Encouragement: Giving

Growing your friendship is one of the most important things you can do for your marriage. And one of the best steps you can take to increase your friendship is to appreciate your spouse on a regular basis. Simply taking time to recognize the little things they do and making mention of it can go a long way.

However, we’ve talked to a number of couples who struggle with encouraging one another in marriage. The struggle usually has the possibility of two sides, 1. a spouse who doesn’t know how to genuinely encourage and compliment their spouse and/or 2. a spouse who doesn’t know how to receive and accept the compliments from their spouse.

Today we are going to share a few ideas about how to compliment and appreciate your spouse.

1. Be Specific – Consider the “why” not just the “what”

There’s a reason a declaration of “You’re amazing!” from Justin never really satisfies me as much as “The way you keep our house running means so much to me.” Specificity! The more specific a compliment is, the bigger the benefit. If you are a person who struggles to know how to compliment and encourage your spouse, look at the things they do and uncover the reason why they do them.

2. Be genuine – No flattery allowed!

Right along with being specific is being genuine. Time and time again we talk with couples in which the husband tries to tell the woman that she is beautiful but she just won’t believe it. We will talk more about how to receive compliments tomorrow but want to add this, a wife wants to know why she is beautiful. “You are the most gorgeous woman” is harder for most women to accept than, “The way your hips sway side to side is the most gorgeous movement I’ve ever seen.” The intent is the same in both cases but one sounds more like flattery than a specific and genuine reflection of the heart. Discovering how to be more genuine with your words takes some trial and error to see what works best for your spouse. But keep at it.  It may take some time, but you’ll continually learn what speaks love to your spouse.

3. Be Consistent

“Sometimes” and “Once in awhile” don’t count here. If you want to build your friendship and live in an encouraging marriage consistency is key. Recently, The Generous Wife offered a marriage challenge to “tell your husband one thing you love and admire about him”. She encouraged wives to do this everyday for a week. Building words of encouragement, specific compliments and genuine appreciation into the culture of your marriage will grow your marriage. Set up reminders for yourself. Be quick to compliment in the moment rather than waiting till later when your more likely to forget. Be a good at noticing things both big and small.

Every friendship needs encouragement and every marriage needs friendship. Learning how to make encouragement a regular part of your marriage will strengthen and sustain your marriage.

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1. Have you learned how your spouse best receives compliments?

2. What is one compliment he/she hasn’t heard in a long time? How you can creatively, and genuinely communicate to him/her this week?

Word Culture in Marriage

The words hung in the air. The kind of words that you regret as soon as they leave your mouth.

“Why? Why? Why did I just say that?”

Next to me sat the person who received the cut from the careless utterances, my husband.  I (Megan) know the great power of words yet I still mess up, I still get it wrong.  I know the sting of causing my husband, whom I love, pain.  Everyone who is married can relate.  Words have a way of getting away from us and those same words have an incredible power to affect our spouse deeply.

Assuming that you are as much a work in progress as I am, I wanted to share a few ideas about how to consider the power of the words we use in our marriages.

1. Become aware of the word culture in your marriage.

How much time do you spend speaking encouraging words to or about your spouse? So many times there are things we find endearing and enjoyable about our spouse but do we take time to share those things with our life partner? Never take for granted that your spouse “knows how you feel.” Give them assurances about how much you love them. There is a time and a place to talk to your spouse about changes that may be necessary, but building up your spouse on a regular basis will make those difficult conversations easier. Don’t underestimate the importance of complimenting and reminding your spouse of specific things you love, admire and enjoy about them.

What about the way you speak of relationships outside your marriage? Awareness is just one step towards understanding the word culture in your marriage. It is possible that you and your spouse speak well of each other yet maintain a negative attitude and speech pattern about other people in your life. While there is a time for “venting” and being vulnerable about frustrations and difficulties we face in life, trying to maintain a positive attitude about others will increase the positive affect in your own marriage.

2. Increase positivity in the speech patterns you uncover.

If you uncovered a pattern of speaking negatively about your spouse or others on a regular basis come up with concrete ways to change the bad habit. When you catch yourself becoming negative, complaining or being overly critical about your spouse or someone else, take a time out. What other factors are adding to the negativity? Are you tired, stressed out, feeling rejected or overwhelmed? These factors impact the way you speak and are often the root cause of what comes hurtling out of your mouth. The more in touch you become with why you are saying things the better able you are to make changes in your speech patterns.

3. Accept imperfect progress.(because after all, it is progress!)

Don’t be surprised by the internal resistance to changing speech patterns. Learning to be encouraging, affirming and positive with the words we speak is no easy task. There will be setbacks and missteps. Remembering that imperfect progress is better than no progress is important. When mistakes are made, taking responsibility and making mental notes to work on it benefit and build unity in marriage.

Learning to accept and offer grace continually is the backbone of a great marriage. Words become the vehicle through which grace can navigate into the unreached areas of our lives. Speak life into your marriage and keep working on it even when setbacks come your way.

 How about you? What are ways you have found that help you keep positive speech patterns in your marriage?

 

Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage: #4 Understand the Seasons

Phillip: “What are you doing?”

Janet: “What do you mean, ‘what am I doing?’  I’m sitting next to you on the couch as we watch TV.”

Phillip: “But you’re also putting your arm around me.”

Janet: *smiling* “Oh yeah. I thought I’d do that, too.”

Phillip: “I can’t even remember when the last time you’ve done that was.  What’s the occasion?”

Janet: “No special occasion.  I just wanted to be close to you.  That’s all.”

Phillip: “Well, I don’t want to offend you or anything.  But I think I’d rather have more room to stretch out.”

Janet: “Well, I don’t want to offend you or anything, but I thought maybe I’d turn off the TV and try to turn you on, instead.”

Phillip: “Sorry to say…but that’s just not going to happen.”

Janet: *playfully* “What?  You don’t think I can fulfill that goal?”

Phillip: “It’s not that.  I’m saying…I guess I don’t want you to try.”

Janet: “Why not?”

Phillip: “I’m not sure why.  Now, can we just get back to the movie?”

Janet: *turns TV off* “No, we can’t.  We obviously need to talk about this.”

Phillip: “About what?”

Janet: “About the fact that we haven’t had sex more than 1 time in the past 3 months.  In fact, we’ve rarely had sex at all the past year.  It’s gone way down, since…”

Phillip: “Since what?”

Janet: “Since you were ill.  That’s it.  We had a long break when you had all those health problems, and we never recovered.”

Phillip: “Recovered?”

Janet: “Yeah. Recovered.  You did…at least physically.  But we didn’t.”

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During the first five years of our marriage, Megan and I enjoyed life to the full.  We had no children and we spent vast amounts of time with one another.  We learned a lot about one another during that season in life, but as in every area of life, this season didn’t last.

Since that time we’ve become parents to two beautiful little girls.  Careers have changed.  Work hours have, too.  Times of sickness have invaded our lives.  Depression.  Hard struggles in our extended family.  Other struggles in our immediate one.  Yet through it all we’ve come to understand that various seasons in life will happen, and we’ve taken opportunity to not allow them to hinder our marriage in any way.

Our guess is we’re not alone.  You’ve also experienced difficult seasons of illness, depression, career changes and so on, too.  If you don’t take the time to think through and understand these seasons, some of them may hinder your marriage and sex life in profound ways.  But if you DO take the opportunity to think through and understand these seasons, you’ll learn a great deal about sexual freedom.  In fact, here are few things to consider when different seasons come your way:

You are free to please your spouse:

When your spouse is struggling with a pretty significant illness, it’s still quite likely you are able to sexually arouse and please him/her.  Whether it’s recent surgery, a broken limb or back problems, it’s still quite possible for you to experience full-blown intercourse.  Simply work together to find a position that is relaxing for them yet gives you full control of your time together.  Openly talk through what’s working and what isn’t, and do you best to connect as often as possible.  If full intercourse isn’t a possibility, then strongly consider taking opportunities to orally stimulate him/her to climax.

In seasons such as this, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that one of your primary roles in marriage is to serve your spouse.  Men have a responsibility to serve their wife by loving, caring and providing for them.  And men have a responsibility to serve their wife sexually as well.  Women share an equal responsibility.  As the Scriptures say:

2 Corinthians 7:3-4 (NLT)

3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

You are free to do it morning, noon, or night:

It seems odd that we even need to say this, but we feel we must.  If something like a career change or work hours is hindering your sex life, remember that sex doesn’t need to only occur after dark in a locked bedroom.  You can wake up a little early and enjoy a quick romp in the shower.  Once a week you can take a long lunch break and connect at home.  Husband, you can rent a hotel for a day and meet her there after meeting a business client there for lunch.  Wives, you can walk into his study/den and lock the door behind you and give him a lap dance he’ll never forget.  Just remember that pure sexual freedom frees you from engaging sexually in the same place at the same time in the same way every single time you connect.

You are free to get help:

Far too many marriages today are struggling, and far too many of those are too proud to ask for help.  Men, for the most part, are embarrassed to admit to a pastor or counselor that their marriage isn’t going so well.  (Yes, we acknowledge some women experience embarrassment and pride, too.)  This embarrassment often leads to a very unsatisfying marriage.  So our advice to you, is to get help.  It never hurts to have a trustworthy pastor or counselor talk through your marriage and sex life with you.  In fact, couples who have a rough patch yet agree to work on it together often have a longer, more fulfilling marriage than couples who (in pride) agree to stay together but not seek help.

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In short, seasons will come and seasons will go.  And in order to maintain sexual fulfillment throughout the entirety of your marriage, you need to remember that you have a responsibility to sexually please your spouse and that responsibility can be fulfilled in a variety of ways.  And if you struggle to fulfill that responsibility – if you struggle to get on the same page in any area of your marriage – seeking help doesn’t make you a failure in any way.  In fact, seeking help makes you a hero, showing that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to fight for the sanctity of marriage.

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This is Part 4 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.

Part 1: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom In Marriage #1 – Believe

Part 2: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #2 – Silence Outside Voices

Part 3: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #3 – Bring the Awesomeness

Part 4: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #4 – Understand the Seasons

Part 5: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #5 – Create Opportunities

 

Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below, or discuss them with your spouse.

  1. What is the most difficult ‘season’ you have gone through in your marriage?  Did it have a negative sexual impact?
  2. What is another “you are free to __________” point you think couples should remember when experiencing different seasons?
  3. Discuss with your spouse: If there’s just one thing I could do this week to serve you in a sexual way, what would it be?

Marriage Challenge: Weird but True

Our kids are fascinated with the National Geographic Kids book series Weird but True!  The books site interesting facts like:

“Slugs have 3,000 teeth and 4 noses.”

“Hot dogs can last more than 20 years in landfills.”

“A Canadian woman rode a motorized toilet up to 46 miles an hour!”

We know, fascinating facts here people!

So what does this have to do with marriage? Well, when you were dating and first got married, you enjoyed learning about your spouse. You found their likes, dislikes, habits and idiosyncrasies fascinating.  Over the years though, the facts you once found to be “weird but true” have become “weird and annoying”. Instead of accepting your spouse and their differences you want to change them. A simple laugh and occasional eye roll have become full blown gripes, disrespect and a source of misery in your marriage.

The marriage challenge today is this: acceptance.  Accept your spouse as a unique individual. Are they flawed? You bet! And so are you. This is not to say that open communication and confrontation have no place in dealing with marital strife but it is to say that many things in life are not really “big things”.  Instead of looking at the things your spouse does as “weird and annoying” choose to let those things become reason to laugh at your differences, accept their flaws and push towards a greater level of love.  On the plus side, if you send less time griping complaining and fighting about the little annoyances, maybe you”ll have time to build a motorized toilet that can go even faster!

Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage: #3 Bring the Awesomeness

James: “Well that was pretty amazing.”

Rachel: “Really, you didn’t find it just OK?”

James: “Babe, you’re definitely much more than ‘just OK’ in bed.  Trust me, that rocked.  I mean, at least it did for me.  Was it good for you?”

Rachel: “Fabulous.  Just fabulous.  I’m not sure when the last time my heart rate got up that high.  Except for maybe last night!  *Laughs*

James: “Yeah, that was a good time, too.  Hey, how about we do something different tomorrow night, but reengage …let’s say, two nights from now?”

Rachel: “Good for me.  Whew!  It’ll be good to take a breather.  Just don’t forget about me.”

James: “Forget?  How can I forget?!”

James and Rachel quietly fell into a deep sleep.  The next morning before driving to work, James discovered a small envelope taped to the steering wheel of his car.  He opened it up and there inside was a hand-drawn sketch of the next position Rachel wanted to experiment with the next time they connect.  At the bottom was a small note – “I’m not sure how fulfilling this will be for me, but I think you’ll really like it.  If you decide to not wait until tomorrow, I understand.”

James and Rachel did wait until the next day, and by then James had made some minor modifications to Rachel’s sketch.  He, too, left a small note, using verbiage they and only they share with one another when the moment is right.  On this occasion, the moment was right.  Rachel arranged for child care and when James arrived home they enjoyed one another freely, and then stayed awake into the middle of the night, discussing their hopes, fears, and dreams…all the while knowing they were already fulfilling them all.

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In this series we’ve been discussing the possibility of not just experiencing, but sustaining sexual freedom in your marriage.  In our first post we discussed the need to believe that sexual freedom is possible.  In our second we discussed the importance of silencing outside voices.  Today we want to discuss something that can be a little more controversial, the art of sexual experimentation.

In fact, a reader recently asked a pretty important question.  They noted that blogs such as this one have been a tremendous resource and that their sex life has increased exponentially.  However, they also asked a tough question that goes something like this, “How much of this kind of reading can I do before I become too overwhelming in my sexual desire for my spouse?  At the same time, how can we keep the current excitement we have going without reverting to a season of much less sexual gratification?”

With questions such as these tied in with the subject of sexual experimentation, there’s a lot to talk about.  However, while MUCH could be said, we’re going to keep this post as simplistic as we can.

1. Experiment ONLY in ways you and your spouse agree

Whether you’ve been married one year, five years, or twenty, there’s a possibility that you both have thought of trying something different, but you’ve never discussed it for fear of how your spouse may respond. Maybe it’s a new position to try out.  Maybe it’s how you go about having “conversation” while you’re together.  Maybe it’s about trying a new element of foreplay, or oral sex.

Whatever it is, maybe you haven’t asked because you know your spouse very well and your fears are based on some pretty good evidence or conversations from the past.  If that’s the case and you continue to be sexually fulfilled, perhaps it’s best to not ask about exploring in some new way.  However, if you’re not asking because you’re just not sure how they’ll respond, then take the opportunity to ask.  If you’re not willing to freely discuss your sexual boundaries with one another, you’re not likely to discover full-fledged sexual freedom anytime soon.  Discuss oral sex.  (In fact, some other great Christian blog authors have written some pretty poignant posts on the subject.  Here’s one.  Here’s another.)  Discuss various positions to try out together.  Discuss everything and ONLY experiment with what you both agree to.

What should you agree to?  Well, we won’t get into too many details, but you should only agree to what you both believe are God-honoring acts.  We’ve been asked a number of questions about anal sex, pornography, sex toys, among others.  As for the first, God didn’t design the human body in this way for human sexuality.  As for the second, it’s a terrible industry.  And if the husband asks to do something really, really out there, then there’s a chance he’s been peeking at porn on the side and needs some good counseling.  As for the third, we don’t want to say that they’re *always* ungodly, as you may one day find a legitimate need.  But if you can just use flesh on flesh to please one another, go for it.

In short, openly discuss ways in which you can both agree to touch, kiss, suck, bend, twist, thrust any way you like.  You’ll likely find her favorite 1, 2 or 3 positions and he will too.  But you may find something new that you can go back to on some special occasions….and maybe even more regularly.

Now you may be thinking, “We don’t even know where to go to get ‘appropriate’ ideas!”  Well, this is where the subject can get more controversial.  That word ‘appropriate’ can be defined differently, for sure.  If you find these recommendations untasteful, forgive us.  One, check out the iKamasutra app for iphone, ipad, etc.  It’s likely available for Android/Windows Phone as well.  Additionally, here are a number of shopping sites recommended by our friends at The Marriage Bed.  Just remember to agree on everything you decide to purchase, and then begin playfully experimenting for the benefit of both parties.

2. Be certain to maintain self-control

How can you know if you’re becoming too overwhelming in your desire for one another?  Well, chances are your spouse will tell you if you’re coming on a bit too strong.  Not only that, but if you discover that more often than not you’re totally into sex solely for your own pleasure and you’re not paying any attention to your spouse, you’re probably not maintaining an appropriate boundary for your sex life.  However, if you’re both openly and freely enjoying one another and not pressuring him/her or becoming self-absorbed, no worries.  “Eat, friends!  Drink, be intoxicated with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1)

3. Bring the awesomeness

We recently watched a short satirical video that had this tagline.  Whoever designed it did their job well, because it stuck.

You may be in a position (pun intended) where don’t feel the need to experiment or do anything different.  You’re completely and totally sexually satisfied right where you are.  That’s great.  Keep at it.  Connect regularly.  Keep bringing the awesomeness and there’s no way you’ll revert to a time when sex doesn’t come freely.  Just bring the awesomeness, and like James and Rachel, you’ll be living free and looking forward to whatever comes next.

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This is Part 3 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.

Part 1: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom In Marriage #1 – Believe

Part 2: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #2 – Silence Outside Voices

Part 3: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #3 – Bring the Awesomeness

Part 4: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #4 – Understand the Seasons

Part 5: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #5 – Create Opportunities

 

Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below, or discuss them with your spouse.

  1. Why do you think couples shy away from openly discussing how they can better fulfill one another sexually?
  2. What are 3 ways this series has helped you think about not just experiencing, but sustaining sexual freedom in your marriage?
  3. Discuss with your spouse: If there’s just one thing I could do this week to “Bring the Awesomeness” in bed, what would it be?

2014: The Year of Friendship

We wanted to start off the new year by being a little transparent.  2013 was a rough year for our family.  Probably the most challenging year we’ve ever experienced.  We’ve seen a family member we love very much suffer from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  She’s gone from having laugh-filled conversations to needing a feeding tube and an inability to speak or move within a year’s time.  And her diagnosis was just the start to our 2013.  We’ve had other family members we love very much commit adultery against their spouse.  In one of those situations divorce immediately followed.  In another, something much different. Polygamy.  And no, we’re not making this up.  It all happened, and to be completely honest, it’s not getting any better.  Family members we dearly love have essentially cut-off communication with us and many others.

While none of these situations have occurred under our own roof, the impact it’s had in our lives is tremendous.  We’ve re-learned a valuable life lesson: The decisions we make don’t only impact our own lives, but the lives of everyone around us.  In fact, if there’s one thing we hope you take from this post it’s this:
Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 11.12.38 AMYou may want to write it down on an index card and put it on your bathroom mirror so you can memorize it.  The decisions you make will not only impact your own life, but the lives of others around you.

Where exactly are we going with this?  Well, if there’s just one New Year’s Resolution you can make this year, if there’s just one thing about your marriage you can look to change or improve, make it your friendship.  Make the decision today to become a better friend to your spouse.

Outside of improving your relationship with God, this is the one decision you can make that will have the greatest impact in your life.  It will impact yourself, your spouse, your children, and everybody else you come in contact with on a regular basis.

Some of you may be reading this and you’re thinking, “That’s a great idea, but HOW can I become a better friend for my spouse?”  Well, there’s no easy answer to that question.  You know him/her better than we do.  All we can do is offer a few suggestions.

1. Find something in common you enjoy doing together.

Megan and I are about as different as two people can be.  Many of the interests and hobbies I have are completely uninteresting to her.  Likewise, many of the interests and hobbies she has are completely uninteresting to me.  So over the years we’ve worked really hard on finding some things we enjoy doing together.  One is that we work on this blog…together.  Another is that every year we read at least one book on the subject of marriage, and we discuss it…together.  We’ve also found some specific games that we can both enjoy…together.  Through this process we’ve both put aside some of our personal interests for the sake of our own friendship.  This decision helped us get through the challenges we experienced in 2013…together.

If you’re anything like us and you don’t feel that you have much in common with your spouse, take some opportunities this year to work on that.  You’ll both have to give up some things in the process, but the end result will greatly benefit your marriage.

2. Grow in your love and knowledge of God.

There are a whole bunch of One Year Bible Reading plans online.  Most people fizzle out somewhere around Leviticus.  Others keep going and learn a whole lot about themselves and the plan God has for their life.  Dare I say it, but these are the ones that usually have stronger marriages, too.

If you’re never read the entire Bible, start with the New Testament, then go to the Old.  Or if you’d like, find a reading plan that includes something from the Old Testament / New Testament / Psalms / Proverbs each day.  Or find some other Bible and/or Marriage study to work on with your spouse, together.  Taking daily, or at least weekly opportunities to talk about what you’re learning will help your marriage grow to a whole new level.

3. Enjoy sex together regularly.

Need we say more?  OK, we will.  Sex can be done for a number of wrong reasons in a marriage.  It can be used as a control mechanism to selfishly get what you want in another area of your relationship.  It can be used for your own personal fulfillment and not the fulfillment of your spouse.  It can be used in a number of ways that can bring more harm to your relationship than benefit.  But it can also be used to reconnect.  To reaffirm your love for one another.  To remind your spouse that your main desire in life is for their satisfaction, pleasure and joy.  To remind you both that you’re in this life together.  That you’re one flesh.

If you’re not connecting on a sexual basis regularly (and by regularly we mean at least 1-2 times a week), make that a goal for 2014.  Here’s a good read for the month of January to help you start the new year off right.

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There’s just one more thing we wish to note on this subject of friendship: every marriage we’ve seen fail has failed because the friendship failed.  Think about all the couples you know who have had their marriage fail.  Were they good friends?  Or did somebody make a decision to become better friends with somebody of the opposite sex instead of becoming a better friend to their spouse?

Make the decision to improve your friendship this year.  Your friendship is THE decision that will most greatly impact your marriage and the lives of everybody around you.  So what are you waiting for?  Don’t just be there, be their friend.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~Elbert Hubbard

Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom: #5 Busyness

Emma: “Don’t forget that you’re taking the kids to soccer tonight.”

Joshua: “Both of them?”

Emma: “Yes, both of them. Just play on the playground with the little one while David practices with his team.”

Joshua: “And what are you up to tonight, again?”

Emma: “The girls in our Bible Study are meeting for dinner, remember?”

Joshua: “Now that you say it, I do remember.”

Emma: “Oh, and don’t forget that Wednesday night you need to take mom to the store.  Her car broke down.”

Joshua: *sarcastically* “Great.”

Emma: “And Thursday night we’re meeting the Robinson family for dinner.”

Joshua: “Ok…got it.  And Friday…?”

Emma: “There’s nothing currently scheduled Friday evening, but we’ve got stuff scheduled soccerall day Saturday.”

Joshua: “What in the world is going on Saturday?!  I was planning to…”

Emma: “Honey, we’ve talked about this. We’re going hiking in the morning with the kids and then we’ve got two different birthday parties in the afternoon.”

Joshua: “When are we going to have some time just for us?”

Emma: “Ha!  That’s hilarious!  Time for us…when we’ve got kids at this age we don’t have ‘time for us.'”

Joshua: “Well we schedule in everything else.  Maybe we should schedule in some ‘time for us.’  I mean, why not?”

Emma: “Sure, we can schedule in a date sometime if you want to try.”

Joshua: “That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about ‘time for us’.  You know…bow-chicka-bow…”

Emma: “Very mature, honey.  And for the record that’s not something you schedule in.”

Joshua: “Why not?”

Emma: “I’m not sure…but it’s just not.  Crap!  I’m late…I’ll see you later.  Don’t forget the kids’ water bottles for practice tonight.”

Joshua: “Hey don’t forget we need to…” *Watches Emma drive away and hangs his head low, then says quietly to himself* “We need to schedule some time for us.”

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I (Justin) have a terrible confession to make.  I haven’t seen one of my grandmothers in over a year.  True story…I haven’t seen her in over a year.  That may not sound too bad if I told you she lives out of state, but guess what, she lives just ten minutes from where I’m currently sitting.  To make it worse, she lives less than ten minutes from my office.  Please don’t judge me.

Every single time I think about stopping by to visit I’ve got something else on my plate.  And the past couple of times I’ve called her to schedule a time to stop by, she’s had something else on her plate.  Ridiculous isn’t it?  That my grandmother and I haven’t found a way to enjoy a cup of coffee and good conversation for over a year?  Of course it is.

You know what’s more ridiculous?  A couple unable to regularly connect sexually because their lives are too full of other activities.  What’s weird is that their lives are full of what they think are ‘good’ activities.  The kids soccer / basketball / baseball / football / wrestling / dancing programs.  The Bible Studies.  The visits with other families.   The parent/teacher meetings.  The birthday parties for the kids’ friends.  And just like that this couple begins to wonder why they’re so tired.  Why they feel so busy.  And though neither of them will actually admit it, why they feel so sexually malnourished.

Listen, because this is insanely important.  We know that some of you are that couple.  And we’re not telling you something you don’t already know.  You know your life is busy.  You know you and your spouse *could* have more time to connect.  You know there are other things in your life you *could* give up.  You know it.  You just haven’t given them up, because they’re good things.  Right?
Well, this has pretty much been our point throughout this entire series.  What is good / better / best for you, your family, your marriage and your sex life?  For example, let’s have a quick experiment.  Stop reading this right now and pull out your calendar.  We’re serious…get your calendar.  If it’s online, then open it up in another tab.  Or grab your phone…just take a second and get your calendar out.
OK, welcome back.  Now, take a look at everything currently scheduled on your calendar.  Our guess is you schedule in the things that are most important to you.  By looking at your calendar, what’s most important?  Is it the kids?  Is it your career?  Is it…yourself?  Or are you SO busy you’re not even sure what’s most important to you any more?
Now, let’s think about this in such a way that we you can re-prioritize some things if you so feel the need to.  Simply take the opportunity to answer the following statements below by filling in each blank with the word “good”, “better” or “best”.

  1. I do a _______ job of ensuring my spouse is more important than my job.
  2. I do a _______ job of ensuring my spouse is more important than the kids.
  3. I do a _______ job of ensuring we make time to sexually connect on a regular basis.
  4. I do a _______ job of saying ‘no’ to good things so I can say ‘yes’ to better/best things.
  5. I do a _______ job of not just connecting with my spouse, but ensuring they’re sexually fulfilled.

Sure, we could ask more questions, but that should give you plenty to think about this week. And just so you know, there’s nothing wrong with scheduling in some time to sexually connect with your spouse. In fact, get that calendar out again.  Pick a day and write in, “Sexual surprise.”  Get a new outfit if you want.  Or plan to try something a little different.  Just schedule in a time to surprise your spouse sexually.  They’ll be glad you did.

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This is Part 5 in our series on Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.  And stay tuned for our next series: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.

Part 1: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #1 – Ego

Part 2: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #2 – Personal Interests

Part 3: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #3 – Sexual Past

Part 4: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #4 – Inhibitions

Part 5: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #5 – Busyness