Monthly Archives: February 2015

Two Interviews I Hope You’ll Listen To

Delight Your Marriage podcast logoI’m doing something different today and encouraging you click elsewhere, to the Delight Your Marriage podcast. This is a new marriage and sexuality podcast hosted by Belah Rose, who requested an interview with me.

We chatted a few weeks ago (before my “big reveal“), and the podcast recently went live. Listening to the first installment, I wasn’t sure I’d ever talked that personally about my marriage before. But I’m happy to share it with you here, because I want my experiences — bad and good — to encourage wives and marriages:

How Being Happy Saved Her Marriage with J. Parker (click title to link)

The second installment gets into my favorite subject — sex in marriage. I specifically address the issues I hear most often from wives and how we can make positive changes for our marital intimacy:

How Sex Can Be Great for Her Too with J. Parker (click title to link)

You can also head to iTunes for the Delight Your Marriage podcast there. Belah’s interviews with me are episodes 2 and 3. (By the way, don’t let the word “Explicit” scare you. It’s nothing more than I talk about here. Promise!)

Please take a listen. And may it bless your marriage!

Married, Consenting Adults: Whose Okay Really Matters?

Have you noticed that in our current culture a number of historically problematic sexual activities have become No Big Deal or even encouraged? Most often, the reason I hear is that it’s between “consenting adults.”

We also hear this about marriage. After all, whose business is it if a married couple mutually agrees to engage in whatever sexual act they choose? They’re adults, they consented. Surely, then, everything’s okay.

Couple Lying On Bed Holding Question Marks & blog post title

I am disturbed by this trend in the larger culture, but among Christians, it’s particularly distressing. Even if husband and wife consent, there’s yet another vote that matters! Do you have the consent of your Lord and Father, the One who created sex?

So, what if you decide in your marriage that you want your husband to get his sexual needs met elsewhere? Or you’re both willing to couple swap, or “swing”? Our Lord says:

“You must not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18).

“You must not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17).

“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32, NLT).

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

How about watching porn, reading erotica, going to strip joints together? After all, you’re consenting to do it together. And what if it’s “just want to spice up [your] marriage”?

“I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman.
For what is our lot from God above,
our heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is it not ruin for the wicked,
disaster for those who do wrong?
Does he not see my ways
and count my every step?” (Job 31:1-4).

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5, emphasis added).

And maybe you get aroused by striking your mate in the bedroom, by introducing intense S&M practices, by pushing your pain-pleasure limits? Isn’t it okay if you’re both consenting?

“The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Psalm 11:5).

“From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence” (Proverbs 13:2).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT, emphasis added).

Today, I am simply letting the Bible speak for itself. Soak in God’s Word and reflect on it.

When you consider what sexual intimacy in your marriage should look like, think not only about the husband’s consent and the wife’s consent, but the consent of the third partner in your marriage — God Himself. Indeed, I would argue God’s consent matters the most.

Working Through Physical Pain in the Marriage Bed

Well, tickle me happy! One of the marriage advocates I most admire is here today: Jolene Engle of Christian Wife University. And she’s talking about an important topic for many of you wives: physical pain in sex. Here’s her story and insight.

Working through Pain Guest Post by Jolene Engle

Not long after I became a Christian, I met and married my husband. We remained pure until our wedding night because we wanted to honor and obey the Lord with all aspects of our lives. Now, I’ve got to tell you, I. could. not. wait. to have sex with my new husband!

You should have seen me at my wedding reception. I ate my dinner fast and I ate my wedding cake fast. This new wife was looking to leave the party as soon as possible so I could head to our honeymoon!

But sex…it’s been a complicated thing for me. From dealing with the emotional baggage from a promiscuous past, to a low sex-drive (I entered into peri-menopause when I was 32), and then having physical pain when I had sex with my husband. This gal was not happy about the limitations and obstacles faced in the marriage bed!

It was just one month after our wedding day when the simplicity of our sexual intimacy died down. I received news from my doctor that I had precancerous cells of my cervix and surgery was now scheduled on my calendar. I eventually recovered from this, but what I didn’t know was that there was a storm up ahead that would sweep through our marriage bed.

It was less than two years later when we welcomed our firstborn son into the world, and that’s when the gale force winds of pain and infections swept through my body. After giving birth, I dealt with a gone wrong episiotomy and a prolapsed uterus which made sex extremely painful. When my next son entered the world, my body broke down even more. Each month I had rupturing ovarian cysts, and I dealt with depression due to my hormonal imbalances. My body was riddled with infections, and one infection invaded my private parts and stayed there for well over a year. The doctors had no answers. Vaginal Inflammation. Chronic Infections. Rupturing cysts. This was my way of life for so many years.

I was chronically ill, but I was also chronically seeking to connect with my husband. I didn’t want to deprive him because of what my body was going through. I believe this attitude helped my husband to be chronically understanding, gentle, and loving toward me. My health problems, the problems that the Lord allowed in our marriage, forced my husband to live out his biblical command to love me like Christ loved the church. He had to put that verse into action in the marriage bed!

If you’re dealing with physical pain, here are my tips:

  • Be intentional to pursue intimacy even when there is pain. (This doesn’t mean you have to have intercourse.) You can be Sex Savvy, as J has taught, and you can be creative in spite of your issues. This shows your husband that you still desire him regardless of your limitations. And let’s face it, some intimacy is better than no intimacy. Of course go slow and relax! The goal is connecting with your husband.
  • Work hard to find a solution to your problem. Become your own advocate in dealing with your health. Go to doctor after doctor after doctor until you find a solution. Read books. Eat special diets. (This helped with my inflammation.) Dig high and low to find answers and remedies to help you. The health of your marriage depends on your diligence! I found that when I did this, my man saw I meant serious business that our physical intimacy was important to me. And I believe my physical weaknesses helped him to live out 1 Peter 3:7: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
  • Don’t invite Satan into your marriage bed by turning to porn or reading erotica novels in the hopes that these things will fix your intimacy issues. These choices will just compound your problems by fracturing your emotional and spiritual intimacy. Keep in mind that God is allowing the physical limitations to take place in your body and He is the Great Physician. He can heal you at any time. Have faith. Have hope, and always choose a God-honoring path in your marriage bed. (If you’ve taken a wrong turn, just repent and get back on the narrow path.)
  • Use coconut oil. The lubrication will help your sexual experience, and since coconut oil is natural it shouldn’t cause any burning or irritation to your skin. Just make sure you’re not allergic to it! Test it on another part of your body, first.

It’s been almost 17 years now since I said, ‘I do’ to my man. We’ve endured a lot, but we’ve worked hard to try to fix my issues because our physical intimacy is important to our marriage. As I look back over all these year, it felt like my marriage bed was ravaged by the locusts, but my God (and yours) says this…”So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).

Fight for your physical intimacy rather than neglect it. You’ll be surprised by how much your determination will make a positive impact on your marital relationship. You’ll come out of this trial even stronger and closer as a couple.

Jolene EngleJolene was once an atheist who is now sold-out for Jesus Christ. Her heart beats fast for discipling women and you’ll find her doing just that at JoleneEngle.com. She is also the founder of Christian Wife University where she helps wives connect the dots from their reality to the Christ-centered marriage they long for and the one God intended.

Jolene and her husband, Eric, run a weekly podcast called, What’s a Girl to Do? where they provide biblical guidance for women and wives. She is also the author of the book and bible study, Wives of the Bible.

8 Things I’d Say about Sex If I Had NO Filter (Heaven Help Us All)

Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage started it, by posting 9 Things I’d Say about Sex If I Had No Filter. A few others (like Generous Husband) joined in on this concept, and I’ve decided to give it a go as well.

This was a real challenge, though, because I kind of don’t have a filter. (My husband laughed unnecessarily loud when I told him that.) I pretty much say what I think, although I give deep thought to how I say it. So maybe that’s my filter after all.

Anyway, here are eight things I’d say about sex if I said them exactly how they run through my brain — before I pretty them up for my blog.

woman with hand over mouth + blog post title

FOR BOTH WIVES AND HUSBANDS

1. Oh, for heaven’s sake, sex is all over the Bible! When naysayers are critical or appalled at the honest talk on my blog, I wonder if we’re even reading the same Bible. Because I remember trying to read through the Bible with my young children, and I couldn’t get far without a story about sex cropping up here and there. Everything from “Adam knew Eve” to Lot and his lunatic daughters and on and on, the Bible is filled with God telling stories and giving commands about His gift of sexual intimacy and its horrible abuses.

Yes, we need to be kind and gentle and respectful in how we talk about sex, but for heaven’s sake, it’s all over the Bible! Responsible Christian sex authors aren’t addressing anything God didn’t address in His Word.

2. Stop withholding or stop demanding, and stop acting like the other one is the whole problem. Withholders and demanders always have reasons why they’re doing it: “If he would only, then I would __.” “As my wife, she owes me __.” Or whatever. But as long as you are arrogantly certain the problem lies with the other person, nothing will improve.

If you’re demanding, stop that. Even if your spouse is supposed to give you sex, and I agree (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), you’re not thus relieved of God’s calling for you to be patient, kind, selfless, etc. See 1 Corinthians 13 — a few chapters later!

And to the withholders — even if your spouse doesn’t understand how tired you are or needy of romance you are or whatever (and yes, they likely should treat you better), that doesn’t mean that you get to erect a wall, post guards, and deny entrance to the garden. When you said I do, part of that was I do sex. (Look it up! It’s in the Bible.)

Yep, if you’re on one of these extremes, you can rationalize all day long but it won’t negate that you are not in line with God’s intention for your marriage and things won’t get better until one of you changes. Since you can’t force your spouse to change, how about you start?

3. Talk to your children about sex — yesterday, today, tomorrow, and on and on until they are good and raised. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, you feel unqualified. Yes, your children might buck you at times. But the world will be sending erroneous messages to your child almost 24/7 from the moment they can read the magazine cover in the grocery store line. It’s your God-given responsibility to get over the awkwardness and give your child the truth about sexual intimacy.

By toddlerhood, we parents have been peed on, vomited on, and who knows what else. Face it: We signed up for difficult and awkward! Come on, I believe in you. Step up and talk to your children about sex — now, and again and again.

FOR THE WIVES

4. Relax already! Think of sex like a spa day for your girly parts. If you tense every time like you’re getting a pelvic exam, it’s no wonder you don’t like sex. You’ve got to relax to enjoy this intimate experience with your husband! Think of sex like a spa day for your girly parts, where your most arouse-able areas get extra-stimulated and pampered. Lean into the interesting sensations like you would a fabulous massage or a relaxing pedicure.

If you practice relaxing and focusing on how you feel in those moments, you might find your body is capable of some super-neat sensations. And your husband has nice skills — especially once you hint or tell him where you like to be touched. Stop thinking about how you look, or what someone else would think, or if the kids will walk in (you locked the door, right?), or whatever. Relax!

5. Get into it. Flirt. Tease. Move. Moan. Wouldn’t it stink to go out dancing and have your husband merely shuffle his feet through the tango (or Texas two-step where I live)? Likewise, it ain’t enough to show up and offer your body like it’s a big sacrificial gesture. Don’t merely go through the motions. It doesn’t make you embarrassing or sleazy to really get into it.

Own your sexuality! Flirt with your husband. Tease and touch him. Move around as you make love. Moan and scream. Let loose and you might find you enjoy it more! He’ll really like it too. Trust me on that.

6. So what if the kids hear! You think that‘s what will cause them to seek therapy? Sure, I’ve probably done something as a mom for which my kids could seek therapy someday — some mistake on my part a few counseling sessions would help. But I’m fairly certain that moment your kids realize their parents have sex won’t ruin them or cause Freud to sit up in his coffin and shout, “Told you so!” Kids are more resilient than that!

Even if your children do hear or (heaven forbid) walk in, They. Will. Be. Okay. It’s actually good for children to know their parents make love and that sexual intimacy is a gift from God to marriage. So stop worrying so much. Of course you should lock the door, tuck away your intimacy aids, and hold off having naked Twister in the living room until they’re gone, but if they hear? Hey, that’s just what loving mommies and daddies do.

FOR THE HUSBANDS

7. She’s never had an orgasm? What are you doing wrong?! To be fair, there is a percentage of wives who have major issues reaching orgasm, and it has nothing to do with their husbands. But honestly, there’s a contingent of men out there who haven’t made this the patient priority they should.

Look, I know it’s annoying you can get there in five minutes and she takes forty. But she will like sex more when you help her find that real climax. And orgasms beget orgasms, so even if you have to spend a lot of time at first helping her figure out what gets her aroused and learning what you can do to stimulate her, it will pay off in the long run. That first orgasm is often the hardest to reach.

Now don’t worry if she doesn’t orgasm every single time (sometimes, some wives don’t even want to that much), but please make it a priority for her to reach climax fairly regularly. You’ll both be happier if you can figure this out.

8. Were you raised by wolves? You can’t just sniff her out, honk a breast, and think you’re getting some tonight. You are not an animal, you’re a real man. That means you woo your woman. You didn’t just catch her and drag her back to your den years ago and now the chase is over. Nope. You’ll be pursuing her for the rest of your life.

Tuck that away in your brain and figure out how to make her feel so loved and desired and valued and appreciated and beautiful . . . that making love to you sounds like a dream come true. Take your time: Show her your romantic side, touch and kiss just for the sake of it, pay attention to the areas of her body that are not erogenous zones, and treat her like the “weaker sex” (1 Peter 3:7). That verse doesn’t mean she’s actually weak, but rather Handle With Care.

Oh, and help her deal with those distractions that keep her from focusing on the two of you. In summation, no honking a breast and make her feel blessed.

That’s it! Eight things I’d say if I had no filter. Which, heaven help us all, I’ve now said.

So This Happened. J Revealed.

When I heard that one of my favorite marriage and sexual intimacy bloggers, Sheila Wray Gregoire, was coming to town, I was ecstatic. Sheila lives over a thousand miles from me, so it’s not like we’d ever happen upon each other without one of us traveling a long way. Thankfully, she came to the great State of Texas — where we welcomed her with 70° F weather in February. (And I didn’t have to experience 14° F weather in Canada to see her.)

Her presentation at Grace Presbyterian Church in Houston, Girl Talk, was absolutely wonderful! And it was a thrill to lunch with Sheila and her assistant and chat face-to-face about our lives, our callings, and what flavors we wanted in our Marble Slab Creamery ice cream. At the event, we posed with our books and had a photo taken. Sheila asked if she could post it, and — knowing I’d be revealing myself soon — I clenched my teeth and said yes.

But I sort of thought I had a few days before she decompressed, went through the photos on her camera, found the right one, uploaded it, blah, blah, blah. Instead, I awakened Monday morning to find our smiling faces on that day’s blog post.

Sheila and Me at Girl Talk

J. Parker and Sheila Gregoire: We’re holding each other’s books!

Well, the cat’s out of the bag now! Or it’s really more like toothpaste: Once you squeeze that paste out, it’s never going back in the tube.

So there it is — a face to go with the words.

But I also updated all my profile pictures on social media and added a bio to this site with more information about who I am.

Frankly, I think anyone who has read me consistently already knows who I am. I don’t hold back here on my thoughts and personality. But I guess it’s nice to have a face to attach to the name.

And in case you were wondering, here’s one of my favorite photos of me and “Spock” — the affectionate nickname I’ve given my wonderful and overly logical husband:

J & Spock - smaller

And that’s it: J Revealed.

Kind of anticlimactic, right?