Sunday, February 20, 2011

Do you "like" your spouse?

Most of us would say that we love our spouse but do we like being with them? In the clip I posted below, Dr. Berman offered these 5 simple ideas which any couple can put into practice to either improve a troubled relationship or to maintain a relationship that is already based on a firm foundation.

1) Give 5 genuine expressions of appreciation each day.
2) Enjoy at least one 10-second kiss every day.
3) Talk about your relationship for at least 15 minutes a day.
4) Arrange a weekly date night and sex date.
5) Take a vacation alone (ie, without kids) at least once a year.

Sometimes it is the little things that make it pleasurable to be around our spouse and cause a husband and wife to bend over backwards to please each other. Can we say that we like our spouse? Do we enjoy being with them? If a person loves their spouse (ie, out of duty) but does not like them, why would they care about tending to their needs? Your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My spouse would NEVER talk to someone about our marriage bed!

Here is a clip showing sex therapist, Dr. Laura Berman, interviewing a couple whose 14 year marriage was in crisis mode.

I talk to dozens and dozens of individuals whose marriage bed has been in crisis for years, often for decades. One comment I hear repeatedly whenever I suggest seeing a therapist, "My spouse would NEVER talk to someone about this." Why is it that the very thing which could bring their marriage bed to a healthier place, is the thing they most avoid? I often compare it to a person with a cancer diagnosis who tells their spouse, “Yes, I have cancer but I am just not comfortable discussing it with a doctor so I will not go in for treatment.” Kind of dumb, huh?

A large part of the hesitation, I think, is a simple fear of the unknown… that and unfounded embarrassment. (ie, Sex therapists have heard it all. You cannot freak them out.) For those of us who are Christians- We can learn to trust God and have faith that He will help us push past the fear so that we can work on resolving the marriage bed issues. We read scriptures all the time pertaining to faith and trust in God. Here is an opportunity to put into practice what we read and put into practice what we say we believe.

Please watch this 6 minute clip. For a spouse/couple who desperately need a sex therapist, this could offer some insight into what takes place in a session so that some of the scariness can be eliminated.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What begins in the heart must end in the heart!

Continuing on with the "awakening" topic--

In one of my blog discussions a reader posted to say: "Yes, we (ex-refused) should not expect or demand an apology (from ex-refuser). Scripture deals rather harshly with unforgiving spirits. But, if you are that repentant soul, you can certainly make it easier for the wounded spouse to make the right decision by being humble and contrite and acknowledging the harm. To do less is wrong. For the other party to demand it is wrong."

BINGO!!!!! To become sexually awakened and to be flippant about it… I am sorry but that continues to show lack of ownership on the ex-refusers part for the damage done to their spouse. What it does say is this, "I am awakened but I want to continue calling the shots and now I say let us just start having sex. Forget about what I have done. The past is in the past… leave it there." That is just as wrong as wrong can be. I have seen a number of ex-refusers on MB forums who think they can simply make the outward change and their spouse should jump up and down for joy. When that does not happen they get bend out of shape and go whining on the forums, “Look what my spouse is doing to me. I have become the sexual being they have wanted all along and now they will not respond in a positive way.”

I try to ignore those whiny, selfish ex-refusers because, quite frankly, they supremely tick me off but in my mind I think, “Well, HELLO??? How did you handle your change? Did you truly repent? Did you feel and show remorse for what you have done? Have you thought about how difficult this has been for your spouse before and immediately following the change? For so long your spouse could not rely on you to do the right thing in the MB. Maybe they are afraid that you will revert back to old habits? Maybe they need to learn all over again how to trust you?

What do we see on forums when the ex-refused cannot quickly shake the past? The couple does not discuss it with their pastor and the ex-refuser says, “If this is how you are going to respond I will just go back to my refusing habit.” And you see them post (read: whine), “I need prayer. My sexual desire is going down again. I do not know what to do. Spouse does not care about my needs.” ME, MY, I... HELLO AGAIN??? This is EXACTLY what your ex-refused spouse was afraid would happen. You are proving them right. Rather than whine, ask your spouse if the two of you can go discuss things with your pastor."

Folks, to truly become sexually awakened is not simply an outward showing. It has to include a deep, genuine heart change for a real ‘turn-around’ to take place with an ex–refuser. The problem I have when I see ex-refusers with a flippant attitude is that it should never be their call to decide which direction the relationship goes from that point. When I am in the wrong it is not up to me to decide how we will handle things to make them right. It is equally as wrong if the ex-refuser has a contrite and humble heart but the ex-refused remains bitter and resentful when we are called to forgive. Clearly, when a marriage bed is on the mend it takes huge leaps of spiritual maturity in both spouses for them to be willing to do the right thing. If one or both spouses resist taking personal responsibility, then sadly, the awakening becomes a “no go” or just “a show”.

The refusing habit began with a sinful heart issue so an awakening needs to result with a deep heart change. Nothing less will be lasting. The best advice I would give an ex-refused spouse who struggles with the change… get you and your spouse in for a private meeting with your pastor and if pastor cannot point you towards a resolution, find a therapist who can. Why spend 5, 10 or more years living with sexual refusal only to spend another 5, 10 or more years living with bitterness and resentment? That is just shooting yourself in the foot.