• Marriage is a Dance

    There is a country music song that says “Life’s a dance, you learn as you go” and this is very true — especially in marriage. Marriage really is a dance that is perfected over time. This is a great analogy that nearly everyone can relate to. We’ve all been to wedding receptions or other places where we see people dancing. Now, in Wisconsin at a wedding you will witness such glorious things as the Chicken Dance, Bunny Hop and polkas! But that isn’t the type of dancing I’m talking about.

    What you need to watch is when the slow tempo songs are played and the couples get together. Look at the difference in how the older couples dance compared to the youngsters. The more mature couples dance beautifully as they glide around the floor in near to perfect rhythm with one another. They turn together in wonderful synchronicity and flow through the dance. You can tell they’ve been at this a while. These couples know the steps, they have it down.

    Then look at the “newbies.” Unless they’ve taken ballroom dance lessons, you’ll see an entirely different picture. They throw their arms around each other and waddle back and forth like penguins. If they do try to really dance and actually follow steps, you’ll often observe an awkward display. She barking directions at him while they fight for the lead; he’s stepping on her feet and they are tripping over each other. Hopefully, they are laughing as they try to stay upright and not fall on the floor! They can’t come close to the way the older couples light up that dance floor.
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  • Want More Sex? Resist the Devil!

    Pastors everywhere deal with many of the same issues when it comes to dating, marriage and sex. One of the things that you will hear most of them say in regard to this area is: Before marriage you can’t keep them out of bed. Then after they’re married, you can’t get them back into bed! And it’s true even of Christian couples. Despite the fact that they may have taken a purity pledge, or committed themselves to waiting, lots of people end up having sex before they are married anyway. Then after they tie the knot, far too many find themselves in sexless marriages. For those of you who aren’t aware of what that means, a marriage is considered “sexless” if you engage in sexual activity less than ten times a year. And if statistics are correct 15-20% of couples fall into that category. Judging by all the people I hear from, I believe that the problem affects an even greater number of marriages than that.

    While there are many possible reasons for couples having little to no sex—from pornography and health issues to overbooked schedules and kids—there is one area I would like to address that can have a huge impact, especially in the early months and years of marriage. I hear frequently from people who knew it was wrong to become sexually involved while dating, yet they tripped up and committed the sin. Afterward they feel badly and let the guilt and remorse interfere with their sex lives years into the marriage. They see it as bad and sinful, even though they are now married and should be sexually active with their spouse. In some extreme cases, they never consummate the marriage or perhaps only have sex to try to get pregnant.
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  • Sex Makes You Stupid

    It never ceases to amaze me how many times I get asked by people (usually, but not always, women) what they should do when the person they are dating is treating them poorly. And by poorly I do not mean that he was 10 minutes late coming to pick the girl up or he forgot what her favorite flower was. By poorly I mean guys who call these women names and talk to them in degrading ways, guys who look at porn, stay out all night with other women doing exactly what you think they’re doing, and on and on. Unbelievably, this is while they are dating! You know, the time when the dude is actually trying to win the woman; when he is supposed to be putting his best foot forward!
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  • Wonder Drug

    What if I were to tell you there was a pill you could take three times a week that would give you the following health benefits:

    • Lower your risk of heart attack and stroke
    • Reduce symptoms of depression
    • Reduce risk of certain types of cancers
    • Boost self-esteem and improve your mental health
    • Reduce and relieve stress
    • Help you sleep better
    • Control your weight
    • Increase your physical fitness
    • Relieve pain
    • Reduce the number of colds and flu
    • Boost your immune system
    • Improve bladder function
    • Make you look younger
    • Improve your reproductive health
    • Prolong your life

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  • Same Argument, Different Day

    I am convinced one of the greatest problems that couples face in marriage, whether you have been together two years, 20 years or 40 years, is the fact that we have to deal with issues over and over and over… People get so frustrated when they keep circling around and coming back to the same arguments continuously and they never get resolved. Husbands and wives become convinced that there is something wrong with their marriage (or at least the other person!) and it can lead to great discouragement.

    The truth is you may have to deal with some of these issues until the day one of you dies. Many couples think that once they’ve hashed something out, it will never come back and cause trouble again. But it’s not the reality of it. I’ve seen interviews with couples married a long time—like 65 or 75 years!—and when they are asked about how and when they resolved their differences, the answer is: they haven’t! They wrestled over the same things all these years later.
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  • Cutting America’s Divorce Rate

    No-fault divorce has had a devastating effect on our culture. For decades now, one spouse has been able to unilaterally destroy their marriage, family and children. The marriage contract is the only contract in America that doesn’t mean anything. In no other contractual agreement, can one person walk away without repercussions. You can’t even break a contract with a plumber or a cell phone company without paying a penalty! Not so with marriage — one spouse can just walk away and the other one has no legal grounds to stop it, even if he or she doesn’t want the divorce. Sadly, this is the case in far too many divorces.
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  • I Said I Was Sorry

    In my Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar I explain in detail how a man’s brain tends to compartmentalize things. It’s like men have separate boxes in their heads for everything: money, sex, kids, wife, in-laws, etc. And for a guy these boxes don’t touch. He thinks about one thing at a time and then moves on to the next thing since one box isn’t connected to another.

    Then I go on to explain how a woman’s brain is like a big ball of wire where everything is connected to everything and there is no compartmentalizing at all. Money can be connected to the in-laws and sex can be connected to the kids. Things can run together very easily in a woman’s brain.
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  • Nothing is Impossible

    It’s a good thing that we Christians of today aren’t the Christians of the first century church– otherwise the whole Christian movement would never have lasted and spread throughout the world. People today don’t have what it takes to navigate the slightest of hardships or difficulties. Anything that isn’t easy or flat out gets “too hard” sends us packing. Persistent trials or even mild conflict in relationships—whether it be in marriage, family, on the job or in the church they attend—cause many people to just quit and give up. Never mind that we aren’t talking about getting thrown in prison, being beaten, having your children murdered or even giving up your very life.

    We live in a day and age when everything is about easy. Our culture says if anything is difficult, you don’t have to do it– or even worse, that you can’t do it. Difficult has become synonymous with impossible. Husbands and wives can’t keep their marriage vows because it’s impossible to stay faithful. They divorce because their particular marital situation is impossible. They give up fighting for their marriage because they have issues and disagreements and it’s impossible to keep going.
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  • Anger Won’t Get You to the Truth

    In the last post I was talking about handling arguments and the benefit and wisdom of backing off and taking a time out during a super heated battle. When a couple is seriously locked in a battle and the adrenaline is surging, odds are they are not going to solve the problem and usually one or both will say mean and hurtful things that they will come to regret later. And as I said, these words can be very damaging.

    My experience has been that many women will take one phrase that their husbands have said in the heat of the battle and rehearse it, hold on to it, and become convinced that “it’s how he really feels deep down inside or else he wouldn’t have said it.” I’ve had women over and over say to me, “He said such and such…” and she is so hurt and upset over it that in some cases it actually leads to divorce.
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  • It’s Okay to Go to Bed Angry

    Recently I came across an article in a woman’s magazine that listed “new rules” for marriage and it debunked what are common “myths” of marital relationships. One of the myths was: Never go to bed angry. If you don’t hash through every conflict right away, it’ll lead to resentment and blowups. For years most of us have heard the saying, “Never go to bed angry”. It actually comes from the scripture in Ephesians 4 where Paul writes: …do not let the sun go down while you are still angry… (NIV). Often people will interpret that to mean they can not go to bed until they have settled every last detail of the argument. Couples will stay up till the wee hours of the morning hammering at the issues—and each other—trying to get to a resolution. I’m sure the verse does not literally mean don’t go to sleep until you’ve completely solved the problem in a way that is totally acceptable to both of you. What it does mean is that you need to let go of the anger, even if the problem is not solved.
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  • Love is Like a Greased Pig!

    “I just don’t feel what I used to feel for you.”
    “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.”
    “I believe I’ve found my soul mate…and it isn’t you.”
    Or as the Righteous Brothers sang, “You’ve lost that loving feeling.”

    However people want to word it, the bottom line is this: the fabulous and intense experience of our early love isn’t there anymore. I guess it wasn’t true love after all.

    In the wonderful movie classic, The Princess Bride, the cotton-mouthed, speech-challenged priest talks about “true love” (or “twuuuu wuv” as he says it!) at the wedding ceremony of Princess Buttercup and Prince Humperdink. He states that true love will follow you forever. While it makes for a great movie line, in reality it is a bunch of nonsense. True love doesn’t follow you like a little puppy that is constantly there. It’s actually more like a greased pig! You have to chase after it and pursue it. You have to run it down and tackle it and when it gets away, you go after it one more time. You may finally get a hold of it for a while, but then the little rascal can slip away and you have to chase it down again.
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  • Ministry Can Be Sensual

    I know it sounds weird, but ministry can be a very sensual experience. Whether you are a pastor, elder, choir member or any other church volunteer, you can find yourself working very closely with the opposite sex. And much of the time you can be dealing with people who are emotionally hurting and desirous for caring human contact. There is frequently touching, hugging, smiling, and open hearts sharing. These people will often look up to you, admire you, respect you and think you are generally quite wonderful. Add to that the fact that people generally come to church always looking their very best and on their very best behavior, and you create an environment ripe for sexual temptation. It’s like a keg of gunpowder just waiting for a spark. Sadly, most Christian workers walk into this powder keg with little to no awareness of the danger that is lurking. This is why so many Christian leaders – including pastors – are falling into sexual sin.
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