Top 10 Effects of a Sexual Drought

I recently read an amazing post on Julie Sibert’s blog Intimacy in Marriage about the effects of a sexual drought on your marriage, and I asked if I could reprint it here. So today, for Top 10 Tuesday, we have a sober warning from Julie:

Lack of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage and Its Effects
Well.

Some marriages go decades without sex, so the question of “can” doesn’t really get at the heart of the matter.

A better question is, “What happens when a marriage goes a long time without sex… for no justifiable reason?”

I always have to add that disclaimer in there, because there are some marriages plagued by chronic illnesses and injuries that make any kind of sexual intimacy impossible.

But most marriages?  Yeah, in most marriages, sex IS an option.

My guess is if you are reading this right now, sex IS an option in your marriage — yet it never or rarely occurs.

What does happen when a marriage goes a long time — maybe even years or decades — without sex?

Here are 10 things I think can happen (in no particular order).

Ongoing lack of sexual intimacy in a marriage…

1.  Stirs resentment.

Sex is never just about sex.  It’s about soul mingling, which is a vital aspect of marriage that is found in no other human relationship.  When I wrote the post “I like him better after we have sex,” I meant it.

Consistent and mutually-enjoyable sexual intimacy in a marriage equips us to extend grace, to be kinder toward one another, to do life together.

So it’s no wonder, that when you take sex out, resentment is eager to arrive on the scene.

2.  Fosters distance.

I think we intuitively recognize when there is distance between us and our spouse.  Distance is different than resentment, but still equally damaging.

Sex is a vivid reminder in a marriage that we are “in this together.”  It’s not surprising that when couples report going long stretches without making love, they feel “distant” from one another.

And that distance begins to chip away at all the things that give marriage richness and strength — vulnerability, friendship, shared joys, common ground.

3.  Reduces your marriage to roommate status.

Sure, the two of you pay the bills and run the house. You share the chores. You raise the kids.  You mow the lawn. You decorate the Christmas tree.  And you run the carpool.

BUT… without physical and emotional intimacy… all of that roommatish stuff barely qualifies as a high and holy definition of marriage.

I would be a wealthy woman if I had a dollar every time I heard someone express to me that their marriage exists, but it never thrives — in large part because of the lack of sex.

Roommate status in a marriage sucks.  It just does.

4.  Dishonors God.

God designed marriage and sex — and He designed them to go together.

He implores husbands and wives to make love often. He places a fundamental command on sex being exclusive to marriage.  He created women and men both to be able to experience orgasm.

Sex is God’s deal — His arena — in a very big way.

So, suffice to say, when we marry, we are saying “yes” to sex being part of that covenant.  We are saying “yes” to God.   Take sex out of the covenant? How can we think that doesn’t dishonor Him?

5.  Makes it easier to rationalize infidelity.

If we tried to count the number of Christian men and women who want to step out on their sexually unavailable spouse, we would be counting for awhile.

And that’s just counting the ones who want to, but don’t.

Let’s not even start counting the ones who actually do give into that temptation.

I’ve never been a fan of the phrase “affair proof” your marriage, because a spouse could go above and beyond their responsibility in the marriage, including being sexually available — and their spouse could still choose to cheat.

But I do think there are ways we can guard our marriages. Making love is one of those ways.  When sex is non-existent, the spouse who hungers for it may be more tempted to loosen the reins on their marriage vows.

To not see some cause and effect in that whole scenario is careless.

Yes, adultery is a sin and there is no way to rationalize it.

But listen to the raw feelings of refused spouses, and it’s not too hard to see how they convince themselves that sexual indiscretion doesn’t matter at this point.

6.  Sets a horrible example for kids.

Don’t kid yourself on this one (no pun intended).  Your kids are learning about marriage from watching you.   You may say, “Well, they don’t know anything about our sexual intimacy.”

You’re right that they aren’t privy to the details of what happens behind your closed bedroom door, but I guarantee you this.   If nothing is happening behind that bedroom door, the collateral damage from that spills out into the rest of your life — you know, the life where your kids are present and paying attention.

See points 1, 2 and 3 for further insight.

7.  Invites the enemy into your home and bedroom.

Satan is all about division, and he doesn’t really care how he goes about doing it.  He is crafty and clever and will work with what we hand him.

When you willingly decide to take sex out of the marriage, the enemy is delighted.  Why?   Because he knows that anything designed by God — in this case, sex — is powerful. And holy. And worthy.

When a married couple stops having sex, Satan has gained a huge foothold.  Division is so much easier when unity is no longer mutually valued.

8.  Increases reliance upon masturbation as the only form of sexual fulfillment.

I don’t think masturbation in marriage is always a bad thing, and I’ve blogged about that here and here.

BUT…  if it is happening often and only because someone’s spouse has arbitrarily removed sex from the marriage, then the negative impact starts to add up quickly.

When a husband and wife could be having sex, but aren’t — and one or both of them resort to masturbation — are we really that surprised?

If anything, it just confirms the power of sexual desire.

Even more heartbreaking is when the refusing spouse gives “permission” or “encouragement” to their spouse to “just take care of things themselves.”

How can we possibly think that’s God vision (or even your vision) for sex in a marriage?

9.  Makes pornography look more enticing.

No, I am not justifying any sin, including the sin of pornography.

But we are a naive people if we believe for one moment that pornography doesn’t look more alluring to some people who are consistently sexually rejected within their marriage.

I know that pornography addiction is complex.  I also know that I hear from many people who struggle greatly with pornography and are trying to stop looking at it.  To feel as if there is no other option but pornography only compounds the problem.

Many couples, usually through the assistance of counselors and ministries, have overcome the betrayal of pornography. Without a doubt, a husband and wife eventually resuming healthy and active sexual intimacy is a part of that healing.

Again.  A lot of this goes back to, “What are we doing to guard our marriage and our hearts?”

10. Damages your ability to serve in the body of Christ.

If you are gung ho about serving in countless ways at your church — yet you know you are blatantly refusing your spouse sexually — then your Christian witness is hampered.  I have no doubt about that.

There’s nothing wrong with using your talents and heart to serve the Lord outside your home, but if you are doing it at the expense of priorities in your home and inyour marriage, then I encourage you to step back.

Take a good hard look. Be humble. And admit that this may be a blind spot for you.

The Lord is willing to meet you in that place of struggle — and in all the others I’ve listed to this point.

How long can a marriage go without sex?

Well. Like I already said…  I don’t think that question really gets at the heart of the matter.

Do you?

For more reading on this, check out one of my favorite posts: Extraordinary Sex in Your Ordinary Life.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Julie SibertJulie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage and is the co-author of Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer dog who kind of wants to chew up the kitchen floor.

 

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Wifey Wednesday: Putting Your Husband First

Today, welcome guest author Kate from Making Space, a mom, wife and reader from the UK, who like many of us asks an important question, what comes first, children or marriage? Here’s what she says about putting your husband first.

Children or Marriage: Putting Your Husband First

This is what a normal day in our household looks like.

Jonas wakes up, if I’m organised enough I will have woken up before him to shower and get myself ready. I put him on the potty (and continue to do so regularly for the rest of the day), get him dressed, we go downstairs, I make him breakfast. I wash up all the dummies and beakers he used last night. I empty the dishwasher, and then load it, whilst talking to Jonas as he has breakfast. I get him down from the table, he plays whilst I have breakfast. I quickly load the washing machine and prepare his changing bag. A neighbour might knock on the door and come in for a quick chat. We quickly rush out the door trying to get to a toddler group on time, but often running 30 minutes late. We stay there until lunch and then walk home super quickly to get back in time for Jonas to have a quick lunch and then nap. He wakes about 2 or 3pm, leaving me a couple of hours to spend some 1-1 time with him, do cleaning, hang the washing, prepare dinner and do any other chores around the house for which there always seem to be many.

Engagement

Before Children

Around 5 or 6pm I am so happy to see Alan’s car pull up in the driveway. Honestly, not because I am excited to chat to my husband or give him a kiss for all his hard work in the office enabling me to be a stay at home mum, but because seeing him walk through the door means he can assist me in looking after Jonas, or sorting bits in the kitchen, or putting Jonas on the potty for the 20th time that day, or just lending a helping hand. Just doing anything which enables me a couple of minutes to breathe and have some time off from being a ‘mummy on duty’. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mummy, but I think most mummies will understand, some days it is relentless and there is such freedom in being ‘off duty’ for even 5 minutes.

As I started writing this post, I was going to write about juggling things in motherhood, something I’m sure I will write about soon, but as I started typing I realised something. Sometimes, and probably often, my focus in my day is so much on my son, and my long list of chores or jobs to achieve, that I forget something equally as important. I forget something that was here before any of these ‘to do’s’ or ‘priorities’, I forget my marriage. I forget to give myself to my husband.

I spend so much of my day giving my best to my son, that when Alan walks in the door and we go through the strict paces of the dinner/bedtime routine for Jonas, there is very little of my best left to give.

By the time 7pm on a good day, or 8pm on a not so good day comes, and Jonas is asleep in his cot, this mummy is knackered. Desperate for some me time, just to do something other than give of myself, longing to chill or zone out. I don’t really want to hear about his day, because surely it can’t compare to the importance of him needing to hear about the events of our day, the laughs, the new developments, the tears or tantrums, the accidents or successes of potty training, surely my husband’s tale of the day can’t compare to this, right?

As I type this I am reminded of something one of my close friends once said:

Our husbands were there before we had kids and they will still be there after.

I guess the state of our marriage will be dependant upon the attention we give it during these years when it’s hard to give again when we have done so all day.

I think this will probably be a challenge for a lot of mums, especially in those early years when our little ones are so dependant on us. We can feel like we have literally given so much that we have emptied ourself of all energy, that there is none left to find.

If this resonates with you, I challenge you, like I challenge myself, to remember the one that was there first. To remember our husbands who have given us these precious children. And on those days when we literally feel like we have given above and beyond for our babies, to somehow muster up something else, to give to our husbands. To remember that when they walk in the door, although you may feel desperate for them to help, to take time to give them a kiss. Or when you feel like you have to tell them the events of the day because you haven’t had any other adult conversation within the last 4 hours, to remember, maybe they want to share their days events with you first. And when you hand them a list of ‘to do’s’, perhaps stop to think what this type of welcome might feel like to them as they step in the front door. Perhaps think that they may have had their own challenges or stress that day, and they may need a breather too.

And then remember this: we give to our children firstly because we love them, but also because we are investing in their lives. Don’t allow yourself to lose your love for your husband, but on the days that maybe you don’t feel it because you are so exhausted, remember you are investing in them too. Investing in your marriage, and when your babies have grown up, and flown the nest, your husband will still be there. And the success of our relationship will depend on what we put in now and how much we give to them now.

If this seems impossible, because you can’t possibly think of anyone else other than your little bundle of joy that is also a bundle of a lot of hard work, ask God for help. Ask Him for strength. Ask Him to show you little ways you can bless your husband, or help you to organise things so you have more time. Because the same is true of our children and our husbands; what we put in in the early years, most definitely affects what we get out in the later years.

Decide that what you get out of your marriage in years to come will be good!

Me-and-My-Boy-150x150My name’s Kate. Two and a half years ago I became a mummy. My life massively changed! I left my career, fell madly in love and started the biggest learning curve of my life. I have learnt many things since then but the biggest by far is that by the grace of God all things are possible. God has given me wisdom when I’ve needed answers, given me strength when I’ve been overwhelmed and given me capacity beyond my natural ability. I write a blog because honestly some days we all need something to read where we can find hope, encouragement or just a space to hear, it’s normal! You can find it here: Making Space.

This One Tip Revolutionized Our Marriage

Tip_1
Today, welcome Kyle Gabhart, author of The Phoenix Marriage, who wanted to share how to revolutionize your marriage.  His experiential story will change how you see your spouse!

One weekend in February of 2013, my wife and I attended a weekend marriage conference that rocked our world. The workshop was presented by Dr. David and Teresa Ferguson at our local church. We had so many amazing realizations that weekend, but one of those stands out more than any other. Dr Ferguson walked the couples through a simple visualization exercise:

Imagine you are sitting next to God and both of you are gazing a short distance away toward your mate. Rather than seeing him or her as your spouse, try to imagine what God sees – His child. Uniquely created for a divine purpose, He has cared for and nurtured this child for years. Now ask Father God what He loves about His child. What is it about him or her that delights the Father? What special qualities has He uniquely placed within him or her and why did He choose this person to be your soul’s mate?

This simple exercise transformed our marriage. Our physical eyes that saw only chores and bills and schedules were exchanged for spiritual eyes to see one another with grace, compassion, and love.

How do you see your mate?

If your marriage is anything like ours used to be, you likely see your spouse in terms of his or her function. Your mate is a partner that helps with chores, finances, logistics with the kiddos, and makes sure you never have to go alone to the movies. While all of those are true, they only scratch the surface. All of those functional elements are generic qualities which would be applicable to anyone operating in the role of husband or wife. Beneath that surface layer is someone specially crafted to share a life and a mission with you. Yet, losing sight of this truth is so easy to do.

This one tip revolutionized our marriage--see like God does!

What does God see?

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

God sees His son or His daughter. He sees a precious child whom He uniquely endowed with talents and capabilities. Your spouse didn’t come from a mold. There was no factory assembly line. This was a custom job for a specific purpose. God lovingly crafted your husband or wife and chose to trust you with loving this person for the rest of your life. Before the two of you even met, He was delighting in this person every day. Long before the two of you said your vows, He was weeping over your mate’s failures and celebrating each success. He LOVES your mate unconditionally. Do you?

Honor your mate

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose.” -Proverbs 16:3-4 (ESV)

The Lord has made EVERYTHING for its purpose, your spouse included. Those qualities that annoy you most, may actually be a side effect of the unique gifts that your spouse has been blessed with by God! My wife sometimes gets frustrated by my absent-mindedness. But this is just a natural side effect of being a thoughtful and introspective person. These are the very same qualities that I use in ministering to her heart and shepherding marriages on a daily basis! Likewise, I tend to get aggravated by Tammy’s insistence that we leave on time to get to places we need to go, and yet it’s this very quality that makes her so invaluable to managing our crazy family of eight!

Commit to honoring your mate. If one or more qualities bother you, ask God to help you see why He created them that way. Chances are, you’re missing out on an incredible aspect of your spouse. Then once you discover it, commit to celebrating this quality of your mate and praise them for it. The dynamic of your relationship will radically change when you honor your mate’s uniqueness by seeing them the way Jesus does.

Kyle and Debbie
The Phoenix Marriage: God Creates Beauty Out of AshesKyle Gabhart is a devoted husband and father of 6. He is also a blogger, public speaker, entrepreneur, and author of the the newly released The Phoenix Marriage. He and his wife Tammy, founded Equip Your Marriage, a faith-based ministry dedicated to empowering, equipping, and restoring marriages. Kyle is an avid soccer player and board game enthusiast, but he prides himself on being a constant embarrassment to his children.

WEBSITEEquip Your Marriage

BOOK: Phoenix Marriage

 

Does God Make a Difference in Marriage Part 2

Does God Make a Difference in Marriage
Does God make a difference in your marriage?

Last week I made some observations that often Christians act like God doesn’t really make a difference in our lives, and everything is ultimately up to us. We just don’t really have faith that God will actually move.

I see that in marriage, too, and I want to see how two different trends–though they may seem like they have nothing to do with each other–actually show that we have a long way to go with marriage.

1. Christians Divorce at the Same Rate as Non-Christians–Right?

You’ve heard that stat, haven’t you? In fact, it’s even worse than that. I’ve heard the stat that 50% of marriages end in divorce–but that it’s even higher in the Bible belt.

Do you believe it?

Chances are you do because Christians quote it all the time. We announce it from pews. We use it to fundraise for family organizations–Christian marriages need all the help they can get! We’re in dire straits, people!

Yet think it through logically. Do we believe that having God in your life should make a difference? Do we believe that God works in people’s lives? If we do, then how could it possibly be that our marriages are as bad as everyone else’s?

I started to wonder that recently and so I did an experiment. I looked through my church directory to see how many were divorced. It was closer to 10%.  Then I wondered–maybe that’s skewed, because once people divorce they stop going to church? So I thought back on the couples I knew in university. I wrote out a long list of all my university friends who had gotten married. And of all of them (we knew each other from the campus Christian group), only 2 had been divorced–a rate of about 5%.

I read a study recently that said that in marriages where couples pray together daily the divorce rate is more like 2%. I believe that. It makes sense to me. And I’ve read critiques of that study that found that our divorce rate was just as high because they really didn’t define “Christian”. Practically everyone claims to be a Christian, and so that’s pretty meaningless. We want to flesh out what the divorce rate is among those who honestly believe and try to live out their faith. I want to write a post looking at all the accurate studies, but I haven’t done that yet. I’ve actually been talking to a major magazine about writing it, and that’s why I’m not linking to studies here. I want to make sure they’re accurate first and do my homework.

But the main question I have is:

why is it that Christians were so quick to believe that stat that God doesn’t make a difference?

2. Does God Make a Difference in YOUR Marriage?

Maybe the reason we’re so quick to believe it is because in our own lives we still really struggle with marriage. It’s an area that has brought us a lot of hurt and grief over the years, and we haven’t felt the “victory” or the “oneness” or the “intimacy” we long for.

I have to tell you that the last few weeks I’ve been really burdened by the emails that get sent to me. I had to turn off the Messages feature on Facebook because I couldn’t keep up with them all. And I’ve got Reader Questions of the Week now scheduled through to the end of June! But I started to keep track everyday of all the problems I heard about–really, really big problems–and then at the end of the day I’d show them to my husband. And we’d pray over them and I’d let them go. It helped me to realize how I was beginning to be changed by what I do, and I’m praying more for strength to really make a difference.

But the simple fact is that many, many of you are really hurting, and my heart breaks for you. Many, many of you are wondering, if we’re Christians why does my husband play video games for 6 hours a day? Why can he not get over this porn addiction? Why do I have no patience for him? Why am I always so frustrated with him? Why can I not motivate myself to show him love anymore?

From speaking at marriage conferences and talking to couples and to counselors, I completely believe that God can make a difference in a marriage. If you run to Him and you’re humble and you’re open to correction about the things that you have done wrong, and not just open to God correcting your spouse, God can do amazing things.

Even if your spouse isn’t turning to God, God can still work in your marriage. It doesn’t mean your marriage will always be saved; but He can work.

Yet often I see couples where both claim Christ, and where both go to church, and where both would say that they believe, and yet they are getting nowhere.

I don’t believe the problem is that you don’t have God. I believe the problem is that God doesn’t have you. (Click to Tweet this quote)

God is not like a mechanic where you can take your broken marriage and He’ll fix it for you. He doesn’t work that way. He’s not a mechanic; He’s a potter who wants to mold you into something better. But He can’t mold something that is hard and brittle; He can only mold us when we’re pliable, when we are humble, when we are open to be molded.

God isn’t really interested in fixing your spouse nearly as much as He’s interested in having your heart. And if we are humble before Him, He can transform us, which can start to transform a marriage. If your spouse is also humble before Him, He is then free to do a beautiful and amazing work!

But we have to stop making excuses. We have to stop pointing fingers. And we have to do the work!

I’m really burdened by a relationship issue in my extended family, and it’s causing me to pray like I never have before. That’s the beauty of relationship issues; they drive us to God. My instinct is to get on the phone and try to force the issue and make it all better, but like Calm Healthy Sexy wrote in a post she linked up to Wifey Wednesday this week, we have to wait on God’s timing. She says:

The devotional book I’m reading, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, reminded me this week to “stop trying to work things out before their times have come.”  That idea really spoke to me; it made me realize that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do.  Even though I believe in God’s timing in my life, I haven’t been operating as if I believe in it at all.  I’ve acted as if everything depends on me, as if I just need to keep charging ahead and things will fall into place exactly as I’ve planned.  The only problem is, it’s not working.

We have to pray and then honestly walk in faith. We have to wrestle. We have to cry. And we have to believe.

Yesterday I took a day to fast and pray with a “blogging buddy” of mine from the other side of the continent. We prayed for each other all day and for ourselves and then at the end of the day we called each other and prayed on the phone together. We were both burdened by something similar and we needed God to lift that burden. But that meant also emptying ourselves and fighting for it. It meant giving God more of us, not just asking for more of Him.

If you believe in God, He should be making a difference in your marriage. If He’s not, the problem is likely not with God. It’s likely that He wants to bring you deeper, or bring your husband deeper. Of course you can do everything right and lean on God and your marriage may still not be saved, but even in that God wants you to lean and trust, because He does want to make a difference even in the brokenness. But maybe, instead of getting angry at our spouses and feeling defeated and feeling lost we need to throw ourselves more on God and get back to the only source that can bring real healing.

Do we believe God works, or not? I fear too often we really don’t, and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Wifey Wednesday: Sexual Options Besides Intercourse

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! Today please welcome Julie Sibert from Intimacy in Marriage, who is sharing about creative options for alternatives to sex, when necessary because intercourse isn’t possible or desired.

Being a writer and speaker about sex in marriage, I’m obviously a big fan of the one-flesh aspect of intercourse.

God clearly designed a husband’s body and a wife’s body to unite together in the intimate experience of intercourse.  Though it’s not always easy to first figure out the coordination and rhythm needed to make love, nearly all married couples master it within a relatively short period of time.

But what about when intercourse is not an option, either because of medical reasons or other limiting factors?  (The most obvious one for a woman would be the latter stages of pregnancy when sex may be uncomfortable or for the 6-8 weeks after childbirth.  There also may be other medical conditions or injuries for a husband or wife that are not completely debilitating, but still make actual intercourse difficult, so that alternatives to intercourse are necessary).

And even when those limiting factors aren’t present, is there value in a husband and wife enjoying sexual pleasure together that doesn’t always include intercourse?  Yes! There are alternatives to sex that you can still enjoy.

Alternatives to Sex: 3 Ways to Enjoy Sexual Pleasure in Marriage Beyond Intercourse

When you learn to embrace and nurture sexual arousal that is not limited to intercourse alone, the positive effects on your marriage can be profound – endearing you to each other in a way that you never would have considered otherwise.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about completely replacing intercourse.  Not at all. I’m merely saying that a husband and wife’s ability to bring each other sexual delight is a powerful privilege that simply can’t be narrowed to intercourse only.

Here are 3 suggestions for alternatives to sex:

1. Use your hands.

Touch is amazing. Sadly, I think too many couples downplay or short-circuit the extent they can use their hands to bless and affirm their spouse.

Too often, sex becomes overly focused on the penis and vagina, and the couple overlooks other areas of the body that are quite responsive to touch.

When you are naked with your spouse, don’t be in a hurry to get to intercourse.  (In fact, consider taking your time getting naked, possibly undressing each other sensually).

When you start caressing with your hands and fingertips, consider all parts of the body.

Some areas where sexual arousal can be enhanced through touch include the hair, scalp, face, neck, ears, arms, under the arm, sides of the chest, inner thigh, around the knees, back of knee, navel and virtually anywhere on your spouse’s backside.

As a wife, it may be extremely arousing (for you and him) when your husband lightly caresses your breasts and nipples. And for a man, he may find it incredibly exciting to have you caress his inner thighs and testicles.

Use a mix of light and firm touches, with smooth transitions.  Don’t overthink it. You will do just fine if you just consider yourself on a sweet tender mission to explore every part of your spouse’s body.

Respond accordingly to how they react.

When your spouse is caressing you, give feedback.  Offer specific praises or suggestions like, “I really love it when you use your fingernails on my scalp” or “That is so amazing when you lightly touch my inner thigh.”

And don’t be afraid to use your hands (and possibly a lubricant) to bring your spouse to climax.  If you spend enough time caressing each other’s body, you’ll find your desire to have an orgasm will increase.  Why not allow your spouse to use their hands to get you there?

Remember, you are in the exclusivity of your marriage bed, so consider it your private sexual playground to arouse each other.

2. Use your mouth.

I’m sure at first glance at this tip, you think I’m just referring to oral sex.  Certainly, oral pleasure can be such a gratifying way to give and receive sexual love, but using your mouth in other ways to arouse your spouse is enjoyable to explore.

The mouth is full of numerous sensory receptors, so it’s no surprise that when you and your spouse spend more time kissing passionately, your sexual interest and arousal is bound to increase.

And don’t hesitate to use your lips and tongue on your spouse’s entire body.

3. Use your words.

How often are you sexually playful and sexually affirming in the way you speak to your spouse?

There is power in words.  Are you using yours to delightfully intensify the sexual arousal between the two of you?

Discretely, yet intentionally, initiate conversations that are sexual in nature with your spouse.  (These can be particularly powerful if done when your spouse is least expecting it).  Whispering sweetly – and even erotically – in your spouse’s ear will likely stir their curiosity and desire in an all-consuming sort of way, creating intense anticipation.

If handled well, these conversations definitely will lead to two people in bed. And all their clothing on the floor. How delightful is that?!

With the use of your hands, mouth and words, you can heighten the sexual pleasure in your marriage, making sex about more than just intercourse.

Do you see what a difference that could make in the intimate connection you and your spouse share?

Julie Sibertpursuit of passionJulie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage and is the co-author of Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage.  You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, their two boys and one rambunctious German Shorthair Pointer dog.

 

Now, do you have any advice for us today? Link up the URL of a marriage post to today’s Wifey Wednesday, and get some traffic back to your blog!



Why Do Teenagers Rebel? Thoughts from a 19-Year-Old Who Didn’t

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Why Do Teenagers Rebel? A 19-year-old explains how it doesn't HAVE to happen!
Why do teenagers rebel? Is it automatic? And can you do things that prevent teens from rebelling? I asked my 19-year-old to help us answer that today!

“All kids will rebel, and my job as a parent is to be there to help catch them when they fall.”

I’ve heard Christian parents say that to me time and time again–strong Christian parents, too. But the Holy Spirit does not have an age limit. The Holy Spirit is with ALL Christians, young or old. And so if we can expect ourselves to act appropriately, we can certainly expect our teenagers to as well.

I’m a big believer in this philosophy, and I’ve written about these two different approaches to parenting before. This week, I thought I’d let other people speak about how to raise kids to make good decisions. We started on Monday about how to raise kids who won’t date too young, and then on Tuesday my 16-year-old chimed in telling us why she’s not dating in high school.

Today I’ve invited my 19-year-old to share her thoughts on why teenagers rebel. I said to her, “can you just write something explaining why you DIDN’T rebel?” She sent me this. It makes me tear up to read it.

Hello. My name is Rebecca Gregoire, and I was the perfect teenager.

Obviously I’m saying that as a joke, but by most standards, I truly was pretty perfect. I never drank, never smoked, never partied, never dated, never even swore. (Honestly. I didn’t swear until I was 18.)  I may have been moody, but I always had a good job, and was extremely involved in church and volunteered in childcare and youth ministries. I didn’t rebel at all–I walked the straight and narrow all through high school, and am continuing to do so now that I’m living on my own.

I’m not saying all this to try and make myself look great–I’m saying it to make a point. I’m saying it to destroy a myth that has been hovering over Christian circles for way too long.

Teenagers do not have to rebel.

I am living, breathing proof of that statement. And so are the three girls I live with, and my best friends at our university IVCF group. We didn’t rebel.

Before I continue, let me tell you something else about myself.

I am not demure in any sense of the word. I don’t like listening to authority, and I often get frustrated when I’m told what to do, or how to do it. I like to question everything. I’m naturally extremely proud, a challenger of authority, and extremely stubborn.

Why am I telling you this? To prove that I’m not “naturally predispositioned to submit”. I’m actually the complete opposite.

Whether or not teenagers rebel isn’t contingent on their natural personality, and kids aren’t “guaranteed” to rebel. Obviously teenagers aren’t guaranteed to NOT rebel, either, but there are things you can do that make it less likely.

My family had two children who were complete opposites, and neither of us had a rebellion stage. So it has to be something about the family, not our natural dispositions.

So why do teenagers rebel? And why do some teenagers never rebel? I’ve tried to pinpoint what kinds of things my parents did that helped my sister and me not rebel (though, of course, there are never guarantees that a teen won’t rebel), and here’s what I’ve come up with:

5 Reasons I Didn’t Rebel as a Teenager

My parents instilled in me a sense of family honour

Often teenagers feel distant from their families, like they’re part of it by blood, but that’s it. In my family it was never like that. My mom and dad would make decisions on their own, of course, but they always talked everything over with my sister and me. Even things that we weren’t directly impacted by–we’d discuss everything over the dinner table.

My family is the kind of family where everyone is involved–it’s a team experience. A result of this is that I received a huge sense of family pride, dignity, and honour.

Family honour has been lost in our culture. We are so focused on ourselves, and have become extremely selfish. And I think a lot of that is that parents put their children’s wants over the family’s needs. In our family, Katie and I never went without. But we didn’t get everything we wanted–I wanted an X-Box when all my friends were getting one, but because that would cut out of major family time my parents said no. A small example, I know, but it shows the worldview my family had. No matter what, family comes first.

When your mindset shifts from “me” to “we”, your behaviours and your actions aren’t just going to affect you–you begin to see how what you do affects other people. What I do when I’m in my free time reflects on my family, whether good or bad. And for me, that was a huge incentive to be responsible and make my parents proud.

Dayspring House Full of People I Love

My parents were extremely encouraging, but also demanding

There needs to be a middle ground. I cannot stress this enough.

So many parents I see are all about the encouragement. Their kids can’t do any wrong in their eyes, and they just constantly pour love and affection and butterflies and rainbows into their children’s life. And then other parents are the opposite–they don’t pay any attention to their kids unless they do something wrong and then they blow up. Or, even if they don’t explode in anger, they only ever criticize and never praise their children.

My parents had a happy medium. We weren’t coddled, but we weren’t picked on, either. My parents chose their battles, and also encouraged us when encouragement was necessary but didn’t lie and tell us we were great at something when we weren’t. For instance, my parents never would have told me that I should go for a career in gymnastics, because I am not flexible in the least.

We always knew where our parents stood, and through that, we always knew that they were honest and had a better understanding of who we were.

My family talks about everything

Open communication was big in our family. My mom and dad always made sure not only that they had time to talk to us, but that they had a specific time and place to do it, too. When I was younger, we talked before or after reading bedtime stories, or at the dinner table when we were eating together. When we got older, that spot moved to the hot tub we had in our backyard and car trips to and from the grocery store, friends’ houses, etc.

The biggest part, though, was that we didn’t just talk about school, work, and the like. We talked about whatever was going on in our lives–whether I was thinking about a new blog post idea, how Katie was doing with her skating, or what movie we really wanted to see–anything that came to mind. Our parents became our confidants, and that built a level of trust.

Moreover, our parents shared things with us, too. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a line here. But in our family, my parents simply humanized themselves to us. My dad would tell us about his favourite movies growing up, my mom would ask our opinions on knitting patterns. She’d even tell me when she had angst over commenters on this blog!

This built a partnership between us. A partnership where one was the parent and one was the child, of course, but nonetheless, a relationship where the actions of one person directly affected the other. Because of that relationship, I never felt like I needed to rebel to be heard, to be understood, or to get my way. I knew that if my parents said no, it was for a reason.

We were never expected to rebel as teenagers

My parents never encouraged any idea of teenage-hood rebellion. They never joked about us rolling our eyes, acting exasperated, or having attitude at all. Rather, they actually made us think that teenagers and the whole rebellion process was stupid and unnecessary. I always figured that I would grow up straight from child to adult, with no “silly teenage stage” in-between. You may think that this is no fun, or that kids need their time to be silly and make mistakes.

But what kind of message does that send the teenager? If kids expect that when they hit 13 they’ll start wanting to go to parties, or go out with boys, or watch inappropriate movies, then they will grow up to fulfill those expectations. On the contrary, if they are raised to believe that those are all optional, and actually unnecessary and somewhat frivolous, they won’t want to disappoint or seem silly, and so are more likely to make positive choices and act like an adult. This doesn’t mean that we miss out on a childhood, or miss out on teenage years–it just means that we use them for training for adulthood, and have fewer regrets when we’re through it all.

Also in this category is that we had very few rules. My parents never needed them, because they didn’t expect us to break them. When parents have a lot of rules it always seems to me like they’re trying to control their kids, and if you have to control them, you’ve lost the battle already. My parents always assumed we’d pick up on their values and make good decisions. Through our close relationship, heart-to-heart talks, and–when necessary–confrontations, we learned their expectations, they learned our points of view, and our family worked together instead of parents trying to reign in their children. Now, I only think this worked because we grew up in such a structured, close, and trust-filled family, but that was a big thing for me. I never felt stifled, so I never felt a need to rebel.

God was centre in our home

Our home never revolved around work, sports, school, or activities. It didn’t even revolve around other people–it always hinged on God and his plan for our family. Growing up in that kind of an environment shaped my view of my actions, choices, and the effect I had on others. When you’re used to basing everything on God’s will and God’s plan, suddenly the parties don’t seem as important. It isn’t as tempting to lie about who you’re hanging out with. Smoking, drinking, and the like just doesn’t really have any appeal, because they don’t help with your ultimate goal–to become a person God will use for great things.

So many times I see families who drop everything for good grades, or who don’t go to church if it’s a busy week at work, or who choose extracurricular activities over youth group and the like. My family, however, was the opposite. If we were tired, too bad. Get in the car, we’re going to church, because that’s what God’s called us to. If Mom and Dad had a hard time with work, we went to church because that’s a place of rest. If I was struggling with school and needed the day to study I didn’t have that choice, because it was my decision not to study earlier.

God came first in everything. And my choices were shaped because of that worldview.

As for Me and My House Wall Decal

I honestly don’t think there’s any one way to make sure your children don’t rebel. Every child is different, and every family contains unique people. But all I know is that for me, this worked. In my family, the trust, communication, and centrality of God in our home made my teenage years one of partnership with my parents rather than a constant battle.

So don’t give up hope–the teenage years don’t have to be war!

Like this? Think it might encourage other parents? Please share on Facebook or Pin it! Just use the buttons below.

Life as a Dare

You can find Rebecca at her blog, Life as a Dare, where she writes about her quest to simplify faith, relationships, and life in general.

 

 

 

The Talk(s)If you’re wondering how to foster a relationship like this with your kids, what Rebecca writes about sounds a lot like what Barrett Johnson is teaching us in his book the Talk(s) ! He really emphasizes keeping open communication with your kids. It’s the best book I’ve read about how to talk to your kids about sex, dating, and relationships, and it’s my store here! Or you can order it in paperback here.

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Wifey Wednesday: Keeping a Friendship with Your Husband

Friendship with Husband
It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I write a post, and then you all chime in by linking up your own marriage posts to the Linky below! Today Jamie Worley shares valuable advice in keeping a friendship with your husband.

My parents were married nearly 25 years before they divorced. As is almost always the case, there were many factors at play in their divorce, but I believe the biggest factor is that they’d grown apart. It’s normal for people to grow and change over the years, but it takes intentional effort to grow together.

Since then – as a woman who has been married, divorced, and remarried – I’ve learned many lessons the hard way. I’m thankful beyond words for God’s grace though my thick-headedness. For nearly a decade now, I’ve been married to a wonderful man who has learned his fair share of lessons the hard way as well. As we’ve navigated life and parenting in our blended family, adopted three more children, and struggled through times of stress and loss, we’ve come to realize this truth: friendship with your spouse is essential to a strong marriage!

How to stay friends with your husband:

Make Time

Carve out time together and make it a priority. Even if you can’t get out of the house for date night, there are plenty of ways to find time together. Some of our friends established Friday night “dates” in their bedroom; they’d order a pizza and get a movie for the kids, then have dinner and romance in their own bedroom. By the time the kids were teens, they’d claim to be mortified at knowing what Mom and Dad were doing behind those bedroom doors, but it made the kids realize marriage was a priority to their parents — and that real romance isn’t how Hollywood usually portrays it!

We haven’t done that (yet) but we do take time when Ken gets home from work to sit on the back porch or chat in the kitchen to catch up on our days, and do our best to make the kids understand this Mama-and-Daddy time is important. As long as we follow through on promises to do something with them afterwards, the kids are usually good about letting us do this without [too many!] interruptions.

Any time we’ve let time together slide on the priority list, we’ve seen the ill effects on our relationship, so we protect this time – although it does look different at differing life stages!

Laugh Together

A sense of humor makes nearly every situation better, even the hard ones. When we added our two littlest ones to the family earlier this year (at age 4 and 5), there were days I thought I might lose my mind — but as I’d regale Ken with the struggles of the day, we’d usually end up tickled about it all. No matter what we face, laughter really is often the best medicine. When things aren’t so tough, it’s even easier to find reason to laugh together!

Need more motivation? Read a bit about the science behind smiles to find out how good it is for you!

Couple Laugh Together

Enjoy Conversation

If I want to get into an in-depth discussion about shoe styles, household decor, or hormones, I’ll likely bend a girlfriend’s ear rather than subject Ken to those topics — but we do need a chance to chat and reconnect. Often. We trust each other enough to share our deepest thoughts, but conversations don’t always have to be profound; just knowing we care about what the other has to say goes a long way to keeping our friendship alive and well.

Your hopes and dreams should show up in these conversations occasionally, too. It’s an opportunity to encourage each other, and it helps you stay on the same page for what your lives together might look like in years to come.

Share a Hobby

It’s not truly a necessity, but a shared hobby does help give you something to talk about, something to do when you’re spending time together, and often something to laugh about! Try making time for an interest you already share, give each other’s favorite activity a whirl, or try something new to you both!

Be Considerate

Think about how you treat your best girlfriend. Most likely, if she’s having a crisis, you’re there to help. If she needs to talk, you offer a nonjudgmental listening ear. You usually have fun together no matter what you’re doing. You can be yourself with her, but you always make an effort to consider her feelings. Do you show the same consideration to your husband as you do to your girlfriends? If you’re anything like me, this is sometimes hard to live out on a daily basis, but remembering he’s my friend as well as my husband gives me a reality check in how I treat him.

In every marriage, romance will have highs and lows, but genuine friendship with your spouse is a strong glue. Bonus: it makes life more enjoyable, too!

Jamie40
What tips would you add for nurturing your friendship with your husband?

Jamie is wife and homeschooling mama in a family blended by marriage and foster-adoption. She credits Jesus, a husband with a great sense of humor, and copious quantities of steaming hot tea with keeping her sane. Follow along with her at See Jamie blog.

Christian Marriage Advice

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Leave the URL of a blog post about marriage in the Linky below. And be sure to link back here so that other people can read this great marriage advice!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.



Revive Your Marriage: Revive Your Sex Life


Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! I’ve had such a good time this month with three bloggy friends, writing every Monday on how you can Revive your Marriage!

We’ve talked about reviving your attitude, reviving your friendship, Reviving Your Praise, and reviving your prayer life. And now we come to my favorite one: Revive Your Sex Life!

Revive Your Sex Life: Stop Feeling Like a Failure!

I’ve written so much about this it’s hard to sum it up in just one post. But I’m going to try!

Have you ever heard it said that men are like microwaves and women are like slow cookers? I think what they mean is that men heat up quickly, while women take longer to “get in the mood“.

I don’t buy it.

That analogy assumes that, given enough time, a woman WILL always get in the mood. And that’s not true for one simple reason: for women, sex is almost entirely in our heads. If our heads aren’t in the game, our bodies won’t follow. So what we think about sex has a tremendous influence on how much we enjoy our sex lives.

And one thing I found when writing The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex is that many of us feel awfully defeated when it comes to sex. I know I did in the first few years of our marriage. It didn’t feel very wonderful, he wanted it all the time, and I was always inadequate. It seemed like a big rip off to women for me.

What I didn’t understand was how wonderfully intimate it is when you are able to make love, and not just have sex.

That’s hard to do if you’re seeing sex in a negative way. So let me encourage you here this morning. So many women give up at sex because it seems like too much hassle. Or it doesn’t work well. Or they just feel inadequate.

But if God created sex to be something beautiful and fulfilling and intimate for you, why would you deprive yourself of that? Don’t let personal doubts and condemnations stop you from experiencing all that God has for you!

You can’t revive your sex life is you’re feeling like a failure.

So we need to confront these feelings honestly, and put these doubts and fears behind us. So let me assure you, as firmly as I can, that:

You are not a failure if sex doesn’t feel that wonderful to you.

Women do have a harder time becoming aroused than men do, and it takes more work to figure out how to make it feel good. In the surveys I did for my book, the best years for sexual satisfaction are years 16-20 of marriage. Sometimes it takes a while to get it right! So if it’s not feeling that great, that’s okay. Just take that as a challenge to start a fun research project with your husband!

You are not a failure if you’re packing some extra pounds.

Not even supermodels look like supermodels–they’re all air brushed! No, you may not have a perfect body, but your body is the only one that your husband is allowed to enjoy. And your body is the vehicle that God has given you to enjoy sex with. Don’t let your own insecurities rob you and your husband of passion. If he wants you, then you’re desirable, and you’re beautiful, no matter what you may think of yourself.

You are not a failure if your husband uses porn.

That doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Most men are really tempted by this.

You are not a failure if you started out marriage with sexual baggage.

Most Christian women did. Fewer than 40% of Christian women were virgins when they were married (according to the surveys I did). Yes, you didn’t live up to God’s plan. But that’s what Jesus died for. And now you and your husband are one flesh, new creations in God’s sight. Don’t let your past rob you of your present.

You are not even a failure if you don’t like sex very much!

A lot of women wonder what all the fuss is about. Wondering if it is really so great is nothing bad; but letting that belief stop you from embracing it, or from trying to discover how to truly enjoy making love, is.

You are not a failure if your sex drive is much lower than your husband’s.

It doesn’t mean that you’ll never be enough for him. It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be in conflict over this. It just means that you need to understand each other more. (And one more hint: when you understand the nature of a woman’s sex drive, you’ll see that we normally aren’t that turned on until we start making love. So go in with a good attitude, even if you don’t feel particularly sexy, and your body will usually follow!).

And finally, you are not a failure if your husband has a low sex drive.

This doesn’t mean that you aren’t desirable. It just means that he has some issues, but God is big enough even for those.

So don’t let these thoughts defeat you! Your marriage is worth so much more than that. Instead, just see sex as something beautiful that God made for both of you, and then start an action plan for how you’re going to get it “great”! Two good places to start:

Start thinking positive thoughts about sex, instead of negative ones, and it can change the whole dynamic of your sex life, and your marriage.

Here’s our final challenge:


My three blogging friends have also written on this today, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have all written awesome posts on praise! Click on through to see what they have to say.

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with your sex life, the solutions you’ve found, or what you love doing together.

Sheila is the author of The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex.

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.

Encourage Your Husband by Reviving Your Praise!


Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage!

We’ve talked about reviving your attitude, reviving your friendship, and reviving your prayer life (by praying with your husband more). Next week we turn to my favourite–Reviving Your Sex Life!

But today we’re going to tackle “reviving your praise–how to encourage your husband by calling out the good that you see in him.

Encourage Your Husband: How to praise him, even if you don't always feel like it

I know many of my readers really struggle in their marriages. Is the change really all up to me? What about my husband? Shouldn’t he be responsible for being better? And many of you are hurting.

And I know that you’ve read advice saying, “you need to express gratitude towards your husband“. I’ve written about that myself, too! And I do believe it. Men thrive on appreciation; when they feel judged and inadequate, they often retreat.

Praising your husband does two main things: it will encourage your husband to feel empowered, but it also will help you to feel more positively about him.

After all, the things we say out loud also become the things that we think. Sometimes by making ourselves think of positive things to say, we start noticing more positive things! And that, in and of itself, can transform a marriage.

But I want to take this a little bit further today and look at what praising our husbands really means.

Praising your husband means that you’re agreeing with God.

Let me explain. The reason so many of us have a hard time praising our men is because we don’t feel particularly positive about them right now. And if we try to force ourselves to find positive things to say, aren’t we then lying? Or at least distorting the truth? After all, this isn’t really how we feel. And if I’m going to be honest with my husband, I need to be honest about my feelings, don’t I?

And how can we maintain, or even create, an intimate marriage if honesty is not at the heart of it? If my husband is hurting me, you may say, then I have to let him know. I can’t go around saying all kinds of nice lovey dovey things that I don’t even feel in hopes of changing him, because that’s not honest. It’s manipulative. And it’s the opposite of intimacy.

Well, yes. And no.

The question is what we mean by honesty.

To be honest means that you tell THE TRUTH.

But what is the truth?

Here’s where things get interesting.

The truth is not always how you feel.

When we tell the truth, it simply means that we are agreeing with God about something, because Jesus is The Truth. So praising your husband is simply the same thing as telling the truth about the positive things that God is doing in his life, whether or not you are also feeling negatively about him. Do you see the difference?

So you may be angry that your husband is lazy around the house, but has God made him a good provider? You may feel that he doesn’t share his emotions enough, and that he’s curt with you, but is a natural leader? Is he decisive? Is he easy to respect? Call out those positive things that you see in him. Is God slowly changing him? Notice these changes!

Think About the Good Things in Your Husband

One woman sent me an email recently saying that she had felt convicted lately because she had too many expectations on her husband. She was expecting him to be everything that God said a godly man would be, and when he didn’t measure up as a spiritual leader, she felt angry. But she knew that she had to stop holding him up to the ideal, and simply see him as he was right now: a man that God created, that God loved, and that God was molding.

Right now, your husband is a man that God loves. Your husband is a man that God is molding. And that is all a good thing! And when you call out the things in your husband’s life and character that are good, you are agreeing with God about him. Sometimes, even in the depths of our disagreements with our spouses, when we take a step back and say, “this is what I admire about you”, what we do is we put the focus back on what God is doing, and away from our own hurts.

But what about our needs?

Well, this weekend I threw up a reader question on this blog about what to do when your husband’s poor eating habits are endangering his health, but he refuses to eat healthy food that you cook. The comments on that post were most interesting, and I want to write a follow-up post tomorrow to deal with some of them. The theme of some comments, though, were: “I don’t like being told not to nag. If I’m upset about something, is it really nagging to say it? Don’t I have to tell my husband?” And in a way, I’d agree (come back tomorrow to find out more about why!). When we talk, we need to agree with God, and if there is an area where you feel that your husband is endangering the relationship, yes, you must speak up.

But it is so much easier to speak about that if you are also, and even first, telling the positive things you see in your husband. God doesn’t bash us over the heads with all the things we do wrong; he rejoices over us with singing, and then he gently shows us where we’ve strayed.

It’s not wrong to tell your husband why you’re upset. You need to have ways to talk to him frankly about things.

But may I suggest that laying a foundation of praise, where you agree with God about your husband’s good qualities, is so important first? It will encourage your husband, and that will change the dynamic in your marriage.

So here’s this week’s challenge:


My three blogging friends have also written on this today, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have all written awesome posts on praise! Click on through to see what they have to say.

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us how you encourage your husband, the struggles you have with praise, or what you’ve found will help bring connection in your marriage.

Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Sex Life“!

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Revive Your Marriage 3: Revive Your Friendship


Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage!

Today our topic is Revive Your Marriage through building a friendship with your husband!

Friendship is often the first thing to go in marriage. You parent together; you fix up the house together; you care for extended family together. But you don’t actually DO anything just for fun together. It’s like your relationship has become an endless to do list. And indeed, studies have even found that most couples spend less than 10 minutes a day talking about non-logistical issues (in other words, most of the talking they do is about who will pick up what groceries, what repairman needs to be called, what we should have for dinner, etc.)

That’s dangerous.

Because if you don’t feel connected as friends, it’s hard to feel connected as lovers. And it’s hard to deal with any issues that arise.

Friendship in marriage is the glue that keeps you together.

When you’re friends, you build up positive goodwill. It’s like you make bank deposits into a relationship account. And you can’t start making withdrawals–like talking about problems, or dealing with issues–if you don’t already have a big balance in there.

Here’s the central problem: some of us were friends when we were dating, because we figured out things to do together and we liked hanging out together. Then you get married and life gets busy, and you settle into routines. But others of us never really were friends, even before we were married. We loved each other, but we never really DID anything together. Our dating life was mostly watching movies or making out.

Build a Friendship with Your Husband
So how do you build a friendship with your husband?

Here are some thoughts:

1. Think Side-by-Side, Not Face-to-Face

When women think about doing things together and talking together, we often think of face to face type of encounters. If we want to share our hearts with our husbands, we want to sit down over coffee and talk about our day.

But if you were to say to your husband, “I want to spend 15 minutes of the day just talking to you”, he’s likely to get nervous. What does that look like? What would you talk about?

Men, in general, like to communicate side by side, when they’re doing something together. Women like to communicate face to face. But communication honestly works either way! So instead of saying, “I want to spend 15 minutes talking”, why not say, “Can we take a walk after dinner every night to get a little exercise and fresh air?” The effect is the same–15 minutes talking–but it’s a different dynamic.

I mention this concept quite a bit on this blog, and recently a young mom emailed me and said that this simple ritual had turned her marriage around. It was such a small thing, but putting the kids in strollers and going for a walk every night let her and her husband connect, and she stopped brooding about how he never talked to her.

So what can you do with your husband side by side?

2. Think Laughter!

It’s so important to laugh as a couple, and this is more likely to happen if you’re simply doing something–anything–together. When you’re involved in a low-stress activity, you’ll laugh! And a couple that laughs together at least once a day is a couple that will thrive. But don’t let all your laughter come from watching movies or TV. Laughter builds a relationship much better when it spontaneously flows out of stuff you’re doing together.

I’ve got a list of 16 sexy, flirty things you can do to laugh with your husband. And if you need more ideas, here are 14 Ways to Play as a Couple! Or what about simply two player board games you can play as a couple? Remember, laughter is something that just comes from the moment. So plan some time to do something when you’re not watching TV!

3. Don’t Wait for Him to Do Something You Like

But here’s the crucial point: if you want to build your friendship with your husband, you do not have to wait for him to start enjoying the things that you do. Take the initiative and do something he likes. In The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I shared the story of Kendria and Juan, whose marriage was on the rocks. Kendria decided drastic action was called for, and so she joined her husband on the church’s annual fishing tournament. She hated the thought of fishing. She didn’t like boats. She didn’t like worms. She didn’t even like fish! But she went, and spent six hours in a boat with her husband. And they talked. It was wonderful! And a new hobby was born.

Don’t think about WHAT you’re going to be doing as much as WHO you’re going to be doing it with. And most guys would be ecstatic if their wives actually joined them in something they enjoyed.

So here’s today’s challenge:


 

My three blogging friends have also written on how to build a friendship with your husband, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Click on through to see what WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have to say!

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with friendship, the solutions you’ve found, or what you love doing together.

Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Praise“!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.