Why is Sex Important? Part One
Scott Means, Heaven Made Marriage
Brad Aldrich, One Flesh Marriage
Doug Taylor, Big Guy from The Forgiven Wife
Why is Sex Important? Part One
Scott Means, Heaven Made Marriage
Brad Aldrich, One Flesh Marriage
Doug Taylor, Big Guy from The Forgiven Wife
There was a time in our marriage when Tom said something that hurt me deeply. It wasn’t the intent of his heart to hurt me, but because of the verse above I insisted that something was in his heart that he insisted wasn’t. We had stalemate for the first time in our marriage and it was stifling.
This cloud of suspicion and angst followed me everywhere I went. I had opened the door to a very ugly side of me and I didn’t know how to close it.
Thankfully, the Lord in His faithfulness led us through that very difficult year. And the best of news–He changed me!
A few mornings ago I awoke with this revelation about that season of our life.
God revealed to me how I had used this verse wrongly and because I did, it led us down a very dark road. He reminded me of this parable Jesus shared during His Sermon on the Mount…
“”Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
It is dangerous to think we know what is in our spouse’s heart by the words they say. How often have I said something and regretted it the moment it left my lips? What if a guard was standing there not ready to help me, but to judge me and slap a sentence with no mercy?
God doesn’t treat us that way. In fact, through Christ He did the opposite.
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
Psalms 103:10-12 ESV
It is my responsibility to guard my own heart and what I speak. I realize now that if I had used the verse in Luke to judge my own heart I would have discovered the lesson God was teaching me right away without having to drag Tom through the mud with me to get there.
I am grateful for that year and what God showed us, but I am even more grateful for how God allowed me to reflect back on what happened to show me there was a better way.
The moral of this story is: Don’t assume that the verse that comes to your mind during a conflict is for your spouse. It may be the Holy Spirit trying to get your attention before you say something you’ll regret.
Lesson Learned ✔️
John Piper has written an outstanding tribute to the pivotal anniversary celebrated today. It was on June 12, 1967 when the United States Supreme Court declared unconstitutional all state laws that prohibited interracial marriage. But it didn’t change in America instantly. In fact, the last state to finally adopt this new law was Alabama in the year 2000!
We won’t take the time to rewrite what Mr. Piper has already written so well. But we will highlight his 5 Points of the Beauty of Interracial Marriage.
The biblical description of how so-called racial differences emerged from one pair of human beings, Adam and Eve, shows that interracial marriage does not contradict God’s purpose for diversity in this world and the next.
The Bible forbids intermarriage between believer and unbeliever — not between races or ethnic groups.
In Christ, our oneness is profound and transforms racial and social differences from barriers to blessings.
God severely disciplined the critics of one interracial marriage. (Read Numbers 12)
In Christ, the good effects of interracial marriage are worth the challenges it can bring.
I’m happy to say that our church has always celebrated the union of interracial couples.
This past week at my Barefoot Ladies Retreat I was able to spend time with one wife who is in an interracial marriage and has been for over 20 years. I had never heard their story. It was hard to hear the heartache and the trouble they have endured, but even more amazing is how God has brought them to where they are today. We cried as she shared how her dad declared her dead and would not acknowledge her existence anymore. Then when their first child was born how God used this baby girl to restore what the enemy had tried to steal.
“Christians of every race should search their hearts and search the Scriptures, and bring their hearts, by the power of God’s Spirit into line with God’s word.” – John Piper
Take some time and read John Piper’s article. We pray it will be helpful to you as you consider what the Bible has to say about interracial marriages.
Today Tom and I will venture to one of our favorite places in the High Country–5506′ SkyBar. It sits on top of Beech Mountain Ski Resort and you can only get there by taking the ski lift to the top.
Summertime is when the snow skis are traded in for mountain bikes making the mountain just as popular of a place to gather and enjoy the view. What I love about 5506′ is that we can enjoy the view without having to risk hurting ourselves on the slopes or hike a long path to get there. With a little investment ($10 a lift) we can climb the heights and enjoy the long-range view.
Our date night prompt this week encourages you to find a place nearby with a fantastic view. It may be a mountain top, on the beach front, overlooking a tranquil lake, or a rooftop restaurant overlooking the city. Wherever you go, pause to take in the big picture view and realize how small we are compared to God’s creation. Remember He cares for you; He cares for your spouse; and He certainly cares for your marriage. This is why date nights are important.
Please share with us your date with a view in the comments. We can’t wait to see the big picture from your eyes.
One of the thing that is so romantic about dating before you get married is meeting together in out of the way places to talk and get to know each other a little more.
Tom and I wanted to recapture a bit of that romance, so we met in a hotel lounge for appetizers and drinks after he got off of work one day. The best part was–he didn’t know we were going to do this until I texted him to meet me there at 5:30p.
I got all dressed up and got to the lounge early, so I’d be there to greet him when he walked in. We talked and flirted as if we had just met, thoroughly enjoying our little rendezvous until it was time to go home for dinner. If your budget allows it would be fun to surprise your spouse with a room upstairs, but if it doesn’t this date is still a win-win. There are so many beautiful hotels in our area that offer not only great ambiance, but also happy hour deals which make it quite affordable too.
Taking the time to connect on this intimate level in the middle of a busy schedule makes it even more unexpected and appreciated. Give it a try in the next week or so, and let us know how your rendezvous goes.
When we began blogging in 2008, there were only a handful of marriage bloggers seeking to spread the encouragement that marriages can not only survive, but thrive.
Now 9 years later there are 130 marriage blogs who have committed to join us on our mission–to glorify God in our marriages for as long as we both shall live and to tell others of the hope that can be found in Christ alone. We are a part of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association (CMBA) whose values hold up the standard found in the Holy Word of God. This isn’t our idea–God created marriages to reflect His relationship to the church. This is why it matters how we choose to live our lives. It’s not about us! It’s about being a part of the bigger picture of God’s redemption story.
This weekend we are hosting our first CMBA Core Team retreat at our cabin in North Carolina.
To say Tom and I are excited would be huge understatement. We are ecstatic to welcome these dear friends into our home as we share face to face with each other our hopes, plans and dreams. We will laugh, eat and worship God together. We will talk about our vision for our ministries and seek to encourage each other every day as long as it is still called today. We will pray for each other and seek to help discern what it is God is saying to us regarding CMBA. It is a privilege and a blessing that we don’t take lightly.
Today I want to highlight the blogs of those who will be attending our retreat this weekend. I hope you are already quite familiar with them for what they have to share is valuable for all marriages.
Heaven Made Marriage – Scott and Jenni Means
One Flesh Marriage – Brad and Kate Aldrich
The Forgiven Wife – Chris and (Doug) Taylor
The Generous Husband – Paul Byerly
The Generous Wife – Lori Byerly (companion blog to above)
The Marriage Bed – Paul and Lori’s Marriage website with message board and articles
Not Attending this retreat is Julie Sibert and her husband, Rand. How we wish they were able to join us, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to highlight her blog: Intimacy In Marriage as well.
As you can see these are some outstanding blogs worth your time reading and gleaning from their years of experience and training.
Also, if you haven’t noticed this weekend is Memorial Day. We offer lots of ideas on how to romance your spouse on this special holiday. Be sure to check them out on the Wives Only and Husbands Only tabs above.
Please pray for us as the Lord reminds you. We have never been more aware of our need for God’s direction and sustaining grace in our lives. The time is short and we are working hard to do what God has called us to do. Your prayers are appreciated.
We can’t take credit for this idea. Gary Thomas, in his new book Cherish, does an outstanding job of explaining it by quoting Dr. John Gottman…
“…throughout each person’s day, one partner will make regular “bids” for the other’s attention. In our marriage, we could describe these bids as the question, “Do you still cherish me?”
“What the spouse does in response to these bids has a huge impact on marital connection and happiness.”
Gary Thomas goes on to further explain…
“…whenever my wife expresses an opinion, reads something interesting from the local paper, or makes an observation, I am either cherishing her or neglecting her. There is no middle ground here. Her bid is either met or rejected. Cherishing is expressed, or it’s not. Intimacy is built, or it is assaulted, even in the most mundane marital conversations.”
Intimacy is built by practicing this on a daily basis. But it’s not easy.
“If I looked at you every time you talked I’d never get anything done.”
At that point we knew we had work to do. I needed to work on the timing, and Tom needed to work on the listening.
But catching bids is not always about conversations that need to be shared, it’s also about sharing dreams and desires.
My son did this well as a new husband caring for his pregnant wife. It was late one night and he heard her mention how much she wanted something they didn’t have. Before she knew it he was out the door to purchase what she was craving. That’s cherishing! And that is how you build intimacy that not only lasts, but warms the heart and soul.
So this week let’s purpose to be bid catchers. Instead of lamenting the bids we’ve lost, we can win by catching each other’s bids and cherishing them in creative ways. You may be surprised how many you find. We love to hear your stories, so please come back and share your catches with us!
The great thing about doing a puzzle together is you can’t be on social media at the same time, and it lends time for you to actually talk.
When you finish your puzzle, share a photo of your completed puzzle with us in the comments. Who knows? There may be a drawing for a prize in store for those who do.
For a more creative way to enjoy a jigsaw puzzle together, try this idea.
Summer is not obligatory. We can start an infernally hard jigsaw puzzle in June with the knowledge that, if there are enough rainy days, we may just finish it by Labor Day, but if not, there’s no harm, no penalty. We may have better things to do.
– Nancy Gibbs
We are on our way home from a 9 day trip to Ukraine and The Netherlands where we encouraged local churches in their walk with Christ. And often the topic of marriage came up.
We stayed with one couple who has lived in their 1880 home for the past 34 years. They are praying about downsizing, but they’re not sure if they’re ready to close this chapter of their lives. We talked about memories, parenting, regrets, occupations and all sorts of other of life’s experiences.
But our favorite was sitting at their table and reading God’s Word together They shared what God was saying to them, and we shared what God was saying to us. It was sweet fellowship with new friends who I believe will become old friends.
Who is God having you reach out to in an effort to encourage their growth in Christ? Even if you can’t travel, the distance between two hearts is only a phone call away. We must make the most of the time we’ve been given.
Don’t kill time, make the most of it!
Need we say more?
I’m sure you’ve enjoyed a picnic or two since you’ve been married. But today’s prompt mixes up the traditional picnic to make it something special.
Pick Your Menu
Pick Your Location
Pick Your Style
As you can see, picnics don’t have to be the same old, same old. With a little thought and planning you can take your next picnic up a notch. Try it! You may just discover a new way to picnic that you both love.
What is your most memorable picnic?
I love flowers–all kinds. My photo library is filled with them. They make me happy, and none more so that when they are growing in the dirt. God puts them on display everyday for our enjoyment and they’re breathtaking if we pause to notice.
This past Sunday a dear friend that we’ve known most of his life was ordained as a pastor in our church. It was a huge celebration of the faithfulness of God. His wife was standing by his side, proud and thrilled that his day of recognition had finally come.
As I was praying for them, I sensed the Lord wanted to bless his wife with a bouquet of blue irises. I knew this was the Lord as I don’t go around thinking about giving people flowers necessarily. I tried to find some for her, but they must not be in season. Since I didn’t have time to go to a florist I opted to tell her instead .
Flowers have meanings, and I love to discover what different ones mean. The blue iris represents faith and hope–two words that have had special significance in her life. Such a sweet reminder from her Father. What I didn’t know was that when their first child was born 16 years ago, her husband brought her a bouquet of blue irises! It signified new life to them, and now as they are embarking on new life in their ministry, God was saying you have My blessing.
Maybe you would like to share your heartfelt sentiments to your wife using flowers as your words. Here is a quick reference to discover how to say what you want to say:
Do you ever get tired of doing the same old things, going to the same places for dates because it’s all you know? I get that! Tom and I certainly have our favorite restaurants–I’ll post about them later.
But what about when you’re in an unfamiliar town? Or passing through and need to eat? What about when you’re ready to break out of the norm and try some place new?
Tom and I were returning from NC Saturday and about the time we were hungry for lunch, nothing on the road signs sounded good. What were we to do? We Yelped it!
Yelp is an app that lets you know what restaurants (or any business for that matter) are nearby and allows you to see how other customers have rated them on a scale of 1 to 5.
We discovered a little hole-in-the-wall place in Yemassee, SC, called Fletcher’s Finds and Finest. It was a restaurant, an antique store, a Persian rug merchant and a distillery all in one. And they had a cute outdoor patio for diners to come and sit a spell. And that we did!
We listened to the owner’s father as he told story after story to the diners seated at the table with him. It felt like we were in an episode of Andy Griffith, visiting a place where time slows down and conversations are long and meaningful. And the food was delicious! I had a Reuben with fried okra!
After lunch we walked over to the “legal” distillery where the distiller was there providing tasting and sharing their story. He made sure we knew that he thought his product was the best thing to ever touch his lips to which my husband replied, “She’s the best thing to ever touch MY lips!” ❤
Try Yelping It on your next date and see if you don’t make a special memory!
Easter is without a doubt the most important date on the calendar for Christians, because if there was no Easter, Christmas would have no meaning.
But Easter occurred and this informs our marriage that we have hope.
Hope that there is life after death, victory after defeat, joy after sadness, and comfort after suffering. But it goes a step further and teaches us that we can actually have life in our dying to self, victory when experiencing defeating circumstances, joy in the midst of our sadness over loss, and comfort while suffering through relational conflicts.
Paul Tripp is one of our favorite authors. He sent out a Wednesday’s Word encouragement today with a challenge for us to apply this question to our lives. We want to use this challenge to apply them to our marriages:
He asks, “What will you do with Easter now that Easter is gone?”
Read 1 Corinthians 15 for Paul addresses how we are to live as a result of Easter. Mr. Tripp provides three Truths to consider in thinking of our marriage… (inserts mine)
Such Good News! Yes, the empty tomb gives us hope in all of life, but we must apply these truths to our everyday experiences, not just remind ourselves of them one Sunday in the Spring.
Let it inform your financial burdens, your relational conflicts, your sexual temptations and struggles, your parenting dilemmas, and all other trouble. Easter occurred to give us life and not only life, but abundant life. This Good News can’t help but affect our marriages if we will let it.
This past week we went to a local museum that we’ve known about for years, but had never visited. And it just so happened we went on a day with free admission!
Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden did not disappoint. Upon our arrival we were welcomed by the docent who knew his story well. She explained how he came to America from the Czech Republic prior to World War I.
He loved America for the opportunity it gave him to grow in his love and study of sculpture. His museum was also his home until he died in 1965.
His work is on display in the home and throughout the garden. Sculptures of stone, bronze and wood showcase his world-renowned talent.
His favorite and most recognized piece is called,
Man Carving His Own Destiny
We were there on Good Friday which made hearing the story of the following commissioned piece more heartfelt…
The Victorious Christ
He explained that he had seen so much art depicting the agony of Jesus on the Cross, but he wanted to show Him Victorious as He pleaded with The Father, “Forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” I had a hard time restraining the tears.
Museums have a way of opening the door to emotions and conversations you might not have otherwise.
My favorite piece was called,
A Mother Crying Over The World.
He witnessed the effects war had on the mothers who sent their sons and daughters out to fight. Although you can’t see her face, you can feel the deep emotion through her body language, something Polasek was a genius portraying.
What museums are near you that you’ve never taken the time to visit? We encourage you to go and learn something new together. It may leave a lasting impression, like these sculptures, worth remembering.
I am a Florida native and have grown up with the Space Program in my backyard. I have many precious memories watching rockets, space shuttles and satellites being launched into orbit. As an added bonus, we have a great view from our backyard of night launches which are spectacular, if you ever get the chance to see one.
Now that the Space Shuttle program has ended (I still am sad about that), we have taken to looking skyward for something anyone can see when it happens to be crossing over your region of the country.
It’s the International Space Station. Did you know that Nasa sends out alerts to those who wish to see the Space Station when it’s passing overhead? Tom and I have been doing this for a while now, and we rarely miss an opportunity to look skyward on those nights or early mornings.
The space station has no light of its own, so it can only be seen when the rising or setting sun is reflecting on it’s surface.
This week’s Date Night Prompt is to…
Try it for yourself. Sign up to receive the alerts as to when you can spot the station. Then plan a date around the experience. The station is only visible for 4-6 minutes, but you could also watch Apollo 13 or Gravity afterwards. It’s sure to be a time worth looking together skyward.
I was praying and God reminded me how much the ocean is like Him:
Such Truth that informs my heart!
Emotions can seem much the same for those who are held captive by its torment.
I have been tossed about on a sea of “emoceans” more than I care to admit. Tormenting and even frightening at times.
This can cause even strong marriages to struggle! A marriage on the brink before an emotional test comes can capsize causing all hope to disappear of ever finding a safe marriage haven.
But there is hope! God in His ocean-sized mercy is greater than our fickle, storm-tossed emoceans. The key is finding the time to talk with each other about the emotions which torment us.
It could be a job change or loss, financial insecurity, difficult children who don’t sleep, hormone fluctuations, etc. or it could be something lacking in your marriage. This type of emotional torment can be the hardest to reign in unless someone you know and trust is willing to help.
The first step is seeing the problem, then second, admitting you need help. There is no need for you to continue tossed about on the sea of emoceans. Jesus calmed the storm tossed sea and He can do the same for your marriage.
The weather is beautiful this time of year for most places. But Florida outdoes herself in the Spring, if I say so myself.
Tom and I drove to the other side of town this past weekend to check out the East End Market. It is a place we’ve heard about, but never taken the time to go. Can I just say, “Wow?!”
It has a cool vibe with several local shops inside the main building:
There was live entertainment on the patio and a growing vegetable and flower garden out front. It was a celebration of all things I love–a win, win for our date day.
So for this week’s prompt…
We encourage you to check out someplace nearby where you’ve never been. Go when you have time to relax and really take in the experience. And when you do, we’d love to hear what fun places you discover. Don’t forget to take pictures.
You’re most likely familiar with the Newlywed Game. It’s where couples married under a year are asked questions separately to see how well they know each other.
Here are the questions we want to pose to all couples who have been married 25+ years in regard to romance…
BONUS: Share your answers to these questions with a couple who has been married under five years. Or post them as a comment to this post. Let’s learn from each other.
Other CMBA Marriage Blogger’s posts about the 10 Question Challenge:
♥ Hot, Holy and Humorous – 10 Questions to Ask About Your (Mature) Sex Life
♥ The Forgiven Wife – 10 Questions (for a Husband Who Doesn’t Like Questions)
♥ The Generous Wife – 10 Questions for AnyTime-Weds