Your Health and Your Sex – part 1

We continue to be fascinated by the research that continues to be done that shows the link between your health and your sex. Truly they cannot be separated and in an Unashamed Marriage, regular sexual activity is part of the process of getting and remaining healthy. Here is PART ONE of some of the reasons with links to the source material so you can read them for yourself. As Christians, we start with a belief that God designed us as sexual creatures and that all of the research is just us discovering more of the the incredible gift of marital sex that He made.

1) God created men and women and He designed our sexual responses and benefits. He did this because He is a God of love and wants us to have an abundant life. The Bible describes Adam and Eve as being naked and unashamed and that as husbands leave their parents and join with their wives they become one flesh—definitely sexual imagery. He inspired wise Solomon to write the sexually-charged Song of Solomon. And He showed His care for the sexual pleasure of women when He gave a command in the Old Testament 507959_70612257that upon marriage men should stay home for one year to learn how to please their wives. This injunction was not given to women for their husbands. Science backs up what God began!

2) Life, especially married life that includes some children, can be – scratch that – IS stressful. There is ample research to show the destructive nature of stress on our bodies and there is just as much ample advice on how to handle that stress in positive ways. The next time you and your spouse are stressed, head to the bed for some relief under the sheets. This article from Biological Psychology indicates that the greatest stress reducing sexual activity is penile-vaginal intercourse. If you are not sure of the impact this method of stress-relief might have in your own marriage, check out this true-life story.

3) In a 2012 article on Forbes, it states that there is roughly $227 billion a year in lost productivity in the US a year due to illness or workers who go to work not feeling well and unable to perform at peak performance. You and your spouse can help each other stay well by staying active sexually. Here is an article that outlines some of the ways that sex can boost your immune system.

Ten Tips for Great Communication

Take your hands, turn them over and look at the ends of your fingers. Use those tips to communicate your love to your spouse.

Just Watch

This weekend, spend some time to just watch your spouse. Notice a new nuance of their behavior and learn to love them more for it. When they realize what you are doing, just smile slyly and say, “Oh, just enjoying my favorite view.” Let us know how they react.

Will It Blend?

One of the videos we like watching online is the series about the Blendtec blender. Each video asks, “Will it blend?” It got us thinking. The successful marriage is not in losing yourself in each other. It is in the blending of your lives with each other where each remains unique and yet where the two are more than each other alone.

Keep Your Bed Small

Our first bed when we got married was a hand-me-down that used to be in a guest room at Karl’s grandmother’s house. It was a full-size frame and mattress that was just perfect for our two-bedroom apartment in the married student housing at the university we were attending. When the mattresses were first purchased, they were at the higher end of price and value and were still fairly comfortable. (As newlyweds, they served our active needs quite well. BIG SMILE!)

As the years went by and our bedroom activity continued (not too mention the addition of some weight), they began to deteriorate. When we got ready to purchase new ones, we decided it was time to upgrade both in quality and size. Karl had the idea that if we could we should go with king size. Bigger is always better, right? Due to constraints of the budget and the size of the room where we lived at that time, we had to settle for just a queen size.

While this did help us not be as crowded while sleeping, we still were near enough that during the night we were able to touch each other and to cuddle up to each other. Of course, an added benefit was that as we felt each other, it did lead to some great middle-of-the-night sexual activity. But, didn’t we need a bigger size?sexualcontact.feet_

The first time we went away for the weekend to a hotel with a king-size bed, we discovered our answer. While there was much more romping room, we found that if we felt the need to feel each other’s skin during the night, we nearly had to go on an expedition to a foreign country to find each other and it almost seemed like we were not even in the same bed. We have to say that aside from the additional room for sexual activity, we really did not like it. Now, when given the option, we will choose a room with two queen-size beds, rather than one king.

Without knowing it, we have realized what other couples have:  sleeping close together and having regular touch while sleeping is actually part of marital satisfaction. According to a recent British poll of 1,000 couples (links to articles below), those couples who claimed to sleep less than one inch apart from each other reported an 86% satisfaction with their relationship versus only 66% satisfaction when the reported sleeping distance was 30 inches or more.

Our recommendation for your Unashamed Marriage:  keep your bed small. Choose a size that keeps you touching as much as possible!

 

MAKE IT REAL

1)      See how many sexual positions you can utilize in the space of a twin-size mattress.

2)      Cuddle more often away from the bed. It releases health producing oxytocin.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10768902/Happiest-couples-sleep-an-inch-apart.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/what-does-the-way-you-sleep-say-about-your-relationship-9264867.html

Marriage Fun (a.k.a. Speaking in Code)

As a guy (and a fun-loving adult) sometimes I buy toys (not THAT kind – at least not in this article), just to play with. Hot Wheels, flying discs, Silly Putty, Yo-Yos, etc., are all items that are still very enjoyable! On a recent trip to Target, I saw something that I had grown up playing with, though with some modern technology – an LED Light Up Rolling Yo Yo Magnetic toy. 1220600POf course, I had to open it before the kids got up so that I could play with it for a while myself.

Light up Rolling Yo Yo Magnetic Toy on Metal Rail

So, what does all this have to do with an Unashamed Marriage? One of the key parts is laughter and humor. Keep playing with your spouse! One of the best ways to do this is to “speak in code”.

This afternoon, I noticed that one of our kids was having fun with my new toy. I asked them if they had gotten permission. Of course the response was that their sibling had played with it first. I told them it was OK, that the whole family could have fun with it if they wanted. I then told Sharon that she could play with my “toys” whenever she wants. “Good,” she said with a wink and a twinkle in her eye, “I think I’ll start with your ‘laptop.’” The kids were not sure why I laughed so hard, since they see me using the laptop often.

Of course the Yo Yo toy mattered little as we transitioned to the bedroom to play with the better toys – each other. Oh, yes. Fun married sex is the best!

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Spiritual Abuse

This is a guest post by our friends, Mike and Gayle Tucker, at Mad About Marriage

 

This might be uncomfortable but we need to bring it up because it’s so damaging to relationships.

Spiritual Abuse

What is it?

Would you recognize it if you saw it? 

Would you know it if you were doing it?

How can you know if you’re in a spiritually abusive relationship?

First of all, spiritual abuse is a form of emotional abuse that can be perpetrated by men or women.

All abuse (including emotional abuse), is based on power and control as opposed to love and respect.

*** That’s so important let’s read it again:

All abuse (including emotional abuse), is based on power and control not love and respect.

Spiritual abuse occurs when a leader, or a spouse, attempts to control, manipulate, or dominate another person.

Fear is used by the spiritually abusive because it’s one of the most effective ways to control people’s minds. If you control their mind you control their behavior.

Additionally, guilt and shame are effective weapons the abusive party uses to victimize and establish control.  

Spiritual abuse occurs in marriage when the husband or wife uses religion to “rule over” their spouse. 

Spiritual abuse makes its victims dependent upon the will of the perpetrator.

The abusive person may succeed in making the victim feel incapable of doing anything on his or her own without their help, permission or approval. 

Victims lose confidence in themselves.

They also lose confidence and assurance in their relationship with God apart from the perpetrator. 

They become emotionally enslaved to their abusive partner.

Spiritually abusive spouses are driven by the need to control.

They are jealous and try to isolate their partner from others.

They are disrespectful.

They shun privacy and personal boundaries, which is also a form of emotional abuse.

So, how do you know if you’re in a spiritually abusive marriage? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does your spouse exhibit control-oriented leadership – do they “lord” over you?

2. Does your spouse demand submission and unquestioning loyalty?

3. Does your spouse demand obedience?

4. Are questions unwelcome or perceived as challenges to their “authority?”

5. Are guilt, fear, and intimidation used to control and manipulate you?

6. Does your spouse claim that questioning him/her is akin to questioning God?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s likely you’re suffering emotional abuse and are in a spiritually abusive relationship.

What can you do if you’re being spiritually abused?

1. Remember & accept that you are a child of God and that He wants you to be free. 

2. Realize that God, despite His power, doesn’t “lord” over you – and He doesn’t expect you to allow yourself to be “lorded over” by any human being. He hates any and all means of coercion.

3. Believe that God has freed you from your abuser – and gives you the right and power to stop listening to them! 

4. Accept the truth that you are being led by the Holy Spirit, and that through Bible study and prayer, you have the privilege to decide what is good, bad, wrong or right for yourself.

Please listen carefully to what I’m about to say next:

You do not require the guidance or approval of a third party to encounter God or know His will.

And, finally, remember this:

Healthy spirituality elevates people, freeing them from guilt, fear and shame. 

Healthy religion is based on love and respect and does not seek to control, but instead invites people to choose to connect with God willingly and become one with Him. 

Healthy spirituality and religion do not seek to create fear or shame in believers. 

Guilt and shame are done away with by a caring God who forgives and restores.  

There is absolutely no emotional or spiritual abusiveness within an authentic relationship with Him.

Nor should there be any in your relationship with your partner or community of faith.