“Enhancing sexually intimacy in marriage by watching Porn?”

 

IMG_7570_1024Someone aFullSizeRendersked me once, “Is it ok for my wife and I to watch sexually explicit video together to help ‘enhance’ our sexual intimacy?”

Short answer: No, it’s not Ok.

Longer answer: Let’s look at what Jesus said Himself . . .

Matthew 5:27-28 — “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”   NASU

Jesus transitions here from what the “letter of the law” said, (the physical act of sexual intercourse with someone to whom we are not married) to the “spirit of the law,” (the visual act of looking and becoming sexually aroused by someone to whom we are not married).  Therefore, looking at any image other than your spouse to produce sexual arousal is “adultery of heart” according to Jesus.

Something else we need to understand is that pornography is very addictive.  Science tells us that pornography affects the same part of the brain as a narcotic does. The addiction becomes a trap that over time destroys trust, security, and self worth within relationships. Only time will tell how many marriages will be destroyed by pornography.

Finally, Paul tells us in Ephesian 5:18, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The context here is “control.” Just like drinking too much wine can allow alcohol to take control of your body, watching pornography can easily take control of you as well. Paul’s point is that we are to allow the Holy Spirit to fill/control us and not some other element whether ingested or yes, even visual.

A more important question than the one above may be, “Why is it that I think I need to look at someone other than my partner to be able to enjoy sexual intimacy with her/him?”

I thing the writer of Proverbs said it best in Proverbs 5:15-17

“Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.”

Ask Dr. Ron? Why do I need to pray?

FullSizeRenderIMG_7570_1024A client asked this curious question . . .

“Why do I need to pray since God already knows what’s best for me and knows the outcome?

The short answer is because God commands us to pray. Paul, says to the church at   Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” This is a command rather than a suggestion. Paul issues the command again in 1 Tim 2:8 – “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” So, to discontinue praying because God already knows what’s best and the outcome of each of my prayers would be disobedient to His command to pray.

Another way to look at this question would be from God’s prospective. Since God knows everything and already knows what’s best for me, and knows the outcome, why would He command you and me to pray about anything?

(Let that percolate a little . . .)

First, God is all about relationship with each and every one of us. Our relationship with Him is “faith-based.” He wants us to have faith in Him and to trust Him. Part of that faith and trust involves talking to Him in prayer. Prayer involves telling Him things, asking Him for things, thanking Him for things, praising Him for things, and yes, confessing things we have done wrong. My relationship with my wife would not grow if I never spoke to her.

In like fashion, although God knows what’s best and knows the outcome of each of my prayers, He still wants me to share them with Him as it grows my relationship with Him.

Second, David, the man after God’s own heart seemed to think that prayer might change God’s mind in certain situations. You may remember that David’s adultery with Bathsheba produced a child. God told David that as part of the ramifications of his sin with Bathsheba would be that the child would die (2 Samuel 12:14). David began fasting and praying like crazy asking God to allow the child to live. Seven days later the child died. David cleaned up and requested some food to eat. His servants were confused but David responded in 2 Sam. 12:22, “. . . While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’

You see, even though David knew God knew the outcome, he still thought that if he fasted and prayed just maybe God might allow the child to live.

Third, Hezekiah, one of the kings in the Old Testament, became sick and got the following news from God’s prophet Isaiah,

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'” 2 Kings 20:1. Here’s how Hezekiah responded, “Then he (Hezekiah) turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Return and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life.” 2 Kings 20:2-6

Get the Point . . . Hezekiah received a death sentence from God . . . but he responded by praying. Instead of death, Hezekiah got 15 more years of life . . . Good reason to pray, uh?

Ask Dr. Ron – Where do miscarried babies go?

 

 

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Recently a person asked me this question:

“Where do ‘miscarried’ babies go when they die?”           

Thought provoking question to say the least.

First, let’s approach this question with some truth about how God feels about children in the first place . . .

And they were bringing children to Him (Jesus) so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. NASU (Mark 10:13-16)

Wow! Seems clear that children in general have a special place in God’s heart, doesn’t it? So what about the death of one of these little ones? A similar question is “Where do ‘aborted’ babies go?”

In the past, scholars have debated this question for centuries, and I imagine they will continue to do so in the centuries to come.

Foundational to this question is the fact that one of the attributes or qualities of God is that He is a Fair and Just God. (see Job 5:1ff )

Foundational to this question is also the fact that children are very “believing” in their acceptance of life experiences and people. That’s what Jesus is inferring when He said, “. . . whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

The best example of where infants go in death is shared with us by the “man after God’s own heart,” David, in 2 Samuel 12:15-23. David is speaking to his servants in the last verse of this passage when he said, “But now he (baby) has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” NASU

Some argue that the reference to “go to him” is the grave. In other words, one day I will die too and go to the grave like he just did. I’m not sure that is what David had in mind when he said those words. I think they were words of the hope and expectation that David would be with and see his infant child again when he passes from this life to the next.

So, the answer to the question, “Where do miscarried, aborted babies, and infants go when they die?” can be summed up in one word . . . Heaven.

7 Habits of Highly Successful Couples – Part 2

Family cooking dinner

Habit #4

Give each other the gift of respect and protect each others dignity.

Eph. 5:22-33 – The essence of this passage is love and respect.  Three things not to do in the household:

The 3 D’s – No Disrespect, No Dishonesty, No Disobedience.

 Habit #5

Take the initiative to take and pour support and encouragement into one another.

Eph. 5:32-33 — No one should encourage or support my wife more than I do! I must make sure that I do this habitually. “I will never lose anything if I give up everything.”

 Habit #6

Face the reality of their humanity with a positive attitude and a willingness to Forgive.

Eph. 4:32 — Change takes place in the atmosphere of love and grace.

 Habit #7

They intentionally build their marriage and families with a vision of mission and legacy.

This is where many couples have “missed the boat.” We need, no, we must build our marriages and family with a vision for the future. The condition of your marriage will forecast the vision of your family’s future.

Marriage is like a long train ride. We say, “I do” and start having babies. The car begins to fill up. Things start changing, kids graduate, people start moving away, people die. You are left in a little apartment alone.

7 Habits of Highly Successful Couples

The richness of your marriage is in direct proportion to the sacrificial investments you make in your marriage.

 When we talk about habits we are talking about ongoing repetitive behavior.

Couples in good marriages develop and maintain good healthy habits which are intentional.

 

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 Habit #1

Keep pursuing Christlikeness in their personal lives and in their marriage.

To share God’s word together, pray together, laugh together, cry together, and grow together.            Some call this “spiritual intimacy,”  but whatever you call it, it is absolutely necessary if you want a successful marriage.  Both partners need to embrace Paul’s words,  “For to me to live is Christ,”  &  “in honor, prefer one another.”

Habit #2

Focus on Integrity and Character as building blocks of Trust and Confidence.

Answer this personal question,  “Do I trust my partner?”  Do you lie to your partner sometimes? Do you say you are going to show up but don’t?

Lying is intent to deceive and couples do it all them time. Psalm 15 gives us the profile of integrity.

Integrity has to do with moral predictability. It doesn’t mean perfection.  Character has to do with the composite picture of your choices, decisions, and behavior.

Here’s something to let percolate. . . Your partner is either going to “become” you or “put up” with you.

Habit #3

Make choices and decisions that underscore the marriage as the unrivaled priority.

Gen. 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

This “one-fleshness” means a number of things, and one thing it means that no one or thing has access to your marriage like you do! That means your career does not come before your marriage. That means your recreational choices do not come before your marriage relationship.  That means your co-worker does not know the personal or intimate things about your marriage. No wonder the majority of infidelity that takes place in our country takes place with someone at work.

Here’s some questions that you are welcomed to reply to:

  • Are you pursuing Christlikeness in your personal and married life?
  • How would your partner answer this question . . . Is your partner trustworthy?
  • Is your marriage the unrivaled priority in you life after your relationship with God?

We will look at the last 4 next time . . .

12 Habits of Productive People

I read a article some time ago in the Huffington Post entitled,  “12 Habits of Productive People.”  For me, it begged the question, “Am I a productive person?”  I think at our core, most of us would like to lay our heads on our pillows at night and say,  “Man, I got a lot done today!”

Anyway,  here are the 12 habits, let them percolate a little:

iStock_000006015571LargeHabit #1 — Productive People are NOT chained to email.

Habit #2 — Productive People handle things ONCE.

Habit #3 — Productive People have a SYSTEM for getting it all done.

Habit #4 — Productive People practice SELECTIVE perfectionism.

Habit #5 — Productive People don’t get wrapped up in “BEING PRODUCTIVE.”

Habit #6 — Productive People are CONSCIENTIOUS (but not overly so).

Habit #7 — Productive People pay LESS attention to hours spent working, and MORE attention to the work they’ve done.

Habit #8 — Productive People use ACCOUNTABILITY to their advantage.

Habit #9 — Productive People have a PLAN for every possible scenario.

Habit #10 — Productive People CHANNEL their anxiety for the better.

Habit #11 — Productive People are strategic with their SELF-TALK.

Habit #12 — Productive People know the ORDER of the to-do list matters.

As you ruminate over the above habits, are you using any of them in your life, and if so, are you finding it/them helpful?

“Let’s Get Ready to Rumble — Fighting Fair in Relationships” — Part 3

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Conflict Resolution Step-Ladder

Dr. David Olson, author of Prepare/Enrich marital enrichment program says, “Every couple has differences and disagreements. But healthy couples find ways to resolve marital disputes without turning them into marital wars. Couples who accept and appreciate the fact that their partner has independent opinions tend to reach successful and satisfying resolutions.”

The bottom line question is this, “Do you want to solve the conflict more than you want to be “right” or win the argument?”  When both partners get to the place where they can answer “yes” to this question, then they are ready to begin climbing the “Conflict Resolution step-ladder” in order to reach a satisfactory resolution at the top.

What Is a Conflict?

A conflict is a disagreement, struggle or battle over opposing issues or principles. The Latin word Conflictus means an “act of striking together or clashing with.”

What Are Some Facts about Conflict?

1. Conflict cannot be Avoided

John 16:33 — “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” NIV

2. Conflict is not Bad.

Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” NIV

3. Conflict requires action toward Peace.

Romans 14:19 – “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” NIV

What Is the Difference between Resolution and Reconciliation?

A Resolution and reconciliation are different.

• Resolution means “finding the Answer.”

• Reconciliation means “restoring to Harmony.”

Some differences may never be resolved, but you can still be reconciled to those with whom you differ. God requires only that, as far as it is possible, you seek to be at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18 – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” NIV

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“Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! — Fighting Fair in Relationships” – Part 2

This week I wanted to continue this blog on resolving issues in relationships.  Whether it’s your marriage, your friendship, or working relationships, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle issues and disagreements.  Some of you who read part one might take exception to my use of the word “fighting” that I used in the title of the blog. Please understand that I am not promoting “knock down drag out” fights within relationships.  Ask yourself this question,  “Have I ever had a “knock-down-drag-out” fight with my spouse, friend, or co-worker?  Answer honestly!  The bottom line is this . . .  I just like “catchy” titles that reach out and grab me.

Now, picking up where we left off last time . . . the first side to the Communication Pliers are the words that come out of my mouth, but there’s a second side just like there is to a set of pliers . . .

Side 2 = Focused Communication – James 1:19

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” NIV

The word James uses here for “quick”, Tachus has the idea of having a readiness to listen. The word, “Angry,” Orge here is an explosive anger. Word picture = volcanic eruption.  One big problem in most marriages is neither spouse has the attitude of being ready to listen. Everybody wants to be heard, but nobody wants to listen. Both speaking and listening are equally important for healthy communication and a growing relationship.

In his marital enrichment program, Prepare/Enrich, Dr. David Olson says, “Good communication depends on you carefully listening to another person. Active listening involves listening attentively without interruption . . . .” This focused communication includes non-verbal communication like body language, eye contact, and facial expressions with your spouse, or friend as he/she is speaking to you. Watching television while your partner is speaking with you is not focused communication.

June Hunt makes this astute observation, “Listening is easy to fake, attentiveness is simple to pretend, but real listening requires effort. Our self-centered tendency is to tune others out and our own thoughts in. We tend to muse and reminisce or think about what we are going to say next. As you begin to understand that God, more often than not, communicates to you through the words of others (and through your words to others), your heart will desire to be an attentive listener.”

iStock_000010870688SmallWhen James says, “Everyone should be quick to listen,” what does that mean?

1. Listen with Focused attention.

• Don’t interrupt!

• Don’t let emotions of anger override your thinking.

• Don’t begin thinking of how you are going to respond.

• Don’t be quick to answer. James 1:19

• Do . . . Hear feelings that are being expressed (look beyond the content to the context).

• Do . . . Try to empathize with the feelings of the other.

• Do . . . Reflect (repeat or paraphrase, when appropriate) what is being said and/or felt.

• Do . . . Maintain eye contact. Prov 18:13

2. Listen without Judging.

• Don’t criticize.

• Don’t show contempt or disgust.

• Don’t communicate your opinions.

• Don’t react in ways that will put another in a defensive position. James 1:19

• Do . . . Allow another to grumble and complain.

• Do . . . Allow expression of negative feelings.

• Do . . . Release your own ideas of what is right.

• Do . . . Recognize that you also can be negative and discontented. Rom 2:1

3. Listen without dispensing Advice.

• Don’t give premature answers.

• Don’t repeat platitudes and clichés.

• Don’t quote Scripture.

• Don’t laugh or make fun of another’s feelings. Prov 10:19

• Do . . . Take seriously the words of another.

• Do . . . Help others to discover their own answers.

• Do . . . Realize that attentive listening is more important than talking.

• Do . . . Realize that most people are not really seeking advice. Prov 17:28

4. Listen without becoming Defensive.

• Don’t expect others to have your point of view.

• Don’t argue when you disagree with what is being said.

• Don’t return an insult with an insult.

• Don’t avoid the negative feedback of others. Prov 19:11

• Do . . . Display acceptance even when you disagree with another’s words.

• Do . . . Look for the kernel of truth when confronted by another.

• Do . . . Focus on points of agreement instead of differences.

• Do . . . Seek to understand how your emotions are affecting your communication. Seek to understand, not just to be understood. 1 Peter 3:8-9 

On the topic of “focused communication” please rate yourself and your partner, friend, co-worker on a scale of 1-5.

1 = “Can’t get any worse” and 5 = “Can’t get any better”

Yourself = _____

Partner/friend/co-worker = ______

 

“Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! — Fighting Fair in Relationships”

Angry couple mad at each otherEach one of us begins to develop a style of handling conflict at an early age. Your personal way of fighting evolves out of your natural instincts, your personality and your early family dynamics. Many of us are unable to defuse conflict because we are repeating the extreme patterns of childhood . . . attacking and confrontational or evasive and avoiding. Either strategy fails to appropriate the grace that is available to a child of God.  Marital conflict left unresolved always leads to bitterness that is toxic to the relationship.  Hebrews 12:15 – “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” NIV  Which kind of “fighting style” do you possess?  Are you attacking and confrontational like a shark?  Or  maybe you are evasive and avoiding much like a turtle?  Once you understand your own fighting style and that of your partner, you are ready to learn to lay down your weapons and pick up some tools to aid in “fighting fair.”

Over the next several weeks I want to pass along a couple of tools that are indispensable in resolving issues in healthy ways.  As a matter of fact, these two tools go “hand-in-glove” when it comes to fighting fair in our relationships.

This week, let’s begin looking at the first tool . . .I call it our Communication Pliers.  Just like there are two sides to a pair of pliers, there are two sides which make up our communication: The verbal side & the non-verbal side. We can find these two sides mentioned in Ephesians 4:29 and James 1:19.

Let’s start with the verbal side of our communication and consider Paul’s advice in Ephesians 4:29,  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” NIV  The verbal side of our communication has two sides as well, unwholesome and wholesome.  Paul begins with the unwholesome side as he uses the word for “unwholesome,” Sapros.  The word picture here is “to putrefy” and means to be rotten or worthless. Rotten, worthless words are words that hurt, words that wound, words that bite. “Unwholesome words” are words that are used as weapons on others.  Next, Paul transitions to wholesome words by saying,   “. . . but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

If we are going to learn to “fight fair” we must learn to use words that are “helpful,” “building,” and words that “benefit those who listen,” or wholesome words.

What do wholesome words look like?  Glad you asked. . .

1. Wholesome words are Truthful words.  Proverbs 12:22 – “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” NIV

2. Wholesome words are Life giving words.  Proverbs 18:21 – “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” NIV

3. Wholesome words are Encouraging words.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 — “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . . .” NIV

4. Wholesome words are Investing words.  Proverbs 12:14 – “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.” NIV

5. Wholesome words are Loving words.  1 Corinthians 13:1 – “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” NIV

How would you describe your communication with your spouse, friend, relative, or co-worker during this past week?  Wholesome  or Unwholesome

If you used unwholesome words, how could you edit your last conversation with your spouse, friend, relative, or co-worker to transition your words from being unwholesome to wholesome?

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