Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Best Sex Ever” #FromThisDaySeries

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Today we continued our annual marriage series with our Kfirst community. We looked at human sexuality and how it impacts the Kingdom of God.

Click here for yesterday’s notes.

Listen to Kfirst Messages. (uploaded by the Monday following the service)

Watch on Kfirst’s Facebook. (recorded live on Sundays)

J.P. Dorsey is not only the director of Northpoint Bible College, but he is a friend of this congregation. He brought a tremendous word in our marriage series on sexuality called, “The Best Sex Ever.” It is here where he broke open the Word to help us understand the connection between what we experience in the bedroom has implications in how we live in the word. The Kingdom of God is seen in, and impacted, in healthy marital sexuality.

J.P.’s thoughts and scriptures yesterday:

  1. The best sex ever is missional in nature.
    • Genesis 1:26-28; John 17:20-23
  2. The best sex ever is reconciling in nature.
    • Revelation 7:9-10
  3. The best sex ever is sacramental in nature.
    • 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  4. The best sex ever is purifying in nature.
    • Hosea 4:12-14

My challenge to you: Listen or watch the message while looking at the notes. If you’re like me, I’m gonna re-listen as to take in both the passion for healthy sexuality as well as the depth of teaching on the depth of what a vision for heathy sexuality should do to all of us.

As we’ve done for the past few weeks, let me give you a few questions to ask your spouse this week:

  • How healthy is our sexuality? 
  • Is there anything that we can do to grow healthier sexually?
    • Changing our view? Personal repentance? Reproaching our frequency?
  • Which point from the message was the most encouraging? Challenging?

I had someone, a while ago, tell me that sexuality was for “young couples.” That breaks my heart to see something so beautiful relegated to an age or genre of people. When I see sexuality, I see it as a gift to ALL married couples. And, like any gift God gives, we were called to steward it and to grow it.

This week, humbly go over the questions. Celebrate your marital sexuality. Repent of any hurt. Rebuild the intimacy in your homes.

Love you all. See you this Sunday as we wrap up our series.

BTW: Here’s a song for your week

A Prayerful Marriage: 6 Things that are Okay to Pray Over Your Marriage

I’ll give props to Cori, my neighbor down the street. On my weekly Wednesday prayer walk, I ask my Facebook friends to post their needs so I can specifically pray over them. Her request froze me in my tracks. It was so simple, and yet, specific. Cori’s child was heading off with other 5th graders to a weekend camp. She asked for prayers for the 5th graders to have “insane amounts of fun.”

I literally stopped my walk for a moment and thought to myself, “why don’t we pray for that more often for our marriages?” The next thought, “what other prayers do we disregard?”

I had heard a quote sometime ago (and for the life of me, I cannot remember who said it):

Prayer is the easiest thing we never do.

I think a lot of that mindset seems to have to do with the understanding of the necessity of a prayer life. If you understand how important communication is to your marriage, you can begin to grasp the need for a consistent prayer life. Prayer is simple and powerful. It is transformative both for you and your marriage. Yet, in my experiences working with marriages, I find couples don’t know how to pray. Most marriage prayers center around someone wanting God to change what they don’t like in their mate. Very few spouses pray about other things.

So today, I thought I’d give you a simplistic list of things that is okay to pray for in your marriage:

1 – “Help us to have insane amounts of fun.”
Cori hit the nail on the head. We need to see more fun in our marriage. Fun is more spiritual than you realize. God isn’t against pleasure; He is absolutely for it (the Garden of Eden is proof enough about that). When I talk about fun, I’m talking about striving to find those leisurely thing that feed the fun in marriage.  I’ve known couples to rotate on who choses the date nights so the “fun” doesn’t always favor one person over the other. I’ve known others to consistently plan evenings around those things that both enjoy doing.

2 – “Give me an overwhelming sense of gratitude.”
When we start praying to have a more grateful heart, the Lord will open up our eyes to help us to see the blessings around us. It seems everything about our culture wants to seed dissatisfaction with what we have so that we can strive for something new. And I’m afraid that puts a false filter of disappointment over our lives. Step back and begin to see, not what your spouse lacks, but what he/she is gifted in. When you do, speak up and say something about it. Remember, silent gratitude is not gratitude at all.

3 – “Help us to laugh more.”
This is related to #1 but a bit different. Why? most people relegate “fun” to a moment. I believe “laughing” is a lifestyle. Anne and I don’t have much in common.

We love Jesus.
We are stubborn.
And we love to laugh.

Having that “merry heart” that Proverbs talks about becomes the catalyst for your attitude. It helps you to see things in perspective. You understand what is worth fighting about and you see what is worth laughing with your spouse about. Learn how to not take some things so serious and learn to laugh with (not at) your spouse.

4 – “Bless our marriage with a deep and lasting sex life.”
Of all of the needs that a human has, there is only one need that your spouse has been granted permission to be the ONLY one to meet. Sex was God’s idea. Sexual desire is God-given. Your sex organs were given to you, by God, to receive pleasure and give pleasure to your spouse. So suffice to say: If God gifted our marriage with sexuality, why don’t we make it a priority to pray for it? If both are praying for it, perhaps the Lord will bless our marriage with more desire, greater creativity, and a deeper sense of pleasure. Don’t let the world make what God has given into something dirty. Take what God has given and ask that it be blessed.

5 – “Help me to love when I don’t feel it.”
I don’t always act lovable; neither does Anne. But that’s where we take things and make them so overly emotional that the presence of feelings dictates our actions. Love is a state of our soul. And we act upon love because we know what love does (1 Corinthians 13). Actions don’t follow feelings. If that was the case, nothing would get done. Feelings follow actions. Be the spouse that prays for the humility to act in love without having to “feel” love.

6 – “Keep me humble.”

I’ve heard some dumb things about prayer. One of them being, “don’t pray for patience because God will give you something to be patient with.” This may seem harsh, but I find it stupid to think, first, that we think God doesn’t know we need it, and second, that asking Him for help is a bad thing.  I think we should request something deeper than patience. Humility is the place where we can see the complete Fruit of the Spirit grow in and through us. Humility is what lowers our pride and places within us a teachable/growing heart. Humility gives us the type of voice that needs to be heard while granting us ears to listen.

Do you have other “simple” prayers to add? Are these prayers anywhere on your radar? I hope so. Because as your prayers grow, so does your marriage. Make your next step today to set a daily reminder to pray blessings upon your spouse. Write some of these prayers down and get a few of your own. Follow that up with asking the Holy Spirit to work some change in you. As you pray, I believe God responds to your faith and He’ll do the work that you and I can never do on our own.

I love you all. I’m praying for you at this moment. Now go pray for your spouse.

Oh yeah…thanks Cori for the inspiration.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Flirtationship: 3 Steps to Keep Flirting in Marriage

Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage…” Hebrews 13:4

For a while, this blog has been developing in my heart. I know that the potential of it can create a firestorm of responses of emotion and opinion. If you don’t know me well, my heart is always of compassion driven by the love of Christ. I do not blog out of a place of judgement. I write out of a position that strives to stay humble and teachable before God as I recognize my life AND my marriage are a continual mosaic being formed by the Holy Spirit.

My heart is for healthy marriages and to help encourage practices that help build marriages…

…AND to help identify those practices that are destructive to couples.

Flirting is a topic you don’t hear much about as something detrimental to a marriage. I think part of it is the glamorization of it in most entertainment. It’s just accepted as something men and women “just do.” The sensation of catching the eye of someone else, the flattering feeling of receiving attention from someone, and the thrill of being pursued by someone is what we see amplified. You’re living in a flirtationship; you’re more than just a friend but less than a full-blown relationship. What you think is innocent is really deteriorating the intimacy of your marriage. Flirting should only be reserved for your marriage.

Flirt verb \ˈflərt\ 1. to move erratically  2. a : to behave amorously without serious intent b : to show superficial or casual interest or liking

Notice the words, “to behave amorously.” It means with a sexual or intimate desire without serious intent. Over and over I’ve heard people say,

“It was harmless flirting.”

Now some would say that I may be blowing this out of proportion, but is not flirting generally the first step towards developing romance, as this is what singles usually do to signal interest in others? When I was single, flirting was about catching the eye of someone else. It was taking a chance to make a contact.  The contact was intentionally laced with the potential of a next step (connection, date, relationship, someday marriage). I can’t say I was the best “flirt” as a single. I didn’t have the pickup lines or the smooth conversational styles. (Sometimes I wonder what Anne saw in that awkward 18-year-old.)

But can we just admit that we all know what flirting is and not cover it up with flashy words or excuses? I really don’t think we need to debate it. We could argue about whether it’s intentionally wanting sex or not, but that’s not the point. The point is that we know flirting is about creating intimate connections. And when we are creating intentional intimate connections with people outside of our marriage, we are flirting with marital disaster. It’s why Jesus warned us about our thought-life and they way we look at others that are NOT our spouse in Matthew 5:27-28

But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.

Flirting with someone other than your spouse VIOLATES

Honor: It removes the “worth” from your marriage. It takes the priceless attention and affection reserved for your spouse and directs them elsewhere. The sensuality of our hearts should always and completely be directed toward your husband/wife.
Trust: It develops a two-sided heart as you are splitting it between your spouse and whoever you are flirting with. And it is difficult to trust a spouse who has one eye on you and another eye on someone else.  NOTE: Flirting also develops a lack of trust in yourself. The rush you can get from flirting is addictive. Thus this next point…
Desire: It confuses your senses. Why? Because flirting focuses on what is easy about the relationship (attraction) and not the hard work that makes it work. Desire is closely related to…
Vision: It seduces you to think you are missing something in your relationship and/or makes your marital struggles look larger than reality. It seeds a false sense of discontent. Instead of putting more effort into your marriage, it’s easier to focus energy into others who are outside of your relational strife.
Mind: Flirting with others invites them into your thoughts and fantasies. You begin to play “what if” and before you realize it, the passion begins to die down as you slowly disengage from your spouse without even realizing it.
Faithfulness…Why? Flirting doesn’t want to stay stationary. It wants to grow. Again, is flirting not what we did before marriage as to create an inroad into a potential relationships? Can flirting be done without action? Maybe for a season. But what is allowed to grow inward WILL manifest itself on the OUTWARD.

How does a marriage avoid “Flirtationships?” Try these 3 simple steps:

  1. Keep your spouse’s love tank filled. I’ll never give a free pass to anyone starting a “flirtationship.” But a great way to prevent one is to keep the “love take” of your spouse filled. Most “flirtationships” I’ve dealt with (most that ended in an affair) started with one person having a void in their heart. Their spouse didn’t fill it. Again, it’s not an excuse, but an explanation. Don’t give the Devil a place to tempt. Find out what their love language is and DAILY speak it. Think of it like a glass. If you keep it full, there’s no room for anyone else to add anything. Which leads to #2…
  2. Flirt with your spouse. What I love about the scriptures is when it is silent on a subject, it’s saying something. If it is NOT silent on something, it’s screaming something. When it comes to our intimacy and sexuality (which flirting is a part of), we have parameters of keeping all sexuality in our marriage. Within the marriage, the silence of scriptures give us creativity (thus the Song of Solomon). Do ANYTHING you feel you’d like to do to catch the eye of your spouse (as long as it’s safe, legal). Get creative BUT make sure you’re kids are guarded so they don’t get scarred from the “dirty” text you sent your husband. 🙂
  3. Be cautious of admonition. I believe that Christians should be the most encouraging people around. You can give compliment without sexual connotation. You can offer a nice sentiment without anything suggestive. BUT if it’s being received as anything BUT admiration, then back away, dismantle any mistaken expectations, and inform your spouse of the misunderstanding. It will build trust between you two. Of all of the temptations, anything that is of intimate in nature, scripture tells us to flee from them.

As Hebrews 13 says, “give honor” to your marriage.  Hold it in high regards by keeping your attention and affection completely to your spouse. Be creative with it and re-find the joy in the pursuit of flirting with you spouse.

I believe in you. I’m praying for you.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

To listen to our recent marriage series, click on the link.

 

Weekly Marriage Checklist – 8 Things EVERY Marriage Should Be Doing On a Weekly Basis

Today I wanted to get into an incredibly practical marriage blog.

My wife and I are list makers.  Even though we do our lists differently, it gives us both a sense of accomplishment to check them off. I use my phone (Asana).  She’s old school with pencil and paper.  But nevertheless, we want to look over our days and week and feel we got done what needs to get done. 

So today,  wanted to give you a simple checklist to help with some items, I believe, should be on your weekly radar. 

Every week, I believe EVERY couple should have…

  1.  A Weekly overview.
    • Anne and I have a standing appointment every Sunday night where we talk through our week.  It’s a simple touch to keep our communication and expectations on an appropriate level.  We talk through our personal schedules. We talk though family schedules. It’s here were we decide when dates, family connection, and downtime is needed.  It’s amazing how this little AND SIMPLE action can clear up what to expect and keep our communication healthy.
  2. A Worship Point.
    • Being a part of a church community TOGETHER is a huge foundational piece of marriage. Being together to worship, serve, and engage in your church will help build relationships necessary for your personal growth as well as marital growth. On top of that, your involvement in your church community can be a tremendous blessing to others. See yourself as a part of a greater body.  You are necessary to others and others are necessary to you. 
  3. A Date.
    • I think every couple can carve out of your week an hour or two. Do a meal, get some ice-cream, or go for a walk at a park. A date doesn’t have to have much (if any) cost.  Get out of your head that you need to do something extravagant (not that I’m against that) as a “date.” I’m speaking to time for the two of you to have that relational connection you need.  
  4. Alone Time. 
    • From hobbies to leisure time, having time to yourself is necessary.  Don’t get me wrong, I love time with Anne and she loves time with me. But it is healthy to have a few moments where there’s a bit of separation. Anne and I don’t watch all the same shows/movies.  We don’t enjoy all the same hobbies.  That doesn’t take away from our marriage.  It adds to it. 
  5. A Place(s) of Generosity. 
    • There is a true joy in being generous as a couple.  When you give out of your time, talents, and treasure, you foster the heart of God (of which you were made in the image of). For almost two decades, Anne and I are faithful givers to our local church. We give to missions and benevolence. But we also look for opportunities to bless those in our community.  Generosity will foster a depth of joy that so many people take for granted. 
  6. An Intimate Moment(s).
    • Sex and intimacy are not the same thing nor is Sex the source of intimacy. It should be seen as an expression of intimacy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that healthy marriages have a consistent sex-life.  What the frequency looks like isn’t up to you the individual. It’s what has been agreed upon by both you and your spouse (prevents one libido from lording over the other). But remember: Intimacy doesn’t always include sex.  It is far deeper. It’s that intimate connection where you selflessly serving your spouse’s love language. Intimacy doesn’t have to fade in your marriage, it just looks different over time.  Find what your spouse’s love language is and look to serve it without strings attached (expectations of reciprocation). When you connect the heart of your spouse, that is intimacy. 
  7. Laughter/Fun. 
    • (This is a bit more than a scheduled event. It’s more of an element that’s needed.) Couples that schedule fun moments are far healthier on EVER level (mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual).  Anne and I will watch clips on Youtube in the evenings. Sometimes we’ll send them to each other over Facebook messager.  Maybe you two like games and/or activities.  It could be movies or books.  Find what the other enjoys that fills your marriage with smiles.
  8. Heavy Encouragement.  
    • This should be a daily point instead of a weekly one. My rule I give couples all the time: Don’t let anyone out-encourage you when it comes to your spouse. For too often, people only speak up when they see something wrong.  Why do we build that culture in our marriages? Catch your spouse doing something right. From accomplishments to even just the simple effort to attempt something, find ways to fill your spouse full of encouragement. 

Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive. There’s probably some other things you can add to it specifically for your marriage. But, in my opinion, these are essentials that I don’t think couples can do without. 

Love Jesus passionately. 
Love your spouse passionately. 
Make both a heavy priority in your life. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Foreplay is always “in play”: 6 Ways to Rethink Everyday Encounters with Your Spouse

Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. Hebrews 13:4 (MSG)

From the get-go of this blog, please note: The goal isn’t to get more sex into your marriage (though I’m not against that whatsoever).  The goal is to develop intimacy.  Sex doesn’t necessarily lead to intimacy.  Intimacy doesn’t always involve sex.

I had heard a teaching years ago about premarital sex.  I was a teenager, I was in church, and words were being used in church that most people would thing shouldn’t be used (probably what shaped my blunt approach).   Then the teaching went the issue of foreplay.  From my limited understanding and zero experience, my ears perked up, and yet, I kept wondering, “should I be hearing this? Is it okay for me to know about this?” I felt dirty for being there.  The uneasy feeling I had wasn’t due to the material being taught.  It was my misunderstanding of how God views sexuality between a husband and wife. He created it for marriage to be indulged in AND enjoyed.  Why don’t we say that more in church? Why isn’t that taught more? I thank God for the parents, youth pastors, leaders, and mentors in my life who had the guts to speak the truth of God’s word into every area, especially sexuality.  It’s given me the freedom and boldness to teach, preach, talk, counsel, and blog on this vital area to marriage.

For the life of me, I cannot remember who was teaching/preaching that day 20+ years ago, but I do remember him redefining the word “foreplay.”  Two of his points where as follows: (paraphrased) 1 – Physical touch grows and 2- Foreplay goes beyond the bed.  I’m gonna do my best to do this justice…

First, the physical affection you entertain and indulge in were designed to bring a growing connection.  It wants to go further.  The term I coined is “progressive connection.”  A kiss, hug, a holding a hand, all done in the proper way, should leave the thought, “I’d like that to happen again.”  Teenagers (in my day) would say, “We took things too far and things just happened.”  Well of course something “happened.” Physical affection, without standards or limitations, was designed to progress forward.  We are designed by God as sexual beings.  There’s nothing dirty about it. In fact, scripture says, you were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” But like all things God designs and gives, there is a stewardship of it.  (Parent Note: Don’t be ignorant.  Guard what you see your kids doing with their boyfriends/girlfriends.  What they do in public, they’ll take it a step forward in private.)

Secondly, foreplay doesn’t just happen in the bedroom.  Foreplay is the daily courtship of the heart and, therefore, not limited to a bed. It is the accumulation of moments; the buildup of passion.  Call it a “snowball effect.”  That means, if properly handled, it can be fostered over the course of a day/week instead of trying to “jump-start” it in a moment (not that I’m against “heat of the moment” times for marriage…go for it). If we can wrap our minds around that, it would dramatically affect our marital sex life. It’d remove the idea of “intimacy is just for a moment” into the place where intimacy is how we live.  If husbands and wives can see the simple everyday moments are ALL foreplay, our approach to our spouse would forever be changed.  It may add more sex (no promises), but I guarantee it will add more intimacy.

Here are 6 ways to rethink everyday encounters with your spouse:

  1. Greetings and Goodbyes.  Monitor how you leave the home and how you return.  The way you send off your spouse into their day should make them smile instead of relieved you’re gone.  The way you return or what he/she returns to shouldn’t make him/her wish they’d stayed at work a bit longer.
  2. Reconnections. How you keep in contact throughout the day is a huge deal.  Even if you’re not a cheesy romantic and slip notes into the pockets of your spouse, casual texts and phone calls matter.  This is where social media can be a huge gift.  Tweet to your spouse.  Message him/her.  Take a pic of the meal that’s ready. Text something sensual to him/her (hey your married…nothing wrong with that unless a coworker picks up your phone and looks at it.  Be careful).
  3. Fight well. Skirmishes happen.  It’s inevitable with two humans living together in matrimony.  But fight fair and in a healthy way. Don’t go for the selfish win.  Go for marital win.  Fighting from a place of humility doesn’t seem normal.  It’s because it isn’t.  Intimacy flows when pride is laid down. (Here’s the series I did on conflict called “Fight Club“)
  4. Releasing poison. How you handle forgiveness can revolutionize your marriage. I’ve heard it said, “Unforgiveness is the poison you drink that you think will kill someone else.” Withholding forgiveness might be strangely satisfying as if you’re making someone suffer for what they’ve done. But it’s slowly killing you and your marriage.  Watch your attraction increase with the poison of unforgiveness flushed from your system.
  5. Selflessly serve. This does two things. First, it makes you look for your spouse’s love language and, second, fosters humility. Meet your spouse’s needs without the need for reciprocation.  In other words: True serving has no strings attached. You serve regardless of what you get back.  Imagine a marriage where two people are, daily, looking for ways to serve the needs of the other spouse.
  6. Safe touches. A UCLA study showed that human beings need 8-10 meaningful touches a day. Learn to touch with zero expectations.  67% of men have “touch” as a dominant love language.  But, because they haven’t exercised stewardship over their love language, they don’t know how to exhibit physical touch without their wife thinking they’re only doing it for sex. Introduce (or reintroduce) “non-sexual” touch.  It’s touch without sexual expectations.  Hand holding, massages, a (light) slap on the rear, embraces, etc. should be active in regardless of the years of marriage.  There should be adequate and appropriate touches enjoyed.

I love what Hebrews 13:4 says, “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband.” I think that part of honoring and guarding “the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband” is making sure that we are courting their heart and passion in a way that serves them.  And serving isn’t done by one single act. It’s a lifestyle. We saw in Jesus when it came to his bride, the Church.  He served regardless of what he received. He gave knowing we could never reciprocate that level of giving.  How much more should we strive to build into our day, intentional actions to serve our spouse?  I promise, courting their heart can revive the passion back into your marriage.

Don’t leave foreplay in the bedroom.  It wasn’t meant to live there.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Who Needs Sex? 7 ways to sabotage your marital sex life

It’s always been one of my favorite stories and it was just about the only form of premarital prep that my dad had before marrying my mom.  Right before the ceremony, they began to throw a football together.  My Uncle David looks at my father and says,

“Harold, how do you think God thinks about sex?”

I’m not sure how dad replied.  But Uncle David’s reply was priceless,

“God thinks it’s great.”

Not sure where we get the idea that anyone, especially Christians, should be silent on the issue of sex.  For some reason, we’ll shout from the rooftops all of the blessings that God has given us but we stay strangely silent on the issue.  But with our (the church) silence, I believe, we’ve seen a toll taken upon our world.  We can blame Hollywood or any type of media outlet.  I’m of the opinion that we (the church) stayed silent over something God wasn’t silent about.  Since no one stepped up to the mic, someone else did. And now we are playing catch-up with a deranged understanding of this awesome and amazing gift given to our marriage by God himself.

My heart behind todays blog is to help bring liberty and freedom to married couples.  Again, sex is a gift from God. Like any gift from God, Satan would love to pervert the truth as to change it into the image that he desires.  In fact the definition of the word “pervert” is, “alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.” And that’s exactly what he’s accomplishing.

God desires you to have a prosperous sex life in your marriage, yet there are some things we do to sabotage the enjoyment.  Like everything from God, we are called to be stewards.  And yes, you are to be a steward of your sex life as to not damage this blessing.

Here we go, 7 ways to sabotage your sex life

1. Use guilt. Manipulating the emotions of your spouse might win you a battle or two but you’ll lose the war.  Using guilt is wrong and abusive and it’ll make your spouse despise the every act that is supposed to bring your marriage joy.  I’ve always taught: God uses conviction; Satan uses guilt.  Conviction is a job of the Holy Spirit to prod us to move forward.  Guilt, by design, wants to keep us in a place of blame.  You’re not the Holy Spirit so stop trying to convict your spouse and/or stop acting like Satan and guilting your spouse.  Guilt is not your role.

2. Wait till you are in the mood. Sex not a gift just for the spouse with the higher libido.  It is a gift from God for you both. Imagine with me, your love language is “Quality Time” and your spouse responds to that need with “I’m not in the mood.” Or maybe you’re a “Words of Affirmation” person and desire conversational intimacy but what you get is “No thanks, I don’t feel like that today.”  In the words of my amazingly wise wife, you are the only one in this world that can sexually satisfy your spouse.  Regardless of what your love language is, we are called to serve our spouse (not just sexually).  Be open and be creative.  Take some steps forward, not out of guilt or condemnation, but out of a genuine heart to fill your spouse’s “love tank” to FULL. If your marriage is made up of two people desiring to serve each other (pouring into your spouse’s needs), the two of you will never run on EMPTY.

3. Invite pornography into your marriage. As I stated in my blog “Eviction Notices,” This is not just a male issue.   Both men and women can be stimulated by pornography and seduced into thinking it’s a help for their marriage.  The goal of pornography is to skew the authentic with fantasy.  Whether its “Visual” or “Emotional” porn, it is a huge stumbling block for couples and causes tremendous sexual issues. Two of my biggest reasons is it causes an unhealthy view of the female body as well as an unhealthy sexual expectations.  Top it off with the addictive nature of porn devised to make you dependent upon it, you then have a monster that isn’t worth the amount of space it will take up in your thoughts. Like a thirsty man crawling through the desert after a mirage, pornography has you crawling toward an illusion that will leave you constantly in want.

4. Comparison with other couples. We all get caught doing it.  We listen to another couples and/or see their marriage lived out on social media.  Comparison can be dangerous because it either puts us in a place of condemnation or competition with/by other couples…both of which are extremely unhealthy in marriage.  Just as you are uniquely made by God, the two of you as a couple are unique in your oneness.  Simply said, you two are not called to do and act like other couples when it comes to their marriage practices.  Yes, there will be characteristics we all possess as we strive to have our marriages reflect Christ.  But the manner and frequency will differ based upon the two people who make up the marriage. When it comes to the frequency of sex, there is no magic number.  Assuming someone else has a BETTER quality sex life because they have more quantity isn’t a healthy mindset (not that I’m against quantity).  But comparison will break you down and take your satisfaction from your spouse and place it upon the opinions of others.

5. Make intimacy all about intercourse.  Intimacy is the culmination of a day and not just a few moments in a bedroom. Sex is bigger than intercourse.  It’s bigger than foreplay.  It encapsulates the way you text, call, serve, respond, and look at each other throughout the day.  A great way to sabotage your sex life is to think that what takes place between the sheets is completely disconnected from the rest of life.  Open your eyes.  Perhaps he/she is struggling to respond to you because you haven’t responded to him/her all day.

6. Stop having fun together. You can’t discount fun in a marriage.  Dates cannot be rare occasions.  Anne and I, early in our marriage, didn’t have much money or ability to just leave the house because of two little ones.  It didn’t stop us from enjoying time with each other.  From projects and walks together to watching shows on our laptop, we found ways to engage in “fun” things that we both enjoy doing together.  Laughing together is good for the heart, good for the soul, and can stir the libido.  Fun is mandatory inside and outside of the bedroom.  Learn to enjoy each other.

7. Ignore past hurts. It’s painful to remove a splinter in your hand.  What’s even more painful is to wait thinking it’ll go away.  The longer you wait, the deeper the actual wound will get.  First, if you have past sexual hurts that you have carried into your marriage, tell your spouse and let him/her help you.  Remember, the two became one.  What is your issues is his/her issue and you move forward together.  Second, please get some help ASAP.  You’ve held onto it long enough and that hurt has no right in your life.  Find a local Christian counselor that specializes in this and begin the road to healing.  The healing that comes from the atonement of the cross includes our deepest hurts.

I end with this…

Proverbs 5:18-19 Let your manhood be a blessing; rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her charms and tender embrace satisfy you. Let her love alone FILL you with delight.

A key word (amongst many key words) in this passage is “FILL.” Just as much as sex is a gift from God, you are a gift to your spouse. You are the ONLY ONE that is equipped to “FILL” your spouse with “delight.”  If you are in a place of hurt or confusion, please seek Godly help. Don’t wait on it.  I’ve never met a couple that had a healthy sex life that got divorced.  I think the biggest reason behind that is they’ve learned to serve each other by “delighting” their spouse. And if your spouse is full, there is no room for Satan to work with.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Warning Shots: 10 subtle actions your marriage needs to pay attention to.

You’ve opened my ears so I can listen.
Psalm 40:6

I’m an aficionado of military movies.  And there’s certain lines and terms that you can count on hearing frequently.  For some reason, especially in movies involving ships, you’ll hear the term: warning shot. 

A warning shot is a military and/or police term describing an intentionally harmless shot toward the opposition.   The intention of the shot is to get the attention of the party at hand letting them know you mean business.  The warning shot doesn’t harm or hurt anyone.  It’s what I call the “attention grabber.”  It tells the opposing person that if you do not head the “warning shot”, consequences will follow. 

I’m not being a proponent of firing a shot, both literal and physical, at/toward your spouse.  But there are subtle things that happen in a marriage that are the “attention grabbers” of your relationship.  Many times, these are not intentionally done by a spouse.  They’re the subtle responses to situations that are not completely healthy. But to ignore these “warning shots” is to inviting the issuing circumstances. 

10 warning shots to take notice of: 

1. Taking for granted “The Big 5.”  They consist of: 

  • “I love you.”
  • “Will you forgive me?”
  • “I forgive you.”
  • “Thank you.”
  • “You’re welcome.”

2. Love languages are becoming a side issue. I think couples should monitor the changes in their love languages as they get older.  The seasons of life change you.  What used to speak to your spouse may not speak to them now.  Take time to read, talk, pray, and discover each other all over again. The pursuit will feed the passion. 

3.The schedule doesn’t allow you to worship or pray together.  We are more than physical beings. We are spiritual as well.  When the two became one, the two were meant to experience everything together…including worship.  If the schedule is preventing time of spiritual refreshing, something needs to change.  When you can’t remember the last time you haven’t prayed together, served together, or worshiped together, they’re subtle hints that spiritual intimacy needs to be a priority. 

4. The decisions you used to make together are now being decided without the other.  This is a sign that communication and unified decision-making are beginning to break down.  It always starts off with the little things. 

5. Sex isn’t happening.  My love language is “Physical Touch” so this isn’t a subtle hint.  But for those of you who are not driven physically, if sex isn’t happening in a healthy frequency (no magic number for that), it’s a definite sign that something needs to change. The heart should drive the mood.  Both spouses should possess the heart of a servant to make sure that the most intimate needs of their spouse is being served. As I’ve always said, “you are the only one that can meet that need in your spouse.”

6. There’s much more tolerance for what you never tolerated before.  There’s freedom in Christ and there’s just cashing in on Godly standards.  Your entertainment, conversations, thought-life, and private time should have healthy Godly boundaries.  If they’re not attended to, it amazing me what gets past them and desires to take root in our lives. 

7. “This is your problem not mine.” becomes a common line.  This is one of many quotes that shows the breakdown of oneness in a marriage.  “Mine” and “yours” are natural words used by couples whose unity is beginning to erode away.  Take notice on how much they’re being used and in the context they’re being used. Take a step back and realize: you are in this together.  Make sure your words follow suit. 

8. Date night? I hear couples joke “Does that happen anymore?” and it makes me cringe every time.  When you can’t remember when it’s happened last, it’s a sure sign that you desperately need time alone.  It doesn’t have to cost much if anything at all.  Take a walk.  Go on a drive.  Do something together. 

9. Kids are higher priority than the marriage. I know you have such a short window of time to raise your children. I’m a firm believer that kids are a high priority…just behind my spouse. I don’t neglect or ignore my kids.  BUT…my wife is a higher priority.  She needs to know that.  My kids need to see that.  This is why so many people get divorced after 20-25 years of marriage.  Everything was poured into the kids and nothing into the marriage.  

10. There’s more talk about what you DON’T have than what you DO have.  Envy is a killer of joy in your marriage.  It wants to guide your eyes and heart to what others have and what you lack.  You end up forgetting the blessings of God because you can’t see them past all of the “stuff” that should be yours.  “If only I/we had it.” is a lie.  Why? Because when you do get “it”, you’ll still continue to say that line. 

My prayer for you is that of Psalms 40:6.  That you would be able to say, God “opened my ears so I can listen.”  Ask the Lord to open up your 5 senses to hear the subtle things that you haven’t noticed before.  If you see these things, they are the attention grabbers that are screaming at you saying, “it’s time to attend to your marriage.”

Don’t grow deaf to the “warning shots.”  Open up your senses and listen. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…