Tag Archives: gender differences

4 Principles That Improved My Marriage

My weekly Q&A with J posts bring up all kinds of topics. I take a single reader’s question and answer that specific situation as best I can, hoping my advice will enlighten or apply to others as well.

But there’s always that post where you answer one reader, and it brings up the “But why didn’t you say X?” comment from another reader. Well, no one post on my blog covers everything I believe about marriage and sex. Just like you couldn’t possibly have one conversation with someone and cover all of your beliefs about life, the universe, and everything. Plus, I really am trying to answer a specific question as best I can and expect readers to tailor the advice to their specific situation.

Yet I know that I unintentionally strike nerves sometimes, and it got me to thinking about some guiding principles I have when answering reader questions. Perhaps more importantly, my marriage improved when I started using these principles toward my husband.

My #marriage improved when I started using these principles toward my husband. Click To Tweet

Don’t assume the worst. If a wife reports that his husband looked at another woman, I don’t assume he’s a cheating jerk. If a husband reports his wife rejected his sexual advances, I don’t assume she’s a frigid, uncaring wife. Or flip-flop those genders, if that’s your situation. Regardless, I try to look at the actual evidence, consider all the possibilities of what’s going on, and give grace where possible.

Most people who read my blog are Christians who love their spouses, but they are imperfect — wounded, clueless, stubborn. They need a wake-up call more than a guilty verdict. The sort of wake-up call God constantly gives His people in the Bible. I assume that we’re all flawed and a bit selfish, but reachable and wanting to hold on to our marriage.

Take responsibility for yourself. I don’t think it will go well for me if I get to Heaven and say to God, “Yes, I was a terrible spouse. But my husband was even worse.” Thankfully, that’s not at all where my marriage is, but you get my point. As I’ve often said, you cannot change your spouse. But you can change yourself and influence your spouse.

You cannot change your spouse. But you can change yourself and influence your spouse. Click To Tweet

That’s why my advice often focuses on the person who asked the question and what they can do to improve the situation — even if 89% of the problem is their jerk of a spouse. My answer might be very different if I was talking to the other party involved, but we have to take responsibility for our own actions. Just sitting around and blaming someone else won’t make things better. So I try to address what the individual can do to foster something better in their marriage.

Respect your differences. If I had a dime for every time a wife or husband complained about their spouse’s gender or personality difference, I’d be living in a beach-side house by now. For instance, I get it, ladies: It stinks that your husband has eyeballs that seem to pop when an scandily-clad, extra-curvy woman walks by, but it stinks for him too. Just like it stinks for my husband that I get grumpy at a certain time of the month, but, by golly, PMS isn’t a picnic for me either. Our gender, backgrounds, personalities, and more create challenges for us, because this is an imperfect world.

If lust were no challenge, there wouldn’t be scriptures advising us about it. Just like anger, nagging, complaining, and plenty of other not-fun stuff we can bring into our marriage. Of course we have to fight hard against the enemy and pursue righteousness. But let’s not bury our heads in the sand or make our spouse out to be the enemy.

Once I accepted that some things are just harder for my guy — for instance, seeing the mess — and didn’t take it personally, we could figure out an action plan to deal with the challenges. Respect that your spouse is different, then figure out where the benefits and obstacles of that difference is, and work from there.

Don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 may be the verse we most need to memorize for our marriage: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Marriage Memory Verse 5-14-16

I don’t know what that harvest looks like, because it may be different from what we expect. God’s blessings come in many different ways. It’s not an absolute guarantee that if you do the right things, your rejecting wife will suddenly greet you at the door naked begging for you to take her right there on the entryway rug. Or that your romantic-clod of a husband will finally “get it” and woo you into a magical, multi-orgasmic sexual experience you’ll never forget. I wish it were that simple.

What I do know is that if you give up on making things better, they’ll never get better. It could be that your “making things better” actually involves backing off a bit, but that’s not the same as surrendering. We all know the difference between stepping back and taking stock of what we’re doing versus that hopeless, it-ain’t-ever-gonna-change-so-why-try feeling.

I’m for doing everything you can think of doing before calling anything quits. Maybe that’s my own stubbornness coming out a bit, but it’s one reason my marriage went from terrible to terrific: I simply refused to give up. Of course, you should be doing the right things — as in righteous things. But I believe in continuing to work on yourself and your marriage and keeping going until the seeds have had time to plant, grow, and harvest. Just as the Bible says.

Do you have any guiding principles that have worked in your marriage, or that you’ve advised for others with their marriage?

The Battle & Beauty of the Two Sexes

I recently wrote posts on What I Truly Believe about Men and The Creepy Guys We Knew (Who Made Us Think Worse of Men). When I write about men or women specifically, what often happens in the comments section is a bit of a debate about what wives or husbands should be like. Or something that could be summed up as: WHY IS HE/SHE SO CONFUSING?!

I get it. Really, I do. For the life of me, I still cannot understand why my husband and two sons can’t seem to see past the front row of the pantry to find what they’re looking for. Are they just not trying so I’ll have to find everything for them?!

No, they’re not. At the end of the day, I know that my brain is wired differently — that God actually gave me more connections between the two hemispheres of my brain and an ability to multi-task in a way that’s more difficult for them. And my husband has many talents — because he is male — that I don’t have.

Our best approach is to understand and appreciate our differences — even lean into them, knowing that we can complement each other as helpers (Genesis 2:18). More and more, research is showing that men and women are different not just externally, but in how their brains and bodies function. As confusing as it can be sometimes, it’s also something to celebrate!

Why celebrate? Because these two genders — male and female — both represent God’s nature. That’s why this week’s marriage verse is a simple one, but profound: “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).

Marriage Memory Verse 4-16-16

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Hot, Holy & Humorous Updates

Newsletter. If you’re a monthly newsletter subscriber, I’m behind this month! I’ll be getting my April newsletter out today or tomorrow, so watch your in-box for it. If you’re not a newsletter subscriber, and want to be, sign up at the top right of this page.

Speaking. I’m actively looking for speaking engagements. If you have an interest in bringing me in to speak, check out the Want J to Speak? page for topics and how to contact me.

Books. Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives will be going off sale soon, as it’s being expanded and updated. More news coming in the near future! I also have two other books which I’d love for you to have: Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage and Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories (I write fiction too). All of my books are less than I spent for a tea and an egg sandwich at Starbucks yesterday, meaning I’ve priced them to buy.

Blog schedule. Just a reminder that I’ve switched my blogging schedule, which is now :

Mondays – topic of my choice
Thursdays – Q&A with J, answering your reader questions
Saturdays – marriage memory verse & updates

How Do You Like to Be Touched?

Since I saw this video from Amanda Gore, I’ve been wanting to feature it here. Be sure to watch all the way through.

Ah, how true!

Many of you wives know how it feels to be lying there in bed at night, reading a book, thumbing through a magazine, or even starting to doze off, and suddenly BOOM! your husband’s hand has clamped down on your breast or butt cheek like a claw from one of those toy grabber machines. Hey, buddy! You did not insert a token and I am not a stuffed animal!

This is one of the biggest complaints about sex from wives — that their husbands don’t know how to touch them.

Guess what? That means you have to teach him. Yes, almost every husband is teachable. And he will like a lesson that involves this hands-on learning far better than any high school course he ever had.

Start the introduction outside the bedroom. One of my children is taking Spanish, and the teacher’s lesson plan on the first day included the objective, “Discuss why it’s important to learn Spanish.” In the same manner, you need to explain to your husband that it’s important to you that he learn how to touch you in a way that makes you feel cherished and that awakens your desire. Find someplace away from the bedroom to start the conversation in a neutral way, without immediate pressure to perform.

Tell him what benefits he will reap from this plan — that you expect to be more open to his advances if you first feel that he loves ALL of you, not just the “good parts.” Talk about how touching one another in the way that you each want to be touched will increase your feelings of intimacy. Then announce that you want to practice, and even that you will need to practice a lot.

Show him in the bedroom. It’s lab time, and you will be graded on a curve — a woman’s curve, that is. Take your time to talk about how and where you like to be touched. Show your husband by moving his hand or demonstrating with your own hand for him if you wish. Ask hubby if he’s willing to keep touching you in the way that you instruct until you get to the point of saying, “Touch the bits!”

He might be surprised to find that you are a willing participant in sexual intimacy if you have received the full-body touches that you desire and require to heat up sufficiently. Women can take 15-20 minutes of foreplay to be ready for penetration. Sheila Wray Gregoire has made the wonderful point over and over that wives often think they are not interested in sex because they aren’t . . . at first. Typically, females get interested in sex after they spend some time being attended to and aroused.

It’s like men are sexual morning people — you know, those people who wake up with a bolt at the first sign of sunlight through the window and then they’re ready for the day. Women are more like groggy morning people when it comes to sex — taking their time to rouse slowly and stretch and yawn and get the blood flowing where it needs to go to have the energy for the day. But the blood can get flowing with the right touch.

Now touch him the way he wants. As uncomfortable as it can feel the first time, try grabbing your husband’s crotch when he isn’t expecting it. Not too hard, of course; you don’t want to damage the goods. The next time you embrace, move your hands down and squeeze his behind. When you go to bed, roll over and start fondling his testicles. Do you think you might get a positive response?

An ongoing message I hear from hubbies is that they want their wives to desire them sexually. While we ladies want to be desired non-sexually a lot of times, your man may very well be longing for you to show interest in his sexuality — in those external parts that make him a sexual being.

Now plenty of husbands are still quite interested in holding hands, hugging, kissing, and making out, but now and then you might focus on that midsection and see what reaction you draw.

Also, men typically want greater pressure applied in touch. You can be pretty firm with touching their bodies and their penis (although be very gentle with their tender testicles). Ask your hubby what amount of pressure feels good. These are gender generalities, but you need to talk with your specific husband to see what he likes.

Now what you think? How do you like to be touched? Have you and your spouse communicated about how you like to be touched? What differences do you see between men and women regarding sexual or non-sexual touch?

Man vs. Woman: The Differences

Come here, reader. I have something very important to share with you. A secret that a lot of people don’t know. A timeless truth that has been forgotten in recent years. A revelation that will change the way you view your spouse. Lean in close now. Here it is:

Psst. Men and women are different.

Man and woman icons holding hands

by AnonMoos via Wikimedia Commons

Yep, that’s it! This obvious fact has indeed been denied by plenty of feminists, psychologists, and academics. They admit that we have differing private parts, but some have argued that the concepts of maleness and femaleness are largely social constructs taught as stereotypes to children.

Yet science has recently shown that having a penis/testicles or a vagina/ovaries is hardly the only difference between man and woman. When God took a little dust and molded it like Play-doh into man and then grabbed a rib bone and crafted it like a pipe cleaner into woman, he didn’t go for outer variations only. He made us female or male through and through.

Here are some of the amazing differences that we now know exist between men and women. (Of course, these are generalizations, and specifics may vary.)

  • Men are 10-15% larger than women and 30% stronger on average.
  • Men exhibit greater upper body strength.
  • Men have better vision and depth perception; women blink twice as often as men.
  • Women have a higher percentage of body fat.
  • Men have greater muscle mass to body mass ratio and more slow twitch muscle fibers (for greater endurance).
  • Men have stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Men have longer canine teeth.
  • Men have larger vocal chords; thus, the “Adam’s apple.”
  • The skull shape of men and women is different.
  • Women have a larger and broader pelvis.
  • Men have 56% greater lung volume per body mass.
  • Men’s hearts are larger than women’s.
  • Men have thicker skin, literally.
  • Men have more body hair; women are smoother.
  • Men have a greater tendency to lose hair; i.e., balding and thinning.
  • Women are generally lighter-skinned.
  • Women have more language processing areas in the brain.
  • Women have more blood flow to their brain. (Insert jokes here.)
  • Women have a more sensitive sense of smell.
  • Women have more pain receptors.
  • Women exhibit lower blood pressure overall.
  • Women experience a faster heartbeat.
  • Men have more red blood cells; women have more white blood cells.
  • Men produce androgen hormones (one of which is testosterone); women produce estrogen hormones.
  • Men are taller.
  • Men are able to sire children well into old age; women have a decrease in fertility after 35 years of age.
  • Women reach puberty approximately two years earlier.
  • Men can parallel park better than women, but women can listen to three conversations at once and men struggle to follow one. Just kidding. That’s not scientifically proven (yet); call it the J Theory.

Can you believe that list is so long? There are other differences as well, but I’m not writing a dissertation, just a blog post.

The differences between men and women begin with outer appearance, but run down into bones and muscle, to chemicals, to brain structure, and into the cellular level.

So other than throwing out some interesting facts, what is my point? Well, it’s challenging to have a fabulous sexual relationship with someone so completely different from you! Yes, we are human, and that makes us immensely more like one another than not. But all these physical, brain, and hormonal differences mean that we approach sex differently. And God designed us that way!

When your husband or wife approaches the bedroom differently from you, some of that is due to gender differences.

So perhaps her better language centers mean that she can juggle several trains of thought and communicate during lovemaking, whereas he can grunt.

The hubby’s better distance vision and depth perception may help to explain why he is so visually oriented, whereas the lack of body hair and more pain receptors link to why she is more sensitive to touch.

And then there is her sensitivity to smell. Do I really have to spell out what that means, guys?

His greater lung volume and muscle mass may explain why God designed men to typically have more work for the sexual act itself, while her lessened blood flow could be related to why it takes longer for the wife to become sexually aroused.

If we weren’t different from one another, there wouldn’t be such an attraction between male and female. But at the same time, you have to understand that the spouse in your bedroom isn’t exactly like you. Your sexual partner is different all the way down to their core.

I have come to believe that it is God’s brilliant design to make mutual sexual satisfaction something you must work toward together. You must recognize those differences, appreciate them, and play to them. As many have said before me: Viva La Difference!

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27