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Posts Tagged ‘Couples’

And you, my dear lover—you’re so handsome! And the bed we share is like a forest glen. Song of Songs 1:16 (MSG)

 

Solomon’s wife says that their bed is green, like a forest glen.  They found their marital bed a place of enjoyment and pleasure.  But for some couples, sex is an area of ongoing conflict.

  1. Sex

Whether newlyweds or married for many years, sometimes couples face conflicts with their sexual relations, or lack of them.  One of the main reasons may be a lack of knowledge or understanding of sex or of their spouse’s preferences, what they like or dislike.  But Mary Jo Fay[i], author of Please Dear, Not Tonight, says that “brings us closer together, releases hormones that help our bodies both physically and mentally, and keeps the chemistry of a healthy couple healthy.”  Here are a few suggestions to deal with this issue:

  • Learn about healthy sexuality by reading books, together, that deal with it from a Christian focus.[ii]  Read them as part of your devotional time and discuss what you are learning in your reading.
  • While it may not sound very romantic, plan for it. Schedule it and make plans so that there are no distractions or interruptions.  As Faye says, “When sex is on the calendar, it increases your anticipation.”
  • Individually write a list of what you like and find enjoyable and then talk together about each other’s list. Take turns fulfilling each other’s desires.
  • In some cases, sexual difficulties stem from deeper issues. In those cases you may want to consult with a Christian therapist who can help you manage those issues in a positive manner.

Father God, you created sex for our health and enjoyment.  Help us to learn about it and to keep it alive and well in our relationship.

[i] Ibid

 

[ii] Here are a few examples:  Captivated by Love, Alberta Mazat.

The Gift of Sex. Clifford & Joyce Penner.

A celebration of Sex. Douglas E. Rosenau

Sex begins in the Kitchen and Sheet Music.  Both by Kevin Leman

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And now what?

Bearing with one another.  Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)

 

The third and final question you should ask, before giving up on your relationship, is:

 

  1. What makes you think you can find a way to continue being together?[i]

Think about this for a moment:  If you have not ended your relationship yet, you must have some hope that things will get better, that you have a good, happier future together.  Where does that hope you have come from?  What is it that you see that makes you think that there’s a chance things could get better? Maybe you can see that your spouse really and truly loves you and they too want to find a way to make your relationship work. Perhaps you can also see that he or she is making a good, honest attempt to change.

If there’s the smallest flicker of light in an otherwise seemingly dark relationship, there is still hope.  Think about these words of Jesus:  So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” Mat 17:20 (NKJV).  Is it possible that the faith about which Jesus was speaking only applies to religious matters?  Or is it possible that the same faith Jesus makes available to us to move mountains of unbelief can also help us move the mountains that have come between us as spouses?  Is it possible that the same faith that can help us overcome an addiction or a harmful behavior can also help us overcome the damaging, hurtful patterns that threaten to destroy our relationship? Or is God’s power not available to all of us in all situations?

Yes, that same faith is available to all of us.  If you have even the smallest reservoir of positive feelings and hopes for a better future together, that faith and these three questions can help you highlight them. They can help encourage you to continue to try to re-engage in a positive way with your spouse.

 

Father God, help us to revive our relationship.  Give us that faith, as small as a mustard seed, that we may move the mountains that have grown in between us.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2013/07/3-questions-to-get-your-relationship-back-on-track.html?ecd=wnl_men_080513&ctr=wnl-men-080513_hdln_3&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Managing togetherness

Through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 (NKJV)

 

Yesterday we recommended that couples facing challenges ask themselves three questions.  The first one is, “What Makes us want to stay together?”  The second question looks similar:

 

  1. How have you managed to stay together?[i]

If you are upset with your spouse, you may remember some negative ways in which you have tried to cope.  For instance, you may have been sleeping in separate rooms, or tried to live separate lives, or maybe you have tried to avoid all conflict.  Maybe you have given each other the cold shoulder or even the silent treatment.

At the same time, you probably have used some more positive ways of coping as well.  What you need to do right now is to bring to mind what you do or have you done in the past to keep the enjoyment and the appreciation, and a desire to keep your relationship alive.

As an example, maybe you have shown respect for each other’s thoughts and feelings.  Perhaps one of you have learned to walk away when things get heated so you will come back to a calmer discussion later. You may have also notice that your spouse is really trying to please you, which can help you stay invested in working things out during particularly frustrating times.

The point is that whether in negative or positive ways you have managed to stay together through some of the difficult, challenging times in your relationship.  It can help you to realize that you have managed staying together so far and how you have done it.  You have not given up yet.  Give yourself credit for that and use your past experience to strengthen your relationship for a better future.  A Christian author wrote, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”[ii]  It is also true for relationships that we have nothing to fear except as we forget all that God has already done to help us stay together in the past.

 

Heavenly Father, You have helped us stay together.  We ask you to help us in the future so we may remain together for our benefit, for our children’s well-being, and for your honor and glory.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2013/07/3-questions-to-get-your-relationship-back-on-track.html?ecd=wnl_men_080513&ctr=wnl-men-080513_hdln_3&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d(accessed 1-10-15)

[ii] White, E.G.(1992). Last Day Events. Pacific Press: Nampa, ID.

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Back on track

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19 (NKJV)

 

All couples go through difficult times.  Often during the challenging times we tend to lose perspective on why we are together or should continue to work on our relationship.  You may even be on the verge of giving up on your relationship.  But before you give up and move out, try to look for the positive side of your relationship.  Start by asking yourself three simple questions.

 

  1. What makes us want to stay together?

While you could have given up by now, the fact is that you haven’t.  In fact, you aren’t sure that you really want to.  Think about it: why is that? What makes you want to stay together? Think long and hard about this.  Leslie Becker-Phelps, from WebMD[i], suggests that your answer might be that you love each other; or that you have so much invested in your relationship that you want to give it every realistic chance.

Some couples stop to think about how separation will cause financial difficulties, or it will be shocking and painful to their family, or the harm that they will cause their children.  They weigh in the negative results of a decision to end their relationship.  On the other hand, you can think of the positive things going on in your relationship.  You get along most of the time, you’re financial goals – like paying of your mortgage, or being debt free, or almost having enough to retire — are getting closer.  At the same time you think of all the good times you have had as a couple and as a family, and how the kids are growing up healthy and happy.

Whatever your reasons may be, talk about them together and often. Let them seep into your very being and inspire you to re-connect.  Thinking about the good things going on will result in having a positive attitude and a new desire to preserve a good thing.

 

Father God, help us to think of what is going on well and to remember all the positive things in our relationship so that a spirit of gratitude for what we have may permeate our lives.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2013/07/3-questions-to-get-your-relationship-back-on-track.html?ecd=wnl_men_080513&ctr=wnl-men-080513_hdln_3&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d(accessed 1-10-15)

 

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A little more sleep

Sleep on now, and take your rest. Matthew 26:45 (KJV)

 

The newscast teasers and a multitude of program advertisements invite us to watch the late news, the late night shows, or the upcoming special events.  The result, if we give in to curiosity, is a shorter sleep and probably a very tired day following.  Studies show that the gap between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may affect your health, your mood, your weight, and even your sex life.

According to R. Morgan Griffin, of WebMD,[i] there are nine reasons that you should shut down your computer, turn off the lights, and go to bed an hour early tonight and get the seven or eight hours of sleep you need.  These include better health, less pain, lower risk of injury, better mood, better weight control, clearer thinking, better memory, and stronger immunity.  Griffin also includes one that married couples should pay special attention to: better sex life.

Griffin states that according to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, up to 26% of people say that their sex lives tend to suffer because they’re just too tired.  Husbands should pay special attention to this because there’s evidence that in men, impaired sleep can be associated with lower testosterone levels.

Not getting enough sleep can affect your love life in general.  If you’re so exhausted you’re falling asleep during a date or while talking with your spouse, it will end up affecting your relationship.

No program on TV is worth watching, at least not every night, if staying late to watch it will impact these nine areas of your health.  Disconnect from all electronic media, devote time to your relationship, and spend enough time every night to sleep so you can be rested, refreshed, and have a better romantic life.

 

Father God, you gave us the day to work and do all other activities and the night to rest and recharge our batteries.  Help us to organize our life so we will take advantage of the night hours to really rest.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-health-10/sleep-benefits?ecd=wnl_sxr_111712&ctr=wnl-sxr-111712_promo_2&mb=

 

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Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (NKJV)

 

Married life has its ups and its downs, its happy, joyful times, and many painful, hard times.  We can all recount the wonderful memories of how we met, of special dates together, of our wedding day, and other happy events that make us smile and even laugh at times.  But we can also recollect those times when things were difficult like the loss of a parent, a child, or a job, or the financial difficulties that led to the loss of a house or the car accident that caused us severe injury.

What’s interesting is that the hard times have not and don’t have to cause us to want to give up on each other or on our relationship.  The last of the six surprising secrets of happy couples is that you’ll be surprised what you get through together.

Marriage and family therapist David Halper, co-owner of CenterLife Counseling, suggests that getting through a particularly tough situation together can put things in perspective.  He explains that “When a big issue like a serious illness arises, couples often realize that their disagreements that seemed so important are really trivial.”  He adds, “This renewed perspective can be the catalyst for a more positive, intentional relationship focused on what the couple truly values.”[i]

It’s amazing how resilient we really are, and thinking about how we’ve made it through the rough times can help us make it through other future difficulties.  That may have been what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote the words of our text for today: “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

 

Father God, thank you for helping us through the difficulties and challenges we have faced in the past, as painful as they were.  Help us to depend on those memories, and on you, the next time and every time we face hard times in the future.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/truth-about-marriage (accessed 1-4-15)

 

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No guarentees

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NKJV)

 

  1. A good marriage isn’t a guarantee of happiness.

Often spouses in a relationship may be experiencing personal challenges but think that the problem is the relationship itself.  One or the other may be experiencing stress at work, undiagnosed medical conditions (depression, hormonal changes, etc.), or other interpersonal difficulties.  Often these external situations influence our feelings about our spouse, particularly if neither they nor us is able to recognize them as the cause of the disruption in our relationship.

Arthur Aron, of Stony Brook University, explains that people are sometimes dissatisfied with their marriage when the real problem is that they’re depressed or have other problems in their life.  If you’re unhappy in your relationship, it would be worth your while to look at how the rest of your life is going.  Aron adds, “You can always find excuses in what the other person is doing if you’re feeling bad.”

Perhaps this is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Mat.7:3 (NKJV) It seems to be a normal, human tendency to want to blame the other instead of looking at ourselves, or the situations surround our life, as the culprits.  In fact, this seems to be a very common occurrence among married couples going back to our first parents, Adam and Eve.

Stop looking at your spouse as the one to blame for the problems in your relationship, and look around you; maybe other things or people are causing you to feel dissatisfied with your marriage.

 

Heavenly Father, while you designed marriage to be a blessing, sometimes we allow other things or other people to cause us to feel unhappy and dissatisfied about our relationship.  Help me to recognize the real cause and to appreciate my spouse and our marriage more.

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