- Selling Divorce
For many severely conflicted couples, divorce seems to promise peace from the infighting, a fresh start, the hope of new love, and a kind of “reset button” for life. Many buy into the idea that ending a marriage is a viable way to solve relationship problems.
Besides, you reason, it will ultimately be better for all, and the kids will make it—kids are resilient. And you won’t have to look for to find voices to side with you. People who love you will give you a biased shoulder to cry on; they want you to feel loved and supported. But don’t be quick to listen to your personal fan club. They are not objective; they are out to protect and rescue you. People like this will always urge you to divorce if they believe you are suffering emotionally in your marriage.
- Marriage is a Marathon
Sprints and marathons are two distinctly different races. In a sprint, one of the most critical elements is the start. Runners practice for hours on end getting into those little blocks and bursting out the very nanosecond the gun goes off. Why? Because if you falter in the start, you don’t stand a chance of winning the race.
On the other hand, the starts of marathons are not that important at all. Most runners are just standing around waiting for the gun to go off. Truth is, you could fall down, have three guys run over you, get up, and still win the race. It’s not the start that is so important; it is the endurance.
- The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Whether you marriage is good, bad, or just plain ugly, there is always hope to make it great. But great does not come easily.
Great marriages take courage. When we think of courage, we generally think of the policemen and firemen who ran into the Twin Towers, or of a person diving into an icy pond to save a friend, or of a soldier on the front lines of battle. Most of us don’t think of courage when it comes to facing our everyday stuff, such as our marriage or raising kids. But it takes great courage to build relational intimacy, which is the oxygen of a marriage. It takes an enormous amount of courage to say, “This marriage is in trouble and we need to do something about it.” It’s much easier to put your troubles on the back burner, engage in the rough-and-tumble of life, and hope things will sort of work themselves out. Running from problems is always easier than solving them. But courage is willing to put on the gloves and say, “Let’s fight for this marriage.”
- Don’t Go Sexless—Part Two
In my last post, I began explaining a simple solution to head off the problem of sexless marriage. I pointed out how couples, generally, get to sexless when one person unilaterally decides to say, “no” to the sexual advances of the other—and sometimes for legitimate reasons. But I went on to reason that simply saying, “no” isn’t the answer and that it will actually work against getting the improvements you want in the relationship. You need to answer a request for sex from your spouse with some version of “yes”. If you haven’t read Part One, (add link) do so before you continue on.
Let’s go back to the previous examples I gave in Part One—lack of hygiene and when the sex is “one sided”—to address how to use my “some version of yes” solution. If your hubby can’t seem to find the shower or toothbrush prior to jumping into bed for a session of lovemaking, don’t roll over in a huff and bark, “No! Get away!” at him, or pretend you are already sleeping. Simply smile and say, “Yes, dear! I’ll rock your world, just as soon as you shower and brush your teeth. Come see me when you’re squeaky clean, and I’ll put a big ol’ grin on your face.” See, the solution? Do you see how it will end in an entirely different way? For the wife to just say, “no” and roll over leaves the poor guy shot down in flames and leads to ill feelings and a strained relationship for both of you.
- Don’t Go Sexless—Part One
The big trend today is to go “-less”. The grocery stores want us to go “bag-less” and bring our own totes. Companies ask us to go “paperless” and pay our bills online. Of course most of us have gone “wireless” long ago, but there is one area of married life people shouldn’t go “-less” in…and that’s sex. Yet, according to surveys, an estimated 20 million couples have done exactly that.
Sexless marriage is defined as having sex less than ten times a year. Some couples say it’s a lack of time. If that’s you, read my post on Scheduling Sex. Others say they lack desire. For those of you stuck on that one, read the posts The Desire Myth and Sometimes Sex is Just Sex. Sex is very important in a marriage and I’ve written additional articles on the subject that you should check out in the archives of my Marriage Insights Blog.
- Scrambled Eggs
For the past few years I have been answering questions from listeners on my daily program The Mark Gungor Show. We receive a wide range of issues from people all over the world who tune in asking for advice on dating, sex, parenting, theology, in-laws…you name it, we get it. My answers are brutally honest, biblically based, common sense (which isn’t so common) and quite hilarious at times. In the many, many questions we get, one theme is extremely common: “Pastor, how can I unscramble the eggs?”
Let me explain.
A lot of dilemmas that people find themselves in stem from their own choices, actions and behaviors. Maybe they were sexually promiscuous for years, went down the path of viewing pornography and masturbating since they were teenagers, neglected their marriage and treated their spouse horribly, committed adultery, got divorced, entered into a step-family situation…the list can go on. The source or cause of the current issues and problems can be interchangeable, but the same question comes forth. They want to know how they can fix it, undo it and “make it normal”.
- Do The Math
It seems as though too many people in our culture are not able to do the math when it comes to the following simple word problems:
If Person A doesn’t get married and have a child until 30-35 years of age, and then that child also waits until 30-35 years of age to marry and have a child, just how old will Person A be when he/she becomes a grandparent? How old will Person A be when he/she can actually have a meaningful conversation with said grandchild?
Now, let’s change the numbers a bit:
If Person B gets married and has a child at 18-22 years of age, and then that child also gets married and has a child at 18-22 years of age, how old will Person B be when he/she becomes a grandparent? How old will Person B be when he/she can actually have a meaningful conversation with said grandchild?
- It’s NOT Just a Bunny
Most people don’t understand the power of sex. Our culture has poisoned their thinking and they’ve bought the lie that sex is just something you do because it’s exciting and feels good. Most people are totally unaware of the consequences of being sexually involved with another person.
In previous blog posts, I wrote about the power of “sexual imprinting” and how “sex can make you stupid”. But as I keep hearing more and more stories of couples who are having troubles when it comes to their sex lives, I’m convinced that we are clueless about the ramifications of sex done the wrong way instead of the right way—God’s way. We have to start connecting the dots, folks. How you behave sexually outside of marriage has an impact on sex inside your marriage. It’s an important message that we must get out to our Christian young people.
- Selfishness in Marriage
All marriages start off very selfishly. When a couple begins dating, it is generally all about each person’s own interests. “I like what you do for me. I like the way you make me feel. When I’m with you I’m happy. You make me feel validated.” At the beginning, marriage really is the ultimate in narcissistic expression. The reason you are getting married is because of what he/she does for you. And it’s the same for the other person. It’s all about me, me, me!
But then you get these two me, me, me people together and something has to give. Marriages where couples are able to make the transition from selfish, me-centered thinking, the ones where the husband and wife realize that they can’t get everything they want, are the ones that make it. The marriages where couples can’t do that…and many people don’t…are the ones that fall apart.
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- How Do I Fix It?
–“Pastor, I had an affair and am trying to restore my marriage but even after three years, things still are still really difficult. What can we do to make things right again?”
–“ I was so busy with raising children and I didn’t have much time for sex but now that we’re empty nesters my husband isn’t really interested in pursuing our sex life. How do we get back to the way it used to be?”
–“My wife was sexually active with other guys before we married and it has really impacted our life now. What can we do to overcome her past?”
–“I divorced and remarried a man who was also previously married and we are having issues dealing with the blending of our two families. How can we make this work and just be a normal family?”
- Don’t Marry, Be Happy
I know that it seems like odd advice for a marriage speaker to give. But what I really mean by it is pretty simple. If you think marriage will make you happy, you are sorely mistaken. Don’t marry someone with the idea that it’s going to make you happy. When either one or both spouses head into a marriage with this thinking, it creates some of the most miserable couples out there.
Can you be happy in marriage? Absolutely. But the people who are successful and happy in their marriages are not happy because they are married. It isn’t the marriage or the person they are married to that makes them happy. They are happy and fulfilled in life apart from their marriage.
The reality is if you are looking for a man or a woman to make you happy, if you are looking to marriage for happiness, you are barking up the wrong tree. The answer to your happiness isn’t marriage. The answer isn’t another person. Some of the loneliest and most unhappy people on the planet are those with wedding rings on. Sad, but true.
- Control Is Not a Four-Letter Word
Control is not a bad word. It’s not a bad thing. Yet in our culture today, people treat it as is if it is a cuss word. Many think it’s a horrible insult and freak out when someone accuses them of trying to control something. Frankly, I just don’t understand it.
Here is a scenario to help illustrate what I’m talking about: A wife is texting and emailing very personal, sexually charged and inappropriate things back and forth with a guy from work. She is also meeting this guy alone for coffee and lunch. When her husband talks to her and challenges her on this, she fires back, “You can’t tell me who I can be friends with and what I can and can’t do! You are just trying to control me!” And then he feels bad and backs down.
Or maybe it’s a husband who goes out drinking and partying with his friends several nights a week till the wee hours of dawn and when his wife confronts him, he shouts ”You are a control freak! You can’t tell me when I can come and go in my own house!” Then she thinks she’s wrong and just lets it go because she surely doesn’t want to be controlling. Are you kidding me?!