Monthly Archives: December 2019

Resolution Week: Would Your Spouse Say You're a Christian?

While my marriage was struggling—okay, okay, when it was bad—I was really religious. I studied my Bible, listened to Christian music, visited Lifeway stores and picked up bestsellers, prayed often, and talked about how much God meant to me.

Anyone looking in from the outside would say I was a devoted Christian wife in every way.

My husband probably wouldn’t have agreed. Even if/when I was correct in sharing my feelings, diagnosing problems, and suggesting solutions, I messed up royally in how I treated him. I’d grown frustrated, resentful, even angry, and it showed. In my efforts to meet my calling as a wife, I failed to meet my calling in Christ.

I might have been right, but I wasn’t righteous.

Finding Our Way Back

When asked what made the difference between then and now, my short answer is God. He took our mess, cleaned it and us up, and replaced our contentiousness with ever-increasing intimacy. Of course, that didn’t happen overnight, but without Him on our journey, we wouldn’t have reached the place where we are.

The longer answer is that I finally realized how I was sabotaging my own goals for my marriage through un-Christlike behavior and needed to actually live out what I said I believed. It wasn’t enough to talk about love or read about love or even pray for more love; I had to actually love. In practice. Day in and day out.

I finally read 1 Corinthians 13 and realized that, no matter what issues my husband needed to address, I had a long way to go to become a truly loving wife.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

So Right, Yet So Wrong

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul points out that it doesn’t matter how right you are if you’re rude about it.

Let’s take this epiphany into the bedroom with a few examples. Because frankly, some of y’all are doing what I did and sadly sabotaging the very intimacy you long to have; I’m begging you to start the New Year resolved to something different and better.

“You owe me sex.”

Yep, you’re right. When we get married, we assume an obligation, duty, debt—call it what you will—to have sex with our spouse. That principle’s all over the Bible, not just in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (a passage many sexually frustrated spouses like to quote).

But as I recently pointed out in a post on our newly launched KHS Ministry site for husbands, you don’t get to use the Bible as a cudgel to pressure or demand anything, including sex, from your spouse. Jesus didn’t come so you could get your own way.

Jesus didn't come so you could get your own way. @hotholyhumorous #Christiansex #marriage Click To Tweet

“I need sex.”

Again, might be true. Sex can be labeled an emotional or relational need in marriage. Yet, talking up a storm about your needs, while ignoring your spouse’s reasons for not cooperating, can become a pursuit of your own selfish ends.

In the name of something good, you end up treating your spouse like your own sexual drive-thru: Take my order, fulfill my need, and leave me satisfied. I don’t see that approach in 1 Corinthians 13 love either—do you?

“You don’t expect me to do it when I’m not in the mood, do you?”

Well, of course you shouldn’t be forced into your own marriage bed against your will. Nor should you be expected to offer up your body any time your spouse feels a quiver in their nether regions!

But as right as that is, too many spouses end up blocking reasonable attempts to address sexual problems or prioritize intimacy with the effectiveness of an NFL tackle. They cite their low libido as their right to not even try.

Me pointing out this problem doesn’t resolve barriers—I have a whole blog and several books that address them—but I’m only trying to show that you can have a great point, be right about something, and yet act in a way that doesn’t comport with “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.”

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Practice Makes Permanent

Although we often hear “practice makes perfect,” the truth is that practicing something doesn’t make your action perfect—it just forms a habit. What you practice becomes permanent. (Kudos to my former pastor, Danny Mercer, for teaching me this one.)

Too often, we’ve built up a practice of treating our spouse in a way inconsistent with how husbands and wives are commanded to treat one another. Until we not only pray for something new but pursue it diligently with a new practice, we’ll hang on to methods that don’t work and make our spouse feel unloved.

That’s where some of your marriages are right now, today. You’re in what seems like a permanent rut, having adopted practices that undermine love and intimacy in your marriage.

But what now? What do you need to resolve to practice instead?

Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

Luke 11:28

Resolve to Be More Like Christ

Christian simply means follower of Christ. If you follow someone, they take the lead and you go where they go.

Even now, I want to shake my head at that wife I was who thought she could cite Christian principles when it suited her desires for marriage but ignore all the rest. As if I could follow behind Christ for a while, leave the path when I saw a better way to go, and catch up to Him later. Jesus was probably shaking his head back then too and even mumbling, “Oh my daughter, follow me the whole way.”

Of course not all sex issues in your marriage can be resolved by saying, “Take two More-Like-Christ pills in the morning, and call me in the morning to say how great it was!” There are legitimate challenges that require more understanding and effort.

But many of us could vastly improve our marriage and sexual intimacy if we treated our beloved with genuine, Christlike love. If we at least began to practice His commands, embrace His prescription for love, and leave space for Him to fulfill His promises. If our spouse really knew, with no wavering whatsoever, that we’re a Christian. Not just to the world out there, but especially to the one we vowed to love.

For me, the practice I adopted was referring back to 1 Corinthians 13 love in my head, often. I’d feel tempted to complain to my husband about our relationships, bite my tongue, and recite, “Love is patient, love is kind…” etc. To be honest, at first it was spoken through clenched teeth, with an unspoken dang it at the beginning of the recitation.

But after a while, practice was becoming permanent. Christlike love was easier. Not perfect, but easier. And that, my dear friends, is how my marriage began to make its way back.

Have you struggled with displaying Christlike love to your spouse? What scripture(s) could you recite to focus on becoming more like Christ?

Resolution Week: What's Your "One Word" for Your Marriage?

I’m declaring it Resolution Week here on Hot, Holy & Humorous, and after a bit of break over the holidays, I’ll be churning five posts this week! All on making resolutions, goals, or attitude shifts—however you want to look at it—to improve your marriage and the sexual intimacy within it.

A few years back, someone concocted the idea of choosing a single word as your “word of the year” that would guide your goals and attitude. For the past few years, I’ve selected a word of the year. This practice has yielded varied results, with me sometimes feeling very focused by the word and other times forgetting what word I chose altogether.

My One Word for 2020

After mulling for a while about my one word for 2020, I’ve chosen PROMISE.

Frankly, I had a couple of other words floated around in my head until yesterday morning when I was at church. I saw the word promise somewhere, and it jumped out at me. Maybe that’s a God-thing—I like to think it is—or maybe the word just appeals to me. Yet promise conveys my desire to be a person who keeps my word, who relies on God’s promises to me, and who feels hopeful about the future, believing it is indeed filled with promise.

Of course, the word PROMISE has extensive implications for my marriage. I made a promise to my husband 27 years ago, or rather a bundle of promises. We call that wedding script our marriage “vows” for a reason. How have I done fulfilling them? What can I do better?

Regarding our sexual intimacy, doesn’t marriage involve the promise of physical exclusivity, connection, intentionality, desire, and even passion? Whether we know it all at the time, when we say, “I do,” we’re also saying, “I do you.” How’s that going in my marriage?

Whether we know it all at the time, when we say, "I do," we're also saying, "I do you." How's that going in my #marriage? @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Promises to Keep

Maybe I’ve got you thinking about how well you’ve kept your promises in your marriage and whether you need to make some new promises for the sexual intimacy with your spouse. For example, do you need to make any of these vows to your beloved?

  • I promise to visit the doctor to see why my sexual interest and/or sexual function isn’t what it should be.
  • I promise to seek help for my porn habit and knock this out of my life once and for all.
  • I promise to give you a rain check if I’m not feeling up to having sex when you initiate. (And I promise not renege on the rain check.)
  • I promise to try something new in the bedroom, to stretch my comfort zone just a little.
  • I promise to prioritize my health so we can be more active in our sex life.
  • I promise to turn on the lights, at least low lighting, so you can see my body.
  • I promise to stop pressuring you about sex.
  • I promise to initiate sex more often.
  • I promise to go through a book about sex in marriage with you.

Of course, promises aren’t worth much unless you keep them.

I once did an extensively study of the Bible, looking for scriptures about trusting others, and you can’t find much on that. God is very concerned that we trust Him, but as for one another, most verses don’t focus on trusting others but rather being trustworthy. Trustworthy people keep their promises.

Or at least do their best. We will let one another down, since we’re not perfect like our Heavenly Father, but we can try to be trustworthy. We can try to be a person of our word.

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My Word Isn’t Your Word

But speaking of words, my word of the year likely isn’t your word. Don’t just copy mine. Rather, figure out where you need to focus right now in your life.

If you hate New Year’s resolutions, don’t think of it as coordinating with this moment in time, but rather this spot in your spiritual and/or relational journey. Where are you in your marriage and with your sexual intimacy? What areas need your attention?

Here are some of the words I’ve recently heard from others. Perhaps something here will strike you.

Healing
Restoration
Forgiveness
Hope
Persevere

Encourage
Joyful
Compassion
Trust
Change

Passion
Prioritize
Margin
Closer
Growth

You can also find numerous blog posts and sites with one-word ideas, such as this one, this one, this one, or even this quiz from DaySpring.

Personal One Word vs. Marriage One Word

But even if you choose a word for yourself, is that the same word you should have for your marriage? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

Whether aligned with the New Year or not, it’s a good practice to periodically sit with your spouse, preferably away from the stresses of work or home, and discuss where your relationship is and where you want it to go. What do each of you see as positives? And where do you see areas for improvement?

What one word sums up what you both want for your marriage bed? Here are a few ideas to get you brainstorming the answer to that question:

Priorities
Purity
Prayer
Unity

Health
Wholeness
Renewal
Peace

Passion
Spice
Selflessness
Trust

Promises Kept

And now I’m back to my word for the year! Because if you do talk this out and come up with a word, don’t just make it a nice exercise you did around January. Rather, make it more like a vow to one another. For instance:

  • “This year, we will mutually pursue PURITY, by making our home porn and erotica-free, by focusing our thoughts solely on one another, by embracing that sex in marriage is a pure act of love blessed by God.”
  • “This year, we will mutually prioritize PRAYER, by making a goal of praying together at least once each day, by praying for one another, and by praying before, during, or after sex to invite God into our one-flesh relationship.””This year, we will foster TRUST, by confessing where we have failed one another, extending forgiveness and working on repentance, being open and vulnerable, and by treating one another’s bodies with gentleness and respect.”

What area of your marriage and sexuality needs your attention right now? What’s your marriage’s one word?

Can Men Really Understand Women's Sexuality?

We’re different—men and women.

That’s a controversial statement in some circles these days, but the more I’ve studied men and women, the more convinced I am that male-female goes much deeper than our external body parts, all the way into how our whole bodies are designed, as well as our brains.

God told us that from the beginning: ” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

It’s because we’re different that we’re attracted to one another, that we complement one another as life companions, and that we confuse one another for the next 50 or so years.

Perhaps never more than in the area of sexuality.

Deciphering the Differences

Marriage authors, bloggers, speakers, ministers, etc. have spent countless hours trying to explain men to women and women to men. Some go overboard with stereotypes and generalizations, and we must recognize that we are first humans made in God’s image, then specific individuals, and then man or woman. Plenty of overlapping and exceptions exist!

But God did make us male and female, and it can be helpful to hear how men and women generally think and behave—and then ask your own spouse if it’s true for them.

I’ve made plenty of attempts to explain male sexuality to wives. For example: A Wife’s Guide to Sexual Man Speak; Q&A with J: Is Sex Disconnected from Love for Men?; 4 Things Your Husband Wants from You in Bed.

Resources for Husbands

I’ve also provided posts for husbands like How to Help Your Wife Get Naked and Why Being a Good Father Turns Your Wife On. But this blog, and my resources, are still primarily for wives.

So I get asked: Where are books, websites, or other resources about sex directed specifically at men? Not about porn recovery or wooing your wife romantically or communicating better in marriage, but how to engage and please her sexually?

Well, there aren’t enough such resources. If you’ve been around the sex-in-marriage ministry world for a while, you’ve noticed a synergy with various ministries from women. That same synergy has not come into full focus with a group of husbands having the time, desire, and calling to speak into that need.

However, even if those resources existed, could those men speak definitively about women’s sexuality?

Although I explain men as much as I can on this blog, I often check in with husbands to make sure I’m representing them well, and sometimes I’m still stumped by you guys, because you’re just, well, different. (And by different, I mean weird. But let’s not hang out on that point.)

A New Ministry

Summarizing thus far: Men and women are different. We need resources to help explain male sexuality and female sexuality, with the caveat that we are individuals and generalizations should be checked with our own spouse. Husbands specifically could use more resources that explain women’s sexuality, and such insight may be best provided by women.

And that’s the purpose of KHS Ministry, a new resource coming your way from me and Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife.

KHS stands for Knowing Her Sexually, a name that conveys not only a husband’s need for knowledge about female sexuality, but his desire to have intimate knowledge of his wife. In fact, when the first man first makes love to the first woman, the Hebrew word used to express that means to know: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord'” (Genesis 4:1, RSV).

KHS Ministry will deliver content in three ways:

Blog

Blog

Every other week, we’ll share posts to help husbands nurture sexual intimacy in their marriage.

Community

Community

Opening in January, this is where the bulk of the ministry will be, with insights from us and other husbands.

Podcast

Podcast

Starting next spring, we’ll have short episodes every other week with tips for husbands.

Why Us?

Chris’s website is aimed wholly at wives. Yet she has heard from so many husbands who say that her explanations of how women think and act sexually have helped them understand their own wives. Chris has a unique and profound way of describing the thoughts and emotions of women.

As for me, I hear from husbands who say that I “get” them—that is, I speak Conversational Male. No, I’m not fluent! But when I speak to men, I understand enough of their language to convey their wives’ view of sex in a way that makes sense to many men.

In addition, Chris and I have both been the lower drive spouse and the higher drive spouse in our marriages, so we know what those feel like. We each have two sons, so we’ve lived with a fair amount of testosterone in our households. And we both think men are pretty awesome, so we’re on your side when it comes to sexual intimacy.

Most importantly, as Chris and I talked through this idea and developed the ministry’s specifics, we felt in tune in a way I can only explain as having God’s hand on us. We have felt His Spirit present in this endeavor.

How to Get Connected

If you’re a husband reading this, keep reading for how to get connected. If you’re a wife reading this, share this post with your husband.

To stay on top of what’s coming, follow our Facebook page and subscribe to our newsletter and blog! (Yes, wives can follow on Facebook to see what’s up with our ministry.)

We’re also on Twitter, if you get info there. And check out our website!

6 Sex-Themed Gift Baskets for Christmas

Every year, I try to give you fresh ideas on what to buy your beloved for Christmas that promotes sexual intimacy!

For something different this year, how about pre-planned gift baskets, themed around sexual intimacy? You can give any of these to a spouse or a close friend.

Links below are affiliate links, and purchasing through this site helps me to cover basic operating expenses. Thank you!

Wet & Wild

The shower is both a fun and a challenging place to have sex. And by sex, I mean the whole enchilada—not just intercourse, but sexual activities that work well in the shower. Here are some items you can throw into a shower sex basket:

Sex On-the-Go

Planning a trip over the holidays? Or having guests come to your home? How about a basket with items for sex while traveling?

Oral Delights

Our mouths can kiss, lick, suck, and nibble, so why not a gift basket devoted to their sensual delights!

Melt Me Massage

There’s nothing quite like a massage from your honey. But you need the right stuff to get going. Try these:

Santa Baby

No need for your baby to “slip a sable under the tree.” Instead, try these sexy Santa items for a holiday night of intimacy.

Song of Songs Sensuality

And from the book of the Bible that encourages us to be more romantic, more intimate, more passionate…here’s some Song of Songs inspiration:

And don’t forget, I have other resources, including my books!

Make Your Home Sex-Friendly for Holiday Guests

Our sons’ bedrooms have never had locks on the doors—until last week.

Although we respected their privacy as they grew up, we wanted easy access to our children’s rooms. Even the possibility of your parents walking in at any time can keep a kid from doing something he/she shouldn’t.

But our older son got married last summer, and Thanksgiving weekend was his and his wife’s first visit since the wedding. I pulled my son aside soon after they arrived and pointed out the new door lock, letting him know that we honor their full and complete privacy. And whatever they do in their room is between the two of them.

I don’t know if they did or didn’t, and it’s none of my business. But it’s surprising how many couples report having zero opportunity to make love while visiting relatives, even during extended visits.

So let’s look at how you can make your own home more sex-friendly for married couples who visit this season.

Sleeping Arrangements

When planning for guests, we can unintentionally create sleeping arrangements that preclude any possibility of physical contact between spouses. Well, unless the couple has sex ninja skills whereby they can do it in a cramped bathroom at 3:00 a.m. without making a sound.

Most of us do not live in palatial residences, so we have to do some rearranging to make space. If you have options, place the couple in a room:

Separate from your bedroom and/or the main living areas. Spouses often worry about making noise and thus being “found out.” Give them a buffer, so sounds won’t easily travel to where you or other guests are.

With a full-size or larger bed. If the room has twin beds, consider pushing them together, just like a cruise line does in anticipation of a couple sharing a room. You then convey your recognition that most married couples want to be close while in bed.

With a lock on the door. It took little time and effort for my husband to install a new doorknob with a lock, and it’s easy to switch out after your guests are gone. But it’s a nice gesture to provide the certainty of privacy.

Without children. It’s tempting to give the whole family one room, but if possible, let the couple have their own space. Many people fondly remember visits to see grandparents, where the grownups had their own rooms while the grandkids spread out in sleeping bags in the living room, game room, or screened-in porch. Keep the kids safe, of course, but it’s okay for Mom and Dad to have their own room.

What if none of this possible? What if your house precludes such sleeping arrangements?

Schedule

Consider the holiday schedule. Have you plotted out every day with the precision of an event planner? Is everyone expected to be at everything? Are couples given any opportunity for alone time?

Even if you give a couple their own space, if their schedule is full, they won’t have a chance to engage. But with no space of their own, it’s even more important that they have time to duck out on their own for a bit. If the couple has kids, offer to watch their kids one night while the parents go on a date or take the kids out for a treat while parents stay back at the house.

Think through the calendar and make sure everyone has a bit of down time. Maybe suggest a nap or set an example by heading off for a nap yourself, showing that time in bed in the middle of the day is a-okay in your house.

Also, allow guests to pass on an activity. As introverts, I can tell you how welcome that is, even if hubby and I do nothing during that time but lie on the bed and stare at the ceiling.

Atmosphere

How’s the intimacy atmosphere in your home? You can create small touches in the room where a couple is staying to help. Here are a few ideas:

  • Decent bedding. Nothing scratchy, and avoid a Strawberry Shortcake or Spiderman comforter. You can find cheap but nice bedding sets during the holidays to keep on hand for guests.
  • Low-light lamp or candle (battery-operated, if you’re concerned about a flame).
  • Bedside radio or sound machine, to mask noises if needed.
  • Extra blanket(s) and a fan, so the couple can adjust temperature to what they want.

See? It doesn’t have to be fancy, just conducive to lovemaking without panic.

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Another part of the atmosphere is how comfortable your guests feel displaying affection in your home. Now of course they shouldn’t be sitting on your couch groping each other. However, if you treat small gestures of affection, like hand-holding or hugs, as inappropriate, you’re sending an unspoken message that nooky in the home would be intolerable.

The easiest way to establish the standard is to display it yourselves. Pull your own beloved in for a hug and a peck, sit close together on the couch and hold hands, even flirt a little. Don’t go out of your way to make your guests uncomfortable, but let them know your home welcomes marital affection.

Confidentiality

Finally, respect their privacy by keeping your mouth shut. If you do hear them or find other evidence of their lovemaking, don’t comment about it. You might embarrass them enough that they’ll never do that again.

Just be hospitable, thank them for coming (no pun intended), and wash the sheets when they’re gone. In other words, treat them the way you’d want to be treated (Luke 6:31).

What other suggestions do you have for making your home more sex-friendly for married guests?

And if you’re the ones doing the visiting, see 7 Tips for Having Sex at the Parents’ House.