Three Things Destiny Added to My Marriage

by Sharon Leukert

If you’re thinking about a Disney fairy tale where it’s “destiny” that the main characters meet and manage to defeat the evil villain while falling in love and living happily ever after, then this blog post might not be for you. The destiny I’m talking about is that purposeful part of a marriage that determines the course of the relationship over time. Here’s what destiny has done for my marriage, and I’m looking forward to even more!

1. Destiny sets the boundaries. Because my husband and I believed, from the beginning, that marriage was something to be enjoyed, something to make us stronger, and something that must never be broken; divorce has not been an option for us. Again, we’re not talking about fairy tale denial where we think relationship problems

Your future, as a person and as a couple, is built on the events of the past and the actions of the present.

Your future, as a person and as a couple, is built on the events of the past and the actions of the present.

could never happen to us because we’ve certainly had our share of struggles through the years. The difference is that we believed there was a purpose to our marriage, that together we could do something that neither of us could have done on our own. The boundaries were clear. Find a way to work things out. Don’t get up.

2. True love is a choice, not just a feel good moment. Believing that our marriage had a purpose, a destiny to accomplish something great immediately and over time, motivated me to continue to choose to love my husband. He’s amazing and not hard to love at all, but we’re all human and have our moments. So knowing that our marriage is much more than just this one little dip in a low place once in a while, that it is so much, helps me to make the right choice to love and build up the relationship, instead of doing it harm.

3. Destiny gives longevity. Longevity gives rich experiences. Rich experiences give greater depth and meaning to intimacy. Or you could put it another way – sex is great when you’re building on a long relationship of shared experiences. You understand how you’ve grown over the years and yet are still the person your spouse fell in love with. You “get” your spouse’s jokes. Honestly, a little bit of humor goes a long way in foreplay. That “bedroom laugh” is a good sign that sex is going to be great. No comedian wants to work with limited material. But destiny gives longevity to a marriage – meaning plenty of material to bring up in that perfect moment to clench the “bedroom laugh” and enrich intimacy.

I believe our marriage is for a purpose, both now and in the future. I’m investing in it daily and receiving rich rewards. It truly sets the tone for our relationship over time. At almost 24 years of marriage, we’re looking forward to the rich experiences destiny will continue to bring to our relationship – and more of those bedroom laughs!

Your Health and Your Sex – Part 6

Does having sex help fight breast cancer? To reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis, what should you add to your calcium? Read on in Your Health and Your Sex, Part 6 to find the answer to these questions and find out more awesome information that will encourage you in your marriage. (You can read previous posts in this series. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.)

1) Walking, jogging, Zumba, treadmill, swimming, etc. = better sex! Most people know that they need to exercise more, but few actually make it a high priority. That decision, though, has some implications for knock-your-socks-off horizontal aerobics. According to a study from the University of Arkansas Program of Health Sciences, your fitness routines increase sexual drive, sexual activity, and sexual satisfaction. Get up out of the recliner and off of the couch and get moving. As your physical fitness increases, your sex life will enjoy the results. Follow THIS LINK to a  great resource of specific exercises that will boost your sex life.

2) Breast cancer is one of the most dreaded health crisis a woman can face. Some well-known women have actually had prophylactic mastectomies just because they had an increased risk due to their ID-10085906_EDITgenetics. A little-known (or at least not widely publicized) scientific study was published in Oncology in 1978 that showed one method of breast cancer reduction that would result in a lowering of the likelihood of breast cancer of “not less than 50% in married women in the population.” This preventative method is the one that God created from the beginning – repeated vaginal exposure to semen in early reproductive years. In other words, marry a bit younger and don’t use condoms or other barrier methods of birth-control that block the semen from being absorbed into the wife’s vagina.

3) One of the health concerns that people have as they age is deterioration of their bone density – osteoporosis. There are many ways to avoid this dangerous condition, including adequate calcium, vitamin D, and exercise. According to a study published in Joint, Bone, Spine out of France, oxytocin is one of the keys to keeping bones strong as one ages. The more oxytocin in the bloodstream the better. The great news is that it is easy to get more of this wonder chemical flowing through your veins. Hugging, holding hands, cuddling, smiling at each other, looking into each others eyes, massage, and more, all increase oxytocin. The highest levels, though, are after sexual intercourse/orgasm. Make sure you get plenty of calcium, but add regular doses of sex as well.

4) A major part of overall health – and thus with an impact on the quality of your sex life – is what you eat. Numerous studies have shown that Americans especially are not making the best choices when it comes to our menus. What impact does our diet have in regards to our sex lives? According to an article at sheknows.com, a plant-strong diet is a great enhancement. It helps clear your arteries so your blood flows freely – something vital to the best sexual pleasure. Increasing plant-based foods in your diet also helps with weight-loss and control. There is much evidence that obesity has a very detrimental effect on quality of sex. There is even evidence that a plant-strong diet improves body odor and what spouse does not appreciate that during times of intimacy. Check out this link for ways to add more fruits and veggies into your diet.

The Amazing Penis

When Jesus created all things, He designed each thing with a specific purpose. Though she references an evolutionary process, this is a fascinating TED talk by Biologist, Dr. Diane Kelly on the structure of the penis and how it is absolutely unique in the world of biology. Spend a few minutes to watch this talk on the amazing penis, and share it with your friends (at least those who wouldn’t freak out about it.)

As Christians, rather than consider the male sexual anatomy (or any other body part for that matter), the result of random mutations, we choose to see this as more evidence of a loving Creator who had plans in mind and designed biological systems to carry out those plans perfectly. We already thank God for great married sex. Now we can even praise Him for the specific designs of the parts of our anatomies made for this purpose, including the amazing penis.

Your Health and Your Sex – Part 5

by Karl Leukert

When God created Adam and Eve, He designed them perfect, including their amazingly complex sexual interactions. This series has been exploring the research that reveals more of the benefits He designed for all couples. This is the fifth part of this series on Your Health and Your Sex. You can read previous parts here: PART ONE, PART TWO, PART THREE, PART FOUR.

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1) A recent Google search of the term “sleep deprivation effects” yielded nearly 1,280,000 results. It seems that nearly every week a fresh news story comes out about the damage we Americans are inflicting on ourselves by our lack of adequate sleep. It turns out, there is one more bit of damage to add to the list, and hopefully this one will cause some additional sleep when the other study results have not. In an article published in 2015 in the Journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine, sleep has a direct correlation to sexual likelihood as well as enjoyment. Now, we need to hasten to add that the study done was using college age females. However, the results are significant – a one-hour increase in sleep resulted in better genital arousal the next day and a 14% greater likelihood “of engaging in partnered sexual activity.” Considering other studies that show that healthy marriages already have a greater frequency of sex and report a more satisfying sex life than single college girls, the one extra hour could have an even greater benefit for them. Husbands, do all you can to help this happen! Help with the household chores. Take burdens off your wife and make sure she gets her sleep.

2) For most wives, when they get pregnant, it is happiest time(s) of their lives (except for the morning sickness, clothes not fitting right, false labor, REAL LABOR!!!!!) Well, you understand. But, for a small percentage – 3%-5% – it can be life threatening due to a condition called pre-eclampsia. Symptoms include increased blood pressure and protein in the urine and, in some cases, can cause seizures and death. We thank God that He planned ahead for this problem. According to Danish research, frequent sex with the father of the child before conception (as typically happens in marriage) greatly reduces the possibility that the mother will develop this condition. This is due to the HLA-G protein that is present in the father’s sperm. The pre-eclampsia condition is an immune response to what the mother’s body thinks is a foreign body – the baby. If she has had repeated exposure to his sperm, her immune system recognizes similarities in the HLA-G and the baby and will not react the same. There is also some anecdotal evidence that the most beneficial introduction of the sperm is through oral ingestion.

3) We met while we were in college – Sharon a Journalism major and Karl studying Broadcasting. One of the things that attracted Sharon to me (yep, Karl is writing this), was that during Intro to Speech class I did not stay behind the lectern but stood beside it and moved around the platform when I spoke. She said she liked my confidence. Actually, neither one of us has ever been shy to be up front, but we know that some people are. One of the tricks 471-AncientPoetry3_zps785553a0that has been used for people who experience stage fright is to tell them to imagine everyone in their underwear. To me that would be scarier than I can imagine. It turns out that according to research published back in 2005 by Biologic Psychology, the best thing would be to have a great roll in the hay with your spouse before you have to speak. Scientists studied the effects on blood pressure during stressful situations after three activities – masturbation, partnered sexual activity with no penile vaginal intercourse (PVI), and PVI. Discounting all other factors, the couples who reported regular PVI and not other sexual activity showed significantly lower blood pressure reactivity. Have more sex – lower your blood pressure. That’s a great prescription!

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Marriage Maintenance

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

Maintenance is boring UNTIL something breaks down.

These 5 tips are routine maintenance healthy couples follow to stay happy:

1) They tackle problems.

Problems are a reality of life.

Some come from the inside our marriage relationship and others from the outside.

Doesn’t matter whether they’re internal or external, problems must be dealt with.

Healthy couples stay happy because they tackle problems – they don’t stick their heads in the sand.

2) They understand.

Next time you’re disappointed, upset or frustrated with your spouse, try to understand where they’re coming from.

Do what grown ups do: Start a conversation.

Think twice before assuming, attacking or accusing.

You might discover it’s just a simple misunderstanding.

How do you keep from having full-blown, in-your-face conflicts? By dealing with simple misunderstandings along the way.

Healthy couples stay happy because they seek to understand each other.

3) They act.

We have a tendency to react to our environments and relationships.

The challenge is that if this becomes a dominant pattern in our marriage, we can easily create a marital environment where we all we’re doing is reacting to problems.

It’s good to remember that marriage isn’t always about solving problems.

Marriage is about celebrating life and love, which is a pattern of action that keeps love ignited.

So come up with special dates or surprises for your partner; recreate romantic moments.

Be active, not reactionary.

Healthy couples stay happy because they take action to savor life and love.

4) They express their feelings.

Don’t assume your spouse knows you love them.

Healthy couples stay happy because they demonstrate their love routinely.

5. They make love.

If sexual fulfillment is weak or missing from your marriage, your relationship is unhealthy.

Granted, there are situations where, due to a medical situation, sexual intimacy might be lacking.

But generally speaking, a sexless marriage is an unhealthy marriage.

But before blaming your partner for drop-kicking your relationship into the “friend zone” where you behave more like roommates than lovers, evaluate your own behavior to see if anything might be throwing cold water on the fires of sexual intimacy.

Healthy couples stay happy because they enjoy mutually satisfying sex.

These are a few ways healthy couples stay happy.

If things aren’t running as smoothly as you would like, then maybe it’s time for a little routine maintenance.

Your Health and Your Sex – Part 4

by Karl Leukert

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 FOUR of some of the reasons with links to the source material so you can read them for yourself. (Read part one HERE, part two HERE, and part three HERE.)

1) In an Unashamed Marriage, we believe that God intended husbands and wives to enjoy a wide variety of sexual enjoyment. However, we advise that it was God’s design that penile-vaginal intercourse be the main activity in marriage. His first command to Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and 7ad2135189b73ea0cce17c70a53d90d3multiply and there was only one way for that to happen. Once again, science confirms the benefits of this original plan. In the linked study, it shows the results of research that correlated all of the studies done on the benefits of various types of sexual activities. What was shown was that of all activity, regular intercourse is the most health producing sexual activity you can engage in. Condom use reduces this somewhat. “Other sexual activities have weaker, no, or (in the cases of masturbation and anal intercourse) inverse associations with health indices.” This is one more reason why pornography and masturbation should not be part of an Unashamed Marriage.

2) Numerous scientific studies have shown that women tend to live longer than men do. For wives, there are a number of thing they can do to help their husbands “catch up” to them in longevity. Of course exercise, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of rest, etc., we all know. But, according to a study in South Wales, the greater the frequency of sex, the longer men tend to live, taking into account all other factors. Wives, you may not want your husbands to read this. Look at this response to the abstract posting from a doctor.

Dear Sirs:

Over the years I have found an effective method of educating my patients is to make a copy of the first page of selected journal articles regarding topics which I feel are important to their health.

This has proven to be a useful way to motivate patients to make changes in their lifestyle, or to accept new therapies. There is something about seeing a recommendation in writing with the title of the journal at the top of the page that seems to motivate patients better than just the doctor’s word.

I recently made a copy of Dr. George Smith’s article on “sex and death”, and presented a copy to several of my married female patients for their opinion as to it’s usefulness.

I was caught completely off guard by their response. I was informed in no uncertain terms that if their husbands were ever made aware of this article or given a copy, I would have a very unhappy patient on my hands.

I have since taken a random survey of several more married female patients and hospital employees, and have found almost unanimous agreement with the sentiments of my initial group of patients. Several individuals felt this information might even lead to a deterioration in their marital relationship.

Hence, although this article presents some very interesting statistical data, it may not have a lot of practical significance in the real world, at least in one area of rural USA.

Sincerely,

Gary W. Berger, M.D.

3) Every year in the United States, billions of dollars is spent trying to discover the fountain of youth. Many women think they have discovered it in a syringe filled with Botox. According to recent research in Scotland, instead of a fountain, it may actually be springs of youth, as in bed springs. Over 10 years, scientists have had 3,500 individuals from Europe and America ranging in age from 20 to 104 come into interview rooms where they asked them a series of questions about their lifestyles. While this was taking place they were being watched through a 2-way mirror by volunteer judges who were guessing their ages. When all the data was tabulated, it was discovered that the people watching guessed the ages on average 7 to 12 years younger than the participants actual ages. Of all the things that was a determining factor in the appearance of youth, regular sexual activity was the second most important behind overall health, with a 3 times a week being the optimum frequency. The research also indicated that casual sex doesn’t count in providing this benefit. It only occurs in a long-term committed relationship – LIKE MARRIAGE!

Your Health and Your Sex – Part 3

by Karl Leukert

How important is it to remain sexually active as we age? We have two sections on this in this. Read on to also find out how sex can actually make you smarter. (Read part one HERE and part two HERE.)

1) One of the unfortunate parts of aging is that certain activities – including sex – tend to go through change. Frequency, intensity and duration of all physical exertion will diminish.But, according to a Dutch research study reported on in an article by the Wall Street Journal, if couples will continue to be sexually active or at least keep a positive attitude about their desire for and pleasure received from OlderCouple-©iStockphoto.comSTEEXtheir sexual activity, it will have a significant impact on their cognitive function later in life. According to the abstract of the study itself, “general cognitive functioning (Mini–Mental State Examination), memory performance (Auditory Verbal Learning Test), processing speed (Coding Task), and fluid intelligence (Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices),” all showed significant positive correlation, particularly for women. As you age, do all you can to remain sexually active and keep enjoying what God created to the full!

2) We don’t know what it is about the Dutch and sex research, but another study done there shows yet another amazing benefit that the Creator designed from husbands and wives enjoying knowing each other – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. According to the results of this study, when individuals are sexually aroused, even just thinking about sex, they score higher on tests requiring critical thinking skills. In other words, sex itself can make you smarter!

3) One more effect of aging, this one for men, is prostate issues. According to research, God made provision for this in that wives can help their husbands avoid this by making sure they have frequent sex. In fact, according to the numbers, the minimum goal should be 4 times a week. Now that is something to put on your calendar and plan for!

 

Your Health and Your Sex – Part 2

by Karl Leukert

More fascinating links between health and sex. Does an apple a day have an impact on sexual pleasure? How can sex impact migraine headaches? Read on for answers to these questions and more. (Read part one HERE.)

1) One of the complaints that many women typically have about their husbands is that they just won’t talk to them about deep emotional things. This, can cause serious strains when it comes to time in the bedroom because, especially for the wife, sex is a very emotional experience. But according to research, it is for men too! This is because during orgasm there is a large release of oxytocin – the bonding chemical. Because of this men are more open to talk about deeply intimate issues AFTER SEX than at other times. So wives, if you want deeper conversation with your feet-224680husband, take him deep in the sheets first.

2) We’ve all heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. While there is ample scientific proof that eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds will make us healthier, there is actually a study that was conducted in Italy that showed that, talking all other factors into consideration, women who eat an apple a day report an overall better sexual experience. Maybe that’s a better slogan for the apple growers!

3) For those individuals (mostly females, but some males as well) who suffer from migraine headaches, a cure is something they would give just about everything they own on earth to have. Until science discovers this, they look to various coping mechanisms to live with the condition. In our marriage, Karl is the one who has the “joy” of these debilitating episodes. For those who suffer with this condition, they learn their triggers, seek out the right medications or more natural therapies. According to research conducted in Germany, about 1/3 of sufferers should add sex with their spouses to their treatment options. (Actually the spouse part was not part of the research, but this is Unashamed Marriage.) If you have migraines and have not tried sex for relief, what have you got to lose? Oh, Karl was really bummed that he is not part of the third that gets relief, but we enjoyed trying – multiple times.

Your Health and Your Sex – part 1

by Karl Leukert

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.