Tuesday, January 16, 2018

One Secret To Affair-Proofing Your Marriage

Okay, so this may not really be a "secret", but it is something married women generally don't talk about.  I won't hold you in suspense, here it is....Have sex with your spouse!  Regularly.

It was actually Scripture that got my wheels turning on this subject this morning.  So let's start with that.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul is writing to the church on some issues concerning Christian marriage.  He writes " Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.  Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."- 1 Corinthians 7:5

Whether we do it intentionally or just because life gets too busy, not having regular sex with your spouse is an open door for Satan to walk through.  The best illustration I've heard on this came from Gary Thomas.  I'm going to paraphrase his story from memory because it's been so long that I don't remember which book it came from!  Gary is a runner, even dedicated enough to run on vacation.  One year he was away from home in a much more humid environment than he was used to and he failed to bring enough water on his run.  He became so parched that as he ran by houses and saw a hose out front, he considered going over to take a drink.  A while later, he passed a discarded Coke bottle on the road that still contained a small amount of liquid.  Even that began to be tempting.  Can you imagine how gross that would be?  But dehydration can cause your mind to consider things that normally would be unthinkable.  When we deprive our spouses from meeting their physical needs in a healthy way within our marriage, even what was unthinkable before may become a temptation. 

What do I mean by "regular"?  That could vary for each individual couple.  If you don't know what your spouse needs to be fulfilled, you should definitely have that conversation and find out.  For me, anything less than once a week would be a huge warning light.  I understand that sex is more than a physical act, it has a large emotional component (especially for women).  If that warning light goes off in your marriage, the time to act is NOW.  Find out what the problem is and take steps to fix it.  In every failing marriage that I've come across, the couple does not seek help until the "we haven't had sex for MONTHS" stage.  That is heartbreaking and so much more difficult to come back from.

Because this topic can be so uncomfortable to talk about in person, there are a few books I can recommend that would be a good starting point if you struggle in this area.  Every Woman's/Man's Marriage and Every Woman's/Man's Battle.


Shannon Ethridge writes in a very vulnerable and honest style.  She has several books on marriage/sex that may be helpful in restoring your perspective and giving you hope for the days ahead.

Craig Groeschel is known for saying "When your car runs out of gas, you don't go sell it and buy a new one.  You put gas in your car."

While my marriage isn't perfect, it has always been a priority for me.  I didn't have an example to look to growing up, so it's been "learn as you go".  I've been blessed to learn these lessons early.  I pray for those of you who took the time to read these thoughts of mine, that I will have given you something to think about and that your marriage would be strengthened because of it.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Gospel-Centered Mom by Brooke McGlothlin

I think it was the sub-title that captured my attention for this book: The Freeing Truth About What Your Kids Really Need.  The title of Mom comes along with so many overwhelming responsibilities that it's easy to feel like we're not enough.  And then we compare ourselves with other women and feel even less adequate.  One of the blessings of this book is that Brooke shatters the illusion that we are in this alone.  Mothers deal with the same emotional struggles, and each one of us can be encouraged by the truths found here.

"Why does it bother me so much to feel inept at mothering my boys?  Maybe because it's the thing that I most want to get right."

The Gospel-Centered Mom helps us to reset our perspectives.  Of course we're not enough, but God is.  It's easy to get our parenting priorities out of whack.  Maybe we spend most of our energy on providing our kids with a good education, a healthy diet, opportunities to excel in sports or music, or happiness.  But what is it that's most important to God?  How do we partner with Him to raise our kids?  And to what extent are we responsible for their choices and the people they grow up to be?  These are some of the issues explored in this book.

One area that I struggle in is how to spiritually inspire my boys.  I liked what the author had to say about this.  She writes, "Living the Christian life and influencing others for Christ is really as simple as studying the Word for yourself and then telling others what you've learned." Lead by example.  At times I don't feel like anything sinks in, but I trust that one day I'll see the fruits of my efforts.

A feature that I really appreciated in this book are the re-caps.  At the end of each chapter appear 2 summary statements called a Hard Truth and a Beautiful Truth which reinforce the theme of the chapter.  There is also a conclusion section at the end of the book which summarizes the main points of each of the 10 chapters.  If you are reading this as a group, discussion questions are provided as well.

Overall, I found this book to be easy to read, honest, and thought provoking.  I recommend it to Christian mothers who desire to raise godly children without being burdened by unnecessary guilt! 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.