Category: Marriage

Three Purposes of Marriage

What is the purpose of sex in marriage? What was God’s design? I want to suggest three reasons clearly revealed in Scripture.

First, and most obvious is procreation or reproduction. It was God’s design to provide a safe haven in which to rear children.

A second purpose is companionship. Sex is designed to be a bonding experience. The biblical term is: The two become ‘one flesh’. It is deep deep companionship. I believe that is why it is reserved for marriage. It is our unique expression that we are ‘one’.

A third purpose for sex in marriage is for pleasure. If you doubt this, read The Song of Solomon in the Bible. God’s design was mutual sexual pleasure.

Go Ahead. . . Tell Your Spouse What You Like

In a society that is saturated with sex, why do so many couples struggle in this area of  marriage? One of the reasons is that we fail to communicate. Your wife will never know your feelings, needs, and desires if you do not express them. Your husband will never know what pleases you if you do not communicate. I have never known a couple who gained sexual oneness without open communication about sexual matters.

Make a list of suggestions that would make this part of the marriage better for you. Share the list with your spouse. If you would like to read a list made by other husbands and wives see my book: The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  Communication is the road to finding mutual sexual fulfillment in marriage.

How to Leave Sexual Baggage Behind

One of the realities in contemporary society is that many couples come to marriage with previous sexual experience, either with each other, or with other partners. The commonly held idea is that sexual experience before marriage better prepares you for marriage. All of the research indicates otherwise. In fact, the divorce rate is twice as high among those who have been sexually active before marriage.

The Christian answer is the confession of wrongdoing and genuinely forgiving each other for past failures. The scars of the past may remain, but the scars serve as a reminder of the grace and love of God. When God forgives us, He no longer holds it against us. We in turn, forgive each other.

The Truth About Sex

Some Christians have a negative attitude toward sex. It may have come from a distorted sex education, an unfortunate sexual experience as a child, or sexual involvement as a teenager that brought disappointment and guilt. The origin is relatively unimportant. The important thing is to understand that we choose our attitudes.

The first step in overcoming a negative attitude is exposure to the truth. The truth about sex is that within marriage it is God ordained and designed to bring mutual pleasure. As in all of life we are called to live by the truth. We admit our negative attitudes and feelings, but we don’t serve them. With the help of God we live according to His revealed truth.

My Side of the Wall

Many couples are at a stalemate because they have allowed a wall to develop between them. Walls are erected one block at a time. It may be as small as failing to take out the garbage or as large as failing to meet sexual needs. Instead of dealing with the failure, we ignore it. One failure after another is ignored. The wall becomes high and thick. We were once “in love” but now only resentment remains.

There is only one way to remove a wall. We must tear down the blocks on our side. Someone must take the initiative. Will your spouse forgive you? I don’t know, but it’s worth a try. Confess your past failures and ask God to help you make the future different. The wall is not as thick when your remove the blocks on your side.

You Can’t Create a Perfect Marriage.

You can’t create a perfect marriage, but you can have a better marriage. And, it all begins with you. Most of us think that if our spouse would change we could have a better marriage. But that’s the wrong place to start.

When I counsel couples, I often give them paper and pencil and ask them to write for me the things they dislike about their spouse. You should see the lists. Some have to request additional paper. A bit later, I ask them to list for me what they feel to be their own weaknesses. Usually, they can think of one right away, but I have seen them think and think trying to come up with number two. The message is clear. “I’m not perfect, but the real problem is with my spouse.”

Jesus had a different idea: “First, get the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see more clearly how to get the speck out of eye of your spouse.” Begin by identifying your own failures and consider praying this prayer: “Lord, where am I failing in my marriage.”. Confess your discoveries to God and then to your spouse. You now have a clear conscience and you are free to change your own behavior and become a loving spouse.

You Can't Create a Perfect Marriage.

You can’t create a perfect marriage, but you can have a better marriage. And, it all begins with you. Most of us think that if our spouse would change we could have a better marriage. But that’s the wrong place to start.

When I counsel couples, I often give them paper and pencil and ask them to write for me the things they dislike about their spouse. You should see the lists. Some have to request additional paper. A bit later, I ask them to list for me what they feel to be their own weaknesses. Usually, they can think of one right away, but I have seen them think and think trying to come up with number two. The message is clear. “I’m not perfect, but the real problem is with my spouse.”

Jesus had a different idea: “First, get the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see more clearly how to get the speck out of eye of your spouse.” Begin by identifying your own failures and consider praying this prayer: “Lord, where am I failing in my marriage.”. Confess your discoveries to God and then to your spouse. You now have a clear conscience and you are free to change your own behavior and become a loving spouse.

Would you like your spouse to change?

In my thirty years as a marriage counselor, I’ve drawn one conclusion: Everyone wishes their spouse would change. “We could have a good marriage if he would just help me more around the house.” Or, “Our marriage would be great if we could have sex more than once a month.” She wants him to change and he wants her to change. Both of them feel condemned and resentful. There is a better way.

Start with you own failures. Admit that you’re not perfect. Confess some of your most obvious failures to your spouse and tell them that you want to change. Ask your spouse for one suggestion each week on how you could be a better husband or wife. To the best of your ability make changes. Chances are, your spouse will reciprocate.

Do You Have Elephant Ears?

When two people are talking at the same time, no one is listening. Consequently, there is no communication. For conversation to be meaningful it requires talking and listening. How hard can that be? Yet, 87 % of those who divorce say their main problem was that they could not communicate.

Listening begins with an attitude. If I choose to believe that every person I encounter is made in God’s image; that their thoughts and feelings are important, then I am prepared to listen. If I think that the world revolves around me; that my ideas are all that counts, then why should I listen to anyone else? Many couples don’t have a communication problem, they have an attitude problem.

If you want to have a healthy marriage, you must learn to listen. Listening leads to understanding. Once I understand what my spouse is thinking and feeling, I can have a meaningful response. When I speak before I listen, I’m simply throwing words into the wind.

May I give you a practical suggestion? When your spouse begins talking, about anything, imagine yourself having huge elephant ears. Have you heard the expression, “I’m all ears”? That’s what I’m talking about. Don’t think about how you are going to respond. Focus on making sure you understand the thoughts and feelings of your spouse. Then, when it’s your turn to talk, your spouse can put on the elephant ears.

*Adapted from Everybody Wins: Solving Conflicts Without Arguing by Dr. Gary Chapman

Are You Getting the Point?

Communication is not easy until you have a disagreement. So, how do we process conflicts without arguing? As I was writing my book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, one of the great discoveries I made was the awesome power of listening. Most of us are far better at “making our point” than in “getting the point” of the other person. Listening has to do with trying to look at the world through the other person’s eyes. It’s not difficult if you try.

Once you can truthfully say, “I think I understand what you are saying, and it makes sense.” Then you can say, “Let me tell you how I’m thinking, and if it makes sense to you.” Two people who listen long enough to affirm each other can then find a win-win solution.

Arguments reveal the heart. Almost all arguments grow out of unmet emotional needs. One wife said, “Little things like getting the old newspapers out of the garage for recycling is not a big deal to him, but it is important to me because I hate clutter. It’s kind of a visual thing.” What is she saying? One of her emotional needs is to have order in the house. Clutter is emotionally upsetting to her.

The wise husband and wife will look for the emotional need behind the argument. Why is my spouse so upset over what seems trivial to me? The answer to that question will help  you understand your spouse. Meeting emotional needs for each other is one way to create a positive climate for communication.