Raising children is mostly exhausting.
It is a seemly impossible task at times, just to stay sane.
But then, there are moments… when they lay still, and breath slowly.
Moments that make all the crazy go quiet… when you pause and say “thank you Lord” for this impossibly exhausting, wonderful responsibility.
Pretty much every married man competed for his wife at some point. The things we were willing to do to get her attention, affection, and love were limitless. (I can’t tell you how many episodes of “Friends” I’ve watched. P.S. Love you babe.)
Somewhere along the way, however, it gets easy to be comfortable in marriage. We stop fighting for attention, affection, and love — we take it for granted. That lose of fight can lead to a slow fade away from intimacy.
Now, it’s a tricky balance, because on one hand, you want to be confident in your marriage and it’s great to have a comfortable marriage, but on the other hand, the lack of fight for your spouse can make them feel unwanted, unneeded, and unloved. (You don’t want that.)
So how do you keep competing for that love after many years together?
One of the things my wife did for me at Christmas last year was a great example of this. It was a pack of 12 envelopes that she had created. Each envelope contained a special date for each month of the year. She spent the time to figure out 12 different dates and every month, I get to open an envelope and we get to go a fun date together. It’s awesome and it’s a reminder every month that after 13 years together, she’s still fighting for our love. That means the world to me and makes me want to keep fighting for her.
What can you do to show your spouse that you are still competing for them, even if you don’t have to?
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s so easy to get discouraged, disgruntled or just plain aggravated.
My brain and my heart don’t always agree on how to respond to a situation and for better or worse, I’m a big hearted guy and my feelings often outweigh even my strong willed brain at times.
I’d like to offer some magical words of encouragement or wisdom, but I’m not sure I’d classify this list as that. Regardless, here are a few things that do help me, at least sometimes (reassuring, I know)…
- SLOW DOWN. When things are moving too fast, it’s hard to think clearly and it’s easy to let emotion win a battle it shouldn’t. Find a time or place to just stop for a few minutes and refocus.
- TAKE A BREATH. I know, this sounds stupid, but seriously, take a few deep breaths — oxygen is good for the body and the soul apparently.
- FIND PERSPECTIVE. Our emotions have a way of taking things that are not that big and making them much bigger than they should be. Look around, list a few things in your life (in writing) that you’re thankful for. Gratitude creates perspective. Nothing battles discouragement like a good dose of perspective.
It’s good to have a mix of emotion and reason — but don’t let either beat you down.
When you think about sex and marriage, what do you think?
If you listen to the culture, you think sex in marriage means boring and rare. And the truth is, for many marriages, that’s the reality. The same person for life? Really? Yes, really.
There are three things that most often cause fights and often leads to divorce in marriage: Money, In-laws, and Sex.
Sex in marriage needs a makeover.
Spend a little time watching evening TV or modern movies. Who’s having all the “good” sex? The couples that have been married years? No. It’s those cheating on their spouses or couples magically thrown together, but not married.
Now, I’m not saying that we should be watching married couples having sex anymore than we should be watching non-married couples having sex. But the fact is, most of the time, those with great sex lives are not those that are married.
This image is especially true in the Christian community. After all, Christians are prudes and just want to have sex to make babies, right?
Let’s be real, Christian men and women want, need, and desire sex just as much as non-Christians. But here’s the thing; Christians have a unique perspective and should have BETTER sex as a result. Unfortunately, that’s not always true. Yes, married Christians should be having better sex than non-Christians. If you don’t believe me, then go read your Bible.
God made sex. He invented it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s more impressive than creating the rest of the Universe. Seriously though, when he created the Universe, there was only one thing he said was not “good” and that was for man to be alone. God made man and woman to go together. Or as I explained to our oldest son, “He made us like puzzle pieces.”
He didn’t just make sex in order to make babies. He made it to feel good, and He made it to create intimacy. He made it to bring husband and wife together as one. Literally.
I’ve not met a married couple that has not struggled with this at some point or another. It’s a big deal. It’s worth talking through. It’s worth figuring out.
So let’s get practical. You’re married, but you’re having boring sex or you’ve forgotten what sex is. You need to change that and you need a plan. Men, this is your responsibility.
I know what you’re thinking: “This is not my problem. I’d do it anytime.” But it is your problem. It is your marriage.
Here are some ideas that I hope will help.
1. Read the “The 5 Love Languages” by Steve Chapman together – as husband and wife. Read it aloud, one chapter at a time, and talk through each chapter. LEARN how to love each other. I don’t just mean sex here, but that’s a piece of the puzzle.
2. Read “Real Marriage” by Pastor Mark and Grace Driscoll (or watch the messages online) together. This book gets into some nitty-gritty and could bring up some serious issues, but it’s worth it.
3. TALK! Get real with each other. Talk about the things that make it great for you or make it difficult for you. Talk about things you want to try and don’t want to try. Men, be gentle and graceful with your wives. They deserve it.
4. Stop the blame game. It’s not her fault or his fault. It’s YOUR MARRIAGE and it’s worth fighting for in all things TOGETHER – including, and especially, sex.
5. Make time for it. Seriously, put it on the schedule if you have to. I know this doesn’t sound very romantic and certainly isn’t in the movies. But once you get things moving, you’ll forget it was on the schedule in the first place. Make time for it like you do a thousand other things every day. Just do it. Literally.
6. Date each other. Date nights are easier for some than others. Money, schedules, and kids make it difficult. But find a way. Even if it means a picnic in the living room after the kids go to bed (or as we call it, “date night in”). Or make a schedule with another couple where you watch each other’s kids every other week, so that you can date your spouse. Intimacy starts outside of the bedroom – acknowledge that and love each other even before getting under the sheets.
7. Stop the “point’s system.” Marriage is NOT about a point system. It is not. I did XYZ and so now you need to do ABC. There may be people somewhere in the world that this works for, but for most couples I’ve seen, it rarely does. There are times when one spouse is much busier than the other. And times when one person is much more stressed out than the other. That’s the point of marriage – it’s a shared burden of life. It’s a shared responsibility. It’s not 3 points for you and 1 point for me. Give 100% to the person God gave you as often as possible. Always be asking, “What can I do for them today?” and it will change your marriage. Most likely this won’t be an instant change, but it can be huge over time.
8. Pray WITH each other. If you’re not comfortable praying aloud together, then start out by praying silently. Men, LEAD! Pray over your wife and for your marriage. Eventually, get comfortable praying aloud together. Hold hands, be close, and act like you’re married!
9. Pray FOR each other. It’s very difficult to be mad at someone who you’re constantly praying for. It’s very difficult to hold a grudge against someone who you’re always taking to God about. SO PRAY for your spouse every single day. Make a habit of it and it can change your marriage for the better.
10. Most importantly, “Look to God!” God is not a prude. Go read the Song of Solomon. There is some wild stuff in there, and it’s not about your relationship with God. It’s about two married people loving each other 100 percent.
The bottom line is this; sex in marriage does NOT need to be boring or rare. In fact, it should (and can) be better than anything else out there. This is the person who you’ve committed to for better or worse, so get intimate together.
Each couple has their own issues to work through when it comes to sex, and it can be very complex. But it is so worth the work. Men, fight for the love of your wife like you did when you wanted her to marry you. But fight for her in all things, not just to get her in bed.
Review of the Apple news from today: iPad Air, MacPro, MacBook Pro, iLife, iWork, OS X and more…
My initial overview thoughts from today’s October Apple Event.
The biggest news here is that all of the software updates: OS X, iLife, & iWork are all FREE!
The software business has a trend of moving to subscription based services (Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365, etc.) and Apple has taken another path… giving it away.
The advantage Apple has is that they make money on the hardware and as a result, they can afford to give the software away, as a perk of being a part of the Apple ecosystem.
Today was a massive software release for Apple: OS X, iLife (iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand), and iWork (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) all saw updates. iLife and iWork also saw major iOS version updates and iWork has new cloud based versions for online collaboration as well.
Along with these major updates, Apple quietly released iOS 7.0.3 with some bug fixes and new features for iCloud keychain that work with OS X Maverick. Details here on what was updated.
I plan to share more individual thoughts on each of these software updates as I have a chance to install and use them.
While Apple didn’t release any totally new products today (AppleTV, iWatch, etc.), they did make some major upgrades to existing products that matter.
First, more details (including price) were released regarding the all new MacPro. At $2999, this is clearly a PRO level machine but practically a bargain for the power it provides. This machine looks incredible and the specs on it will be a dream for anyone doing major video or audio production. For the average business, including our web design business, this is WAY more than they need however.
The MacBook Pro received a speed bump and a price reduction at the 13in size.
The largest upgrades came to the iPad lineup. The top of the line iPad has been renamed the iPad Air. It’s better in just about every way: faster, lighter, smaller footprint with the same size screen, thinner, better camera, and improved wireless connections.
The iPad mini also saw a major upgrade that is very tempting. It now boasts the beautiful retina display, it’s significantly faster, has advanced wireless capabilities, and more.
I would be hard pressed to pick between the two iPads. The new iPad Air is so much lighter and thinner it takes away the negatives of the old iPad, BUT the price point for the mini is a huge advantage.
The new iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and MacBook Pro keep Apple well ahead of the curve with regards to overall hardware offering for mobile users. Their build quality and overall software integration is hard (read: impossible) to beat at the moment.
If you want to see a full video of the announcements, you can see that on Apple’s website.