie dumped salt all over the living room.

Have we snubbed their emotions in the past?  Do we laugh at them when they tear up at a girly movie?  Do we get irritated at the goofy teenage-boyish ways they show love?  Do we snort at the way they define “romance”?  Do we make them feel humiliated when they admit a fear?  Do they just not even feel like trying any more?

Later, maybe the next morning, he asks, “Why is there salt on my coffee table?”

And, with a fresh new attitude and a good night’s sleep, I can laugh and go, “You’ll never guess what the girls did!” And he’s laughing too. There are fewer tears. Everything is viewed in its proper perspective when there’s a little bit of time, prayer, and sleep under my belt.

“But enough about salt spillage, which is (mostly!) cleaned up now,” I say. “How did you sleep?  Did you dream?”

And, what do you know?  He did. And it was such a sweet dream that I’m glad I got to hear about it.

For further study, an excellent article on INTPs, that probably applies to many men, which describes the emotional circles frustrated husbands and wives get into stepping on each others’ toes and assuming that men are unfeeling: Dating an INTP

Should Married Women Vote Against Their Spouse?

Blogger’s Note: After this post went viral all over the Internet, due to the emotional responses I received, I thought it important to change my “hook” title to say what I really mean.  Also, this is not a sin issue in Scripture, just an opinion from a Christian woman who wants to apply all of Scripture to all of her daily life.  This is just food for thought, but is ultimately up to you and your spouse to decide.  There is no judgment cast on those who don’t agree with me.  Thanks for reading!

From a Christian perspective, in a perfect, biblical society, I think married women should not have needed the right to vote. 

I first heard that statement expressed by people close to me and I was aghast, sputtering.  This marked a huge victory in our history!  Women are equal citizens of this countryyour_vote_counts!  We raise the next politicians!  We should have a say!

But these people went on to explain and they really convinced me.

Stick with me and make sure you read to the end.

This doesn’t apply to single adult women, as they have no head of their own home, and many are out in our workforces and living on their own. 

This thought is for married women.

God has placed women to be under their husbands.  He said, in the Garden of Eden, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  Genesis 3:16

He also stated it clearly in the New Testament: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”  Ephesians 5:22

Submission only works because Christ also told men to love their wives and sacrifice for them, to treat them with respect like they would their own body.  So this is not a post to bash men, or to complain about their leadership, or to discuss men that are hard to submit to.  Simply put, it’s about what women’s role is according to the Bible.  And, like it or not, your husband is to be your leader and you are to submit to him.  God compares it to the church submitting to Christ!  That’s a lofty comparison!

Therefore, by giving married women the right to vote, I think that our country placed, in women’s hands, the right to go against their husbands in a very grand way.  By having an equal vote, they can oppose their husbands and technically nullify their vote.  A woman who votes against her husband’s vote, in my opinion, as I interpret Scripture, is out from under his authority.

If Christian women are not supposed to say to their husbands, “Forget you.  You picked this pastor and this church, but I disagree, so I’m going to a different church,”  (Now, feel free to appeal to him and pray hard if you feel like the church is a bad choice!) and if Christian women are not supposed to say, “I don’t like your rules in this house, so I’m giving the children opposing rules and you can just live with it,” then I don’t think it’s Biblical for them to be able to say, “I don’t trust you to elect the proper leaders for our country.  I’m supposed to be under you, and you’re under the government, but I don’t trust you to elect the right boss for yourself and our family.  I come out from under your leadership to nullify your vote by voting against you”?!  That seems like such a high insult to me, and makes your husband’s opinion and vote worthless.

Married ladies, since we DO have the right to vote and we need more Christians and conservatives voting, I suggest the Biblical way is to vote the same as your husband, or, if you disagree with him, refrain from voting.  But talk to your husband and see what he wants you to do.  Talk to your husband about voting and appeal to him if you feel like he’s wrong.  Ask him what he feels comfortable with.  Ask him if nullifying his vote by opposing his has hurt him as the leader of your home.  I think that we have been given extra power to vote and support our husband’s leadership for our family and influence on this country.  We can change the nation together with our combined votes.

What are your thoughts?  And have you discussed this topic with your husband to see how he feels and if he cares about how you vote?  Have you searched God’s Word and prayed about this topic?  And do you vote regularly with your spouse?  It’s an honor to have this privilege.  Let’s use it for God’s glory!