Been there, done that. Have you ever told yourself that “this is the last time I will ever do it” only to do it again and again? Stefan Tavares was stuck with an addiction to alcohol. He found himself in a hopeless situation and even tried to solve his problems through lethal means. A fresh understanding of the words of the Bible allowed him to see his worth a little differently. Listen to his story of hope and recovery.
Making the connection
Then there is the difference of what our minds are thinking about. She walks in the room looks at you a certain way and you are thinking, “All right, I know what is on her mind!” Actually you don’t. Guys, we can compartmentalize our thoughts and in an instant switch to the “sex” compartment just by looking at our wife’s body. For women everything is connected, meaning: that look she gave you might not even about you. Guys can focus and cut out distractions. Women usually have a more difficult time doing that. Because sex is so high in our thought processes we go there quickly. Women have a myriad of thoughts with sex being a lot lower especially when there are distractions around like kids needing attention, a deadline at work and the realization that there’s no milk in the fridge.
The challenge is that often women feel disconnected and distracted. One of the top reasons women give for not wanting sex is fatigue. As one woman said, “When I arrive home late from a busy day and then deal with my family’s demands the last thing on my mind is sex. I am just too pooped to party.” Plain and simple women are often just too tired.
Your wife desires you but demonstrates it in a very different way than you think it should be. We want sex, she wants to have you take notice of her, listen to her, snuggle with her, help her with the dishes, and tell her she is beautiful, before her brain makes a transition into thinking sex. Meeting her bonding needs is huge for a woman. Does this mean if you do these things tonight she will be all over you? Doesn’t work that way. It’s not a switch you flip in your wife’s brain but here is the good news:
“We sure work hard to get good sex, and even then there are no promises. But I can promise you this: if you work hard to win your wife’s heart as you once did when she said “I do,” her emotional need for closeness, connection, and love will bring her back into your arms. There your chance of sparking a fire is most promising.” Secrets of Happily Married Men P. 227
So now what? Tackle the real issues in your way. The obstacles to connecting with your wife have little (if anything) to do with your desirability. You need to move past your incorrect thinking, “she does not desire me”. Women are wired differently so most likely you have a connection issue.
Here is what I suggest: take a renewed interest in her and her needs. If you haven’t read the book the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman do it now and start the fun. I discovered that men are good at observation, even better than women. It has something to do with our ability to focus, so the challenge is to see what works. How does she best like you to express love to her?
I realized that I tried to love my wife the way I liked to receive love so I wrote her really nice cards with well thought-out wording. Those were OK but I remember it dawning on me that if I cleared out the dishwasher I was really talking her language! I like words of affirmation and she likes acts of service. It has made a major difference in how I express love. I need to make sure I am meeting her need for bonding with me the way she wants it to occur. That means away from the bedroom and not just when I want sex.
Distractions is a big one and we have to realize women need a lot more time to get in the mood. It takes me 30 seconds and I’m sure you can beat that time but your wife is different. I discovered my wife had a huge distraction in that we had no lock on our bedroom door and she thought one on the kids might walk in on having sex. The very next day I put a lock on the door. My wife still calls this the fastest home improvement project I ever did! Eliminating distractions isn’t easy or always successful but there is often a lot we CAN do.
Fatigue. This is a no brainer. What could you do to help more? Each time I do something I don’t really enjoy I usually tell myself (yes I talk to myself) that I am expressing love whether she sees it or not. Encourage her to get the rest she needs. Your encouragement may help overcome guilt at taking a nap or going to bed early.
By the way when observation doesn’t get you the info you need you can always ask her. It took some time when I asked my wife how I could best express love and what her needs were but over time we have had a much clearer idea of how it works.
One more heads up with taking an interest in your wife, find out what she really enjoys in the bedroom. Just because you enjoy something does not mean your wife loves it. Communication is really important. She is unique and no matter what the books, movies or internet says, you need to discover what she likes. Then become better at it. I know we all think we are hot in bed but there is always room for improvement. Make it a goal that when you are having sex, she enjoys it.
So, how’s your love life? Do you need to talk? Either contact us privately by filling out this form and one of our mentors will contact you or make a comment about this article below the form.
Tags: communication, healthy marriage, improving your marriage, intimacy, marriage, relationships, resolving conflict, romance, Romance & Sex, sex, sex and love, sex resources, sexual desire, sexual problems
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In our family December 1st is one of the most sacred days of the year. Come rain, snow, sleet or hail nothing can stop this day so sacred (Ya, I know, it doesn’t rhyme but you try rhyming with ‘sacred’). On this day of days I enter the crawl space and haul plastic tote after plastic tote up the stairs. Christmas ornaments, decorations, lights and the tree – one by one I haul them out. And thus begins the annual assembly of our holiday environment.
It happens almost the same way each year. I untangle the outdoor Christmas lights which mysteriously get entwined no matter how carefully I lay them in their tote. (I have long believed that sometime during the year these cords awake from their slumber and play several games of Twister until they are so entangled they can’t move). Once the Christmas lights are in place with the star at the center, I move indoors to assemble the tree.
Traditions are vital to families
Yes it is fake but hey, this is our tradition and we like it. I discovered I could disassemble it with the lights still on it, place it in its box and presto next year save time and some frustration. Then the girls, and now my son-in-law, set out to decorate the tree, amid comments like, “Remember when I made this one? No you didn’t I painted that. Look at the bottom, I have my name on it” or “Do we still want to put these on the tree?” My dear wife is in the kitchen adding her perfect touch to this day. The smells of corn chowder and fresh buns waft (always wanted to use that word) through the house.
Dr. Bill Doherty, Professor in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota described the importance of traditions saying:
There are so many ways for families to move apart and not connect that if you just go with the flow the flow is going to do disperse you. . . . The biggest reason that it’s important to have some family rituals and traditions is to be able to make sure you have an opportunity to connect on a regular basis.
Family traditions are an anchor in busy times, something to look back and something to look forward to.
As we sit down for our meal and look at the tree lit up in our dark front room, we feel a connectedness that good traditions bring to a family. Traditions don’t just happen, they take effort which is why we keep December 1st sacred. It comes first before school, work, meetings or appointments. We have the whole year to make sure our schedules are clear that day so we are all free to spend the day together.
Over the years our traditions have evolved and as our family continues to grow they will change and flex. What makes a great tradition? When with fondness and a touch of nostalgia a family member says “We always…” Traditions are sacred to us and we always look forward to starting our celebration of Jesus birth with our sacred day December 1.
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Tags: Christmas, december, Experience, Family, family life, family values, FamilyLife, healthy marriage, holidays, LIFE, Men, neal black, newlywed, parenting, priorities, remarriage, traditions, Women
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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
The In Flanders Fields poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on May 3 1915. He wrote it after witnessing the death of his friend on the battlefield the day before. It is a solemn reminder of the atrocities of war and an admonishment to steadfastly remain vigilant even when faced with terrifying adversity.
On this day we honor those who bravely fought for freedom and justice, and many of whom bravely gave their lives for the noble cause. It goes by different names in different places, including Remembrance Day, Veteran’s Day, Poppy Day, and Armistice Day, but the sentiment is the same: Not to glorify the tragedy of war, but to commemorate the valor of those who fought to defend their country.
Brigadier General (ret.) Robinson Risner, a veteran pilot who fought in World War 2, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, is one of those brave military soldiers who we should remember today. Despite being shot down twice over enemy territory, and being captured and tortured, each time it happened he wasted no time taking to the skies again, ready to serve his country. Read his story: Enduring Torture in a POW Camp
Please feel free to share your own stories of remembrance or commemoration in the comments below. If you feel the need to speak with someone in private, our online mentors are always available to listen.
I was invited to see Courageous as a preview. I was looking forward to seeing a movie, because I love going to the theatre. The showing was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. At 9:00 we got a phone call that the house we were planning to moving into in less than a week fell through. We were really excited about that house! We thought God had miraculously provided. The movie flew out of my head as we went to see another house. My emotions were disgruntled, my kids were upset. It was a big change of plans and we had to shift really quickly.
“God what are you doing?” I wondered. The house had seemed like such a miracle, and now we were so disappointed. We said yes to the second house, but were still in grief over the first one. During that time the movie preview was postponed to 1:30. At 1:20 my daughter said to me, “Mom lets go to a movie.” I suddenly remembered Courageous and we ran out the door.
I was not expecting the range of emotions that Courageous took me on. I laughed, (really laughed) I cried (get-out-the-tissues-and-pass-them-down-the-row cried). I enjoyed it and the values resonated deep in my spirit. Values are very important to me and it was great to see a movie with such a strong message about priorities.
It brought me to tears
At one point during the film my eleven year old asked why I was crying. (Any parent will understand why I was crying, but it was lost on her.) I was crying because I love my kids SO much, and because we are SO rich because we have them. I cried because I miss my son and daughter who live in heaven. I cried for the reminder to appreciate my family and take seriously my responsibility and to laugh and dance and spend time with them. I cried because no matter where we live we are together and we have each other and THAT is what matters MOST.
I walked out of the theatre with a new perspective. We already have the thing that is the most important. I was still disappointed to lose the house, but chose to focus with gratitude on the great things about our new home instead. Perspective can make all the difference. I have recently learned that if we want to control our emotions we need to control our thoughts. It sounds simple but is hard to practice.
Courageous reminds us to focus on what is truly important: family, values, integrity. These are the things that last beyond the moment. I love my family and if we live in a shack and are safe and healthy, we still have much to be thankful for!
It takes courage to face both the daily things and the BIG things that life throws at us. This movie features several men who face both the big and small decisions with priorities based on family values. I was truly moved.
As a Christian who fully embraces the values of the film, I would love to see you all go opening weekend so that we can make a statement that good movies are wanted in our culture. This movie’s message is SO important for our culture. The next generation needs parents focused on character, love, integrity, involvement, and time spent together.
Tags: beth scholes, character development, commitment, courageous, dads, family values, fatherlessness, friendship, hardship and suffering, improving your marriage, parenting, parents, priorities, protecting your marriage, relationships, teenagers, teens, values
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We put a lot of time and energy in our work – extra hours, extra effort to get the contract or meet deadlines. Hobbies can help give balance to the stress of our jobs, a needed outlet for creativity, or just release some pressure. These are both good things. But why don’t we put the same effort into our families? As Adam Mitchell says in the new movie, Courageous, “Jobs and hobbies are not eternal, our children are”.
Courageous is a movie about five police men living with exciting careers and challenges at home. One of them is moved to improve as a father. His co-workers are inspired to do the same, and they resolve to be better dads. But it doesn’t end there. Life happens, and they have to make decisions – will they be the men of integrity as they promised when it’s hard, really hard?
This movie is exciting, funny, and action filled. The police scenes will leave you at the edge of your seat. You’ll roar with laughter and be moved to tears. The movie portrays all sorts of fathers – fathers who favor one child over another, fathers of teenage daughters with boyfriends, divorced fathers and fathers who want to be better.
The press release for Courageous describes why a movie like this is so important:
Today, fatherlessness in Canada is widespread and its effects are far reaching. Studies show that fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy and criminality. Even in homes where the father is present, he may be struggling with career, life’s purpose or marital issues. Dads are often busy and disconnected. The movie Courageous invites men to make a profound change for the sake of their families, collectively altering the future of our nation as men put into practice what fatherhood should be.
This movie is a must-see for families. In a culture that is becoming more and more desensitized to violence, Courageous adds some sensitivity back. Take your spouse, buddy, co-worker, brother-in-law, and vow to make a difference in the lives of children around you. Dare to be courageous – it’s not too late.
Courageous opens in select theatres September 30th.
Resources have been created for small group studies and individual resolutions for men as well as women. Churches are encouraged to hold small groups and continue the process of fathers building stronger families. You can find these resources and more at http://courageouscanada.ca/resources
Are you a Dad wanting to make a difference in your child’s life? Get more tips:
Tags: better parenting, character development, commitment, dads, family values, friendship, hardship and suffering, improving your marriage, parenting essentials, priorities, protecting your marriage, teenagers, teens, values
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When I was 9 years old I was in love with Chachi. I used to dream that I was just a few years older and I was asked to star in his TV show, and he kissed me and decided that he loved me. I would work out all kinds of different plots for the show, all of which involved him falling head over heels for me, because he was so wonderfully cute.
Ever have those kind of fantasies? We all do. The problem comes when they don’t stop when you make your marriage vows begin.
I know many married women who would never dream of cheating on their husbands, but at the same time they have a “crush” on some big star–either a sports figure or a celebrity. They have pictures of that man all over their FB page. They have mugs of him. They make constant references to him.
Recently I received this email from a woman exasperated with her friends. She writes:
Can you please tell married women to stop falling all over themselves praising other men? I’m sick of seeing married women talk about how “hunky” some hockey star is, or how “hot” some star is, especially when their husbands are sitting right there.
We’ve told men that we women don’t like it when they talk about how hot other women are, but we turn around and do the same thing! It has to stop.
I completely agree. I think something has happened to our society in the name of “sexual liberation”. In the 1970s, when feminism really got revved up, one of the things that the movement tried to do was to end the idea that women and men were somehow different. And so they started praising women for acting all sex-crazed, just like men. And it became a sign of women’s empowerment to say that a guy was “hot”, or to openly talk to other women about how cute someone was. While men weren’t allowed to do it, women were encouraged to do so.
Women now internalized that, so that we think it’s fun and harmless to idolize hockey players or football players or actors. But it isn’t! Even if your husband says it doesn’t bother him, it’s still wrong. The only one you should have eyes for is your husband.
We women often hear messages against romance novels, because these will wreck your marriage. In addition, I ask married women to, please stop posting about famous men on Facebook. And to stop buying jerseys of a particular player? And don’t tell your children that you like him, either! Instead, tell your children how much you love and adore their father.
You should be your husband’s biggest fan, not the fan of someone else. It isn’t harmless, even if you’re never going to meet the person in real life. It makes your mind go in the wrong direction, and it tells your husband and your kids that you’re not truly committed to loving only him.
Quite often making small changes in the long run make a BIG difference.
Let us know what you think.
This blog was originally posted on tolovehonorandvacuum.blogspot.com . Used with permission.
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Tags: commitment, communication, crush, fancy, healthy marriage, improving your marriage, priorities, protecting your marriage, relationship, romance, sex, sex and love, sexual intimacy, values, Women
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How are you doing as a parent? God gives parents the special gift of children but it takes effort to raise them well. With the busyness of life, we can sometimes feel that we aren’t doing our best as parents. In this video series, Josh McDowell provides several creative parenting techniques to use with your family, regardless of where you have come from or where you are right now.
Take the next step:
How to keep your family first
Learn how to effectively pray for your children
Watch Josh McDowell’s “How to be a Hero to your Kids” video series
Are you struggling as a parent? We would like to pray for you.
According to a recent report from the Family Research Council, 55 percent of teenagers live in families where their biological parents have rejected one another. Of the 12.8 million teenagers ages 15-17 in the U.S. in 2008, 7 million were living with one birth parent only, with a birth parent and a stepparent, with two cohabiting parents, or with neither parent (in adoptive or foster families, in group quarters, or on their own).*
Are you one of the 7 million? I was.
As families break up, teens suffer rejection and loneliness. Rejection causes us to replay negative experiences in our minds. Each time we hit rewind and replay the situation our depression deepens. It’s a vicious cycle and a spiritual battle. You and I need God to break any mindset that keeps us trapped in a negative place. But how?
During the time when I was healing from my parents divorce, a minister came up to me and said, “God tells me you are replaying the pain. Stop rehearsing it. Instead fill your heart and mind with what God’s Word says about you.” I knew he was right, so I did as he said. And that was the beginning of a greater liberty in my life. From that day forward, I made a conscious effort to let go of my bitterness.
Finding your place
There is a place of belonging for you beginning today and that place is close to the heart of God. You can experience healing. You can leave the pain of your past behind. You can move into the future, whole and complete in Christ. God did it for me, and He will do it for you.
Maybe your parents divorced, your dad or mom left, one of your parents passed away, or a brother or sister betrayed you. Maybe you have a parent who is serving in the military and you miss them. Perhaps your family is struggling with unemployment; your parent is laid off and out of work. Your parents’ home may have been foreclosed and you wonder when the fighting over money will end. Whatever the root of your rejection has been, you must hold onto hope. You can throw off bitterness and experience healing in your soul.
Habakkuk 3:16-19 shows us that God works in the bad times in our lives. The hard experiences we endure really do make us stronger. Romans 8:28 goes on to say that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
Restoration is a process. Psalm 30:5 declares, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” No matter how cutting the pain of darkness is, the light of day always breaks through it.
God goes before you and He is greater than your circumstances. He sees your past, present, and future. He gets you. He stands with arms open. His love can heal your deepest sorrow. He can lift the bitterness you feel and bring liberty that will cause your heart to sing again.
I understand people you love have hurt you. Just remember, you are not rejected and you are not alone. You have a place of shelter, a Heavenly Father, a Christian family, and an eternal home.
Six Rejection Breaking Keys that Show How You B-E-L-O-N-G
B – Begin Starting anything new can be hard. In fact, there’s not much good we can do in our own ability without the Lord. That’s why God wants to be your strength as you begin embracing Him (Psalm 46:1 and II Corinthians 12:9-10).
E – Embracing Here’s where you act upon your faith. To embrace is to accept and welcome God in your life (Acts 16:31 and Romans 5:1). You might ask, “But, how do I embrace God?” Well, you talk to Him just like you talk to your best friend. (At the end of this post, there’s an opportunity for you to experience God’s love through the power of prayer.)
L – Love’s I John 4:16 tells us that “God is love”. Is it possible for people like you and me to know Love’s open arms? You bet it is. Never forget, you are God’s favorite one.
O – Open arms Jesus died on the cross, but He also rose from the grave. We aren’t embracing a dead or made-up deity. Our God is alive. The Holy Spirit enables us to feel His presence and sense His open arms. When we call on the Lord Jesus, He hears us every time (Isaiah 58:9).
N – Never-ending
Isaiah 9:6-7 reassures us that God is forever. He isn’t going to walk out on us. Isaiah says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end” (NIV, emphasis added). Did you get that last part? The kingdom of God is never-ending (Psalm 16:8).
G – Grace Favor surrounds you when the God of love is with you. John 1:17 reminds us, “the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (NIV). God will transform your life with His grace. He is the lifter of your head. No more rejection, only acceptance in Him.
God can heal your broken heart. Are you ready to pray?
Lord, who is more powerful than you? Who is more able to restore than you? Not anyone! I empty my heart of the rejection I have experienced and I ask you for peace. Will you revive me again? Will you take away the pain?
I believe you will! I will not hang my head low in defeat; I choose in this holy moment to hold onto hope. I lift my head high, knowing that you have created me to be an individual, as unique as the snowflakes outside. Help me to forgive my family. I release my resentment. Bring purity to my life, restore the trust. Heal the brokenness and cause my heart to sing with new joy! Thank you for being my Heavenly Father and for welcoming me into your family and home. I am neither rejected, nor alone because I BELONG to you. I ask all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God hears and answers, so expect His breakthrough in your life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV). God is going to do something mighty for you.
Has divorce touched your family? Read our resources to find hope:
April 12th, 2009 forced a change in my life. I remember making my way across the darkened parking lot and slipping in behind the wheel of my car in silence. Rain slipped down the windshield and I opened the window ever so slightly, hoping that the chilled air would remind me to breathe. For 10 days I had sat at the bedside of my husband and best friend. That night his battled ended and I knew he was resting peacefully in the arms of God. As I pulled away, more than just the road ahead was seemed dark and unfamiliar.
Change comes suddenly and without warning, often in ways we are not prepared for. A loss of a relationship, job loss, bad news, unwanted circumstances are all outside of our control. The change forces new challenges and opportunities to navigate the road ahead and forge on to allow God to lead us to new destinations.
If you are facing change in your life there are a few keys in making change your friend rather than foe:
Got change? Whatever change you are facing today God is still in control. The clouds will roll back and the sun will shine again. Change when accepted constructively will become deposits and investments that will become more valuable over time.
Tags: adult children, better parenting, challenges & conflicts, change, character development, communication, death, divorce, family issues, hardship & suffering, healthy marriage, improving your marriage, job los, Joyce Simmons, new career, out of your control, parenting essentials, priorities, protecting your marriage, relationships, resolving conflict, Self, teens, values
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Love can be dangerous. When you aim high and love lets you down, the fall is far.>Watch