13 Realities of Married Sex: #9 Sex is Ecstasy

Years ago, Megan decided to surprise me by purchasing a ticket for us to ride a special bungee-swing-like ride in a major theme park.  The only problem is that I’m afraid of heights.  Though this event took place years ago, I remember it very clearly.  The slow ascent to the final destination (which was hundreds of feet off the ground!) was not a pleasant experience.  But once you’re there, there’s only one way to getKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA down.  The employee called out over a loudspeaker, “Are you ready?”  And then continued, “3-2-1 PULL!”.  Megan pulled the pin.  Over the next 1.37365 seconds, we were in a complete free-fall, and I’m pretty sure I was screaming like a little girl.  Then we felt the rope catch, and we swung back and forth until we descended to safety.  During this event, all 5 senses were fully engaged.  And in the end, I did laugh a bit about the experience.  But it wasn’t as enjoyable as Megan hoped.  It didn’t provide the moment of ecstasy she was going for.

Sex, on the other hand should be a thrilling, tantalizing and exciting experience. And while no marriage experiences those attributes every time they connect physically, it should not be a distant memory or completely foreign idea.  So what happens when sex is not ecstasy? When boredom, monotony and familiarity cloud that which you wish was more exciting and fun?

1. Build up the mind.

Great sex begins in the mind. If you have a ho-hum attitude towards sex, your bedroom activities won’t fail to reflect that attitude.  Fully understanding that where your mind goes, your body will follow is an important first step.  Use the power of your mind, your thoughts and your will to release your sexual confidence.  Make an effort to spend time thinking erotic thoughts about your spouse and anticipating how good sex could be. If you find yourself blaming your spouse for being a lousy lover, why don’t you try taking time to teach them to be a great lover.  Nobody knows everything about someone else’s body so take time to teach them about yours.  It is possible, but it all starts in the mind.  (If you are a wife with a low libido, check out Pearl’s OysterBed and join in her challenge to Unlock Your Libido.)

2. Build up the body.

If sex begins in the brain, then getting to know your own body is the next step to better sex.  Learning how your body responds to touch, taste, sight, smell and sound is a great starting point to understanding what turns you on. Marriage is the only place where sexual experimentation is encouraged and appropriate…so get to it!

3. Build up the heart.

Sex without connection can never be as good as sex with connection.  If sex is not producing much ecstasy then look to the relational aspects of your marriage and sexual relationship.  Is sex being withheld because of anger or unforgiveness? Is there bitterness or resentment building up as a result of self-centered living? Are there underlying problems in how you value sex?

Another approach may just be to work on your friendship. Sex or friendship, friendship or sex, which comes first? Truth is, neither one is as good without the other. Working on your friendship may well be a key to unlocking more passionate sex.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Discuss with your spouse:

1. Is there anything I can do this week to help you think sexual thoughts about me throughout the day?

2. Challenge: Do something special with all 5 senses the next time you connect.  Don’t tell your spouse what you’re going to do (surely you can think of something sexually arousing to surprise him/her in 5 ways) but let him/her choose the order of the senses.  Then mix-and-match those 5 things the next time you connect.  Chances are, you’ll discover a new, fun, way to pleasure your spouse!

Marriage Challenge: Sexual Nostalgia

Nostalgia:  Fond memories.  Reminiscences of days gone by.  Longing to return to a specific time or event.  Each person has moments in which nostalgic memories are triggered.  It could be from a scent, a sound, a touch or an experience. Times when our senses are heightened and our thoughts linger.  Today’s marriage challenge is to use this to your advantage concerning your sexual relationship.

Great sex, by it’s very nature, will keep you coming back time and again.  The release of oxytocin (“bonding” or “trust” chemical) during intercourse and orgasm, helps create a deep sense of attachment and intimacy. Beyond that however, if you attach your memories to specific sexual experiences it can be a big libido booster.

Creating what we are calling sexual nostalgia, is really quite simple.  When you make love introduce a different or new variable.  This could be a different room, a specific song/cd, a new position or a certain fragrance.  Then, anytime you see, hear, smell, etc.that variable,  use memory recall to bring to mind the intimacy you shared during that special time together.  If you choose the couch as a place to connect your bodies, allow your mind to recall how special your time spend together in that place was.  If you use a fragrance specifically for an intimate rendezvous, use that scent to trigger sexual thoughts towards your spouse. Etc., etc., etc.

Use your biggest sexual organ to your advantage.  Your brain and all the memories it contains can help orchestrate excitement and sexual pleasure and can help build greater interest in sex with your spouse.

What variables can you add to your sexual repertoire that may lead to sexual nostalgia days, weeks, month or even years down the road?  Take the challenge and build up a memory full of sex positive encounters with the love of your life!

Marriage Challenge: Learn Something New

I (Megan) am always surprised when I learn something new about Justin.  Just when I think I know everything there is to know about the man I married I get surprised by learning a new fact or hearing a new story I hadn’t heard before.  I have a friend who made a resolution this year to find out 13 new things about her husband.  What a great resolution and idea.  In fact I like it so much it’s our marriage challenge today.  Find out something new about your spouse.  This might be a long forgotten story from childhood or may be something they enjoy about you.  Whatever it is, be encouraged to continue to study and learn about your spouse to increase the intimacy and friendship in your marriage.

Here are a few practical ideas to help you get started if you have no idea how to do that.

1. Talk often.

An obvious first point but honestly you can’t ever learn anything new if you don’t carve out time to talk about your lives.   Outside of what needs addressed immediately it’s important to take time to communicate regularly about your lives.   Here are 30 questions to get you started talking: 30 days of communication.

2. Try new things.

Even if what you are trying is not new to both of you, by making an effort to try new things you will learn new things about your spouse. Getting involved in your spouse’s interests, involving them in your interests or building your own interests together can enhance your marriage on many different levels.

3.   Observe them.

Learning something new doesn’t always need to be quantified by conversation.  Taking time to observe their habits, their personality, how they handle stress or respond to different situations can help you learn new things about your spouse without their ever even knowing it.  Become a good observer of your spouse and you are bound to find out something new.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Please share with us ideas about how you continue to learn new things about your spouse.  We love a good story!

Life Giving or Life Sucking:

Marriage is hard work but in the midst of all that hard work there should be some life giving qualities.  Life giving qualities such as having the ability to laugh and smile with one another.  Chatting about both the important and mundane aspects of life.  Finding comfort in one another during stressful times and holding each other up.  That is the kind of marriage that everyone wants but often times they are not sure how to get it.  Maybe your experience is not one of a life giving marriage but a life sucking marriage.  A marriage that seemingly takes but doesn’t give.  A marriage that seems to suck the life out of you.  Whether you are in a life giving or a life sucking marriage, today we want to share three steps to help encourage new life in your marriage.

1. Play together.

Find some activity, hobby or interest that you can share with one another.  This can prove to be difficult at times, especially when it seems you have very few common interests but taking time to cultivate a deeper friendship is essential to a strong marriage. Adopting an interest of your spouse is a great way to show that you care for them and desire to be part of their life.  There is also nothing wrong with forging ahead and developing a new hobby together.  That’s how we came to write a blog about marriage and intimacy!

2. Pray together.

The idea of praying together scares many people but it can make a huge difference in your marriage.  If you feel like maybe you or your spouse are not ready for that step yet we would encourage you to find at least something that draws you together spiritually.  Maybe you could attend church together or a small group.  Maybe you could start serving together somewhere or even just read something and discuss it.  Connecting on a spiritual basis in your marriage will benefit your life as individuals and as a couple.

3. Lay together.

Yep. That means sharing times of physical intimacy can help breathe life into your marriage.  The uniting of bodies through intercourse has the beneficial side effect of uniting you on emotional, mental and spiritual ways as well. As we’ve said before, great sex is not just an event it is the overflow of a great marriage. Resolve to make time to connect physically and resolve to deal with the issues that stop you from experiencing freedom in this area of your life.

When you take time to play together, pray together and lay together you are making a lasting investment in your marriage.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thanks to Matt Santen and Chad Cobb of River Ridge Church Charleston  for allowing us to adapt a marriage message into this blog post.  You can find the message (Quicksand: Sinking in my Marriage) on iTunes or their website here. We look forward to speaking about physical intimacy at their church for a Marriage Works event on October 19th. So if you live close we’d love to meet you.

 

Marriage Challenge: Take a Time Out

Fall is in full force around our house right now.  With my (Megan) recent return from a mission trip to Kenya, the start of the new school year, the kick off of the marriage Bible study we will lead at church (we would love to have you read with us!) and our regular, everyday volunteer and work activities we are feeling pressed on all sides.  I am sure you can relate.  Life is busy, hectic and even chaotic at times.  While marriage experts regularly say to make your marriage your first priority, it is not always easy to do that.  Even those of us who write about marriage can easily forget to take our own advice.  That is why we need a time out in our house.  And we are challenging you to do the same thing.

Take a time out.  It’s up to you and your spouse to figure out how long of a time out you need but even a few minutes can be a life-line to a difficult day, week, month or season.  Here are a few suggestions that may help:

1. Keep it simple.  It is not about the extravagance of the moment or the event.  It IS about the person you are with at the time.  As long as you are making a step towards each other, it’s all good.

2. Make it fun.  Laughter has a great ability to release stress, relax your body and boost your immune system all at the same time.  Don’t take for granted that laughing together will make a difference in how you approach living life together.

3. Do it often.  While it is great and admirable to take extended periods of time together don’t dismiss brief periods of respite that a time out can provide.  Taking just a few minutes to connect, unwind, laugh and enjoy one another is important.  Don’t guilt yourself because it has been 3 months since your last official date night.  Seize the day, take a time out and don’t rob yourself the pleasure of a few stolen moments together.

Now enough advice.  Go take a marriage time out!

If you still need a few suggestions to get your mind going on what you could do in a marriage time out here you go:

1. Puzzle race: grab 2 easy 24 piece puzzles and see who can put it together the fastest.

2. Make an emergency romance kit to have on hand.

3. Write a love note to each other then read it out loud.

4. Set up a scavenger hunt in your own house.

5. Keeping with the theme of our blog, there is certainly nothing wrong with a quickie!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Have you ever found that even just a few minutes together can change your attitude or your day?  We would love if you would share what you came up with for your time out.

 

Linking with: Revive Your Marriage

Sex Positive Voices: Part II

I (Justin) have read many of the same marriage blogs and books that Megan reads.  And after reading through some of these sex positive voices posts I could only think, “Why is it that only women can write their top 10 list as to why they choose to have a sex positive voice?  Is this not an area men can freely and openly speak out on as well?”  So I wanted to offer my reply and share ten reasons why I, too openly talk about sex within the marriage relationship.

1. Sex is way better than the entertainment industry makes it out to be.  I mean seriously, the music and entertainment business thrives year after year on the “sex sells” mantra.  And they’re right, it does sell.  A lot.  Prior to marriage, I was immersed in this culture as any high-school and college student of the day could be.  But I now know that while sex does sell, the sales aspect of sex advocates only that of a physical release.  There’s a spiritual and emotional aspect of sex that is just as deep for men as it is for women.  Sure, sex does bring a physical release.  But the emotional and spiritual side of sex makes it far more glorious than a degraded woman in an advertisement could ever make it sound.

2. Sex helps bring me back to reality.  I work pretty hard throughout the day and my mind is often pulled in dozens of different directions.  I’ve got people to contact, volunteer schedules to fill, and weekly deadlines that can’t ever be postponed — as we say in the pastor’s world, “Sunday’s comin’.”  So, I sometimes find myself working from home, or just trying to escape the realities of life.  But sex isn’t an escape.  It brings me back to the reality of knowing I have a loving, faithful wife.  A wife who helps me see the demands of reality, but acknowledge that those demands are not nearly as important as we are to one another.

3. Sex helps me sleep.  This is a common physiological response in men more often than in women, but when feeling emotionally wired and unable to rest, sex helps to not only bring me back to reality, but to relax and know that tomorrow is a new day, and that this day will go out on high note.

4. Sex brings children.  Don’t get me wrong, sex is good.  Real good.  But for those who have children, having sex with the intent of having children is different.  You’re bringing two bodies together with the sole purpose of bringing new life into the world.  Connecting in this way can only be described as magical.  As mentioned above, this is far from physical.  It’s truly an emotional and spiritual moment that cannot be described in words.

5. Sex reminds me that life isn’t all about me.  Megan mentioned this on her list as well, but I must agree with it.  As a husband, I’m going to pleased in the bedroom.  So my primary desire  isn’t all about me, but about whether or not I can please my wife as well.  To be honest, I’m thrilled to know I have a wife who doesn’t “fake it”.  Knowing that I have the ability to serve my wife in that way makes the experience much better than if I were in it only for my own satisfaction.

6. Sex is better than any book on marriage/intimacy.  I’ve read numerous books on marriage and sex.  The “this formula will improve your marriage”.  The “try new positions”.  The “forgive yourself for your past.”  And truth be told, I’ll continue reading more on the subject as well.  But there’s something about the act of sex itself that just can’t be written down in words.  At the end of the day, the formulas may or may not work.  The communication could be better. But sex provides something that no poet, screenwriter, or storyteller could ever communicate.

7. Sex is better than video games.  OK, there…I said it.  I still play video games.  Not like some other guys do, but on occasion I’ll still pick up a controller and take on the bad guys.  Those who play video games know that there’s often a pattern.  It’s not necessarily what needs to be done, as the objectives are clear.  The programmers have written in some kind of “this is how it has to be done” formula”.  Once you’ve figured it out, you’ll get through that level.  Well, in an appropriate marriage relationship, sex has no step-by-step pattern.  In fact, it changes every time.  Sure, there is one primary objective, but how you get there will change.  So I’m constantly able to study my wife, and always respond differently depending on the circumstances.  And unlike a video game, I’ve never gotten killed in the process.

8. Sex is better than sports.  I know, I know…two “sex is better than ______” points in a row.  But hey, it’s true, sex is better than sports.  As a football and hockey fan, you’re constantly waiting for your team to score, but you never know if they will or not.  Well in a great marriage, you know you’re going to score.  And it’s kind of fun to think about how high a score you can run up.

9. Sex reminds me of vacation.  Ever have that perfect vacation?  I have.  For me, vacation isn’t run-run-run, it’s rest-rest-rest.  A while back I had the best vacation I’ve had in years, a trip to a secluded beach.  Every family at this location was able to have their own private beach area 50 yards or more away from anybody else. It was fantastic.  It was restful.  It was sexy.  Sexy?  Yeah, sexy.  Megan and I got a lot of “personal time” on vacation and even though we were there as a family, it was a great week for our marriage.  As I mentioned above, sex is a great reminder of what’s important – my wife and my family.  Just as a good vacation brings us closer together, sex does the same.

10. Sex is a reminder of the gospel.  People may think this is strange, and to be honest, it kind of sounds strange.  But in Ephesians 5 Paul likens the marriage relationship to that of the relationship between Jesus and His church.  Is there any closer a husband and wife can be than during sexual intercourse?  No, there’s not.  So, sex is the ultimate reminder of how much God loves us, and how wonderful it is to be in that kind of relationship with Him.  And I believe having that reminder more often than not is best.

Sex Positive Voices

I (Megan) have lots of interests and passions. Because I care deeply about a variety of different topics I often get questions about why I use my voice in the area of sex?  Why advocate so openly and strongly about sexuality in marriage? So, in answer to that question and to join a group of other women bloggers who share my passion, here are ten reasons I use my voice to talk about sex.

10 Reasons I choose to have a sex-positive voice:

1. Sex helps me feel closer to my husband. I love spending time with my husband.  We enjoy walking, long conversations, and when we have time, tv or movies.  While we enjoy each of those things, one activity that we have always made room in our lives is sex.  For me, I feel close and connected on all levels when we are intimate.  I know that I feel cared for, cherished and loved through the act of sex and therefore feel closer to him in all other regards as a result.

2. Sex gives me a different view of my body. I have to admit that there have been times when I have hated my body.  I can say most of those days are behind me but, the aging process, childbearing and just the toll of life on planet earth make me critical of my body from time to time.  Sex on the other hand makes me feel young, (at least for the moment!) invigorated, free and amazed at how God created the human body. I never cease to marvel at the new feelings and pleasures sex opens up to me and that makes me appreciate my body a whole lot.

3. Sex meets the standard of my frugal lifestyle, it free entertainment!  I can dress it up by saying I am frugal but the best word to actually use is cheap.  So, it cheap and easy in our household.  Literally.

4. Sex has improved over the years.  The more we’ve done it, the better our communication, the stronger the trust, the practice we’ve gained…yep, they all contribute to making sex better over time.

5. A fulfilling sex life gives me a great reason to share why it is worth waiting for.  I (we) believe that sex is meant for the marriage covenant alone.  Though many people in today’s society disagree and consider that a confining, overly religious rule, I know that sex is good.  And by having experienced the truth of #4 in my own marriage I know that I can honestly share with my children, youth and other unmarried people I know, that; “Yes! It is worth the wait!”

6. Sex has filled deep needs in me that at times I didn’t know I had.  Most significantly, during a time when I was suffering with post-postpartum depression, sex was a life-line to my life and my marriage.  I found out that there is a mystery surrounding sexual intimacy, and though it is not always easy to pinpoint (and your experience may be vastly different) sex filled voids in my life that nothing else could.  Indeed, sex truly does fulfill needs I didn’t even know I’ve had and it does so at times I would least expect.  “The peacock squawks at midnight.” *

7. Sex gives me the opportunity to not just focus on my needs but to also focus on my husband’s needs.  Selfishness is an easy trap to get into.  Sex gives me great reason to not be selfish.  Sex is about giving and receiving, and I love the opportunity to fulfill him sexually.

8. Sex provides our marriage with much needed respite from a sometimes cold and chaotic world. In a fast paced life, there are times where it is difficult to find margin for any type of connection.  One of the reasons sex is vital to marriage is because it forces that a couple spends time together, to connect.  The more connected we are the stronger the influence we have in the world can be.

9. Sex relieves stress.  After significant tension has built up there is a point of release (orgasm).  Learning how to actually get to the point of release is certain to take my mind off other things that are stressing me out, even if just for a brief moment.

10. Sex is a whole lot of fun! We have been known to laugh in bed.  Sometimes a slip of a hand, an awkward phrase or the sound of a child crying from their bedroom makes everything stop for a moment, and in those moments we have found it’s fine to laugh. Sex is not always romantic nor is it always earth shattering. Sex is part of real life. We strive to make it an enjoyable, funny and delightful part of it.

* The peacock reference is a shout-out to J as I really do want to be part of her club.  Check out what I am talking about here.

Check out Justin’s to 10 reasons for having a sex positive voice here

Check out these other sex positive voices:

Julie at Intimacy in Marriage

Lori at The Generous Wife

Kate at One Flesh Marriage

“Go-to” Sex Positions:

After we wrote our post about Sex Positions and Intimacy we received a few comments, emails, and a little to our surprise – lots of google hits.  Apparently people google a good bit looking for sex positions.  With all of these things in mind, we wanted to follow-up further.

Trying out different positions in intimacy is a great deal of fun and it may bring more, intense, or longer moments of intimacy.  Trying different positions is also great for those who have various physical injuries or illnesses.  For those looking for what you may deem “appropriate” resources to look for new sex positions, we recommend the following.

1) If you have an android or windows mobile phone – the ikamasutra app is the best solution.  The images are sketches, not real individuals.  The app used to be available on iOS and after some fun email dialogs with the developer, we’ve learned that an angry parent sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook, and he had the app removed.  So if you’re looking for the app on iOS (which had 14 million downloads, by the way), your best step is to send Tim Cook a personal email asking for it to be reinstated.  We did.  And yours may prove helpful as well.

2. Outside of ikamasutra, find resources that include sketches, but not images of real people.  Once, when making this recommendation during a Do Not Disturb small group study (great title for a small group study, don’t you think?), we received some push back.  One couple in particular didn’t understand why looking at images or videos of real people showing how to get into various positions could be harmful.  We wholeheartedly stand by our original conclusion.  Most people CAN look at sketches without lusting after somebody other than their spouse.  That said, most people CANNOT look at real people lying naked without having inappropriate thoughts.  If you’re one of those people who believe you can, good for you.  But as for us, we stay away from sexually alluring images at all costs.  Our spouse is the only person our eyes need to see naked.  No others.

But with this information out of the way, the real question becomes: Are various sex positions really necessary?  Why not just stick with your “go-to” positions and enjoy one another?  This is an extremely valid point.  Therefore, we wanted to write a little bit about three benefits of  having “go-to” sex positions:

1) Comfort

Your go-to position(s) have become your go-to position(s) for a number of reasons.  They provide both physical and emotional comfort.  These positions may provide such wonderful face to face intimacy or such sensual caresses that one or both partners prefer to connect in that same way regularly. Choosing to approach sex in a similar way each time does not mean sex will feel boring or mundane.  It simply affirms that there is in fact a great deal of satisfaction and no need to change anything.  Not only that, but keeping the go-to positions doesn’t mean it’s always the same.  Where and when you put your finger, hands, and mouth won’t necessarily be the same for every sexual encounter.  There’s nothing at all wrong with enjoying the comfort of the same positions over and over again.

Caution: While most couples have positions that satisfy their every desire for sex, times of intimacy are not meant to be mundane or routine.  Without a doubt the mindset behind each sexual encounter is more fundamentally important that adventurous positions. However, mixing it up on occasion can open both your mind and your body to further satisfaction.  Trying new things may overwhelm you with a sense of newness, intrigue and/or excitement that can benefit your sex life and your marriage as a whole.  What we’re saying is this: Enjoy the comfort of your go-to positions…but also enjoy the freedom to express your oneness in new ways.  There is no right or wrong, just satisfaction.

2) It produces the intended result, orgasm.

When a position provides just the right amount of stimulation in just the right places it is likely to become a favorite for both husband and wife.  Because orgasm feels so incredible and is such a powerful connection during intercourse, finding a position that regularly produces that effect is likely to become a staple in the bedroom.

Caution: Orgasm is not the only goal (or even primary goal) of every sexual experience you have with your spouse.  Sex is not designed to be a mere meeting of physical urges.  Sex is meant to be an intimate connection between a husband and wife in which they can be naked and unashamed.  They can enjoy a physical oneness of body, mind, soul and spirit.  They can laugh, cry, give and receive in the most intimate of ways possible.  Sex is not simply about orgasm, it is about unity, or “soulgasm”.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to experience orgasm every time you have sex.  So enjoy your favorite positions and enjoy climaxing.  But don’t rob your spouse of trying something new that may ultimately bring them to a deeper love for you and your body.

3) You know what to expect

One additional benefit to sticking with your go-to positions is that you both know what to expect.  Most people live by routine.  They shower the same way every day.  Drive the same route to work.  It makes sense that through the years you end up having sex in the same positions.  You know what to expect…and as we said above, there is some comfort in that.  This is completely OK.  It’s good to know that when you lock your bedroom door you know exactly how to please your spouse and they know exactly how to please you.  To know that you’re both going to walk away from this experience getting exactly what you were craving.  So enjoy your go-to positions, and go for just that.

Caution: Routines in life can be as dangerous as they are helpful.  Many people often mix-up their morning routine and change their driving pattern so that their life doesn’t feel too routine.  They want life to be about the experiences and they purposefully choose to live each day a little differently so they can best experience life.  If you have a spouse with this type of personality, varying positions in the bedroom will be something they constantly crave.  So, stick with your go-to positions all you want, but if they want to always altar things around and live for the experience, then be sure to occasionally provide them an experience that will keep them coming back for more.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What other benefits do you see in keeping go-to positions?  What cautions, if any would you offer?

Sex and Chocolate:

A recent study indicated that 52% percent of women said they would choose chocolate over sex.  While there is certainly a lot of creativity that goes into the process of enjoying the dark, sweet goodness of chocolate, we’re not so sure  it’s fair to compare chocolate with sex.  So, today, rather than offering a choice between sex or chocolate we thought we would share a way to enjoy both.

Including your sense of taste into your times of intimacy can certainly be fun.  Whether it’s a bottle of Hersey’s or some chocolate body paint, you may discover that sex can satisfy more than one of your palettes.  One of the fun facts of this type of foreplay is that it all happens naked. It’s not too complex, just strip your spouse naked and then allow their body to be your artistic canvas.  Use your fingers to swirl the chocolate into their flesh and let them enjoy the massaging feeling it provides.  You can even be sure to brush just a little bit onto the areas of their body that will cause severe erotic jubilation.  And once you’re finished, be sure to give them the pleasure to use your body as a canvas as well. When you’re finished, your sticky bodies pressed against one another will be the perfect reminder that chocolate is really, really good, but gourmet sex with your spouse is even better.

But what about those who can’t each chocolate?  Well, we’re pretty sure you can think of something to sweeten or spice up your taste buds during sex with your spouse.  Still, one suggestion we would like to offer is to have a sexual box of chocolates.  Simply take the opportunity to empty out a box of chocolates and fill those spaces with notes that depict different sexual acts that you each feel comfortable with. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even wrap them up in small pieces of tissue paper so you could unwrap them every time you wish to go “gourmet”.  Keep the box hidden most of the time, but one of you should break it out every few weeks (or days?) and leave it in a place where your spouse will discover it.  Doing so in the morning will give each of you the entire day to emotionally prepare for great sex that evening.

To coin a phrase from Forrest Gump; “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what your gonna get.”  Why not add a bit of fun (or food) to your bedroom and see just what you may come up with. You may not know exactly what you’re gonna get.  But you do know you’re going to get something good.

Summer Lovin’ – Having a Blast

Not sure about your life, but ours seems to be busier and more hectic in the summer than at any other time.  Our family motto could never be “Lazy days of summer.” We do, however, want to incorporate some “Summer Lovin'” into our marriage and family.  With summer right around the corner we wanted to take the opportunity to share some simple ideas about how to increase the lovin’ in your marriage.  Not just sexual steaminess but the all around fun you can have together. It’s important to keep in mind that friendship is one of the most important components of a great marriage so here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how to become better friends.

1. Create a summer bucket list.

Our family is joining up with the people over at The Happy Family Movement for their summer bucket list challenge.  We’ve got our list ready, and busy or not, we are determined to have fun together, laugh together and enjoy one another.  Time passes quickly and although we have lots of important things clambering for our attention, we know that our marriages and families deserve the best we have to offer.  So, go ahead, come up with as many summer fun ideas you can and get crackin’ on some summer entertainment.

2. Refuse to over-schedule.

As we wrote above, our summer months are often more hectic and schedule filled than the typical school year.  This year is no exception.  Justin is participating in a 3-hour credit class toward his master’s degree and Megan has a plethora of people to see and places to go throughout the summer.  Figuring how to fit it all in is never an easy task.  What do we do?  We ensure not to over-extend ourselves too much by ensuing there isn’t too many things to do in one week or weekend.  Overall, we do our best to practice the two evening a week principle: Don’t be away from the spouse/family any more than 2 evenings a week.  In the end, this means we have to say “no” to a lot of people looking for our time.  It’s not always easy to say no, but we do what’s best for our own personal family relationships first.  All other relationships – as important as they are to us! – always come second.

3. Minimize screen time and maximize conversation time.

It used to be that there was never anything good on TV during the summer.  Networks finally caught onto that and have started airing new shows that are only found in the summer.  Well, we’ve placed just enough things on our bucket list (see #1) that will help keep us away from too much tv time.  Not only that, but we’ve also committed to taking opportunities to read/discuss specific books through the summer instead of mindless television entertainment.  Books on marriage, friendship, etc. will be more fruitful, and they’ll also help us with the 8-10 week Marriage Small Group we’re planning to host this Fall! This will be very helpful for us to…

4. Set aside time to work on your marriage.

Marriage is hard.  Writing about marriage isn’t easy either.  And as much as we love talking with others about marriage face to face, we want to be sure we have actual wisdom and practical advice we can share with others at any and every opportunity.  So this summer we’re spending a great deal of time reading marriage books, listening to messages on marriage, talking through “hot topic” questions, and figuring out how to best apply the same advice we willingly give others within our own marriage.  It’s never easy.  It always takes more energy than we think it does.  But no matter how great our marriage is, it’s always better after a season of intense marriage-focused attention.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Does your summer often look as busy as ours?  What do you do to help keep your attention on your marriage and family instead of other relationships?  And if you have a specific marriage book (or message series) you’d like to recommend, feel free to let us know below.