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Archive for the category “Marriage”

Jesus, Fix My Wife! – Repost from The Generous Husband

This is a repost from The Generous Husband. He, and his wife’s blog (The Generous Wife) have an amazing Christian marriage ministry through these blogs and their websites The Marriage Bed (also found on Facebook here).

As with most things I write or post on our FreedomTruthMarriage Facebook page, I’m posting this as a reminder to myself. One of the most profound and eye-opening things I learned this last year is that I need to quit worrying about fixing her (from problems I usually caused), but need to focus on fixing me. All I need to do to her is just love the heck out of her and be the husband she desires.

Here it is:  Jesus, Fix My Wife!

Take a look at some of the other stuff he’s written. Also, ladies, check out his wife’s blog.

If you want to read more stuff about  good, Christian, (and fun) married sex check out The Marriage Bed.

 

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Give her Everything!

I noticed I haven’t been posting a lot about marriage so I decided to do that today.

Ephesians 5:22-33 is one of God’s most direct guidelines about marriage. Yet it seems like most emphasis is given to the wife’s roles (vs 22-24) – especially from men. That’s strange because those verses are to/for women. If you count them up, there’s 3 verses written to women and 9 written to men. I wonder which verses us husbands and men of the church need to be focusing on.

Men definitely have the bigger role. We are responsible for giving up ourselves for her, taking care of her, pouring into her spiritual growth, loving her more than we do ourselves, and according to verse 21, submit to her too!

Some of the marriage books and seminars I’ve read/gone to are often about how to take care of her so that she takes care of me and vice versa. This, in turn, takes care of our marriage. But this passage in Ephesians reads to me like this:

It’s not about me and it’s not about us. It’s about her. It’s not about meeting her needs and speaking her love language so she will reciprocate. It’s about doing it because I have been told to give my life up for her. This means pouring into her whatever she wants or needs and expecting nothing back. Doing this means I am (even currently) having to give up on things I’d like to see in our marriage.

Honestly, it’s been painful and disappointing. Do I really trust God enough to say, “I’ll let go of my wants/needs because trying to get her to meet them causes us more pain and strife. Meanwhile, every day I’m her husband, my goal will be to give her whatever she needs and wants.”

I’m not sure what the takeaways are. Us men need to take a hard look at what this passage is about. From the pulpit to each man, we need to be focusing on what we’re not doing and be doing it.

How do you think your spouse would feel if you never denied them what they needed or wanted?

 

Sexual compabitility. What is it, really? Part 3

In our last 2 posts we read that:

  • In these days, two people can bring a varying amount of sexual experience, knowledge about sex, and exposure to sex into a relationship. The combination of all these is what we’ll call “sexual information.”
  • Vulnerability is extremely important. There will be no spiritual, emotional, or good sexual intimacy without vulnerability.

A couple that has different ideas, experiences, knowledge, desires, and beliefs about anything are not compatible, generally. In a God-centered marriage the idea is to take what incompatibilities there are and make them complement each other. Of course the more compatible a couple is overall the easier and less work it’ll take. What is going to make them compatible is “two becoming one” (Eph. 5:31).

So how do we actually live out all of this, particularly in regards to sex?

While, stereotypically, it’s the husband who is the one who is ready to do whatever/whenever/however with his new bride, that’s not always the case. There are women out there that come into a marriage with a lot more sexual information than their husbands. For the sake of this article I’m going to call the spouse with more sexual information “Mentor” and the one with less sexual information the “Protege.”

It’s the mentor’s responsibility to be as sexually active (frequency and ecstasy) as the protege feels comfortable.  It’s the protege’s responsibility to let the mentor show them how it all should work; being taught to have sex at the mentor’s level. The idea is the more “educated” spouse gently teaches and encourages the spouse with less sexual information. The goal, in time, is the Protege becoming as sexually informed as the Mentor-spouse. Vulnerability, gentleness, selflessness, and transparent communication are key in this.

  • Do a lot of stuff you both like.
  • Try something new the other suggests, in small doses if necessary.
  • Do something you don’t care about but the other person likes. Start doing it every now and then and building up in frequency as you get used to it.

Like exercise, it’s the heavy lifting that causes the biggest muscle growth. Simply put, you’ll grow more by really stretching your limits. “What if I don’t get used to that activity or don’t like it?” Developing compatibility – and marriage in general – is about them, not you. If a sexual act is really a problem, talk about it respectfully and be mindful of their feelings.

One disclaimer: There should be no manipulation, badgering, guilting, or shaming by either the Mentor or Protege. None of those actions speak or show love. Also, neither should ask or expect the other to commit a sinful act (extra participant, illegal act, public display of nudity).

Such compatibility isn’t something you’re going to accomplish in a week. Expect it to take a long time. Maybe even years. What’s more important than sexual quality or quantity is the intimate connection between you two.

Marriage compatibility, overall, should take precedence over sexual compatibility. If you are concerned sexual compatibility is or will be an issue, consider the steps I mentioned to help close the compatibility gap.

Hopefully this series helps shed some light on the lies behind what sexual compatibility is not. Most of all I hope it draws you closer to your spouse in your whole marriage.

What can you do to become more compatible with your spouse? What three things (sex or otherwise) do you despise doing that you know they would love for you to?

Sexual compatibility: What is it? Part 2

On the last post about sexual compatibility I ended with the question, “How do two Christians, with varying degrees of sexual information, approach the differences in their sex life?”

In J.M. Smiths’ Blog (and here), he quotes a friend who wrote about sexual compatibility. [I cannot find the link to Olatunde Howard’s article on his blogsite so I’ll just link to the site]. Mr. Howard suggests the key to sexual intimacy and compatibility is vulnerability. Not a word that most people want to hear, especially with such a sensitive and personal aspect of their being. Here’s what Mr. Howard said about it:
“God created the sexes, and thus created “sexual compatibility.” This is sexual compatibility: ‘Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.'(Gen 2:5). Sexual compatibility is the intimacy of vulnerability, physically, soulically, and spiritually. It means the man and woman are perfectly complimentary…
Not from Mars and Venus…
Not “opposite sexes”…
Not at war, even after the fall of humanity.
They are not each others enemies, not in competition or opposition. They don’t need to ‘perform’ in or out of bed.”

He goes on to say, “Relationships, even the best relationships, will take work. To understand another mind takes effort. Good effort, but effort none the less. The same is true with marital sex. Joining two distinct bodies will take sensitivity, time, and love. Husbands and wives can’t be more compatible than they are, but they can truly and intimately know each other, or not know each other very well at all. We are the images of [God], the One who can’t be known without revelation. Sex in marriage is a revelation. Spouses can’t experience sexual compatibility automatically any more than they can read each others minds. The core issue of sexual compatibility is vulnerability – of being naked and not ashamed.”

“But the truth is this: unlike in the movies, you will have to talk to find out what is sexually pleasing to your spouse.”

I agree with that last line. Not only will you need to find out what is pleasing, but displeasing as well. Also, what do they like more than something else? Is it about physical pleasure with them, or emotional connection? What are the deal breakers – things that will cause hurt feelings if done or not done? What differences do we have?

“So whether we’re dealing with sexual abuse, differences in sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or just plain fear, the key to sexual intimacy and sexual compatibility is vulnerability.

…Which is not something that must be learned by getting naked before marriage. It is learned by transparency and vulnerability both before and after the wedding.

“Being as frank, direct, and graphic as possible with the spouse. This kind of openness encompasses the Biblical idea of the husband “knowing” (Hebrew: yada’) his wife…All of will have some of these issues to lesser or greater extremes”

…Both need to be – actually, they need get – comfortable talking about sex openly. Sex between a married couple is God’s design and a physical symbol of the relationship between the church and Christ. It’s not bad or naughty. If it helps, write fantasies, dreams, and likes in a story format (with only you two as the subjects) then hand them for the other to read so that they get a descriptive mental picture.

“Talking about these things and responding sensitively, based on the vulnerability it takes to speak about these issues, will be the most important thing a couple can do to be sexually compatible. What it boils down to is this: Compatibility, sexually, spiritually, or emotionally, is a fluid and relational experience, not a state that either exists or does not. It is a kind of sensitive yielding, not an innate sexual ability.”

Vulnerability is necessary for real sexual compatibility. No matter how much sexual information someone brings to the relationship. Hopefully we’ve discarded the myth the sexual compatibility is something that does or doesn’t exist and must be “test driven” to be determined.

Next, some practical steps to achieving more compatibility (vulnerability) in the bedroom.

Sexual Compatibility: What is it? Is it real? Part 1

(This is part 1 of a 3 part series. I’ll release the other 2 parts on the next 2 Sundays).

It seems like the subject of “sexual compatibility” has been coming up a lot lately. You see it on TV and the internet. People – including Christians – use it as a reason to have premarital sex. They also use it as a reason to divorce. What does the Bible say about sexual compatibility? Traditionally most couples, particularly Christian, never had sex until they were married. They only knew what someone told them. Both were comparatively ignorant about sex and sexuality when they reached that first night.

Now we learn about sexual specifics in a much more fluid and informed society than in times past. We know more about all manner of sexual activity than our grandparents knew at that age. I don’t have statistics but I think we can all agree that by the time people are getting married (20s-30s) they have a lot of sexual exposure, knowledge, and/or experience (we’ll call these “sexual information”) – even among professed Christ-followers. With years of sexual information behind them, the levels of sexual information between a couple can be night and day.

In the present day we have people entering in relationships and being as concerned with sexual compatibility as any other aspect of marriage. A Relevant magazine article states that “80 percent of Christians in the 18-29 age range…have had sex before marriage.” In a survey of Christian married couples done by The Marriage Bed only 21% of those couples did not have sex before their wedding. 49% of those surveyed had intercourse (“Wedding Night Survey”). Some of those are having intercourse after participating in “purity” programs such as True Love Waits. Is sexual compatibility that important in a marriage?

This blog post by Hafeez Baoku on The Gospel Coalition’s website, addresses sexual compatibility:

“The primary problem with this notion of sexual chemistry is that it focuses sex on pleasure and performance… God gave sex as a gift to be exclusively enjoyed by a husband and wife as a means of loving, caring, serving, honoring, and enjoying each other in marriage. So sexual compatibility between a married couple comes neither from ecstasy (how good the sex is) nor frequency (how often you have it) but mainly from intimacy, which occurs as love, trust, security, and respect deepen through the longevity of a monogamous, self-giving, covenant relationship.

From the many conversations I’ve had with those who are happily married with healthy, God-honoring sex lives, I’ve learned that true sexual compatibility, if we must call it that, happens when two people commit themselves first to God, and then to each other. This covenant commitment affords an opportunity for a husband and wife to unconditionally serve and love the way Jesus loves his bride, the church (Eph. 5:22-33). Marriage is a journey in which two incompatible, selfish sinners learn to become one. There will thus be multiple things — including sex — that both parties will have to figure out together along the way.

…Therefore, I’m willing to trust God and wait, not because I want to have the most euphoric wedding night with someone I’m perfectly sexually compatible with, but because I want a healthy, God-honoring marriage after the wedding night with the person to whom I’ve just committed my life.”

This article by Mr. Baoku hits the nail on the head. If there’s one thing I have learned in 16 years of marriage: it isn’t about sex, physical pleasure, and being compatible in the bedroom. It really is about a whole God-honoring marriage.

Hopefully this sets the stage for the next part of this discussion. Ideally, physical aspects of sexual compatibility shouldn’t be an issue. But an issue it is. So how do to two Christians, with varying degrees of premarital sexual exposure and/or experience (i.e. sexual information), approach the differences in their sex life? Next time we’ll look at how vulnerability ties into compatibility. Then I’ll suggest some ideas to actually walk that out.

Scripture prayer for marriage

Here’s a prayer you and your spouse can pray over your marriage:

“You have called us to be one (Gen. 2:24) How good and pleasant it is when a brother and sister live together in unity (Psalm 133:1). Use both of us to draw the other towards holiness (Eph. 5:26).  May we always lead a blameless life before you (Psalm 101:2).

Enable us to do something that’s difficult: submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, giving ourselves up for one another, out of love for each other (Eph 5:21; Col. 3:18-19). Show us how to feed and care for each other as the other one needs (Eph 5:29). Let us rejoice in each other (Prov. 5:18). Let us love one another in a way that our love burns like a mighty flame – a flame that cannot be quenched or washed away (SoS 8:7).

Remind both of us that we are each others’ (SoS 2:16). Let us desire only each other (SoS 7:10). We confess we are not independent of each other (1Cor. 11:11), no do we belong to ourselves, but to each other (1Cor 7:4). May we always fulfill our marital duties to each other, whatever those duties may be (1Cor 7:3).

May you give us the desires of our hearts, and make all our plans succeed (Psalm 20:4). We consecrate our marriage as a whole, that our marriage be honored, and our marriage bed be kept pure (Heb. 13:4).”

Let’s see…..

….if I can figure out how to do this.

After deep conversations with various friends and family over the years, a common thing I’ve been told is, “You need to write a blog!”  I’ve been reluctant. While I have things to say I sometimes feel like not everyone else wants/needs to hear my ramblings. Another reason is that our society is full of commentating all the time! I didn’t want to add to the clamor. But after the last year and a half of life events, encouragement from people whose opinions I admire and respect, and a Spiritual leading it’s time to give it a shot.

Rather than come up with a clever, witty title  I just named it after 3 subjects I often find myself reading about and commenting on on others’ blogs and pages. Freedom, truth, and marriage.

When I say “freedom” I’m talking about the freedom to be who God has made us to be. The freedom to break away from bad habits, bad thought patterns, emotional baggage, wounds, and weaknesses.

Marriage is becoming a byword for miserable, tied down, and broke. Because there’s so many marriage blogs out there I’ll probably do more time linking to good articles rather than cobbling my own.

Without truth the other two aren’t possible. Truth is required to have a strong, stable, and happy marriage. Truth is what sets us free. The love of truth, particularly in the Christian community, is becoming more rare.

This blog is only my convictions and opinions. Take what you will. Disagree if you like. Tell me what you think. …And hopefully I’ll remember to come on here and update enough to keep it interesting.

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