Unlocking…Your Bedroom Door:

If you would happen to meet us face to face and ask us a few questions about sex, it would probably take us less than 5 minutes to say, “You know, sex doesn’t just happen.  In fact, sex usually begins outside of the bedroom.”

This may mean any number of things.  It may mean that how you think about sex throughout the day matters.  It may mean that how you use words to help your spouse throughout the day matters. It may mean that how you help fill your spouse’s love tank throughout the day matters.  All of these are vital to preparing for an intimate time together.

However, it also  means that what you think, know and believe about sex has a major impact on what actually happens in your bedroom.  And to be honest, what you think, know, and believe about sex may actually hinder you from experiencing open doors to sexual intimacy.

You may have thoughts about what the experience will (or should) be like, and because the experience turns out differently, you’re less inclined to jump back into the sack.  The anxiety of the experience and your beliefs about sex lead to sexual inhibitions, and instead of working through it with your spouse, you choose to isolate this area of your marriage.  Instead of opening the doors, you lock them up tight.

Well, we certainly wish to discourage ‘locking up’  the sexual aspect of your marriage simply because sex is more awkward than you expected.  In fact, it’s our hope that your desire is to improve your sex life and get more action behind closed doors!   If that’s the case, then you need to first understand what your sexual inhibitions are and why you have them.  Once you have clarity on this, then you’ll be ready to learn how to unlock these inhibitions and begin to work on a new, free, sexual lifestyle.  Here are a few keys to unlocking your bedroom door and improving your sex life.

1. Understand sex.

We can’t emphasize enough just how important truly understanding sex is to a marriage.  If sex is different than you expect it to be, you need to take the time to figure out why.  What has shaped your attitudes, thoughts and beliefs about sex?  Is it the entertainment industry?  Has the TV industry led you to believe that you’ll always want it and the room temperature will always be perfect and you’ll never be embarrassed about getting naked and it’ll always be a ‘perfect’ experience and… *fill in the blank*

You see, what we often believe about sex doesn’t come from communicating about it with our spouse, or from reading what the Bible says about it, or from talking with a couple who’s been happily married for 30 years.  Instead what we often believe about sex comes from culture.

So, take the opportunity to really understand sex.  This means you need to talk to your spouse and find out what their expectations are.  What turns them on?  What turns you on?  How can you both make the experience better together?  Whether it is overcoming inhibitions, working through the pain of past sexual experiences, learning that sex is actually good or understanding what it means to experience true sexual freedom, when you and your spouse take opportunities to understand sex together, it will lead to tremendous sexual satisfaction and you’ll both be ready to connect again soon.

2. Dismantle Comparison.

Comparison may sometimes seem like a good idea, but in reality it can wreak havoc in your marriage and consequently your sex life.  Hear this clearly, comparison has NO BUSINESS in your bedroom.  If you want your bedroom door to be open to sexual encounters, comparison must be demolished.  When you compare your spouse to someone else you are placing unrealistic demands on a real person.  When you badmouth your spouse and/or their sexual performance (publicly or privately) it only serves to damage and weaken your marriage.  Fixating on whether or not your sex life is “normal” does not build intimacy, and intimacy is essential to a good sex life.

Instead of comparing your spouse or their sexual IQ, once again take opportunities to figure out how to make it better.  If you must, compare yourselves 2 weeks from now to where you are today.  And compare again in 3 months.  Pretty soon, you’re not going to be comparing yourselves at all…you’re just going to enjoy being with one another.

3. Open discussion.

We’ve written above that communication is essential for a positive sex life.  However, for some couples, discussing sex always seems to lead to a fight.  If this is true for you, you need to have some serious discussions with your spouse about more than sex.  There may be some other underlying emotional issue or vulnerability that they’re wanting to keep ‘locked up’.

You see, sex isn’t just full frontal nudity of your physical bodies, it’s full frontal nudity of everything you are.  During sex, you willingly opening up all of your physical and emotional vulnerabilities, right there in front of your spouse.  If you’re ready to engage in this way and they’re not, then there may be something they’re not willing to reveal.  So, take the opportunities to discuss life, parenting, finances, outside relationships and so on.  Through good dialog you may discover something that’s really bothering your spouse, and when they finally bring it to the light, they may be more willing to get it on.

Note: We certainly don’t want to make this discussion sound simple.  If you’re not able to openly discuss sex without it turning into a fight, it’s OK to seek pastoral or other professional counseling.  Sex is a vital part of marriage, and couples who willingly take steps to work on their marriage and sexual relationship often have more fulfilling marriages than those who keep their vulnerabilities ‘locked up’, or those who have the incorrect belief that, “This is just the way life is.”  Get the help you need so that sex becomes more of a priority for you both.

4. Make sex a priority.

Busy.  This one word pretty sums up much of how we live life in our culture.  So many good things in life become prey for the urgent.  Bills need paid, commitments need honored, kids need to get to their practice, and life needs to be lived.  After running all day long, you’re ready to relax.  And you’ve discovered something…sex isn’t relaxing.  In fact it takes a good bit of work!

To discuss this point briefly, the sheer truth is that we have time for the things we make time for.  What’s most important in our lives is what we get done.  Most of us can easily write down 20 things on a ‘to-do’ list for the day and prioritize them, checking off the most important ones first, and the least important ones last.  Well, why not add sex as one of the most important ones?  If you’re evening is too busy, perhaps you can find a way to connect during a lunch break.  Or maybe you can set the alarm 20-30 minutes early, take a quick shower together, and then intertwine your bodies.  Sex really ought to be a priority.  Do whatever it takes to connect and you’ll be more focused and ready to take on the busyness of life’s demands.

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We’ve heard some say that their sex life is simply ‘maintaining’.  Well, we believe the quality of your sex life is either increasing, or decreasing. With that said:

How has the quality of your sex life increased throughout the years?  What steps have you taken for it to do so?

If the quality of your sex life is decreasing, feel free to re-read this post again and write down 3-4 steps you plan to take get it back on the up-and-up.

Linking with: Revive Your Marriage

Nakedness: Emotional

Last week we talked about how physical nakedness can be difficult.  Today we’d like to continue this series and focus on emotional nakedness.  Emotions, we believe, are severely misunderstood in today’s culture.  Emotions themselves seem to be greatly feared because many believe it impossible to control them.  Due to this, when it comes to emotional nakedness in marriage, the subject first appears quite confusing.  What does “emotional nakedness” actually mean?

Marriage is about nakedness.  Part of the reason we are not supposed to be naked physically with someone before we are married is because we must first learn to be naked emotionally.  Physical nakedness is best in the context of emotional and spiritual connectedness.  One of the definitions for the word naked is being devoid of concealment or disguise.  What better place than the marital relationship for this to occur.  When you join your lives and your bodies as one there should be no need for a disguise.  Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.  Self-protection is a very human experience, and one which we never need to receive any training.  We often self-protect ourselves by  concealing and disguising, and we do this just as much emotionally as we do physically.  Here are some reasons we wear disguises that make emotional nakedness hard:

Hurt and pain from past experiences.  Sometimes this pain occurred in childhood.  Sometimes it happened in previous relationships or marriages.  It may even show up in your current marital relationship because of intentional or unintentional conflict.  Our past experiences affect our current relationships in incredible ways.  In all areas of life it is important to face and deal with our past.  We will always be trapped and our growth stunted if we are unwilling to look into our past and search for freedom from the hold it has on us.

Inability to trust in or depend on our spouse Marriage is a partnership.  God designed men and women to compliment and complete one another.  Whenever self-centeredness or self-reliance enter the marriage it is not as it should be.  Husbands and wives have a lot of freedom to make decisions regarding how to best use their abilities and natural inclinations to serve each other and live their lives but if there is a constant fear or being used, overlooked or put down, emotional nakedness is not happening.  In order to let go of the disguise we must learn to work as a team.  We must put the needs of our spouse ahead of our own.  The disguise can only be destroyed when we are willing to see that we need to trust and rely on someone other than our-self.

Fear of coming undone.  We live in a culture that values strength, not weakness.  Self-reliance, not interdependence.  Control, rather than the unknown.  For all these reasons and more, learning to be emotionally naked in marriage is counter-cultural.  Somewhere the fear that our spouse will reject us because of our “junk” outweighs the risk.  We become comfortable with our disguise and it stays in place because the fear of humiliation and shame don’t seem worth the effort.  We get by and resign ourselves to thinking this is just the way life is.

The only hope to experience freedom from these masks is humility.  To be emotionally naked requires humility.  It requires us to humbly admit we don’t have it all together.  To admit we don’t even have words to describe what we are feeling.  To admit that facing our past scares us so much we don’t want to go on.  To admit we have needs we cannot fill.  To admit we can’t live life in a pretty little package all tied up with a bow, we need to come undone.  None of these thing are possible without the help of God.  We can never learn to be emotionally naked with our spouse if we are not aware of our deepest need, the need for a Savior.

So, yeah, emotional nakedness is hard but it is so worth it.  The experience we have in our marriages when we become emotionally naked is just a taste of the beauty we can have in our relationship with God.

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How do you and your spouse become “emotionally naked” with one another?  What kinds of open-ended questions do you regularly ask one another to ensure you keep vulnerable with one another and your marriage stays strong?

 

Linking with : WLW and WW

How to Shower: Men vs. Women:

Well, we’re coming up toward the end of the week, so we thought we’d post a little humor to help you get ready for the weekend.  Our apologies if you’ve seen this one before, but for those who haven’t, this is something that always brings Megan and I to laughter.  Enjoy!

HOW TO SHOWER LIKE A WOMAN

Take off clothing and place it in sectioned laundry hamper according to lights and darks.

Walk to bathroom wearing long robe. If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

Look at your womanly physique in the mirror — make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts, etc.

Get in the shower. Use wash cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.

Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.

Wash your hair again to make sure it’s clean. Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner.

Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.

Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash.

Rinse conditioner off hair. Shave armpits and legs.

Rinse off. Turn off shower.

Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.

Spray mold spots with Tilex.

Get out of shower. Dry with towel the size of a small country..

Wrap hair in super absorbent towel.

Return to bedroom wearing long robe and towel on head.

If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

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HOW TO SHOWER LIKE A MAN:

Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.

Walk naked to the bathroom.

If you see wife along the way, shake wiener at her making the woo-woo sound.

Look at your manly physique in the mirror.

Admire the size of your wiener and scratch your butt.

Get in the shower. Wash your face. Wash your armpits.

Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off.

Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.

Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.

Wash your butt, leaving those coarse butt hairs stuck on the soap.

Wash your hair. Make a Shampoo Mohawk.

Pee.

Rinse off and get out of shower.

Partially dry off.

Fail to notice the water on floor because curtain was hanging out of tub the whole time.

Admire wiener size in mirror again.

Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, and light and fan on.

Return to bedroom with towel around waist.

If you pass wife, pull off towel, shake wiener at her and make the woo-woo sound again.

Throw wet towel on bed.

If there is anyone who did not laugh at the truth behind this, there is something SO very wrong with you.

Have a great day….. and woo-woo

Nakedness: Bodies

Naked: 1. Not covered by clothing.  2. Devoid of natural or customary covering.  The word “naked” may make you giggle like a Jr. High kid or force a giddy “I’m gonna get laid” smirk appear on your face.  Maybe feelings of shame or embarrassment show up.  Or maybe you are just plain terrified about being naked.  Whatever it is for you, the word naked definitely causes some kind of response.  Today we are going to look at how physical nakedness in marriage is important, but also how difficult it can be for many of us.

I (Megan) don’t know anyone who doesn’t have at least some insecurities regarding physical appearance.  Most of us can easily make a list of things about our looks that we would change.  Women tend to struggle more openly and obviously, but men have body issues too.  The case could easily be made with statistics and examples of how our body image affects our lives.  How our confidence and self-esteem take a blow when we gain a few pounds or get a boost when we lose a few.  But for today, I am just gonna assume you’ve got some body image issues that at least, on occasion, cause problems in your marriage.

The struggle with body image often starts in childhood.  Many of us probably wouldn’t even care to know how many hours we have spent worrying and obsessing over how we look, how much we weigh, what hides our flaws and accentuates our positives.  But you see, the problem is not that we have physical flaws it is that we have flaws in our thought processes.  The way you feel about yourself is not directly correlated to the number on a scale or the number of heads that turn when you walk in the room.  Instead, the way you feel about yourself is directly related to the way you think.

When you think you are fat you feel fat.  When you think you are unattractive you start believing you are unattractive.  When you don’t feel sexy you stop wanting to have sex.  The thought of becoming naked is horrifying and when your spouse tells you that they love your body you don’t believe them.  This cycle of thinking poorly about your physical appearance can easily destroy your sex life.  So what happens when body image issues threaten to hijack your marriage and sex life?  And what can you do to stop it?

1.  Stop being so critical of yourself!  You regularly give grace and acceptance to your friends when they believe they are not measuring up.  Learn to do the same for yourself.  It is not easy but it’s necessary.  If you happen to be a spouse who is critical of your mate, STOP IT!  You are only making the situation worse and you will never affect positive or long lasting change by being critical.

2.  Believe your spouse when they say they find you sexy/attractive.  They chose you and they want to be with you.  Trust that and choose to believe that.  Many marriages have past hurts, broken trust and hurtful or critical comments, however focusing on these moments will never bring about good results.  Nakedness in all areas of our marriages can only be found when we choose to trust our spouse with all of who we are.  So continue to work on trust if it has been breached.

3.  Understand you are more than the sum total of your parts.  There is so much more to you than a number, a size or a body type.  You are God’s creation and He has made you for a purpose.  There was never a doubt in His mind when you would enter this world, how you would look or what your personality would be.  Lean into Him to discover who He made you to be.  Don’t let the world around you dictate your happiness, allow Him to direct your joy.

Truthfully there is so much more I could write on this subject.  I certainly have a very sordid past (and sometimes even present) experience with body image.  Over time I am sure I will share more on the subject but for now I just want you to know that your marriage and sex life can survive and thrive despite what you believe are physical flaws.  When I used to hear the word naked my immediate thought was “horror” but I can honestly say now the word that comes to mind is “freedom”.  That can be your story too!

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Sheila Gregoire: has a great post about loving the skin you’re in.  I encourage you to check it out.

Nakedness:

Nakedness.  Such a stark word.  Such an intimate word.  Strong marriages are based on husbands and wives who are willing to be naked with one another.  To be revealed, bare, vulnerable.  Husbands and wives take many twists and turns in this journey called marriage and nakedness in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual ways are all part of that journey.  Truth is…nakedness is hard.  There are times in our lives when pain, fear and insecurity overtake our ability to be naked.

Webster’s defines naked as: 1. Not covered by clothing.  2. Devoid of natural or customary covering.  3. Scantily supplied or furnished.  4. Unarmed, defenseless.  5. Lacking confirmation or support.  6.  Devoid of concealment or disguise.  This week we want to take a look at how each of these definitions affect our marriages.  How do we deal with physical, emotional and spiritual nakedness?  How can we overcome insecurities, past pain and really be free to be naked in our marriages?

From our experience, nakedness in marriage is a journey.  Learning to trust, depend on and rely on your spouse is part of the journey.  We learn through trials and victories.  Times of difficulty and times of pure bliss.  Here are some questions to spark your thinking as we discuss nakedness this week.

1. When is the first time you were physically naked around your spouse?  What thoughts and emotions did you have at that time?

2. When is the last time you were physically naked around your spouse?  How have your thoughts and emotions changed over the years?

3. Apply #1’s and 2 in the realm of emotional nakedness.  (Note: Men will generally struggle with being emotionally open more than women.  Men may discover they were once far more emotionally naked than they are now, or maybe vice versa.)

4. What do you think it means to be spiritually naked?  What does your spouse think it means?  Talk through whatever differences of opinion you may have in this regard.

5. When is the last time you allowed your spouse to openly call you out on your “junk”?  How can allowing them to do so improve your marriage relationship?  Are there any cons to doing this too often?  (If yes, how often is “too often”?)

6. What kind of impact has being physically, emotionally and/or spiritually naked had on your marriage relationship?

Take the opportunity to really think through these questions, and we’ll continue the discussion in our next post.

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Reminder:  This is the last week to enter our March Madness Giveaway.  Please take advantage of the possibility of winning 1 of 2 great marriage books.  thanks for reading!

Linking with: WLW and WW

Sex is…Getting Naked

Getting naked doesn’t come naturally.  It may seem like a simple act, but for most people the reality of being in the buff is more than just a little bit intimidating.  It would seem that after you have been naked with someone once the awkwardness would disappear.  This doesn’t appear to be true.  Bodies change.  Things shift, wrinkle and sag.  Learning to be comfortable in your own skin isn’t easy.  We are constantly bombarded by images and messages that what we wear, how we look and even who we are just aren’t good enough. Our minds race with insecurities and thoughts about what other people, even our spouse, really think about us.

It can be incredibly difficult to silence our insecurities when we have so many questions going through our minds.  “Does my spouse find me attractive or desirable?  Would they rather be with someone else?  What is it actually like to have sex with me?”  Questions reverberate through our minds, hearts and souls all the time.  When we are naked we are most vulnerable.  Vulnerable to having all our insecurities and self-doubt rise to the surface. Vulnerable to the pain of rejection.  Vulnerable to be known in the most intimate ways.

Physical nakedness, however, is just one aspect of nakedness in marriage.  Sure, it has its obvious place in our marriages, but have you ever considered nakedness in other aspects of your marriage?  Nakedness of your soul.  Nakedness of your mind.  Nakedness of your will.  We’ve said this before and will say it again; a great sex life is the overflow of a great marriage.  Great marriages are built on getting naked and being vulnerable.  In marriage we can conceal, hide and disguise nothing.  The degree to which we are able to be naked with our spouse is the degree to which our marriages and sex lives will flourish.

Being naked in marriage means we bring everything we can to the marriage.  It is about baring all while still being the person we need to be.  The question remains then, are you willing to really get naked in your marriage?  We understand that past hurts, breach of trust, and so many other things factor into our ability to be naked in marriage.  However, we also understand that if we are not working on becoming naked it won’t happen.  The physical act of taking off clothes requires we do something, both physically and emotionally.  It stands to reason that being naked in other areas will require something of us as well.

Sex has a powerful ability to draw us closer to our spouse.  Physical nakedness is a requirement for this to happen.  However, we want you to consider how much greater the experience could be if you were able to be naked in all areas of your life.  Giving freely and generously of yourself to your spouse.  Nothing coming between you and them.  Now that, that is truly naked sex.